Adam Only

Adam Only by Roe Horvat: Review by Lost in a Book

Adam Only (Those Other Books #2)

Blurb:

On stage, Adam lets his passion drive him. All his secret desires, everything nasty, dirty, and beautiful flows freely through him, for once in harmony. His soul thrives when his body moves, but only on stage. Adam’s passionate nature makes him a great dancer…and a failure at life. He’s a lonely, emotional mess. Going home with a man far out of his reach is the last thing Adam should do. Christoffer represents everything Adam isn’t: strong, independent, educated, and rich. His kind eyes, at odds with his brutish form, make Adam’s knees and restraint buckle.

Once Christoffer sees Adam dancing, he’s lost. The young man is mesmerizing, otherworldly, and unpredictable. Whatever might happen between them, it will be transient, and Christoffer will most likely get hurt. The temptation is too great, however, and the sex explosive. He might as well enjoy every moment he’s given, even if it’s just one day, maybe two. If Christoffer treads carefully, Adam might stay until Monday.

Warning: Adam Only is a gay erotic love story. It contains explicit language and sexual scenes between two consenting men. For adult readers only.

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4 Stars

Ummm….. *rubs eyes* Holy one-handed read Batman!

Just a warning, if sex in books isn’t your thing, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Adam Only is loaded with sex and very much falls into the erotic category. The sex to conversation ratio was no where near equal with sex taking the lead 9:1.

Actual footage of readers (myself included) reading Adam Only

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Christoffer sees Adam dancing at a party and is immediately captivated by his beauty and the way he moves. He stalks Adam for most of the night until he locates him and the rest is history. Let the orgasm train (unless it’s delayed for play) commence.

There’s a story along with all the sex that is woven throughout with tales of struggle, confidence, station in life, independence, fear, need, want, and understanding. Christoffer never falters in his interest of Adam and their connection is tangible. Adam is afraid to lose himself in Christoffer due to past experiences but can’t help what happens when they’re together- he can’t help letting go.

“He wanted to be owned without being shackled. He craved to be used without being punished. He needed a master, but he needed to feel free. He would lie down at his man’s feet if he could be sure he wouldn’t get stepped on.”

I really like Christoffer and Adam together. I am especially pleased that although Adam feels the immense pull to be with Christoffer and let go, he stays true to himself and his limits, wishes, and goals.

Adam Only may have been on the higher end of my sex tolerance scale… which I didn’t think I had. The sex wasn’t gratuitous and definitely had purpose in the character’s transformations. I like a little more story along with all the sex (which if this was longer that might have naturally occurred) but I still very much enjoyed Christoffer and Adam’s journey. I’m a huge fan of Roe and will continue to devour everything he writes. Recommended.

P.S. It took me a bit to put the pieces together on Adam and Christoffer but they are the couple in The Other Book that Tyler had the threesome with. These are out of sequence with Adam and Christoffer having already been in a committed relationship for a long while in that book. Adam Only tells the story of how they got to that place.

P.P.S. It’s highly suggested that this be consumed in private. Prepping an ice bath in advance will go a long way as well. You’re welcome.

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Copy provided for honest review.

 

Family Camp

Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book

Family Camp (Daddy Dearest, #1)

Blurb:

When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue.

Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.

Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?

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4 Stars

Where can I sign up for Family Camp? The premise sounds fun, the activities are right up my alley, and the scenery seems top notch with the hot AF professional baseball player… nature.

Geo signs up for camp to spend more time with his new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy and everything seems to be going wrong. The kids aren’t bonding how Geo dreamed they would and his car runs out of gas on the way to camp. He’s saved by a tall drink of water (Travis) that has the ability to be as warm as hot chocolate or as cold as ice.

Travis is on his way to his family’s camp and stops to help Geo out with a tank of gas. Travis connects with the kids right away and of course, it helps that he has an adorable dog. He’s a professional baseball player that looks forward to camp week every year and this year has the added frustration/bonus (depending on the minute) of Geo and his adorable kids.

Travis and Geo hit it off right away with a flirtatious vibe until Travis ices Geo. Once they get to camp, feelings move pretty quickly. It wasn’t insta-love but there were heart eyes and some china patterns being picked out in their head.

”Only Geo wasn’t sure it wasn’t already too late, that Travis hadn’t already claimed a piece of his bleeding heart.”

That’s after three days but I just shrugged it off because for once, I wasn’t annoyed by the not insta-love but insta-clinger scenario. It’s maybe a *tad* too sugary sweet but I like Travis and Geo together and they didn’t drive me up the wall with OTT-cheesiness. They have some chemistry and heat but there isn’t a sexfest at a *family* camp. Their hearts are in the right place and Travis sees Jayden and Lucy as the treasures they are. Travis and Geo have an itty bitty misunderstanding but after that it’s smooth sailing during camp week if you don’t count the being firmly locked in the closet bit.

Jayden and Lucy add depth to the story as they are foster kids with heartbreaking backgrounds. They give Geo a run for his money but we get to see the walls come down and the relationships built between Travis, Geo, and the kids left me all gooey inside.

Family Camp is a super sweet, low angst read where men come together, families bond, and new families are created with love, humor, and acceptance. It’s packed with feels that leave you warm and fuzzy. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Made for You

Made For You (Love & Family #2) by Anyta Sunday: Review by Lost in a Book

Made for You (Love & Family #2)

Blurb:

Ben wants to find a new home.

Twenty-four-year-old Ben McCormick is the primary caregiver for his brother Milo after their parents’ death. A year into the job, he’s totally got the hang of it. Mostly. Sort of. Not at all?

Defeated and thoroughly chastised for his lack in parenting skills at teacher-parent night, Ben slumps away with the resolve to finally get his life sorted: be a better role model, and sell their parents’ house for a fresh start.

But first, he needs to spruce up his house to hit the market. He’s no DIY king, but Milo’s hot-as-hell woodwork teacher is…

Jack wants an old home to fix.
Thirty-nine-year-old Jack Pecker is waiting for the home of his dreams to come on the market in the summer. What better way to wait the interim months than working on a small renovation gig?

Only trouble is, the gig is for the McCormick brothers. And working in close quarters to red-haired Ben McCormick won’t be easy. Not with the attraction that simmers between them. Attraction Ben makes no effort to hide.

But Jack’s professional. Dating a parent is highly discouraged at Kresley Intermediate, and he’d never cross the lines…

Ben and Jack. Two guys searching for a home – 
– a home that might just be where their hearts lead them.

~ – ~ – ~

Set in New Zealand, Made For You (Love & Family #2) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys at very different places in their lives – but both finding out they are looking for the same thing.
Can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: friends-to-lovers, slow burn, age gap, found family
Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance

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5 Stars

You Guys!!!!! I know I’ve made no secret about my love for Anyta Sunday books (still have a few more to go in her back log until I’ve read them all) but OMG with stories like this, how can I not? Made For You is everything I look for in romance (M/F or M/M) with cheeky characters, connection, heartfelt moments, angst, feelable feels (don’t just tell me they like/love, I want to experience them for myself), slow burn, and this has the added bonus of an age gap. Hell Yes! It even has a kid in it (which I usually stay away from) but Milo added so much to the story that I was smiling, laughing, and crying right along with him.

Ben is the caretaker for his younger brother, Milo after the death of their parents. He pretty much puts his life on hold to ensure Milo gets the care he needs. Poor Ben isn’t used to parenting and while he tries his best, they’re still majorly hot messes. Ben hasn’t mastered how to get Milo to do anything and it’s impacting his school performance. On a parent-teacher night, Ben slips into the sights of Jack, AKA Mr. Woodpecker, AKA Milo’s wood working teacher. Literally.

“Milo’s teacher. Milo’s gay teacher. Milo’s ruggedly hot, gay teacher. I pre-emptively confess my sins. I’m taking the image of his steady gaze, curved lips, and work-toughened hands to bed tonight.”

Jack is spending his days teaching while completing home renovations at night and on the weekends. He’s saving to buy and renovate his ultimate dream house and just has to wait it out. Jack decides to take a job renovating Ben and Milo’s house which will give him a place to live until his house becomes available.

Ben and Jack together is absolute perfection. Ben is soooooooooo cheeky with quick wit and a larger than life personality. He uses humor and sarcasm to cover the shit storm that’s currently his life. He has immense love for Milo and it’s evident in all of their interactions. These brothers love each other and my face leaked a little during their happy times and/or their times of incredible sadness.

Jack and Ben’s attraction is pretty instant and Ben makes no apologies about his blatant interest. He’s flirty, suggestive, and can turn anything into innuendo. Jack tries to put a stop to it (even though he feels it too)… and fails. Made For You heats up much faster than Anyta’s other books with Ben’s lack of filter but it’s Anyta, so it still qualifies as an epic slow burn. With Jack and Ben not denying their attraction, we are treated to these little *fully* charged moments- tasty morsels when we just want to devour the entire fucking cake. Definitely worked on building my appetite for these two to get together.

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Let me tell ya, I wasn’t dying for a fuck fest. I was dying for a kiss, a hand hold, a hug, anything and everything. Their relationship journey happened organically and holy hell, I felt every step they took towards something so much bigger. The Ben is the best moments were so swoon worthy and endearing that I felt like I was wrapped up in a cozy blanket on a cold day. This wasn’t all angst and UST, there are many LOL moments. All three of these guys together were so freaking funny that I was highly entertained.

If you can’t tell by now, I loved this story HARD. Please Please Anyta, can you make this an audio with a kick ass narrator? I would revisit it on the regular. 100% recommended.

“It’s a kiss of seconds, but they are the best kissing seconds of my life.”

Copy provided for honest review.

Audio Highlights

It’s highlight time again. I’ve been consuming way more looks lately than I have time to review (I’m sure there are lots of amens regarding that situation) but I’ve listened/read some really awesome books that should still get their time in the sun.

Highlights by Lost in a Book:

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Autoboyography

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Narrator(s): Deacon Lee & Kyle Mason
Review/Thoughts:

Autoboyography is everything I love about YA & Coming of Age romance. The self discovery, teen angst where all of the feels are magnified and I just can’t help being on edge and feeling everything with them. First loves, first heartbreaks, etc., it’s a universal language because no matter how young or old, most of the population has been there at some point. The feels of an LDS character accepting himself for who he is and not the hate his “church” spews added so many gut clenching moments that I wanted to curl up. I’m really thankful for the HEA and wouldn’t complain about having some updates about the MCs.

The audio was great and I really enjoyed the voice used for Tanner . The POV change for Sebastian at the end was a bit off but overall the narration really worked with the story.

Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely:

Wanderlust

Rating: 4 Stars (Take this rating with a grain of salt… it should probably be higher but I was suffering from an epic book hangover)

Narrator(s): Richard Armitage, Grace Grant
Review/Thoughts:

I listened to Wanderlust after the Strange the Dreamer series which was probably a mistake. While I really enjoyed this book, I was still hungover from the series I had been engrossed in. Joy and Griffin are very compatible characters (and hot af together). I love that Joy is this smart ass (and super smart) Texan who is independent and makes the most of each moment. Joy and Griffin complement each other and neither person needs the other to *fix* them, just time to find themselves in the loveliness that is Paris. I wanted to roll around in all that is Paris while listening to this book. Between the setting so meticulously detailed and the narration…*day dreams*

The narrators are amazing and I could listen to Richard tell me stories all day every day. That accent…

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Falling Down

Falling Down by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book

Falling Down

Blurb:

Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts

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3 Stars

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Mark- 24yo, in the closet, former Vet, lives in a New Hampshire cabin for many reasons including trauma witnessed in Afghanistan, lives away from family that do not know he’s gay, and a handyman working odd jobs in a new city.

Josh- 18yo, homeless, ran away from his stepdad after he found out he was gay, mother’s passing and being homeless sent him spiraling into severe depression which led to suicidal thoughts and planning of his own passing.

Josh has the perfect place in mind to end it all, to peacefully slip away into a blanket of snow in New Hampshire. He finds the idyllic bridge and pond that he day dreamed about with his mother and makes his way there. Mark finds him sleeping under this bridge and coaxes Josh to eat and help him paint a large house while he’s in town. Josh reluctantly agrees but he has time since the leaves haven’t fully turned colors and there’s no snow to help him follow through with his plan… yet.

Josh seemingly comes back to life as he brings the old Victorian house back to life with each stoke of the paint brush (or sprayer). Mark offers Josh a place to stay while he’s working on the house. Both men grow closer each day and become intimate while in close quarters as they claw their way to an HEA with many bumps along the road.

I liked Mark and Josh… I think? Mark more than Josh. I didn’t fully believe their chemistry when they first get together. To me, it seems more like convenience and Josh finally being fed, warm, and well rested that led to these supposedly intense feelings. The lead up to the *big moment* and the actual event seems to be just a means to an end.

Josh needs help and although this isn’t the case of magic peen to the rescue, I wish Josh got a little more help than a “couple/few months.” I mean, he was suicidal, came up with a plan, started executing his plan… *shrug*

I listened to the audio for Falling Down and Michael Stellman did a pretty good job conveying Josh’s voice. The other voices were hard to distinguish at times. There were also random noises throughout like something clanking on the recording desk or movement in the studio. The first I noticed began in chapter four and then here and there throughout. The transitions between the end of the chapter and then saying the next chapter (ex. Chapter 6) is way too fast with zero breath making it seem like a run on sentence. On the opposite end, the transitions between POV in the same chapter were way too long and interrupted flow.

I adored Ms. Fisher because everyone needs a fully accepting grandmotherly figure in their lives and she fit the bill. I liked this story but it surely wasn’t love. Trigger Warning for suicidal thoughts. Recommended to fans of Eli Easton.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts, #1)

Arctic sun (frozen Hearts, #1) by Annabeth Albert: Review by Lost in a Book

Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts, #1)

Blurb:

Everything’s bigger in Alaska, especially the HEAs. Annabeth Albert kicks off the brand-new Frozen Hearts series with Arctic Sun, an opposites-attract romance between a rugged outdoorsman and a smoking hot former male model.

He’s built a quiet life for himself in Alaska. But it doesn’t stand a chance against the unrelenting pull of a man who’s everything he shouldn’t want.

Ex-military mountain man Griffin Barrett likes his solitude. It keeps him from falling back into old habits. Bad habits. He’s fought too hard for his sobriety to lose control now. However, his gig as a wildlife guide presents a new kind of temptation in superhot supermodel River Vale. Nothing the Alaskan wilderness has to offer has ever called to Griffin so badly. And that can only lead to trouble…

River has his own methods for coping. Chasing adventure means always moving forward. Nobody’s ever made him want to stand still—until Griffin. The rugged bush pilot is the very best kind of distraction, but the emotions he stirs up in River feel anything but casual, and he’s in no position to stay put.

With temptation lurking in close quarters, keeping even a shred of distance is a challenge neither’s willing to meet. And the closer Griffin gets to River, the easier it is to ignore every last reason he should run.

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!

Publisher’s Note: Arctic Sun deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including sobriety and eating disorders.

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2 Stars

I chose this book because I love stories with wilderness settings. Some of my favorites take place in the Alaskan Wild and therefore I was all in. Arctic Sun is less about living in the wild and more about sight seeing. Throw in a “romance” with the sightseeing and that’s the book.

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Griffin is a recovering addict living in Alaska. He flies bush planes for his family’s tourism company and isolates himself to avoid temptation of anything else. Griffin has to step up and take a tourism group out for a couple weeks and that’s how he meets supermodel, River Vale.

River wants to be more than a model. He also has an eating disorder that he works really hard to overcome. River’s at peace in nature and wants to experience everything there is to see while writing a book about his travels. When he arrives in Alaska for his tour, he sets his sights on the burly Griffin. That’s pretty much it.

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The rest of the book is about them traveling together and road blocks popping up at every turn as they drag along their insane amount of baggage. Loads of it. Arctic Sun just didn’t work for me. It was boring. *shrugs* The MCs lack chemistry, the pacing was cold molasses slow, and the men had so many issues thrown into the ring that they couldn’t be adequately addressed/fleshed out in one story… or five.

Unfortunately this book didn’t work for me but as always, YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

Milo (Finding Home #2)

Milo (Finding Home #2) by Lily Morton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Milo (Finding Home #2)

Blurb:

Once upon a time a brave knight rescued a young man. Unfortunately, he then spent the next few years bossing the young man around and treating him like a child.

Milo has been burying himself at Chi an Mor, hiding from the wreckage of his once promising career and running from a bad relationship that destroyed what little confidence he had. Niall, his big brother’s best friend, has been there for him that entire time. An arrogant and funny man, Niall couldn’t be any more different from the shy and occasionally stuttering Milo, which has never stopped Milo from crushing wildly on the man who saved him.

However, just as Milo makes the decision to move on from his hopeless crush, he and Niall are thrown into close contact, and for the first time ever Niall seems to be returning his interest. But it can never work. How can it when Milo always needs rescuing?

From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages series comes a story about a man who needs to write his own happily ever after.

This is the second book in the Finding Home series, but it can be read as a standalone.

Content warning: There are descriptions of domestic abuse in this book.

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3.5 Stars

Chi an Mor

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In Milo, we are back at Chi an Mor where Oz and Silas fell in love (In the book #1, Oz) and at the end of that book I was impatiently waiting for Milo’s story so I could dwell in the land of witty banter between Milo and Niall forever and ever. And I did, at least for the first half.

Milo starts out with a big trigger warning for domestic abuse. Milo is at such a low point during the opening scene and is thankfully saved by Niall who goes all beast mode on the fucker of an ex while wrapping Milo in a blanket of protection. Milo is carried off to Chi an Mor, an estate in the wilds of Cornwall to heal, find his inner strength again, and realize the sassy spitfire he used to be is still there.

Niall, the frustratingly arrogant yet kind soul that he is, slowly brings Milo back to life. He doesn’t fix him but gently forces Milo to realize his own self worth along the way and is always Milo’s biggest supporter. Niall has been in Milo’s life since they were teenagers and Niall was best friends with Milo’s brother. They have a sweet friendship because of the long history and there’s also a sassy wit and/or low grade exasperation between them that begins to serve as foreplay. They are soooooo sweet together but not in the everything is so perfect and lovey dovey boring without snark kind of way. I’m talking the good kind where each man is supportive, brings their own personalities and quirks to the relationship, and can still have fantastically entertaining exchanges as each make their points.

“Well, Milo,” he says mock seriously. “My milkshake might bring all the boys to my yard, but I’m afraid you’re not getting a drink yet because I value my body too much to give it away for free.”

Milo starts out very strong and entertaining. However, IMO, as the story unfolds, too much is added in. It seems like the overall plot gets lost about midway through and it never quite gets back on track as drama continues to randomly pop up. Some of it seems like filler and another element becomes *really* off-putting. I understand that Milo’s brother is going to end up playing a part in this story, but the direction it goes would have been fine if there weren’t constant references to the part he played.

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Still, I LOVE Niall and Milo separately and together. They are hot during their smexy times and are really lovely to experience as their own story. I have also maintained my giant crush on Oz and Silas and I’m *so* happy they have an active part in this story. Recommended.

“A real man? Can you hear that? What is a real man, Milo? I’ll tell you what a real man is. He’s someone kind and generous and loving. Someone who has had his spirit crushed yet gets back up and carries on making ugly things beautiful.”

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Not Dead Yet (Not Dead Yet #1)

Blurb:

Dying isn’t what it used to be. 

Wes Cooper was dead. Then he wasn’t—though he’s not exactly alive, either. As an immortal not-ghost, he can transition between this world and the otherplane, which makes him the perfect thief for hire. For seventy years he’s made a “living” returning items to their rightful owners, seeing his fair share of the bizarre in the process. But he’s never witnessed murder. Until now.

His latest mission brings him more than he bargained for: a very-dead actor who is definitely going to stay that way. It’s just Wes’s luck that his ex-boyfriend, Detective Hudson Rojas, is assigned to the case. Hudson broke Wes’s heart years ago—and could again, given he’s rocking a hot silver-fox look that shouldn’t be legal.

As they work together to track down the murderer before anyone else gets hurt, it becomes clear Wes and Hudson have unfinished business. And when a secret Hudson’s been keeping threatens more than just their happiness, it might mean the end of their not-life together—permanently.

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4 Stars

Not Dead Yet is a pleasant surprise with a unique feel amidst the overwhelming monotony of many paranormal romances. Don’t get me wrong, there are ghosts and some other paranormal elements that appear throughout the genre. However, this one felt different and held my attention throughout.

This is a paranormal mystery with a lot of dark things happening. It’s almost impossible to provide tidbits without revealing spoilers because so much happens and it all interconnects. Wes has the ability be alive and enter the plane of the dead. He embraces this ability as it provides a way to live without drawing attention to the fact that he never ages. Wes allows very few people in his inner circle and when he witnesses a murder while on the other plane, he ends up working with the one man who held his heart 30 years ago, Detective Hudson Rojas.

Wes is loveable and full of life (minus the dead plane parts) while Rojas’ is growly, cranky, and analytical. Rojas’ is also one of the very few people Wes has ever felt sexual attraction with (*cheers* some ACE representation). They have baggage from the past but their feelings after 30 years apart are still there even if Growly McGrowlerson runs hot/cold with Wes on the regular.

“My heart hurt and I wanted you. Not just in a sex way, but in a heart way.”

The characters are well connected and fleshed out. They have chemistry and heat but sex isn’t and doesn’t have to be the main attraction to their relationship. As both men work together to solve these murders, their chemistry, humor, and feelings sneak through without their approval. The plot is engaging, the secondary characters are entertaining and utterly endearing (🥰 Evan), and the suspense had me guessing along the way.

Towards the end, the events started becoming too OTT for my taste. Also, Rojas is a detective and he broke the CARDINAL rule (If it’s not, it should be). Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it but he did a certain something and I was left scratching my head.

There should be a trigger warning for mentions of suicide. I enjoyed Not Dead Yet and I’m hoping Evan gets his story next. Recommended.

 Copy provided for honest review.

Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: Review by Lost in a Book

Red, White & Royal Blue

Blurb:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

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4.5 Stars

Politics. *dreadful sigh* Books that revolve around politics are usually a hard limit, hell no for me. The day to day politics in RL are usually nauseating enough that I don’t want to read about them in my escape time. Red, White & Royal Blue drew me in with the cute cover/synopsis and I’m glad it did. For much of the book it was like this fantastical political dream world where the last two years didn’t actually happen and I was *totally* here for it. For the most part. This book had me smiling, laughing, sad, swooning, and full of hope from one page to the next.

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is all about politics. He lives and breathes them and dreams of one day becoming a politician that does the right thing- like his mother, the President. Alex is also a snarky smart ass and sometimes his antics get the best of him. Errrrr, or cause potential issues with diplomatic relations when he gets into it with uptight Prince Henry of Wales at a royal wedding. Now they have to pretend to be the best of friends as Alex grits his teeth and Henry puts on stoic front of impassiveness.

“So, you can hate the heir to the throne all you want, write mean poems about him in your diary, but the minute you see a camera, you act like the sun shines out of his dick, and you make it convincing.”

There’s more to both men than what meets the eye and as they continue on with this charade of friendship, walls start to crack. Alex and Henry gain so much understanding and common ground on what it’s like to grow up in the public eye and be held to impossible standards- unable to be who they really are.

I love the journey for Alex and Henry. From nemesis to lovers, it’s highly entertaining. Their friendship develops gradually over texts, emails and eventually face to face. The UST is thickkkkkk and the snark is highly entertaining. My first through when I found out they didn’t like each other was “please tell me there’s hate sex.” There isn’t. But, they have chemistry and witty banter in spades.

“I shall just have to make it the best orgasm of your life. What can I do to make it good for you? Talk about American tax reform during the act? Have you got talking points?” Alex looks up, and Henry is grinning at him. “I hate you.”

Alex and Henry get together fairly quick so there’s lots of intimate times but the sex scenes fade to black. You know what’s going on during the smexy times but it’s not explicit (which didn’t bother me because their relationship is *so* much more than sex). The build up to the kissing though… 🔥🔥. We are able to *see* their walls crumble completely as the tone of their correspondences change.

I LOVE all of the secondary characters. Red, White & Royal Blue has a diverse cast with multiple LGBT+ representations and races. There’s sassy wit, snarktastic humor, funny AF antics, and tons of pop culture references along the way.

So, remember how I was saying above that this is a refreshing take on politics and the bizarro world political fantasy land worked for me? It did. For a bit. However, it began to drag on the political parts around 50% and didn’t let up. I began skimming some of the political parts but my enjoyment for everything else never waned.

I totally adored Alex and Henry along with their patchwork family. I really like the format with texts and emails being an important part of their love story. I even day dreamed what-ifs with the fantastic idea that the political climate in the U.S. could be different. Recommended.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Strange the Dreamer Series

Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor: Incoherent Ramblings by Lost in a Book

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Blurb:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

Blurb:

Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.

She believed she knew every horror and was beyond surprise.

She was wrong.

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this astonishing and heart-stopping sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

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5 Million Stars (probably not enough)

I’ve decided that I’m completely unable to do either of these books justice in full reviews. Impossible. The storytelling is exquisite. The world creation is impeccable. The audio is one of the best I’ve heard and Steve West (narrator) completely delivers. I love both books so hard (with book #1 slightly more) that along with the audio, I bought the hard copies to have on my nightstand. So, because I’m unable to live up to the books, I’ll be giving my breakdown of feels with gifs. You’re welcome. 😉

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now…

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both stories…

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the cliffhanger at the end of book #1…

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the wrap up of book #2…

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the audio…

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Laini Taylor…

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Over all feelings…

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