Happy for You

Happy for You by Anyta Sunday: Review by Lost in a Book

Happy for You (Love & Family #3)

Blurb:

Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .

Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .

Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past—
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.

~ – ~ – ~

Set in New Zealand, Happy For You (Love & Family #3) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys pitted together in a blue 1988 station wagon — and there’s no doubt about it, Mort is going to drive Felix crazy.
Can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: brother’s best friend, second chances, family drama, friends-to-lovers, slow burn, found family
Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance
Trigger warnings: Depression and generalized anxiety (of a side character)

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4.25ish Stars

“On our way home, he doesn’t ask why I disappeared or why I’m acting skittish. I don’t tell him it’s unbearable being in love with him.”

Gahhhhh!!! Anyta spun her magical web again and pulled me right in… which is probably for the best since it seems like the story started long before the story actually starts. I’ve read the past books in the series but this can definitely be a standalone.

Mort and Felix have an entire busload of history, baggage, and emotions prior to the first words. Mort has been best friends with Felix’s older brother for much of his life while Felix pined for Mort for the same amount of time. Obviously, the brother’s best friend trope is the main show in Happy for You. As I mentioned, we are essentially thrown into the middle of Mort and Felix’s story but much has to be done in order to get to the HEA.

This is Anyta so a slow burn is guaranteed. I love Mort and Felix and I felt for them and the plethora of emotions from Mort coming back into their lives to the feeling of unrequited love. Anyta says sooooooo much with so few words that my heart hurt for them at times. There are outside circumstances that separated Mort from the family which I’m still a tad unsure if that storyline was wrapped up tight. There are lots of kids throughout and that’s usually a hard limit for me since I get plenty of kid action in RL. But, I liked the kids, their personalities, and the parts they play in this book.

Mort and Felix get their HEA after Anyta makes us burn for a tiny bit long ass time. As always, I enjoyed the writing style, the feels, and the characters. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Dine With Me

Dine With Me by Layla Reyne: Review by Lost in a Book

Dine with Me

Blurb:

Life never tasted so good.

Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.

But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.

Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cup of joe.

As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise : all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

 

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3 Stars

To say I was hungry throughout this book would be an understatement… I was hangry. If you’re a foodie, this might definitely be your cuppa. I’m not a foodie, I don’t have a sophisticated palette but with all the food mentioned, I lived in a perpetual state of hunger throughout the duration of Dine With Me.

The blurb does a great job of setting up the story and there weren’t any surprise plot elements outside of the outline mentioned that had me scratching my head. Miller is very much on a goodbye tour hitting all of his bucket list restaurants with Clancy by his side before the inevitable hits.

Outside of being hungry, the romance fell flat for me. I didn’t believe in the I love you when it happened and it happens late, like after 70% late. I believed their friendship but not a romantic relationship. The pacing is very slow and the relationship stayed on the back burner for most of the book as they find friendship (I think?) through food.

There’s a heavy presence of secondary characters, especially the ex-wife which may work or not work for some. I stopped thinking of her as the ex and mentally thought of her as a BFF and that helped a little.

This read wasn’t really my cuppa and landed in the it’s alright zone. I need more romance in my romances… *shrug* As always, YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

The Fiance

The Fiance by Christopher X. Sullivan: Review by Lost in a Book

The Fiancé (It's Just Us Here #6)

Blurb:

Chris and Mark have been apart for eight months.

Will they get a second chance? They both want it.

And will they do it the right way this time? Chris needs to be open with his family, and that means coming out. Mark needs to be the solid foundation in the pairing, because otherwise Chris is just going to run, run, run.

[The Fiancé is Book Six in a ten book series. The series is broken into three major ‘arcs’. This second-chance romance is the middle of the “Lovers and Second Chances” arc.

It’s Just Us Here: The Fiancé is a 105,000 word journey of two men deciding if they want to give themselves a second chance. And if they do, then there’s no more playing around. Chris won’t settle for anything less than forever. Is Mark that kind of guy?]

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“This is us…. This is the new us. And the making of us is going to be the best part… the best part of my life.”

The Fiance installment definitely provides insight on the making of Chris and Mark… but, unlike the quote, it isn’t quite the best part of their lives yet; more like a bridge with a few trolls under it that you have to cross before you get to the greener pastures (sorry for the imagery, we’ve been on a Three Billy Goats Gruff kick lately in the Lost household).

This installment spends more time explaining family, friends, histories, and the dynamics between them all. Although the title sorta gives a happy image, there are more melancholy parts to this book than and they live happily ever after parts. Readers are also painted a more in-depth picture of the post “Big Fight” life and how it affected Chris, Mark, and the many people in their lives.

I’m waiting for them to find their groove but it still seems they are struggling to find their footing. Which, hello… real life. Shit happens, feelings are real, and there isn’t a manual to flip a switch into relational bliss. There’s much more internal dialogue from Chris in The Fiance than in the previous installments which is a good thing and at the same time you just want to shake him… a teeny tiny bit. Sometimes because of his thoughts/actions and also oddly because of information that seems to be withheld (I’m assuming anything withheld will be divulged in the remaining installments).

This book is necessary in the grand scheme of their relationship. Just to note, there isn’t sex in this book (would have been totally out of place) and the topic of it’s almost avoided (which might not be best).  Trigger warning for mentioned addiction.

I’m looking forward to continuing on this journey and seeing how they grow towards “the best part of my life.”

Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review and I’ve also purchased my own.

Happily Ever Asher Series

Happily Every Asher Series by Nash Summers: Review by Lost in a Book

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher, #1) Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher, #2)A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher, #3)

Rating for overall series: 4.25 Stars

When Red Cried Wolf is a great set-up to this series. The characters are all very likable, especially Asher. Asher is absolutely adorable and I just want to put him in my pocket. He has this unapologetic all knowing (especially in all things romance) attitude that doesn’t allow anything to get in his way (so far). There are nerds, jocks, awesome secondary characters, and a budding friendship relationship (even if it’s mainly grunts and other noises from his roommate) that I think will be so sweet as we continue on this journey.

In book two and then three, Asher and Morgan’s friendship, flirting, and eventual relationship grows slowly but there’s substance and respect in each stage, even if they drive each other crazy… which apparently is totally their brand of foreplay. Their text exchanges are everyyyyyyyyything and had me cackling throughout.

This three part series is adorable, feel good, turns my insides warm and squishy, AND is the perfect follow up to angsty reads. They have the classic running/avoidance thing going on that many do at that age but Asher is a helper of true love and he will damn well get his HEA.

Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

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Information on each specific book below:

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher #1) by Nash Summers

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher, #1)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
It’s probably one of the reasons he makes such a fantastic matchmaker, love guru, and romance expert. And now that he’s in college, it’s finally his turn to shine.

Asher’s relationship advice column in the school newspaper is his strongest matchmaking instrument, especially when it comes to helping hopeless romantics find their soulmates.

But like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
There’s a damsel in distress Asher’s best friend thinks is a psychopath, a handsome prince Asher can’t stop drooling over, and a huge, mysterious roommate Asher can’t help but pester.

It doesn’t matter though. Nothing will stop Asher when it comes to helping people find their true love.
He’s absolutely positive everything will work out in the end.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

* * *
When Red Cried Wolf is a slow-burn romance with over-the-top characters, fairy tale references, ridiculous texts, and eventually, a happy ever after.

Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher #2) by Nash Summers

Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher, #2)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
His column is thriving, fellow students trust him with their relationship woes, and he’s on his A-game when it comes to matchmaking. At least, matchmaking other than his own.
After a heartfelt letter written to his column, Asher is set on aiding the two love-struck heroes who desperately need his help.
But like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
Randy and Red can’t stop passing looks whenever Asher voices his plans;, the handsome Christopher might not be quite what Asher expected, and his dark, mysterious roommate, Morgan, might have a surprise or two up his sleeve.
It doesn’t matter though. Nothing will stop Asher when it comes to helping people find their true love.
He’s absolutely positive everything will work out in the end.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

* * *

Golden Boy and the Two Bears is a slow-burn romance with over-the-top characters, fairy tale references, ridiculous texts, and eventually, a happy ever after.

A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher #3) by Nash Summers

A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher #3)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
Or at least he was, until it all came crashing down.
He made a mistake. And even Asher himself, arranger of marriages and aider of lovesick hearts, doesn’t know how to fix it.

And like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
His inability to focus on love has turned his column into a disaster, his best friends are acting weirder than usual,  Christopher turns out to be a man of many surprises, and Morgan, well…

Maybe this time it does matter. Because when Asher’s heart finally realizes what he’s been looking for all along, it may be too late.
And too broken.
But there might just be a shred of hope somewhere deep down in his heart. Maybe Asher can fix everything and have his prince charming.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan:
Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Buddy Read with Adam

The Doctor's Date (Copper Point Medical #2)

Blurb:

Sequel to The Doctor’s Secret
Copper Point Medical: Book Two 

The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?

Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.

Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.

With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.

This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.

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BR with Adam

3.5 Stars

The Doctor’s Date is the second installment in Cullinan’s new series and I’m glad that I gave it a try. After the first book I was hesitant to dive in but this book has a little more depth to the characters. It’s still sweet with low angst but doesn’t flatline like the last one did for me.

The story starts off with Erin’s childhood background story that provides context on his behavior as an adult. Erin’s in charge of human resources for the hospital. He’s skittish, isolated, and has had a long life of intimidation and neglect from his father (who is also the president of the board). He has never done anything with another person (not even a kiss) and has been starved for affection, touch, and kind words. Erin has been looking for a mighty ogre to rescue him since he was boy and the ogre has a name, Owen. It’s always been Owen. Always.

Owen’s an anesthesiologist that has quite the reputation within the hospital as pretty much being an asshole. His glower sends the gossiping nurses scurrying but, with those he loves, he’s loyal and a protector. His favorite past-time is rubbing up against Erin until they are both breathing fire… not in a sexual way, that comes later. Much. Much. later.

My thoughts on Erin and Owen are a little confusing. I liked them together sometimes because there’s respect, patience, and a connection of building a deeper friendship. As I was reading though, I kept wondering if some chemistry would appear- I don’t think it ever really did. This lacking of chemistry has nothing to do with sex. I’m not sure where Erin falls on the sexuality spectrum but I would guess closer to asexual than not. I appreciated that they didn’t rush to sex and instead took little steps that added some depth to their friendship. The sex scenes are fade to black which doesn’t really bother me if the characters have a great connection and chemistry.

Owen’s a natural leader that takes charge and that’s no different when it comes to Erin. It takes a while for Owen to reveal himself and his childhood trauma because he’d rather be helping others. Erin lets himself be rescued with his backbone appearing a few times in his role as HR director and the auction. Other than that, Erin just goes along and enjoys the fruit of his ogre coming for him and fully caring for him (almost helpless at some points). There’s not many medical situations taking place in The Doctor’s Date but there’s an underlying mystery to solve that adds some suspense.

As I mentioned, I enjoyed this installment and will possibly continue with the next book. If you’re looking for a really sweet, low angst M/M romance, with a little bit of humor, this could be your cuppa.

Trigger Warnings for abuse.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

How to Run with the Wolves

How to Run With the Wolves by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book

How to Run with the Wolves (Howl at the Moon #5)

Blurb:

Zeus loves his job on the new Mad Creek Search & Rescue team, and his inner Saint Bernard is finally being used to his full potential. When he sees a mysterious and wild-looking quickened—a dog shifter—at an earthquake site in Alaska, Zeus is compelled to investigate. Zeus falls hard for the primal beauty of Timo and of Alaska itself. Both call to his deep canine soul. But the Quimmiq pack’s laws are as harsh as the Alaskan winters, and Timo is out of his reach.

Timo’s pack of dog shifters left their Inuit village generations ago and have lived wild ever since. Not trusting the “one-skinned,” and with their numbers dwindling, the Quimmiq are on the verge of extinction. Timo is shocked to discover a whole group of “two-skinned” working as a rescue team, and he is particularly fascinated by Zeus, a gentle giant. He senses what Zeus feels for him… but it’s forbidden.

Can Mad Creek save this lost quickened clan? Perhaps—if they can learn how to run with the wolves.

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4ish Stars

I’ve gotta say that I adored being back in Mad Creek for some friendly dog shifter living. All the old favorites make their appearances while the “main” romance is between Zeus and Timo.

Zeus is a Mad Creek native that moved for a bit and then found his way back… except that it’s too crowded. Luckily he gets on the search and rescue team for Mad Creek and ships out when needed to find trapped people or animals. Zeus finds himself in Alaska after an earthquake to help find missing people and this is where he meets Timo. The majority of this story plays out in Alaska while Timo and Zeus become friends and eventually something more. Zeus is at peace in Alaska with the openness and Timo wants to keep him in his pack- not only because he wants something that’s his but he hopes that Zeus has answers that will help his pack survive.

The relationship between Zeus and Timo isn’t front and center. They have a slowwwwwwwwwww realization about what pulls them together but become closer by the end for a HEA. The main focus of the story is about Alaska and Timo’s pack, the Quimmig and not the romance and relationship building. Easton makes note that there will be a spin-off series with the characters introduced as part of the Quimmig pack.

How to Run With the Wolves ends more abruptly than I like and I absolutely wanted more of them together at the end because it took *so* flippin’ long for Zeus and Timo’s epiphany to actually happen.

I love Mad Creek and all the people in it. I also like the idea of an Alaska spin-off and will definitely continue on the Easton Shifter Train. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Complementary Colors

Complementary Colors by Adrienne Wilder: Review by Lost in a Book

Complementary Colors

Blurb:

My sister Julia manipulated my life into a prison to keep me silent about our dirty family secret. Her greed made me a slave and circumstance left me with no way to escape.

Trapped, the only way I could silence the nightmares driving me to insanity was to wrap them in color, hold them with shadow, and stitch them to negative space with line.

But no matter how bright the pigments, no one could see my confession.

Except for Roy Callahan.

I thought he was just another nameless one-night stand in a long line of many.
But I was wrong. Roy could see past the façade of my life and through the veil color over the canvas. He could see what the world couldn’t.

And with him I’d find the courage to tell the truth about the boy.

The boy who kissed me.
The boy who loved me.
The boy whose name I couldn’t remember.

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4.5ish Stars

Ummm….. *snuggles with blanket* This one hurt. A lot. It’s angsty AF, dark, erotic, brutal and with trigger warnings for pretty much everything littering the pages. This wasn’t my first rodeo with Wilder so I was mentally preparing but some of it was realllllly hard to read.

Paris is a broken yet brilliant artist that disposes the horrors he has seen on canvas while covering them up and making millions. He has multiple mental diagnoses and an absolute vile sister that abuses him regularly to ensure her pockets are lined and secrets aren’t exposed. She can’t see the secrets on the canvas and the art collectors that purchase them can’t either. Roy does though.

Roy is a handyman that meets Paris in a dark room. Their relationship begins with sex and is *very* sexual throughout. Roy is perfect. Seriously freakin’ perfect. He isn’t a rich guy, but humble, hardworking, has made and learned from his mistakes. Roy loves Paris in a way that’s beautiful but also damaging to his sanity and quality of life.

Roy is the escape Paris needs and eventually the good, the bad, and the really ugly comes out to play. Roy offsets Paris’ severely jacked up world and during these moments of respite, they get to know each other. I love them together but I’m not convinced they are actually good for each other, moreso Paris not being good for Roy’s wellbeing. At times it’s hard to read with the abuse and the destructive nature of Paris trying to escape the monsters in his head and in his life. As mentioned above, Roy and Paris’ relationship is very sex heavy and not in a healthy way but that’s all Roy could give and all Paris would let himself take for the longest time. They get their HEA but there’s a trail of blood and a bottle of antacids needed before that happens.

Complementary Colors has many layers and there were times I was trying to piece parts together. Julia is definitely the character I despise most out of any book I’ve probably ever read. She is THAT bad and I had many not nice thoughts about her and ways she could be taken care of.

This book could use another round of edits. There are lots of psych things going on and I’m not an expert on whether creative license was used of if these are actually proper protocols on treatment. Still, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to fans of dark, erotic, and angsty romance.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Kiss Me Again

Kiss Me Again by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book

Kiss Me Again

Blurb:

Tree surgeon Aidan Drummond is content with his own company. He works alone, and lives alone, and it doesn’t occur to him to want anything else until a life-changing accident lands him in hospital. Then a glimpse of the beautiful boy in the opposite bed changes everything.

Ludo Giordano is trapped on the ward with a bunch of old men. His mind plays tricks on him, keeping him awake. Then late one night, a new face brings a welcome distraction. Their unlikely friendship is addictive. And, like most things in Ludo’s life, temporary.

Back in the real world, Aidan’s monochrome existence is no longer enough. He craves the colour Ludo brought him, and when a chance meeting brings them back together, before long, they’re inseparable again.

But bliss comes with complications. Aidan is on the road to recovery, but Ludo has been unwell his entire life, and that’s not going to change. Aidan can kiss him as much as he likes, but if he can’t help Ludo when he needs him most, they don’t stand a chance. 

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4 Stars

Once again, Garrett Leigh has brought on the angst, feels, and some very bogged down British men. As usual, I ate it up.

Ludo and Aidan meet in the hospital after Aidan is wheeled in from an accident. Ludo’s a frequent flyer in the hospital due to his mental illness diagnoses and sometimes his mind gets the best of him. Ludo’s a loner that works from home. His only interactions are with his community nurse and psychiatrist. He’s anxious and experiences manic and depression states throughout. Ludo’s anxiety and sometimes forgetfulness causes more problems when he forgets to take a dose of medication and then spirals from there. One thing is for sure though, Ludo is enamored with Aidan as soon as he’s brought in the room, unconscious and all. Really enamored.

Aidan’s also a loner like Ludo but is a major grump too. He hides behind his fortress walls that I’m sure are littered with “beware of dog” type signs. He’s in obvious pain during the hospital (after falling from a tree) stay but after a bit, he craves Ludo’s presence until one day Ludo just isn’t there. After leaving hospital. Aidan can’t stop thinking of Ludo, his comforting presence and calming touches. He begins to wonder if he imagined the man until they happen to bump into each other.

Ludo and Aidan start very slow and build a foundation of friendship and an eventual relationship that works for them. They don’t sugar coat issues, there’s not a magic bipolar eraser, and they aren’t trying to fix and/or change the other person. They are supportive, understanding, loyal, patient, and loving. Aidan and Ludo build intimacy without a lot of sexual interactions. There are lots of feels without lots of feels. The lack of sex definitely works with this story and is tastefully done. Both men learn how to lean on one another as they get their sweet HEA.

After finishing, I couldn’t help feeling like I wanted more of them together. Not in the oh my gosh, I could read their story for the rest of my life and hope the author writes an entire series about them way. It was more that I felt like their story finally came together and they were just getting started when the book ended. *sad face*

There’s a character that is mentioned a few times in this story that was a MC in SKINS. I haven’t read that series but had no problem reading this as a stand alone.

Kiss Me Again is a heavy read that gives some insight into the daily struggles of mental illness. I’m not a psychologist/psychiatrist so I am unable to speak on the technical aspects of mental illness and whether this portrayal is how each diagnosis could present itself. But I’m also not a stranger to anxiety and bipolar disorder with very close family members experiencing it. My biggest takeaway is that I appreciate there wasn’t a cure-all and that even on the best days, when there are smiles and laughter, they’re still a struggle too.  Recommended.

Warning: Triggers for mental illness and the very real struggles that go along with it. Self harm is also mentioned, hallucinations, anxiety, etc…

Copy provided for honest review.

 

The Reluctant Husband

The Reluctant Husband (Goddess-Blessed, #2) by Eliot Grayson:
Review by Lost in a Book

The Reluctant Husband

Blurb:

Disowned, disgraced, and with nowhere to turn, Tom Drake is willing to barter anything — even himself — for a reprieve from starvation and despair. Years spent lying to protect his secrets have left him longing for someone to value him, even if it’s only for his body and the blessing of his patron goddess.

Mal Leighton’s cousin and heir is dying. Only a miracle can save him — and if a miracle doesn’t appear, Mal’s damn well going to create one. Marrying Tom for his blessing is his last desperate hope to preserve his family. And if Tom happens to be as irresistibly seductive as he is untrustworthy? Well, Mal can focus on more than one goal at a time.

Tom doesn’t fall in love, and Mal knows better than to believe he’s the exception. But when Tom’s blessing doesn’t provide the quick cure they’d hoped, it’s clear that the goddess expects them to have a marriage in more than name. To save Mal’s family and find their own happiness, they will both need to sacrifice their pride and risk their hearts.

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4.25 Stars

How the hell was my heart breaking for Tom??? Tom?? The poor, kicked out on his conniving ass VILLAN in the last book of this series, The Replacement Husband

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Somehow Tom ends up Goddess-blessed AND redeemed and now I’m converted to his side while waving my Team Tom t-shirt. Color me impressed, Eliot Grayson. Random note but as any voracious reader, I used to stay up all hours of the night to read *before* having a kid. Work the next day was tiring but I could hack it. Now, I try not to lose sleep over reading unless the book has it’s hooks in because ultimately my daughter is going to wake up at the ass crack of dawn if I stay up. BUT… I gave up sleep for this book. *gasp*

The premise for this Goddess-Blessed series is intriguing and I’m here for it. The Reluctant Husband is a historical fantasy where it’s completely acceptable for men to love men when they’re blessed by a goddess. The first book did a great job of laying down the foundation for this world while this one adds depth. It’s captivating from the very beginning when Tom and growly Mal have their initial interactions. As mentioned, Tom is blessed and Mal needs to marry someone that’s blessed for important reasons. Unfortunately, both men are stubborn and have their own hangups from the past that affect their relationship. They have a very bumpy road full of dysfunction while trying to form a complete bond that meets the goddess’ requirements.

Tom and Mal are hawt together once they can stomach being near for more than a few minutes. Slowly, Tom reveals his true self and Mal can’t help but draw near even though he’s an ass and I wanted strangle him for how he talked to and treated my oft misunderstood Tom. (Oh how far we’ve come that I’m calling him mine!!) I wanted to throw my Kindle a couple times throughout though. Tom stands his ground for a bit but gives in wayyyyyyyyy too fast for my liking at the end. They get their HEA but I wanted Mal to grovel and show his remorse. *sigh*

Anywho, Grayson’s writing and storytelling has always been enjoyable but both have come a long way since the debut novel. I will absolutely continue to devour any other books in this series. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Thirst for You

Thirst for You (Beyond the Cove #2) by Jaclyn Quinn: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Thirst for You (Beyond the Cove, #2)

Blurb

What happens when thirst becomes an obsession that can’t be quenched?

Forty-year-old Zachariah Taylor prides himself on being the overprotective older brother of seven. He owns a successful bar, Zach’s Bar and Grill, in the quiet town of Riverside Falls and loves the life he’s built for himself. But as his siblings move on and find their forever partners in life, he’s starting to feel less and less needed—not to mention old. Suddenly, he’s finding it even harder to ignore the younger man who has pursued him for years, but the twelve years separating them is something Zach can’t seem to overlook.

Twenty-eight-year-old Drew Belford has been in love with the stubborn Zach Taylor for seven years. Sure, he was a kid when they’d first met, but what Zach is determined to ignore is the man Drew has become. Drew, however, is just as strong-minded and refuses to let Zach use their age difference as an excuse to disregard the attraction burning between them. He doesn’t need an overprotective older brother—he needs Zach.

When Drew begins to get unsettling messages from an unknown person, Zach feels helpless in a way he’s never felt before. How can he protect Drew from someone he can’t find? The thought of anyone hurting Drew unleashes years’ worth of pent-up desire Zach has had for the younger man. Is his thirst for Drew enough to protect him from the danger lurking in the shadows, or will the threat of the unknown be enough to dowse the spark of love between them—and silence Drew forever?

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3.5ish Stars

I’m going to start off with a warning: I didn’t read the first book in the series because this can be read as a stand-alone… at 2% I was confused and feeling like I should know some things. But, I kept pushing through.

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Names were dropping faster than I could pick them up and it became clear that book #1 should definitely be read (or at least go on a review binge to gain understanding) before this one. However, I’m a special snowflake and decided to ignore this and thus it took a bit to get it all sorted. Luckily, after the first 25ish% the story picked up.

Drew is an extrovert with his sights set on his brother’s best friend A.K.A his boss and owner of the bar he works at. He isn’t shy about his interest much to the annoyance (and sexual frustration) of said owner, Zach. Drew has been biding his time in getting Zach to finally notice him as more than a kid and he expedites it in the most pleasurable of ways when he gets sick of waiting.

Zach is the boss and friends with Drew’s brother and therefore places him on the do not feel/fuck list… even if it’s pure torture to work with him each day and deny those feelings. Let’s not forget the age gap- Zach is 40 and Drew is 28. The way Zach acted, you would have thought he was 80. It’s constantly mentioned and I did want to scream *get over it* many times for this measly 12 year age gap. They have good chemistry and worked well together once they got on the same page.

Things really begin to pick up for Zach and Drew when a stalker is introduced. They come together for safety and comfort during a very scary time. The stalker plot is engaging and well written. I enjoyed the family aspect going on in Riverside Falls and would be open to continuing with this series. Some of the medical stuff left me scratching my head- not in confusion but with bafflement of actual medical policy/procedure/protocol in comparison to the events detailed in this book. Trigger warnings for one instance of homophobia and a stalker.

Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.