Tag Archives: OFY

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kenedy

Rennie Road Books Presents http://www.amazon.com/Him-Sarina-Bowen-ebook/dp/B011LSLI9G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1438406497&sr=1-1&keywords=him+sarina+bowen

himBlurb

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

Review

Jamie and Ryan have been friends since they were 13 and playing with one another at an Elite summer camp for up and coming hockey players. Ryan was the “bad boy” always pushing Jamie’s limits, and Jamie was glad to come along for the ride.

At the end of their last summer, before college, Ryan pushes Jamie one last time and the results are disastrous. As a result they haven’t even spoken for the last four years. Now they face one another in a championship setting at the college level and Ryan is determined to mend fences.

Jamie, being the awesome guy he is, though he was hurt and confused by what happened, forgives Ryan and the two start their friendship again. This time as coaches at the same summer camp.

Over the ensuing 6 weeks of camp, Ryan can’t hide his ever present love for his best friend, and strangely Jamie is receptive.

They spend the time exploring one another with the caveat that it all has to end at the end of the summer because Ryan can’t be out in his first year as a professional hockey player and … lots of other reasons.

But… there’s a surprise waiting for you… and a happy – very, very happy- ending!

**

WOW! This has to rank as one of the best books I’ve read this year and that’s saying a LOT!

It was full of humor, sports, warm moments with teenagers, super – I mean super duper- hot sex, tenderness and fun.

I highlighted so many phrases because the wit was outrageous!

My favorite is this:

Jamie chuckles. “You sure you don’t want to go the bisexual path? ’Cause I’m pretty sure you won’t have any trouble in the chick department.”

“S’all good. Wouldn’t be fair to the straight guys if I threw my hat in the pussy ring. They wouldn’t stand a chance.”

Another is:

Wes pushes his finger in deeper, rubbing that spot that makes me see stars. My prostate. Why hasn’t anyone ever told me the prostate was some kind of magical pleasure zone? Are there unicorns and orgasm fairies dancing around in there?

It’s so refreshing to see the bi-curious guy just go for it. I truly believe he’s an honest-to-God bisexual and that’s uncommon for this genre.

The ending was awesome – realistic, touching, sexy and sweet.

I can’t rave about this enough and I hope this writing duo make many more books for us to enjoy!

6 of 5 hearts!

amazing

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Out in the Deep End by Lane Hayes

GoodReads Presents
http://www.mmromancegroup.com/?p=277346

out in the deep endBlurb

Dear Author,
My water polo team is the most LGBT friendly team on campus. Literally half the team is queer and it’s ok, you can be jealous. One of the reasons I was hella excited to come here, ha! But I don’t care about the rest of the team right now, because all I can think about is this new freshman with the mad skills. Zev.
He has this gorgeous lob shot and makes our intense practices seem effortless. I swear if I hadn’t just played an entire game, I would have gotten hard at the backhanded skip shot he scored last week. Seriously. It was amazing. And why does Zev have to be just as stunning out of the water? He’s all dark hair and heavy brows and these hazel eyes that make me stutter like a fool.
I don’t know why he’s warmed up to everyone on the team but me. I’m the main driver, and he’s a leftie, so we should clearly work together… I mean, aside from the fact I want into his pants.
Fuck it.
This is California, and it’s college— it’s pretty much the definition of fun. So what happens when we’re assigned roommates for the three-day tournament in Long Beach?

Photo Description:
Two fierce competitors lunge up out of a pool of placid water, only their bare torsos showing. Their athletic bodies are bronzed and toned, and each of them wears a swim cap. They face each other, reaching up with arms extended aggressively. One player holds a ball in his left hand while the other, facing him, moves to block with his right hand. Their actions send sprays of water, foaming about them.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Water polo plyer

Water polo plyer

Review

Out and proud Adam has a small crush on the new guy to the water polo team – Zev. Zev, however, does everything he can to give Adam the brushoff.

Adam and Zev are put together in a hotel room when the team travels for a tournament and it turns out that Zev has some very deep feelings for Adam after all.

**

This is a short, sweet, hopeful OFY story of discovery and possibly a long term connection.

I really wish it had been a longer story with a fully finished happy ending because I was really enjoying Zev and Adam as a developing couple.

This is very fun, hot and sweet for a short story and definitely enjoyable.

4.5 of 5 hearts

4.5

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Bitter Taffy (Candy Man Book 2) by Amy Lane

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6687

BitterTaffyBlurb

Rico Gonzalves-Macias didn’t expect to fall in love during his internship in New York—and he didn’t expect the boss’s son to out them both and get him fired either. When he returns to Sacramento stunned and heartbroken, he finds his cousin, Adam, and Adam’s boyfriend, Finn, haven’t just been house-sitting—they’ve made his once sterile apartment into a home.

When Adam gets him a job interview with the adorable, magnetic, practically perfect Derek Huston, Rico feels especially out of his depth. Derek makes it no secret that he wants Rico, but Rico is just starting to figure out that he’s a beginner at the really important stuff and doesn’t want to jump into anything with both feet.

Derek is a both-feet kind of guy. But he’s also made mistakes of his own and doesn’t want to pressure Rico into anything. Together they work to find a compromise between instant attraction and long-lasting love, and while they’re working, Rico gets a primer in why family isn’t always a bad idea. He needs to believe Derek can be his family before Derek’s formidable patience runs out—because even a practically perfect boyfriend is capable of being hurt.

Review

From Candy Man we meet Rico, Adam’s cousin who is in New York doing an internship who has just admitted to Adam that he’s gay and has found his love in Manhattan. The book opens with Rico and Ezra (the lover) breaking up spectacularly when Ezra’s dad discovers their relationship.

Rico moves back to Sacramento (almost 2 months early) heartbroken, happy that Adam and the miraculous Finn are there to help him heal. And of course there’s Darrin, the psychic candy shop owner who knew Rico was on his way before Rico did.

Rico gets hooked up with Derek, the provider of Art jobs for Adam, both romantically and as an employer. But it doesn’t always go smoothly, Rico is seriously cautious and doesn’t want a repeat of his last workplace romance.

In the end, Derek’s perfection and his persistence pay off and we get another HEA.

**

What I LOVED about this story, besides seeing so much of Finn and Adam, was how much healing we got to see Rico go through. His family is SO toxic and it takes some serious balls for him to come out – not just for himself but for Adam’s sake as well – and he does it so well!

I loved how steadfast both Derek and Finn were and what good examples their families provided for both Rico and Adam.

Of course the pets are wonderful as are Darrin and the other secondary characters.

Reading this is EXACTLY like a trip to your favorite candy store. You know you will be sad when the book/candy is over/gone but you just have to devour it as quickly as you can because it’s so enjoyable!

I can’t wait for Ezra’s story and for these to come out on Audio.

So, so wonderful!

6 of 5 hearts

amazing

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Food For Thought Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Philip Alces

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Food-for-Thought-Audiobook/B011A7NKO4

food thought audioBlurb

Emmett Gant was planning to tell his father something really important one Sunday morning—but his father passed away first. Now, nearly three years later, Emmett can’t seem to clear up who he should be with—the girl with the apple cheeks and the awesome family, or his snarky neighbor, Keegan, who never sees his family but who makes Emmett really happy just by coming over to chat.

Emmett needs clarity.

Fortunately for Emmett, his best friend’s mom has a cookbook that promises to give Emmett insight and good food, and Emmett is intrigued. After the cookbook follows him home, Emmett and Keegan decide to make the recipe “For Clarity,” and what ensues is both very clear—and a little surprising, especially to Emmett’s girlfriend. Emmett is going to have to think hard about his past and the really important thing he forgot to tell his father if he wants to get the recipe for love just right.

Review

Emmett is hiding his sexuality from his friends and families because he thinks if he finds the right girl, makes his own family, he won’t risk a broken heart – again.

Of course, Keegan is NOT down with that. He has feelings – big feelings – for Emmet, but thinks Emmett is straight… or is he?

Anyhow, when the truth is revealed and the closure … closed?… Keegan and Emmett get their HEA.

**

As usual Amy made me tear up when I read about the death of Emmett’s dad… God this was supposed to be a light sweet book! Damn you Amy (shaking fist!).

But… of course that helps us to buy into Emmett’s lies and betrayals.

I loved the cooking part and the paranormal aspect to the receiving of said book… In general I’m digging this series as a whole.

Another win for the Queen of Angst!

Audio

Philip Alces is not my favorite narrator but he ROCKED this. He did an excellent job with the emotion and the humor. I really enjoyed his take on the story and think it added to the overall enjoyment of the story.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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Blue Eyed Stranger (A Trowchester Blues Novel) by Alex Beecroft

Riptide Presents
http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/blue-eyed-stranger

blue eyed strangerBlurb

Billy Wright has a problem: he’s only visible when he’s wearing a mask. That’s fine when he’s performing at country fairs with the rest of his morris dancing troupe. But when he takes the paint off, his life is lonely and empty, and he struggles with crippling depression.
Martin Deng stands out from the crowd. After all, there aren’t that many black Vikings on the living history circuit. But as the founder of a fledgling historical re-enactment society, he’s lonely and harried. His boss doesn’t like his weekend activities, his warriors seem to expect him to run everything single-handedly, and it’s stressful enough being one minority without telling the hard men of his group he’s also gay.
When Billy’s and Martin’s societies are double-booked at a packed county show, they know at once they are kindred spirits, united by a deep feeling of connectedness to their history and culture. But they’re also both hiding in their different ways, and they need each other to be brave enough to take their masks off and still be seen.

Review

This is the second book by Alex Beecroft I’ve read and the second book in her Trowchester series. I really admire her writing. She is fluid, coherent, descriptive and not telling, creates amazingly detailed characters and a deeply emotional story.

This is a very DARK story. There is an almost instant connection between the two lovers but the physical aspect of their story is a slow burn.

Martin is in the closet and Billy has some serious psychological problems. When they find each other they find that other piece of their soul that completes them.

Martin teaches history at a high school (British equivalent) and is obsessed with historical re-enactments. As a result there is A LOT of history in this story.

Billy’s depression also plays a major role in the story line and though Martin helps he is not the “cure”, which is awesome.

So… I have a hard time reviewing this book. On the one hand it’s quite good, but… I can’t say I “enjoyed” it. It’s very hard to get through at times, the subject matter is heavy and the history will either be fascinating to you or boring…

In either case – if you are in the mood for a more “meaty” romance I’d recommend this – if you’re looking for light and fluffy – keep looking.

3.5 of 5 hearts

3.5

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Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna Book 1) Audiobook by Tara Lain Narrated by KC Kelly

Dreamspinner Presents: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6749Blurb

KnightofOceanAvenueAUDMEDBlurb

How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgement blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising star, celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

Review

(From previously)

Billy can’t find a woman who “sticks”. He’s been involved, seriously, three times and they all sort of fizzle out. One day he “rescues” a beautiful redhead from a bully only to find out he’s the stylist hired to help his sister for her wedding to a rich guy.
Chase, aka Shaz, sees the hunky Billy and falls into lust. But Billy is straight, Shaz has a boyfriend and a vision of his future and that future doesn’t include blue-collar straight boys.

When Shaz and Billy spend time together “sprucing” Billy up for potential future dates with a socialite pegged to be Billy’s next girlfriend they find a mutual attraction. When Billy ends up in the same bar as Shaz one night, the attraction goes from potential to realized and now the pair have some serious decisions to make.

**
I loved Billy! He was a sweet, gentle soul. His heart is so big and he is just in need of someone to recognize his diamond in the rough. Shaz was the perfect shiny foil to his understated Billy’s fabulousness. The couple had amazing chemistry and the story felt real and authentic. I totally bought in and loved every minute of it.

Audio

KC Kelly did so much with this story! He gave Shaz this delightful lisp and managed to give all the secondary characters distinct voices as well. I loved how he made it clear which “thoughts” were out loud versus spoken and really enjoyed this narration immensely. My only gripe was Ru – the voice he chose, while comical, was hard to listen to as it was so nasally. I get that it was a character development and I appreciated it for that aspect, but it was an unpleasant voice. Barely a detraction.

Definitely made the entire thing even more enjoyable!

6 of 5 hearts overall

amazing

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Tonight by Karen Stivali

GoodReads Presents http://www.mmromancegroup.com/tonight-by-karen-stivali/

Tonight-JutohBlurb

Dear Author,
See the hot jock sitting on top of me? He’s my older brother’s team mate and I’ve lusted after him— and loved him— since forever. I never thought I’d have a chance though. That dumbass brother of mine always said he was straight. But look at the way he’s giving the phrase “He takes my breath away” a whole new meaning! My brother must be wrong. Please, dear author, let him be wrong and make my dream come true.

 

 

 

 

couchPhoto Description:
Two sexy, shirtless, dark-haired young men are making out on a couch. The muscular, tattooed man on top is holding the other guy’s wrists above his head with one strong hand as they kiss.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Review
This is another short story from GoodReads.

David has had a crush on his brother’s best friend Wiley. When he asks Wiley to model for him one day, both guys realize they might have been missing out on something.

**
This is a super cute, short story, however it’s very well developed, gives a suitably believable HFN/HEA and the sexy times are hot yet very sweet.

I really enjoyed this and recommend it.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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The Right Time (Right and Wrong Series) by Lane Hayes

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6462

RightTime[The]Blurb

Workaholic Nate Erickson is a successful real estate developer who thrives on long hours and stress. When a Los Angeles project prompts him to relocate to Santa Monica, he welcomes the change of scenery. Nate has always considered romantic entanglements trouble, but his sexy next-door neighbor isn’t easy to ignore. Which makes no sense, because Nate is straight… or so he’s always thought.

Alex Reyes is a retired professional soccer player turned West Hollywood business owner with an insatiable lust for life. He loves his family, friends, and work. But there’s one life challenge left to accomplish: coming out publicly. Respect for traditional Latino values has kept him in the closet, but Alex begins to think he and his new neighbor might help one another combat their fears. As Alex and Nate forge a strong friendship, they soon realize facing their personal demons will take more courage than either man bargained. The reward is immeasurable… if the timing is right.

Review
Alex is Michael’s friend from book one, another (ex) professional soccer player who has now opened his own gym. He also acts as a landlord and rents Nate a place for 6 months while he works on his most recent real estate deal.

Nate is divorced (from a woman) has an interesting past that leads him to believe he is best alone and straight. He is reluctant to explore his bisexuality due to some bad experiences and it’s up to Alex to convince him to give “his gay side” a chance.

Alex is great at giving advice, but doesn’t follow it for himself. He doesn’t want to come out to his dad for fear of disappointing him.

They sort of, tentatively agree to a “for right now” sexual relationship that morphs into more as time goes on. But when Alex finds out something disturbing from Nate’s past it looks like things are all over.

**

Like the other books in this series, the writing is excellent, the character development is well done, and the sexy times very hot.

I didn’t care for the drama regarding Nate’s college girlfriend. It felt stuck in there at the end to give the couple an obstacle that I don’t think they needed.

I liked that Nate didn’t waffle about exploring his sexuality even though it had been years. But, I never really understood Alex’s issues and I really would have appreciated seeing more of the story from his POV (it’s told from Nate’s).

I liked revisiting the boys from the past books, and I look forward to more in this series.

3.5 of 5 hearts

3.5

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Shotgun (Part of the Coda Series) by Marie Sexton

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6443

ShotgunBlurb

As a young man, Dominic Jacobsen already suspects he’s gay, and he gets all the confirmation he needs when a rich boy from out of town climbs into the back seat of Dominic’s GTO. One night with Lamar Franklin is all it takes to convince Dominic he’s found the man of his dreams. Unfortunately, that one night is all he’ll get before Lamar returns to Tucson.

Fifteen years later Lamar returns to Coda, Colorado, after ending the latest in a string of bad relationships. He’s alone, depressed, and plagued by late-night phone calls from an unidentified caller. Lamar’s ready to give up when he comes face-to-face with his past.

Since he was seventeen, Dominic has dreamed of a reunion with Lamar, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready for it now. Facing small-town rumors and big-family drama is bad enough, but Dominic won’t risk losing custody of his teenage daughter, Naomi. The only solution is to make sure he and Lamar remain friends and nothing more. Clothes stay on, no matter what.

It seems simple enough. But for better or worse, Lamar has other ideas.

Review

Though this comes from the Coda story line, it is a standalone. However, if I hadn’t read the other books I wouldn’t have found much that I found appealing in this story.

Basically, this is about Dominic and his complete unwillingness to be a gay man because he’s afraid of what people will think. Poor Lamar just gets hurt over and over as Dom chooses everyone’s happiness but Lamar’s time and again.

Lamar and Dom met as teenagers and made out once on the night before Lamar left town.   There is no contact between the two for the next 15 years.

Lamar ends up dating several men with major problems and never finding the “right” guy. He moves back to Coda not realizing Dom still lives there and is in fact teaching his daughter for weeks before realizing who she is.

Dom can’t be gay – he thinks – so he ends up in a failed marriage with a wonderful woman and they have a daughter. For the last several years he’s been raising his daughter and sharing custody with her mother.

When Lamar comes back to town, the attraction is still there. Back and forth we go with the “I want you” “I can’t be around you” but “I want you” but “I can’t be gay” but “I want you” until finally Lamar puts his foot down.

When Matt (from earlier books), the wife, and ultimately the daughter, all finally get Dom to listen to reason, Dom finally admits who he is to his family and reaches out to Lamar, hoping it’s not too late.

**

Marie Sexton and the Coda series was one of the first few books in this genre I read. I LOVE them. I was so psyched to see the boys again that I barely skimmed the blurb and just said YES,YES,YES!

While I was more or less happy to catch up with the guys: all married now, still acting like they did before (ie Jared makes Matt jealous just by breathing, Matt still checks out women more than men, Zach still likes watching Ang with other guys) it wasn’t earth shattering.

I really, really didn’t care for Dom. Not even at the end when he’s supposed to have “redeemed” himself. He just felt like a douche and Lamar could do better.

Though I was happy for the HEA I didn’t feel it as keenly as I had in the other books in this series.

If you’re a fan, you’ll probably be like me and be interested enough in the series to continue with this, but if you’re not I don’t know that this will appeal all that much.

Marie writes really well, and I love her descriptions of life in Colorado (makes me homesick!), but I was disappointed in the love connection between Lamar and Dom.  I just didn’t see them making it.

I give it a 3 of 5 hearts because it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t nearly as good as I was expecting or hoping.

3

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Fair in Love by Jerry Sacher

Dreampsinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6388

FairInLoveBlurb

Travis McAllan is one of America’s top country music stars—loved by fans, he lives the dreamed-of life of a country boy who has made it. The lifestyle of a star, however, comes at a cost, and Travis keeps his sexuality a secret until he meets Geoff Randsell. The attraction is immediate and jolts Travis from his life of pretense.

Geoff has a secret of his own—he’s in a rocky relationship, and he’s not impressed by Hollywood glitz. When he falls for Travis, Geoff is swept off his feet, and he is both dazzled by and apprehensive about the celebrity lifestyle of private planes, mansions, and travel.

When a photographer sells a picture of Travis and Geoff to the tabloids, their courtship and private world comes under fire. Travis must risk his music career to be with the man he loves, and Geoff has to make the difficult choice to accept a life in the public eye.

In the face of increasing pressure, Travis and Geoff must stay true to themselves to get to the altar and say “I do.”

Review

I am sorry to say that I just couldn’t get through this. The writing is pretty scattered and the dialog, storyline and plot felt awkward and unrealistic.  The author’s use of “country talk” just got annoying and didn’t feel authentic.  When the MC has an internal dialog it’s done with italics, which just served to move me out of the scene too much.

I didn’t like Lu nor did I feel the brother’s ever realistically dealt with Travis’ sexuality in a way that made any sense.  One night they just bring him a girl and the next morning they leave – I wasn’t sure what happened in between.  Meanwhile, Geoff stayed overnight – but I’m not sure what happened with him either.  It felt like too much happened off page.

There is no steam or chemistry between the MCs yet the relationship moves from “just met” to “I love you” before even 50% of the book.

I wanted to like this – the cover is phenomenal and the blurb sounded intriguing, but the payoff wasn’t there.

No rating, DNF

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