Category Archives: homophobia

Fighter (The Brick Yard #1) Carol Lynne

       ✨✨Reviewed by Michele✨✨

TITLE: Fighter

SERIES: The Brick Yard

AUTHOR: Carol Lynne

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: February 9, 2017

BLURB: For Lucky Gunn, the hardest fight of his life happens outside the cage.

On the South Side of Chicago sits an old gym called The Brick Yard.

Ten years ago, on a bitterly cold day, Lucky Gunn wandered into The Brick Yard dressed in a threadbare jacket, looking for refuge. He hadn’t expected the owner, Tony Brick, to welcome him with a job and a place to sleep when Lucky’s abusive and drug-addicted mother made it too dangerous to return home.

Dray was a gay man living in a world of straight fighters. When his secret was exposed to the media, he dropped out, giving Lucky a piece of advice-if you want to make it as a MMA fighter, bury the part of yourself that won’t be accepted.

Lucky discovered the cage was the perfect place to keep his demons at bay, but when he learns his trainer and mentor, Brick, is suffering from end-stage cancer, he begins to spiral out of control. After eight years, Dray returns to help Lucky and Brick deal with the devastating news.

With Dray so close, Lucky’s old desires return, and Dray teaches him more than how to fight. Torn between his career and the passion he feels for Dray, Lucky’s past demons resurface in full force, threatening his sanity and his budding relationship with Dray.

Despite leaving the cage years earlier, Dray finds himself in the battle of his life with the only man he’s ever loved. Will he stand and fight or walk away like he did years earlier?

REVIEW: First let me say I loved this book. It really captured my heart. This book is truly a angsty romance that will have you experiencing every range of emotion possible. This is a love story, but it reads like a labor of love for Ms. Lynne. 

This very emotional story is about two men, one of whom has had his dream of becoming a MMA snatched from him, and the other is trying to become the next champion. I fell head first into the story of Lucky Gunn’s life. As you meet these very complex characters you will get pulled into a very intriguing and intensely emotional story I couldn’t put down and neither will you. The Brick Yard becomes a safe haven for Lucky and many other boys who suffer from physical and emotional abuse…sometimes neglect at the hand of a parent. The owner of the Brick Yard, who goes by the name Brick ( I know right), becomes a father figure to Lucky. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the journey of these two men and their connection to the others that form a family of sorts. As you meet Dray, Mack, and the boys you will laugh, cry, and at times get very angry. I’m a fan of this author and this book did not disappoint. Without a doubt this  will be one of my favorites for this year.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Pride Publishing

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Gaining Trust (Kiss of Leather) Morticia Knight

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Gaining Trust

SERIES: Kiss of Leather

AUTHOR: Morticia Knight

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January 24, 2017

BLURB: Chuck isn’t sure what he needs and Master Jordan can’t wait to show him.

Stone’s shy junior investigator, Chuck, can no longer deny his interest in the BDSM lifestyle. The beautiful connections and raw emotions he’s witnessed between so many of the Doms and subs at Kiss of Leather, leave him yearning for something he’d never dared hope he could have: unconditional love and care from a man. He isn’t sure if he can take the chance of having a real relationship when he’s not out to his meddling parents yet, but the sexy Master Jordan, Gavin’s friend and the owner of Club Consequence, makes him want to take that chance.

Master Jordan has been biding his time until he can get next to the super-fine Chuck. Gavin warned him that Chuck wasn’t in the lifestyle, but there’s something special about him that Jordan can’t deny. When they’re finally alone, the chemistry is off the charts and Jordan can tell it won’t take much to bring Chuck willingly into the world of BDSM.

An unexpected development in the case of Corey’s kidnappers shocks them all, but not as much as what happens with Chuck’s family. Jordan teaches Chuck that secrets hold power over the person keeping them, and that gaining trust can only be achieved through complete honesty.

REVIEW: This is the 5th book in this series and one that I was looking forward to. This story features Stone’s assistant, Chuck, and Gavin’s friend, Jordan, the owner of another BSDM club, Club Consequence.

I was intrigued from the moment these two were mentioned and featured briefly in the previous books so I was very pleased to see that the author has decided to give them their own story.

As with all of her characters, the ones in this series are very well written. Knight’s attention to detail in her work is meticulous. She has a great talent for maintaining her characters and their storylines. The transitions from one book in her series to the next are always smooth without any breaks or holes in the plots.

Her depictions of the subs and their Doms are awesome. The subs aren’t simpering, child-like, effeminate twinks. There’s nothing wrong with a man being effeminate or a twink but I absolutely detest when simpering and child- like is thrown in. She strikes the perfect balance between these men being strong and independent but are strong and confident enough to submit to their Doms.

I loved Jordan and Chuck’s characters. Chuck’s character was shy and sweet, strong and fierce and due to his upbringing, a little ‘buttoned up’. He was introduced to the BSDM lifestyle because of the case he and Stone are investigating but he’s drawn to it because of the deep love and respect that he observes between the men he’s befriended. He meets Jordan while working undercover at Jordan’s club. I also loved how Chuck didn’t allow the stench of his family’s bigotry to touch him. He’s a loving and kind gentlemen that treats people with respect. He also had a lot of backbone. This is what fascinated me about him. He was shy and sweet but also very tough. I love how the author wrote him breaking away from his family. She did it with little fanfare and didn’t dwell on it afterwards. She understood that everything else took a back seat to Chuck and Jordan’s budding romantic relationship.

I also adore the way Jordan’s character was written. Now that I think about it, I appreciate how this author portrays her characters of color in ALL of her stories. As a reader of color, I can honestly say that Knight has done a wonderful job of this. There have been quite a few authors in the MM genre, on many occasions, who had been dragged for filth by readers in general, readers of color specifically over their ridiculous and often times insidious stereotyping of their characters of color. Some on more than one occasion. I’ve never encountered that problem with any of this author’s work. The skin color of a particular character is only used to describe physical appearances. Again, as a reader of color who likes to read LGBT themes books, I really appreciate this.

As I was saying before, Jordan’s character was also well written. He was a Dom but his style was a little different than the others. His was a gentler approach. This didn’t make him any less of a Dom but I think that he adjusted his approach a bit for Chuck because he knew that Chuck was new to the lifestyle as he didn’t want to scare him off.

The storylines, character development and plots are wonderful and engaging. The books aren’t too long but just long enough to satisfy you. There are no unnecessary cliff hangers that leave you hanging either. This book, this series is definitely well worth the time to get in to.

 

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon:

 

Pride Publishing

 

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The Secrets In My Scowl by A.E. Via

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: The Secrets in My Scowl

SERIES:

AUTHOR: A.E. Via

PUBLISHER: Via Star Wings Books

RELEASE DATE: October 28 , 2016

BLURB: Sparks ignite and tempers flare when a sexy, optimistic wedding planner, moves his business in across the hall from a jilted, divorce lawyer’s practice.

Look smart ass. This is the last time I’m going to remind you about breaking sections of the lease. If there’s a next time, I won’t stop until you and your frilly, white wedding shit is thrown out of here. Do you got it?!”

Wylde looked in Jacob’s pained eyes and answered in his deep voice. “Yeah, counselor. I got it.”

From high school, up until he became a successful attorney Jacob Snowden was convinced that love had it out for him. “Everyone left,” were the words he lived by. His mother, his high school sweetheart, his father, and his fiancé, all left Jacob just when he felt it was safe to let down his guard. Not any longer. Jacob was a determined man, set at keeping people at a distance. If his six foot one, military-made body didn’t scare people off, his permanent scowl surely did. At almost forty, Jacob’s social life was non-existent, but he told himself his work fulfilled him. He helped people get out of their loveless marriages. Jacob Snowden was one of the best divorce lawyers on the east coast and was damn proud of it. So, imagine his disdain when a wedding planner moves into the suite directly adjacent to his… an insanely masculine, male wedding planner.

Wylde Sterling had made quite a name for himself in his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, working for a wedding planner that catered to the elite. He was known for his charm and impeccable taste. Yep, he was incredible at giving couples the wedding of their dreams. But he wanted nothing more than to plan his own. After striking out in love more times than he cared to admit, Wylde decided to start his own business in a new city, hoping Richmond would give him a fresh start. Things started out wonderfully – until he started to piss off the angry divorce attorney next door.

Wylde could see past Jacob’s mean scowl, knowing there was a reason for it. It was the man’s defense mechanism, his means of keeping people away. Everything in Wylde told him to stay away, but he believed Jacob just needed to meet a man who had been hurt as badly as he had.

Standalone gay romance that ends in an HEA and no cliffhanger.

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REVIEW: I loved everything about this book and these characters. As usual, this author manages to tell an amazing story that captures and captivates you cover to cover, from the first word written to the last.

Jacob’s character was interesting. I was fascinated to read how good his childhood and family life was up until the point where his mother abandoned the family. There is this drastic shift for the worse in his life for both him and his father. Theirs was a story that made me the saddest.

The events of his childhood shaped every decision he’s made in his adult life. It’s made him harden his shell but underneath that shell was a man who had been deeply hurt and betrayed in life. All anyone ever saw was the shell he presented; many not interested in or afraid to see past his angry shell.

Wylde’s character was quite interesting: here you have this beautifully masculine man in a career where many would expect the stereotypical flamboyant gay man to have. In this book, as in all of her others, she flips the script and made it completely the opposite. That’s what I like about this author. She has this wonderful talent for writing her gay male characters as just regular guys which is exactly what they are; her characters are relatable. I know that when I pick up her work it will be sans the troubling stereotypes that seems to be the trend in many of the books in this genre. And as always, her characters are mature men, men in their mid to late 30s and older so the reader can further relate to the characters.

This book, like her others, was extremely written. This is an author that has really mastered her craft; her work is of the highest quality.

The only holes that I found in the book was the fact that Jacob was referred at one point in the book as a soldier instead of sailor. Another small issue was the timeline. I don’t know about the timeline but I am going to assume that it was a bit before the repeal of DADT so it wasn’t really made clear how Jacob was able to propose or how he was going to pull off and get away with marrying another man. Another issue I had is the circumstances behind the mother’s abandonment of her family. The only thing that made the reasoning not feel real was the length of time. The time threw it all off for me. That situation should’ve been, I felt, resolved within five years or less. Realistically it probably would’ve been because here it is almost two decades later that she still in the picture which begs the question as to why she left in the first place if it took almost two decades to resolve itself. Either that or there could’ve been another reason as to why she left. The reason for her leaving and the time it took for the situation to progress to the stage that it did didn’t make sense.  It just would’ve been more believable had things progressed much faster for her than it did and he found out on the back end.

Although noticeable, the above stated did in no way deflect from the overall enjoyment I experienced reading this story.

This heartbreak written within this book will have you on the edge of tears and just when you think you’re going to cry your eyes over how much hurt Jacob is experiencing, a scene is written in that will have you laughing yourself into stitches.

I absolutely adore this book and I highly recommend it.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️Amazing⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Giveaway

 

Author A.E. Via
“Only Thing Sexier than One Man, Is Two of Them Together”
Author Official Website:

http://authoraevia.com/
Via Star Wings Books Publishing: http://authoraevia.com/starwing.html

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/A.-E.-Via/e/B00GMNMS4U
A.E. Blog: http://authoraevia.com/blogfann.html

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/aeviaauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoraevia

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorAEVia

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Son of Money by Brandon Witt

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Son of Money

SERIES:

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: July 11, 2016

SUMMARY: Randall Morgan, youngest son of one of Seattle’s wealthiest families, rejected his family’s money to live free of their control and pursue his career as a photographer. To make ends meet, Randall does erotic photography and massage—a secret he keeps from his family so he can remain a part of his young niece’s life. But the price of that relationship is high, and Randall is once more slipping under his family’s thumb.

Noah Carroll is the spokesperson for the Seattle Humane Society, and the city holds a special place in his heart. When fate intervenes during a pet adoption, Noah finds himself face-to-face with his first love—Randall.

While Noah and Randall are not the teenagers they once were, the flame of a first kiss long ago draws them together. Their romance is beginning to grow, but someone is out to destroy Randall and expose all he keeps hidden.

When secrets and rumors thrust Randall into the public eye, his relationship with Noah isn’t the only thing that comes under threat.

REVIEW: I got this book not really expecting to like it. Not because the author isn’t good at telling a story but because it’s a storyline that’s been done numerous times before. I’ve read quite a few of them and I actually opened this book expecting more of the same old prince pretending to be pauper type of story.

Needless to say that I was presently surprised by what I actually got! Brandon Witt did an excellent job of telling a story that’s been told countless times and making it fresh and and interesting. I was expecting Randall to be the prince in the castle who was slumming, but what I got was a guy who genuinely wanted to make it on his own; to have an identity completely separated and independent from that pretentious clan of his. His character was quite likable.

Noah is my kind of people. He’s an animal lover, kind and just an all around nice guy. He and Randall were old flames years ago and an chance meeting put then in each other’s path. It’s then they realize that the old flames were still burning with them both and they went from there, rekindling their relationship.

Of course, it’s not going to be a smooth ride to their HEA ending. Their journey to happiness is becomes a bumpy road when some own threatens to expose the secret and unravel the life Randall has worked so hard to retain and maintain. Not only that, it threatens to destroy the growing romance with Noah. It is then you truly see the strength of the bond these men share. The problems that arise that would tear a less than strong couple apart brings these two closer together.

I can say enough good things about this book. The characters, storyline, dialogue, and technical aspects of the book were wonderful. Needless to say that it exceeded my expectations.

RATING: ❤️❤️❤️❤️

BUY LINKS:

 

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

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The Plumber (Workplace Encounters) by Serena Yates

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6979

Plumber[The]LGBlurb

Hard work and long hours have made Will Kovar’s business, Total Plumbing Solutions, a success. When he’s called to fix a bathroom at the Safe Home for Girls and Boys and sees how tight money is for the charity, he’s happy to donate his time. Meeting the home’s manager, Steve Hayes, is an added bonus, especially when Steve invites Will to dinner to thank him for his generosity. Will learns Steve’s wealthy family isn’t happy about his choice to make a career in social work, but neither man expects Steve’s parents to leave eighteen children out on the street to prove their point. Will is determined to help Steve figure out how to provide a safe and happy home—for both the children and themselves.

Review
Will is a plumber and a workaholic. Steve is a social worker who runs a home for Children. Will’s family won’t accept that he’s gay. Steve’s family wants “more for him” than being a social worker.

Though it’s hard, both men work crazy hours, these two guys make the time to be there for one another. When Steve’s home is threatened, they team up to find a solution. Through their steadfastness, they show one another’s families just how wrong they are and how to open themselves up for new “truths”.

**

There is nothing technically “wrong” about this story other than it was very bland. There was no sexual tension. Once they met they began dating. When there was trouble, they discussed it and sorted it out. When there was trouble with work they teamed up and found a good solution.

I just felt no spark from this story. The characters were nice, their romance was sweet, but there wasn’t anything compelling to it.

3 of 5 hearts

3

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Between the Devil and the Pacific Blue by Charlie Cochet

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6909

BetweentheDevilandthePacificBlueLGBlurb

For the last six months, Detective James Ralston has worked the nightshift as security for the Pacific Blue Hotel, and every night at 2 a.m. his rounds lead him to the radio room where the handsome and mysterious Franklin Fairchild sits listening to waltzes as old as the hotel itself. James is drawn to Franklin, but Franklin is a man at the end of his rope, and James has no intention of getting caught up in whatever trouble Franklin is in. A heated encounter late one night sends James down a disturbing path and has him questioning everything around him, including his very sanity.

 

 

Review

James is ex military, ex cop, ex detective and a current security guard for an old hotel. He meets Franklin in the hotel on his sweep of the hotel each night at 2 am. Eventually he and Franklin move past just exchanging pleasantries to becoming more “involved” with each other.

Once he begins to dig deeper into Franklin’s life, he realizes that Franklin may be in danger – and that maybe there’s more going on around him than he really knows.

**

This is a short story and unique, not quite like the other books of Charlie Cochet’s I’ve read. It’s definitely coming out at the right time of year, but I don’t want to give too much else away.

There is a twist – to be sure – and a very satisfying HEA.

I really enjoyed trying to keep up with the twists and turns the story takes us on and appreciated the subtle language cues Charlie gives us to help solve the mystery.

I recommend this to fans of Halloween stories and detective stories.

4.25 of 5 stars

4

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Signs of Life (Reilient Love Book 2) by Melanie Hansen

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6746

SignsofLifeLGBlurb

A Resilient Love Story

Successful lawyer Jeremy Speer has it all—a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a cherished dream that’s about to become reality. He’s learned not to take happiness for granted, meeting the challenges of life and love head-on with unwavering commitment and fierce devotion. A series of tragic events leave Jeremy shattered, adrift on a sea of unimaginable pain. He’s able to piece his life back together, but instead of embracing it, he merely exists, using isolation and punishing physical exertion to keep the world at bay.

High school teacher Kai Daniels has a heart for at-risk kids—he was one himself, and a teenage brush with the law and some troubled years behind bars left him scarred inside and out. With courage, hard work, and the support of friends, he’s built a fulfilling life that leaves no time for a relationship.

An intense encounter with Kai at a gay club ignites a spark in Jeremy that he thought was extinguished forever, but he’s unwilling to destroy the fragile peace he’s managed to create, and he leaves Kai humiliated and disappointed. Things should have ended there, but a bizarre occurrence brings the two together in a way neither of them expected.

Review

The story starts out rough. No holds barred. Rough. Jeremy loses his husband and their unborn child first thing. He goes into a deep depression and loses himself for a year or more. It’s only now, about 2 years later that he’s even beginning to re-surface and re-claim his life.

Kai is a former gang member turned teacher. He works with at-risk kids to give them the chance that he didn’t have. He had some horrible experiences in his childhood that have shaped him, but with the help of his close friend, Loren and some others he’s come around to a full life.

Kai and Jeremy meet as a one time hook up at a club. Jeremy freaks after and makes an ass of himself. Luckily, when they meet again, Kai’s heart is big enough to understand the reasons behind the freak out.

At first it’s a sex only, no-strings arrangement. Jeremy is clear on that. But over time, feelings grow and emotions get involved.

**

This is an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful story. It is so painful at the beginning but it has such a beautiful ending, the pain is worth it.

Melanie Hansen’s writing is perfection. She has improved even since book one (which was great) and there are no rough edges to this book. The story line is clean, thought provoking without being preachy, real and rugged but still very sentimental and romantic. You can see this actually happening but still feel the fairy-tale-ness of the story. (The blazing hot sex helps with that!)

Kai and Jeremy are HOT together. Their chemistry is off the charts. But it’s also really touching and romantic when it needs to be. I loved how they fit each other so well. It’s never a big deal that Jeremy is rich – it’s just there. Kai is independent and always will be so it’s not a big deal. That was very refreshing.

I also loved how Loren and his impact on Kai’s life was handled. Again, it felt really authentic and real. They are amazing friends and I am hoping we see Loren’s story soon.

It was nice seeing the happy Jase and Carey bits, seeing them with more of their HEA.

I really, really loved this story. It will count among the years best for me and I highly recommend it. (It’s absolutely fine as a stand alone, but book one was great, too.  Reviewed here:  http://kimichanexperience.com/everything-changes-melanie-hansen/)

PS Isn’t the cover to-die-for?!?!

6 of 5 hearts

amazing

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Holiday Hoax Audiobook by Skylar Cates Narrated by KC Kelly

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Holiday-Hoax-Audiobook/B015HQB6OA/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1443754449&sr=1-2

holiday hoax audBlurb

I’m Evan Goodman, budding actor, future star, college freshman. Oh, and let’s not forget—recently dumped. If only my family wasn’t expecting to meet my new boyfriend over the holiday break. Enter JD Laurens—a sweet and quiet science major who mostly keeps to himself. When he gathers the courage to come out, poor JD gets abandoned by his only family right in front of me, and now he has nowhere to go for Christmas. But I have a proposition for him: pretend to be my boyfriend for the holidays so I can take him home. It’s a win-win. What could go wrong?

Review

Evan is “dating” this self-centered, cheating, popular guy from his major who drops him right before Christmas. He goes to the Donut Shop to fuel up for his trip home for the holidays and sees JD “out” himself to his very mean, hateful brother, who tells JD never to come home – ever. (And it turns out JD’s brother is his ONLY family- big jerk!)

Evan hatches a plan to save both JD and himself from a horrible holiday. JD can play Evan’s boyfriend, Tyler, (who the family was expecting to meet) and JD can have a place to go over Christmas.

Needless to say – the tricking doesn’t fool anyone, and mom is suspicious of Tyler/JD. But – as you can imagine – JD is a far better boyfriend to Evan than Tyler ever was and what started as a hoax ends up as a HEA.

**
Your heart will bleed for JD and the way he just shines in the face of Evan’s family is so touching. Neither Evan nor JD have much “experience” so the smexy times are pretty tame, but very sweet. This reads almost like a young adult title, but that doesn’t stop it from being a really sweet and fun book full of goofy holiday games and sappy moments.

I really enjoyed this and didn’t miss the smexy times.

Audio

KC Kelly did an absolutely fabulous job with this. He is excellent at the pacing and emotion and does a really nice job with JD voice.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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Striped and Bear Audiobook by Artemis Wolffe Narrated by Gus Klondike

Audibles Studios Presents:

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Striped-and-Bear-M-M-Gay-Shifter-Mpreg-Romance-Audiobook/B014QG1QC4

striped audioBlurb

Matthew Bruner is a bear shifter destined for greatness. Or so, that’s what he’s always been told. As the next in line to become alpha of his clan, Matthew’s days of singlehood are drawing to a close. Long since committed to a prearranged mating, Matthew finds himself feeling trapped and, worse, afraid. In a desperate attempt to prolong his freedom, Matthew flees his family’s ancestral home and heads to the nearest city. It’s there that he meets Ezra Tier, a tiger shifter with a bad streak the size of a mountain.

Ezra Tier has spent the better part of his life not giving a damn. He goes where he wants, does what he likes, and answers to no one. Leading a life as a globetrotting rogue has its perks, and for Ezra one of those perks has been the ability to pick up and move on whenever things get too complicated and messy. So when he encounters a simple mountain bear shifter with broad shoulders and a shy personality, it’s all Ezra can do to maintain his unattached persona.

When a familiar and dangerous presence shows up in search of Matthew to bring him home, Ezra must change his ways in order to keep his newfound love by his side. Failing that, Matthew will be forced to go through with his prearranged mating and Ezra will lose him forever. Can these two shifters from different worlds come together in time to save their budding relationship? Or will the experience leave their hearts stripped and bare?

Review

(From previous)

Matthew is a bear shifter whose clan has him slated to mate for political/business purposes. He runs away because he can’t mate a female and doesn’t want to be tied down to the family business anyway.

On his travels he meets Ezra, his destined mate, and a tiger. Ezra and all tigers are footloose and fancy free, so at first he fights the mating because he can’t see himself tied down to a mate, especially bears who like to build a den and stay in one place.

In the end there is a grand battle with the evil father and the two mates end up HEA.

**

This is a very short, free read on Kindle Unlimited. The sex is super hot and the story pretty sweet.

I enjoyed it for what it was, a light, fluffy, fun read.

Audio

I hadn’t heard a narration by Gus Klondike before but he was an excellent choice. He did a great job adding in emotion and differentiating the voices. I really enjoyed this narration and thought it was a great way to experience this book.

4.5 of 5 hearts

4.5

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Candy Man Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Philip Alces

Dreamspinner Presents:
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Candy-Man-Audiobook/B014WARB1O

candy audioBlurb

Adam Macias has been thrown a few curve balls in his life, but losing his VA grant because his car broke down and he missed a class was the one that struck him out. One relative away from homelessness, he’s taking the bus to Sacramento, where his cousin has offered a house-sitting job and a new start. He has one goal, and that’s to get his life back on track. Friends, pets, lovers? Need not apply.

Finn Stewart takes one look at Adam as he’s applying to Candy Heaven and decides he’s much too fascinating to leave alone. Finn is bright and shiny—and has never been hurt. Adam is wary of his attention from the very beginning—Finn is dangerous to every sort of peace Adam is forging, and Adam may just be too damaged to let him in at all.

But Finn is tenacious, and Adam’s new boss, Darrin, doesn’t take bullshit for an answer. Adam is going to have to ask himself which is harder—letting Finn in or living without him? With the holidays approaching it seems like an easy question, but Adam knows from experience that life is seldom simple, and the world seldom cooperates with hope, faith, or the plans of cats and men.

Review

(From previously on site)

Adam is having a rough life. His mother and grandmother treated him like pond scum growing up, so he joined the military to prove he was “worthy”. He fell in love with one of his fellow soldiers, only to be left high and dry when his lover didn’t want to come out of the closet. He returned to the states to go back to school, but lost his grant when his car died and he could no longer attend classes. With his last gasp, he heads up to his cousin’s apartment for 6 months of free rent to try to get his life in order.

With what feels like divine intervention, Adam stumbles into Candy Heaven following the Help Wanted sign and is immediately set to work. His boss also plays the role of his fairy godfather and matchmaker by hooking him up with Finn, the sandwich delivery guy.

Finn is young, idealistic, freshly single, and unstoppable. He sees the darkness in Adam and knows he can bring in the light. By pairing his cheery disposition with offerings of free food, he slowly breaks through the walls surrounding Adam’s heart.

Adam, who fully believes he isn’t worthy of someone like Finn, does what he can to stave off the romance, but when he really needs help, Finn is there and it’s Finn who helps him see that he does have value and most importantly – hope.

**
This is one of Amy’s relatively “low angst” stories. Of course she will make you cry (for me it was at least twice) but most of the story is full of “awwww”. I was reminded of her story Christmas Kitsch in that Oliver – little Oliver – was the force of nature – blowing in and taking charge. In The Candy Man – that’s Finn. He won’t take no for an answer and he’s fearless.

I also really enjoyed the secondary characters and I really hope Joni gets her girl one day and that we get to read more about Rico’s romance. (Fingers crossed!). The vaguely paranormal part of the story left me with a new respect for Pixie Stix, as well!

Amy can describe a scene so thoroughly that I could picture Adam’s drawings, Finn’s hair, Gonzo’s fight against the medicine – everything. Adam’s sketch book journal was a particularly wonderful vehicle for showing both us and Finn the inside workings of his brain and past and I thought it was a tremendously clever tool.

I am thankful for this sweet story with little angst she has given us to brighten up our holiday season.

Audio

Philip Alces is growing on me I admit. I really enjoyed listening to this and thought he did a great job with Finn and Adam – especially the emotional times. I think he’s growing more comfortable with that aspect of his narration and it shows.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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