• book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: How To Lure A Hunter by Alice Winters

    54628489. sy475

    VRC: Vampire Related Crimes: How To Lure A Hunter – Alice Winters

    Alexei
    When Marcus Church brings his brother Claude in to help solve an unusual murder, I’m positive he did it just to disrupt my monotonous life. None of my coworkers in the Vampire Related Crimes unit seem to understand that I want to keep a wall between me and everyone else—especially Claude, who does everything he can to break through it with an annoying smile. After more vampires begin to die, Claude pinpoints the actions of the killers to a group of vampire hunters, leaving us in a race to stop them. When I discover that I have a target on my back, I’m surprised that Claude insists on staying by my side, even when things go from bad to worse. I’m determined to keep him out—I’ve lost enough people in my life—but I can’t stop feeling something every time he breaks through.

    Claude
    When I reunited with my brother, I never imagined it’d throw me right into Alexei Karsynov’s path. He’s short-tempered, stubborn, and dangerously adorable whenever he smiles—he just doesn’t realize it yet. When Marcus asks me to help with a case, it gives me the excuse I need to get closer to Alexei, but what I discover threatens to change everything. Suddenly, I find myself wanting to do anything to protect Alexei and to see him smile, despite his efforts to keep his distance from others. I’m determined to show him that he can’t live in the past when his future is so much brighter.

    How to Lure a Hunter is a 106k word book that contains: Clothes so bright they could cause retina damage, a ridiculous amount of gifts showered on a reluctant recipient, a cranky Russian with a soft spot he tries to hide, a library full of books that need to be treated with the proper respect, some possibly unhealthy sibling teasing, and a sunshiny 300-year-old vampire with an unexpected protective streak.


    Alice Winters is an author who likes playing with the grumpy+sunshiny trope. This is the core dynamics of many of her works. And she made one of her best pairings yet with a super cranky Russian detective and a colorful peacock of a vampire.

    How To Lure A Hunter is the third book of VRC: Vampire Related Crimes. This stars Alexei Karsynov a.k.a. Karsyn, a 150 year old Russian vampire working as a detective. He was the anti-social grump Finn befriended in the first book, How To Vex A Vampire. You know what they say about introverts making friends by being adopted by an extrovert? Well, that’s basically Alexei.

    The other extrovert who is very determined to adopt Alexei by all means necessary is Claude Church, Marcus’s creatively dressed twin brother. You couldn’t tell by his neon jackets and zebra prints but Claude is actually very smart. He is, in fact, a scholar who amassed a library of ancient books and is an expert in vampire history.

    This is the very reason why he was called upon as a consultant in their murder investigations. Occult symbols and ancient artifacts were found at the scenes of the crime. He and Alexei had to work together to figure out the clues that were somehow tied to Alexei’s secret past. Something the detective was desperate to keep hidden.

    The author’s trademark humor hit the sweet spot in this installment, a lot of silly scenarios and snarky banter but nothing too over the top or exhausting. The mystery was a bit predictable but I enjoyed it nonetheless, especially with how it was tied to Alexei’s history and character development.

    Alexei!!! I just adored him! I was fully invested in getting to know why he is the way he is. He is the most lovable tsundere to ever grump his way into everyone’s hearts. He had so much hurts and so convinced he is unlovable because of his past, he decided he should be alone for the rest of his life rather than have his heart be broken again. Being burned alive by a loved one could do that to a person.

    He was valiantly keeping everyone at arm’s length but Claude was relentless. Having latched on to the Russian in the previous books, he pursued the man with the good-natured persistence of a Labrador. I loved Claude just as much because he was never annoying in his pursuit. He was also very generous, thoughtful and caring. Not just with Alexei but also with his brother, even though Marcus had tried to kill him several times. He even risked his life to save Finn in book two, How To Elude A Vampire.

    It was a joy to see Alexei grow as a character and how Claude convinced him he was always going to be there for him no matter what. The part where Alexei finally accepted that, and brilliantly performed with such overflow of emotions by narrator Michael Ferraiuolo, that scene went straight to my kokoro. It was, hands down, my favorite in the entire series.

    How To Lure A Hunter is the best book in VRC. I don’t know how the next one would top that. It’s a great balance of humor, mystery and romance. I was already rooting for Alexei and Claude even before I read their book and they came together wonderfully here. They proved that cheerful scholars in flashy neon suits are doggedly steadfast and that it’s the grumpy ones who have the softest hearts.

    Also, solnyshko ♡ (ˆ⌣ˆԅ)

    P.S.

    VRC: Vampire Related Crimes is best read in order. Read the first two books and find out how a tiny human with mechanical limbs tamed the big bad 300-year-old vampire who hates humans.

    Check out my reviews below:
    How To Vex A Vampire
    How To Elude A Vampire

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Brighter Than Sunshine
    Artist: Aqualung
    Album: Still Life


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to purchase your copy of How to Lure A Hunter. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    KINDLE
    AUDIOBOOK
    0
  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Down Low by Parker St. John

    55506379. sy475

    Down Home: Down Low – Parker St. John

    His broken bones could finally mend their broken bond…

    Bull riding was the only thing that calmed the thrill-seeking, self-destructive beast inside of Calvin Craig. It allowed him to escape a small-minded town and the pain of his troubled youth, fleeing to bright lights and big city fame without looking back.

    One trip on the horns of the wrong bull changed everything.

    Cal is forced to come crawling back home for the first time in ten years, his body broken and riding days behind him. But not everyone is happy for the return of their local celebrity.

    Eli Jackson was once the tall, dark, and sinful preacher’s son who had Cal wrapped around his little finger. Now the steely-eyed sheriff of Sweetwater, Eli is hell bent on running him right back out of town. He’s never forgiven Cal for the spectacular implosion of their relationship. Even though the lingering tension soon has them burning up the sheets, he refuses to be tamed.

    Cal is surprised to find himself rising to a new challenge: breaking the bull that is Eli Jackson.

    He might have run out of luck, but he’s not out of miracles… yet.


    Down Low was an emotional rollercoaster. I found myself enjoying the heck out of it. It was so good! This is an angsty, second chance, friends to enemies to lovers story of high school sweethearts Calvin Craig and Eli Jackson.

    Cal and Eli were each other first loves. They had to keep their relationship a secret because Eli was the son of a hellfire and brimstone pastor. In their senior year, Cal wanted to come out but Eli was hesitant. He was heading to college and couldn’t jeopardize his future. They had an ugly fight. The next day, Cal disappeared.

    Ten years after, we see Cal returning home (slunking more like). For the past decade, he was a bull-riding superstar and had the broken bones to show for it. He was still healing in several parts, too injured to ride again. The moment he arrived in Sweetwater, he was in for a lot of surprises. Also, Eli hated his guts.

    Cal is a “pipsqueak who doesn’t know when to quit” according to Eli. He was bullied in high school. Bull-riding is all he knows. He is a self-destructive adrenaline junkie who would risk permanent injury to save those he cared about. Eli is the town sheriff. He is level-headed and dependable but has a dark streak hidden deep inside.

    The book is solely from Cal’s POV. I wished we had Eli’s POV too. Sometimes, when we get a 1st person POV from a person who pines for somebody, it feels unbalanced. Like the other person has all the power. But this was soon put to rights as the story progressed. We witness Eli being drawn to Cal like a magnet and learn his side of the story.

    The book perfectly depicted all the conflicting, heart-crushing emotions of seeing your first love after 10 years, the one who betrayed you but still loved after all this time. The longing, the USTs, the hate kisses, the flames gloriously coming back to life. My heart went out to Cal and Eli. They had to sort through a decade of hurts and misunderstandings. Mutual pining, anyone? ♡

    I loved the parts where Eli couldn’t help himself. He just had to kiss Cal even if he wanted to punch him just as badly. Cal loves pushing his buttons and when Eli’s buttons are pushed, that’s when things get seriously explosive.

    Peak Cal moment is him singing Son Of A Preacher Man offkey at the top of his voice just to annoy Eli, instead of enjoying the cozy morning after. Which ended their very brief “truce” and sent them back to square one a.k.a. Eli hating him again.

    Each chapter is marked with a song and opens with a short flashback. I loved how the writing seamlessly take us back to the past and juxtaposed it with the present. We see how Cal’s teen self views the world, perhaps still in a limited, adults are enemies way most people his age do. He created a boogeyman in Eli’s father, who was a huge presence not only in their lives but the entire town as well.

    His adult self was very much surprised with how much his small town has changed. And how it still the same podunk town he left behind. I enjoyed the parts where he realized things were different now, more accepting and open. Bullies are now friends and the pastor is only a human who loves his son.

    The book also excelled in bringing bull-riding to life. This is a world I know nothing about, but here, it was portrayed, not so much in vivid detail, but with well-written glimpses that easily captured the rodeo world. It brought us the heat and adrenaline, the heart stopping triumphs and the sometimes fatal losses, and the indomitable spirits of men who risk life and limb for 8 precious seconds.

    Down Low is simply wonderful. It is one man’s eye-opening homecoming, a reliving of unforgettable memories, a comfort for years of hurts, a fixing of mistakes, and a tumultuous reunion of childhood sweethearts. It takes us through a whole gamut of emotions, sad, happy, painful, sweet and more. Yeah, quite a ride this one!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Son of a Preacher Man
    Artist: The John Does
    Album:


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Down Low. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    KINDLE
    AUDIOBOOK
    0
  • book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: The Elite by Brooke Blaine & Ella Frank

    The Elite: Danger Zone – Brooke Blaine & Ella Frank

    The Elite: Need For Speed – Brooke Blaine & Ella Frank

    The Elite: Classified – Brooke Blaine & Ella Frank

    They train to serve their country.
    They strive to be the best.
    But only a select few can be …
    The Elite

    * * *

    MATTEO MORGAN
    CALL SIGN: SOLO


    Reckless, arrogant, and bold, Solo is as known in the U.S. Navy for his bad-boy reputation as he is for his skills as a fighter pilot. It’s a surprise to his peers, then, when he’s chosen to train and compete at the most prestigious naval aviation academy in the world.

    MISSION RULES:
    1. Kick everyone’s ass.
    2. Do whatever it takes to win.
    3. Do your best to distract the competition.
    4. Especially when that competition is a gorgeous blue-eyed perfectionist who makes your blood run hot.

    * * *

    GRANT HUGHES
    CALL SIGN: PANTHER


    Disciplined, smart, and confident, Panther can’t afford not to play by the rules. As the son of a top Navy commander, all eyes are on him, and being anything less than number one is unacceptable.

    MISSION RULES:
    1. Keep it safe in the air.
    2. Prove you’re more than Commander Hughes’s son.
    3. No distractions. Stay focused.
    4. Don’t fall for your competition—especially not the rebellious heartbreaker with lips made for sinning.

    In the heat of the hot California sun, tempers flare and desires ignite as Solo and Panther try to resist their attraction while fighting to be number one.
    With passion this intense, the question remains:
    Who’s gonna come out on top?


    I was in grade school the last time I watched Top Gun so I never realized how gay it was until I saw the gifs. So gay that even if I couldn’t stand Tom Cruise, I had to ship Maverick and Iceman.

    When this series flew in my radar, halle-fucking-luyah!

    The Elite are the best of the best fighter pilots gunning for the number 1 spot. They compete for several grueling weeks. Top of the leaderboard are the reckless daredevil Matteo Morgan aka Solo, and by-the-book golden boy Grant Hughes aka Panther.

    To their fellow pilots, these two very different men were bitter rivals. Unbeknownst to all, Solo was doing his damnedest to get into Panther’s pants.

    Solo locked on to Panther the moment the other man walked into a bar right before their training began. Both were unaware of who the other was. The attraction was mutual but the closeted Panther turned him down. And continued to turn him down as their training progressed. Solo couldn’t be deterred.

    This is the part where Solo was annoying. I almost dropped the book because Panther had said no several times. Even if somebody was obviously interested, it’s still not cool to harass them when they already said no. I even expected him to get punched through his teeth. But the thing with Solo, he could be the most annoying bastard ever existed, you’ll still feel drawn to him (as Panther no doubt felt). And he was funny.

    Panther, on the other hand, exudes a tall, dark, commanding presence much like his namesake. He’s keeping cool under pressure but a certain relentless, out and proud pilot is making him to break all the rules.

    Panther and Solo, they are fire and kerosene. It’s like the authors took those palpable USTs from the movie and ignited them, bringing to life all those subtexts Hollywood was too cowardly to show explicitly. The tension continued to be intense from start to finish, fueled by the combustible energy between the MCs.

    There are three books in the series. It’s really one long story story chopped into cliffhangers. This style is a hit or miss in my experience. There’s the issue of lack of substance for the installments. Happily, each book in The Elite held solid weight, chronicling the evolution of Panther and Solo’s relationship and highlighting several conflicts and milestones.

    The Elite might primarily be romance but it definitely didn’t slack off on the action. It gave us all the breathtaking jet plane maneuvers, all the cocky attitudes, the smack talk, the constant one-up-manship, the homoerotic volleyball games, the sun, the beach, the adrenaline in land and air. Everything we loved about the movie but way, way better because these fighter pilots ride each other’s tail.

    This Top-Gun homage is a dream come true. Thank you Brooke Blaine & Ella Frank for making it happened.

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Dangerous Animals
    Artist: Arctic Monkeys
    Album: Humbug

    Soundtrack: High Speed
    Artist: Coldplay
    Album: Parachutes

    Soundtrack: Cool With You
    Artist: Hers
    Album: Songs of Hers


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of The Elite. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    You can also use my Bookshop affiliate links to buy paperbacks and MP3 CD audiobooks and help support independent bookstores.

    DANGER ZONE | NEED FOR SPEED | CLASSIFIED

    0
  • book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: Handled Books 2 & 3 by Romilly King

    I practically inhaled these last two Handled books in one sitting because they’re that good!

    The entire series blew me away with Gray and Nathan’s deliciously deviant tale of death and desire that is surprisingly sweet as it is dark. Romilly King created two very memorable characters that are up there in my most favorite couples ever list.

    Handled is a world where capital punishment is meted out to serial killers by highly trained killers called Handlers. These executions are supervised by Witnesses. Each Handler is assigned a Witness.

    Gray, best handler in town, was assigned Nathan, rookie witness, who somehow forged a more than professional connection to the notoriously very difficult handler.


    55849158. sy475

    Handled: Cleansed – Romilly King

    Sometimes you have to go back in order to go forward – Gray is going back to handle the man who saw him as an angel, and unleashed the demon in him.

    I am a Handler; I deal with serial killers, legally, ruthlessly, and in the presence of my Witness, because justice must be seen to be done.

    Handling is an intimate procedure. I only perform for an audience of one; for my Witness, with his hot eyes and his innocent heart, and the pure white soul that I dirtied up so beautifully.

    Now someone else is watching, the man who refined the monster in me. I can’t allow that to continue, particularly as he threatens the Witness who has caused the frozen lump in my chest that I laughingly refer to as a heart, to sporadically beat.

    This isn’t about retribution; this is cleaning up the past so I have a chance at a future.

    Cleansed is the second book in the Handled trilogy, it is a dark gay romance dealing with adult themes and contains graphic scenes that may upset some readers. Please heed the trigger warnings inside.


    Cleansed picks up some months after the first book. We see Gray and Nathan’s relationship continue to evolve and grow stronger. For one brief moment, our favorite psycho lets himself be a vulnerable relaxed tiger around Nathan and learns what being cared for without any ulterior motives feels like.

    I am so happy we finally get Gray’s backstory. A crazed evangelist played a pivotal role, christening the kidnapped child Gray an angel sent to him. The man killed and tortured people in front of the child, waiting to see if the angel will appear and save the sinners.

    Years after his release, Gray learned this evangelist has kept tabs on him and was angry about his relationship with Nathan. Gray being Gray, he provoked his stalker and inadvertently put Nathan in danger. Then he went after the killer with typical Gray panache.

    I really like that the story went straight to the point with the identity of the killer. Gray has the resources and is smart enough to figure things out quickly. I also appreciated that he remained essentially himself even after the memories came rushing back. He might have a vulnerable moment or two but his claws are still sharp as ever.

    But also, soft thoughts!!!!!

    Oh, the soft thoughts are everything! ♥(ˆ⌣ˆԅ)

    This is an aptly named book. Gray proved how deadly angelic he can be, burned the bridges to his past and went on to live halcyon days of sun, the occasional Nathan and OMG! cartwheels!

    Rating:
    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Animal Impulses
    Artist: IAMX
    Album: The Unified Field


    56331560. sy475

    Handled: Polished – Romilly King

    How deadly do you have to be to kill a killer?

    Handlers are hard to kill, and to be fair most of us like the challenge when people try, but now someone is killing off handlers in bloody and complex ways.

    Not my problem.

    Not anymore.

    I got out, I got free, and I don’t want to go back.

    But someone is offering a favour if I handle this, a valuable one, and it could make all the difference to how this story ends.

    Handlers don’t expect a happy ever after; most of us don’t even know what one looks like. I do, my happy ever after is blue eyed and frequently filthy and deliciously mouthy and he bends the way I want him to bend. And I could have that. All I have to do is take on one more handling, and ensure we both survive it.

    The odds are not with me this time though.

    I really should have kept on killing, I’m out of practice.

    Polished is the third book in the Handled trilogy, it is a dark gay romance dealing with adult themes and contains graphic scenes that may upset some readers. Please heed the trigger warnings inside.


    The cartwheeling had to come to an end eventually…

    Polished is where things come full circle as a retired Gray was forced to handle another case and Nathan is again assigned as his witness. Handlers and Witnesses are murdered one by one. Gray needed to get his monster mojo back in order to solve the case faster. To do so, he pushes poor Nathan away because his little witness makes him more human. They kept hitting dead ends. The situation became even more desperate when Nathan disappeared.

    Nathan’s baby handler brother, Indigo and Indi’s special friend Trans, demanded they help. Now these two are adorable psychos! Can we have their book please?

    Nathan has learned his way around Gray, keeping faith and patiently waiting, waiting, waiting…Meanwhile, Gray, struggles to put a name to this thing between him and Nathan. It took two teen psychos to help him ease into it. And solve the case while they’re at it.

    Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed with how Gray’s redemption came about. Is it wrong for me to wish he was really the psychopath everyone thought he was? Can we just let psychos be psychos and still be capable of love? If Indi can, Gray can too, I believe.

    In this trilogy, I was all about Gray. Nathan is a great character through and through. I loved him from the start but the dark and dangerous tend to hog the spotlight more. However, Nathan’s dogged determination, his innate goodness, even his naivety and most especially his selfless love for these unlovable monsters sneaked up on me much like he sneaked his way into Gray’s heart. Slowly but surely. His complete trust in Gray was such a beautiful gift. After all that he has done, I looked at him with wonder too!

    This finale revealed a more intimate picture of the relationships between Handlers and Witnesses. It is a complicated relationship, a symbiosis of two people working together in super intense, highly volatile situations. Professional can quickly turn to personal, a natural progression of sorts, and I would love to see more of these dynamics explored. I really hope we get a spinoff series.

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: My Witness
    Artist: The Irrepressibles
    Album: Mirror Mirror

    P.S.

    Handled should be experienced as a binge read. You won’t have it any other way.

    Witness the beginnings of Gray and Nathan’s explosive partnership in Handled book 1. Review here.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Handled. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    You can also use my Bookshop affiliate links to buy paperback copies and help support independent bookstores.

    HANDLED | CLEANSED

    0
  • book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: Four Kings Security Books 3 & 4 by Charlie Cochet

    More love for the Kings today.

    The Four Kings Security is owned by ex-Special Forces Ace, Red, Lucky and King, along with their fellow Green Berets, Jack and Joker. They built their security firm to continue their mission of protecting people in honor of their fallen brothers in their unit.

    This is the second part of my review of this well-loved series by Charlie Cochet. In the first two books, we meet Ace, the troublemaker and Red, the sweetheart and how they found their persons (review of books 1 & 2 here). The next two books is about the King of Clubs and The King of Diamonds.


    41011708. sy475

    Four Kings Security: Join The Club – Charlie Cochet

    Eduardo “Lucky” Morales is a fighter, from his childhood days in Cuba to his time as a Special Forces Green Beret. Scarred by the wars of his past, Lucky has learned nothing lasts forever. Guarding his heart is second nature, and getting emotionally involved is not an option. As co-owner of Four Kings Security, Lucky works hard alongside his former brothers-in-arms and fellow Kings, but he also plays hard. Flirting with sexy Texas cowboy and detective, Mason Cooper, is too much fun to resist, until Mason turns the tables on him.

    Mason Cooper may not be a soldier, but he’s fought his share of battles as an openly gay cop and now a detective for Major Crimes. Mason has no idea when things changed between him and Lucky, but the gorgeous, fiery Cuban has turned his world upside down. When a mistake leads to his suspension from the force, Mason turns to the least likely person for help: Ward Kingston.

    Determined to keep Mason at arms’ length, Lucky is surprised to find the man at Four Kings Security. The Florida nights might be getting cooler, but the heat between Lucky and Mason burns hotter with every passing moment. Working private security can be dangerous and unpredictable, but so can falling in love.


    Lucky got his nickname because he has all the luck with the ladies and gents. Unlike his cousin Ace who is half-Cuban and raised in the US, Lucky grew up in Cuba until he was 14 when his Aunt was able to bring his family to Florida.

    Lucky still uses his native tongue sometimes, especially when emotions ran high. I really enjoyed that he’s bilingual and the author uses Spanish words liberally. I liked that her Cuban roots gave the story much authenticity.

    All the Kings, Jack and Joker had gone through much in life, but I think Lucky had a few more challenges to hurdle. He grew up dirt poor with barely anything to eat. What his parents, especially his mother, had to go through just to put food in the table was tough to think about.

    As a result, he had a special appreciation for the finer things in life. Not in the materialistic sense but more of a reminder of how far he had gone and what he had accomplished. Lucky is a man who can appreciate a pair of limited edition Gucci loafers. He and Colton could go shoe shopping together.

    Mason Cooper is a drawling cowboy transplant from Texas and a recently promoted detective who’d worked with the Kings in some cases. After a failed drug test (he forgot to mention the cough syrup) that caused his suspension, he requested King for a temp job. He was paired with Lucky.

    Lucky gets along with everybody. Except Mason. Who is Ace’s ex. Also, the guy he had some sort of moment with. And so they’re always riling each other up a.k.a. flirting. They not so much as throw off sparks but more like burn for each other since the previous books. It’s so palpable everybody already expected the inevitable sooner or later. They’re just too stubborn, the idiots.

    When I started on this, I was a bit meh. I’m not particularly keen on cowboys and Mason was probably the character I’m least drawn to. But the deeper I got into the story, the more I became engrossed.

    A big part of the book showed the day to day of a security specialist with Lucky showing Mason the ropes. I liked this peek into their working lives. It made Mason realized how much he could achieve working for Four Kings. There is a nebulous threat to Mason’s life and this came to a head at the last 20% with a twist I least expected.

    This installment is different from the rest. This is more of an antagonistic partners-to-lovers romance. The forced proximity of working together made all their excuses not to get close disappear in a cloud of lust and feelings. There’s a lot of push pull and a lot of heat. The chemistry was explosive. So was the love.

    The King of Clubs has everything he could ever want.

    ˛˛ꉂ ◞•̀д•́)◞⚔◟(•̀д•́◟ ) <- Lucky and Mason being idiots.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: How Lucky We Are
    Artist: Douwe Bob
    Album: Fool Bar


    44006542. sy475

    Four Kings Security: Diamond In The Rough – Charlie Cochet

    When the cards are stacked against you, the Kings will even the odds.

    For Ward “King” Kingston the role of protector, forged by fire and tragedy, is one he takes seriously. When King is asked to safeguard the son of a four-star general and friend, he is pulled back into the world of government black ops on a mission that raises painful memories from his past. The moment King meets Leo, amid the chaos of a lockdown at a secret black site, it’s clear he’s never faced a challenge like this—one that will test his unwavering sense of control.

    Leopold de Loughrey is a misunderstood genius whose anxiety and insecurities are sent into overdrive when he is forcefully recruited to work on a top-secret project. Terrified of what his role as “invaluable asset” means, Leo’s stress leads to disappearances, arguments, and blowups that threaten the project and Leo’s future. King’s arrival is a calm in the storm for Leo and his frenetic thoughts.

    King and Leo couldn’t be more different, yet as they navigate the dangers of a secret multi-agency operation and face unknown threats, their differences could be what saves them. Neither man believes a happily ever after is in the cards, but their hearts might just prove them wrong… if they can survive a deadly betrayal.


    Saving the best for last because The King deserves a Leo.

    King is the group’s alpha. He was the second in command of their former unit so the men naturally follows his orders. He’s also the most enigmatic of the Kings, always there but almost in the background. He’s a known grump who shoulders the world’s responsibilities.

    His book picks up right after the epilogue of Join the Club. King just completed his mission. He was asked a favor by his friend, their old general, to protect his son. Little did King know, it was more than he bargained for.

    A hell lot more.

    Leopold de Loughrey is a tech genius recruited a.k.a. blackmailed by the government to create a program for surveillance. Leo has always been special, according to his dad who feels very protective of him. He has anxieties and health issues that made it hard for him to work in such a difficult environment as a tightly-guarded government facility. Especially with the other analysts being downright hostile towards him.

    Leo is also a master escape artist.

    It began with a ridiculously cute meet-cute in the middle of chaos inside a bunker hidden in a black site. While everyone was scrambling about looking for the missing Leo, King, standing still while taking stock of the situation was offered fish crackers by an unidentified but admittedly very cute young man. Guess who.

    I have to use cute 3 times there because Leo is so freakin’ adorkable!!! That he was inspired by Dylan O’Brian made me love him more. The moment King laid eyes on him, the man was a goner.

    The mission here was to protect Leo from the Russians and the traitor who was working with them. They used code names from the Avengers. I’m totally living for the Marvel references.

    This is an age-gap, opposites attract, slow-burn romance with a lot of humor and heart. King and Leo formed a great partnership. I loved how King paid attention to the little things that make Leo ticked. Their dynamics was so funny and sweet. I loved the contrast between the brawny, protective grump and the brainy, quirky nerd.

    The scene I like replaying in my head was the part where the rest of the guys met Leo. All of them were so flabbergasted to know that King, who never laughs, laughs and smiles with Leo. Like, all the time! Even Ace was impressed. It was hilarious!

    Of course King will never hear the end of it.

    (*・∀・)_Ω~ヽ(o_o–) <- King and the fish cracker incident

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: King and Lionheart
    Artist: Of Monsters and Men
    Album: My Head is an Animal


    I can’t recommend Four Kings Security enough! This is one of the most enjoyable series I have read. The camaraderie and the humor alone made this worthwhile. I loved the huge cast and their group dynamics.

    The series tend to focus on the relationship development and the interactions between characters. The action/suspense usually occur in the latter parts. However, there is still a good balance between the various elements. This is definitely a series worth binge-reading!

    The books are best read in order.

    Review of Love in Spades and Be Still My Heart, books 1 & 2, here.

    P.S.

    And so faceclaims!!! LOVE Charlie Cochet‘s inspiration for the guys. Check out her pinterest here.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Four Kings Security. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    0
  • book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: Four Kings Security Books 1 & 2 by Charlie Cochet

    You meet one King, you’ll love them all. Which is why I ended up binge reading this fantastic series by Charlie Cochet.

    Four Kings Security is owned by the the Kings, Ace, Red, Lucky and King, along with their friends, Jack and Joker. All of them are ex-Special Forces, the remaining half of a unit deployed in Syria years ago. All of the men felt the loss of their brothers heavily, each of them carrying of traumatic memories of a mission gone wrong. These memories are gradually revealed as the stories progressed. They are the reason why these men started their security agency.

    But this is not an angsty, tear-jerker of a series. These are, in fact, some of the funniest books I’ve read. Like its spinoff, Stacking the Deck, which was the one I read first, I keep remembering some hilarious scenes. It keeps me nicely entertained while going about my day. Talk about memorable!

    This series also stands out for the wonderful friendship and camaraderie. These are men who would die for each other. There’s so much palpable warmth and love here, this quickly became one of my favorite found families ever.

    This is a review of Love in Spades and Be Still My Heart, books 1 and 2. The books are not standalones. They pick up from events of the previous books. There are many recurring characters and scenes alluded to throughout the series, it’s definitely best to start at the beginning to get the most out of it.

    I’ll be reviewing books 3 and 4 on Friday. First, let’s meet the King of Spades and the King of Hearts.


    39920487. sy475

    Four Kings Security: Love in Spades – Charlie Cochet

    When the cards are stacked against you, the Kings will even the odds.

    Ex-Special Forces soldier Anston “Ace” Sharpe is fighting a different battle these days—one involving the world of private security across the state of Florida. As part owner of Four Kings Security, Ace and his fellow Kings tackle everything from armed transport and investigations to cyber intelligence and executive protection. Cocky, fearless, and brash, Ace isn’t afraid to take risks.

    After years of working alongside his father, Colton Connolly is ready to take the helm at Connolly Maritime, but his father’s retirement is put on hold when Colton begins receiving death threats. If that isn’t bad enough, his father signs a contract with Four Kings Security to provide Colton with round-the-clock protection, despite his adamant refusal. Colton’s life has been turned upside down, the last thing he needs is a shadow, especially in the form of infuriating, sexy-as-sin Ace Sharpe, who seems to be on a mission to drive Colton mad.

    Sparks fly the moment Colton and Ace meet on a sultry night club dance floor. But getting involved with a client, even one as fiery and beautiful as Colton Connolly, is a line Ace is unwilling to cross. Colton might be attracted to Ace, but he’d been burned before. He might be willing to put his life in Ace’s hands, but not his heart.

    As the Florida nights heat up, so does their passion, and Ace and Colton are faced with a difficult choice—take the plunge and risk it all, or play it safe and walk away?

    If Ace can keep a deadly threat from robbing Colton of a future….


    Ace is the chief purveyor of mischief and instigator of some of the funniest scenes in the series. He’s almost never serious, always riling up one or all of his brothers. All the jokes hide a smart individual who can be quite perceptive. And you got to hand it to the guy, he can be really professional when on the job.

    Which is what he tried to do while working for the Connollys. Well, he tried. But when faced with the temptation that is billionaire Colton Connolly, he was sorely tested.

    The thing that brought them together was a stalker threatening Colton. This part was almost forgotten through most of the story. The focus were on the interactions between the major characters and the development of the romance with the action/suspense crammed at the last quarter.

    Can’t blame Ace for falling hard. Colton is a wonderful person. He’s a beautiful, hardworking, generous man who can stand toe to toe with Ace’s brand of crazy. He succeeded in driving Ace out of his wits with his 4-hour shoe shopping sprees and firm opinions on powder white vs snow white loafers.

    The attraction was insta, the romance slow-burn, the USTs sizzling. Since this is bodyguard romance, it’s only a matter of time before they surrender to the inevitable. So I tend to judge this kind of situation on how fast they give in before they throw professionalism out the window. Ace wins my approval for holding out as long as he could, which was more than half the book. He put up a good fight but Colton was a very determined man. As they say resistance is futile.

    <( ̄︶ ̄)>  👞 ლ(ಠ_ಠლ)ᑦᵒᔿᵉ ᵒᐢᵎᵎ <— Ace met his match.

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Protection
    Artist: Future of Forestry
    Album: The Complete Travel Series


    40977703. sy475

    Four Kings Security: Be Still My Heart – Charlie Cochet

    When the cards are stacked against you, the Kings will even the odds.

    Former Special Forces medical sergeant Russell “Red” McKinley knows a thing or two about wounds, like the fact some can take a lifetime to heal, if they heal at all. The scars Red carries run deep, and living with PTSD often means battling the memories of his past. Injuries he received while working an executive protection case with fellow Kings and co-owners of Four Kings Security, have once again forced past heartaches to the surface, but Red is determined not to let it derail his blossoming romance with sweet and sexy fashion photographer Lazarus Galanos.

    Laz can’t deny there’s something special developing between him and Red, but Laz has wounds of his own. He’s hesitant to jump into a new relationship after his recent explosive breakup. Experience has taught Laz to doubt his judgement when it comes to men. Guys who seem too good to be true, usually are, and no one appears more perfect than Red.

    When an attempt is made on Laz’s life, Red is determined to keep him safe. Laz may not be a client, and Red is still off duty, but Laz is one of their own, and nothing means more to the Kings than family. While an investigation is underway, Red and Laz are growing closer, but can they find a way to help each other heal and take a chance on love, or will their fears and insecurities cost them more than their future together?


    Red is the quietest King and the sweetheart of the group. He’s a gentle teddy bear everybody feels safe around with. He’s also a pansexual, disco-dancing, lavender-scented aromatherapy enthusiast who knows his way around the kitchen.

    He and Laz met in book one at a party in Colton’s house. Laz is Colton’s bestfriend’s Gio younger brother. He had a huge messy fight with his then boyfriend. The asshole pushed Laz who hit his head and fell to the pool. Red jumped to his rescue.

    The mission here was to protect Laz from death threats from an unknown person. Red being on leave since he was recovering from injuries that happened in the previous book, volunteered to stay with him.

    I wasn’t terribly impressed with Laz. As a person, he’s sweet, driven, and talented. I loved how he stood by Red when he had a bad episode with his PTSD. But when Laz’s insecurities were triggered, it led him to some very stupid conclusions that hurt Red badly.

    Red’s PTSD was something that had cost him his past relationships. Laz was badly burned by his ex so both man were hesitant to jump into a relationship. These issues were used effectively in the story while still keeping it light and fluffy.

    This is an insta-attraction, slow burn romance with hurt-comfort thrown in. There’s a perfectly balanced mix of humor and drama. As with the previous book, it’s all about the relationship and the group dynamics. We don’t see much action till the later parts. Even if that is the case, there’s never a dull moment with this gang!

    With support from their awesome family, Red and Laz promised to work around their issues and emerge a stronger couple. Red wins the day for his enormous capacity to forgive. He really lived up to his title as the King of Hearts.

    ヽ(⌐■_■)ノ♪♬♡(‘∀’●) <— Red showing off his groovy moves

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bit

    Soundtrack: Heart to Heart
    Artist: James Blunt
    Album: Moon Landing

    P.S.

    And OMG!!! you guys have to check out the faceclaims a.k.a. inspiration for the Four Kings in Charlie Cochet’s pinterest!!! So much eye candy!

    Review of spin off, The Kings: Wild Cards book 1, Stacking The Deck here


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Four Kings Security. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    0
  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: The Engineer by C.S. Poe

    48612064. sy475

    Magic & Steam: The Engineer – C.S. Poe

    1881—Special Agent Gillian Hamilton is a magic caster with the Federal Bureau of Magic and Steam. He’s sent to Shallow Grave, Arizona, to arrest a madman engineer known as Tinkerer, who’s responsible for blowing up half of Baltimore. Gillian has handled some of the worst criminals in the Bureau’s history, so this assignment shouldn’t be a problem. But even he’s taken aback by a run-in with the country’s most infamous outlaw, Gunner the Deadly.

    Gunner is also stalking Shallow Grave in search of Tinkerer, who will stop at nothing to take control of the town’s silver mines. Neither Gillian nor Gunner are willing to let Tinkerer hurt more innocent people, so they agree to a very temporary partnership.

    If facing illegal magic, Gatling gun contraptions, and a wild engineer in America’s frontier wasn’t enough trouble for a city boy, Gillian must also come to terms with the reality that he’s rather fond of his partner. But even if they live through this adventure, Gillian fears there’s no chance for love between a special agent and outlaw.

    Based on the short story, “Gunner the Deadly.” Entirely revised, newly expanded, and Book One in the exciting new steampunk series, Magic & Steam. 


    The Engineer is the explosive opener to the steampunk-tastic series, Magic & Steam. It’s has all the whiz! boom! bang! you could ever ask for.

    Gillian is a special agent from the Federal Bureau of Magic & Steam assigned to arrest the Tinkerer, a wanted engineer responsible for a lot of death and destruction. In the midst of gunfire, he crashes into the notorious outlaw, Gunner the Deadly. Learning that Gunner was also after the Tinkerer, he grudgingly agrees to work together.

    Gillian is an experienced magic caster so right off the bat, we get high level displays of magic. This is something I always take a lot of pleasure in. I’m usually bored with beginner magic so having a professional caster means not having to deal with the tiresome training trope. And boy oh boy, Gillian certainly didn’t hold back on his elemental magic! I wish we could see this on-screen.

    Gunner was no slouch either. With Gillian’s help, his weapon was powered up by ether magic, allowing him to blast through heavy machinery. He saved their assess many times.

    The Tinkerer was a crazed evil genius armed with fantastical weapons of mass destruction. At first glance, it seems he blows things up willy nilly. Later on, a surprising twist revealed a method to this madness and a tumultuous history with another character.

    The plot covers the couple of days Gillian and Gunner were running after the Tinkerer. Info was dumped here and there explaining the workings of magic and machinery, like Gunner’s weapon, as well as the world in general. Most of it went over my head but I did grasp the gist. There’s natural magic, made by a caster, and the artificial(?) magic made by machines. The latter was dangerous and illegal.

    Alongside this grand adventure run tentative steps to forge a sweeter kind of connection. The way it was built up, showing Gunnar’s gentler, caring side and Gillian being irresistibly drawn to these nuances in Gunnar’s personality, I was completely sold on their overnight romance. As much as I loved HEA, I’m glad the story didn’t push for that, instead ending with a promise of a New Year’s eve.

    This is an expanded short story of around 84 pages so it moves at break-neck speed. But even with that kind of pace, it was a well-realized world of Gatling guns, mechanical spiders, massive tanks, and attack airships. Recommended if you up for a romp in the Wild, Wild West with mysterious outlaws, maniacal engineers and badge-carrying virgin heroes welding lightning bolts.

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Lightning Riders
    Artist: AWOLNATION
    Album: Angel Miners & The Lightning Riders

    P.S.

    Posts on C.S. Poe’s works here.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of The Engineer. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    Kindle
    Audiobook

    0
  • book,  Uncategorized

    SERIES REVIEW: Chained + Convicted by Kim Fielding

    I’m a huge fan of Kim Fielding‘s fantastic paranormal series, Bureau. I have been following this since Corruption, Tenrael and Grimes’s story. This series has become better and better with each installment.

    This is a review of Chained and Convicted, volume 2 of the series. Both novellas featured creatures shackled and chained, one through captivity and the other through culpability.


    44769520. sy475

    Bureau: Chained – Kim Fielding

    An agent for the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs? That’s the best job in the world. And it’s enough for Terry Brandt, who doesn’t need personal relationships complicating his life. His newest assignment puts him undercover, investigating a Hollywood agent who may have some evil tricks up his sleeve.

    Edge is not the man he appears to be. Although he’s a member of the Hollywood agent’s security staff, his true situation is darker and deeper than that. Ordered to seduce the new prospect, Edge finds himself caught in conflicting loyalties.

    Haunted by their pasts and tied up in secrets, neither Terry nor Edge can afford to allow passion to interfere with duty. And with danger dogging them, it’s impossible to envision a future together.


    Chained is a shifter story that made me want to hug my dogs.

    Terry Brandt is a music-loving Bureau agent assigned to investigate Hollywood’s most powerful agent, Whitaker, rumored to be offering fame and fortune in exchange for something sinister. He goes undercover as a wannabe actor. He was asked to move in to the agent’s mansion as part of the test to see if he has what it takes. There he meets Edge, the man assigned to guard him.

    Edge and his two brothers are dog shifters bought by Whitaker, their boss, when they were pups. They served as security in the mansion. They used to be four but their other brother was put down when he refused to behave.

    My heart went out to Edge. He and his brothers were treated like dogs. They live in a kennel modified to accommodate their human form. But he’s the one their boss treated the worst. Not only is he beaten at the slightest mistakes, he is forced to seduce the potential actors as part of their owner’s tactics to sink his hooks deeper into them. He was ordered to do just that to Terry.

    All the dog shifter brothers were obedient but Edge is different. His boss loved pointing out that he is weak. Compared to his brothers, Edge wanted more but knew he couldn’t. He’s too well-trained for that. He’s loyal to his owner even if Terry is making him feel unexpected things. The most heartbreaking scene was when Terry urged him to run away after all the abuse. He refused. “I’m a good dog!” (╥﹏╥)

    The story is set in 1989. There are mentions of HIV. I enjoyed all the musical name-dropping of Terry’s favorite 80s bands. He introduced Edge to the joys of music and I adored Terry for that. He faced monsters but still loves his job. He also kept his sunny, talkative disposition. He’s a good foil to Edge’s strong, silent type.

    I loved how Terry treated Edge kindly right from the start. Edge immediately noticed he was different from the other wannabes. Terry didn’t treat him and his brothers in dog or human form as part of the furniture. He acknowledged their presence and talked to them even if he still didn’t know what they actually were.

    The book succeeded in portraying the seediness of the unseen side of Hollywood. We get dual POVs. What I like about the writing is that even if I know what’s going on from Edge’s perspective, I could still feel a sense of the unknown as experienced through Terry’s POV where he knew something is wrong but couldn’t quite put his finger on it. This was what made the twists effective.

    Terry’s investigation came to a head when he was offered the job in exchange for the most valuable thing he owns. The climax was a suspenseful chaos of fangs, blood and bullets. I gave a little cheer when the brothers finally took action. There’s a lovely ending and epilogue where Townsend, the Bureau chief explained the magical mechanics of things to the guys. I’m happy that Terry was able to keep doing what he loved. Now he can do that with Edge.

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Chains
    Artist: Duran Duran
    Album: Astronaut


    52720384. sx318 sy475

    Bureau: Convicted – Kim Fielding

    Vietnam veteran Kurt Powell’s addiction almost cost him everything, but a job as federal agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs helped him find sobriety and purpose. Now he tracks down dangerous paranormal creatures as well as humans who abuse their magical powers in illegal ways.

    Sent from Belfast to the United States as a boy, Desmond Hughes later fell into a disastrous relationship that led to horrific murders. He’s spent seventeen years in a bleak prison with few comforts and no hope of release.

    A new mission throws Kurt and Des together in a desperate attempt to prevent disaster. Sometimes what’s long been lost can still be found, but the road to redemption is never easy—and a mutual attraction may not ease the way.


    Convicted is a moving journey towards redemption, forgiveness and freedom.

    Desmond Hughes has been incarcerated in the Bureau prison for 17 years. He, along with his lover, Larry Crane, was responsible for the deaths of many people. Crane masterminded the crime, using magical boxes as source of power to wreck destruction. Crane is dead and these deadly boxes are now missing.

    Kurt Powell is the agent assigned to find the boxes. He interviews Des who gives him all the places he and Crane stayed. Later on, he takes Des with him to find the boxes with the condition that Des returns to prison after they do. Their quest took them all over the American heartland moving towards Florida, stopping at the places Des had named.

    The book is set in the 1993. The sense of time was not as strongly delivered as the other stories. There are nods to the time period, mentions of HIV and racism especially towards Kurt who had a mixed parentage.

    Unlike the other Bureau novellas, Convicted has human + human pairing. I liked this just a tad less than Chained but not because it’s not as well written. This is due more to my disinterest towards stories involving road trips and looking for lost things. So I did feel the drag just a bit but the story picked up when they found one of the boxes.

    There is less focus on the paranormal here. It’s very character-driven. Both men are burdened with guilt. They have the deaths of multiple people in their hands. One as a soldier, the other as an accomplice to a psychopath.

    Des won me over with his spirit. He’s so lonely he talks to himself but I didn’t sense defeat. It’s more like he’s accepted his fate and tried to make do with what he is given. I also didn’t expect him to be the talkative type. The first parts of the book showed him alone. Then he had his first conversation with Kurt and his bright personality really shone through. As Kurt puts it, he has the voice of a born story teller. He’s a big guy with a gentle and kind soul that Crane took advantage of, using and abusing him as part of his schemes. I think Des truly believed Crane meant to change the world for the better with those boxes.

    Kurt had his own share of troubles. He’s a Vietnam veteran who dealt with alcohol addiction. In his low moments, he was recruited by Townsend who believed in his potential. Kurt has a son and is friends with his ex-wife. I really liked that Kurt looked beyond the orange uniform and saw Des for what he truly is. He also made him understand that there is always a choice. And that he could forgive himself and move on.

    Towards the end, the paranormal elements come into play in a show of magic and double crossing. Kurt suffers the same equally suspenseful fate as Terry. Townsend once again makes an appearance with his words of wisdom and second chances. Then Des showing up on Kurt’s doorstep all earnest and yearning is beyond endearing. Let’s give the man a hug!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Run Wild
    Artist: For King and Country
    Album: Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong.


    Bureau has always been a series with a lot of heart. Very much present in the stories are the small unexpected kindnesses that go a long way and reach deep places in the hearts of the tormented. Most of the time, the characters don’t even realize the impact of what they’re doing. Like Kurt offhandedly mentioning he would ask for more books for Des who had to make do with a measly 5-book ration. These touches of humanity are what makes this series.

    I enjoyed the references to and cameos of well-loved couples from the other stories. West Coast Bureau chief Townsend is always present in all of them and he’s the biggest mystery of all. According to Edge, he smells human and something else. He often pops up in unexpected places to move things along. And I swear, his secret hobby is matchmaking because he really knows how to pair up these guys.

    I highly recommend Chained and Convicted as well as the Bureau series as a whole. This is a series that will make you FEEL for ugly, tormented monsters. And no one does ugly, tormented monsters like Kim Fielding.

    P.S.

    Reviews of Bureau books below:
    Corruption
    Clay White
    Creature

    Posts on Kim Fieldings works here.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Bureau. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

    0
  • book,  Uncategorized

    AUDIO REVIEW: Gideon by Lily Morton

    45691552. sy475

    Finding Home: Gideon – Lily Morton

    Gideon Ramsay is so far in the closet he should be a talking faun.

    A talented, mercurial, and often selfish man, Gideon has everything he should want in life. Fame, money, acting awards – he has it all. Everything but honesty. At the advice of his agent, Gideon has concealed his sexuality for years. But it’s starting to get harder to hide, and his increasingly wild behaviour is threatening to destroy his career.

    Then he’s laid low by a serious illness and into his life comes Eli Jones. Eli is everything that Gideon can’t understand. He’s sunny tempered, friendly, and optimistic. Even worse, he’s unaffected by grumpiness and sarcasm, which forms ninety percent of Gideon’s body weight. And now Gideon is trapped with him without any recourse to the drugs and alcohol that have previously eased his way through awkward situations.

    However, as Gideon gets to know the other man, he finds himself wildly attracted to his lazy smiles and warm, scruffy charm that seem to fill a hole inside Gideon that’s been empty for a long time. Will he give in to this incomprehensible attraction when it could mean the end of everything that he’s worked for?

    From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages series comes a story about a man who needs to realise that being true to yourself is really just a form of finding home.

    This is the third book in the Finding Home series but it can be read as a standalone.


    Lily Morton is a much-raved about author among MM readers. With Gideon, I could definitely see why.

    This is my first book from the author and the third book of the Finding Home series. I highly recommend starting from the beginning because Gideon and his friends are a hilariously snarky, close-knit bunch you’d wish you’re a part of.

    Gideon Ramsey is a successful actor more recently known for bad behavior. He is a certifiable asshole by all accounts. He’s also very closeted. He has long been brainwashed by his manager that coming out is career suicide. He suddenly came down with a case of pneumonia and had to be looked after by a nurse.

    In comes a ray of Welsh sunshine in the form of Eli Jones. Eli is a nurse whose competent skills and perennial happy nature charmed everyone. His backchat charmed Gideon who would rather eat his designer shoes than admit he loves it. Hah! As if Eli doesn’t know.

    It doesn’t take long for Eli to suss out that his grumpy patient is hurting, not just from his illness, but from being abandoned by his parents at 7 and years of hiding his true self. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the book.

    Eli is a person who likes to be needed and Gid is a man who felt he never belonged. It was delightful to witness how Eli brought out the real Gideon Ramsey one cheeky remark, one kind act at a time.

    I loved how Eli got Gideon just like that. He never pressured him to do anything. He let Gideon decide when he was ready. He said things should be taken at their own time. And he was right. Everything came together at exactly the right time.

    Blessedly, there were no contrived relationship drama. There is internal conflict within Gideon but he and Eli remained a solid pair throughout

    The real Gideon Ramsey? He was a pleasure to met. Still a grump but also a loyal friend, a caring brother, a giving lover and more. Certainly more as the author gifted us with the most thorough (and a tad repetitive) epilogue ever, neatly tying all loose ends in a definite HEA.

    This is a fantastic story brought to life by a fantastic narrator. I have always been a fan of Joel Leslie since I started listening to audiobooks. The man can make a scene with multiple characters sound like a radio play. And the accents! Days after I finished the book, I kept hearing Eli’s Welsh lilt in my head. He’s that good!

    Gideon is the book to read if you’re up for some stories where TLCs come with sass and snark, where separations end with midnight visits and Welsh endearments, and movie stars thank god for pneumonia and dissolute living.

    P.S.

    Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews and Audible for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Babe, You Turn Me on
    Artist: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
    Album: Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus

    0
  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Say You’ll Be Nine by Lucy Lennox

    53466714. sy475

    Say You’ll Be Nine – Lucy Lennox

    One dilapidated cabin in need of renovation.

    Two stubborn men pretending to be a couple.

    Three summer months to get the job done.

    Four tangled legs in only one bed.

    Five cameras catching it all for YouTube.

    Six hundred thousand Instagram followers.

    Seven nosy family members with Opinions.

    Eight thousand reasons they should never fall in love.

    Nine million reasons why they will.

    Say You’ll Be Nine is a standalone novel.


    NINE! (♡´౪`♡)

    Isaac ‘Nine’ Winshed is all kinds of adorbs and sweet and gentle and shy. He would rather be hit by a train than let someone be hurt under his watch. When he was a child he didn’t want his favorite chicken, Sir Pecks-a-lot, to be eaten so he let it live in his closet.

    The man lives to help other people. He wields a hammer like Thor and has the heart of Captain America. His superpower is home renovation. He vlogs about DIY projects on Youtube. The best thing about him is that he didn’t feel too good to be true. I loved how author, Lucy Lennox, made him alive and relatable.

    Nine is the ninth in a family of 12. All his life, he’s been dating girls but never really felt the spark. It wasn’t until he was with Cooper when he realized something about himself. For him, it’s not the the gender but the person. And Cooper was that person.

    Cooper Heath is an aspiring actor hoping to make it big in Hollywood. He’s best friends with Eli, Nine’s big brother. Cooper was the opposite of Nine in many ways. He’s witty, extroverted, very talkative and a bit dramatic. He’s highly self-reliant and doesn’t like asking for help. He’s currently back in town, living with his mom and twin brother, Jackson.

    Jacks has a rare blood disorder and they needed money for a bone marrow transplant. The fastest way was to accept a sponsorship for an LGBT-oriented DIY show on Youtube where Coop and Nine pretend to be a gay couple and renovate a cabin in the woods.

    Coop can’t tell his Phillips from a Robertson but he’s very social media savvy. His superpower is Instagram. The project should be easy. All he needed to do was make them look good.

    Except…how NOT to fall for the very attractive lumberjack+fake boyfriend whom you were kinda crushing on since when you were a kid? The same lumberjack+fake boyfriend who’s the younger brother of your best friend and by all accounts, straight?

    Things are getting real really fast!

    I want to see that time-lapse video of the cabin being renovated. As Nine said, it was like watching him and Cooper fall in love. It was fantastic to see how the characters developed and their romance transition from reel to real.

    I totally loved how Nine embraced everything with an open heart and an open mind. He himself admitted he was naive but he learned fast and he gave it his all. Coop was very patient with him and they talked everything out, at first. It was wasn’t until the latter part that they headed towards that notorious miscommunication+separation route.

    After which we are rewarded with a grand gesture moment that was so cute and so endearingly Nine. I wished this was a movie because that scene would be so beautiful on screen.

    Cooper was no slouch either. He pulled off his own grand gesture with perfect timing with the best Christmas present ever. That ending was pure ♡ ♡ ♡ !

    Say You’ll Be Nine is my first book from the author and I loved it to bits! This is a contemporary, opposite-attracts, forced proximity, fake boyfriend romance with a slight enemies-but-not-really angle thrown in. There’s also the brother’s bestfriend trope and first time gay going on. Everything came together in the best way possible.

    It’s pretty much guaranteed, after reading this book, you’ll want a Nine in your life too!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: You’ll Be Mine
    Artist: Irma Kooper
    Album:

    0