Love Me Louder

Love Me Louder by Christina Lee: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Love Me Louder

Blurb:

Noah Dixon is damaged goods. After an accident leaves him physically scarred and emotionally vulnerable, dating isn’t in the cards, so he throws himself head-first into his retail job. When he’s obligated to attend his best friend’s engagement party on Fire Island, it dawns on him he’s about to spend yet another weekend feeling totally invisible and alone among a swarm of gorgeous men.

That’s when the idea of an escort comes in.

After Will Crossen was forced to put his theater major on hold in favor of two jobs to tackle his ailing mother’s hospital bills, he tells himself becoming an escort isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just another form of acting, right? He doesn’t expect his newest customer to be the cheery, overconfident sales associate he avoids like the plague at his day job. Talk about awkward.

But what happens on Fire Island stays on Fire Island…especially when a smoldering attraction sparks into flames. Will doesn’t feel so alone anymore, and for the first time, Noah realizes someone is seeing him behind all the scars. But between their jobs, Will’s massive familial responsibilities, and Noah’s vulnerabilities, they don’t stand a chance unless they find a way to let love speak louder than their demons.

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3.75 Stars

Holy fishnets Batman!!

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I’m in the minority with my rating but the fishnets, the way Will rocked them, and how much Noah got off on them brought out my happy face.

Noah works at a home furnishings store with the quiet and stand-offish Will. Noah is happiest at work where he is able to transform spaces for customers. In his private life he’s lonely, insecure about his scars, and distancing himself from the friends and family that love him. This distance from his helicopter parents and physically “beautiful” friends works until he has to go back to Fire Island for a birthday party and secret engagement for his friends. Unable to stomach a trip back alone with everyone hooking up except him, he spots a bat signal in the form of a card his co-worker Will accidentally drops.

Gotham City Escorts.

Will works multiple jobs to help support his mother and her medical bills. He meets up with his next client to prepare for a weekend away at a coffee shop and is taken aback to find Noah waiting. After a rocky start, Will agrees to escort Noah for the Fire Island trip.

Will and Noah’s agreement begins a tentative friendship where they spend time getting to know each other. They definitely can’t show up for the weekend acting like they’ve never spent a minute together. Outside of work, they realize they have things in common and that their assumptions about the other were way off base. A connection is made and then at Fire Island their chemistry comes alive. Except, they don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. Noah doesn’t understand how anyone can be attracted to him beyond a hook-up and believes that Will is just doing what he is paid to do; which is to act like he’s a devoted boyfriend. Will can’t see past his need for money and what that means in caring for his mom. There are some mild curve balls thrown in to make decisions more complicated but low to medium angst overall with a HEA.

The first 50-60% of the book dragged for me. I wasn’t even sure I would hit 3 stars for a rating because I wasn’t having a very enjoyable time. The insecurities and self-doubt were understandable but Noah grated on my patience. Assumptions in high quantities were being spewed on both sides. The back and forth does he/doesn’t he or he’s only interested because I’m paying him drove me cray-cray after a while. I was extremely relieved that everything picked up and my sanity/enjoyment was restored as I finished out the story. Clearly this is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

A warning for readers that like their MCs to only have *ahem* interactions between themselves: There are other… escorty type situations while Noah and Will find their place together. They’re minor but bills gotta be paid and all. *shrugs*

Recommended.

”Show me, fuck me, hire me again just so we can pretend to pretend.”

Copy provided for honest review.

The Werewolf’s Fae Mate

The Werewolf’s Fae Mate by Liv Rider: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR.

The Werewolf's Fae Mate

Blurb:

He never expected his mate to be fae. Now he has to choose between his heart and his pack.

When mixed-blood werewolf Mahon comes across powerful fae magic in a nightclub, dealing with the threat is a chance to prove to his new pack where his loyalties lie. But the threat turns out to be a gorgeous, wide-eyed college student who’s never heard of the supernatural world. After they’re attacked by bloodsucking vampire bats, he takes Oscar and his small, angry cat home for their own protection. He’ll definitely tell his pack about Oscar…later.

Abandoned as an infant, Oscar’s always wondered where he came from—he just never expected the answer to include pointy ears, magical powers, and evil forces trying to kill him. Oscar knows he shouldn’t rely on Mahon for help, but it’s hard to resist when a six-foot-six werewolf literally sweeps you off your feet. The key to Oscar’s past might lie with the local fae court—where werewolves aren’t welcome.

Oscar and Mahon are mates—but how can they be together when it might cost them both everything?

The Werewolf’s Fae Mate is an m/m paranormal werewolf/fae romance with a HEA and no cliffhangers.

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3 Stars

The Werewolf’s Fae Mate is a short, straight forward paranormal read with heat and action.

As the blurb states, Oscar is a normal college student, until he realizes he’s anything but a normal college student. Unfortunately for Oscar, that realization happens right around the time a vampire and vampire bats come calling. Luckily for him, Mahon (a werewolf) also comes calling and Oscar is thrust into a world that he once believed was only in storybooks.

With the danger lurking around Oscar, he ends up staying with Mahon as they try to figure out the specifics about his missing past. One thing leads to another quickly and it’s all growly, mine, mates, sex, thinking about sex, and more sex. Oscar is clueless, goofy, and endearing. I wish we had more of his personality without being clouded by lust and overshadowed by the main drama of miscommunication. There is insta-love as usual in a mates situation and they ride that train all the way to an HEA.

While Mahon and Oscar are cute together, the relationship and world building is lacking IMO. I liked the premise and the characters but everything felt so rushed. Oscar has a cat named Marshmallow and I didn’t understand why there was so much emphasis placed on her. I kept waiting for *something* to happen. It didn’t. Still, I’ll definitely keep Marshmallow on the table for my future pet’s name.

If you’re new to m/m paranormal, this could be a good starting point for you. Hopefully the world building comes together in the next book. I’ll give Aidan (Mahon’s brother) a shot if he gets a book. Recommended if you’re looking for a quick and easy paranormal.

Copy provided for honest review.

The Weight of It All

The Weight of It All by N.R. Walker: Audio Book Review by Lost in a Book

The Weight of It All

Blurb:

After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.

He joins a gym.

Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.

As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.

Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.

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4.5 Stars

Ok, Why did I wait SOOOOO long to “read” this? I adored The Weight of It All and the narration by Joel Leslie is everything needed to bring Henry and Reed to life. I’m not sure I can go any further without mentioning the epic Harry Potter references. AND. ANDDDDDD, Joel Leslie’s impressions while doing them is on point. *happy dance*

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the story.

Henry- gets dumped by his ex for aging and looking like he’s aging. He’s desperate to get his ex life back and heads to the gym where he meets Reed.

Reed- large, muscular, abs for miles, never misses a leg day… you get the point. He’s jaded from dating typical gym rats who would rather talk about gym things instead of getting to know him. Reed is also Henry’s new trainer.

Henry and Reed’s interactions are hilarious. They begin as Trainer/trainee and slowly morph into friends on top of their professional gym relationship. A lot of time is spent getting to know each other and they develop a solid foundation that steadily grows into a relationship deeper friendship. Henry has huge insecurities with the battle scars left from his ex that blind him about Reeds affections. His thoughts on how can Mr. Perfect ever want me were understandable but went on for a lonnnnnnnnnnnnng time. They communicated about so much and yet Henry was evasive about his inner dialogue from the one person who *truly* would understand his perspective.

Outside of Henry’s feelings of being inferior, The Weight of It All is a low drama read with tons of humor, great secondary characters, and MCs that complement each other perfectly all the way to an HEA.

As I mentioned before, Joel Leslie killed it on the narration. I was LMAO at his delivery and enjoyed every part of the story.

Definitely recommended. Especially the audio.

The Henchmen of Zenda

The Henchmen of Zenda by K.J. Charles: Reviewed by Lost in a Book.
Also reviewed on @BMBR.

Tag team with Adam

The Henchmen of Zenda

Blurb:

Swordfights, lust, betrayal, murder: just another day for a henchman.

Jasper Detchard is a disgraced British officer, now selling his blade to the highest bidder. Currently that’s Michael Elphberg, half-brother to the King of Ruritania. Michael wants the throne for himself, and Jasper is one of the scoundrels he hires to help him take it. But when Michael makes his move, things don’t go entirely to plan—and the penalty for treason is death.

Rupert of Hentzau is Michael’s newest addition to his sinister band of henchmen. Charming, lethal, and intolerably handsome, Rupert is out for his own ends—which seem to include getting Jasper into bed. But Jasper needs to work out what Rupert’s really up to amid a maelstrom of plots, swordfights, scheming, impersonation, desire, betrayal, and murder.

Nobody can be trusted. Everyone has a secret. And love is the worst mistake you can make.

A retelling of the swashbuckling classic The Prisoner of Zenda from a very different point of view.

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3.75 Stars

It’s official, I’ll absolutely read it if KJC writes it. The Henchmen of Zenda is an intriguing, snarky, ever changing ride with a psychopathic Duke, his hired swords, and never ending betrayals.

Please check out the warning KJC has issued on this book. It isn’t a romance but there are romantic-ish elements. There are smexy times and a very compatible pairing between the MCs. However, the romantic-ish elements should be classified as more of mutual understanding with open communication and a fond unconventional companionship.

Jasper Detchard and Rupert of Hentzau are working side by side as hired swords for Michael Elphberg, half-brother to the King of Ruritania. They immediately dislike each other as Hentzau is social with a zest for life that Jasper finds infuriating. Their wit and challenges soon turn to a partnership with benefits as they work under Elphberg and around the schemes to unseat a future king.

The plot shifts constantly throughout as circumstances change and alliances are made. I’ve never read The Prisoner of Zenda and will say that this version is definitely not for the squeamish. There is a trigger warning for abuse of a secondary character. There are also many murders that take place in detail.

The beginning and end of the story are fast paced and captivating. There was a lull throughout the middle that took a bit longer to get through but the quality of writing never falters. I appreciate the strong representation with the women characters and the support of them by the MCs. Obviously I would have liked more romantic elements because I like a side of *swoon* with my reads. However, that’s on me since we are clearly warned. I’m glad I took a chance and recommend it for those that love historical adventure.

Slide (Roads #1)

Slide by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book

Slide (Roads, #1)

Blurb:

Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

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4.25 Stars

Ok, I knew this book was going to hurt. With the dramatic cover, the blurb, and the fact that it’s Garrett Leigh, I knew I wasn’t in for a big ball of fluff. But, when we got this from Ash at 4%…

“Waking up was a crappy way to start the day.”

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I had to start preparing for face leaking and some strong feels coming my way. Slide is riddled with trigger warnings as Ash deals with the fall out of past drug use, self-harm, PTSD, anxiety, and prior abuse. He’s trying to get his life together and finally has a job as a tattoo artist. His new roommate Pete has a soothing personality and kind brown eyes that provide a respite from the nightmares plaguing his daily life.

Pete’s a paramedic in Chicago and drawn to his new roommate who is more skittish than a cat. The men are tentative around each other and little by little they form a solid friendship that transforms into a intimate relationship. Pete’s warmth and kindness doesn’t give Ash the opportunity to build walls.

”He smiles, and for the first time in my life I believed that, for him, I could be more than I’d ever dreamed.”

Pete’s job is full of challenges and the stress of them doesn’t stay within his clocked in hours. The issues follow him home which affects Ash and their relationship in ways neither of them can predict until everything hits rock bottom. I love the balance between Pete and Ash. Pete is strong, kind, and completely human in his mistakes. They are both understanding and provide something that calls to the other man. Ash has the most to overcome and I love that Pete doesn’t fly onto the scene with his Mr. Perfect cape and magic penis to “fix” Ash. I just wanted to hug Ash. The hardships they have in their relationship weren’t glossed over and left me with zero choice but to feel what they were experiencing. Pete and Ash have mountains to climb, cliffs to scale, and stormy peaks to reach on the way to their eventual HEA.

Along the way there were some time lapses that left me a little confused. This story spans years and the jumps in time just popped up. I did listen the audio which might have made them more obvious. I also didn’t understand one of the story lines that was vaguely mentioned a couple of times and then BAM! surpriiiiiiiiiise at the end. What a coincidence. *gasp* It seemed unnecessary to the overall story IMO. *shrugs*

As I mentioned above, I listened to the audio which is narrated by Michael Lesley. I’m a huge fan of his ability to bring characters to life. The voices for Pete and Ash fit perfectly with their personalities. The emotional turmoil and also the peace their presence brought each other is conveyed through the narration.

I love Ash and Pete, I love the secondary characters and the support system they provide, and I love the kick in the gut Garrett Leigh provides that makes me beg for more with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.
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Definitely recommended.

Riven

Riven by Roan Parrish: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis: Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

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4.25 Stars

*Stage Whispers*

This was my first time reading Roan Parrish.

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Initially the cover caught my attention but my interest transformed into enjoyment with Roan’s unique story telling about a terrified addict afraid to fully live and a reluctantly famous rock star that just wants to do what he loves- making music.

Theo Decker is lead singer and song writer for the band, Riven. He’s lonely without ever being alone while craving acceptance from those around him. To have a tether in his world that saw him and not his fame. He’s a mercurial introvert that struggles with everything that comes with being in a band and being famous. He has insecurities stemming from his childhood that creep up and desperately wants to be wanted. To be enough. For Theo, music makes his world go round and gives him the ability to lose himself.

”I could lose myself in a way I’d never known, and by losing myself I found pieces I could live with.”

While walking on a quiet night, the sound of music brought Theo to a hole in the wall bar to find the creator of such a beautifully broken song.

Lost in his music,  Caleb Whitman hunched over his guitar while shutting the world out. He’s a recovering addict after his latest stint in rehab. Caleb has cut all ties to his former life as a musician and seeks solace in the country. He’s terrified to trust his decisions, instincts, and actions in fear of heading back down the same drug filled road he came from. Then he meets Theo.

Caleb and Theo initially bond over their passion for music. After meeting in the bar, they spend the night talking about music and then getting lost in each other until the morning light… until Theo wakes up alone.

Their connection is instant and tangible on that first night which terrified Caleb and left them both craving the other for weeks after. Luckily, their story doesn’t end there. We are treated to an angsty ride as Caleb tries to piece back together a clean life that’s worth living and not merely existing. ”This was no natural circle of life, but a desperate resurrection. I had to put one self to death before it could kill the one I hoped to create.” He has to navigate triggers and landmines surrounding each decision he makes which causes heavy angst and relational rollercoasters for him and Theo.

Theo and Caleb have a lot of turmoil to wade through with potential landmines at every corner. I love them, their connection, their passion about music and each other, their struggles and the authentic way they are portrayed and fleshed out. This is an angsty read that lacks sugar coating but is woven together with a thread of hope for second chances, redemption, love, and their HEA.

They have some smokin’ hot chemistry. There was an element of slow burn after their initial night but once the seal was broken, DAYUMMMM. Delicious stuff was happening on those pages… until I started skimming the sex scenes. *Gasp again* About 2/3 of the way through, things started to drag for me a bit and I was over-sexed. That feeling didn’t last too long and once my Kindle cooled down, I was able to reconnect with Theo and Caleb.

I absolutely adore the secondary characters of Huey and Rhys. They have major love for Caleb and provide a pillar of strength when he can’t hold himself up any longer. I was a tad confused about Rhys and his husband Matt. IMO, they were written as if I should have already known them from a previous book but I couldn’t find them in her (author) backlog. *If you know which book they hail from (if they are previous characters), please let me know and I’ll read that one, too.*

Warning: There should be a trigger warning for past drug/alcohol use as well as the struggles Caleb faces each day to stay clean. There are also separation periods in this book which I know can be a deal breaker for some. They were well written and helped add authenticity to the MC circumstances but I felt it’s worth noting.

I enjoyed and appreciated this unique take on rock star romance. Instead of the typical antics rock stars get into, this book highlights men where music forms the essence of who they are, men that are far from perfect, and men that struggle to become better versions of themselves while loving each other deeply. Definitely recommended and will not be my last read from this author.

“pieces were shuffling into place: in my head, in my gut, in my chest—all of it forming me into a different man. A man who had been ruined and remade so many times he should have been dust, but instead was luminescence.”

Copy provided from publisher via NetGalley for honest review.

 

Kidnapped by the Pirate

Kidnapped by the Pirate by Keira Andrews: Review by Lost in a Book

Kidnapped by the Pirate

Blurb:

Will a virgin captive surrender to this pirate’s sinful touch?

Nathaniel Bainbridge is used to hiding, whether it’s concealing his struggles with reading or his forbidden desire for men. Under the thumb of his controlling father, the governor of Primrose Isle, he’s sailing to the fledging colony, where he’ll surrender to a respectable marriage for his family’s financial gain. Then pirates strike and he’s kidnapped for ransom by the Sea Hawk, a legendary villain of the New World.

Bitter and jaded, Hawk harbors futile dreams of leaving the sea for a quiet life, but men like him don’t deserve peace. He has a score to settle with Nathaniel’s father—the very man whose treachery forced him into piracy—and he’s sure Nathaniel is just as contemptible.

Yet as days pass in close quarters, Nathaniel’s feisty spirit and alluring innocence beguile and bewitch. Although Hawk knows he must keep his distance, the desire to teach Nathaniel the pleasure men can share grows uncontrollable. It’s not as though Hawk would ever feel anything for him besides lust…

Nathaniel realizes the fearsome Sea Hawk’s reputation is largely invented, and he sees the lonely man beneath the myth, willingly surrendering to his captor body and soul. As a pirate’s prisoner, he is finally free to be his true self. The crew has been promised the ransom Nathaniel will bring, yet as danger mounts and the time nears to give him up, Hawk’s biggest battle could be with his own heart.

This May-December gay romance from Keira Andrews features classic tropes including: a tough alpha pirate too afraid to love, a plucky virgin captive half his age, enemies to lovers, first-time sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending. 85,000 words.

 

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4.25 stars

There’s just something about pirates that make me want to sail away on the open seas with my very own badass, sword swinging side piece. I’ll just have to settle for being a fly on the wall as Captain Hawk and Nathaniel come together and then come together.

Please check out the blurb because it does a great job explaining the premise of the story in detail about Captain Hawk, the score he wants the settle, and how it relates to Nathaniel.

I really enjoyed this story about a Captain that secretly wants peace and a sheltered Nathaniel that has only ever known what it’s like to be deemed a failure. The men are drawn to each other from the very beginning even though Nathaniel is treated as a prisoner. He has a sweet and eager demeanor that slowly breaks down the hardened Captain.

Kidnapped by the Pirate is entertaining, enthralling, and has a list of elements that would make me one-click. Bonus is that it’s all very well delivered. We have pirates, submission, an age-gap, sexual discovery, historical setting (FYI- not historically accurate), angst, and enemies to lovers all within the pages of incredible world building and well fleshed primary and secondary characters. Let’s not forget the sexy times.

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Captain Hawk and Nathaniel’s transition from enemies to lovers is realistic and the HEA is hard fought and well deserved. The epilogue is sugary sweet but still left me giddy AF.

I listened the audio version of this and was very happy with the narration. Cornell Collins did a great job bringing all the characters to life and I would definitely listen to another audio narrated by him.

Definitely recommended.

The Sumage Solution

The Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger: Review by Lost in a Book

The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters, #1)

Blurb:

Everything you wanted from a sexy gay werewolf but were afraid to read. 

Max fails at magic, relationships, and life. So he works as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something irresistible about the sexy muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.

Bryan is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date.

Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.

NYT bestseller Gail Carriger, writing as G. L. Carriger, presents an offbeat gay romance in which a sexy werewolf with a white knight complex meets a bad boy mage with an attitude problem. Sparks (and other things) fly.

The San Andreas Shifter books stand alone and do not have to be read in any particular order.

Delicate Sensibilities?

This story contains M/M sexitimes and horrible puns. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The San Andreas Shifter stories include blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart/mouth/tongue…

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4 Stars

I’m really glad I FINALLY got this off my TBR. It’s been carrying one of the top spots since it came out last year. Hopefully, prior to cracking this open, you have realized there’s a prequel. I didn’t pay too much attention to that little tidbit when I dove in and was thoroughly confused. Especially because I was listening to the audio and all these names were dropping like I should know them. So, I *highly* recommend you read the prequel first (it provided a lot of clarity once I read it and restarted this one).

What happens when you get a Beta werewolf and a mage with a huge chip on his shoulder? Epic one-liners, snark galore, new levels of sassiness, and some smokin’ smexy times.

“Really, Max? Fizzy jizz?” “I see werewolves do have a heightened sense of taste. It’s a mage thing.” “The champagne of cocks?” “See how I spoil you?”

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“You got all that from prostate wand?” Alec smiled stiffly, no canines. “It’s like a tarot deck. You can tell a lot about a man from his toy collection.”

Bryan is calm, loyal, large, and protective of those in his life. He’s the perfect blend to balance out Max’s snarky, outwardly fuck-it attitude. Max has a lot of baggage from his childhood and Bryan helps soothe his hurts. I really enjoyed them together, appreciated the growth Max made, and swooned over Bryan’s solidness. They did some work to get a HEA and the journey was believable.

This book has a diverse and entertaining cast of secondary characters from drag queens to fiery kitsunes. I’m eager to read other stories about the werewolves in Bryan’s pack and see how they possibly pair up with others that were introduced. They’ve built a patchwork family with love, humor, and lots of feels.

For some reason (besides the prequel issue, which I sorted within the first 5%), it took some time to get into this book and hit my stride. I’ll chalk it up to some RL craziness and once 50% hit, the pace picked up. There are some missing explanations about different elements that were mentioned throughout. Towards the end, I was happily chugging along getting all warm and gooey and then I turned the page, gasped and went all “where’s my damn epilogue?” That’s more my fault and reading preferences with being greedy and wanting to *see* the HEA.

The Sumage Solution is an enjoyable and unique take on shifters and mages. The snark alone makes it worth reading. Recommended.

”Why fight it just for what the world thinks we should be? I’d rather fight the world.”

Note about the narration: I started out doing audio only, but had to switch to reading for a bit and then returned to audio. I recently listened to Kirt Graves read another shifter book which was almost 19 hours long and I couldn’t stop hearing the voices from the other pack. The narration for this one was done well, the characters differentiated, and I was eventually able to hear Bryan and Max through *their* voices. The audio is recommended.

 

Think of England

Think of England by KJ Charles: Review by Lost in a Book

Think of England (Think of England, #1)

Blurb:

Lie back and think of England…

England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, fingers, and future to a terrible military accident. Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage.

Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts.

As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling.

As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…

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4 Stars

Well, this was gruesome with a game of Clue vibe. Was it Colonel Mustard in the study with a lead pipe?

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Not so much. But, it did have suspense, intrigue, and a side of romance. Captain Archie Curtis is on the hunt for clues after a military incident gone tragically wrong. He ends up at a country house full of other guests with seemingly gracious hosts. It’s there he meets Daniel da Silva, another house guest. Daniel is unapologetically campy with a poets heart and a badass set of skills. I LOVE him. Seriously, he has a Julius’-esque (from KJC’s Society of Gentlemen series) fierceness with a brand of snark that could be dressed up as something that sounded sweet, but only someone with at least half a brain would understand the razor sharp cut of his remarks. Brilliant.

Curtis and Daniel together is FIYAHHHHHH. The Captain has gone through life without exploring his sexuality and is able to have a glorious awakening at the hands of Daniel. There is some romance in Think of England but it isn’t the focus. It has a solid HFN that I believed with very likable characters. One more time for Daniel. *purrs*

As I mentioned above, this story is gruesome and with many parts that had me wishing for a Xanax with a side of wine. It took a tad longer for me to read because I *knew* something was going to happen and if I continued, I would need to sleep with the light on.

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Fine!! I did it and liked it… even if I needed some warm milk and a blanket to soothe my nerves and missing fingernails. It got intense. Thankfully the romance let me catch my breath. One thing I’ve noticed time and time from KJC is her ability write strong main and secondary characters. She doesn’t have to take away the women’s backbones in her stories to prop up the men. Just like she doesn’t have to have one doormat male to make the other seem more masculine or strong. Everyone is able to stand on their own but it’s always better to have people at your back. It’s absolutely refreshing to see this translate in her books every time. The non-villianous women and the MCs in Think of England were legit with steel backbones that left me smiling.

Definitely recommended for fans of suspense and historical romance.

Julien (Confessions #2)

Julien by Ella Frank: Review by Lost in a Book

Julien (Confessions #2)

Blurb:

People are complex.
Love a double-edged sword.
And when it comes to a broken heart, there are no rules, only time…

For the past eight years, Julien Thornton has been living with a secret. One that only a handful of people know about.

To the outside world, he has it all.
A thriving career. A loving husband. And a face that the American public fell for by the millions, on a reality show that inadvertently saved his life.

But behind the shine of celebrity, behind the easygoing nature, a crippling truth fills Julien with pain and self-loathing. It’s a truth that he fights to overcome daily with the help of his husband, Joel Priestley, and now their boyfriend, Robbie Bianchi.

But unlike Priest, Robbie doesn’t know what he’s helping Julien to fight. He doesn’t know what Julien did all those years ago. And with the anniversary of his sister’s death fast approaching, the time for explanations is running out.

And thus the question: will the princess be able to forgive the prick as the priest once did?

Only time will tell.

**Please note this book contains sensitive situations regarding drug use.**

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4 Stars

*Psssssttttt* I’ll tell you a secret… I’m holding out for Priest. He’s the dessert I’ve been waiting to devour. I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed Robbie and Julien, I’m just being clear and upfront that Priest is where it’s at for me.

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This story is aptly named because it goes through Julien’s mysterious history that we understand from the first story, runs very deep. Much of Julien’s POV are flashbacks either he has or stories he is telling. Robbie and Priest help Julien navigate through the emotional turmoil in their own way with Priest’s solid support and Robbie’s ray of light shining through all the darkness.

We still get all three POVs in Julien as the men continue to find their footing as a relationship of three. For me, the Julien situation is overshadowed by the connection that grew with Robbie and Priest. I’m was for that too since I love Robbie and Priest HARD! They become more comfortable as a duo outside and inside the bedroom. Lemme just say, the closet and shower scenes… 🔥🔥🔥

<b>“We are allowed to do whatever we like to whomever we like within the three of us. There’s no room or cause for jealousy. There has to be trust, honesty, and total transparency.”</b>

Robbie, Julien, and Priest are still hot together but the focus is more on deepening the connection with everyone as duos and a trio. The situation with Julien had an EPIC build-up. I was expecting something insanely unthinkable and once everything was revealed, I had a moment of “that’s it?” I’m not saying the situation as it happened wouldn’t leave scars, I just went way worse in my mind based on the reactions and emotions prior to the reveal.

Julien is an enjoyable follow-up to Robbie but didn’t quite hit the same enjoyment level as the first (which had insane levels of reading excite). I definitely recommend this book. Now, *SQUEEEEEE* it’s time for my dessert Priest.

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Trigger Warning: Drug usage and alcohol