Wolfsong by T.J. Klune

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary:

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

The Review

As soon as I finished Wolfsong, I immediately purchased the next books in the series. I found a werewolf novel that was just like what I loved growing up. There was pack, found families, danger, discovery, and love. While there is the alpha, beta, omega dynamics explored it isn’t sex here. It was the hierarchy in the pack. This is the werewolf story that I freaking love (and secretly want to write one day)!

Ox was sixteen when he met Joe. He had never met anyone like Joe. Slowly, he was pulled into the Bennett’s family and into a life he didn’t know was possible to exist. Werewolves exist and he’s found himself part of a pack. He and his mother become part of their pack, taking on the danger that comes with being associated with the Bennetts.

I had so much love for Ox. He’s an outcast, but there’s something about him that I was able to connect with and understand entirely. He’s damaged goods, but with the help of Bennetts he’s learning that he’s better than what his father said to him. He’s strong, important, and perhaps the person they need in their lives.

Joe, there were times I wanted to hug him and then times I just wanted to shake him. How could he do this to Ox? Didn’t he see that his pack needed him home? But I understood his need to do what he did. I still hated it.

I think I fell a little bit in love with each character in this novel. They were each vital to pushing the plot forward, they were each important for every dangerous situation that the Bennett pack came across. I loved Gordo and the body shop guys. They cracked me up. You could tell they had worked together for years and considered themselves to be brother.

Ox and Joe’s relationship *wistful sigh* it grew from childhood to adulthood so naturally. You could feel their bond. Once they both (Joe is younger by a few years) reached adulthood, their flirting was so goooood. Then they had to relearn each other and their spot in the pack.

There’s so many good things I could say about Wolfsong, but I feel like I would give the book away. If you haven’t had the chance to read this, go grab a copy and read it.

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My Goal – Narrated by Piers Ryman, Written by: H.J. Perry

Audiobook Review

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary:

He’s cocky, he’s arrogant, he’s entitled to his big ego. He an International footballer and a multimillionaire. Carlos Garcia’s a huge success on and off the pitch, and he’s got it all. Joining a new football club, he wants his teammates to like him, especially the one man who sets his pulse racing.

As the quietest guy on the football team, Harry Carter avoids attention. He’s so scared of people finding out he’s gay that he’s made sure there are just clothes in his closet. He has nothing to hide, there’s no history, no past, no secret boyfriend, not even a one-night stand. Ever.

Things are changing. Outside of work, Harry’s best friends are a discreet gay couple, but how is Harry going to keep all the secrets when the new guy on the football team keeps hanging around?
Why exactly does Carlos sit next to Harry at every opportunity?
A standalone story with a happy ever after ending and no cliffhanger.

Review

Piers Ryman is probably one of my favorite audiobook narrators. There’s something about his voice that just gets in my bones, puts my in my zen place, and then enchants me as he weaves through the story. He utilized various accents, different regions for each of the characters, even the secondary characters, which brought them to to life.

On to the story part of the review!

I’m a sucker for the friends to lovers trope, stick that together with a sports romance? I am all about it. I don’t know much about football (soccer), but I didn’t have to. I understood what was being written about and didn’t get lost. Which is a huge plus!

Carlos Garcia, well, he’s a man who knows what he wants and he’s going to do what he can to get that. Harry, is in the closet and not all the confident in himself, doesn’t quite understand why Carlos is spending so much time with him. It takes one move by Carlos to open up all the possibilities for the potential between Carlos and Harry to be recognized.

What I absolutely loved about this, was the inclusion of religion and how Harry balances his religious beliefs with a lifestyle he had been taught was wrong. Both Harry’s mother and Carlos’s family were involved and their reactions were shown. There was something powerful in the way they were portrayed.

Harry was a character I don’t get to see often. One who isn’t sexually experienced, but wants to learn and try new things with the right partner. And Carlos was patient, kind, and caring with Harry. They were so sweet to each other. It left me feeling warm and hopeful.

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Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary: Newly elected President Jack Spiers’s presidency is rocked from the very beginning, and he’s working furiously to keep the world from falling apart. Between terrorism attacks ripping apart Europe, Russia’s constant posturing and aggression, and the quagmire of the Middle East, Jack is struggling to keep his campaign promise—to work toward a better, safer world.

For Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach, Jack is just another president, the third in twelve years. With Jack’s election, he’s been promoted, and now he’s running the presidential detail, which puts him side by side with Jack daily. He’s expecting another stuffed suit and an arrogant DC politician, but Jack shocks him with his humor and humanity.

There are rules against a Secret Service agent and one of their protectees developing a friendship—big rules. Besides, Jack is a widower, and Ethan has always avoided falling for straight men. Ethan keeps his distance, but Jack draws him in, like gas to a naked flame, and it’s a lure he isn’t strong enough to turn away from.

As the two men collide, rules are shattered and the world teeters on the verge of war, and a rogue Black Ops unit bent on destruction sets Jack in their deadly crosshairs. Ethan must put everything on the line in order to save the man he’s come to love, Jack’s presidency, and the world.

The Review

Ya’ll, I don’t know how I managed to NOT read any of Tal Bauer’s work until now. I devoured this book overnight and promptly bought everything else of Bauer’s that I could find. I have always looked for books like Enemies of the State in the M/M romance genre and I could never find them. Political thrillers.

President Jack Spiers has a lot riding on his presidency. He promised to make a better, safe world for the citizens worldwide. But he’s been fighting terrorist attacks in Europe, Russian trying to be the bigger world power and the trouble in the Middle East. It’s a lot to handle without the support of a First Lady/Gentleman. He leans on his Secret Service Detail and one agent in particular, openly gay Ethan Reichenbach. Through this, Ethan gets to see a side of the president that pushes him to break every rule he has when it comes to who he is protecting.

As time passes and they get to know each other better, it’s hard to stay away. Ethan can’t help but blur the lines of professionalism for a man like Jack Spiers. But as the world edges closer to another war, things go disastrously wrong.

This is a President/Secret Service romance, and the chemistry between Jack and Ethan was so good. It was drawn out in actions that could be seen as playful flirting, but at the same time it could have just been Jack’s personality. Every way that Ethan fell for Jack was a way any of us could have fallen for our partners. The romance between them burned slowly and they discovered each other together.

Some of my favorite scenes were when they were together in the residence or at Camp David late at night. They focused entirely on each other as if that was their only world at the time. I can’t tell you how many times they made me smile or wish that one of them would hurry up and make a move! Then there was one moment that utterly crushed my heart. I got teary eyed while reading it and there was no way I could stop reading at that point. I needed to see everything better.

The political thriller aspect was weaved well throughout. It was easy to keep track of because we got chapters centered on that part of the storyline, and then bits and pieces in Jack’s political career that explained it further. It was just as present as their developing romance and I was all about it. I needed to figure out what the heck was being plotted and how they were going to stop it.

This was such a good read I was telling my friends about it who don’t read M/M romance. (Normally I don’t even say a word about my reads to them because they give me that look – you know the one lol). Go read this book! I’m sure everyone has already read it, perhaps more than once, but I can’t stop myself from telling you to read it.

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The Weight of it All by N.R. Walker

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Five out of Five Stars

 

The Summary: After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.

He joins a gym.

Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.

As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.

Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.

The Review

Henry is my platonic soul mate. He has the same attitude towards exercise as I do, the same humor that I do. I just feel like in real life, me and Henry would be amazing friends. The fact that Henry is one hundred percent relatable made The Weight of it All that much more fun to read.

Henry has been dumped by his boyfriend of eight years and he does something crazy because of that. He joins a gym. Reed, his personal trainer, is virtually the image of perfect in Henry’s mind. He’s got the perfect body, knows how to laugh at the little things, and treats Henry like a regular person. They bond over healthy recipes and the disaster that Henry thinks is his life.

This book was recommended to me at the exact right time that I needed it. I’m starting my own health journey and Henry inspired me. Like as sore and terrible as he felt in the first few sessions, he didn’t give up. He dug in deeper, dedicated himself to eating healthy (instead of the trash we all eat) and eventually came to enjoy the routine of the exercise.

But that wasn’t the only aspect of Henry’s journey throughout. Henry had to learn who he was as an individual. He had been so closed off and afraid to let people see the real Henry, because of his previous boyfriend’s expectations, that he forgot who that was. It was fun seeing how lively he was and that his sense of humor only grew. I found myself laughing out loud at certain parts. Then in other parts I was very much on the edge of my seat just waiting for that moment to happen between Henry and Reed.

This was such a great read that it was hard to put down and I may have stealth read some of it on my phone while I was at work. Do yourself a favor and give this one a read. It’s definitely a book that I’m going to go back to and read over again.

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It’s a Sin by Steve Burford

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: “He is a talented and very promising young policeman. Make no mistakes, he deserves the promotion.”

But when gay Detective Sergeant Dave Lyon is assigned to Detective Inspector Claire Summerskill’s team as part of the Service’s ‘positive discrimination policy’, no-one at Foregate Street Station is happy. And that includes Summerskill and Lyon.

Mutual suspicion and mistrust must be shelved however, when a young man’s beaten body is found on a canal tow path, and a dead-end case of ‘happy slapping’ unexpectedly turns into a murder investigation.

Why would someone want to kill middle class arts student Jonathan Williams? And how is his death linked to that of rent boy and would be ‘adult’ film star Sean?

As Summerskill and Lyon’s investigations proceed, the newly-promoted detectives begin to untangle a web of connections, false assumptions and sheer prejudices that force them both to question closely not just their relationship with each other but with the rest of their colleagues at Foregate Street Station and with the Police Service as a whole.

The Review

It’s a Sin by Steve Burford is the first book in the Summerskill and Lyon series. I really enjoyed this one. I read it over the course of two nights while in bed. Cause that’s how I like my murder mysteries. What you get in book one of this series is an introduction into who Summerskill, Lyon, the inner workings of the Foregate Street Police Station, and the communities surround them. I feel like at this point you should know there isn’t much romance in this. It’s more focused on developing the characters and solving the crime. I’d love to get to see some steamy scenes with Sergeant Dave Lyon though. I have a feeling he’s a bit of a stunner.

Detective Inspector Claire Summerskill has just been promoted, but she doesn’t get to have the Sergeant she was expecting. Instead she gets Dave Lyon, who is completely new to the area and openly gay (Which I was super excited about and cackled at some of the things he did). You don’t get many cop novels with openly gay characters who don’t need to be saved or coddled. Sergeant Lyon didn’t need coddling.

Their first assignment was ‘happy slapping’ – which I had no idea what that meant but figured it out pretty quick. A random person/persons jumps another and then goes on about their way. What was supposed to be an easy case turned into something much more difficult, multiple murders of gay men along a canal.

What I liked about Claire and Dave was the fact that neither of them were perfect. They had their moments of anger, frustration and misunderstanding. But they pushed each other to figure out what was really happening.  I’m on a bit of a mystery kick and just enjoying what I’ve read so I didn’t quite figure out who the killer was until the last minute. It was unexpected and it was kind of neat that I was kept guess the entire time.

I’m looking forward to getting to know more about Claire and Dave. My inner romance reader is hoping for Dave to get some action but I liked this enough that I don’t have to have that.

Get your copy here

Showing Him the Ropes by Christa Tomlinson

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary: When a Gruff Veteran Meets an Irrepressible Rookie, Who Will Come Out on Top?

Chance “The Chancellor” Gerhardt – multi-time champion and respected veteran of the locker room – worries he’s entering the twilight of his professional wrestling career. All he wants is one more shot at a championship title run. Instead, his boss saddles him with mentoring a hot, young rookie, Devin Jacobs.

Devin has admired The Chancellor for years, and he’s thrilled to work up close and personal with the steely eyed older wrestler. But while Devin learns from his mentor, he can’t resist admiring the man’s deliciously burly physique.

Trapped together in the intimacy of late-night road trips and shared hotel rooms, longing glances lead to whispered confessions of desire. Devin would love to bring a little warmth and sexiness to his hero’s cold and solitary life. Unfortunately, Chance refuses the rookie’s flirting. After years in the business, he knows their careers will be ruined if their relationship is discovered by the fans. But Devin won’t let that fear stop him from going after everything he wants – championship gold and the man he desires.

Can Devin find a way to prove to Chance that they can have it all? Or will their shot at love be defeated 1-2-3?

The Review

HOLY SMOKES Y’ALL! I read this in one sitting and then started the next book in the series. That’s how much I loved this. If I hadn’t taken my night time meds, I probably would have stayed up all night reading that one too. I love sports M/M romances. Give me pretty much and sport and I’ll sink right into it. I like to think I have the basic knowledge of most sports I can follow along just fine. But wrestling? I know next to nothing.

So let me say this, you don’t have to be a avid wrestler fan to understand what’s going on. Tomlinson uses the terminology but does so in a way that you understand as your reading. If you don’t, she added a handy little glossary in the beginning. I scanned it before reading but it wasn’t necessary.

I have fallen down the hole of age-gap and teacher/student kinds romances. So this hit every spot and then some.

The story weaved around Chance and Devin was intriguing. Not only did you get insider knowledge of what happens back stage, but you got to see the ins and out of the their work and how much of a family these men are to each other.

Chance, The Chancellor, has been part of the wrestling world for a good many of years. He’s gone through being the rookie, the good guy, the bad guy, won titles and lost them to younger wrestlers. When he gets tasked with teaching Devin the ropes, making sure he doesn’t end up going down the path of drugs and booze, he never expected to be so attracted to Devin or have that attraction be returned.

Chance fights it from the beginning. He has never been involved with someone he works with and he’s not going to start now. Especially with a rookie he’s supposed to be mentoring. But Devin makes it difficult to resist. There’s something about the red-head that keeps Chance looking. He flirts with Chance often and only backs off when Chance makes it clear that this can’t happen.

Temptation becomes too much and once he has a taste of Devin, no matter how hard he fights, he can’t stop coming back for more. Now I don’t really go too into detail with sex scenes. It’s difficult for me to write them so when I come across some amazing scenes, I have to share. Everything felt natural. The progression from the initial flirting, to the kisses, to the touches and the actual sex scenes flowed together seamlessly. I have some serious jealousy for Tomlinson’s ability to write these scenes.

Even the arguments that happened between the pair feel real. Chance feeling like he’s taking advantage of Devin, or having people think Devin is working his way up the ladder through sleeping with the veterans of the sport. It wasn’t all roses for the pair and that just made their story even better.

I’m going to go read the next book in the Champions of Desire series, In His Corner!

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Fake It by Victoria Kinnaird

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Four out of Five Stars

Book one of the Keswick Chronicles

The Summary: Jack Daveyson grew up with a guitar in his hands and his head full of melodies. Ten years after writing his first riff, he knows exactly what he wants to do with his life – graduate high school, escape Wayville and hit the road with his band, Forever Fading Echoes.

But it’s a bit hard to launch a band without a singer. Enter JJ Keswick.

JJ is everything Jack isn’t: rich, confident and popular. He also happens to be one of the best singers Jack has ever heard.

Jack reluctantly lets JJ into his band and into his life. The spark between them in the practice studio grows into something neither of them were expecting – a love that threatens to tear their lives apart.

The Review

Fake It by Victoria Kinnaird is a YA book that encompasses everything I love about the YA genre with the LGBTQ appeal as the cherry on top. I’m not a fan of teenagers getting into alcohol as much as JJ did (it’s a personal thing and I live in New Orleans so I know kids can party) but it wasn’t overly done. Jack laid down the law on JJ showing up under the influence to band practices and gigs. Having someone put that rule down, made me go, okay, I’m going to keep reading.

In the beginning there was a lot of play on the typical character types and makes them into something more. Jack isn’t just the gay kid who gets bullied and JJ is not just a rich-kid throwaway. There were times where I could pinpoint that certain characters were just like my friends back in high school. It felt like I was part of that world while I was reading.

The imagery of each setting, the record store, JJ’s house, Jack’s house, I could see these places in my mind.

The struggle Jack faces, deciding on college or pursuing his dream of having a legitimate band and skipping college that hit home. I know how hard it was for him to make that decision, to tell his dad what he chose and he was going to do it no matter how hard it was. I didn’t go that route and now I have a useless degree, work in retail and follow my dream on the side. I wish I could have been as brace as Jack was.

Absolutely loved this and can’t wait to read the next in the series!

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