Hair Out of Place

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Three out of Five Stars

The Summary

Confined to a London penthouse his whole life, hardly anybody knows that happy-go-lucky Raphie d’Oro is a prince in exile. Not even his grumpy new bodyguard, Griff Thompson. But when assassins strike, Raphie is forced to flee out into a strange new world with his crush on Griff growing. It’s a race against time to get Raphie to his European home country so he can claim the throne and save his life.

Griff has to remain professional, especially when he discovers Raphie is a real-life prince, but he’s increasingly drawn to the beautiful Raphie and his mesmerising long hair. There are only so many beds they can share before the pull between them becomes impossible to ignore.

But they’re living in a fantasy. Raphie is going to be a king, and Griff is almost twice his age and going nowhere. Griff knows they have no future together, no matter what Raphie insists. However, Griff also knows he’ll do anything to protect Raphie from harm, and that includes not breaking his heart. Can he really do his duty and walk away, or will true love conquer all?

The Review

Raphie d’Oro has spent his life in a penthouse with his mother, keeping a secret that never would have been told if his father, King of Campulan, hadn’t died. This triggered a flurry of events. Relentless and entirely unlucky assassins attempt to fulfill the contract on Raphie’s life.

Griff, Raphie’s bodyguard, hadn’t expected his first day on this assignment to appear like a bad action movie. But here they were, running for their lives and on a deadline to get Raphie to claim his birthright.

What appealed to me was the nonbinary representation with Raphie. I wish there were more books with nonbinary characters. The way Raphie’s choses pronouns, his preferences of dressing, was all handled excellently. It felt natural and easily understood.

The romance between the Raphie and Griff was so-so.

With the good, comes the bad.

This read like a comedic romance, with some unbelievable plot points that I couldn’t get over. If they were on such a time crunch to get Raphie to the throne, why did they have so much time to stop for the day and get to the romancing? They wouldn’t have. Also, the assassins, while they offered more comedic relief, were not very assassin like.  I found myself skimming through some of the pages.

Give it a try

Risking the Shot by Amy Aislin

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Time for distractions? Hardly.

A chance at making the playoffs? It’s a dream for NHL forward Taylor Cunningham that just might come true. If he can keep his eyes on the ball—ahem, puck. And study for midterms. Dakota Cotton, eleven years his senior, isn’t just a distraction, though—he’s everything Tay’s ever wanted.

Dakota has no interest in introducing someone who might not stick around to his four-year-old son. Been there, done that, with the divorce to prove it. But there’s something about Tay that hits all of the right buttons and has him wanting to take a chance.

As things heat up between them, and the pressure to succeed hits an all-time high, will they risk a shot at happiness or choke?

Review

Taylor Cunningham, professional hockey player, has been crushing on Dakota Cotton, who works for the team’s nonprofit, since he laid eyes on the man. Dakota may be eleven years older than Tay, but there’s something about the older man that pushes every button for him. Even his four year old son, Andy.

I related to Taylor so much. Not because I’m a hockey player, but because he takes so much on his shoulders. He’s playing professional hockey while pursuing a degree for paramedicine. Then he works on his comic and helps plan a big party for his mom while dealing with the strained relationship he has with his older sisters.

He’s doesn’t share his art with those closest to him because he felt like it wasn’t ever going to be good enough. When he starts gaining his confidence, oh that was such a sweet feeling. It’s something that I struggled with. I’m glad it wasn’t just me (even if Taylor is a fictional character) other people experience the same feelings.

Dakota, oh goodness, he and Andy were my heart. Taylor integrated into their little family unit seamlessly and he treated Dakota’s son Andy the way any parent would want their child to be treated by someone they were dating. And, Dakota, oh boy, he’s quite an attractive fella. He’s smart, creative, and sexy.  I’ll never think about scotch in the same way after reading this.

Dakota and Taylor, the chemistry and tension between them *fans self* whoo boy. I so wish we would have gotten to see what could have happened in the coat room. And the scotch! Like hell to the yes. All the yeses! I’m going to have to file that away for later *cackles*.

Would I recommend reading this book? 100%, read it. It would be helpful reading the rest of the Stick Side series because other characters pop up in this.

 

To be released September 8th 2020 – Get your copy here

Don’t Cry for Me by Rachel Lacey

Don't Cry for Me (Midnight in Manhattan Book 1)

Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Eve Marlow has her eyes on the prize: a third season of her popular business makeover show, Do Over. But when her ratings take an unexpected dive, Eve needs a blockbuster new client, or she can kiss season three goodbye. She has her work cut out for her, and that’s before she discovers a litter of newborn kittens in a trash can. Now she’s desperate to find someone to take them so she can concentrate on reviving her career.

Josie Swanson had to put her kitten rescue on the back burner when she inherited her father’s bar two years ago. Since then, she’s invested all her time and energy into keeping it afloat, but despite her best efforts, Swanson’s is going under. When she gets a phone call from Eve Marlow, host of the television show Josie applied to earlier that year, the woman she’s convinced can save her bar, Josie hopes her luck has finally turned.

Eve knows what she needs to succeed, and it isn’t Josie–or her bar. There’s no denying the chemistry sizzling between them, though. Josie’s personality is as vibrant as her turquoise-tipped hair. She stirs things in Eve that haven’t been stirred in a long time, but there’s a reason she keeps her heart under lock and key. Eve stands to lose a lot more than her TV show if she lets her guard down, no matter how tempted she is to see if Josie’s love would be worth the risk.

Review

Eve is doing her best to ensure her business makeover show makes it past season two. Josie is struggling to keep her father’s bar afloat and she put her career hopes, rescuing cats, on hold. A horrible instance of Eve finding abandoned newborn kittens draws these two women together. Eve reaches out in desperation hoping Josie would take the kittens off her hands. Josie teaches her the basics. Eve ends up working with Josie to rebrand the bar and ensure its success. The more time they spend with each other, the deeper their connection grows.

            What I really enjoyed about Don’t Cry for Me was how genuine both Eve and Josie appeared to be. They were themselves from the moment we met them on page. Eve is still grieving a loss, but Josie is the first person that she connects with. Eve fights the attraction in the beginning. She has a sense of professionalism that she holds herself to. But it’s hard to resist the whirlwind of Josie.

            I’ve always wanted to read a romance where the reality show hosts falls for a ‘contestant’ on their show. There were flirty moments and stolen kisses between the two women and it was just so good. I wish we would have gotten steamier scenes between them. Their chemistry was intense, and I wanted to see more.

            The writing was fluid, I could picture Eve, Josie, and the bar perfectly in my mind as I read. Josie’s friends were exactly like a couple of my friends and I loved seeing secondary characters like Adam and Kaia. I had fun reading their story and I was able to read it quickly. It was an escape from everything happening around me with work and class. I’m definitely going to give Lacey’s other works a read!

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Silent Sin by E.J. Russell

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

When tailor Marvin Gottschalk abandoned New York City for the brash boomtown of silent-film-era Hollywood, he never imagined he’d end up on screen as Martin Brentwood, one of the fledgling film industry’s most popular actors. Five years later a cynical Martin despairs of finding anything genuine in a town where truth is defined by studio politics and publicity. Then he meets Robbie Goodman.

Robbie fled Idaho after a run-in with the law. A chance encounter leads him to the film studio where he lands a job as a chauffeur. But one look at Martin and he’s convinced he’s likely to run afoul of those same laws—laws that brand his desires indecent, deviant… sinful.

Martin and Robbie embark on a cautious relationship, cocooned in Hollywood’s clandestine gay fraternity, careful to hide from the studio boss, a rival actor, and reporters on the lookout for a juicy story. But when tragedy and scandal rock the town, igniting a morality-based witch hunt fueled by a remorseless press, the studio brass will sacrifice even the greatest careers to defend their endangered empire. Robbie and Martin stand no chance against the firestorm—unless they stand together.

 

Review

Robbie Goodman didn’t intend to land in Hollywood amidst the glamor of silent film stars. It was a stop on his way to Mexico. He didn’t intend to stay. As he learned more about who he is as an individual, he found more reasons to stay in Hollywood despite the trouble that came with living amongst the rich and famous.

1920s Hollywood, I loved it! The terminology used to fit this time period and enhanced the characters. Robbie, naïve and tender-hearted Robbie, gets hired as a driver for silent-film star Martin Brentwood. He gets his first taste of how Hollywood works while watching Martin work. He’s open to all the possibilities and the new experiences he can experience.

Martin is a bit jaded. He’s been through some stuff and living ‘the life’ he does, doesn’t make it easy for him to form meaningful connections. Robbie is his first taste of freedom. He truly cherishes Robbie. It melted my heart with the care he took with Robbie.

Their romance is sweet, playful and the more romantic scenes take place off-screen. So if you’re looking for that, it isn’t what you’re going to get in this book. I was more than okay having those fade to black scenes, especially with the youth of Robbie and the nature that they had to hide the lifestyle they lived.

I enjoyed this one thoroughly and at times I didn’t want to put it down.

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Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: When a plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, the best place to land is in the arms of a younger man…

Hotshot attorney Reuben Graham has finally agreed to take a vacation, when his plane suddenly plunges into the Alaskan wilderness.

Just his luck.

But his frustrations have only begun as he finds himself stranded with the injured, and superhot, pilot, a man who’s endearingly sociable—and much too young for Reuben to be wanting him this badly.

As the sole provider for his sisters and ailing father, Tobias Kooly is devastated to learn his injuries will prevent him from working or even making it back home. So when Reuben insists on giving him a place to recover, not even Toby’s pride can make him refuse. He’s never been tempted by a silver fox before, but something about Reuben is impossible to resist.

Recuperating in Reuben’s care is the last thing Toby expected, yet the closer they become, the more incredibly right it feels, prompting workaholic Reuben to question the life he’s been living. But when the pressure Toby’s under starts closing in, both men will have to decide if there’s room in their hearts for a love they never saw coming.

The Review

Reuben Graham, a workaholic attorney, finally goes on the vacation he wasn’t excited about going on. His pilot and tour guide, Toby, is young, vibrant, social and everything an older man like Reuben shouldn’t want. He can’t help himself thought. The attraction and chemistry between the men is intense and hard to resist. When their plane goes down in the Alaskan wilderness, Reuben finds himself wanting to stay to help and provide a place for Toby to recover.

If you aren’t into hurt/comfort or the age-gap romance, this book is not going to be for you. That said, I actually loved this book. There was a tenderness to Reuben that you don’t typically come across. He’s described by Toby as a ‘silver bear’ so he is a bigger, fuzzier guy. Which I kind of like that he was a normal character. And all the aspects Reuben was insecure about, Toby found attractive and pushed Reuben to embrace those pieces of himself.

Reuben has to take extensive care of Toby in this. Toby ends up in a wheelchair and has a cast on his arm. He needed help getting into the shower, cooking, everyday functions. It didn’t lead to sexy times – it was rooted in making sure Toby was healing. Toby had a difficult time accepting their relationship for fear of what his family would think, which was entirely believable.

The sex between the two was a slow burn, in the best way. I don’t see scenes like what was given for Reuben and Toby. It was teasing, enveloping and full of emotion. They were one hundred percent vulnerable with each other. It was kind of perfect for them.

I totally read this series out of order, haven’t read the first yet, and it was easily understandable. Looking at other reviews many people have mixed thoughts, but honestly if you like Annabeth Albert, give this one a read. It is a bit different from her usual but I loved it.

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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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Perfect Partners by Maggie Cummings

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Sara Wright knows better than to fall for a cop.

For Sara, an elite police dog trainer for the federal government, attractive women in uniform are an occupational hazard. But she gave her heart to a coworker once before and the battle scars from that failed relationship are still fresh. She dodges every chance at romance with the officers she trains, focusing her energy on turning out the finest handler-canine teams in the country. But when annoyingly perky, unfairly sexy Isabel Marquez arrives at Homeland Security’s Northeast Regional Training facility brimming with excitement, and a surprising desire to succeed, Sara’s good intentions start to falter. She can’t help being drawn to Isabel’s enthusiasm, and, okay, her long dark hair and brilliant smile don’t hurt either. Keeping their contact limited to friendship is harder than she thought. When it comes to enforcing her own rules of the heart, Sara might need to break a few for a chance at forever.

The Review

If you are looking for a quick, fun read then this is the book for you.

Isabel Marquez arrives bright eyed and excited to become a K-9 officer. She’s determined to do her absolute best and prove that favors weren’t all that got her into this position. Sara Wright trains the officers and dogs for the real world and all the risks that come with being a K-9 officer. She doesn’t want to get involved with another cop, but it’s hard to resist Isabel especially once Chase picks her as his officer. There is no other way to explain the bond between Isabel and Chase but it was moving seeing the two get to know each other and learn to work together.

What I really enjoyed about this book with the romance. It wasn’t too spicy and it fit Sara and Isabel. Their relationship was gentle, kind and well thought out. I liked the realistic sex scenes (that felt odd admitting to) but it wasn’t like last few books where I needed to skip a few pages. The way they touched each other was intentional and done with care. I like a soft, subtle romance scene. That’s what you got with this book.

There was a little drama with Sara’s previous girlfriend, but it wasn’t too angsty.  It kept the story moving and helped us learn more about Sara’s past and why she does what she does. Family was also an important aspect in this novel. While we didn’t get huge family scenes, the ones we did get were enjoyable and felt exactly how you would feel meeting your significant other’s family.

This was a cozy romance with a touch a spice.

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