Gentleman Wolf

Gentleman Wolf (Capital Wolves Duet, #1): Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Gentleman Wolf (Capital Wolves Duet, #1)

Blurb:

An elegant werewolf in Edinburgh…

1788. When Lindsay Somerville, the most elegant werewolf in Paris, learns that the man who held him in abject captivity for decades is on his way to France, intent on recapturing him, he knows he must leave the Continent for his own safety. Lindsay cannot take the risk of being recaptured—he may have been free for a century but he can still feel the ghost of his old chains under his fine clothes.

… on a mission…

While he’s in Edinburgh, Lindsay has been tasked with acquiring the “Naismith Papers”, the writings of a long-dead witchfinder. It should be a straightforward mission—all Lindsay has to do is charm an elderly book collector, Hector Cruikshank. But Cruikshank may not be all he seems, and there are others who want the papers.

… meets his match

As if that were not enough, while tracking down the Naismith Papers, Lindsay meets stubborn architect Drew Nicol. Although the attraction between them is intense, Nicol seems frustratingly determined to resist Lindsay’s advances. Somehow though, Lindsay can’t seem to accept Nicol’s rejection. Is he just moonstruck, or is Nicol bonded to him in ways he doesn’t yet understand?

Note: this is the first book of a duology – the story continues and will complete in the second book, Master Wolf.

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3 Stars

Hrmmm… I liked it… I think?

Let’s get some warnings out of the way first. This ends on a massive cliffhanger. No HFN/HEA in this installment, everything will be revealed (hopefully) in the next book. Gentleman Werewolf didn’t really *feel* like a romance. More like a historical paranormal that happens to involve sex? Maybe? Also, there are some trigger warnings for torture scenes and a miscarriage of a baby mentioned that took place in the past.

From the very start, this book felt heavy and has that ominous feeling throughout with very little light hearted moments to take a breath. Lindsay’s cheeky personality and his valet are about the only light hearted parts of this story. You just know something is going to happen throughout and the whole escaping imminent danger overshadowed any chance for there to be a romance. There was insta-love/infatuation but I could toss that up to Lindsay being a wolf and the whole mate feeling. Possibly?

I love Joanna Chambers’ previous books and her writing style. She writes historical books that I can’t help but devour and it worked for me in this one too. I even liked the characters by the end but there was zero closure and way too many unanswered questions with a perpetual heaviness that took away from my complete enjoyment of this book.

I’ll continue on with the series and hope for romance, some possible snark and/or lighthearted moments mixed in with the doom and gloom.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Book Blast & Giveaway: Complementary Colors by Adrienne Wilder

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Complementary Colors

Author: Adrienne Wilder

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Adrienne Wilder

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: From different worlds

Themes: mental illness, PTSD, HEA

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 362 pages

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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.

Excerpt

Chapter One

I knew he didn’t belong the moment I saw him.

He wasn’t cut by money or shaped by political interests, and the rental he wore was a bad joke in the ocean of Versace suits and Chanel ball gowns, fitting him tight across the shoulders and short in the arms. A belt held up his pants, and the waves of extra fabric did nothing to accentuate the ass I knew was just as perfect as the rest of him.

I drank my champagne while the stranger picked his way through the clumps of people gathered in front of the hideous paintings I had on display.

“Paris, darling, Mr. Darcy was asking you about one of your works.” Julia put her hand on my arm. I ignored my sister and Mr. Darcy. Whatever it was he wanted to say to me, I’d heard it before; Mind-blowing, so unique, see the passion, the fire, and my favorite, it speaks to me.

Bullshit.

Only one person could see the dirty secret hidden within the lines, the color, the violence.

Me.

I handed Julia my empty glass.

She tightened her grip on my arm. “These people came a long way to meet you.”

They always came a long way to meet me. Even if it was a block away.

“Bathroom,” I said. Julia frowned. I think she knew I was lying but didn’t want to call me out on it in front of her friends. I peeled away her fingers. “If you don’t mind, of course.” I slipped into the crowd.

Julia would give Mr. Darcy and his flavor-of-the-year wife some excuse on my behalf. Then she’d slay them with her silver tongue, and by the end of the night, they’d write a check for some ungodly amount and buy a piece of hell I’d spewed out into the world.

They’d hang it in their country home or put it in their yacht. They’d smile and laugh and remain deaf to the confession screaming to be told.

Heat from the track lighting pressed down on my shoulders. Greetings cast out by guests floated in shades of black and gray.

I followed the stranger’s trail of color all the way to the back of the gallery. He disappeared around a partition and through a door. I checked to see if anyone was watching before I went in.

Cold fluorescents replaced track lighting, and the hum of the ventilation system snuffed out a burst of laughter. There were only two doors in the maintenance hall, besides the one that shut behind me.

A deep mechanical sound chugged from behind the one left open. I slipped inside and turned the knob so I could control the catch.

The man crouched beside an opening in one of the large metal units. Even on his knees, I could tell he was about my height, but his shoulders were wide, and his limbs were thick.

I hoped that trait didn’t stop at his legs and arms.

After a few minutes, he seemed satisfied and replaced the panel. When he stood, I had a brief glimpse of the curve of his ass when his slacks tightened.

He turned and dropped the tools he held. His hip hit the metal hull of the unit, and it boomed.

“Jesus Christ. You scared the shit out of me.”

A five o’clock shadow dusted his jaw, hardening his features enough to make him look dangerous. And there was already no doubt left in my mind that he could kill me if he wanted to.

He wiped his hands with a rag from his pocket. Scars crossed the knuckles of his callused fingers. The thought of his rough grip on my body left me hard.

“I replaced the coil.” The sound of his voice wrapped me in red and tied me up with gold. “That should relieve some of the strain on the unit. It’s pretty old, though.” He put his tools into a toolbox. “You might want to consider replacing it.”

I engaged the lock on the door.

He followed me with his eyes as I made a half circle around him. His physical appearance didn’t make him alluring. It was how he carried himself. Like a man who was one with the world and not above it. I grazed a look up and down his body.

“I’ll send you a bill.” He reached for his toolbox.

I got in the way, trapping him against the air-conditioning unit.

“Is there something else you ne—” He cleared his throat. “Need?”

“Are you afraid of me?”

He pulled himself to his full height. “Do I have a reason to be?”

“That depends.”

“On what?”

“On how much the idea of fucking me appeals to you.”

About the Author

I am a writer of contemporary and speculative fiction and artist of all things monster. I live to create new worlds and the people in them. Several of my books have been best sellers both nationally and internationally. I have also been a finalist in the LAMDA awards, the “Oscars” of gay literary works.

I do my best to write original stories with powerful characters and emotion as well as a fast-paced plot. My goal isn’t just to deliver a good story but to take the reader into the story and let them experience the characters as if they are right there with them.

While almost all my books have a romantic element, I will be the first to admit, they are not traditional romance. In fact, I’d like to think there is nothing traditional about them. And the stories I paint are done so way outside the lines of traditional genres.

One of my favorite things to do as a writer is push the boundaries of what makes a story and to deliver the unexpected and maybe even change the perspective of the reader.

My characters are more often than not, beautifully flawed, not always the good guy, and make mistakes. Their stories will take dark turns which, in the end, make the light at the end of the tunnel all the brighter.

If you’re looking for something different, exciting, and unique, my books are for you.

Check out my website for updates and how to contact me. I love hearing from fans.

Author Links

Blog/Website | Facebook | Facebook group | Twitter

Newsletter Sign-up | Patreon | Goodreads

 

 

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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.

 

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.

Gideon

Gideon (Finding Home #3) by Lily Morton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Gideon (Finding Home, #3)

Blurb:

Gideon Ramsay is so far in the closet he should be a talking faun.

A talented, mercurial, and often selfish man, Gideon has everything he should want in life. Fame, money, acting awards – he has it all. Everything but honesty. At the advice of his agent, Gideon has concealed his sexuality for years. But it’s starting to get harder to hide, and his increasingly wild behaviour is threatening to destroy his career.

Then he’s laid low by a serious illness and into his life comes Eli Jones. Eli is everything that Gideon can’t understand. He’s sunny tempered, friendly, and optimistic. Even worse, he’s unaffected by grumpiness and sarcasm, which forms ninety percent of Gideon’s body weight. And now Gideon is trapped with him without any recourse to the drugs and alcohol that have previously eased his way through awkward situations.

However, as Gideon gets to know the other man, he finds himself wildly attracted to his lazy smiles and warm, scruffy charm that seem to fill a hole inside Gideon that’s been empty for a long time. Will he give in to this incomprehensible attraction when it could mean the end of everything that he’s worked for?

From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages series comes a story about a man who needs to realise that being true to yourself is really just a form of finding home.

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

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4.5 Stars

Soooo… in the previous book there was an element that was really off putting for me that centered around Gideon and I even mentioned it in my review for book #2. I was all wtf… grrrr…. Gideon sucks (even though the name is 🔥🔥).

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Gideon starts off with a bang as he’s drinking, doing drugs, and all about sex with as many people as possible. All those vices at the same time with multiple partners is a bonus. He’s self destructing as rapidly as his declining health and he’s doing anything to remain in a state of numbness. This gets him in trouble and he ends up in the care of nurse Eli.

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Eli is a giant ray of sunshine in Gideon’s stormy world. He’s kind, funny, bossy, sarcastic, and has zero issues calling Gideon out on his behavior while he ignores his bastard persona. Soon, Eli becomes one of the very few people in Gideon’s world that cares and looks out for him; not their paycheck.

I adore Eli and Gideon together. They have great banter, lots of chemistry and heat. There’s some dirty talk, a bossy top, and some entertaining attempts to top from the bottom. This is a hurt/comfort that left me with all the warm/fuzzy feels. Gideon had an incredible redemptive character arc that was fully fleshed out. I was rooting for him very early on and he didn’t let me down.

The secondary characters in Lily’s books are always on point. Constance is a dream and the patchwork family that continues to build throughout each book in this series is highly entertaining and fun of warmth.

I really enjoyed Gideon but I had one niggle… where are MY LETTERS? Ahhhhhh!! I’m a HUGE sucker for written communication between MCs (whether it’s texts, emails, or actual letters). When they start writing letters I gear up to read a bunch of correspondence with witty lines and heartfelt sentiments. But I only got two? Total? One from each? That’s it? #sadface #GIVEMEMYLETTERS

I was able to turn my frown upside down with the amazeballs epilogue. It’s full y’all. You’ll walk away with so many answers about the future and their HEA. I adore this series and will continue to read any that come out. Recommended.

Trigger Warning for drug and alcohol usage.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

The Stud

The Stud (It’s Just Us Here #5) by Christopher X. Sullivan: Review by Lost in a Book

The Stud (It's Just Us Here #5)

Blurb:

An asexual man is now in a sexual relationship with a male model… and is in over his head.

Chris and Mark’s relationship evolves. Both men learn to depend on the other during trying times. Chris is in the closet with his family, but Mark doesn’t add pressure and remains a solid support. Meanwhile, Mark is struggling to reconnect with his parents and older sisters and Chris is the catalyst that enables the vain male model to return home.

All good things must come to an end, and if you’ve read this far in the series, you should know that the last few chapters of this book contain the long-foreshadowed Big Fight. This self-portrait was written as a romance… but not every story gets a happy ending.

[The Stud is Book Five in a ten book series. You can read this as the mid-point of a four book arc. You should probably read the friends-to-lovers story (contained in the first three books) to understand the fullness of the characters, but this isn’t strictly necessary. Book One, Book Four and Book Eight all serve as ‘jumping in’ points for the series.

It’s Just Us Here: The Stud is a 118,000 word journey of two men connecting in a deep, spiritual way as they navigate a sexual relationship while juggling careers, friends and family.]

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5 Stars

The Stud is definitely my favorite so far on the journey of Chris and Mark in It’s just Us Here. Apparently I’m a masochist because this one hurt and I loved it. Not the pain they went through, but that it makes you feel throughout the entire book.

For most of this book, there’s a surface level feeling of happiness between the MCs. They seem to be on the same page, in love, and increasing their sexual exploration. But, lurking under the surface is pain and heartbreak evident from the very beginning. I could *feel* the decline of their relationship in the little moments; the moments that seem insignificant but have huge implications for the future.

“We had our differences and they were plain to see… and it wouldn’t be easy to work around my limitations… but it was so easy to be with Mark”

Mark and Chris are trying to please the other person at a detriment to themselves and it’s impossible to keep up without breaking. The closet scene with Mark was soooooooo sad to me. The lengths Mark is willing to go to keep Chris close when it goes against his very nature just ripped my heart out. There are so many red flags along the way that made me want to stop and scream, “WOULD YOU JUST ACTUALLY TALK TO EACH OTHER.” I don’t want lack of communication to be confused with using a misunderstanding or miscommunication trope in a romance novel. This is real life and it’s as if Chris and Mark are trying so hard to be together, be everything the other person could ever want or need, that they lose themselves in the process. They stop speaking up on the big and little things that might not always be of major importance but to them, it’s another crack in the crumbling foundation.

So sadness be damned, I loved this book. Not to worry though, there are many reminders that the overall “story” ends with a HEA. They just have to find a way to repair all these cracks or demolish the building and start over. Remember that this is a REAL story. About real men, dealing with real emotions and real life events. Definitely recommended.

Trigger- addiction, depression

Copy provided for honest review.

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.