Tag Archives: rating: three-stars

Stranded With Desire by Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed

Stranded with Desire

Stranded With Desire by Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on August 1, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Colby takes his job as assistant to CEO Maine Braxton very seriously. He would to anything for his boss. Not only because he’s good at his job, but because he also harbors feelings for the man that he knows he shouldn’t. After all, Mr. Braxton is engaged to be married to a woman after they get back from this trip. But that will only happen if they do make it home–their plane has just gone down in the middle of nowhere and it’s up to the two of them to work together to find their way to safety…and to a phone. And while the experience leads Colby to rethink whether he can keep working for a man that he’s falling in love with, it also forces Maine to confront some realities of his own life at the same time.

This is one of those stories about finding love right in front of you and how it can creep up on you when you least expect it. But it’s also about being open to possibilities and not closing yourself off because of what others may expect of you or what you may expect of yourself. And sometimes that can be the biggest challenge of all.

Switch Hitter by Cheyenne Meadows

Switch Hitter

Switch Hitter by Cheyenne Meadows

Series: Shifter Hardball, Book 3
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on June 5, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Tucker Wilde is one of the best second basemen in the all-shifter professional baseball league. Or at least he thought he was until a rookie showed up and claimed his spot in the starting lineup. And things with his girlfriend seem to have run their course. But he also spent the previous night in the throes of passion with one of his teammates–something completely out of character for a straight man like Tucker. Dixon Foxx must admit he enjoyed his night with Tucker Wilde; he’d wanted the man ever since he first met him. But he is less pleased that Tucker views it as a drunken mistake that will never happen again. And although Dixon is a star player himself, his heart’s never really been in it, a heart that he risks being broken if he can’t either get through to Tucker or find a way to move on. But moving on is hard for both of them since they still have to see each other every day…

Being someone you’re not can be dissatisfying and challenging. But so many times we force ourselves to meet what we believe to be the expectations of others in our life, all the while robbing ourselves of chances at true happiness. And sometimes those expectations can become so internalized that we don’t even consider that we may want or need something different out of life. These are issues that both Tucker and Dixon must face, albeit in different ways and for different reasons. But if they’re wise, they may be able to help each other go through it together…

Fair Catch by Leigh Carman

Fair Catch

Fair Catch by Leigh Carman

Series: Players of LA, Book 2
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on March 20, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Professional football player Sullivan “Van” Archer is outgoing, sensational, and definitely straight. Or at least that’s what he needs everyone to think in order to keep his position. The truth is that there are some thick walls around his closet that he hopes will never come down. After Van suffers and injury that results in a recommendation to take yoga classes, Van finds himself in the class of Tobias Bennett–one of Van’s one-night stands that he hoped he wouldn’t cross paths with ever again. Tobias is quiet, still recovering from an abusive relationship, and has very little patience for Van’s attitude. But there is something between them that neither of them can easily shake, and it’s clear they will need to figure out what it is if they’re going to figure out what to do about it.

It can be easy to forget that each of our actions has an impact and that sometimes those impacts are not intended. And sometimes we cannot foresee how things just might come back around to haunt us. But ignoring people and feelings is not a way of resolving them, and finding resolution may mean needing to let down the walls that one has put up for protection. After all, if you close yourself off to possibilities, are you truly living? This book does an excellent job of addressing these questions and issues as we follow these two young men down a road of new experiences, taking chances, and letting go.

This is the second book in the series, but it is not necessary to read the first book to follow, understand, and enjoy the story.

Hero by R.A. Salvatore

Hero

Hero by R.A. Salvatore

Series: Homecoming, Book 3
Published by:
 Wizards of the Coast on October 25, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Following what may very well have been the most epic battle of Drizzt’s life, it turns out the real war is just beginning. And this time he’s not facing a giant monster or an sinister Drow Matron. No, to win this war, Drizzt must finally face his own demons if he is ever going to be able to find peace. But nothing is going to stop or let up to give him the time and the space to do so. To keep himself and his friends safe, there is much that needs to be done and not really that much time in which to see it all through.

An interesting conclusion to this trilogy, to be quite honest. There are moments where this really seemed to drag, though I think it simply had to in order for the story that needed to be told to unfold on the page. It has that solid epic conclusion feel to it, which makes me tend to believe the “word on the street” that this is it for the tales of the Drow. And if so, I think it ended well and it did leave me satisfied with where it all lives in the end.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance reading copy received from the publisher via NetGalley.]

Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

Dunbar

Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

Published by: Hogarth on October 24, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Henry Dunbar was a corporate mogul, with a company and estate that could be described as nothing less than a kingdom. But a scheme by his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan, might be his complete and total undoing. First, he needs to escape from the care home to which he’s been committed and hope that Abby and Megan don’t find him before the upcoming meeting of his board of directors. Henry’s youngest daughter, Florence, is also on the lookout for him, but her sisters appear to have no reservations about trying to stop her in her tracks. It’s a family affair–and the people who know you best can sometimes have the most information to use against you.

This story is billed as an adaptation of <i>King Lear</i>, and it certainly is, but you do not have to be familiar with Shakespeare’s play to understand and enjoy the book. There’s a bit of an adventure here in the plot, but there are also elements of suspense and family drama. It’s an easy-to-follow read, and an engaging story, great for a rainy afternoon or a day of traveling.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on a copy of the book received from the publisher via BloggingForBooks.]

On Duty by A.R. Barley

On Duty

On Duty by A.R. Barley

Series: Smoke & Bullets, Book 1
Published by:
 Carina Press on December 18, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Troy Barnes feels like things are going well in his life–or at least well enough. He enjoys his work as a firefighter and things seem to be working between him and his roommate/boyfriend-on-the-downlow. But after Troy is injured while saving a young man from a fire and is asked to move out so his roommate’s pregnant girlfriend can move in, things no longer seem as solid. Not entirely sure where to go or what to do, Troy accepts an offer from paramedic Alex Tate to crash with him until he gets on his feet. Troy knows Alex loves to flirt, but the invitation doesn’t mean anything more than a friend helping out a friend, right? Or at least it doesn’t have to. Unless that’s what Troy really wants. But before these guys can start to understand any fire that might start burning between them they’ll need to track down the arsonist who is striking sites around the city…

I found myself enjoying this story quite a bit. Even though it was clear where the relationships would be going from early on, the banter between Alex and Troy (and Alex’s family–who are incredible) kept me smiling throughout my entire read. There are a couple of unexpected twists, which served as just enough to keep me on my toes at a few points in the book. This is the start of a new series, and I look forward to continuing to read it as future installments come out.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.]

Jock Auction by Alex Pendragon

Jock Auction

Jock Auction by Alex Pendragon

Published by: Loose Id on January 27, 2015
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

High school football player Kyle isn’t one who would jump at the idea of a bachelor auction. But since it’s a fundraiser and Coach expects all the players to participate, he finds himself on stage, taking off his shirt, and hoping he goes for a decent bid. He certainly does not expect that shy-seeming, nerdy Craig would be the one to win the bid. Why would a guy bid on him? Kyle’s not gay. And Craig’s not, either, is he? But even if he is, that’s not a problem. But if he is and Kyle just might realize he feels something in return? Well that would be a problem of epic proportions.

This was definitely an entertaining read. For a realizing-who-I-really-am and coming out story, it stays on the lighter side overall. But that also means there are some aspects of those types of experiences that seem a bit glossed over. There almost seems to be a surprising amount of gay people (or really, really gay-friendly) people in Kyle’s life, so much so that it felt a tad unrealistic at a couple of points. And there is so. much. sex. in this book–way more than I was expecting. But it’s overall a good read, and I’d give it a solid recommendation.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Series: Akata Witch, Book 1
Published by:
 Speak on July 11, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Sunny Nwazue has always felt like a bit of an outsider. She’s albino, which has not only led to her being viewed differently, but it also stops her from being able to do certain things like spending an entire afternoon out in the sun. But Sunny soon learns that she’s actually special in another way–she is a “free agent” and possesses the capacity for magic. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for her and introduces her to some new friends. But is also exposes her to some danger as well. There’s someone out there taking children, a someone who just so happens to be able to use magic as well. And Sunny and her friends find themselves needing to help put a stop to it before more people go missing…

There’s an interesting world created and presented within this story, though I sometimes found myself a little confused with some of the various connections between the characters. There is probably some room for a little more world building, but it’s still an enjoyable and interesting read. A definite possibility for fans of fantasy adventure stories.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance review copy provided by the publisher via the First to Read program.]

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

The Confusion of Languages

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons on June 27, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw both find themselves living in Jordan after their soldier husbands were stationed at the U.S. embassy there. As Cassie has been there for two years already, she becomes a reluctant mentor to Margaret, who has just arrived. And much to Cassie’s chagrin, Margaret is not as interested in making sure she follows all of the rules as she is allowing her restlessness and desire to explore to get the better of her. After Margaret is in a minor car accident, Cassie agrees to watch her infant son while she goes down to the police station to pay her fine and clear up the matter. But as more time begins to creep by, Cassie’s concern grows. And when she finds Margaret’s journal and begins to read it, the insights she gains into her neighbor’s life not only helps her to better understand Margaret–it also helps her to understand herself and feeds her concern about Margaret’s current whereabouts.

This is an interesting story that touches on a number of issues including friendship, cultural differences, marital relationships, motherhood/parenthood, jealousy, honesty, and so much more. The complexity of the relationships that comes through, by seeing things from Cassie’s perspective and from Margaret’s words in her journal, is fascinating as it comes together. My only complaint is that with jumping between Cassie’s flashbacks, Margaret’s journal entries, and the present moment, it wasn’t always clear where we were at any moment. Sometimes this was a little confusing, but it was easy to recover within the first few paragraphs of each chapter.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance review copy provided by the publisher via the First to Read program.]

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

The Lost Letter

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

Published by: Riverhead Books on June 13, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

When Katie Nelson takes her father’s stamp collection to an expert to see if there’s anything of value, she doesn’t expect anything will come of it. But when the appraiser, Benjamin, expresses interest in what may be not only a rare find but also an anomaly, a mystery is laid before her that she can’t help but try to answer. And the journey takes her down a path that spans back over fifty years and exposes secrets and identities that have been long-buried and thought lost forever. Along the way, Katie also just might find some things she thought she had lost forever as well…

When this book first started jumping back and forth between the 1989 “present” and the 1938 “past”, I found myself wondering if there was any real connection or if it was just two stories being told side-by-side because of a single point of connection: a stamp. And the reality is that while that stamp is the key to much of the story and the connection, there is so much more here that reveals itself as you go. This is a story of love, of perseverance, of exploration, and of never giving up hope.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance review copy received from the publisher as part of the First to Read program.]