Too Much Man by Katy James

3.5 Stars out of 5 Stars

Summary

A grumpy former hockey player and a bisexual coffee-shop owner refuse to commit—to themselves or each other—in this fun, flirty debut.

Piper Welborn has created a warm, welcoming space for all in her queer-inclusive coffee shop, even if the long hours came at the cost of her love life. But she’s not ready to welcome one man in particular—a grumpy, muscular former hockey player. His smoldering presence is a temptation and a challenge to her long-standing vow not to date cis men.

Gavin Williams has no business starting a relationship, least of all with a woman he’s not sure even likes him. He can’t resist the Friendly Bean’s hot, pink-haired owner, but a casual fling is all he can commit to. He’s hoping to leave town for the next stage in his career…if he ever gets the call with the job offer.

A friends-with-benefits arrangement is perfect for them both—but neither is ready for the feelings that hit. When the post-hockey life Gavin always dreamed of is suddenly within his grasp, they’ll both have to make a choice: hold tight to what they thought life should look like, or work together to build something new.

 

Review

I haven’t had much in the way of bisexual representation here and it’s time I remedy that. Too Much Man by Katy James was a great book to review. It addressed issues that I have dealt with and could relate to. James has put everything I’ve felt into words that I had a hard time putting into words.

I’m not sure I can avoid spoilers, so here’s your warning!

Piper, a bisexual, coffee house owner. Piper offers up her coffee as a coffee house as the location for a charity event for the area hockey team. She is tasked with making sure the players can serve coffee as well as make sure the winners have a great time.

That is a very small aspect of the story, but it’s how she ends up meeting a very angry Gavin Williams who is still healing from a devastating injury. He’s in pain and unsure of his future. I’d be grumpy too.

Piper fights against her attraction to Gavin. She’s made a promise to herself as a bisexual woman she was done with men. The queer community is where she feels most at home and whenever she is with a man, it’s almost like a party trick, her liking women. She feels excluded from the community whenever she dates a man.

I felt that so much. Personal information time, I’m Demi. My attraction tends to lean more towards women, but I’ve been in a relationship with a man the past year and there are times I feel like I’m not who I’ve thought I’ve been my entire life. That people will claim all those dates and relationships were a phase. Spoiler alert, they weren’t. But it just felt good knowing I wasn’t alone in that feeling.

Piper bargains with herself. She can have a friend with benefits relationship with Gavin. He’s leaving, there’s an expiration date on it. There won’t be any feelings and when he’s gone, she’ll move on. Easy as that. Right?

It’s never as easy as that.

Now I will fully admit, I can’t give a rating to the spiciness. I was more focused on the emotional journey that both Piper and Gavin went on as they learn who they truly are as individuals and what they want in life.

The beginning was a little slow for me. At times I got irritated with the pair of them, but overall I enjoyed reading this. The secondary characters weren’t memorable. Which I feel terrible for saying, but I was so focused on Piper and Gavin.

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Hooked on You by K.Evans Coles

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3.5 out of 5 Stars

Summary

What’s a straight guy to do when he falls for his new friend?

Paramedic Connor Devlin is a stressed-out tower of a man. Hoping knitting will help him unwind, he visits a local craft shop, where he’s overwhelmed by the yarn selection but more so by his feelings for shop owner Judah.

Judah Bissel is tired of falling for unavailable men. He can’t help his crush on Connor, though, or wanting to get closer to the big, gentle bear. And that just might spell trouble because pining for straight guys is not Judah’s style.

As a blizzard pummels the city, the men hunker down together to wait out the storm. When the spark between them ignites, will the revelation that Connor feels more than friendship for Judah bring them together or tear them apart?

 

Review

Hooked on You was a cute, quick, friends to lovers romance.

Connor Devlin needs something to help him manage his anxiety, and knitting is his answer. His first visit to a yarn shop may have been intimidating, but that doesn’t stop him from taking on his first project. With the help of the shop owner, Judah, he able to take on his project and solidifies a friendship with the man.

What Connor never expected, was the intense, romantic feelings he had towards Judah. He had never had feelings like this for another man.

Connor and Judah fit together so well. Where Connor was muscled and bulky, I pictured Judah as lithe but a strong man. He was also very caring when it came to Connor. Which was sweet.

Their kisses were toe curling and intense, but a lot of the spicy scenes were fade to black. I didn’t mind that, because it fit their relationship and the vibe of the book.

Everything was solved a little too easily and the ending was abrupt. There were two extra scenes added to wrap Judah and Connor’s story up but I’m not a fan of those snap forward in time scenes. But you may fall in love with Connor and Judah!

 

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Royals by J.V. Speyer

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3.5 Stars out of 5

Summary

Two uncles from vastly different worlds. One orphaned child. Will a conspiracy that bridges an ocean somehow build a family, or will state secrets keep Eric and Dan apart forever?

Eric is a genius. He’s a professor of environmental studies at an Ivy League university, an inventor, and one of the most respected scientists in his field. He doesn’t think about his birth family much, and the feeling is mutual – or he thinks it is, until a call from a local hospital throws his carefully ordered world into chaos.

Dan has seen and done a lot in his time as an Army Ranger. Thrown into civilian life by an injury, he’s happy to work for Five Star Security doing what he does best – until he gets a call from his hometown with devastating news.

His beloved older brother, Chris, has been killed in a car accident, along with his bride, Selene. Custody of their amazing four-year-old daughter has been left not to Dan, with whom all three were close, but to Selene’s younger half-brother, Eric – a man Dan has never met and who didn’t bother showing up for the wedding.

Review

 

            This was a fast, escapist type of read. Think old school Harlequin vibes. Some of the details didn’t quite make sense, but I’m a sucker for secret royalty so it didn’t bother me all that much.

            Eric, a law professor at an Ivy League school and estranged from his family, has his world shook up when he’s informed his sister and her husband were killed in a car accident and he is the chosen guardian of a niece he didn’t know he even had. Eric also has a secret he’s kept from the people in his life in Boston. He’s a prince, who fled his country after scandal in his youth.

            Dan, who was active Ada’s life and a bodyguard, doesn’t understand why out of all people to leave Ada with Eric was chosen. He hates Eric on sight for the fact that he has the capability of taking Ada away from Dan. Also, why with Selene’s family? He knew that her family was horrible. That’s why she moved so far away from home.

            Eric was too much of a nice guy at times and it bordered on fake. Dan was a bit too angry in the beginning and then a quick snap of the fingers and he was attracted to Eric. Andreas and his aide, there were a little over the top.

            However, I liked the way Eric and Dan worked together to take care of Ada. They focused on her safety and happiness. I liked the forethought Eric had when he fled from Corvia and started his own life in the US. He was strategic and found a way to live his best life. Eric did his best to be better than the royal family and he was. This is why I could see Dan being attracted to Eric. He got to see who Eric truly was outside of his family.

            If you are a fan of dialogue, like me, you’ll enjoy reading this. There was a lot of talk between characters, but it was easy to follow and pushed the plot along at an even pace.

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Snow Job by Beth Bolden

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3.5 Stars out of 5

Summary:

There’s nobody Micah hates more than his ex-stepbrother, Jake. And nobody he wants quite as desperately. For nine long years, Micah has begrudgingly tried to move on. How could they ever be together when Jake never spends more than a handful of days in the same country, and never more than one night with the same person?

When his job sends Micah to a remote mountain cabin on snowy Mount Hood, a misunderstanding strands Jake there at the same time. Was it actually coincidence or in fact premeditated? Either way, Micah will need to put his resentment—and his longing—aside for long enough to survive the elements that might be conspiring to kill them.

As the snow levels rise, and their situation grows more dire, Micah and Jake might finally be forced to use the heat between them to survive.

**Snow Job is a full length novel and book 5 of the Snowed In Valentine’s Inc. series. It can be read as a standalone**

The Review

A slightly taboo read, (ex-step brothers), so if you are not into that STOP HERE!

Repressing his feelings for his stepbrother (currently ex-stepbrother) has caused Micah a lot more trouble than he ever imagined it was. Their parent’s scheme to get them to address the trouble in their relationship, by sending them to the same cabin to assess its value for the company they run. None of them could foresee the snowstorm trapping them together without electricity, food, or you know, blankets.

They anger and frustration between Micah and Jake is palpable from the first. I found some of the things they did to each other, petty revenge/practical jokes, were hilarious and I’m glad that the author included those bits of their story rather than only referencing them.

The passion between them, well, *fans self* it’s been simmering for a while. It was bound to be a bit explosive.

What I truly liked, was they went back to their lives and dealt with the aftermath of their passions before their story ended. Like my heart hurt so much for Micah once he got out of that cabin. He was happy, there were so many possibilities, and then there wasn’t. Jake, bless it, he pulled at my heartstrings too.

It was easy to get lost in the cabin and in their story.

Give it a try!

** To be released January 28, 2020**

Picking Up the Pieces by Annabella Michaels

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3.5 out of 5 Stars

The Summary: Two Shattered Hearts

Brody Murphy feels as if he’s lost everything when his best friend and partner, Paul, dies in the line of duty. Partners on the force for years, Paul Donovan was all Brody had. Paul accepted Brody as he was—standoffish from a childhood in the foster system, bisexual in a police force that wasn’t entirely welcoming, Brody is now adrift. Wracked by survivor’s guilt and grief, Brody devotes what’s left of his heart to help Paul’s widow and her children. And when his partner’s oldest child returns home a grown man, Brody is torn between what he thinks he should do and what his heart wants.

Grief Binds Them

Cooper Donovan is in his senior year of college when the unthinkable happens. His father dies, and Cooper returns home to be with his family, and help his mother with his little sisters. So many things were left unsaid between Cooper and his father, a fact that weighs heavily on his heart. College helped Cooper learn more about who he was and what he wanted from life, and with Brody Murphy comes unexpected feelings and complications.

Hope Leads Them Home

Brody and Cooper forge a connection that leaves Brody conflicted, Cooper determined, and both men wounded by their shared grief. While Brody struggles with why he lived, and Paul died—he had no one and nothing, and Paul had everything to live for, Cooper sees a man who deserves love and happiness under the grief. Tension rises when Brody and Cooper can’t deny what’s happening between them. Both men are picking up the pieces of their previous lives and putting together a new future, one where hope and love heals, and home is in each other’s arms.

The Review

Picking Up the Pieces by Annabella Michaels is a story of loss. It is a story about finding hope in the face of losing one of the most important people in your life and finding love in a place you may least expect it.

Brody Murphy watched his partner Paul Donovan get shot in a botched robbery attempt. Not only was Paul his partner at work, but he had become part of Brody’s family. Brody is wracked with guilt. He doesn’t have a family, no children or spouse. Why was he the one who made it out alive?

Cooper Donovan, Paul’s son, returns home to help his mother take care of his little sisters and to make sure they’re going to make it through this as a family. Cooper’s thoughts weigh on him. He never had the chance to come out to his parents and he would never have that chance with his father. Brody evokes feelings in him he didn’t think he should have. He was much older, his father’s best friend and one hundred percent off limits. Or so he thinks.

This is a story that pulls at the heart. There were moments that my heart broke for both these men. Cooper is picking up so much responsibility, while attending school, and trying to keep it all together. Brody becomes a support, someone he relates to and can speak of his secrets with. The attraction between them is established quickly and it runs deep. It’s not only an age-gap romance, there’s depth to it that makes it feel realistic. Brody and Cooper are equals that compliment and keep each other balanced.

I do feel like there was something missing here though. I feel like there weren’t enough scenes between Brody and Cooper. I loved the date scene, and Brody making sure Cooper knew that he felt like Cooper was someone worth being treated special. That he deserved dates and to be won over. It wasn’t just sex between the two of them, it was more. I think everyone deserves that and I love to see it written out in books.

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Going Down by Barbara Bell

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3.5 out of 5 Stars

The Summary: Trapped in an elevator with her boss… 

Ellie has been trying to keep her distance from Casey, her supervisor, ever since last year’s Christmas party. A quickie in a bathroom stall left both women breathless…and more than a little embarrassed when they rejoined the party. Workplace snogging is highly inappropriate.

Though enormously erotic.

Body temperatures are already rising when Ellie and Casey find themselves alone in the elevator one Friday night at the office. When the lift comes to a grinding stop, awkward isn’t large enough a word.

Trapped in an elevator with her boss. Her tall, powerful, beautiful boss—the woman who monopolizes Ellie’s fantasies and sneaks into her dreams.

Whatever will they do to pass the time?

The Review

First, let me give you a little background on Dirty Bits by Carina Press. Dirty Bits gives you what you want, when you want it. Designed to be read in an hour or two, these sex-filled microromances are guaranteed to pack a punch and deliver a happily-ever-after. So any time I review one of these, expect a micro-review, because I’m not giving everything away 😉

Ellie and her boss, Casey, may have crossed a line in a bathroom stall at the previous work Christmas Party. It’s been months and Ellie has been avoiding Casey and only speaking to her boss about work matters when they used to be friends with each other. It takes getting trapped in an elevator for a couple of hours together for Ellie to relive the mind blowing experience, and try to figure out where they went wrong.

The sex between the two is going to leave you fanning yourself and wondering how Ellie could have ever let Casey disappear out of her life as a potential lover. There’s a specific part that I wasn’t really into and I’m finding this in a lot of lesbian erotica, check the tags for that spoiler, but the rest of it was great. I’d definitely want to visit Ellie and Casey again to find out how their relationship has progressed.

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Vow of Protection by Brittany Cournoyer

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3.5 Stars out of Five Stars

The Summary: Walker ~

Living a life of privilege isn’t always what it seems to be. While Walker has never wanted for anything material-wise, the two things he doesn’t have are his parents’ love and support. Walker tries his hardest to be the perfect son by allowing his father, the Governor, to dictate his life for him. All that changes when an awful day leads to a brutal night, causing Walker to fear for his safety and hire the only person he knows can protect him.

Beckett ~

Peace and an easy way of living, that’s all Beckett wants after serving twelve years in the army. Working for his Uncle Rusty’s bar as a doorman and occasional bouncer, the last thing the tattooed man with the take-no-crap attitude needs is to have to save the obnoxious kid who gives him attitude at the door. After ensuring that he’ll survive, and having a not so pleasant run-in with the guy’s parents, he leaves the hospital never expecting to see him again.

Walker and Beckett come from two different worlds. Where Beckett fought for his country and now enjoys the simple life, Walker works as his father’s campaign manager and lives a life of luxury. But when Walker’s safety is threatened, and he offers Beckett a job as his body guard, their lives became entwined and the two men begin to find that maybe they aren’t so different after all. Soon bickering and fighting turns to friendship and something…more. The only problem is, Walker’s straight… isn’t he? And can Beckett figure out who is behind the attacks in time to save Walker?

The Review

Walker has lived a life of privilege. His father is influential in the community and wealthy. Walker does what his father expects of him, not what he wishes to do in life. He ends up with a degree in political science, working his father’s campaign, and trying to not be a disappointment that his father seems to believe him to be. After a misfortunate night at a biker bar, Walker gets the tar beaten out of him and the bouncer, Beckett, has to save and get him to the hospital.

Beckett is nothing like Walker. He’s served time in the military, suffers from PTSD, and doesn’t have to have the finer things in life. For example, his car. It gets him where he needs to go and it’s reliable. It may not be the prettiest car on the lot but he doesn’t need anything fancy.

Walker has had several threats to his safety and decides to hire Beckett to be his bodyguard. As more threats come to life, Walker and Beckett start to enjoy each other’s company, even through all the pet peeves and button pushing that they both seemed fond of doing.

The threatening behavior started with slashed tires and grew into arson, and other life threatening actions. There were times that I felt like Beckett and Carter were ten steps behind and we not the greatest body guards. There were some basic safety measures that were not enforced. I didn’t particularly enjoy the resolution of this one either. I feel like it got rushed in the last thirty pages or so when the reveal could have been handled differently. It felt anticlimactic and that there needed to be more to explain the motivations.

I will fully admit to the fact that the romance between Walker and Beckett was exquisite. That first anger filled kiss *fans self* that was something else. I was waiting for the kiss and was not let down. At all. They went slow for Walker as he discovered what he liked and wanted while he was with Beckett.

All in all, this was a decent read. I may give other books by Cournoyer a chance later on to see if I might like her other series. I’m not the biggest fan of First Person POV story-telling and I think that may have influenced a lot of my opinion the slightest bit.

*TRIGGER WARNINGS* – Past drug use, rape and war time flashbacks are mentioned in this book.

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The Dark Bloods by Destiny Hawkins

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3.5 Stars out of 5 Stars

The Summary: Alveya Tera. A monster, a killer, and an abomination. It was hard for anyone to believe that she was anything more, but one wolf thought differently. That was… until she lost control of the hybrid within her and left the Dark Bloods clan covered in blood.

Months later, Alveya returned to the Tera Mansion no better than before, and to make matters worse, she brought a friend. In less than a week after her arrival, a mysterious group of strangers began hunting the one person that she was trying to keep away from. The one that fate wouldn’t let her resist…

Crystal Blue.

And it was damn hard to play keep away while protecting her.

Even through the rage, the loneliness, and the pain of struggling to recover from years of neglect and abuse, Alveya would continue do anything to keep Crystal safe.

Even if it cost her her life.

The Review

The Dark Bloods is the second book in the Blue Moon Series by Destiny Hawkins. First, this story is more about Crystal than Alveya, I just want to make that one hundred percent clear.  It’s 85% told from Crystal’s point of view. Which I really liked reading from Crystal’s POV a lot more than the few times I got to read from Alveya’s. *shrug* I just wasn’t Alveya’s greatest fan.

Onwards to the review!

Crystal Blue and her brother Alan are the last remaining wolves in existence. She’s been training to fully being able to call herself alpha and to protect herself from the impending danger from the Krystal Tooths and the newest threat to the Dark Bloods. Vampires. She had previously formed a bond with Alveya, who had ran away from the Dark Bloods and Crystal in fear of the ‘monster’ she was becoming. In the process, Crystal is trying to live her everyday life and improve herself physically and when it comes to shifting. When Alveya returns, she returns with another women and breaks Crystal’s heart just a bit.

It seems like everywhere Crystal  looks, there’s Alveya and Kristy. She’s having to deal with jealousy, angry and keeping her wolf in control. When you think things are going Crystal’s way for once, it’s like a knife to a chest. A group of vampires are out to kidnap Crystal and they’ll do whatever it takes to get her.

I was a bit lost as to where this was going at points but Crystal, Alan, Amber and Angela are what kept me reading and engaged. Alan was such a little brother and he had me laughing out loud at times. Then how Amber would do magicky things in solidarity had my inner evil genius grinning. I will vividly remember the book/classroom scene.

I wish we would have gotten the why the vampires were so focused on taking Crystal. Even if it would have been at the end. There is going to be a book three so maybe then? There were a few sex scenes but as another reviewer mentioned, they were extremely vanilla for two animalistic beings. It felt like they were love scenes in your typical romance novel. Not in a paranormal, action story.

These ladies were kickass and I really enjoyed this aspect of it. They had their faults, they had plans to improve and worked together. Will I read the next one? Most likely.

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