Monthly Archives: September 2014

Title: Love You So Hard
Author: Tara Lain
Publication Date: June 2, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Craig has been crushing on Jesse since he first saw him, but especially since he saw him wearing a t-shirt with the phrase “I would bottom you so hard”. Craig has always wanted to top but never has and so his heart (and some other things) leap at the prospect of being with Jesse. And when he finally talks to him he finds out that Jesse is more than willing to help him and show him how.

I really enjoyed the concept of this story – there’s just something about how Craig sees Jesse and gets this fantasy in his head, never thinking it could ever play out, and then somehow it does. The characters themselves are wonderfully written and dynamic. The only drawback is that it kind has the overall message that you need to change who you are to be valuable, and I’m not a big fan of that, but otherwise it’s a great read.

Title: Something Like Winter
Author: Jay Bell
Publication Date: July 25, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  
One word: Incredible. I feel like I pretty much ate this book up. This is so much more than just a rehash of the first book from Tim’s perspective. It provides insights and dimensions to the story that make the characters so much more real. The parallel narrative is distinct and adds many layers to the story of Tim and Ben (and everyone else in their lives). This book also continues the story past the first book, giving readers a glimpse into life after ‘summer’ and ‘winter’.

This installment is more angst-ridden than the first and definitely has some utterly heart-wrenching moments, but it is definitely worth reading. This is one of those books that can truly move you.

Part of what makes this book so great is the way it relates to the first book, and Jay Bell has done an incredible job here. The world he has created is one I’m excited to go back to in the rest of this series – I expect more laughing and crying in my future.

Title: Love on a Wing and a Prayer
Author: T.A. Webb
Publication Date: August 7, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
I enjoyed this story, but for some reason, it wasn’t one that really wow-ed me. It’s one where the relationship just seemed to be so completely rushed from meeting and lust to head-over-heels love without there even being much interaction to support the change. Insta-love needs more than just a ‘here they are’ setup for me to really get into it and I just didn’t get a strong sense of that here.

But the interactions that do happen between the main characters are sweet, charming, and steamy enough to still make this a 3-star read.

Title: Freshman: Uncut
Author: Daisy Harris
Publication Date: June 14, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
A wonderful short story from Daisy Harris who always seems to deliver something enjoyable. Shane and Angel have a very intense dynamic that really comes right off the page. The only thing I would have liked was a bit more time with the characters – since this was short their development (individually and together) seemed rushed. But I was certainly left wanting to know what happens next for them, which is always a good sign.

Title: Mexican Heat
Author: Laura Baumbach & Josh Lanyon
Publication Date: October 26, 2008

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Gabriel Sandalini is an undercover police officer who has worked hard to infiltrate the Botelli crime family and he knows he’s got to be close to being able to bring them down. After a chance encounter in a club and the realization he might be falling for another drug lord’s right hand, Miguel Ortega, he knows he needs to focus on the task at hand. But when Ortega seems to be falling for him, too, neither of them have any idea how it might all play out.

I hadn’t expected to enjoy this one as much as I did. It started off a bit fast, but it really got into a good groove. I did pick up on a couple of twists before they happened, but I got the sense that was intentional on the part of the authors. I’m excited to pick up the next book to see what happens next…

Title: Love Comes in Darkness
Author: Andrew Grey
Publication Date: August 8, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
I’m reading this series backwards – not necessarily by design – having picked up book three first and then now moving on to book two. While the stories are interrelated with an overlap in characters, each focuses on a different main character, so you really can pick up whichever one you’d like to start with.

In this one the focus is on Howard Justinian. Howard has been blind from birth and has struggled throughout his life to find the balance involved in asserting his independence – finding that place where he’s not relying on others too much but he’s also not pushing them away. When his current boyfriend, Cedric, kicks him out of the car and leaves him stranded on the side of the highway during a fight, Howard meets Gordy who pulls up to help. Howard is instantly drawn to Gordy (and everyone tells him that the expressions on Gordy’s face seem to indicate a similar sentiment), but Howard wonders if Gordy knows what being with a blind man truly entails. And can Howard figure out how to find that same place of independence with Gordy without pushing him away, too?

Another great book in this series. The relationship dynamics that Andrew Grey has created here are amazing – so complex without feeling contrived in the least. I honestly can’t wait to go pick up book one and learn about the beginnings of a couple that I’ve now come to really like as they’ve been in the background of books two and three.

Title: Heatstroke
Author: Taylor V. Donovan
Publication Date: July 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  
I had no real idea what to expect when I picked this one up, but I don’t know if I can sum up my overall reaction any better than “whoa”. Seriously incredible.

Michael Spencer suspects his grandmother his hiding secrets about his family’s past and is determined to find out the truth. When his family goes to stay with her, he takes an opportunity when everyone else is away to sneak into the attic to see what he can find. And what he finds tells a completely unexpected tale and sets both him and his father on a journey toward the truth that makes so many things finally seem right.

A story of acceptance, family, and finding out who you are, Taylor V. Donovan’s Heatstroke, is a must-read. I do not give out 5-star ratings very lightly, but this one is deserving without a single doubt in my mind. And the best part is that it is freely available for your perusal.

Title: Called to Mate
Author: Lynn Tyler
Publication Date: December 3, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Declan is set to take over as the alpha of his pack – all he needs now is to find a mate.  Fortunately for him, his parents’ houseguest, Quinn, seems like he could be just that.  Quinn’s had a very rough past, however, having suffered abuse at the hands of his former alpha.  But can the two of them make it work together?

This is an interest story.  It’s engaging and it’s nice to see the way Declan wants to be there for Quinn.  I had kind of hoped for something just a little bit more, but it does wind up being a short enjoyable read.

Title: The Warlord & the Bard
Author: Eric Alan Westfall
Publication Date: August 28, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
What do you get when you cross the paths of a warlord prince and a bard in front of a vague prophecy and then toss in a meddling goddess and a bit of sex? Something wonderful if The Warlord and the Bard is any indication. Something wonderful, indeed.

The reader is thrown immediately into this rich world that Eric Alan Westfall has created. And because of this it can all be a bit difficult to follow at first, but I found that once can easily catch up as the story goes along. It is a masterful literary device in this case, though, because it helps the reader to feel some of what Jerril and DarkFire are feeling themselves as their worlds collide and fill them with uncertainty.

There is some mention of past sexual assault, so I feel the need to warn for that. But otherwise, this is a great story and is wonderfully written. I’m definitely left wanting to know what happens next.

(eBook copy provided by the author via the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s ‘Don’t Buy My Love’ program in exchange for an honest review.)