Oz

Oz (Finding Home, #1) by Lily Morton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Oz (Finding Home, #1)

Blurb:

What happens when temporary becomes forever?

Oz Gallagher does not do relationships well. Bored and jobless after another disastrous hook up, he decides to leave London for a temporary job in the wilds of Cornwall. Surely managing a stately home on a country estate will be easier than navigating the detritus of his relationships at home. Six months there will alleviate a bit of his wanderlust and then he can come back to London as footloose and fancy free as the day he left it.

However, when he gets there he finds a house in danger of crumbling to the ground and a man who is completely unlike anyone he’s ever met. An earl belonging to a family whose roots go back hundreds of years, Silas is the living embodiment of duty and sacrifice. Two things that Oz has never wanted. He’s also warm and funny and he draws Oz to him like a magnet.

Oz banks on the fact that they’re from two very different worlds to stop himself falling for Silas. But what will he do when he realises that these differences are actually part of the pull to one another? Will falling in love be enough to make him stop moving at last and realise that he’s finally home?

From bestselling author, Lily Morton, comes a romantic comedy about two very different men and one very dilapidated house.

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

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4.25 Stars

Keeping it 💯, I have a crush on Lily Morton with all her writery (totally a word) talents? Her books always have elements that keep me coming back for more and she has secured a spot on my automatic author list.
Humor- ✔️
Snark-✔️
Sassy character(s)-✔️
Chemistry-✔️
Great secondary characters-✔️
Depth in main characters-✔️

Oz is sick of spinning his wheels through life and after walking in on his ex bone deep inside his replacement, he moves on with the help of friends to a *highly* entertaining interview for a position to manage the estate of an Earl. Oz is a little fireball full of sass and wit with the ability to have everyone eating out of his hand. He shockingly gets the job at the estate and sets to work right away. It isn’t long before he meets Silas and the stars align, angels sing, and sound of condom wrappers being torn open fill their day dreams.

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Silas is an Earl by birth but a veterinarian by choice. He’s huge, rugged, hairy, kind, and has plenty of ex-boyfriend baggage to go along with a crumbling estate. Silas is a lonely man bound by duty with a love of the land he calls home. He takes to Oz right away but neither can act on their lust filled visions because the whole employee/employer/banging the boss thing didn’t work well in the past and they’re turning over a new leaf.

”You two. It’s like watching elephants mate. Dangerous, messy, and uncomfortable, but ever so slightly sweet.”

Oz quickly begins work on the estate and his interactions are hilarious. Silas and Oz are oozing chemistry from their initial meeting and you just know when they finally kiss it’s gonna be scorching. I adore them separately and together. They compliment each other and are able to be themselves without any pretense.

”I’d thought the moment when I fell in love would be dramatic and full of noise and energy. Instead, it’s in a quiet bedroom where a soft song plays and the light dances on the man’s hair and the planes of his face as he makes me back into me. The only man who’s ever valued that person.”

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There are multiple LOL moments but the revenge on his douchebag ex, the interview, and when Oz first meets the Earl (OMG 😂) are at the top. I cackled throughout with glee as Oz was kicking ass and taking names. I also want to note that Silas is the brother of Henry from Risk Taker. This can standalone but there are multiple characters that make appearances and having that background knowledge would definitely increase enjoyment IMO.

Oz and Silas’ relational evolution is pretty low angst and ends on a HEA with a bunch of heat to pave the way. I’ll definitely continue on with the series and hope Oz’s adorably snarky assistant Milo gets his turn next. Definitely recommended.

”He’s nothing like I imagined but somehow everything I should have known enough to wish for.”

Copy provided for honest review.

New Release by Eliot Grayson

The Replacement Husband by Eliot Grayson is available now.

“This book will be available as part of the New Year, New Author giveaway on Prolific Works from December 28-January 3. There are 28 M/M authors participating, so check it out! It will be for sale and available in Kindle Unlimited starting on January 4.”

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Blurb:
Goddess-blessed Owen Honeyfield is destined to enjoy perfect good fortune, and the arrival of handsome and eligible Tom Drake in his country town appears to be just the latest manifestation. Tom’s proposal is the fulfillment of Owen’s desires, but Owen is left heartbroken and at the mercy of Arthur, Tom’s disapproving elder brother, when his betrothal takes a disastrous turn. His reputation ruined and his bright future shattered, Owen must choose between loneliness and practicality.

Arthur Drake has taken responsibility for Tom’s scandalous behavior all their lives. He doesn’t think much of his brother’s engagement, knowing that even Owen’s sweetness won’t be enough to influence Tom for the better.  When Tom’s impulsive selfishness threatens to ruin the lives of everyone involved, Arthur has only one honorable choice. He’ll need to repair the damage Tom has done and fight for his own happiness, knowing all the while he may never be able to take Tom’s place in Owen’s heart.

Buy Links:

Goodreads        Amazon

Author Links:

Prolific Works link for readers:
https://claims.prolificworks.com/gg/9et98E0aPrQNqVGv1kqG
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Unwrapping Hank

Unwrapping Hank by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book

Unwrapping Hank (Unwrapping Hank, #1)

Blurb:

Sloane loves a good mystery. He grew up as the son of two psychiatrists, so he finds most people tediously easy to figure out. He finds his way to Pennsylvania State University, longing for a rural experience, and ends up being lured into joining a frat by Micah Springfield, the hippest guy on campus.

Nothing in Sloane’s classes is as intriguing as Hank Springfield, Micah’s brother and fellow frat house member. Hank looks like a tough guy—big muscles, tatts, and a beard—but his eyes are soft and sweet. He acts dumb, but he’s a philosophy major. He’s presumably straight, but then why does Sloane feel such crazy chemistry whenever Hank is around? And why does Hank hate Sloane so much?

When Sloane ends up stuck on campus over Christmas, Micah invites him to spend the holidays at their family farm in Amish country. It’s a chance to experience a true Americana Christmas–and further investigate the mystery that is Hank Springfield. Can Sloane unlock the secrets of this family and unwrap the heart hidden inside the beefcake?

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4.5 Stars

I read a holiday book and LIKED it. No, I REALLY liked it. I don’t usually get along with holiday reads and avoid them like the plague. So thank you Eli for making my grinch heart grow a bit this year (even though this came out yearssss ago).

Oh Sloane. 😍 He’s sweet, sophisticated, well traveled, and practically grew up with a PhD in psychiatry due to his parents both having one and analyzing him on the regular. The best thing is that he isn’t pretentious about his background and he’s also not afraid to be himself and act his age. He’s attending college in Pennsylvania and joins a frat where he meets Micah and his mysterious brother, Hank. Micah loves solving mysteries and Hank, with his standoffish mercurial behavior became number one on his list.

Hank is Micah’s brother and where Micah’s a hipster, Hank is macho, tattooed, and hides his intelligence behind a dude-bro persona. Hank is crotchety where Sloane is easy going. Hank tries to avoid Sloane until he’s stuck with him at his family’s house over Christmas.

The Christmas holiday gives Sloane the perfect opportunity to fully *ahem* unwrap the mystery that is Hank Springfield.

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Hank and Sloane are fabuuuuuulous and highly entertaining together. They have a snarky front that is practically foreplay even if they don’t realize it. The relationship development isn’t rushed and we get to feel all warm and fuzzy at the perfect pace as they find a way to HEA-ville. You know what else? The Christmas element was tastefully done throughout to where I didn’t feel like I was rode hard and hung up wet by Santa, the elves, and reindeers. I wish there were more pages though because I’m greedy. What’s going to happen with Micah? Does he already have a story and I just don’t know about it? I could have read another hundred pages about Sloane and Hank. *dreamy sigh*

This was such a comfort read that I may have to revisit yearly to get my dose of Christmas cheer. It provides the feel of sitting by the fire with hot chocolate, cozy blankets, and hot ass smexy times (though refreshingly, it isn’t a gratuitous sex-fest). Definitely recommended.

P.S. I forgot to mention I listened to the audio. Tristan Wright is the narrator and he did a great job bringing these personalities to life.

Rocky Mountain Refuge

Rocky Mountain Refuge by Nicky James: Review by Lost in a Book

Rocky Mountain Refuge

Blurb:

Run! Hide! We are watching you, Huxley!

Huxley Dempsy suffers from a paranoid personality disorder. After a horrific tragedy five years ago, Huxley is convinced people are out to get him. Taking refuge in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, he is a prisoner to his own mind. If he can think it up, it must be true, and there is no convincing him otherwise.

Wildlife biologist, Aspen Taylor, is on his way north again to close up the final year of the Grizzly Bear Research Project. Studying wildlife in their natural habitat is what sings to his soul. However, who he finds in the mountains is almost as beastly as the bears he studies.

An underlying sense of familiarity draws Aspen to learn more about this Wildman, and a strong sense of attraction binds them together almost instantly. But can Aspen break through the barriers of Huxley’s mind and convince him to go home?

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4.75 Stars

YASSSS!!!

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I devoured this insanely fast. Rocky Mountain Refuge left me hungover and scouring lists and recommendations for rustic and/or wilderness M/M reads. Not gonna lie though, this book hurt. It’s hard to read Huxley’s POV and my face might have leaked a tiny bit. However, it’s balanced with a lightness that surrounds Aspen and that makes it hurt SO good.

Huxley has struggled with paranoia since childhood. Between therapy and the amazing support system of his mom and husband Nathaniel, he was able to function throughout his day to day life. That is, until he witnessed the murder of his husband and then his paranoia got the better of him and he now lives secluded in the wilderness for fear of being found by the men who committed the crime. From the beginning of the story, Huxley’s paranoia is suffocating. It’s debilitating, full of delusional thoughts, and complete rationalization of maintaining his current lifestyle cutoff from the outside world.

Aspen is a wildlife biologist that’s working on a grizzly bear project in the middle of nowhere with only his team around… and unbeknownst to him, Huxley. He has such a calm nature and is totally at ease in the wilderness. He stumbles upon Huxley and that encounter and many that follow have Aspen approaching Huxley as if he’s a wild animal. Aspen is intrigued by Huxley and can’t help himself from creeping around his cabin.

Their relationship begins as a way to release the pent up sexual frustration and loneliness. Huxley can only give Aspen one thing and that’s an orgasm. Their smexy times are hot AF. For real. Huxley is all growly and bossy and hot and strong and huge and…

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Anywhoo, Aspen is more than willing to keep coming back for those times and senses the need to go slow with a friendship and then hopefully more. The more time Aspen spends with Huxley, the clearer the paranoia becomes. Day by day, their relationship forms as they try to develop a new normal and hopefully get Huxley the help he needs while not scaring him away. Huxley’s mental illness isn’t sugar coated. It’s not swept under the rug and a magic penis doesn’t come to fix all his woes. Shit got real and their HEA is not easily earned but is definitely sweeter in the end.

Let’s talk about Nathaniel, the murdered husband. I know this book isn’t about their relationship and the story starts after the murder. BUT, the writing and portrayal of love between Nathaniel and Huxley is absolutely beautiful. Nothing is diminished and it really added more feels to the heartbreak of what Huxley survived. I’ve read many romances where the partner passes away and for some reason the living MC says “best I ever had” or “way better than before.” The author didn’t do that here and it was absolutely refreshing to know that two people shared an amazing love that tragically didn’t last and they move on. Instead of breaking down that prior relationship to prop up the current one, it’s kept on a loving pedestal and only adds to the foundation of the new one.

*hops off soapbox*

I really, really, really enjoyed this book and hope we see more from Huxley and Aspen in the future. Definitely recommended.

P.S. Just a note of warning, this book takes place in the wilderness and wilderness things take place such as skinning/killing animals for survival. Mental illness is also prevalent throughout.

 

New Holiday Releases by Joe Cosentino Out Now!

THE FIRST NOEL, Bobby & Paolo’s Holiday Stories Book 3
a short e-book novella by JOE COSENTINO, published by Dreamspinner Press

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Each Christmas has marked a milestone in Bobby and Paolo’s love story. But will this year be their last noel? It’s no surprise Bobby isn’t feeling much holiday spirit—not when he suspects his husband, Paolo, might be interested in his new business associate, the incredibly handsome Noel. On top of that, Bobby’s father is hanging up his Santa suit at the department store due to health issues; and worst of all, Geoffrey’s birth mother, funded by antigay extremists, is threatening their family. She’s trying to take away Bobby and Paolo’s adopted son, but she’ll have to face their supportive friends, family, and pastor before she can tear Geoffrey from the only real home he’s ever known.

With so many challenges in their path, the December grooms will need an extra helping of holiday magic this year. Rumor has it Santa’s on his way to spread some holiday cheer.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner      Mybook      Kobo     iTunes      B&N

And

THE BOBBY AND PAOLO HOLIDAY STORIES
(A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, and The First Noel)
a paperback anthology by JOE COSENTINO, published by Dreamspinner Press

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The holidays are a magical time for everyone, but they hold special meaning for young lawyer Bobby McGrath and fashion designer Paolo Mascobello. Their whirlwind romance begins one December on the Isle of Capri, where they meet and fall in love, and each holiday season adds a new building block to their life together. Celebrate with Bobby, Paolo, and their colorful friends and family as they marry and start a family. Happily ever after doesn’t always come easy, but with love and the spirit of the season, miracles can happen and Christmas wishes can come true.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner      Mybook     B&N

Praise for the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories:

“I adore the character of Bobby…the heartwarming family moments…The vivid and almost lyrical descriptions that Joe Cosentino uses when Bobby is arriving on Capri or sightseeing all over the island with Paolo…the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written…when you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.”
~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

“I was there with Bobby and Paolo, feeling the sun on my face and the warm swell of the sea as I walked barefoot on the sea’s edge, the author’s brilliantly descriptive words took me to that beautiful place where Bobby and Paolo fell in love.”
~Three Books Over the Rainbow

“Joe Cosentino’s holiday novella, A Home for the Holidays, delivers in every way that a romantic, feel-good story should. Every book I read by this author continuously pulls me in and wraps me up like a warm blanket.”
~Kathy Mac Reviews

About the author:

Joe Cosentino has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. As a bestselling author, Joe was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions. For Dreamspinner Press, Joe wrote the heralded In My Heart series: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; the popular Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, and The First Noel; and the raucous The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland. That was followed by Holiday Tales from Fairyland, Tales from Fairyland Book 2. His famous Nicky and Noah mystery series includes Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, and Drama Fraternity. The scorching Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press) are Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, which were followed by Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings. Finally, Joe’s mainstream Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose Press) are Paper Doll,Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll. Releasing next year are more Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Castle, Drama Dance, Drama Faerie, and Drama Runway. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He loves to hear from readers at:

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

 

 

 

Boy Shattered

Boy Shattered by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Boy Shattered

Blurb

Brian
You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?

Landon
Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.

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3.25 Stars

Wow.

I think I need a minute month to process. I tip toed into this book. The subject matter is hard and hits pretty close to home. So yeah, hesitant AF is an understatement.

Before I start discussing the book, I want to provide insight on the rating. My rating has nothing to do with the quality of the writing. It has a lot to do with personal preferences and an immense dislike for politics. If I had access to the foreword prior to requesting the ARC I would have known that politics play a huge role in not only the main crisis, but also in the lives of one of the MCs. Politics make me ragey and I get enough of it in RL that I can’t fully enjoy my escape with books when it’s there too. Politics definitely have a place in this book and I knew going in that there would be some politics around gun control but this went beyond that and anything MAGA makes me want to poke my eyes out. It’s more of a personal preference and not a knock on the content.

My first reaction when I saw that Eli went there…
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You know… the place that has so much sadness, anger, hopelessness, and bloodshed. These tragedies have brilliant students rising to fight for their lives when their fallen classmates can’t. The shooting in the story happens within the first few chapters with the POVs switching between Brian and Landon. We get a window into the soul crushing panic each boy feels as they try to make a decision on which hiding place will hopefully keep them alive and then the direct aftermath when they realize what monsters are capable of.

Landon (out and proud senior) closely resembles the brave students we see on the news fighting for gun control. Brian (closeted junior and quarterback) has many hurdles beyond the shooting that make day to day life a struggle, especially his asshole dad. However, he becomes obsessed with finding out who was responsible for the shooting. Both boys find comfort in each other while the storm rages around them. The relationship isn’t the main focus, has low heat/off page interactions, and thankfully included very minor angst on their way to a HEA. The story dynamic worked with the tragedy taking center stage.

This is a very angsty read. When the administrator came over the speaker to announce an active shooter, it took me back to my days in the classroom when we had non-drill “code reds.” I felt like I was right back in my classroom trying to find places for my students to hide. I like angsty stories but I don’t think this is a book written for enjoyment?.?. IMO it’s more of a thought provoking experience on a topic that has been hitting the nightly news on the regular. It’s hard to digest at some points but Easton does a commendable job touching on this topic. Boy Shattered really drives home that the tragedy isn’t over when the students are buried and the school reopens.

Besides the politics not working for me, the wrap up of all the storylines is a little too pretty. There was so much build up and then it’s all solved quickly with the nitty gritty details happening off page. Trigger Warnings: School shooting, death, PTSD, and homophobia If you like angst and politics don’t send you running for the hills, this may be your cuppa. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Slow Bloom

Slow Bloom by Anah Crow & Dianne Fox: Review by Lost in a Book

Slow Bloom (Slow Bloom #1)

Blurb:
Ricky Talbot, fresh from his first year at university, is looking to have a perfect summer. He gets to work for the man he’s had a crush on for years and spend the rest of his days in the pool, training for the swim team. Jack Corson, on the other hand, is a suburban hermit with a tangled past. Jack’s a lot more experienced than Ricky, cantankerous and more than a little anti-social. When an unexpected one-time encounter between the two of them turns into more, Ricky and Jack must see if they have what it takes for love to bloom despite all of their differences, the distance between them while Ricky’s away school, Jack’s past and Ricky’s parents. Can their slow-blooming love come to fruition?

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4.5ish Stars

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<— Actual footage of me needing an ice bath repeatedly while reading this little gem.

It was hot AF.

Jack and Ricky together…

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Ricky is home for the summer after his first year at university. He’s very much in the closet at home and spends most of the time working on his neighbor Jack’s *ahem* yard. On one unfortunate day, the lawnmower breaks and Ricky with his tan skin and swimmers body catches the eye of his years long crush, Jack. Fortunately, they decide on a different way to work that still produces a sweat.

After this rendezvous, they go back to normal until Ricky gets in a bind and turns to Jack for help. And sex. Lotssss of sex. Here’s the deal, the sex is hot, happens in copious amounts, and *may* have forced me to skim around 75% to the end because there had been so much sex up until that point that I got the picture. Vividly. But, Slow Bloom is really more than just sex. Ricky is mature for his age and while still in college, he and Jack are realistic with expectations. They communicate desires, feelings, and aren’t shy with affection. Jack is insanely sweet and patient as he shows Ricky how pleasurable sex and intimacy can be when you trust your partner.

It isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows as Ricky has to come out to his parents and take a stand for being in a relationship with a much older man. For those that require monogamy throughout with their MC’s, you may struggle with this. They aren’t exclusive but it worked for their relationship while Ricky is in college. They have intimacy and a connection that develops slowly which left no doubt about their relationship. They crave each other and work at getting closer against all external or self made obstacles thrown their way.

And… did I mention there are manties?????

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Definitely recommended.

New Release by Keira Andrews

 

 
Buy Links:Amazon US |Amazon UK Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

 
Length: 30,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Design
 
Blurb
 

Mall Santas aren’t supposed to be hot.

Hunter Adams is hopelessly adrift after college. He’s still a virgin, can’t find a real job, and has no clue what to do with his life. In desperation, he returns to his humiliating old job as an elf at the Santa’s Village in his hometown’s dying mall. The Santa on the job is an unexpectedly sexy lumberjack, twice Hunter’s size and age. He makes Hunter feel very naughty—too bad he’s grumpy and intimidating.

Years after the tragic death of his partner, Nick Spini has his beagle and long, hard days on his Christmas tree farm. That’s plenty. But he can’t refuse a loyal friend’s plea for help and finds himself filling in as Santa at the local mall. Despite Nick’s attempt to stay aloof, the beautiful, anxious young man playing elf brings out his long-dormant daddy instincts.

When a surprise blizzard traps them alone in Nick’s isolated forest home, their attraction burns even brighter. Will they surrender to the sizzling connection between them and find the release and comfort they crave?

Santa Daddy is a holiday gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring an age gap, steamy m/m first times, daddy role-playing and light spanking, Christmas romance feels, and of course a happy ending.

 

Author Bio
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf by Anna Martin: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Lone Wolf

Blurb:

Jackson Lewis isn’t a typical werewolf. He isolates himself in a small town outside Spokane and dedicates himself to making his business—Lone Wolf Brewery—a success. If it leaves him little time for romance, he’s okay with that. His soul mate could be out there somewhere, but he isn’t actively looking.

So he’s in for quite the shock when he literally bumps into his soul mate—Leo Gallagher, an adorable, nerdy, vibrant music therapist who’s Jackson’s polar opposite.

But he’s human. And a man.

Jackson is straight—or at least he’s always assumed so. Though he can’t deny his attraction to Leo, it’s a lot for both of them to deal with.

While Jackson and Leo figure out what their future might hold, they face prejudice from both the human and werewolf communities—including a group of fanatics willing to kill to show humans and werewolves don’t belong together.

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DNF

I tried… realllllllllly tried. I picked this book up many times over the span of a week and struggled page by page and couldn’t make a dent. This may be another it’s not you, it’s me but just know it was absolutely not my thing and here’s why…

It’s unlike any shifter book I’ve experienced which didn’t turn out to be a positive. I like unique reading experiences but this was so out of the typical realm of “soul mates” shifter style that I was scratching my head a lot. Right away STRAIGHT Jackson knows that Leo is his soul mate and Leo understands that there’s a connection between them. Does Jackson get all possessive? Growly? Protective? Ecstatic at finding his mate?

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Their meeting is cut short and what happens from here are a bunch of meetings at random places so they can take it slow and get to know each other. Huh? I like the getting to know you part of a book and they don’t have to jump on the orgasm train right away (or at all). But their meetings read like job interviews and not shifter soul mates. Each time is very awkward and I didn’t understand why being mates was part of this story if they weren’t going to act like it. *sigh*

Did you know Jackson is straight? Not Bi. Not Gay. Straighttttttttttt. He even states that he would be perfectly happy finding a woman to marry and “get on with his life” (EVEN KNOWING HE HAS A SOUL MATE). Because he’s straight. It’s worth mentioning because Jackson makes it clear repeatedly and in all the ways it can be stated. He probably used the Rosetta Stone to speak it in every language. #StraightAF

There’s a lot going on. It’s sort of like the kitchen sink was thrown in and the focus, chemistry, heat, and connection fell to the wayside. Maybe it picked up at the end? I wasn’t compelled to find out. Not recommended but as always, these thoughts are my own and YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

Crocus

Crocus (Bonfires #2) by Amy Lane: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Buddy listen with R.

Crocus (Bonfires, #2)

Blurb:

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High School Principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sherriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?

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3.25 Stars

“Saying ‘I love you’ doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.”

That’s for damn sure when it comes to Crocus and all of the drammmmmmmmaaaaaaaa that took place.

Just a little house keeping before we get started- If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Bonfires I recommend that you do. This isn’t a standalone. At all. If it’s been more than a month since you’ve read the first book, I HIGHLY recommend you revisit your notes/review/etc… because this jumps right into Aaron and Larx’s chaotic life. So many names were dropping and I couldn’t pick them up right away. Thank goodness I had R along for the buddy reading ride and between my old review and her character maps, we were able to sort it out. I think.

As I mentioned, we jump right into the Aaron/Larx household. Everything is going pretty well considering they still have the pregnant daughter, blended family, dangerous job, and a safe haven for the lost and lonely kid thing going on.

As the blurb mentions, Larx has some students that find themselves in trouble and both Aaron and Larx play roles in trying to get them to safety. The troubled student story line has serious implications on Larx and Aaron’s safety, sanity, and sex life. One of my issues with the story is that there’s a TON going on. There were already lots of continuing characters with their own baggage and Crocus adds many more along with doubling the drama. On one hand, the MC relationship has very mild growing pains as they are an established couple living together. They are able to be steadfast with the comfort of being partners while each having their own moments to be vulnerable. On the other, their coupledom was so far from focus that I’m not sure what I would classify this as. They had some sexy moments slipped in but I wanted more of them as a couple and less when life gives you lemons type of angst.

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Have you ever read a book where the good characters are insanely good and the bad are really fucking bad? No room for gray?  That’s how Crocus read to me. The kids, Larx, and Aaron are PERFECT. Even in their worst moments, they’re so respectable, likable, and teaching life lessons like a boss- especially the kids. The bad characters are absolute assholes (which is probably not harsh enough). The other characters are very likable but a tad too perfect. I know there are loads of readers that will love this because reading is definitely an escape. Sometimes though, I want a tad bit of realness. If you’re gonna lose your shit, lose it epically. Pretty please, for me.

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Nick Russo did a decent job narrating but another edit for the audio would help. There are inconsistent character name pronunciations along with some character voice missteps that could use tightening up. My narration complaint about Aaron’s “voice” in book one seems to have been adjusted for this book or it’s the exact same and I’ve been desensitized by increased exposure. Either way, the voices were more enjoyable.

Let’s talk triggers. There should be trigger warnings for rape on a minor (not detailed on page but important to the story), homophobia, depression, abortion, racism.

If you adored the first, Crocus will probably read much the same for you. I’m in the minority with my rating, YMMV. It’s written well with likable MCs who get their HEA. This will be the end of the Larx and Aaron road for me but I’d read Kellan’s story.

Copy provided for honest review.