Monday, March 23, 2015

Falling, by Barbara Elsborg- A BiB 5 Star Read!

Title: Falling, Fall or Break book #1

Author: Barbara Elsborg

Publisher/GR Link: Samhain Press, GR

Genre: MM Contemporary

Vice: prison, abuse, rebuilding, trauma

Rating: 5 out of 5- a Best of the Banned in Boston!

Lock this book up: 4 out of 5 keys- The sex is hot and supports the romance perfectly.

Length: Novel

Satisfaction: HEA

Cover Impressions: Perfection

Best Line: "If I'd have known you before I went inside, I 'd have gone mad with longing."

SynopsisHarper is no longer behind bars, but it doesn’t feel like it. Ten years serving time for a crime he didn’t commit have left him shut down, numb, and a frozen wreck over the simplest of choices.

He’s acutely aware of the dark-haired young man checking him out in the supermarket, but he’s too deep in panic mode to even meet the guy’s gaze. Afraid the slightest move will trigger a fall that will never stop.

Fresh off a long-term relationship with a controlling man, Malachi is stuck living with relatives who think he’s a waste of oxygen. The tall guy in the long, gray coat is the first bright spot he’s glimpsed in a long time…though the man’s unblinking stare at a bottle of shower gel is a touch alarming.

Hard experience tells both of them to turn away before lust turns to hopeless attraction, and inevitably to disaster. But once their sparks connect, the arc of electricity is too strong to deny. Even if the cost is too much to bear.

Warning: Contains an ex-con with disaster written all over him, a boy toy who’s trouble with a capital T, a damp old British house, compulsive meddling, and enough hot sex to cure the severe case of nervous babbling.

Impressions:  This was a book that I could not put down, but at the same time, I wanted to savor each moment.  I rearranged my plans so I could have chunks of time to return to Malachi and Harper.  These men are so broken, and so isolated in their own traumas, that I could not look away from my kindle in hopes that I would see another sliver of happiness for each of them.  Elsborg crafts this story with expertise.  She draws each man with such care and love, that it is impossible for the reader not to experience their own falling...for both of these MCs.

Harper is the man whose trauma is the most eye catching, and he broke my heart with each page turn.  Each small smile, or escaped laugh felt like a ray of sunshine in a dark room.  Harper literally starts off in the cold and dark, and when he meets Malachi, much to his shock, that begins to change.

Malachi, with his laughter and jokes, is no less damaged than Harper is, although in a prison that many others could not see.  I ached as I watched him try to piece a life back together for Harper.

Elfsborg does not shy away from difficult storylines and characters, and her writing is all the better for it.  There is enough angst in here to tug at anyone's heart strings, but the love and romance will warm you right back up.

This is one of the best books that I have read in recent memory.  Elsborg is a master story teller, and it is clear on each page of this book.  You do not want to miss this one at all, so go preorder it tonight and wake up to a gift tomorrow on your ereader.  But be warned, carve out a good chunk of time, or call in to work sick.  You won't be able to take a step too far away from these guys.

I am excited that this is a part of a series, and the next story looks just as compelling.  Let the countdown begin!

5 Banned in Boston stars!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Driven by Fire: Firehouse Six, Book 4

Title: Driven by Fire

Author: Draven St. James

Publisher/GR LinkGR, Loose ID

Genre: MM Contemporary

Vice: Hot firemen, injured heroes, nerdy EMTs

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Lock this book up: 4 keys.  The sex is steamy and totally supports the romance

Length: Novel

Satisfaction: HEA

Cover Impressions: I like it, and it fits in well with the series.

Best Line: "You will get better, and no matter what, you're always going to be you, which is annoying, but I think I can bear it."

SynopsisTaber Delane is lucky be alive, but his career as a firefighter ended the day a beam snapped resulting in a crushing spinal injury. Most of his friends are willing to give him space, everyone except paramedic, Deacon Hall.

Deacon hasn't met a challenge he couldn't tackle and he knows Taber needs someone in his corner who isn't afraid to stand up to the big bad fireman. The longer he’s around Taber, the more the sexy vulnerability of the man comes through. Deacon finds he doesn’t just want to be Taber’s live in caregiver, he wants a chance at the passionate man beneath the stubborn shell.
A shell that is cracking, no matter what Taber tries to hold it together. Without knowing how, Deacon being in his home starts to open his eyes to the man Deacon hides from the rest of the world and Taber craves to know more. A lot more.
Now if only Deacon can get Taber to see that it isn't so bad having him there to assist. Even if sometimes Taber is naked, dripping wet, and angry as hell.

Impressions:  I have loved these books since I got my hands on the first one, and I was very excited to see that Taber and Deacon would get their book.  I love to revisit the other men in this series, and so it was really nice to see them and to catch glimpses of how their lives and relationships were developing.

Taber is learning how to adapt to his new life, and he is understandably having a hard time adjusting. When Deacon stays with him to help him through some of the process, Taber thinks Deacon is just a big joker, and yet as time goes on, Taber learns more about the man behind the jokes.

Deacon uses humor to deflect too much attention away from himself, and he hides his own insecurities behind a smile and a quip.  I loved watching both men realize that the other found something desirable in him despite his own personal hang ups.  I loved watching Taber find the man that Deacon tried to keep hidden.

This is a sexy story filled with humor and warmth, and even though Taber's struggles are real, he never spiraled into self pity.  Both men have a core of strength that made them even more relatable and lovable.  

This is an excellent companion to the Firehouse Six series, and after we learn a little bit more about the goals of this house, I am looking forward to more men, more muscles, and more love!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

5 Star Review: Signs, by Anna Martin

Title: Signs

Author: Anna Martin 

Publisher/GR LinkGRDreamspinner

Genre: MM Contemporary

Vice: Disability, Coming Out, ASL

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Lock this book up: 4 out of 5 keys.  The sex is sweet, hot and perfect for the story. 

Length: Novel

Satisfaction: HEA

Cover Impressions: Gorgeous!

Best Line: "Caleb held him tightly, face buried in Luc's hair.  Lucy screwed up his face and sighed heavily.  Home, he thought. I'm home."

SynopsisAfter spending most of his life in special schools, Caleb Stone now faces public high school in his senior year, a prospect that both excites him and threatens to overwhelm his social anxiety. As a deaf teenager, he’s closed himself off to the world. He speaks a shorthand with his parents and even finds it hard to use American Sign Language with people in his local deaf community. But Caleb finds comfort in his love of photography. Everything he can’t express in real life, he posts on his Tumblr.

Struggling to reconcile his resentment for his father's cruelty with the grief of losing a parent, Luc Le Bautillier scrolls through Tumblr searching for someone who might understand his goth look and effeminate nature. When Luc reblogs a photo by Caleb, sparking a conversation, they both find it easier to make friends online than in person.

Luc and Caleb confront their fears about the opinions of the outside world to meet in New York City. Despite Caleb’s increasing confidence, his parents worry he’s not ready for the trials ahead. But communication comes in many forms—when you learn the signs.

Impressions: I didn't have to think a lot to rate this charming, romantic book from Anna Martin.  It was so perfect, and so sweet, and it swept me away so thoroughly that it left me with no choice but to give it a well deserved 5 star review.

I've loved Martin's work since Tattoos and Teacups, and so when I had the chance to read this book of hers, I jumped at it.  I love a romance with an imperfect hero, and this book provided me with two who broke my heart and put it back together.  Luc has had a challenging path to young adulthood, despite his wealth and comforts.  Caleb is isolated in a community that he is unable to fully embrace, and alone in a hearing world where his art and his studies are the only things he can fully embrace.  

When Luc and Caleb meet, they are finally able to find the love and acceptance that has eluded them.  Their romance builds at a sweet and romantic pace, and I loved getting swept along in their new and growing love.  

Luc provides a support for Caleb that, even with his great parents, he has not known.  I really admired Caleb's parents, and I felt their struggle to encourage his freedom and their panic and watching it unfold.  Luc builds on this, and Caleb blossoms when given he chance to develop his skills.

I found the plot to be well paced and engaging, and though this is a book that is full of the feels, it kept the angst to a manageable and enjoyable amount.  The love is the overarching element to this story, and I loved watching these young men find a purpose in each other and themselves.

This is a book to download and move to the top your TBR pile.  You will not regret it!!