Tag: LGBTQ (Page 1 of 3)

BOOK REVIEW: Underdog (In Vino Veritas #4) by L.A. Witt

BOOK REVIEW: Underdog (In Vino Veritas #4) by L.A. WittUnderdog (In Vino Veritas #4)
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Life in foster care wasn’t easy. Life after prison? Unforgiving. But I’m determined to stay out of trouble, and I’m gaining a foothold on the closest I’ve ever known to normal.

Then, thanks to a pair of escape artist dogs from the sanctuary where I’ve found work, I cross paths with my boss’s neighbor, Ty Adams. He’s a horse trainer, and winter is his quiet season. It’s also the season when he gets restless and lonely—two things I know all about. He’s not interested in love or romance. I’m just happy someone’s interested in me at all, even if emotions are strictly forbidden.

When we’re not together, I’m thinking about him. When we are together… Well, I’m definitely thinking about what he does to me and what I want to do with him.

As we keep each other warm through the Vermont winter, this feels a lot more than physical. Somehow he soothes my pain, and I wonder if I’m touching something deep inside him too. But Ty won’t let himself love anyone. I never had a chance. And now, with my past closing in, I could lose the one man I hoped I could count on. The one I thought might be different.

When his present and my history collide, is it too much to hope he’ll choose me?

CW: Sick horse and a minor accident involving a horse—no animal deaths or serious injuries/illnesses.

Review

Ahhhhh I feel terrible that it took me so long to review this but I felt like death last week/ this weekend and just…couldn’t.

Anyway, I was so excited to get Ty and Landon’s story after we got a few little tidbits here and there from Luke meeting and texting with Landon during Unmanageable. Gosh I am just such a sucker for these series that interconnect even if you don’t HAVE to read all of the books in order. I was immediately drawn in by the animals in this book. Blain and Houdini really stole the show for me hehe those little trouble making escape artists. Also!!! The horses! As a Millennial I’m pretty sure I can speak for most of my generation when I say that it was impossible to grow up and not be a horse girl for at least a small chunk of time. I read all of the horse books I could get my hands on and wanted one for myself until I was able to ride one at a local county fair and it actually scared the hell out of me, LOLLL but I digress. The animals were a special part of this book and I really, really enjoyed that element.

On to the characters and relationship. ONCE AGAIN, the immediate chemistry that Ty and Landon had was off the charts. I’m not sure how this has happened so consistently in every book this series has given us so far but I am a huge fan. Ty lived and breathed horse training and boarding and competitions. That was his family’s whole world and he continued on the legacy after his parents decided to retire. Because that was such a demanding and time consuming lifestyle, he has always tried to keep relationships low key and simple. Landon on the other hand has recently gotten out of almost a decades worth of time in jail/prison. He didn’t have an easy or stable childhood which led to him getting into a lot of bad situations that he just couldn’t seem to get himself out of. That has all changed though. This time around he is determined to live life the “right” way and stay as far away from trouble as he possibly can. Through a work rehabilitation program, he was hired by Brent and Jon (MCs of Aftermath in the Vino and Veritas series) to work for Second Chances Animal Sanctuary and eventually started working for Ty at Lost Acres Farm after Ty learned he had experience with horses and was good with animals.

As you might expect this book deals a lot with the aftermath of Landon being a released prisoner and how other people perceive him because of that. Oof my heart. The BEST part of this how this specific theme played out in this book was how, for the most part anyway, Ty trusted Landon with his whole gut and gave him so many more opportunities than most people would. That’s all it takes sometimes. People who have spent time imprisoned can’t hope to reintegrate with society if they don’t have people at their back, encouraging them and actually helping them live a normal life again. This book definitely brought up a lot of things I never would have thought about before and I know I will be keeping them in mind for the future….On the opposite end of that there are also parts of this book that feature many people mistrusting Landon and even trying their best to get him to screw up because they assume that’s all he’s capable of. That hurt to read. L.A. Witt is definitely a pro at tugging on heartstrings in a very real way, let me tell you.

Seriously this is one you aren’t going to want to miss!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: Unmanageable (In Vino Veritas #3) by Leslie McAdam

BOOK REVIEW: Unmanageable (In Vino Veritas #3) by Leslie McAdamUnmanageable (In Vino Veritas #3)
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

I’ve never been romantic. Just ask my ex-wife.

Since she broke up with me, I get my needs met any time I want, without putting my heart on the line. Exactly how I like it.

But when she is called overseas and leaves me with our child, my bachelor lifestyle ends faster than you can say, “Daddy, I want a pony.”

I need help.

Problem is, help’s come in the form of an incredibly hot nanny.

My employee.

Who is much younger than me.

And also … a guy.

I watch Scott care for my kid and can’t help feeling like he clicks into place in her life.

When he looks at me, though … I get an entirely different feeling. One that makes me long for things I can’t have.

Like him.

Unmanageable is a contemporary m/m age gap romance about a starry-eyed nanny who wants hot-air balloon
rides and singing telegrams and a grumpy single dad who most definitely does not.

Review

This one sunk its claws into me IMMEDIATELY. I’m not sure if it was because Scott was just so damn likeable or if it’s because the instant chemistry that he shared with Luke was so appealing. Either way, I flew through this one!

The way that Scott immediately meshed so well with Addi and ingrained himself into her and Luke’s every day life so easily, almost like he had always been there, made my heart so happy. Even though Luke was Addi’s father and still saw her when he could, I can’t imagine how overwhelming it would have been for him to suddenly be thrust into the world of being a full time parent after never having been one. That’s….a lot. With all that in mind I really loved the scene when Luke joined the book club and the book they had read dealt with a similar family dynamic so through the discussion about the book we as readers, and even Scott, learned more about how Luke’s specific situation made him feel. I think that was definitely a turning point in the sense that Scott better understood why Luke felt the way that he did about relationships and honestly I think the act of Luke speaking those words out loud was just as important for himself.

Overall I loved how this was wrapped up and that Scott got his very romantic happily-ever-after, just like he deserved!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!♥

BOOK REVIEW: Counterpoint (In Vino Veritas #2) by J.E. Birk

BOOK REVIEW: Counterpoint (In Vino Veritas #2) by J.E. BirkCounterpoint (In Vino Veritas #2)
by J.E. Birk
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

One playboy. One perfectionist. So many secrets.

I’m considered the biggest playboy in Burlington, Vermont. The party boy. The guy who lives in the moment and makes decisions with no thought for the future. But people don’t know my past. They don’t know why I make the choices I do. Even my best friend doesn’t know the truth about me. Actually, there are a lot of things he doesn’t know…like the fact that I had a one night stand with his brother last year.

Did I mean to hook up with Aaron? Um, no. Mistakes were made, okay? But unlike most of my mistakes, this one has lasting consequences. Aaron works at the law firm where circumstances are forcing me to be their errand boy. Now we see each other every day. Aaron’s such a nervous wreck he keeps tripping over the copy machine. I’m surprised he hasn’t ended up in traction yet.

He and I are opposites in almost every way. He’s got a GPA higher than Mount Mansfield, and I’m barely going to graduate college. He grocery shops with a spreadsheet, and I’ve got YOLO tattooed on my body. But Aaron sees things in me that no one else does, and I see things in him he doesn’t see in himself. Before I know it, we’re sharing late-night office picnics, evenings out at the bar, and long, hot afternoons on my boat. I’m having the best summer of my life, but there’s no way this can end well. My bff will kill me if he ever finds out how thoroughly I’ve corrupted his brother…

Counterpoint is an opposites-attract forbidden romance featuring an incense-filled law firm, meddling friends, and angst and humor in (mostly) equal parts. It stars Jeremy Everett and Aaron Morin, who first appeared in the Vino and Veritas story Booklover, but Counterpoint is a standalone novel.

Review

The best part about all of these books within The World of True North is that you see characters from other books and it feels like you’re coming home to old friends. This book can essentially be called a companion novel to Booklover from the Vino & Veritas series because Aaron, one of our MCs in this book is Jamie’s brother from Booklover and Jeremy, the other love interest, is his best friend. SADLY (yes I know I am ashamed) that was one from V & V I haven’t gotten to yet but you better believe I will be soon after this!

One of the things I really enjoyed about Counterpoint was that it put me in my Moo U feels. Now, I’m not sure if people really do call the University of Vermont, Moo U but either way I feel nostalgic about it when I come back and read a mention of it and that to me is hilarious. I have never even been Vermont but somehow all of these books have me feeling like I HAVE lived there and that I have this network of family and friends there to visit/ come home to when I’m missing them.

Aaron and Jeremy in particular were two that I wanted to wrap up and hug multiple times throughout this book. After a soul crushingly bad review at the last corporate law firm he interned at, Aaron was doubting his ability to practice law once he graduated from Harvard which had him even more upset as he had only recently patched up a falling out he had with his family over leaving for law school in the first place. Jeremy is a playboy or, if we want to get fun and stay on brand, modern day rake who was ALWAYS up for a good time as far as anyone could tell. What we end up finding out is that he’s dealing with a LOT of family things (mainly a father who developed early onset Alzheimer’s and heavy tension with his mom in result of that) that he keeps hidden from everyone.

Everyone except Aaron. I’m a big fan of the dynamic in romances where one love interest is only able to confide in the other love interest, even way before they get together, because that person makes them feel completely comfortable. Aaron and Jeremy’s personalities might be night and day in comparison but as the saying goes, “opposites attract.” Throughout the book when Aaron is struggling with work and worrying about what people think of them/ letting them down he thinks “what would Jeremy do in this situation?” and that helps him more than one time let go of his anxiety and settle in to the confident, smart, and capable person that he is. Jeremy on the other hand learns from Aaron what it’s like to open up and let people try to help. How much that helps to lighten the very heavy load. The two have their faults but as all of their friends notice, they’re better together. Overall another winner in my book!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: Wildfire (In Vino Veritas #1) by Garrett Leigh

BOOK REVIEW: Wildfire (In Vino Veritas #1) by Garrett LeighWildfire (In Vino Veritas #1)
by Garrett Leigh
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A gorgeous new sexual awakening romance with sizzling first times, snarky British banter, and off-the-charts chemistry.

Life doesn’t always pan out as you expect. When it explodes in my face, literally, an old friend offers me a place to heal and a job renovating the kitchen of Burlington’s coolest wine bar.

V&V is a chill fest. Living above it should be a blast. But I’m not built to be a social butterfly. Not anymore. I’m a damaged man.

And I’m not its target clientele.

At least, I think I’m not until I come face to face with the most beautiful human I’ve ever seen. Joss is the new chef and my roommate. He has hair like spun gold and it’s as pretty as the rest of him. Crystal blue eyes. Megawatt smile.

I can’t stop staring. Or thinking about him. He chases my nightmares away. And when he spots my crush a mile off, his solution to our chemical attraction blows my mind.

An experiment of sorts. Science. Is this sexual exploration or sex education?

Either way, Joss is only here for the summer. He’s leaving.

I can’t fall in love with him.

I can’t.

Shame my foolish heart never got the memo.

WILDFIRE is a heartfelt MM friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort romance in the True North world, with a brooding lumbersexual, a wild-hearted chef, sweet angst and all the Vermont food. Content warning: contains mentions of depression, ADHD, suicidal ideation, and PTSD recovery.

Review

When I saw that the first book to kick this series off was by Garrett Leigh, I was SO excited. Her book, Heartscape, which was in the Vino & Veritas series, was one of my very favorites! Like Heartscape, this one was definitely more emotional and dealt with Kai’s personal trauma after a work incident and the PTSD and insomnia that ensued, and in Joss’s case, ADHD with a case of non-verbal Tourette’s, too.

Right from the get go we get a small teaser that one of our MCs went through something very harrowing before jumping into the main story line of Kai getting a kitchen ready in V & V so that they can start serving food to their very hungry patrons. Joss comes in as the chef and an old friend of Jax’s who doesn’t typically stay in one place very long before moving on to greener pastures.

Joss moves into the apartment above the bar with Kai (gotta love that forced proximity) and immediately the two, who usually are up at all hours of the night not being able to sleep (Kai) or have excess amounts of energy to be burned and have trouble staying on track for more than 5 seconds (Joss), find a calm around each other. The two work perfectly together and form a very fast attachment. Kai, who has never officially been interested in men can’t help but notice Joss’s every move. And vice versa, honestly. The chemistry these two have was off the charts and I enjoyed seeing the evolution of their relationship throughout the book.

I can’t lie, I HAD been worried about the point in which Joss did decide to up and leave Kai/V & V/Burlington like he had in the past. Especially because like the rest of Kai’s friends, I was worried about the bb and wanted to protect him at all costs. Seeing as I don’t want to spoil what actually happens, all I will say is that I was satisfied with how things pan out for the two of them. The way that these two filled each others cups and fit so perfectly made my heart happy. This was the perfect start to this newest series in The World of True North!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review! ♥
 

BOOK REVIEW: The Best Men (The Best Men #1) by Sarina Bowen, Lauren Blakely

BOOK REVIEW: The Best Men (The Best Men #1) by Sarina Bowen, Lauren BlakelyThe Best Men (The Best Men #1)
by Sarina Bowen, Lauren Blakely
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Bestselling authors Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely team up for the first time in an enemies-to-lovers, opposites-attract, irresistibly sexy standalone romance between the best man and the other best man!

In my defense, I was left alone with a bottle of single-malt and a life-long penchant for protecting my baby sister. Still, that's no excuse to send ten drunk-texts on why her hasty marriage would be a mistake.

If only I had just texted my sister. But nope. I accidentally sent the message to her, her groom, and his super hot wingman.

I also used the phrase “super hot wingman,” so I’d like to die now.

Instead, I have to plan a wedding with the aforementioned hottie and share a too-small guesthouse in steamy Miami.

Three days in the sun with the cocky, charming former athlete who likes to push my buttons? Fine, two can play at that let’s-infuriate-each-other game.

Until Asher ups the stakes with one wildly sexy suggestion. A no-strings fling, then I go back to my single dad life in New York, and he returns to his star-studded one.

Sign me up.

But the more nights I spend with the other best man, the more I want days too, and that just can't happen. Especially when I find out the real reason why…

Contents Include: First times, a secret to-do list, champion-level flirting, fast cars, #eggplants, and two men who look good in formal wear.

Review

I loved this SO incredibly much. I don’t need to talk about how big of a Bowen stan I am since you all should already know but this is actually my first book by Lauren Blakely–and it won’t be my last! Being a lover of the Brooklyn series, and especially Bombshells, Asher DID leave a mark but I never in my dreams thought it was going to be possible for him to have his own book! Imagine my surprise when this was announced.

Mark and Asher are chosen to both be best men in Mark’s sister’s and Asher’s best friend’s wedding. The problem? Last night Marky Mark got drunk and texted some pretty embarrassing things to a group chat with the four of them instead of just to his sister. OOPS. Asher being the snarky shit that is he is, is NOT about to let Mark live this down. Especially when flirting with him and seeing his unexpected (and is that possibly a reciprocated????) reaction is so much fun.

The two head down to Miami a week early to get everything read for the couple and things immediately heat up. Seriously though, you guys. The dynamic between these two was so hot. Mark is more of a serious guy–a damn good negotiator in the finance world, a single dad, and just overall not as big of a personality as Asher. Asher…is opposite in almost every way. Kind of a flies-by-the-seat-of-his-pants type. The teasing and back and forth between these two because of that was *chefs kiss* Perfection. I loved everything about their dynamic, the story, the romance–ALL OF IT. I will certainly be going back through all of Blakely’s back log to catch up on what I’ve missed out!

Huge thanks to Troliver books for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for my honest reivew!

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