NA Review: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan + Giveaway!

Carry the OceanCarry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

Published by: Samhain Publishing

Format: Kindle ARC

Genre: NA M/M Romance

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 10/10

Did you see the score I gave this one? Did you? DID YOU?! 10/10. 10 whopping stars. That’s not something I hand out willy nilly to all the books that grace this blog. No, this book is special. It’s ridiculously special. Don’t get me wrong: it’s the funny, sexy, intelligent, fast paced, and lovely book we expect from Heidi Cullinan. But above all – and what sets it apart from everything – is how wholly unique it is to the genre. Read the plot, give it a chance; give me 50 pages and if you hate it, forget it. But if you trust my reviews, then do yourself a favor and one-click this book. It is oh so worth it.

Read the full post »

Quickie Review: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

smokey mountain dreamsSmoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

Genre: Contemporary M/M

Score: 9/10

Plot: Sometimes holding on means letting go.

After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.

Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother, he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

Quick Review: Leta Blake is the reigning queen of sexy and her newest book just drives that point home. From the outside, Smoky Mountain Dreams seems like it will be a light hearted romp through a Dollywood-esque theme park. There’s the cute singing guitar player with a heart of gold and the hot bisexual dad just looking for a connection with someone after the loss of his wife. Simple, easy, right? And yet like her amazing Training Season, Leta manages to make this situation anything but. The conflicts and difficulties these two face run from the mundane — Jesse’s kids are trepidatious and unwelcoming — to the large scale — Jesse’s wife might not be as far removed from his life as Chris thinks. The relationship these two start is one fraught with difficulty but Leta makes it a wild, sexy ride to the finish line.

You’ll definitely enjoy: Chris has a heart of gold and seems like the perfect boyfriend for anyone (read: me); the naughty bits are hellaciously sexy and graphic in a way that does not feel tawdry but certainly is satisfying; Chris’ Gran is hilarious and belts out these stories and one liners that will have you laughing; theme park setting!

You might hate: the conflict that threatens Jesse’s relationship with Chris seems a bit overdone and Jesse’s reaction to Chris finding out a big secret is awful and degrading; Chris seems so in need of love that he confuses a good time between the sheets as the big L and he is quick to forgive Jesse anything; insta-love; theme park setting!

Exclusive Excerpt: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins

NothingLikeParis-R (1)Happy Monday, book lovers. If you’re an unabashed Off Campus fan like me, you’re all set for March 3rd which is the big release for the sequel, Nothing Like Paris! Now, if you read my review, you’ll know this is one doozy of a redemption story that will wind you up and knock you flat…and then uplift you cause hey, we all want an HEA even for a douchey main character like Jack!

Amy Jo Cousins has a special treat today to whet our appetites even further for Nothing Like Paris’ release: an exclusive excerpt. So without further ado, read on to learn a little bit more about what makes Jack Tarkington tick.

…and also, if it wasn’t clear: there be spoilers below! Also a few curse words so if that’s not your sort of thing, well, what are you doing here?!

Read the full post »

NA Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins

Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins

Published by: Samhain Publishing

Format: Kindle

Genre: NA M/M Romance

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 8/10

AJ Cousins, my new go-to golden girl of LGBTQ NA, is back and back with a vengeance. For those not in the know, this is book 2 in her highly praised Bend or Break series, the first of which was Off Campus (I adored it & you can read my review to find out why) featured a bisexual jock down on his luck and his hot traumatized gay roommate. The antagonist of that book – aka the evil resident life worker who makes their lives hell – is actually the hero of Nothing Like Paris. Well, I use hero loosely cause all through book one, Jack was a douche and shocker of shockers, he’s STILL a douche at the beginning of this one! But more about that in a bit…

Read the full post »

Quickie review: There Will Be Phlogiston by Alexis Hall

ThereWillBePhlogiston_500x750There Will Be Phlogiston by Alexis Hall

Genre: M/M/F Steampunk Romance

Score: 9/10

Plot: An instructive story in which vice receives its just reward.

Inspired by true and scandalous tales of the Gaslight aristocracy, we present the most moral and improving tale of Lady Rosamond Wolfram.

Weep, reader, for the plight of our heroine as she descends into piteous ruin in the clutches of the notorious Phlogiston Baron, Anstruther Jones. Witness the horrors of feminine rebellion when this headstrong young lady defies her father, breaks an advantageous engagement, and slips into depravity with a social inferior. Before the last page is turned, you will have seen our heroine molested by carnival folk, snubbed at a dance, and drawn into a sinful ménage a trois by an unrepentant sodomite, the wicked and licentious Lord Mercury.

Reader, take heed. No aspect of our unfortunate heroine’s life, adventures, or conduct is at all admirable, desirable, exciting, thrilling, glamorous, or filled with heady passion and gay romance.

Review: A debutante in all things steampunk, I was told again and again to use There Will Be Phlogiston as the pond in which to dip my toes. And now in turn, I implore you, dear readers: read this book! It’s a thrilling romp through a world made up of aristocrats and airmen, school girls and carnival folk.  At its core, two aristocrats learn to come to grips with their innermost desires and in turn, be able to love the low born yet wealthy, Anstruther Jones. Arkady is the effeminate last of his line who can’t allow the rest of the aristocracy to know that he prefers the company of men like Jones; Rosamond is a seventeen year old school girl thrilled to be able to marry yet devastated by what that entails. These three meet and perform an unlikely courtship that is madcap, dizzying, and fantastical as it shifts from gilded ballrooms, the gutter, and a nightmarish circus populated with mechanical animals. The pace is frenetic and over the top; the language is lush and otherworldly. In the end, the message is simple: find love where you will and embrace it. There Will Be Phlogiston is one of the smartest, finely crafted books I have read in ages and it will be sure to tickle your interest for more from Alexis Hall.

You’ll enjoy: phenomenal world building set in a fantasy land called Gaslight; the finely honed and playful language of the author; the various sexy scenes between alternate pairings of the three main characters; the character of Anstruther Jones who reads as the perfect romantic hero for anyone anywhere ever; the fact that this is a side-story in a wider catalog of steampunk stories written by the author meaning that there are many more adventures that await you.

You might not enjoy: steampunk is not for everyone – it’s a weird hodgepodge of fantasy, mechanical invention, and alternate reality without any real explanation of how it came to be; a menage-a-trois story (M/M/F) which some find implausible; the grandiose language; the seemingly quick ending which sneaks up on you out of nowhere!

Final score: 9/10 

NA Review: Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Off campusOff Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Published by: Samhain Publishing

Format: Kindle

Genre: NA M/M Romance

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 9/10

Amy Jo Cousins is my new favorite writer: she whips up light-hearted romance like Five Dates and then sucker punches you with a heavy-hitting, quick-witted, sexual identity questioning read like Off Campus. Girlfriend has got IT and knows how to play me like a fiddle. And all I want is a whole lot more…

Read the full post »

Sci-Fi Romance Review: The Silvers by Jill Smith

the silversThe Silvers by Jill Smith

Published by: Bold Strokes Books

Format: Kindle edition

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance (possibly mm but there’s an alien so…it’s actually m/a?)

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 9/10

While the cover has been the subject of many a disturbing tweet (note to publishers: that cover is not…the greatest. You think I kid but I’m asking seriously, why would you use that? I would never in a million years have purchased this book except for the urging of trusted sources. No, really, not at all. EVER. It’s – what’s the word? Oh yes, AWFUL), the book itself is a rich and beautifully written find that lingered far longer than it should have and actually had me questioning my own humanity at points. It’s a rare romance novel that is able to do that!

Read the full post »

Novella Review: Strange Magic, Part I by Michelle Mankin

SM-part1Strange Magic Part I by Michelle Mankin

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Score: 7/10 

Read the full post »

Quickie Review: Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins

Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins

Genre: m/m romance

Score: 9/10

Plot: Helping his sister Lucy raise her kid has put Devin’s love life on hold. When he loses a bet to her and the penalty is to go out on five dates with men she’s chosen from Guys4Guys.com, he thinks that’s bad enough. Finding out she used a thirteen-year-old picture of him to score a date with a young guy who looks like a rock star? Epically bad.

Jay thought he wanted to fall for an older man. But his last boyfriend left him feeling humiliated and determined to stick to guys his own age. When he realizes he’s been conned into a date with exactly the kind of man he’s sworn to avoid, he’s ready to walk away on the spot. Only Devin’s swift apologies convince Jay to accept dinner to make up for the deception.

Review: Five Dates is one of those books that’s just so much fun to read you’ll devour it in one sitting. It’s a light hearted comedy of errors wherein Devin loses a bet and his sister decides to make due on it by forcing him on five dates blind dates culled from a gay dating site. First up is the latino god, Jay. Devin knows Jay’s out of his league but he meets the younger man anyway. Devin and Jay’s attraction really sizzles and the rest of the story rests on the “will they? won’t they?” aspect of their relationship. They have fantastic chemistry, uber sexy scenes, and some pretty hilarious moments where Jay rescues Devin from disastrous dates.

You’ll enjoy: the humorous writing style and easy flowing conversation; the infrequent naughty scenes that will have you fanning yourself; self-deprecating hero, Devin, who just wants to live his life if his sister would let him; the funny and gorgeous love interest, Jay, who is fierce and loyal and exactly what you would want in boyfriend.

You might not enjoy: the buildup to their relationship happens in the blink of an eye and Jay seems to really get into playing “the other man” though a few days prior he couldn’t stand it; there isn’t enough naughty; all the problems they seem to have at the beginning are breezed by in favor of a quickie ending.

Final score: 9/10

Romance/NA review: Just Between Us by J.H. Trumble


just between usJust Between Us by J.H. Trumble

Published by: Kensington

Format: Kindle edition

Genre: MM Romance/NA

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 9/10

Let’s get this out of the way right now: this is not a typical romance – this is so far beyond typical that typical isn’t even a blip on its radar. This isn’t a book about the s-e-x and it’s not about watching two pretty boys fall in love. It is a very gritty, very real book about 2 men learning to live and love while battling HIV for one and homophobia in the home for the other. Warning: so so good and you will most certainly cry. Like buckets full. In public.

Read the full post »

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...