Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Get What You Need

Title: Get What You Need

Author:  Jeanette Grey

Publisher/GR Link: Samhain Press, GR

Genre: MM

Vice: Nerds, Contemporary, Jocks

Rating: 4.25/5

Lock this book up : 4 out of 5 keys, Sex is hot and moves the plot along, totally supporting the romance

Length: Novel

Satisfaction: HEA- definitely satisfied

Cover Impressions: I like it (maybe minus the baseball...I'm having flashbacks to gym class and they aren't pretty.)  Overall, very clean, bright and eye catching.

Best Line: "'I never asked-'
"You didn't have to. Okay?...You never have to ask.  When you don't take care of yourself...I hate it.  I hate seeing you like that.'"

Synopsis"Love isn't rocket science. It's much, " much "harder. "

Determination and elbow grease propelled Greg London from blue-collar background to Ph.D. candidate. His single-mindedness doesn't leave a lot of room for a personal life, but that's the price of success. Besides, it's not like the boring nerd ever ends up with the hot guy.

Then his housemate, gorgeous undergraduate jock Marshall Sulkowski, invites him to watch a movie. In his room. Side by side on his bed. Needless to say, the sexual tension is wreaking havoc with Greg's focus.

Marsh seems to have it all-looks, charm, and a baseball scholarship to a great school. In reality, his father's cut him off, and he's floundering and desperate for a break.

One impulsive kiss leads to a red-hot affair that gets them a little bit of what they need to stay afloat. But as the end of the semester approaches and the pressure rises, Marsh realizes charm may have gotten him into his brilliant lover's pants, but he'll have to dig deeper to discover what they both need.

Warning: Contains housemates falling into bed with each other, a geek who needs a break, and a jock who doesn't know his own worth. Also, vague science and explicit m/m sex.

Impressions:  Can I please give Marsh a hug?  I was attracted to this book because a.) I often love the MM Samhain puts out, and b.) I love me some nerds (since I am a nerd!)  I expected to read this and identify with the geeky ways of the nerdy MC, but Ms. Grey crafted an even better character in Marsh.  A jock who doesn't believe in himself, and a young man more alone in the world than Greg could even realize.  

I loved the way this story flipped my expectations around, and made Marsh the guy I wanted to see find his guy.  Greg was a great character too, and I loved watching him finally begin to realize what has been growing between the two of them.  The secondary characters were great too, and I loved the the majority of them were fellow geeks. In many jock themed books I enjoy getting to know the other jocks, though in this book we don't see any of Marsh's teammates.  I think that really worked here because it helped create Marsh's sense of loneliness and isolation.  

Overall, this book was a sweet, hot, sexy and fun read.  I totally fell for both MCs, especially Marsh, and I couldn't wait to see them get their much deserved HEA.  I will definitely be looking out for more of Ms. Grey's work!

Highly recommended!

(review posted on Goodreads and Amazon)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: The Blinding Light

Title: The Blinding Light

Author: Renae Kaye

Publisher/GR Link: Dreamspinner, GR

Genre: MM

Vice: Disability, Contemporary

Rating: 5/5

Lock this book up: 
: 3 out of 5 keys, sex completely supports the romance

Length: Novel

Satisfaction: HEA- Big smile!

Cover Impressions: Adorable, and totally captures the mood

Best Line: "Who said I was straight? I never did.  Then he leaned in and kissed me..."

SynopsisJake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it's prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.

Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.

Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore.

Impressions: I loved this book!  It totally grabbed me and I couldn't wait to get back to Jake and Patrick.  It was not exactly what I expected from the blurb.  I was surprised and excited to hear that this was connected to Loving Jay, which I totally love!  I quickly reread Loving Jay, which was no hardship at all (and gets another 5/5 from me!)  This can definitely be a standalone, so there is no need to read the previous book- but I still highly recommend it!

I expected Jake to be a little bit like Jay- sassy and smart mouthed, but in reality, he was very sweet.  He had sass, but it I was thinking he might be an unemployable brat, but that was not the case.  Jake was simply adorable, and the type of man to help without even realizing the sacrifices he was making.  He just takes these challenges in stride.  Patrick was not an evil, grumpy man, but rather a lonely man who was afraid to believe he could be worthy of love.  Their romance is sweet, sexy and so believable.  

I loved the cast of characters that supported the story, and I found them to be very realistic too.  The setting in Australia was great.  The little bits of slang and phrasings were adorable additions.  When I had to put the book down I felt like I was leaving my good friends, and when I finished, I was left with a smile on my face.  I wanted to keep reading and I wanted it to never end!

Do yourself a favor and go read both Loving Jay and The Blinding Light.  I could not have loved them more.  

Highly Recommended!

(Review published on Goodreads and Amazon)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Short Story Review: Love You So Hard

Title: Love You So Hard

Author: Tara Lain

Publisher/GR Link: MM Romance Group, GR

Genre: MM

Vice: Contemporary, Bottoming so hard, Becoming a top, FREEBIE, short story

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Lock this book up :  4 out of 5 keys.  Very sexy and fun, but the sex works very well in the story!

Length: short story

Satisfaction: HEA- satisfied and good feels!

Cover Impressions: Cute.  Not super memorable, but cute. 

Best Line: "If he just hadn't reached so high, he'd still be living his dull gray life- and not know what he was missing."

SynopsisDear Author,

I saw him at my local corner store when I stopped in for some soda after work. He was wearing that damn T-shirt and now I can't get it out of my head. I'm thirty-two years old and have never topped in my life. Guys seem to think I have a sign on my forehead that says “bottom only”. The one time I asked, it didn't go well. But now it seems I see this kid, he's twenty if he's a day, everywhere, and that T-shirt text is burned in my brain. I wonder...
Can be any genre you like, and as explicit as you like. I'm not too fussy, but a first time top should be fun.

Impressions: This was a free read from the MM Romance group on goodreads, as a part of their Love Has No Boundaries event, where authors create a story based on a photograph.

This is a wonderful short story by the always entertaining Tara Lain.  Craig is stuck in a rut, and watching life pass him by when he sees Jessie in his "I Would Bottom You So Hard" shirt.  Craig, who has never topped in his life, is transfixed, and eventually asks Jessie to teach him to be a top.  Jessie takes him under his...err, wing... and teaches Craig how to be a top, in all areas of his life!

This short, fun read made me smile through each page.  Jessie is wonderfully lovable, and Craig is endearing and dorky.  I loved Jessie's compassion and ability to lift Craig's view of himself.  Though Craig feels more on top of the world once he becomes a top, I loved that this didn't boil down to an oversimplification where Craig's masculinity was found in his ability to top other people.  Jessie's confidence and outgoing personality made it clear that this was about Craig becoming comfortable with Craig, and being true to what he wanted and not just living the life others wanted for him.  For such a short, light story, I really respected how that was handled, and more than anything else, this book was fun, sexy and made me smile.

Highly Recommended!

Book Review x2: Unearthing Cole and Understanding Jeremy

Title: Unearthing Cole (Discover Me #1) and Understanding Jeremy (Discover Me #2)

Author: A.M. Arthur

Publisher/GR Link: Dreamspinner, GR1GR2

Genre: MM, series

Vice: Contemporary, Abusive Past

Rating: Rated together: 4.25 (Book 1- 3.5, Book 2- 4.5)

Lock this book up:  3.5 out of 5 keys, sex scenes are hot and support the romance in the story very well

Length: Short novels (approx. 300 print pages total)

Satisfaction: A very satisfying HFN (due to ongoing healing to be done).  I hope the series isn't over, but totally satisfactory ending if it was!

Cover Impressions: I like them.  Simple, but with thought.

Best Line: "I love you, and I want you in my life for as long as you want me to be here."

SynopsisBook 1- Cole Alston swore he’d never return to his childhood home in rural North Carolina, but when his mother dies, he inherits her hoarded property. He hopes to sell everything and use the money to start over in Canada, far away from his abusive ex-boyfriend. It’s a daunting task, and Cole has no idea where to start. Luckily for him, the local antique store owner, Jeremy Collins, volunteers his services in sorting the hoard. Their professional relationship soon evolves into a personal one, but Cole must overcome his past and his anxiety before he can accept a new man in his life or the possibility of a happy future.

Book 2-  No one in Jeremy Collins's life ever stays. His parents, sister, and wife are all dead. Now he has taken Cole Alston into his home to help him recover from years of abuse at the hands of his ex. Jeremy hopes Cole, who he loves, will stick around, but after eight years of Cole not being allowed to make his own choices, Jeremy doesn't think he has the right to ask. As Jeremy keeps his concerns and desires to himself, his best friend Bethann calls on him for a huge favor--claim he's the father of her baby so she isn't ostracized in their small town for sleeping with a married man. However doing so would be tantamount to denying his relationship with Cole. Rumors fly before Jeremy can explain to Cole that he said no, and suddenly the whole town is in his business. Rather than reassure Cole, Jeremy's explanations have the opposite effect. Something is going on in Cole's mind that Jeremy doesn't know about, and in order to get Cole to talk, Jeremy will need to confront his own deepest fear.

Impressions:  (May contain some spoilers for Book 1)

I love A.M. Arthur's work, so when Unearthing Cole came out I jumped on it.  I remember enjoying it, but having a few concerns about some elements.  I really loved the characters of Jeremy and Cole, and I was definitely captivated by the story.  When Understanding Jeremy was released I was excited to go back and reread book 1 in preparation for book 2.  

A.M. Arthur's writing is always a joy for me to read, and I know I am going to be pulled into the lives of characters that will really make me care about them.  These books were no different.  Cole's past is so sad, and he has so much healing to do, that I loved seeing his story continue, and I loved the chance to hear about it from Jeremy.  

In book 1, Cole is newly dealing with the traumas from his ex, Martin.  Jeremy is a man who is also dealing with terrible losses in his past (his wife, and much of his family).  Jeremy provides Cole with the safety and love he needs to begin to think about a new way of life.  I loved both men and their tentative steps to love.  What bothered me about book 1 was towards the end, when Martin comes to apologize.  I didn't buy that his 3 days of trauma would make him more understanding of the ongoing pain he caused Cole.  I also didn't think that someone who was truly repentant would think that visiting the man he brutalized and who ran away from him was truly a selfless act.  I kept anticipating that Martin would be back in Cole's life, though I was glad to be wrong!  There was no question that Cole, and Jeremy, has a long way to go to learn to love and trust, but by book1 they were on their way.

In book 2, we meet up with Cole and Jeremy shortly after the conclusion of book 1.  Jeremy is so worried about boxing in Cole or trusting that he can love something without it leaving him, that he is very careful to give Cole space.  Cole, who feels like no one can really love him, takes Jeremy's space as a sign that he is not needed.  Bethann obviously makes this much harder for both of them with her antics, but I loved Jeremy's unwavering dedication to Cole.  I loved watching Cole learn to believe in Jeremy's love, and to see these two men grow closer.  

Overall, I think these books are definitely best read together.  I can't imagine reading #2 without meeting the characters in #1, but I also think #2 is an essential follow up to #1.  The series left me feeling complete, but I would definitely welcome another chance to visit these guys.  Cole has a lot of growing and healing to do, and I would love to revisit these guys in the future!

Definitely recommended (as a pair!)