Huntsman by Morgan Brice

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Three out of Five Stars

 

Summary

A grieving wolf. A hunted fox. Fated mates, thrown together by chance, and the looming threat of a fabled Huntsman who might tear them apart forever.

Fox shifter Liam Reynard is running from a killer. He uproots his life to find sanctuary in Fox Hollow, deep in the Adirondack Forest in New York.

When his car breaks down, sexy wolf shifter Russ Lowe comes to the rescue, and one touch makes it clear they’re fated mates. Neither man was looking for love, and both are still mending from past heartbreak. When mysterious fires and disappearances threaten Fox Hollow, Liam fears the killer is hot on his trail. Can he protect the town and his fated mate from the evil hunting him, or will an ex-lover’s betrayal cost Liam everything he loves?

Huntsman is full of sexy shifters, hurt/comfort, second chance love, sincere psychics, hot first responders, found family, and fated mates.

Review

I want to preface this by saying that I am normally a huge fan of Morgan Brice. I absolutely love all her work.  Huntsman was not it for me. It was an okay read, but I expected more than what I read. If you enjoy the fated-mates trope, this is definitely a book you’ll want to check out. It has a sweet romance between a fox-shifter and a wolf-shifter that is weaved throughout, action takes a backseat in this one.

Liam Reynard, fox shifter librarian, is on the run from a Huntsman. With little warning, he packs his bags and heads to the one place he can think of, Fox Hollow. A former professor offered him a job and now it’s his only hope for safety.

His car breaks down just outside of town and Russ Lowe, wolf-shifter, firefighter, and tow truck driver, comes to his rescue. From the moment they meet, sparks ignite between the two of them. Neither man put much thought into fated mates, but it seems like they are it for each other.

One aspect of Huntsman that I did enjoy was the fact that it was a shifter story, where the characters were able to live their lives out loud in Fox Hollow. I’ve had a difficult time finding shifter stories that aren’t mpreg and I was excited to see this wasn’t a mpreg story. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great mpreg stories, but sometimes you don’t want that.

Also, the secondary characters (I’m sure will also get their own books), teased Russ mercilessly because of the preternatural sniffers. It always makes me laugh and feel a little bit of second hand embarrassment for the characters.

Fox Hollow felt like a small town that I would want to be a part of, but I felt like there was something missing throughout the entire novel. Everything wrapped up too cleanly and quickly. I wanted more than what I got. 

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Just Like That by Cole McCade

2-TourBanner-JustLikeThat_McCadeThree out of Five Stars

Summary

Summer Hemlock never meant to come back to Omen, Massachusetts.

But with his mother in need of help, Summer has no choice but to return to his hometown, take up a teaching residency at the Albin Academy boarding school—and work directly under the man who made his teenage years miserable.

Professor Fox Iseya.

Forbidding, aloof, commanding: psychology instructor Iseya is a cipher who’s always fascinated and intimidated shy, anxious Summer. But that fascination turns into something more when the older man challenges Summer to be brave. What starts as a daily game to reward Summer with a kiss for every obstacle overcome turns passionate, and a professional relationship turns quickly personal.

Yet Iseya’s walls of grief may be too high for someone like Summer to climb…until Summer’s infectious warmth shows Fox everything he’s been missing in life.

Now both men must be brave enough to trust each other, to take that leap.

To find the love they’ve always needed…

Just like that.

Review

Just Like That is a story of one man finding himself years after a profound loss and another that is learning who he wants to be.

Summer Hemlock is fresh out of university trying to find his career, he didn’t expect to land back home in Omen, Massachusetts. He secures a position teaching at Albin Academy boarding school, directly under the man who he fosters a crush on while he was a teenager, Professor Fox Iseya.

At their first meeting, Professor Iseya has little faith in Summer’s abilities. I hurt for Summer in these moments, because it felt like Professor Iseya was tearing him to pieces and didn’t even care about the damage he was doing. Summer acted out, in a moment of bravery, and kissed his childhood crush. From that action, the entire course of the school year changes.

A daily act of bravery, Summer gets a kiss from Professor Iseya. The kisses turn into something more and hold a different meaning to them both. Summer whittles away at the walls Fox had put up since the passing of his wife. Fox allows himself to feel something other than nothing and they get lost in each other in the process.

The steam factor on this one I’d give a four out of five. Each scene was intense, full of passion that had been so tightly bound for so long, it was explosive once they were together. A May/December romance, featuring workplace, desk top sex? Woo, I was not expecting that.

Why did this get a three out of five stars? For me, I was expecting so much more. There was so much focus on Fox, with only a brief moment when Summer figured out what he wanted in life. I wish there would have been more to their relationship. I was left wanting, but still satisfied with the resolution of the story.

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Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Wanted:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.

Review

I have so much love for this book! I don’t have much time to read when I’m in class, but I stayed up late two nights in a row to finish Boyfriend Material.

Having a rock star for a father isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Luc O’Donell will end a relationship before it starts. It’s better to end it before he winds up in the tabloids with the world wondering how much further he could fall. When his job is at risk, he’ll do whatever he can to keep it. Oliver is the perfect person to help him clean up his image and save his job. Scandal doesn’t happen to Oliver, the barrister and vegetarian. They couldn’t be more different from each other, but they both need someone to take as a plus one.

Luc, bless it, I just wanted to tell him, “It’s okay to be who you are and to live your life.” He doesn’t trust anyone and it’s entirely understandable. He’s had some of his worst moments plastered across the tabloids. Oliver, goodness, he needed all the hugs. He strives to be the best and nothing but the best.

I think why I enjoyed their story so much was because I relate so much to both Luc and Oliver. I don’t trust easily, and I’m awkward and odd. I have my own way of doing things and I don’t appreciate people trying to change that.

The arrangement becomes beneficial and is the worst kept secret. It cracked me up with how many people knew they were fake boyfriends. Despite all the fakery, Luc and Oliver had a legitimate connection with each other. They challenged each other to be better and to learn how to trust again.

I think one of my favorite parts was at Oliver’s parents Ruby Anniversary. Luc makes this amazing gesture and I was sitting in my bed sitting up straight and cheering him on. Someone needed to do this for Oliver. He was worth having someone on his side like Luc was.

There were misunderstandings, through the course of things, but the chemistry and attraction between them, even as fake boyfriends? It burned intense and brightly. It was so damn good when they were together.

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Home for a Cowboy by Amy Aislin

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary

Las doesn’t date seasonal workers. Marco’s on a three-month contract.

Lassiter Windsor-March has been planning for his future for as long as he can remember and he knows exactly where that future lies: at his family’s ranch in Wyoming. What doesn’t lie in his future is a summer fling with one of the seasonal workers—they never stick around.

Even if one of those workers is the college crush he’s invited to work a summer job at the ranch.

Marco Terlizzese is as laissez-faire as Las isn’t. He might not know where he’ll be once his contract with Windsor Ranch is up, but he knows three months is plenty of time to get his long-time crush to agree to go out with him.

Amid a starry summer sky, their chemistry ignites as feelings deepen, forcing Las and Marco to decide where they truly belong.

Review

Marco Terlizzese and Lassiter Windsor-March are goals. Recently graduated from college, they’re still trying to figure what they want to do with their lives. Marco isn’t sure he wants to pursue hockey professionally, but Las knows his life is going to be at the Windsor Ranch in some way or another, but he’s got grad school to consider and the project he wants to take on for his thesis. One thing they do know for certain, is their attraction to each other is hard to resist.

Las invites Marco to work on his family ranch for the summer as Marco tries to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Sparks fly between the two of them, and finally Las lets himself have what he always said he wouldn’t ever have. A relationship with a seasonal worker.

Their feelings for each other were so tender and pure. There were so many moments that I just sat in my bed grinning or breathing out a happy sigh. They stole my heart with how they acted towards each other.

There were times I felt like I was out there on the Windsor Ranch in Wyoming. I could smell the air, imagine the food and dances, and see the starry night sky on the nights Las and Marco went to Las’s tent. This was a fun, light-hearted, dreamy sigh inducing read!

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Starcrossed by Allie Therin

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

When everything they’ve built is threatened, only their bond remains…

1925 New York

Psychometric Rory Brodigan’s life hasn’t been the same since the day he met Arthur Kenzie. Arthur’s continued quest to contain supernatural relics that pose a threat to the world has captured Rory’s imagination—and his heart. But Arthur’s upper-class upbringing still leaves Rory worried that he’ll never measure up, especially when Arthur’s aristocratic ex arrives in New York.

For Arthur, there’s only Rory. But keeping the man he’s fallen for safe is another matter altogether. When a group of ruthless paranormals throw the city into chaos, the two men’s strained relationship leaves Rory vulnerable to a monster from Arthur’s past.

With dark forces determined to tear them apart, Rory and Arthur will have to draw on every last bit of magic up their sleeves. And in the end, it’s the connection they’ve formed without magic that will be tested like never before.

The Review

Rory Brodigan and Arthur Kenzie are back in the second installment of the Magic in Manhattan series, and they are as insatiable as ever.

From the opening pages, I was transported to 1920s New York. The historical accuracy is my second favorite part of this series (nothing can beat the relationship between Rory and Ace). The settings created dazzle the reader. I could feel the cold when Rory managed to get himself into trouble, because of course he can’t help but put himself in troublesome situations.

Rory faces Ace’s ex, and all of his insecurities come to light. He’s not from the same class as Ace and he’s much younger. He has to sneak around to be with Ace, hell, he can’t even get access to Ace’s apartment from the front entrance. How could Ace really want him? What Rory fails to realize is that he’s everything Ace needs in a partner.

For me, the plot in this novel was pushed back until the end of the book. Rory is dealing with the effects the ring from book one has on him. His bouts of destructive jealousy tickled me. He’s so smitten with Ace.

It was interesting to get a bit of Ace’s history in this book, and we got to see the monster in his closet. There was a little wobble between he and Rory, but they worked through it and managed to come out of peril safely. Well, relatively so.

The spicy scenes were fade to black in this novel, but I didn’t need that with these characters. Their interactions were intimate and loving. How they spoke and touched each other showcased their feelings for each other.

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Burn Zone – Annabeth Albert

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts…

Smoke jumper Lincoln Reid is speechless to see Jacob Hartman among his squad’s new recruits. Linc had promised his late best friend he’d stay away from his little brother. And yet here Jacob is…and almost instantly, the same temptation Linc has always felt around him is causing way too many problems.

Jacob gets everyone’s concerns, but he’s waited years for his shot at joining the elite smoke jumping team, hoping to honor his brother’s memory. He’s ready to tackle any challenge Linc throws his way, and senses the chemistry between them—chemistry Linc insists on ignoring—is still alive and kicking. This time, Jacob’s determined to get what he wants.

Close quarters and high stakes make it difficult for Linc to keep his resolve, never mind do so while also making sure the rookie’s safe. But the closer they get, the more Linc’s plan to leave at the end of the season risks him breaking another promise: the one his heart wants to make to Jacob.

Review

A brand-new series featuring firefighters and written by Annabeth Albert? SIGN ME UP!

Linc is a veteran fire jumper. He’s been through hell and back. After facing an incredible loss, he doesn’t expect his best friend’s little brother to follow in their footsteps. The warning to stay away from Jacob still echoes loudly in his mind. No matter how attracted to Jacob he is, he gave his word to stay away and that is what he intends to do.

Jacob is pure temptation. After coming out, he goes after what he wants and that’s Linc. A few rushed kisses isn’t enough for him. He takes the time to grow up, work his way to fire jumping, and deals with the fears his mother has after the death of his brother. Everyone treats him like a kid, that he needs to be protected rather than utilized as a team member.

The chemistry between the two, *fans self* it’s intense. It was a constant struggle between should they or shouldn’t they. Once they give in, it was every bit as explosive as you would hope for. Two alpha men, taking the time to bring each other to pieces with burning touches. What made this better, was the fact that it wasn’t all rose between the two men. Linc had to fight something that he had programmed into his mind. He had to learn that it was okay to be himself, yet still remain part of the family that had claimed him for so long.

Jacob challenged Linc to become comfortable with himself. Jacob stopped hiding his sexuality and his wants at the age of nineteen, it was high time for Linc to realize he could do the same. There was something about Jacob that I adored. He wanted to be an equal on the jump-team. He went after what he wanted in his professional and personal life.

The only thing that drove me crazy was how self-sacrificing Linc was. If it wasn’t so extreme this would have easily been a five-star read for me. I’m already looking forward to the next in the series.

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The Easy Way – Written by May Archer, Narrated by Michael Dean

Audiobook Review

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary:

Camden Seaver had it easy – a loving family, plenty of money, and the freedom to follow his dreams while his older brother, Sebastian, took charge of the family business. But when a tragic plane crash killed his parents, all the responsibilities he never wanted landed firmly on his shoulders. Now saddled with his crazy, grief-stricken brother and his dad’s multimillion dollar company, Cam doesn’t trust in dreams anymore. He’s forgotten what “easy” feels like.

FBI Agent Kendrick “Cort” Cortland learned the hard way that he couldn’t depend on anyone but himself. Before joining the FBI, the one constant in his life was his foster brother, Damon – and then Damon disappeared. Now, Cort is determined to find his brother and to bring down the man responsible for ruining Damon’s life, Sebastian Seaver. He’s got nothing left to lose.

When Cort’s investigation leads him to Seaver Tech…and Camden Seaver…what started as a quest for revenge and a one-night deception quickly turns into far more than either man bargained for. But how can either man trust in something that seems so easy? As long-held secrets are revealed, the attraction between Cam and Cort becomes combustible – an undeniable love that will either make or destroy them. Will Cam and Cort let their conflicting loyalties drive them apart? Or will they decide that sometimes love is the easy way?

Review:

Michael Dean has a voice that hits in all the right spots. There were moments his voice dripped along my spine and kept me mesmerized with Cort and Cam’s story. Out of everything, my favorite parts of narration were how he portrayed their text conversations. He captured the different tones and inflections for Cam and Cort’s responses, it felt like he knew them. He had a very alpha like quality to his voice.

Cortland is determined to find a way locate and clear his foster brother, Damon, of any wrongdoing in the Seaver plane crash. He didn’t expect to find Camden Seaver, very much the antithesis of what he was expecting to find. Geeky, self-conscious, and desperate to be anywhere but where he was. He wasn’t expecting to be so drawn to someone he was supposed to hate.

The attraction between Cortland and Cam, burned in all the best ways. When the first met, they challenged each other, teased each other, and found something completely unexpected in each other.

Cortland’s desire to be as many of Cam’s firsts, well, *fans self* it was just so good. The heat factor on this one is up there. He pulled Cam out of his shell, taught him how to experience life again after a devastating loss. Cam grounded Cort. He let Cort know that there were more people in life that he could depend on than himself.

The epilogue made me so happy. I needed to know what things would be between Cort and Cam after everything. And I got more of their text conversations. I probably smiled way too much at my desk at work listening to them banter back and forth.

This was definitely a book I was able to get lost in and loved listening to.

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Happy Place by Jay Northcote

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary:

A first kiss from a younger man leads to a sexual awakening…

George’s strict upbringing has left him ashamed of his sexuality. In his forties now, he’s yet to come out or even kiss a man – until he meets Quentin.

Quentin has had enough of bad relationships with men who won’t commit. Still raw from the last one, he’s not ready to try again. But George is sweet, and helping the older man get some experience might be a fun diversion.

Swept rapidly into a deeper connection than they bargained for, they face a dilemma. George isn’t ready to come out, and Quentin wants a boyfriend who isn’t afraid to be seen with him in public. Can they find a way to navigate the unpredictable waters of their new relationship and find happiness together.

The Review

This is the first book I’ve read of the Rainbow Place series and I’m sitting here wondering why I waited this long to grab one of these books? George, I wanted to give him a hug and tell him to trust that it was going to be okay if he was true to himself.

George is firmly planted in the closet, coming to terms with his sexuality and is used to denying himself basic companionship. Quentin tears into his life in the form of an interview for a local paper. It’s hard to resist an older man with no strings attached.

George, I felt for him. He’s denied himself for so long, he doesn’t know how to handle himself. He wants to experience actual human touch and interaction, but he’s terrified. I one hundred percent understand that  fear. There were so many expectations on him, at one time being married to a woman, having a child with her. He was an older man, with no experience.

Quentin lived openly and wanted to have a relationship he didn’t have to hide. Some how, George’s offer was too hard to resist. He’d help George experience life as a gay man outside of the porn he watches.

The two together, you don’t think they would work out well. But they do. Eventually. There are hiccups in their arrangement. George is terrified and Quentin wanting more than what he is getting from their arrangement. Their interactions sizzled. Like there were some intense moments between the two men. George was willing to try any and everything, but wasn’t afraid to say he didn’t like something. One thing that didn’t work for me was the dirty talk, that’s a personal preference though. I’m not a fan of it.

My favorite scene was the date on George’s boat. They were both so free, happy, and excited about life. It was only fitting that it served as a turning point in their relationship. It is a scene that still floats around my mind when I think of this book.

After reading this, I did go out and get the rest of the series. Northcote writes in a way that it’s easy to get lost in the characters.

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Being Enough by Alie Nolan

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Eli has been looking forward to his yearly trip to Camp Lost Lake—a sports camp for underprivileged kids—all season. He is more than ready for a month-long break from his offensive coordinator responsibilities. Until a public fight with the Piranhas’ star tight end, Colton Roth, and the subsequent media fallout, results in the pair being forced to spend the summer at Camp Lost Lake together.

Colton is almost as good at antagonizing Coach Conley as he is at playing football, but as usual, his behavior has landed him in hot water. Now, his position with the Piranhas is on the line, and he must stay away from any potentially scandalous situations. Trying to stay on his best behavior doesn’t last long though, and after hooking up with Coach Conley, it looks like Colton might have put the final nail in his career’s coffin.

Can Colton and Eli survive an entire month in the middle of nowhere together? And will either of them still have their careers intact after the summer is over?

The Review

I found myself falling in love with both Colton and Eli in Being Enough.  They were a true opposites attract couple. Eli Conley is a coach who doesn’t have the time to deal with the drama that one of his players, Colton, brings with him. A risque situation on Colton’s part and a physical confrontation between them lands them both in hot water with their PR people. They needed to find a way to get these men to get along and they find it in Eli’s off season routine. Volunteering at a summer camp together.

Being at this summer camp, seeing each other outside the realm of professional football, allowed them to get to know each other. Being able to see each other in a different light, ignites an attraction they were unaware of.

Colton exudes confidence and sensuality. It’d be hard to resist, no matter who you were. Eli, being older and never having been in a relationship with a man? *fans self* It pushed all my buttons. He’s so open to everything that Colton offers him and willing to explore a completely new part of himself. This definitely had some steamy romance scenes.

I felt the emotions that tore through Eli from the opening pages to the last. He was experiencing something so new, but revelled in everything that Colton had offered him.

I’m really glad that I continued on with this series. It dove in and read it in one sitting. Do yourself a favor, check out this book.

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His Favorite Player by Alie Nolan

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Three out of Five Stars

Summary

Ryan has been living a lie his entire life in fear of losing his NFL career, because of who he is behind the lie. Football is all he’s ever wanted, the thing he loves most in the world—until he meets a gorgeous man in a bar, with bleached-blond hair, a sexy British accent, and a Piranhas hat, who changes everything.

Alec doesn’t understand American football—why would he? The cute stranger in the bar doesn’t need to know that though. What starts as a simple white lie about his favorite NFL player, turns into so much more.

Living in a new city, thousands of miles from his home town, the last thing Alec expects is to be swept up into a secret romance with one of the Portland Piranhas’ biggest stars, but is falling in love enough for Ryan to risk losing his career by coming out? Is it enough for Alec to go back in the closet until Ryan retires?

The Review

His Favorite Player was a quick, fun, and low-angst football romance. Ryan and Alec has instantaneous chemistry and a connection that built as time passed.

I love the trope, a celebrity falling for someone who has no idea who they are. There’s an appeal, for someone famous to find someone that makes them feel normal, and loved, and more than what they are famous for. It just tickled me that he lied that Ryan was his favorite player, with no clue he was talking to Ryan. He and Ryan are so happy together. There were times that had me grinning as I read scenes with them together.

They were such a fun couple, foodfight and all.

The *cough* romance *cough* scenes were plentiful. If you’re looking for more of that than a drawn out romance, this will hit all your buttons. I just wanted there to be more.

One scene that stuck with me, and will stick with me for a long time, is when Ryan’s father met Alec. I could sit here and tell you all about it, but I think it’s best experienced by reading it yourself. It was organic, honest, and touching.

On to book two!

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