Masked in Music by Ginger Voight: Quick Review

 

man playing electrical guitar in black and yellowsynopsis

When a young musician takes his first gig with a hard-partying band in Los Angeles, forbidden sparks fly with the sexy lead singer. It is an attraction they must both fight, especially since their band also includes a violent homophobe just itching for a reason to snap.

Rudy Renfro thought he’d never find anything he loved as much as music. Then he met Tony Rojas, the enticing lead singer of an up-and-coming band in Los Angeles. Tonos de Oro found themselves in need of a guitarist to take them next level. Enter Rudy, who had been playing since he was nine. After ten years of honing his skill, this rocker prodigy has absorbed everything musical simply because it was safer there. He found a mask in the music. Hidden by his guitar, he didn’t have to face the fact that despite being an all-American boy with every known advantage, he was 100-percent, undeniably gay.

Now he’s in a band notorious for being hard-partying hedonists, one of which is a raging homophobe. This spells big trouble for Rudy. The longer he’s around Tony, the harder it is to fight his intense attraction, even when giving into this man and all his confusing, frustrating mixed signals could not only end Rudy’s budding music career… it could threaten his life.

Rudy Renfro comes of age bursting out of the closet and into the spotlight… and it could cost him everything.

Ginger Voight finally brings her trademarked rock and roll angst to an M/M saga sure to blaze right off of the pages. More hot new characters join her growing book universe in a story chock-full of exciting cameos of old favorites, including a finale that threatens to undo every happy ending you’ve read so far.

Intended for readers 18+ for sexual content and violence.

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ARe

 

paula review

This book was brilliant. The cast of characters were extremely well written and the story was told so well. I absolutley loved Rudy. This is really a story about him figuring himself out and finding his place in the world. Traveling this journey with him as he becomes comfortable and confident in himself is beautiful. Learning to stand up for himself and who he is. Learning to demand that he be treated decently and with respect. Finding a “family” in unexpected places. This book made me breathless and left me in awe. The struggle and doubt, that becomes strength and confidence. This is the first MM written by this author and she knocked it out of the park. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

5 pieces of eye candy

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Something in Common by Talia Carmichael: Quick Review

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synopsis

In this collection, explore seven stories of men who don’t think they can possibly be a match… until they discover that sometimes all it takes is a little something in common. From rough starts, to friends hesitating to take that next step, to complete opposites, Talia Carmichael’s series shows the ways that love can conquer many odds.

Cover Artist: Detour, Sparks, Resonate, Irresistible, Trouble, Chances, Magnetism Cover Art: Paul Richmond. Something in Common bundle Cover Design: Paul Richmond.

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ARe

Dreamspinner Press

 

deanna review

I love a long series with a ton of crossover characters and you definitely get that with this series. This series is rich with interesting characters and great backstory.

Detour: Robert is a geeky professor who gets pulled over by the sexy cop Miguel for running a red light. Miguel is instantly intrigued by the professor and sets out to cross paths with the man on numerous occasions. Robert is completely oblivious to the fact that A, Miguel is gay and B, he’s interested in the professor. Apparently subtlety isn’t working and once Miguel hits him over the head with it the sparks fly.

Sparks: Bernie is Robert’s lab assistant and he has formed an unlikely friendship with Tomas, Miguel’s brother. There is quite a big age difference between the two and with Tomas always calling Bernie “Kid” he doesn’t think there will ever be anything romantic between them. After a revelation while out dancing one night, Tomas starts to see Bernie in a new way. Now all he has to do is convince Bernie he doesn’t see him as an obligation.

Resonate: It was not love at first sight for Gerald and Bur. But is Bernie’s brother and a retired rock star. Gerald is a cop that works with Miguel. Gerald has never been attracted to a man before, but there is something about Bur he can’t get out of his mind. But Bur is carrying pain from his past and he isn’t interested in being anyone’s experiment. Gerald will have to use all of his charm to convince Bur to give love a shot.

Irresistible: Harper, Gerald’s best friend is still mourning his dead husband two years later. He’s trying to move past the pain and pick up the pieces. Del is Bur and Bernie’s brother trying to acclimate to raising his two younger brothers on his own. Bur and Bernie are after him to meet new people when his younger brother’s scheming puts him right in Harper’s path. The two form a tentative friendship trying to navigate a relationship together with two young boys.

Trouble: Alex hasn’t dated in the two years since he moved to town. Drowning in a pain he hasn’t shared with anyone, even his best friend Robert. Les, knows just how to push Alex’s buttons to make him crazy. After some time, Alex realizes he enjoys the verbal sparring with Les. After an unorthodox beginning, Les is determined to make Alex his.

Chances: Theron has spent all of his time working on opening Treble Duo, the center the Jenkins brothers have setup to help abused children. He hasn’t had time for anything else until he sees Robert’s brother Aristotle. Aristotle is a mountain of a man and has Theron intrigued. No matter how hard Aristotle resists Theron isn’t letting go of perfection.

Magnetism: Taggart is a cop who works closely with Treble Duo to ensure some cases don’t fall through the cracks. Treble Duo’s head of security Rhodes has peaked his interest. Now, he just has to come up with a plan of attack and reel Rhodes in.

This is going up on my list of all time favorite series. I love the diversity in characters, the unique names and the individual stories. Each story was entertaining in its own way and no two were the same.

You always like some characters more than others and I can’t tell you how happy I was that after everything Harper went through he got a happy ending.

This is the first book I have read by Talia Carmichael, but it won’t be the last. I’m so in love with this group of characters I really hope there are more to come.

5 pieces of eye candy

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Reading the Signs by Keira Andrews: Book Review

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synopsis

This hot-headed rookie needs discipline—on and off the field.

Pitcher Nico Agresta is desperate to live up to his family’s baseball legacy. Since he was a teenager crushing on his big brother’s teammate, he’s known he can’t act on his desires. His father’s made it clear there should be no queers on the field, but if Nico can win Rookie of the Year like his dad and brother did, maybe he can prove he’s worthy after all.

At 34, veteran catcher Jake Fitzgerald just wants to finish out his contract and retire. His team doesn’t have a prayer of making the playoffs, but who needs the stress? Jake lost his passion for the game—and life—after driving away the man he loved, and he swore he’d never risk his heart again.

Then he’s traded to a team that wants a vet behind the plate to tame their new star pitcher. Jake is shocked to find the gangly kid he once knew has grown into a gorgeous young man. But tightly wound Nico’s having trouble controlling his temper in his quest for perfection, and Jake needs to teach him patience and restraint on the mound.

When their push and pull explodes into the bedroom, Nico and Jake will both learn how much they’ll risk for love.

This gay sports romance features men who have been repressing their feelings far too long, light BDSM, an age difference, sweaty locker rooms, and a happy ending. 86,000 words.

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morgan review

I adore Keira. This chick can rock a story. Her characters always seem to come to life for me. They are so well developed and her scenes are described so well it makes me feel like I’m right there with them. I love Baseball and this was a fantastic read for me. It made me look at it from a different perspective.

I really enjoyed watching Nico grow as a Pitcher and as a Man. He is such a sweet guy but he has a quick temper. Jake was just the person he needed to ground him and help him learn some control.

I liked how they had prior history together. The chemistry between them is amazing and when they finally give in to their desire for each other it is explosive. Amazingness. Bring on the fan because, damn.

The secondary characters were great. I wouldn’t mind having Nico’s siblings for my own. I liked getting to know a few other members of the team as well and Jake’s mom is just pretty damn cool.

I have said in my reviews for Keira that I have yet to find a book I didn’t like and this still holds true. Her writing and story telling is epic. Definitely think you should check this new release out if you haven’t already and especially if you’re a baseball fan. She nails it!! Boom. Definite reread for this girl.

5 pieces of eye candy!!

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Of Love and Corn Dogs by Parker Williams: Release Day Review and Excerpt

oflovecorndogs-400x600synopsis

With more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes, Darwin Kincade still couldn’t keep death from stealing his lover. A little older and a whole lot wiser, flirting with his twice-a-week waiter is the perfect no-risk substitute for a real relationship. Until the night his routine is upended by the restaurant’s newest employee.

Ricky Donnelly loves people. While being a server isn’t his dream, he’s good at it. When a grumpy man is seated in his station, Ricky sees there’s more to him than he lets on, and when the man relaxes, he’s actually sweet.

As the two men bond over a discussion about corn dogs—something Darwin’s never heard of—he realizes how much he’s missed out on in his life. He vows to open himself to new experiences—including, perhaps, a chance at finding love again.

Not wanting anything to muddy their blooming relationship, Darwin hides part of himself from Ricky. He likes the look in Ricky’s eyes, unclouded by Darwin’s notoriety. Unfortunately, the truth can never stay hidden, and when it comes out, Darwin may lose any hope of holding onto the future they’ve begun to build.

excerpt

Darwin sat at his usual table and scanned the restaurant, anxious to see Roy, his favorite server. From the soft lighting of the candelabras that dotted the walls and the gleaming hardwood bar to the deep, rich brown carpeting, everything about Asiago screamed class. As the only five-star restaurant in the area, everything had to be the best. But Roy outshone all the glitz of the dining room. While Darwin knew Roy saw him as a customer, he secretly hoped that one day the waiter might realize he hadn’t been coming for the food all these months.

He frowned when the young man who approached the table looked nothing like the raven-haired beauty Darwin had grown accustomed to seeing twice a week for the last six months. He tried to school his features to hide his disappointment, not wanting to hurt the slender blond with the wide smile who drew near.

“Good evening, Mr. Kincade. My name is Richard, and I’ll be your server for this evening. Would you like to start with a drink?”

“Where’s Roy?” Darwin growled. His cheeks heated when Richard stepped back, looking every bit the kicked puppy. Darwin winced. He knew better than to snap at people. He scratched his cheek before he glanced up. “I’m sorry. It’s been a long day. Please forgive me. I assume Roy isn’t working tonight?”

“Roy quit a couple days ago,” came the hesitant answer.

Darwin’s gut clenched. He’d been coming to Asiago simply for Roy. Truthfully, the merely palatable food hadn’t been a drawing point. Seeing Roy had become the highlight of his week, and now he was gone.

“Did he say where he was going?” A hint of whine escaped, but goddamn it, he’d been in lust with Roy.

“He and his wife moved to be closer to her parents.”book-template

Nausea rolled through Darwin. He hadn’t even considered Roy might not have been gay. Such a fool he was.

“Would you like that drink?” Richard asked hesitantly.

Darwin knew Asiago was one of the few places in the United States that had the drink he loved most. “Yes, please. A shot of Macallan M. Neat.”

Richard gasped and then covered his mouth. “Sir, that costs—”

“I damn well know the cost,” he snapped. “Bring me my drink.”

Once more Darwin’s anger had gotten the better of him. Green eyes shimmered in the dim lighting, and Darwin worried the young man might break into tears.

“Again, please accept my apologies. It’s been a rough day, and I should probably just go home.” He reached over and grabbed his briefcase, ready to stand, when Richard held out a hand and graced Darwin with a genuine and disarming smile.

“No, please. Stay. Let me get you that drink, okay? I’ll let you know the dinner special when I come back. My grandma always said any day can be made better with a good meal.” Richard hurried off in the direction of the bar without waiting for a reply.

Darwin fumed at his lack of self-control. Not only had he made a fool of himself tonight, but he’d also hurt the feelings of someone he didn’t know. Though Richard would be right to refuse service to Darwin, he’d run to get a drink. As much as he wanted to believe the attentive attitude came down to getting a decent tip, Richard seemed too genuine for that. Darwin sighed and put his briefcase back on the leather seat. His mother would be so disappointed in him.

A crystal glass thunked against the table, startling Darwin. The amber liquid rippled gently. Darwin picked it up and gazed into the glass. He’d thought about downing it in one go, relishing the burn that would inevitably follow, but he hated losing control. He took a deep, steadying breath.

“Richard—”

“Ricky.”

“Excuse me?”

“Most people call me Ricky. You can, if you want.”

 

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ARe

Smashwords

 

jennifer
How sweet this story was….
First we have Darwin; being seated in a specific section at a restaurant he visits every week to check out a hot guy only to find out the hot guy isn’t there anymore. He’s a bit grouchy about it but quickly apologizes when he sees the new waiter and feels guilty for taking out his disappointment on him.
Ricky is a new server at Asiago and he’s just met Darwin. I’ve got to say, Darwin doesn’t make a good first impression but he more than makes up for it. He’s so sweet and charming and even though I thought the whole thing was kind of unbelievable, the whole Ricky and losing his job and the deal with his boss; it was a little bit ridiculous….. at least Darwin was trying to help.
Another problem I had was the way in which Darwin told Ricky who he was and how much he was worth… why not, instead of the way he done it… just been like, listen this is who I am, this is why I was hesitant to bring it up and I really like you and didn’t want to make things awkward… or something like that. I understand completely why he just wanted to be a normal guy liking a normal guy and they’d only been out a couple times, I didn’t blame him. Although I also think Ricky’s reaction was also understandable when he initially found out, I thought he was being a little bratty when he got to experience the whole thing at Darwin’s home. Again, I can understand how overwhelming it would be and his reaction to that was also understandable… but his reasonings and the way he justified it to himself as well as Darwin and anyone else, just made me want to shake some sense into him lol960x350-1
What I loved about this story was how romantic and sweet and charming Darwin is… I love how independent Ricky is even if it makes his stubborn to the point I wanted to punch him a time or two…. I loved how Darwin treated the people in his life, how they became family and he respected them all and cared about them; especially Hensley. When Ricky said that Hensley was in love with Darwin that kind of threw me off because I didn’t get that feeling at all…. He was like a brother to him and wanted him to be happy, especially with Ricky because he saw how happy Ricky made him. I love how Ricky was so close to his mom and sister; the banter between them all was hilarious. I heard a lot about Darwin’s parents and how great they were and I know that Darwin’s father had passed but I don’t remember ever meeting his mother… did I overlook that part or did it just not happen?
Either way… this was an incredibly sweet, light read. It wasn’t too fluffy and although a couple parts were a little frustrating or unbelievable; I adored these two together and I wouldn’t mind getting to read more about them or even Hensley and Jeff. Super cute.
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meet the author

Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.

Living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his husband of nearly 26 years, Parker continues to believe and writes stories where there is (almost) always a happy ending.

Connect with Parker on:

Twitter: @ParkerWAuthor

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/parker.williams.75641

Or you can visit his website: http://www.ParkerWilliamsAuthor.com

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Like Heaven on Earth by Jaime Samms: Release Day Review and Guest Post

synopsis

Cobalt Winslow lost two loves when his ex-boyfriend, Calvin Denvers, infected him with HIV, taking his health and his place as principal danseur in their ballet company when Cobalt became too weak. Now dealing with the aftermath as best he can, Cobalt teaches dance with the support of his oldest friends, Conrad and Peridot. The one bright spot in his life is Malory Preston, his brother’s driver and a man who is always there when Cobalt needs him. Kind and attentive, Preston embodies everything Calvin lacks, but Cobalt can’t let go of his unhealthy relationship with his ex.

Calvin’s return brings a messy and violent end to their affair, along with a chance for Cobalt to return to the dance company as his understudy—just when he’s on the verge of a real and lasting relationship with Preston. Now Cobalt faces a choice between two loves: dancing and Preston. Preston must show Cobalt that walking away won’t leave him with nothing, and that he has the power to make the life he wants and deserves.

Title: Like Heaven on Earth
Series: Dance, Love, Live: Book Three
Author: Jaime Samms
Release Date: August 29, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 204

Guest Post

When the Visual Is More than Just What You See

A little while ago, I watched a movie called “Test”. It’s set in 1985 in San Francisco. I don’t know. I was a 15 year old girl in Canada in 1985. I can’t speak to how accurate the movie is as a commentary on gay life at the time when AIDs and HIV tests were only first becoming a thing in gay men’s lives. I suspect it’s a cursory view of things to the average viewer. I suspect the era and the epidemic were backdrops for the dancing, and that the movie could have made stronger commentaries or been more forceful or direct in it’s message.

But.

I’m a dance mom. I’ve been trained for years to find the story in the dance. To look for the way body movement conveys emotion and intent. In a world of the modern movie viewing public, I saw the dance. I saw the lighting. I saw the deliberate costuming choices and the long views of landscape and cityscape the character moved through as a stand in for the usual static stage set. I heard the music, and it didn’t bother me so much that the characters spoke little, or how much of what they needed to say was conveyed through looks, touches, and yes, dance.

It starred Scott Marlowe of the LEVYdance company in San Francisco, in his acting debut, and I was mostly enamoured of the way the acting, admittedly clumsy at times, gave way to the yearning the young man (I think both character and actor) had to express the emotional turmoil by moving his body, and letting that speak for him.

That’s what dance does. It makes you LOOK. It forces you to SEE. And then you have to think and feel, and interpret, but what dance doesn’t do, is it doesn’t do the work for you. It can be hard—and I’m not talking about for the dancers, though that is certainly true. I’m talking about the audience. When dance works, it makes you work for the gratification of “getting it”. Dance makes you think. It makes you engage, and whether you love it, hate it, think it’s beautiful, edgy or it makes you unspeakably uncomfortable, you can’t just watch.

That’s the world the characters of my story have been engaged in all their lives, and one that makes it impossible for them to remain stoic in the face of life-changing events. So when Cobalt has to make decisions about where and if he wants to continue dancing, it’s a Big Deal. That he’s found a man, at last, who looks like he might stick by him no matter what he decides, is maybe the biggest deal of his life.

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ARe

Dreamspinner Press

 

paula review
This book reminded me why I love Jaime Samms so much. Colbalt and Preston were amazing characters. Colbalt’s strength was absolutely amazing in the story. I really felt for him and what was going on in his life. I thought Jaime did a wonderful job with how Colbalt was written. He struggles and pain was felt. His ex was so unlikable, even though he got less jerky as the story went on. Preston was perfect for Cobalt. He knew just how to handle him, and give him what he needed. The strength Preston showed in letting Cobalt do what he needed to do on his own was wonderful. I loved how Cobalt stood up for himself where his ex was concerned. This was a brilliantly written story that stole my heart.

5 pieces of eye candy

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meet the author

 

Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men—what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love—she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.

These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Dreamspinner Press, Totally Bound, and now, Riptide Publishing.

Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, is spent crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!), or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child-care responsibilities.

She graduated some time ago from college with a fine arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all.

Website: http://jaime-samms.net/

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000982219151&ref=tn_tnmn

Livejournal:http://dontkickmycane.livejournal.com/

Deviantart: http://dontkickmycane.deviantart.com/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/#!/JaimeSamms

Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/jaimesamms

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Cupcakes by Sean Michael: Quick Review

cupcakessynopsis

Allen Jameson had it all—the perfect house, the perfect partner, the perfect life—until his partner, Gary, died suddenly, leaving him alone in the real world, where life isn’t so pretty and people make mistakes. Now Allen is the owner of Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Cupcake Shop, a cute boutique downtown, where he invents delicious flavors like strawberry and French meringue. Between working long hours and making special orders, Allen barely has time to think.

Then a hunky contractor walks into his shop looking for a treat. Allen and Byron Bannigan are total opposites, but they’re perfect together—salty and sweet like Allen’s signature peanut butter and chocolate ganache cupcakes. But as Allen struggles to juggle his business and his boyfriend, he learns he can only handle so much. He may have to choose between the cupcakes in his store and the cupcake in his bed.

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Amazon

ARe

Dreamspinner Press

 

jennifer

Okay, now, here we have Allen, who is the one man bakery owner. He makes cupcakes and quite well if his regular’s have anything to say about it. He was just looking for something to do after losing his partner of 10 years a couple years prior. Gary, was 30 years his senior and Allen took joy in taking care of him. We don’t see any of their relationship because the story takes off when hunky construction man Byron or “B” as he’s called; comes in and is instantly taken with Allen.
Because we didn’t see Gary or how his relationship worked with Allen; we only see it from how Allen describes it; and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the way Gary’s friends treated him or the way he thought of himself when something didn’t go right. He was constantly putting himself down and thinking the worst of himself and really the bad things that happened were due to the people he trusted; one in particular that I really wish would have gotten a karmatic kick in the teeth… He didn’t and I didn’t think it was fair; although I will say it worked out for the better for Allen; I didn’t like seeing him get away with being such a nasty person.

Now, let’s talk about “B”, or “Bit” as he was sometimes referred to, a.k.a. “Byron. He was the epitome of patient and understanding; he was thoughtful and selfless, he just wanted to spend time with Allen and once he did and started seeing how run down and exhausted Allen was for trying to take on too much himself, he really tried hard to help out as best as he could. He was incredibly understanding and I can’t imagine it would be easy being the follow up of a long term partner that passed away. Gary was everywhere and for a new relationship he was brought up A LOT….. It didn’t bother him though, he understood. He also was subjected to ALL Gary’s friends; most of them not worth getting to know, they were critical and condescending towards Allen and I didn’t like that either. I wasn’t even sure how to like Issac but he eventual redeemed himself, I felt like. I just felt like he was up in Allen’s business and the things he sometimes said were hurtful and he was completely off… he didn’t know what he was talking about and I can’t stand when friends give horrible advice when they don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m glad Allen didn’t listen and he stood up for his relationship with Byron. Byron deserved that because he was pretty close to perfect; especially when it came to all things Allen. He really cared for him and let it show in his actions. For once, Allen was the one being taken care of instead of the one taking care of someone else.

I really enjoyed this sweet little story; sometimes I felt the dialogue was a bit cheesy; I don’t like the whole “lover” pet name, it sounds like bad porn.. It makes my skin crawl, ick… but some feel that way about “honey” or “baby” so maybe it’s just me….. It definitely put a damper on the steamier scenes for me and I literally winced every time it was said. Other than that, I really enjoyed it and wouldn’t mind a follow up about these two 🙂

*Let me say I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

4 pieces of eye candy

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Zac’s Mulligan by Ann Lister: Quick Review

zac's mulligansynopsis

Zac Mulligan is a former Marine now providing personal security for the infamous rock band, Black Ice. Seeing all the guys around him in committed relationships reminds him of his childhood best friend . . . the only person Zac has never managed to get out of his head or his heart.

Ben Holland is an artist. Falling deeply in love with his best friend in his teens, Ben is left alone when Zac leaves him for the military. Ben heads off to college and lives his life “out and proud” as a gay man and creates a brand name for himself with his artwork. Throughout all the years that pass, Ben never forgets his childhood friend, Zac, or the feelings they once shared.

Zac realizes a decade is too long for Ben not to have a presence in his life and finds Ben living on Cape Cod where they spent their summers as kids. Meeting each other as adults stirs up a lot of memories for both of them.

Zac is looking for a mulligan, a “do over,” with his childhood best friend. The question is: Can Ben find a way to put aside his old hurts and fully open his heart to Zac for a second time? Or maybe the past is something better left buried on the beach where it all began.

 

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Amazon

 

morgan review

I was really excited to get my hands on the first book in Ann’s new series and she did not let me down. The story flowed and kept my interest from start to finish. The emotions were all over with his one and I caught myself pacing my living room at one point while reading. Be prepared to laugh, tear up, and bite your nails. The characters were strong and she gives enough back story on the two MC’s to help me understand their connection that much better. I loved the story line and Ann pulls off this new book beautifully.

Zac and Ben had a long way to go to get to their HEA. There were lots of hurdles they had to cross and trust had to be rebuilt. This story has a slow build with both men getting to know each other again and that makes it all the better. When they finally do get together it’s intense and heartwarming. They never lost their love for each other even after all those years.

I love when we get to revisit with Black Ice and Ivory Tower. They are one big, amazing, crazy family and it’s so fun getting to spend time with them. I enjoyed getting to know a few more of the security guys a little better too. We get a bit of a sneak peek at a new love interest for Fizzbo and I cannot wait for the next addition to this new series. I definitely recommend this one.

4.5 pieces of eye candy from me.

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Not a Game by Cardeno C. : Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Not a Game

synopsis

An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.

An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.

A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.

A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn’t lacking in friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there’s an emptiness in Jaime’s heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.

An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.

Amazon / All Romance eBooks / Amazon CA / Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble / iTunes / Kobo / Smashwords

excerpt

 

Chapter 1:

He had chosen the bar because of its name: The Bookstore. It was clever and unusual and he had laughed internally at how happy his mother would be if he told her he was spending time at the Bookstore instead of in front of his computer. Oliver’s entire life, she had mourned the fact he wasn’t a reader, and even though he had now moved two thousand miles away from their home in Oklahoma City, she still sent him books she was sure he’d love. Maybe someday he’d open one of them.

For now, he glanced down at the only book he had read countless times and adjusted it at the edge of his table to make the spine as visible as possible. The title—Coding—wasn’t as clever as the bar name, but the information and the way it was phrased had clicked perfectly in Oliver’s brain when he was a college freshman. He had long since moved past the information inside, but the textbook was the closest thing he had to a security blanket, so he had held onto it through four years of progressively more complicated computer science classes, three dead-end computer repair and technical support jobs, and a move to Seattle to finally, finally, live his dream developing video games. When he had to pick a way to identify himself to the stranger who would guide him on the last phase of his journey toward living the life he had always wanted, the first thing that came to Oliver’s mind was the book that had started it all.

With the spine facing the bar and walkway and his glass empty, Oliver had nothing left to do but wait or get his phone out to play a quick turn on Clash of Clans. He reached into his pocket almost before his brain had formulated the thought. A quick glance at his screen confirmed it was still twenty minutes shy of eight o’clock. Oliver prided himself on timeliness, something his father had drummed into him since he was a boy, and after two months in Seattle, he hadn’t yet gotten a handle on how long it took to get anywhere, so he had erred on the side of caution and ended up arriving half an hour early.

In his head, his mother lectured him about playing on his phone when he should be paying attention to people, but he was twenty-eNot a Game Printight years old, and she was too far away to see him, so he ignored her and tried to lose himself in a game. Besides, taking his mind off why he was in that bar would stop him from falling headfirst into an anxiety attack, and even his mother would agree that was a good thing in a social setting. Not that she would ever have the chance to know about his plans that evening, because, despite how close they were, this was one activity Oliver absolutely would not share with his family. Or anyone else for that matter.

Nerves rising, he scratched his upper back through his shirt with one hand and his thigh with the other. Recognizing what he was doing, he forced his hands away before he broke the skin. Hoping for a distraction, he jerked his gaze toward his pop when, suddenly, from the corner of his eye, he noticed someone moving in his direction. Instinctively, Oliver grabbed the glass and scrunched over it, using the act of sipping from a straw as a shield to keep himself from staring at people who inevitably didn’t notice him. But when the man didn’t veer away and instead came closer, Oliver glanced up and realized the stranger was looking right at his book. Which meant he was either coming to tease the chubby nerd for having a textbook at a bar on a Friday night or…

Oh my God. This is him. Oliver kept his head down but couldn’t stop himself from flicking his gaze back and forth between his still empty glass and the approaching man.

Older than Oliver, but not too old, broad shoulders, light eyes, short dark hair, and a sculpted face. The man stopped right next to the table, waited for Oliver to look up, and then said, “Interesting reading choice.” He tapped the top of the cover and tried to meet Oliver’s gaze.

Even though this was one situation where Oliver couldn’t be rejected or laughed at, he still struggled to speak to such a handsome man, and he definitely couldn’t make eye contact with him. And now that he was close enough for Oliver to see him clearly, he definitely knew that was true. He set his gaze on the man’s chin and took in his features.

The dark hair was brown but it had strands of chestnut at the top and flecks of silver in the sideburns, which extended to the bottom of his earlobe. The light eyes were green, a pale shade that still managed to look warm. And the broad shoulders topped a chest so muscular that it stretched the black T-shirt he wore underneath a well-fitted jacket. This guy was fantasy material, and Oliver couldn’t believe he had gotten so lucky.

“Is this book yours?”

“Yes,” Oliver said hoarsely and then cleared his throat. “It’s mine.”

The man’s forehead crinkled. He tilted his head to the side and stared at Oliver.

At first, the odd look discomforted him, but then Oliver remembered the social etiquette classes he had been forced to attend in middle school, and he realized where he had gone wrong.

“Please have a seat,” he said, raising his hand toward the empty chair across from him. Though his voice still shook more than he would have liked, it was a bolder invitation than he usually gave. Of course, usually men didn’t approach him, especially incredibly handsome men, and usually people didn’t want to hang out with him, and usually he didn’t look up escort services and set up a meeting. So today was anything but Oliver’s usual.

“Thanks.” The man pulled back the empty chair, sat, and then scooted it forward. “I’m Jaime.” He reached his hand out.

Oliver glanced down at the hand, blinked, and then remembered his manners. “I’m Oliver.” He wiped his sweaty palm on his jeans, took Jaime’s hand, and shook it. “Oliver Barnaby.”

Oh crap. Was giving his last name in this situation a bad idea? Oh well. If everything went as expected, Oliver would be spending time alone with this man, which would put him at more risk than sharing his name. He had made reservations at the hotel upstairs, which was expensive and not completely secure, but it had to be safer than bringing a stranger to his apartment.

“So, Oliver Barnaby.” Grinning, Jaime glanced at the book and arched his eyebrows. “What are you doing here with this?”

Straight to the point. In Jaime’s line of work, being direct made sense, but Oliver wasn’t skilled at holding an articulate conversation with a live human so he fidgeted in his seat. “Well, uh…” He gulped.

“Late night study session?” The comment was teasing, but the tone held no malice and Jaime’s expression, while most definitely amused, wasn’t cruel.

“Sorry. I’m being silly.” Oliver shook his head. “We both know why we’re here so—” He drew in a deep breath. “I’m not sure how much he told you.” He frowned and thought back to the brief phone call he’d had with the man from the ad. “Actually, I don’t remember how much detail I gave him other than saying I needed someone experienced.”

“Experienced?”

“Uh-huh. Because, uh.” He looked at Jaime’s handsome face and once again lost the power of speech.

He hadn’t thought through how the escort agency would interpret his request but now he realized they had taken it to mean Oliver wanted someone a bit older. As luck would have it, older men were very much Oliver’s type. Or they would be if he had a type. Someone probably needed to go on actual dates rather than just fantasize about them before he could say he had a type.

“Oliver?”

Oliver blinked.

“You were saying you needed someone experienced?”

“Right.” He bobbed his head. “See the thing is, I didn’t hire you for sex.”

There was no missing the shock that crossed Jaime’s face.

“That didn’t come out right.” Oliver quickly backtracked. The last thing he wanted was for Jaime to think he was being stiffed because then he’d get up and walk out and Oliver would have to start his search all over again. The odds of finding someone as attractive and nice as Jaime to teach him were so low they rounded to zero. “I know what escort means and I’m all set to pay you. I have the money.” He patted his pocket and said an internal thank-you for his new company’s generosity. “What I meant was that I don’t want to have sex with you.”

Jaime chuckled and arched his eyebrows, but he didn’t say anything.

“Ugh.” Oliver shook his head. “I didn’t mean that either.” He raised his hand and moved it up and down in Jaime’s direction. “Look at you. Obviously, I want to have sex with you. But it’s not about eating the meal, it’s about learning to fish, you know?”

“I think I’m getting the picture, but why don’t you fill in the details?” Jaime lowered his voice. “And try to keep the whole paying for sex thing out of it.” One side of his lips rose in a crooked smile. “We are in public after all and not everything is legal in Washington.”

Oh God. Oliver jerked his head from side to side, checking to see if anyone was close enough to hear him. The bar wasn’t big and there were a decent number of customers, so someone probably had. He leaned forward, his belly squishing against the table. “Do you think people will call the police? Should we leave?”

“No and”—Jaime’s smile shifted from amused to wicked—“eventually. But first, tell me about learning to fish.” Jaime settled into his chair and crossed his arms over his chest, his biceps giving the gray suede jacket a workout. “I assume we aren’t talking about the great outdoors, so what exactly are you hiring me to teach you?”

When he had come up with the idea to hire an escort, Oliver had focused on how much it would cost, where to do it, and what he’d be able to squeeze into one night. He had also spent a decent amount of time second-guessing his plan. But he had never considered how he would explain what he wanted to the man he paid to help him.

“Do you guys have like, uh, confidentiality requirements?” Oliver asked.

Jaime arched his eyebrows. “Confidentiality?”

“Yeah.” Oliver bobbed his head. “What I tell you has to stay between us, right?”

“Well.” Jaime’s mouth turned up at the corners and then he licked his lips, coughed, and said, “I’m not a psychiatrist or an attorney, so there’s not a licensing board out there keeping me honest, but I’ll give you my word to keep this just between us. How’s that?”

After considering the response and his alternatives for a couple of seconds, Oliver said, “That works.”

“Glad we got the preliminaries out of the way.” Jaime smiled. “Tell me what you need, Oliver.”

When he said Oliver’s name, Jaime’s voice dropped, going deeper and raspier. The tone sent a pang through Oliver’s gut and reminded him why this man got paid to do what he did. That made what Oliver had to say even more humiliating, but he didn’t want his life in Seattle to be like his life in Oklahoma, so he pushed through the shame and forced himself to speak.

“I’m pretty sure I’m bad in bed and I want help with that.” He bit his lip. “Real help. Not what people brag about online.” He had read endless blogs and subscribed to chat rooms, but loath as he was to admit it, the internet didn’t have all the answers.

Looking surprised, Jaime blinked a few times, cleared his throat, and then said, “Why do you think you’re bad in bed?”

That question was easy to answer. “My ex told me.”

The good-natured, amused expression disappeared from Jaime’s face. “Your ex sounds like a dick. Find someone else and forget about him.”

“That’s just it. I can’t find someone else.” Realizing he sounded whiney, Oliver took a moment to breathe. He sat up straight, rolled his neck, and then ruined his attempt at looking confident by slumping. “People never like me in real life. I’m twenty-eight and Ted was the only guy who’s ever been willing to sleep with me. That was four years ago.” His voice shook. “I need help.”

“Hey.” Jaime’s eyes softened, and he leaned forward, curling his hand around Oliver’s forearm. “It’s going to be okay. I promise.”

Jaime’s touch was ten times more potent than his voice, and suddenly, Oliver wanted to follow through on his plans for the night because of something entirely unrelated to learning and improving himself. He stayed perfectly still, letting the pleasurable feelings wash over him until Jaime removed his hand. And then the floodgates opened.

“I just moved to Seattle in August. Did I tell you that already? I want things to be different here. I got this great job making lots of money, and I have my own apartment, but that’s not enough. I’m going to join a gym so I can lose weight, because I know guys aren’t going to be interested in me like this.” He waved his hand up and down beside his too fat, too flabby body. “I’ll never be good-looking like you, but hopefully exercise will help, and I can diet too and then maybe someone will be interested, but then what? At some point we’ll end up in bed and then he’ll never want to see me again.” He took a deep breath, his heart racing. “That’s why I hired you. I need to get better, so if I actually find someone who’s interested, I can hold on to him.” He squeezed and released his hands and stared at Jaime, hoping he’d understand.

“All right,” Jaime said calmly. “I hear you and I’m not turning you down.” He looked at Oliver meaningfully, only continuing after Oliver nodded in understanding. “We can get out of here and do this, but before we do, I want you to know that not every guy is into gym bunnies or twinks. You’re really good-looking, Oliver.”

“You’re getting paid to say that,” Oliver mumbled, dropping his gaze from Jaime’s eyes. Even that part of him was attractive—layers of green far more interesting than Oliver’s own boring brown.

“No, I’m not.” Jaime’s jaw ticced as he spoke, and he sounded so firm that Oliver would have believed him if he hadn’t found the man through an escort ad.

“It’s fine,” Oliver said. “I’m past worrying about being pathetic for paying for sex.” He sighed and dragged his fingers through his hair, hoping he wasn’t making the too long strands stick out in weird directions. “Actually, it helps. I’d never have the nerve to talk to a guy like you in real life, even if it was just to answer a question about directions or something.” He rolled his eyes at his own shortcomings. “Knowing you can’t laugh at me or judge me or turn me down makes this better.” It made it possible. “That’s all I need. Don’t worry about the fake compliments.”

“It wasn’t fake.”

Of course it was. Oliver was good-looking in the same way the bar was a bookstore. But that didn’t matter and Jaime sounded angry, so Oliver stopped arguing and refocused the conversation on the reason they were both in the Bookstore that wasn’t actually a bookstore. “I reserved a room upstairs in the hotel.”

Jaime pulled his eyebrows together and narrowed his eyes and, for a horrible moment, Oliver was sure he had changed his mind and he was about to leave. Oliver was about to plead for another chance, but then Jaime’s face smoothed and he rose from his chair.

“Lead the way, Oliver. I’m looking forward to”—he dragged his gaze over Oliver’s body, his expression unlike any Oliver previously had seen directed at him—“fishing with you.”

denise review

Not A Game by Cardeno C : Release Day Review

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meet the author

Cardeno C - Logo

Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever- after sunset.

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Fire and Snow by Andrew Grey: Quick Review

fire and snowsynopsisCarlisle Cops: Book Four

Fisher Moreland has been cast out of his family because they can no longer deal with his issues. Fisher is bipolar and living day to day, trying to manage his condition, but he hasn’t always had much control over his life and has self-medicated with whatever he could find.

JD Burnside has been cut off from his family because of a scandal back home. He moved to Carlisle but brought his Southern charm and warmth along with him. When he sees Fisher on a park bench on a winter’s night, he invites Fisher to join him and his friends for a late-night meal.

At first Fisher doesn’t know what to make of JD, but he slowly comes out of his shell. And when Fisher’s job is threatened because of a fire, JD’s support and care is more than Fisher ever thought he could expect. But when people from Fisher’s past turn up in town at the center of a resurgent drug epidemic, Fisher knows they could very well sabotage his budding relationship with JD.

Book – Fire and Snow (Carlisle Cops #4)
Author – Andrew Grey
No. of Pages – 200
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ARe

Dreamspinner Press

 

jennifer

What an excellent addition to this series!

First I want to say I was very luckily given this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review…. Lucky me indeed. I adore this series, although I’ll find it almost impossible to top to Carter, Donald and little Alex’s story, this one was just as heart wrenching.

First, we had JD, we’d seen him in previous stories but didn’t know much about him. He’s a good cop who left his hometown when a scandal and his family turning their back on him made him want to start over somewhere new. Having an aunt he was close to give him the strength and encouragement to be who he is was amazing. I was sad he lost her and even sadder that his mother was so awful about her and their relationship. They got the last laugh though and it ended up being what brought them together. I didn’t care for his mother AT ALL in the beginning but I’m glad she eventually saw what was most important in life. Having two young kids myself (actually, not so young anymore, my oldest turned 13 today… whaaaaat?)
I don’t care what my kids do, who they choose to love or what they choose to do with their lives as long as they’re happy and decent people…. that’s enough for me. (Although, I’ll strive for them to be a little more than decent.. I mean, I’ve put a lot of hard work into them haha) Still, I hated that JD didn’t have the support that he needed from his family but was glad he had his aunt.

Then, we have Fisher. Fisher broke my heart and continued to do it. After a car accident leaves him with some mental disabilities, bipolar, depression, bouts of paranoia and panic and anxiety attacks, he’s just looking to settle into a routine that keeps him balanced. Everyone in his life turned against him and maybe some of it was justified, certainly not the abandonment of his family. Again, as a mother myself, shame on his family.
He pulled himself out of the depths of all things bad though and worked everyday to be a better person. That’s admirable and hard to do. I liked seeing someone less than perfect, striving to be better, it was real and genuine and an every day problem for some people. I love stories that people can relate to and this one was perfect.
It was hard for Fisher to get close to JD and accept that he was good enough and that JD liked him for him. He was constantly thinking that JD deserved better and sometimes tried to push him away. I was glad JD put up a fight and went after what he wanted.

The plot twist and darkened story-line was easily guessed by the first few chapters. I knew who was behind everything I was just waiting and page turning to see how it all played out, so while it was angsty to an extent, it wasn’t a mystery and it made me antsty because I just wanted to get to how it played out. I didn’t like the weasly boyfriend of the ex and I wanted to see him get what he had coming to him. For everyone who follows my reviews, you’ll know I hate when the bad guys get away with being bad guys… I need them to get their karmatic kick in the teeth or I don’t feel vindicated… is that weird? Probably… do I care? Nahhhh

Other than that, I loved seeing Carter, Donald and Alex, I love that Alex is a happy kid now with his Daddy and Papa, I love seeing the progress they made as a family and that everyone is still, happy and healthy and together.
I loved seeing Terry and Red, Red was another of my favorites and I enjoy reading about he and Terry whenever they come up, and even Jos and Kip even though they weren’t mentioned a lot in this series I was happy to see everyone doing well.
I adore this author and I adore this series but that doesn’t mean I’m biased, it means I have heavy expectations and every one of them were met in this story….

Overall, this was a great addition to an already fantastic series and I can’t wait to read more!

Cover – Hot!
POV – 3rd person, dual POV
Would I read it again – Absolutely!

4 pieces of eye candy

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

The Night Screams by Devin McCormack: Quick Review

the night screamssynopsis

After Cal escapes a deranged kidnapper who tortured him, he doesn’t even have the clothes on his back. Desperate and afraid, he breaks into a convenience store. But Jake, a clerk at the store, confronts what to him is little more than a petty thief. After a violent tussle, he knocks Cal out.

Jake encourages his Uncle Gary, the owner of the store, to report Cal to the police, but Gary can’t bring himself to report a kid who was just looking to steal food. When Cal wakes, Gary asks him if he’s okay. But Cal’s trauma has left him mute. Instead, he has to write his experiences down, relaying the horrifying events that led him to the store. The police track down the sick man who held Cal captive, and when he confronts them with a gun, he’s shot dead. However, Cal discovers that even with his captor gone, he is far from free of the nightmare he endured.

Gary and his wife welcome Cal into their home, determined to help him heal. Jake doesn’t trust Cal, and he isn’t afraid to say so. But buried beneath Jake’s disapproval might be the person who can help Cal recover from the terrifying experience that continues to haunt him.

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ARe

Dreamspinner Press

 

guest review

Ok….let’s take a second and breathe…..

This book… ok, you know how when… okay, wait…. start over…. this book….. sigh….
First, I’ve got to mention that I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review…. Let me just tell you how I was not prepared for this book…Keep reading, I’ll tell ya why…

Cal was kicked out of his parents home when they learned of his “sinful ways”. That should be sad but I truly felt he was better off without them in his life. His mother was terrible and as hurtful as it would have been to be cast aside by someone who was supposed to love you; the abuse he suffered by her and his father was far worse. Heading to an LGBT center for gay youth, he’s taken and held captive by a man he didn’t know and had never seen. It was always dark in the place he was kept. I don’t feel bad telling you that part; cuz it’s all in the blurb. I’ll just skip past spoilers because the surprise and heartbreak and hopefulness of this story kept me turning the page.
During his daring escape; he meets Gary and his nephew Jake.

Gary is the epitome of all things amazing. He realizes he needs help and insists on helping him; much to Jake’s dismay. Jake was a jerk at first; I got his reasonings later; but, I just didn’t trust him. I didn’t like the way he treated Cal and even knowing what he’d gone through; I just didn’t feel like he treated him right. I hurt for Cal so much; I felt that he’d gone through so much, he really didn’t need Jake’s crap.
However, Gary and his sick wife Luce continued to help him and be there for him. It took Cal a long time to find his voice; he didn’t trust and he was scared more often than not; and why wouldn’t he be? He’d been through something so very traumatic. Still, Luce and Gary were amazing. He couldn’t have found better people. I forgot so many times that these were fictional people and it wasn’t something I was experiencing in real life. I love when a story does that; where it sucks you in so completely you feel like you know the people you’re reading about and find yourself hoping and living through their experiences. …. Is that crazy? Am I the only one who does that? ….

Anyway, through Cal’s discovery of a life where things aren’t always terrible and sometimes good things happen, he gets some curve balls thrown his way. As we all know, not everything in life is sunshine and roses. One thing I loved seeing though is his relationship progress with Jake.
Jake really redeemed himself. I could understand his hesitation and his distrust of Cal in the beginning and once they got to know each other, his sincerity and thoughtfulness with Cal was endearing. He was patient and understanding and he cared about him so much. I loved that.
I loved the friendships with Mallory and Blake; although I wasn’t so much a fan of Keith, I felt for him too at the end. Everyone makes mistakes and does petty things out of jealousy and I had to keep reminding myself that these were kids. Teenagers. I felt like Jake and Cal had been through so much in their lives, they didn’t live like normal teenagers; they’d already known so much loss and devastation; they worked hard and had so many responsibilities for their age.

There were so many surprises and twists that I never saw coming; ones that took my breath away, ones that made me weep at 3 in the morning while trying to be quiet so my husband didn’t wake up and think I was crazy; ones that broke my heart and then put me back together again.
Yep… all that happened in one, 238 page literary adventure!

I will admit this was the first book I’ve read by this author; but I can assure you it will not be the last. If you enjoy a tearjerking, hopeful yet heartbreaking read, do not pass this one up. I really, really enjoyed it…

4 pieces of eye candy

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.