The Quarterback is the debut book by Mackenzie Blair and although there were a few things that I didn’t like overall I really enjoyed this book and the good far out weighed the bad.
This book centers around Matt and Trevor who are students at a small Christian college in Alabama. Neither Matt nor Trevor were the stereotypical role of dumb, arrogant jock or Asian math nerd. Matt is the star quarterback and he’s popular, smart and gorgeous. On the surface Matt’s life is close to perfect but it’s a lot more complicated than everyone else thinks. Matt’s gay but not only his father homophobic he’s a scam artist that controls Matt’s life through his twin sisters. Matt toes the line in order to try to keep his sister’s safe from his father’s issues. He’s counting down the days until his sister’s go off to college and he’s finally free but what he doesn’t count on is meeting Trevor. Trevor is a edgy Korean-American boy with long hair and tattoos who works three jobs to put him through school since his family disowned him when he told them he was gay.
Matt meets Trevor when his friends take him to a happily ever after massage parlor and request a male for him. This was bizarre to me and I didn’t really buy into the whole his friends not talking to him about the fact that they figured out he was gay before they dropped this on him. Matt flips out and Trevor is embarrassed but even though Matt runs out he can’t stop thinking about Trevor.
I really loved the friends with benefits relationship these two developed. It’s starts out all about sex but quickly develops into a true friendship between the two. Both guys are a bit complicated at times and Matt does some truly stupid things but MOST of the time he is trying really hard and is quick to make up for it. Trevor pushes Matt a bit too hard and he can be a little insecure (although justified) and defensive.
However, there were a few things I didn’t like in this book. Some of the dialogue was just a bit too stereotypical and had me rolling my eyes thinking really he/she said that? I also thought Danielle and Matt’s sisters responses when they first meet Trevor or find out Matt is gay were ridiculous. I think it was supposed to be precocious but they were too old to pull that off and I found it silly and rude. I also HATED that Matt threw Trevor’s massage parlor past in his face during their big fight. It was a horrible thing to do and it shocked me because it just didn’t fit Matt’s character. I also think Trevor forgave him for that just a tad too easily.
However, for me the good outweighed these issues and I really enjoyed the characters and the story. I adored Drew, Trevor’s roommate and I liked Matt’s football buddies as well. It had some really humorous moments, some sweet moments and the sex was pretty steamy.
So a really good debut novel for me and I hope she writes Drew’s story next – I’d love to read it.
Suspicious Behavior is book #2 in the Bad Behavior series and I HIGHLY recommend reading the first book before jumping into this one. This book is 80% police procedural and 20% romance so for those who love a great suspense/mystery with a bit of romance this is perfect. I admit I usually like a more even split but it worked in this book and maybe because I know there will be another book with the two MCs I wasn’t disappointed in the small amount of romance in this book. Although there were only a few romantic scenes it was obvious throughout the book that these two men were in a solid and loving relationship.
This book takes off almost right after the end of the first book and both men are being thrown into another case but this time it’s a serial killer. They don’t have much too work with and they certainly don’t have much support from fellow cops or leadership. I think that was the one thing that really bothered me was the portrayal of almost all the other cops. I can see that Darren and Andreas might not be the most liked and that they may even get a cold shoulder but some of the lengths the other cops went to was just a bit much for me. I understand cops are human but with an exception or two I like my cops to be good guys.
I really enjoyed the suspense in this book and the twists and turns that the case took. I also felt so bad for Darren and all the family issues that he is going through right now. I loved that Andreas was there to support him even if he didn’t always know the right way to do that. I enjoyed the secondary characters especially Andreas’ daughter and Paula.
I’m really looking forward to how the family stuff with Andreas plays out and of course Darren and his brother (although I think that is going to break my heart even more).
A fabulous debut book that has me looking forward to more from Erin McLellan!
This book centers around Joel who is a young college student who has never moved past the loss of his high school boyfriend who was killed while reading a sext from him. He wallows in his guilt and has built an emotional wall to keep everyone out. When he meets Paulie who is a funny and sweet guy who is very open with his affection and his sexuality. I loved that two started off as friends and it took awhile before they jumped into bed. It made the first sex scene between them extremely hot and emotional and the payoff was wonderful. Joel takes a long time to start to open up to Paulie and unfortunately makes some big mistakes along the way during a time when Paulie is already in a bad state with family issues. There was a lot of angst towards the end of this book but I also thought it had one of the best groveling scenes EVER!
“I want you, in every way. I want to hear your laughter and see your smiling face every morning. I want to hold your hand when life sucks. I want to be your boyfriend, and i want to be your friend. But… I will be whatever you need, whatever it is you want. If you don’t want me at all anymore, that’s okay. I understand. But please say that I don’t have to face another day with you hating me.”
I also absolutely adored Joel’s roommate Travis. He is such an amazing friend and I really want him to get his own book! Joel and Paulie have a HFN ending so hopefully we will see more of them in a book about Travis.
I really liked this book. It had an emotional impact, really hot sex with lots of dirty talk and two boys who grew into men. I believe we will see a lot of really great books from this new author!
3.5 Charms – rounded up to 4. Dirty Deeds is the first book in the Dirty series and a spinoff from the Tough Love series but can easily be read as a stand alone book. This book centers around Alec who is a billionaire who runs a company that does something with food (honestly I’m not exactly sure what but in the big scheme of things that didn’t matter all that much). He is the ex-boyfriend of one of the characters from the Tough Love series. Seth who is also a character from that book is in this one but he is kind of a jerk and we never really find out if he has decent motives or not. I really didn’t like that he wasn’t such a jerk in this book since I had liked him in the previous book.
So in this book, Gaige who is a computer genius is being blackmailed by Seth into working/spying on Alec and helping him discover some anomalies with a top secret vault that stores seeds in case of an emergency/doomsday scenario (the leak is supposedly from Alec’s company). The part I really didn’t understand was why Seth was blackmailing Gaige and wouldn’t give either Gaige or Alec much information and why he wanted Gaige to spy on Alec in addition to working with him. In fact, he brings the two men together by having Gaige break into Alec’s business. Obviously, this means that there is a lot of distrust between Gaige and Alec. Because of the distrust Alec decides he needs to keep Gaige next to him at all times and basically makes him live with him when they aren’t at work. (I found this very contrived and wish the scenario was a bit more believable).
So if I put aside the reason these two men are forced together I really enjoyed it. There is an immediate attraction between the two men and it isn’t long before they are acting on it. The sex between the two was hot and I liked them together. I found Gaige a really interesting character and I liked that although he was kind of a geek he was also really sexy and saved Alec’s life more than once. The second half of this book was intense and fast paced and honestly I didn’t see the villain coming.
So while there were some plot issues I really liked the characters, the writing, the sex scenes, and the action-packed second half of the book.
Pounding Skin is the second book in the Skin Deep Inc Series but can easily be read as a stand alone book. This book centers around Matt who works at Skin Deep and has just realized that he might be bisexual do to an “off screen” threesome he had with his best friend and her boyfriend. The second main character is Jon, a fighter pilot in the Navy who has no interest in relationships and is a bit of a man whore. When the two meet they are instantly attracted to each other and agree to a purely sexual relationship. They quickly become friends and from there the relationship grows to a very sweet and romantic yet sexy pairing.
I liked the progression of Matt’s realization of his bisexuality and why he’d been hiding it even if I didn’t completely believe his complete dismissal of his sexual preference considering EVERYONE else knew about it. While Jon took a bit more time to warm up to he was a very believable character and his lack of desire to be in a relationship fit the fighter pilot mentality.
I thought the sex scenes between Matt and Jon were intense and very hot! I did love that Matt was completely on-board with exploring his bisexuality and didn’t second guess himself. What I really loved was the way that Matt and Jon’s relationship progressed even though neither of them would admit/realize it. I found it very sweet. Although the final resolution was a bit quick and I would have liked to see it stretched out a bit more.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I have to admit I absolutely can’t wait for Nate’s book as he stole my heart in this book. I give this a solid 4 charms!
Spun is the 4th book in The Shamwell Tales and can be read as a stand alone – I did and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I loved the English dialect, humor and characters and although I can’t vouch for the authenticity it felt realistic to me.
This is a very character driven and humorous book with a slow burn M/M romance that just worked. There is a big age difference between Davy (who is 24) and Rory (41) who is a divorced, father of two and previously straight character. Davy is flamboyant and fun. He has a teddy bear he dresses up and makes no apologies for who he is. He’s been fired from his last job and so he arrives in Shamwell (A small village) hoping his old boss/friend Mark can provide him with a job and a place to live. Mark provides him with the job and then introduces him to Rory who could use the money and has an extra room.
Rory is a very down to earth, sweet man who loves his job and loves his kids. Life has been hard on him recently and he’s lonely. He only has custody of his kids every other weekend and he just got dumped by his latest girlfriend. Enter Davy who brings fun, laughter and a brightness into Rory’s life. His kids love Davy and isn’t long before the two have a fabulous friendship. At first blush these two don’t strike you as two men who would fall for each other but they bond over their lack of culinary skills, love of Doctor Who and Agent Carter and respect for each other. It isn’t too long before Rory is starting to question his sexuality and feelings for Davy.
I loved both Rory and Davy and I loved them together. It seems that no one in their lives believe that these two could work (including themselves sometimes) but they do and the slow burn romance is fantastic! You can’t help but root for these two and laugh along with them as they work their way to a happy ending. 4 Charms for this witty, fun and character driven book.
I really, really struggled to finish this book and almost DNF several times. Honestly, I did end up skimming in some parts of the book.
Todd basically ran away after his last break-up and is working in construction and is back in the closet. He’s basically waiting for his ex-boyfriend to change his mind and want him back. He’s decided to hide the fact that he’s gay because he assumes the other construction workers are homophobic. Sebastian (Sebby) is the office manager for the construction company and he’s out of the closet and a total flirt. He is constantly flirting with Todd who is basically very rude to him at first. Sebby knows that Todd isn’t over his ex-boyfriend but decides to help him heal. Although he doesn’t plan to fall for Todd he does.
Both Todd and Sebby were almost totally different characters when they were at work and when they were home. Actually Todd kept changing his personality so many times I got whiplash. Sebby is hiding past secrets from Todd and of course Todd is hung up on his ex through most of the book. Once Sebby and Todd are in a relationship and having sex, Sebby decides that Todd really needs to have sex with two of his friends (Sebby isn’t even there for that) just sends him off. Then he gets scared and has sex with someone else because Todd wasn’t there. I really struggled with this and REALLY wanted to DNF at this point because Todd really didn’t want to do this and Sebby really pushed him into it. The whole thing was just off-putting for me.
I never really felt a connection between these two. Between the “cheating” and one of them being completely hung up on an ex there just wasn’t much romance. Both of these men had some serious issues and the author basically chose to tie everything up in a neat bow at the end that I found completely unbelievable.
I never really liked either character and the dialogue was just bizarre at times. The banter felt stilted and the sex scenes were just okay.
Overall I just can’t recommend this one. One Charm from me.
WOW! I couldn’t put this book down and stayed up until 3am to finish it. It’s a great mix of political intrigue, double agents, espionage, a plot to murder the president and then add into that a fantastic M/M relationship, passion, emotion and some steamy sex scenes and a book doesn’t get much better!
I loved how Jack and Ethan’s relationship grew. Jack is the newly elected President and a widow of 15 years. He’s alone in the white house since he had no children when he was married and having trouble settling into his job and the isolation he feels. Ethan is the head of his secret service detail and he knows that it’s imperative not to get involved with the protectee in any form. No friendships, no investment – a distance must be maintained. However, he truly likes and respects Jack and sees how he is struggling to acclimatize. So he offers to work out with him in the mornings and slowly breaks his rules as he forms a friendship with the president. There is a lot of political intrigue in this book and lots of scenes and dialogue about world events and politics but it never overshadows the relationship between Jack and Ethan. Of course Jack and Ethan don’t overshadow the suspense either. In fact, I thought it was a perfect mix. Not only that I wasn’t sure who the bad guy was and that rarely happens. There was a ton of action and the book had me on the edge several times! Bottom line: wonderful characters, moving romance, fantastic political intrigue and edge of your seat suspense. This was my first Tal Bauer book but I’m going to go buy the next book in this series as soon as I post this review! Definite 5 charm book – I highly recommend this one!
Heels Over Head is a stand alone M/M sports book by Elyse Springer that I really enjoyed. This is a book where the two characters are completely distinctive. Although it takes quite awhile to warm up to Jeremy you can’t help but feel for the guy and his intense desire to get his family to care about him and respect him and his sport. Brandon is easy to love and is a wonderful character that you definitely had me rooting for him.
Jeremy is a diver who is training for the Olympics. He’s been training for 15 years and it’s the most important thing in his life. This is not something he hides and he’s very up front that diving is the only thing in his life that he cares about until he meets Brandon and even then diving is still the most important thing for almost all of the book. Jeremy has convinced himself that if he can just win an Olympic medal his family will respect/care about him and so he lives for this. Brandon has a ton of raw talent but he’s never really seriously trained and winning doesn’t mean much to him. He’s proud of who he is and lives an easy going life style. His family disowned him when he came out at the age of 18 and so he is very independent.
This book takes place over 24 months. The first few months it’s hard to like Jeremy but stick with it and it will be worth it. Brandon does the heavy lifting in this relationship as he slowly breaks through the shame that Jeremy has placed on himself and teaches him that he can take diving seriously and still have a little fun. Brandon’s easy going, fun and compassionate personality is opposite of Jeremy’s very structured, rigid and sometimes selfish personality. Although we start to see Jeremy soften throughout the book.
Normally I roll my eyes at a character that has never really even kissed anyone else but with Jeremy’s all consuming drive and his deep shame for being attracted to men it was very easy to believe. The sex scenes between the two were sweet and yet very hot – I really loved them.
The secondary characters added a lot to the book. I liked the fact that the coach was really a father-like figure although none of the athletes realize how much. Val’s side story with her struggle to deal with her Olympic parent’s expectations added a lot and I loved her – she was a really good friend to both men. Even Brandon’s best friend Aaron added to the book. Then of course there was Jeremy’s family who I absolutely hated and they were so dismissive of Jeremy’s status as an amazing athlete that it was almost OTT. I wanted so much for Jeremy to stop caring whether he had the approval of his family but I also understand just how much a child will do to get the love/acceptance of a parent.
I was completely invested in the story between Brandon and Jeremy and although I think Brandon forgave Jeremy a little easily I can also understand why he did. Jeremy was so emotionally/socially stunted that the overtures from him were a much bigger deal then they would be from someone who wasn’t. Surprisingly enough I even enjoyed learning about all the diving and it was obvious that the research was done on the sport. There was just the right amount of technical information without becoming overwhelming or boring.
I really wish this book had an epilogue. Four charms for this sports centered M/M book that was released today 5/29/17.
3.5 Stars. One Night with Rhodes is the 4th book in the One Night Series but is easily read as a stand alone (I haven’t read the previous books). Overall, its a sexy, enjoyable but angst-filled book. This was my first Eden Finley book and I really enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be looking to see what else she has written.
This book covers a six year time span and I have to admit I was a little confused at first. I thought maybe I was dealing with flashbacks (turns out I wasn’t) and the first few chapters I kept having to go back and look to see if it was Garrett’s or Blair’s POV I was reading. Once I figured out the timeline and got to know the characters a bit better so that I could tell which POV I was reading I settled into a really good book.
The relationship between Garrett and Blair is definitely a slow build, very complex and full of angst. Blair is bisexual and not completely comfortable with his sexuality although he does come out to his friends and family in the beginning. However, his family thinks it was just a phase. He only had the one boyfriend and when he dumped Blair right after he came out he hasn’t had another relationship with a man. His friends didn’t really say anything to him about his “coming out” so in essence it was like he went right back into the closet. Garrett is very deep in the closet and doesn’t want anyone to know he is gay and in fact has trouble even admitting it to himself. When Blair’s boyfriend breaks up with him he goes to his best friend Hunter’s only to find he isn’t home and so Hunter’s older brother Garrett takes him out to help him forget about it for awhile. The two share a very hot kiss and then Garrett pulls back and shuts Blair out. Garrett is an emotional mess and has a lot of deep seated fears and guilt that he hasn’t dealt with. Blair sees this and wants to help Garrett as much as he can. He’s always had a bit of a crush on him but mostly he knows that Garrett doesn’t have anyone he can talk to about his sexuality so he wants to be that guy for him. However, the chemistry between the two is off the charts and more often than not they end up hooking up and then Garrett gets scared and runs away.
Normally, the constant hook-up and run away would drive me insane and to a point it did but not as much as I expected. I really felt for both Garrett and Blair and the emotional roller coaster they were both on. I really liked that there was a friendship between the two men and I got caught up in the emotional pull of this book. The book lagged just a bit in the middle and the final resolution seemed a little rushed but I believed the HEA and was very happy to see how it all works out for the men. The secondary characters were enjoyable and although there were a lot of backstory relationships going on with those characters it didn’t take too much away from the main characters. I thought the sex scenes were sexy and very well done.
I enjoyed this book and the characters were likable. I’ll definitely look for more M/M books from Eden Finley. Worth rounding up to 4 charms.