Review: The Imperfection of Swans by Brandon Witt

Kevin Bivanti’s dream is to open a wedding dress shop, a place with the stunning gowns to make every bride-to-be feel adored. At thirty-eight, he quits a successful advertising career to buy an old brownstone in a trendy Boston neighborhood and to make his dream a reality. When one of his cosigners drops out, fate intervenes, ushering in Casper James, who hopes to open his own bakery. With Casper willing to take the risk, their ambitions meld into a wedding dress and wedding cake boutique.

Extensive renovations to the brownstone, an affair with his ex-husband, family drama with his mothers, and the anxiety of significant life changes push Kevin to the brink of a nervous breakdown. In the midst of stress and uncertainty, Casper becomes more than a business partner, a mutual attraction that adds another layer of intensity and risk.

With their dreams on the verge of reality, Kevin and Casper must find the courage to face the stress of managing their attraction, the gamble of a new business venture, and the resurgence of Kevin’s personal demons.


  
This is my first time reading Brandon Witt. And all I can say is WHERE THE HELL HAVE I BEEN? Seriously.

Kevin dreams of opening his own bridal gown shop and has decided to take the plunge. He purchases a space with his new business partner, Casper. Casper is taking over half of the building to open a bakery for wedding cakes. 

Kevin is a complicated and all-too-real character. He suffers physically and mentally, and struggles to keep it all together. Well, he struggles to appear to keep it together. Regardless of anyone's personal demons, we all struggle with that one thing. Nobody wants anyone else to actually know they're there. We try to keep it cool and if a breakdown is to happen,well, it certainly won't be in front of prying eyes. Kevin was so relatable, even though I can't identify with his particular problems, I could feel his struggle to keep others from knowing just how hard things really are for him. He's always trying to keep up appearances and not wanting anyone else to worry. Kevin is just so... human.

Well, he couldn't hide for much longer because along came Casper. He and Kevin jumped into this business venture head first and never looked back. Maybe they kind of looked back a couple times, but they mostly went full steam ahead. Which was mostly due to Casper and his amazing attitude and caring nature. He didn't know all the ins and outs of Kevin's disorder(s), but he knew they were there and was sensitive to them. He was genuinely thoughtful and so loving. 
"'I know you said we don't have to be perfect, but we are moving really, really fast. There's bound to be some issues come up. Maybe some big ones...' [...] Casper held his gaze for a moment before he replied. 'Yeah. There will be. And when they come up, we will just hug it out. We're going to be awesome. We'll hug it out.'"
Seriously. This guy was just freaking awesome and I love him for it. The careful way he handled Kevin, but without wearing kid gloves was so endearing and perfect. I can't help but love the guy.

Their romance is slow. Verrrrrryyyy slooooowwwww. It was beautiful and, honestly, I can't really see it going any different for them. But there were also a lot of details about the business planning that started to feel tedious to me by the middle. I mostly loved it, but there were some boring parts.

Highly recommended for a slow burn, contemporary romance that will definitely tug at your heartstrings. The Imperfection of Swans is a truly beautiful story.


A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads or Dreamspinners Press!

Guest Review: Farm Fresh (Naked Organics, #1) by Posy Roberts

Jude Garrity visits the farmers market every Saturday. As an environmental engineering student, he’s curious about living off the grid and sustainable agriculture.

And one particular farmer.

Hudson Oliva has worked hard to support his commune, where queer people live without fear of harm or retribution. When Jude asks pointed questions about living there, Hudson realizes he needs to be honest about his home. Few people know what the farm is actually about, but Jude is insistent.

Jude moves to Kaleidoscope Gardens, however his sexual hang-ups make it hard to adjust. He’s an uptight virgin living among people who have sex freely and with multiple partners. When Jude finally loosens up, Hudson is flooded with emotions. Falling for Jude wasn’t part of Hudson’s life plan. But when vindictive rumors about the commune begin to spread, love might be all he has left.

Genre: Contemporary Romance, MM Romance, Gay Fiction, with a splash of MMM+
Length:  Novel, 202 pages


Guest Reviewer: Adam

Hudson Oliva, commune farmer, and Jude Garrity, environmental engineering student, have spent months crushing on each other. The two make sure to run into each other once a week at the farmers market. When Jude expresses an interest in joining Hudson’s commune, Hudson lays it out clearly - the commune is a place of free love and acceptance, where LGBTQIA folks can live (and love) openly and freely, and are encouraged to do so. Jude, who still feels the effects of his highly religious and abusive parents, isn't entirely comfortable with this, but he's determined to overcome his hesitancies.

I was rooting for Hudson and Jude from early on. Both of them were obviously lonely, even if Hudson had his commune. There’s a fair amount of angst. Both Jude and Hudson come from homophobic families, though Jude’s abuse was a larger mountain to climb. Whenever he tries to get intimate with other men, Jude can only hear his father shaming him. Despite the frequent sex among the commune members, the romance in ‘Farm Fresh’ is fairly slow-paced.

Jude and Hudson open up to each other bit by bit, learning what makes the other happy. Given Jude’s past and Hudson’s reluctance to let himself love someone, I thought that their relationship development was realistic. Every hesitant kiss and step towards something more kept me reading.

The emotional impact and conflicts were also realistic. As Hudson and Jude work out the kinks in their relationship, they often end up arguing. It’s the result of their pasts experiences influencing how the interact with romantic interests. At times, I wanted to shake the two and tell them to get over themselves, but I can understand why they acted the way they did.

There are a host of secondary characters on the commune, though my favourite by far were Leo and Charlie, the MCs’ housemates and regular lovers. I loved Leo’s patient understanding of Jude’s situation, and how he didn’t mind playing relationship counsellor for Jude and Hudson. And Charlie? Well, if I ever decide to go to Kaleidoscope Gardens, it’ll probably be so that I can get him in bed. The guy just screamed “sex”.

The open relationship aspect of this book is quite different from anything I've read before. I've read books with polyamorous or open relationship characters, but the specifics in ’Farm Fresh’ were very unique. I think the author does a good job of showing how a free love commune could work, if the people involved are mature and express their concerns. So yes there is jealousy and the commune members didn't always get along, but everything was discussed out in the open so that solutions could be found.

And yes, the sex, in all of its different forms, was pretty hot.

However, I’m not so sure about the ending. It just seemed very abrupt. I’m not sure whether the rest of the series will focus on Hudson and Jude, or on other couples. I’d say that there’s a HFN, but it’s a tad tentative. Add in the side stories that had only just gotten interesting near the end, and I was left a bit annoyed. If the series does continue on with Jude and Hudson’s story, book 1 was a solid base.

Overall, I enjoyed ‘Farm Fresh’. It’s a well-written and unique take on open relationships, free love, and the effects that a person’s upbringing can have on their adulthood.


For more information on Farm Fresh:

Universal Amazon Buy Link: http://mybook.to/FarmFresh



Book Trailer:



About Posy Roberts
Real life. Genuine men. True love.
Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.
Posy is married to a man who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep. Her daughter, a budding author and dedicated Whovian, helps her come up with character names. When Posy’s not writing, she enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.
Social Media Links:

Review: Spirit by John Inman Audiobook, narrated by John Anthony Davis

Jason Day, brilliant designer of video games, is not only a confirmed bachelor, but he’s as gay as a maypole. One wouldn’t think being saddled with his precocious four-year-old nephew for four weeks would be enough to throw him off-kilter.

Wrong. Timmy, Jason’s nephew, is a true handful.

But just when Timmy and Uncle Jason begin to bond, and Jason feels he’s getting a grip on this babysitting business once and for all, he’s thrown for a loop by a couple of visitors—one from Tucson, the other from beyond the grave. 

I’m sorry. Say what?

Toss a murder, a hot young stud, an unexpected love affair, and a spooky-ass ghost with a weird sense of humor into Jason’s summer plans, and you’ve got the makings for one hell of a ride.
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Narrator: John Anthony Davis
Length: 6 hours and 47 minutes

4 1/2 hearts for the story

3 1/2 for the narration

I originally read, reviewed and LOVED Spirit by John Inman back in May of 2014


And everything I felt the first time around was reaffirmed in the audio version. From, my like of Jason and Timmy right away, to my distrust of Sally, then my delicious hatred of Jack and most importantly my huge crush on Sam. 

This was the first time I listened to any book narrated by John Anthony Davis and I really liked his voice and tone for this story, and especially for Jason and Timmy. He has a deliberate way of speaking and he pulls off Jason’s dry sense of humor and snark perfectly. Plus, he read Timmy so well. Having a kid as a main character, and Timmy has a huge role in Spirit, can make or break a story. Timmy helps make this story as good as it is and John Anthony Davis does him justice. The banter between Jason and Timmy is my second favorite thing about Spirit, next to anything having to do with Sam of course. 

My only niggles with the narration had to do with a few mispronunciations that got by editing. It wasn’t anything to major and I can easily let a few go by in a long narration, but a few too many snuck through for me. For instance instead of “rivulets of sweat” I heard “revolts of sweat”. It wasn’t enough to drag me out of the story, but enough to notice. A little extra careful editing would have cleaned those up. 

The scenes with The Spirit were balanced well, they weren’t overdone and had just the right level of creepiness and edge to keep me hooked. Listening to Sam speak of his missing brother Paul broke my heart all over again. But, Sam had Jason and I loved listening to the evolution of their relationship. When the sexy times came along I was completely smitten with them both, even more so than in the beginning. 

The ending was awesome! More creepiness and tension with a foreboding feeling that permeated the whole scene. They were solving the mystery of The Spirit and while they both KNEW what was coming it didn’t make it any easier. The epilogue rounded out the story and made me terribly happy. 

The story overall is still a favorite of mine and while I did have those few editing/production issues, overall I enjoyed the narration of the story. I would definitely listen to John Anthony Davis read to me some more.



**a copy of this audiobook was provided for an honest review**

Guest Review: Tournament of Losers by Megan Derr

All Rath wants is a quiet, peaceful life. Unfortunately, his father brings him too much trouble—and too many debts to pay—for that to ever be possible. When the local crime lord drags Rath out of bed and tells him he has three days to pay his father's latest debt, Rath doesn't know what to do. There's no way to come up with so much money in so little time.

Then a friend poses an idea just ridiculous enough to work: enter the Tournament of Losers, where every seventy-five years, peasants compete for the chance to marry into the noble and royal houses. All competitors are given a stipend to live on for the duration of the tournament—funds enough to cover his father's debt.

All he has to do is win the first few rounds, collect his stipend, and then it's back to trying to live a quiet life…


Guest Reviewer: Sheziss

Oh damn! I think I'm sick or something. What's this? I have this thing plastered on my face that refuses to let me be. A parasite? An octopus?

Oh, it's just a stupid charmed smile. Go figure.


I was most of the time like that, smiling like an idiot. No, happier than an idiot when finding a pencil. No difference at all.


This book is a fairy tale, the Cinderella with a big heart struggling to keep her head above water day after day in a miserable life, working for a little amount of money and selling her body when that’s not enough. But it doesn’t end there, because things can always get worse, like every time her father doesn’t pay his debts.

But now Cinderella is a guy. A cynical and a little bit of a rascal, with experience to prove that there is no such thing as wishes that come true, because reality will shatter them all. But still, he has dreams of his own, very very deep inside. You only have to scratch a little and a little more.

I loved Rath, he was just that kind of person. The genuine character that you immediately like in movies. Sort of Tyrion Lannister charm. From page 1 I wanted to be with him at all hours. He has that kind of honesty and sense of humor and charisma that makes you want to pursue him everywhere.


Tress included. I can’t believe how much I liked to see his stupid handsome face appear, as much as Rath does, even though he doesn’t understand why he fancies this hoity-toity man so much. I don’t have words to express how much I longed for Tress to sneak out of home and find Rath yet again to do mischievous things I’m not going to tell here. Very mischievous. For him to smile and smile and kiss Rath every time he could. Any excuse was valid for that.


Yes, I’m head over heels for these two. They indeed fit together, their banter was hilarious and smile-inducing. They invited you to go with them and never stop following and spying on them. They were literally A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E and I love cute characters with all my being.


Because the MCs were NICE, capital letters. Not in a way that make you feel like punching their smug handsome faces but in that sincere and raw way there is no desire to escape from. They had that vibe about them that intoxicate you into believing you can’t live without them. I didn’t expect to love the characters so much and enjoy the time spent with them like that. They were funny and impossible to get bored with. I wanted to squeeze and squeeze and never let go. It was a blast.


About the world building, it’s kind of a Medieval setting, with griffons and invented herbs and foods included. I liked the acceptance of pairs of the same sex. Nobody made a fuss about it here. I really appreciated that the author decided to avoid the intolerance and prejudices that take place in our reality. Simply everybody competed in the Tournament, and everybody had the same chances to win, and everybody could marry a man or a lady if they achieved to accomplish every challenge. It worked the other way around, there were female soldiers, female announcers and other female characters just everywhere. I liked that, although I will never truly buy ladies can punch men in the face like they do in some of the tasks and still win with equal results. However, I don’t care about that right now.

But then the Tournament makes a little less sense. It’s made for commoners to compete to marry aristocracy members and improve the “species”. But same sex pairs can’t have children, so what’s the point in mixing up with the commoners when there is no way for that to happen? I understand that blood is not the only important matter here, it’s keeping the feet on the ground that counts. Anchoring nobles to reality, reminding them the needs of the kingdom, in order to change the circumstances for the better. But still, it’s a little detail that nagged at me from time to time.

It goes without saying that the plot is predictable. Just because it’s a fairytale you already expect some kind of secret to be discovered and some misunderstandings to take place. Sometimes I resented bad people were that bad whereas good people where straightforwardly good. This dichotomy usually annoys me endlessly but here I just couldn’t bring myself to care after a minute or two. Because this book is to be read with pleasure. It brings out your Disney side. It’s a funny and entertaining read, but it’s also a heart-melting tale of love and the moral that, if you are a generous soul, you will always get your HEA with the prince of your dreams and do mischievous things together forever.



For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

A copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review.

Review: Something Shattered by Bailey Bradford

When something inside him is shattered by an act of violence, Caleb Tomas doesn’t think he can ever be whole again. 

Police Officer Jesse Martin has lived in the small town of El Jardin, New Mexico, for a decade, but he’s never seen anything like the mysterious man who moves in in the middle of the night. The house across the street from Jesse’s trailer is no longer empty. There’s a puzzle waiting to be solved there in the form of one sexy, but decidedly different, man.

Bruised and battered inside and out, Caleb Tomas flees to the town of El Jardin in the hopes of escaping the terror that haunts him. Instead, he becomes more of a recluse, scared of everything, unable to get more than a dozen feet past his porch before he panics. His head’s a mess, and he knows he needs help, but that’s a step he doesn’t want to take. It’s easier, safer to stay hidden away with only his adorable puppy, Loopy, and the bird-murdering cat, Mix, for companionship.

 But Caleb can’t help but notice the sexy man across the street, and when Loopy escapes from the back yard, it’s Jesse Martin who comes to the rescue.

And he might save more than one bouncy little poodle, if Caleb and Jesse are willing to take the risk. 

Reader Advisory: This book contains references to physical assault. Publisher's Note: This book was previously released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.
 

I originally read Something Shattered very early on in my MM reading life. I was smitten. Who wouldn’t be? Two likable MC’s, one who is terribly damaged and one who is a strong protector and they are both hot and bothered for one another. Then I started bingeing on Bailey Bradford books and I think the thing I love about them is that they are SO horny. I just love that. Some readers have their Calmes or their Cardeno C.’s, I have my Bradford. I always get a solid story, likeable characters and a plethora of weeping boners. Makes my heart happy.

So, I was anxious to reread this one for its re-release. I know my tastes have changed, that’s natural, but would I find this story just as appealing the second time around after a couple of years and thousands of books under my belt? Why yes, yes I did. Now that I’ve read a lot more of Bailey Bradford’s books I’ve been able to pinpoint what it is that appeals to me so about her writing. Well, three things; the characters are unique and even the ‘broken’ ones have a lot of inner strength, the unnecessary angst is minimal, I hate angst just for the sake of it and her guys rarely have miscommunication issues that aren’t in the ‘normal’ range, so the stories move forward all the time. And finally, her characters really know how to talk dirty and I eat up every word with a big spoon and an even bigger grin.

Something Shattered is the story of a very small town in New Mexico and two lonely men who live across the street from one another. Jesse is a cop with no immediate family and he comes across as a very private man. Caleb moved into town in the middle of the night and no one knows anything about him. He arrived battered and bruised and because it’s a small town there are questions and some gossip. Jesse had tried to introduce himself but was shut down pretty quickly. Luckily enough for Jesse, Caleb’s little dog Loopy is an escape artist and continuously makes his way to Jesse’s and Jesse has to return him. That leads him to fixing Caleb’s fence and with Caleb gradually getting more comfortable having Jesse around. It’s obvious that something traumatic happened to Caleb and we do find out more later on, the ‘what happened’ isn’t as important as his healing is in the story. Jesse is a natural nurturer and protector, because remember? Cop? Plus he’s becoming smitten with Caleb and vice versa.

As the two get comfier with one another, the boners start making a regular appearance and this is when the sweetness actually ratcheted up to delicious degrees. I really liked reading how they flirted and got to know one another. This is also where the strength of the characters shows up. Caleb obviously has some issues and there is no magical solution and Jesse and Caleb do communicate. Caleb also knows he has to get better for himself and so he can present his best self to Jesse because that’s what Jesse deserves.

There was some small town homophobic drama. The angst came from the outside and made Jesse and Caleb stronger for it. It didn’t drag out for too long and it wasn’t wrapped up with too pretty of a bow which was good. It was a driving force for Caleb though. It called up his protective instincts for the man he loved and Jesse totally got off on that. Caleb shares his entire story and gets the help he needs and a lot of that goes on in the background. That works because the story is about the two of them together. The balance of detail on Caleb getting help and what he shares with Jesse and the reader worked well for their story.

At about 90% was my favorite dirty talking bit and here’s a taste so you know the delicious little nuggets you get with Jesse and Caleb.

“I’m going to ride you until your eyes cross and your balls beg for mercy, until you come so hard you feel like you’re being turned inside out.” 

Yeah, Caleb, you should definitely do ALL of that.



For more information on Something Shattered, check it out on Goodreads.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Guest Review: Y Negative by Kelly Haworth

In the last surviving cities of a ruined world, the concept of “woman” has been forgotten to history. Those unfortunate enough to lack a Y chromosome live as second-class citizens in a world dominated by mascs.

Ember is Y negative. He is scorned, bullied, abused by every masc he encounters, at work and at the gym. Not even his Y negative roommate cuts him any slack. He wants so desperately to be accepted as a masc that he’d rather buy black market testosterone than food. Something’s gotta give—he needs a change in his life, but has no idea how to find it.

Jess is a masc with a passion for studying the recovery of their devastated world. His boyfriend is pressuring him for more commitment, and his father expects him to take over the family business. He can’t wait to get away from civilization for his seasonal research out in the wild.

When Jess offers Ember a job, their lives collide in the isolated wasteland, and their initial attraction turns into a relationship that horrifies those around them. Soon their struggle to stay together and to be who they are turns into a fight for their lives.





Guest Reviewer:  Sheziss

This book.

Is special.


In so many ways. Man, this really rocked my world for a few days. I read it slowly because I was studying very hard for the exams but I couldn't put it down when it was (more than) time to go to sleep. The cover doesn't do it justice, this tale is more than a story or two. It's about Ember and the world he lives in. A world divided by genetics, full of dangers and disdain from the mascs towards the Y negatives, the lowest of the food chain. In between we have the andros, Y negatives who have already served the purpose of continuing the species with their bodies. They inject testosterone in order to fit into society and look more “normal”. But it’s a society they will never fully belong to. It's a battle lost before they even begin it. They will always be disregarded and considered less than human. They will always be used and pushed aside. Mascs will never consider them equals and even less bond with them.

The world is so well built it felt like a movie. I related it to Blade Runner, with bodily paints with flavor as a plus but with the same look-where-are-you-stepping-on feeling. Ember doesn't dream of electric sheep. He dreams of becoming a masc and being close to one. An impossible aim. He has desires he is afraid to acknowledge out loud but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming. Because he knows there is no hope to fulfill them. But still, he goes on, he works out in the gym and struggles to earn his next testosterone doses rather than eating real food. Misery in the whole sense of the word. Because when Tuesdays come, he feels like a man, although this feeling is not enduring. I could feel his loneliness as a stone, his emptiness and his longings sharp like a knife. He indeed left a mark on me.


Despite this, life goes on, and we get glimpses of what being an andro implies, how they barely have a decent existence. How they get by with the constant abuse and the reminder that they will never be enough for the rest of the world. The author managed to slap me in the face once and again, moving me in ways I never expected her to. I wanted so badly for things to change, as much as Ember does. And they do. Suddenly there is a masc, Jess, at his door, offering him a job for several weeks. A job that takes him away from everything he has ever known, alone with 4 mascs with no way to escape. Sounds like the best plan. He clutches the straw and agrees.


The Outskirts are dangerous, and Law takes a whole different meaning out of the big cities where people manage to survive. But what is even more dangerous is the proximity he feels towards Jess, by each passing day. The atmosphere turns into something more intimate at this instance, more secluded, and more meaningful that everything they had ever experienced. It was beautiful to see their struggles, the conflicts and the sweet surrender to each other and to themselves.


I truly loved Jess but I think he wasn’t wholly developed as a character. Sometimes the author skipped parts of his personality and scenes that could have been so much more. We was such a faint-hearted guy I wanted to shake him up now and then. Still, I could see he had never been one to harm other people just for the sake of it, as other mascs do for fun or to fit a certain mold. But he has never been brave enough to break said mold and swim in the opposite direction. He is quiet and thoughtful, letting others take the reins and adapting to their wishes when the moment requires it. But when he meets Ember, he feels alive for the first time in his life, which fills him with confusi√≥n and doubts. He wants to get closer, but at the same time he knows shit will hit the fan the moment he makes a movement. Is Ember worthy of it all? Or is it better to keep blending and silencing his needs and resigning himself to what people have always expected of him?


I was truly enchanted with it all. The writing style drew me in with no effort at all. The environment is ugly but uncannily attractive at the same time. There is that special magic in the air, the certainty that something significant and beautiful will happen eventually. And it does. Along with the hopelessness, there are bright moments and wonderful insights of the MCs' minds. I wanted to dwell on it forever. The story covered me like a warm blanket, it's a feeling I don't usually have while I read post-apocalyptic books, but there was a familiar comfort here.


Yes, it's a bizarre story, that with the androgynous character and all that he has to go through. I think this is the first ambiguous MC I have ever read. The events and the characters' actions are not the ones I waited for. They just came, never following a certain scheme. The story just flowed and I just devoted myself in reading and reading. I love it when authors don't restrain their imagination and creativeness. Because even though after a while I realize nothing that occurs in this book is really original in the big scheme of things, I still felt I had never heard of them before.

No, it's not perfect. I must admit there were some moments which felt too strange for me. For instance: When Jess hides the death of his previous tech boy the year before. I mean, he said to his parents that he just said goodbye and disappeared? And Jess is fine with himself after that? I accept that Jess is afraid of losing his chance at studying what he has spent his life on, and that a human life doesn't have the importance it has nowadays. But still, it was too much for me he acted that way and has no moral conflicts with it afterwards. Apart from that I could find a scene or two that felt a little lacking because they left things unexplained and unsolved. But overall, I must say this is a pretty solid read that managed to take my mind elsewhere.



A review copy was provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads or Booklikes.

Review: Assassins are People Too by S.C. Wynne

Marc Francis is a paid assassin. Other than that, he's a pretty normal guy, like how he's got a little thing for the blond guy in 39D. Just a normal guy with a normal crush, until one of Marc's enemies tries to get the drop on him in the elevator and then it's the blonde cutie to the rescue: Dillon Carter, from 39D, sacrifices his potted plant to save him.

Instantly, Marc and Dillon develop a strong sexual connection. As the months go by, while they steal time together, it develops into something more. But Marc doesn’t really do relationships, and Dillon worries Marc will never be able to love him back the way he needs.

Also, when you’re a paid assassin, not everybody is rooting for your happy ever after.



Assassins! I love them. The darker the character the better. Give me a complex criminal I can sink my teeth into and I'm one happy reader. I'll admit, I saw the cover and squeed (only a little) because we always need more assassin romances in the world.

In S.C. Wynne's "Assassins are People Too", don't expect dark. Instead, it's lighter, closer to campy and snarky.

The novella starts off with a bang...in more ways than one. I question the swiftness of some actions *shrugs* but the reader is taken along for a ride between first alternating POV between neighbors, geeky, resident good egg & bookstore worker Dillon and anti-social snarky assassin "Marc". The men have a five year age gap, but seem to act like it's super ancient at times. Marc and Dillon have eyed each other for a while (prior to the book) so there is supposed to be a connection. Sex fiends will be happy with the rapidness of loss of briefs in this book.

I, however... I'm on the fence with buying this couple. I wonder how long they'd actually last.

The story is readable. The action is fast paced. The time jumps, eh...it doesn't really help as much to the viability of the couple for me. But for the a fast paced story with a light campy assassin, it works. I might be looking for something more to sink my teeth into when this book is more like cheese and crackers.

I actually liked Marc the assassin more than Dillon. Dillon had a couple of TSTL moments that grated my nerves and then Marc would come in and I'd give Dillon a pass. The repetition during certain passages got to be annoying. But not too much to affect the overall enjoyment because I believe Dillon was supposed to be the good guy with a caring heart to Marc's worldly loner bad side.

That opposites attract theme...it was decent. If I look at the only main ingredients and not the little things, I can say enjoyed myself.

But...the story had issues. And the biggest one is not something every reader might catch.

The setting.

Maybe, just maybe if this book wasn't set in NYC, I might've rated higher.

Possibly. *squints...thinks about the repetition and camp*

Maybe.

It's a me thing (most likely), but I can't rate higher when the setting is all wrong.

See it started with a niggle - how could a bookstore worker who stated he worked in a "dead end job" afford to live in a high rise apartment building in NYC. Dillon lived on the 39th floor and the high paid assassin lived directly above him on the 40th. How could he afford this? I tried to pretend it was a really cheap rent controlled apartment and ignore the niggle.

But...let's say it wasn't Manhattan since it wasn't specified because a lot of authors assume NYC is Manhattan and nothing else. Plus, once Dillon referenced Central Park and the Hudson, game over. High rises aren't cheap. The two men have disproportionate pay scales...and Dillon lived on his own with a car...in the city.


But then the niggle got worse to tugging in the gut when said bookstore worker (not even an owner) drove his car around to park with no problems in the city. He drove to work. *stares* He drove to eat. *double stares* No mention of paying for parking or even taking public transportation. He can just park wherever he wants in his building's garage. So he's paying rent, car insurance & gas on a book store worker's salary without resorting to living on Ramen noodles once a year and air sandwiches for his natural born life?


Now, I know you can find places to drive and park without paying in Manhattan, but in this book it's too easy for someone who works a "dead end job" and it read...off. I really wish this was set any other place but NYC. It'd work for any other place. Damn these niggles.

Since the setting thing probably wouldn't bother most readers who aren't familiar with NYC, it's worth a peek. I don't think everyone is going to love it. The story is closer to cute, it had a few solid moments. I do wish it was longer and possibly if the story started a couple of days before, maybe with Marc watching Dillon from afar for a few times while in between assignments. Something to make the connection more solid. It started so quick and then the weird courtship period didn't lend any credence to their "foundation". The repetition of their issues wasn't going to make it more believable.

This is a story I could nitpick all day - nothing that rocks the boat too much, nothing to make a lasting impression. There is a cliffhanger ending that possibly means more from this pairing. If the premise is interesting enough (more information on their backgrounds, no more NYC please and less naivete from Dillon), I might come back from more.

Great ideas, decent execution (minus the setting). This is swimming in the 3- 3.5 Hearts pond.

Light assassins could be a thing. Who knew?

For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Guest Review: Something in the Way He Needs (Family, #1) Audiobook by Cardeno C.

Police captain Asher Penaz’s staunch professionalism bleeds into his home life, down to his neatly pressed attire and spartan apartment. He enjoys being the man in charge, and leather bars satisfy his need for dominance—so his sudden and powerful attraction to the lighthearted, free-spirited Daniel Tover throws him for a loop. In his entire life, Daniel has never gotten what he needs, so he moves to the next place, the next job, the next attempt to find something worth staying for, always landing at the top of his game, but never feeling like he belongs.

The chemistry between Asher and Daniel sizzles, so Asher invites Daniel home. As both men struggle to learn themselves while getting to know each other, the lines of desire and control blur. With all that fire comes the risk of getting burned. But if Daniel and Asher can walk through the flames together, they might find what they desperately need.


Narrated by Ezekiel Robison
Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins


Guest Reviewer: Fantasy Living

I gotta say, I’m super excited to be a guest reviewer on Boy Meets Boy Reviews. It was difficult to keep my squee inside, when I was asked, but I managed, barely. It left me red-faced and sweaty (did I write that out loud?) . I mean how could I not be excited when UNICORNS invited me to their tea party?! So thank you to the team for asking me along, and being super warm and welcoming.

Okay, I’ll get to the review now….. (plays with Unicorn Name Generator)... okay, I’m serious this time.

Ash is in Las Vegas for his best friend, Oliver’s, Bachelor party when he spies a hot piece of clumsy twink trying to not be so clumsy and awkward. For reasons I haven’t fully understood, Ash follows said twink onto a tour bus and starts chatting him up. After some very awkward and hot almost-touches, Ash saves this clumsy man from almost toppling over the side rail of the roof level of said bus…. Cue the corny line about debts for lives saved etc. etc.

After they safely disembark from that journey, Ash meets back up with his buddy, trying to figure out how he can get this stranger to hang around him for longer. That’s when this guy is introduced as the Groom’s brother, Daniel. Thus starts the weird and wonderful almost-relationship between the brutally honest, always in control Cop, Asher, and the clumsy, free-spirited (*cough* flakey *cough*), doesn’t have a care in the world, is-hiding-things-but-not-in-an-obvious-way, Daniel.

I’m going to start with the Narrator, Ezekiel Robison. He was great, and I would listen to him narrate all the audiobooks. His voice range worked well with the cast of characters. Doing drunk voices never works for me, so it was a little painful listening to Chapter 1 because the intro is in a strip-club with drunk Oliver, but I worked through it, and was placated with the rest of the chapter not told in imitation-drunk slur. I guess you have to BE drunk to find drunk-speak endearing in any way (or in my case, too busy dancing and ignoring everyone that I can’t hear it, so it doesn’t matter). But it wasn’t over the top, so that was enough to keep me going.

I loved Ezekiel’s voice and personality adaptation for Daniel, and Oliver’s fianc√©, Shirley. Although Shirley doesn’t have much of a role in the story, I loved the spot she did have, because her personality was in full view with the way Ezekiel narrated. Ezekiel kept me in this story, even when I was not really happy with the content. It’s hard to ignore a man with a sexy voice, dirty talking in your ear. Even if I have to wait a little while, I’m not going to stop him from continuing.

So the story ….

It worked well until it didn’t. I found myself starting to think Ash was a big narcissist. That is not sexy to me. I like my characters to grow, and it was so slow for him that I was about ready to give up. Only the Narrator and Daniel’s secret was the reason I kept going. Ash came off as confident and self-possessed in the beginning but I found over time, he became overly paranoid and really insecure. It was strange, and I didn’t like it. I felt there could have been less angst, but enough drama to keep the story going, without Ash taking a personality back-slide into psycho.

Some of the content I would consider emotional abuse, and for a ‘sweet’ romance, there is no room for that. I wanted Daniel to leave and find someone worthy. That being said, Asher could have been a strong character, and if there was a follow up, where his emotional journey was in full swing, I would definitely read it. As much as I think he is a pompous arse, I think he is redeemable and could become someone truly likable on his own merit.

Some readers have tagged this story as BDSM. No. It is not. There is a light spanking scene but that is it. It is something that is sidestepped and it is known that while Daniel might try some kink for Ash, he is not into that (well he does get into a ‘gentle’ spanking but that is it). This would be considered sugarkink to me, which is why I’ve tagged it a little bit kinky. While Asher may call himself a Dom (*cough* bullshit *cough*) this book is not about any D/s exchange, nor is it about Daniel finding submission. Ash’s past dealings with a Leather bar (off page) does not a BDSM book make.

With all the problems I had with this story, I would still listen to this again. It was memorable, and likable enough to be a fall back book. Something familiar to wile away some hours if I needed it. Did I mention Ezekiel dirty talks to me? Hawt. I have every intention of checking out the next book. The author writes well and it really is all about Asher personality that took away from this story for me.

So that’s me for this special guest spot on BMBR. Thanks for having me Unicorns, let’s do it again sometime.

Fantasy Living



For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Pssst... like a discount?

The hunt is on.

Pretty young men and women like Michael's best friend, Scary Mary, are disappearing from underground goth clubs all over Detroit. For over two years, Michael has been scouring the midwest for buried newspaper articles and obscure medical reports, and now he's finally pinpointed the source of the problem. Too bad he can't exactly go to the cops and tell them his friend was murdered by vampires. Since it's his duty to start wiping out the scourge, he's posing as bait—and he's got a bag of sharpened hickory stakes to do the job.

Everything should go smoothly, given the amount of preparation that Michael has put into the hunt. He's got a practiced repertoire of come-hither eyeliner looks and a full blister-pack of the date rape drug Rohypnol. But he didn't count on Wild Bill showing up.

Wild Bill is a vision in spiked hair and scuffed black leather—exactly the type of guy Michael would have fallen for…if he'd ever had the chance. Unfortunately, with a vampire in his sights, Michael has no time for an actual date. Despite his best efforts, it seems there's nothing Michael can do to shake Bill loose. Looks like they're in for a wild, wild ride.


Just an FYI folks...

Payback, the first in the Channelling Morpheus series by Jordan Castillo Price, is reduced to as low as 99c at Amazon, Smashwords, B&N and ARe until the 5th February inclusive. Not sure about vampire stories? At this price you've not got a lot to lose (and I can say I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this book. Not a sparkle in sight!)

Go on... give it a go!

Review: Thirty Things by Cate Ashwood

All their lives, Finn and Nate have been inseparable, sharing everything, and when a childhood accident left Finn broken, Nate stood by his side as all his other friends left. After all their years together, there’s one secret Finn still hasn’t revealed: he has been in love with Nate since they were eight years old. Hiding his feelings for twenty-one years—terrified of what might happen if Nate ever found out—has been difficult, but losing his best friend would be worse than living with a bad case of unrequited love. Unfortunately for Finn, Nate doesn't make it easy.

Nate believes there are some things that just have to be done before your thirtieth birthday. As a gift to Finn, he plans an adventure to check off a list of thirty things to experience before hitting that milestone. Starting in Crawfordsville, Indiana, they tour the country, trying new things and meeting interesting new people. Nate’s having the time of his life, but he can tell Finn is holding something back. As the days count down, navigating the back roads suddenly seems easier than figuring out where their relationship is heading.

One thing’s for certain. There will be no turning back.




Thirty Things was a sweet, super low angst, friends-to-lovers story. So low angst that I barely felt any tension.

That's right. Friends-to-lovers... with no tension. Huh?

The premise was super cute. Finn's bestie (who was also his roommate), Nate, planned a fun road trip/adventure with a list of thirty things to do before Finn's birthday. It was a very sweet gesture and instantly made Nate an endearing character.

But other than their trip, nothing really happened. There were a lot of details that I didn't care too much about, which was annoying when I felt the story was lacking in other areas. I would have rather been reading about the characters and how they felt, instead of how the brewery they visited was set up. It made for a boring story when I think it could have been really good if there was more going on between Nate and Finn. I guess there was a lot going on, but I didn't feel any of it. Gimme some chemistry! Both guys were perfectly likable and sweet. But the tension just wasn't there, especially for two guys who have been best friends their whole lives. Not only that, but they'd been pining for each other for years. I expected crazy chemistry jumping off the pages. But... nothin'. I didn't really feel much of anything from them.

Everything fell together too easily. I have to say I was surprised with Nate, I felt like his affections came out of nowhere. They were just BFF's, and then he's suddenly all lovey and making sexual innuendos. It was like he switched characters or something.

Like I said, the guys were fine. I liked them and their little adventure was a cute idea. But that wasn't enough to save the story. It didn't all come together for me.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads.

Review: Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) by Avon Gale

After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His new roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences.Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. While trying to financially help Ethan, Riley must hide his family’s wealth so as not to hurt Ethan’s immense pride. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.






Brace yourselves. I'm about to say some words I never thought I'd say. This series has me seriously contemplating actually watching a professional hockey game. 





Congratulations, Avon Gale. You've made the improbable probable with your palpable love of the game that radiates off the page. I want to see a ninja save for myself after reading Riley's.

Speaking of Riley... I had good feels about him in Breakaway and his story did not disappoint. Riley is the quiet one on the team, the superstitious goalie that drinks a metric ton of coconut water daily-his own personal salute to his idol Martin Brodeur. You know what they say about the quiet ones and in this case it's true times infinity. He's also a caretaker. His family has A LOT of money but he just wants to be one of the guys and help his friends out when they need it without it being weird.

Riley and Ethan met last season and hit it off well enough to agree to be roommates this season. They are classic opposites attract. Ethan is the loud enforcer. Everyone loves him because he's a superb teammate. He may be riding the pine but he's cheering the loudest for everyone on the ice. He's passionate, charismatic and mouthy. He comes by it honest as the only male in a single parent home with two younger sisters. And they're Irish. So whiskey happens. Often. Whiskey is just one of Ethan's vices. He smokes. He drinks. He eats like a college freshman. "In shape" + Ethan are mutually exclusive. 

He amused me greatly.

Neither have ever been attracted to a guy before, but surprisingly there is very little angst over discovering they're bisexual. I wouldn't say they take it in stride but they don't over-analyze it either. They both accept that they're interested in the other and they're roommates so things just start happening. It reads very natural with appropriate trepidation about scaling the sex ladder. They don't jump on the express train to Pound Town but they did swirl in a bit of kink!




The sex is hot but what I loved so much about this book was the characters. Riley and Ethan are just dudes being dudes-pizza, video games, beer, hockey obsessed, they call each other by their last names, would bend Jennifer Lawrence over the back of the couch and do unspeakable things to her together given the opportunity, they have an aversion to anything resembling talking about feelings. Call me crazy but I like my bisexuals to actually be portrayed as bisexual. And these two guys are which endeared them to me. I'd hang with them and force them to watch chick flicks. You know those super tearjerky ones like The Notebook  just for funsies. I'm lying. Mostly I'd do it to catch them crying. I'm sorry, I mean for "having something in their eyes" so I could make fun of them!




Sorry. I squirreled.

Not only did Riley and Ethan have me turning the pages, but the secondary characters were so entertaining. Coach Spencer... OMFG! I had tears running down my face at some of his comments/antics. Why did he keep randoming about soccer?


"Now go get on the bus and don't tell anyone I said a single nice thing to you. I'm gonna eat a sandwich and make 'em wait another twenty minutes. Get out of here."

The coach yelled at them all the way back to the hotel and then kept yelling when they got there too fast. He made the bus driver circle the block four times so he could finish.




He kinda stole the show for me. He and Ethan's family added moments of poignancy that had me "having something in my eye" a couple times. That whole #3 thing... Right. In. The. Feels. Lane, Jared, Zoe and Ryan all made memorable cameos as well. 

"You keep insisting that you're straight. Except for Tom Hardy."

"I'm sorry, but everyone would do him. I don't care how straight you are."


TRUE STORY!

*enthusiastic nodding*

And then there was the hockey. The Sea Storm with their ridiculous angry tornado uniforms are trying to right the wrong of losing the Kelly Cup last season. Surprisingly, I didn't find the hockey obnoxious.

I thoroughly enjoyed Breakaway but I loved Save of the Game. This author seems to just keep getting better with every read. If I had to narrow down one thing that's exemplary about her writing style it would be dialogue. She has a gift for realistic and relateable conversations that can be humorous, touching and not in the least bit contrived. 

Needless to say I'm eagerly awaiting the next Scoring Chances book. Maybe by then I'll know something about hockey. Doubtful but maybe.







An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.


Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.