Review: Starstruck by L.A. Witt

 Series: Bluewater Bay (book 1), Standalone

Genre: LGBT (m/m, bisexual character), Romance

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Cover: Looks like a movie poster

Links: goodreads, publisher

Trigger warnings: mentioned suicide attempt

Description: Hollywood is full of dirty secrets, but Carter refuses to be Levi’s.

Retired action star Levi Pritchard has made a quiet life for himself in the sleepy logging town of Bluewater Bay, Washington. But then Hollywood comes to film the wildly popular television series Wolf’s Landing, and Bluewater Bay isn’t so sleepy anymore. His retirement doesn’t stick, either, because he’s offered a part on the show-exactly the kind of complex role he’d always wanted, one that would prove him more than a glorified stuntman. The only catch? He has to stay in the closet-no matter how attractive he finds his costar.

Carter Samuels is the critically acclaimed male lead on Wolf’s Landing. And now, the man who inspired him to take up acting-and made him realize he’s gay-is joining the cast, and sparks fly between them instantly. But Carter is out and proud and determined to stay true to himself.

Remaining just friends is the only thing to do, as both the studio and Levi’s disapproving, dysfunctional family keep reminding them. Except their friendship deepens by the day, tempting them with what they can’t have but both desperately need.

Review: This book is a special treat for fans of old movies and film noir.

I’m no fan of these movies (there are some I like), but I didn’t need any knowledge about them to follow Levi and Carter’s dialogs. And there are a lot of them about movies. Not that surprising considering they are both actors.

Surprising was how easy everything in their relationship was. Too easy and a little bit boring. Don’t get me wrong, they fit together and it was not bad, just… you know. Could have been more drama. There is some, but it was rather shallow and didn’t get that much attention. More attention lies on their friendship, which I enjoyed very much.

I enjoyed Levi’s cats even more (I’m a sucker for pets).

After reading this novel I’m really interested in tv series Wolf’s Landing. Too bad it’s not real.

 

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Review: Flawed by Rachael Orman

 Series: Standalone

Genre: LGBT (bisexual character), Erotica, Romance, Crime

Rating: dnf at 15%

Cover: It’s okay

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: none so far

Description: Julia is a domme for hire. Paid to spank and dominate men, she loves what she does during the summer months. However, she is also a submissive for her husband.

Garrison is content being married to Julia even though he is a bisexual. That is, until he realizes the man he has the hots for is interested in him. Too bad his job as a detective has him busy dealing with a serial murder case. Good thing, the sexy lawyer is also on the case and it gives him a reason to see him.

Keaton might be a shark in the courtroom, winning almost every single case he tries, but he is submissive in the bedroom. It’s hard to balance his work life with his private life and finding someone that can handle both aspects of his personality.

When they realize they all know each other and there is desire between the three of them, things get hot. But, can three really make a relationship instead of two?

The serial murderer isn’t going to wait for them to figure out their situation. He is on the hunt for dommes and isn’t leaving much behind for the police to use to find him.

Review: I vented a little on twitter about this novel, that should tell you enough. But because I don’t want to make you search through my twitter to learn what exactly made me dnf, I’ll state it here as well (well, of course I do).

First thing I noticed was the writing. Missing words, typos and on one occasion the two main male characters were mixed up. But I would have struggled through, even if I had to stay very focused on reading and read some sentences more than one. (Seriously, this has to be edited sooo much.)

And then came that one scene when I thought to myself “fuck this”.

The man had gotten up balls to hit on me, which was surprising if he was submissive. However, if he truly was submissive, the fact that he’d gone against his nature for me was that much more attractive. ~kindle pos. 376

Because submissives always wait to be hit on and they can’t possible do it themselves. It’s not in their nature. Sure.

There were some things, I did enjoy about this novel. The dynamic between the three main characters seems to be very interesting (the little I read about it) and the bdsm scenes were interesting as well. But after that thing I just quoted? They could be the very best I’ve ever read and I would have dnfed.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: Rough Road by Vanessa North

 Series: Lake Lovelace (book 2), Standalone

Genre: LGBT (m/m, trans* character), Romance

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Cover: Fitting.

Goodreads: add

Trigger warnings: addiction

Description: Eddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.

When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.

When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.

Review: This is a very fun read!

I haven’t read the first book in this series, but now I definitely will (as well as the ones which follow).  The story is nicely paced and I enjoyed Eddie and Wish’s relationship very much. There is some drama in this, but it’s realistic and mirrors their dynamics very well.

I was unsure if I should read this, because the description tells its readers that Eddie’s ‘a masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates‘. I expected some really violent scenes. I didn’t get them. Either my memory and my notes delude me or the violence isn’t that bad and not really present as well.

Merken

Review: Gun to my head by Dira Lewis

 Series: Standalone

Genre: LGBT (m/m), Paranormal, Romance

Rating: dnf at 20%

Cover: Pretty

Goodreads: add

Trigger warnings: suicide, maybe more

Description: Sin is a vampire at the end of his rope. Having escaped forcible conversion by a vampire cult, he temporarily kills himself and rises again only to immediately imprint on a human: eighteen-year-old Dominic.

Thanks to the cult’s conditioning, Sin can’t bite Dominic, but because of the imprint he also can’t leave him alone. Protecting Dominic from a local vampire named Oriana puts Sin between a rock and a hard place.

With nowhere else to turn he does his best to convince Dominic to like him–but finds himself becoming just as attached to Dominic, which definitely isn’t making his life any easier.

Review: This book is so confusing. I felt like the beginning got deleted, so the middle became the starting point. Sin’s past gets ‘explained’ through brief flashbacks, but each made me feel like I was missing vital info still. So Sin – clichéd much by the way? –  was a big question mark to me.His non english curses and thrown in words annoyed me as well.

Dominic could be a TSTL, because he wasn’t really realistic and rather… well, stupid.

I didn’t feel any connection between them and suddenly they are having sex. And that was when I thought to myself ‘I’m outta here’.

I like the occasional vampire story and I like it even more if it isn’t the same old, but here I didn’t even understand if it is known that there are vampire out there. I think it’s unknown, but Dominic was like ‘oh he’s a vampire, cool’, so… just nope. This is not my story.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: All the wrong places by Ann Gallagher

 Series: Bluewater Bay (book 14), Standalone

Genre: LGBT (m/m, asexual character), Romance

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Cover: I like it

Links: goodreads, publisher

Trigger warnings: none

Description: Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.

Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.

Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.

Review: I was instantly captured by this story, because the writing is so flowing. But the story itself is very interesting as well.

I love how there are more and more asexual romance books appearing. All the wrong places works perfect as a beginner’s book, so to say. A lot of different sexualities are mentioned, so someone wondering about themselves gets a good starting point. Especially the way asexuality is handled here may be an eye-opener for some readers. But enough about the educating aspects.

The romance is very slow-building (which I absolutely love!), because they first develop a friendship. Both Brennan and Zafir are very interesting characters. I especially like how Zafir being a muslim plays a role without him mentioning it every chance he gets.

But my most beloved character would be Zafir’s son Tariq. He is very kid-like and so enthusiastic, which makes him a fun and refreshing character. So often children (if they are even featured in a story) get pushed to the sidelines without playing a big role. Tariq is a very important character and a driving force instead.

If it were not for the ending, which left me slightly disappointed, I would have given a full five stars.

Review: Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

 Series: Bend or Break (book 1)

Genre: LGBT (m/m), Romance

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Cover: I don’t know what to think the big red stamp-like letters

Goodreads: add

Trigger warnings: attempted suicide, rape

Description: Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Review: This is my first book by Amy Jo Cousins, but I’m very sure it won’t be the last. Even though there were some things in int, I didn’t like so much.

Overall this novel is very sweet and flows nicely. I like how slow-building the friendship is. Such things don’t happen over night, you know? I liked both Tom and Reese as well, as they are interesting characters and felt real.

But there were some things I didn’t enjoy that much. For one I found the voyeur parts in this story a little bit strange. Or rather their reactions to it.

And the other thing bothering me is the sex. It was just too much and too often. I would have liked more plot way better, that’s for sure.

I’m still very interested in the side character’s stories, so I’ll read the next installments in this series as well (and hope for less sex…).

 

Review: Gays of Our Lives by Kris Ripper

 Series: Queers of La Vista (book 1), Standalone

Genre: LGBT (m/m, pansexual character), Romance

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Cover: So sad…

Links: goodreads, publisher

Trigger warnings: none

Description: Emerson Robinette only leaves his apartment to get laid and go to work. Having MS—and trying to pretend he doesn’t—makes everything more complicated, especially his fantasies of coming on strong and holding a guy down. Finding a partner who’ll explore that with him isn’t Emerson’s idea of a realistic goal.

Until a chance meeting with a hipster on a bus makes him reconsider. Obie is happy, open-hearted, and warm; what’s more, he gets his kicks being physically dominated, spanked, and teased until he’s begging. It would be perfect, except for one thing: Emerson isn’t made for happiness, and he doesn’t see how a guy like Obie would settle for a cynic like him.

But as far as Obie’s concerned, the only thing keeping them apart is Emerson. Can Emerson handle a boyfriend who’s more invested in his future than he is? Emerson’s barely convinced he has a future. But when Obie’s smiling at him, anything seems possible.

Review: I’ve read this book in one day. I would have read it in one sitting if there wasn’t this thing called responsibilities.

Being chronically ill myself I was very eager to read a book about a chronically ill character. Kris Ripper doesn’t disappoint. I don’t have a lot of knowledge about MS (friend’s brother’s wife has MS), but I felt like it was well researched.

Emerson is rather bitter about his life, which I hugely enjoyed, because not every person has rainbows shooting out of their ass. I loved how real he is. He has bad days and those don’t get glossed over. The reader experiences his bad days with him and gets to feel his frustration. I liked his development as well.

I expected more sex scenes, to be honest. But while reading, I didn’t miss them. There are some, but the focus lies on everyday interactions between not only the MCs but quite a few side characters as well.

And can I just say, that love is not the magically cure for everything in this book?