ARC's, Book Reviews, Gay romance

Danced Close by Annabeth Albert


Danced Close is the sixth book in Annabeth Albert’s Portland Heat series. All the books in this series are standalone’s or can be read as such.There are cameos from couples you see in the previous books. This one follows Kendall and Todd. Albert delivers with two really fantastic characters, a romance that really makes your heart happy, and dancing. I really enjoyed this story.

Kendall is a wedding planner. Todd works at a bakery that makes the cakes Kendall’s company uses in their weddings. The way the two fall into each other’s lives is really well done. Kendall needs a partner for dance classes as he’s getting ready for a charity event he has to go to. The charity is one that Todd cares about enough to put back on his dancing shoes.

Albert keeps taking stabs at big issues in her romances and I do think she does them well.I can tell she does her research. Kendall is genderqueer. Things are different for every genderqueer person. I think Albert really took her time in figuring out what that meant for Kendall. Characters had conversations about preferred gender pronouns with Kendall. It’s part of who Kendall is and I like that we see how it affects Kendall in different parts of his life. It made sense how much people’s reactions came up. It’s a thing that happens for genderqueer people in their daily life. I also liked that negative reactions affected Todd more than Kendall often because it’s something Kendall is used to happening. It also showed how much Todd was starting to care for Kendall.

Todd is a recovering addict. He’s also HIV Positive and I have to say I liked the poz rep here. Kendall doesn’t know a lot about what being HIV positive means. I’m always surprised when people haven’t done research into what that means for people now compared to years ago. This made me realize a lot of people don’t know, though. So I’m happy to see Kendall do that research and that it was present. Don’t think he talked about PrEP as an option for them. Would have been niced to see it mentioned but I am happy the book shows one way a relationship between someone HIV positive and HIV negative works.

There was a lot of insecurities on both of their parts. I feel like Todd didn’t think he’d ever have a successful relationship because of the things he struggled with his past. He doesn’t have a lot of confidence in himself. Plus he hadn’t had anything serious since finding out he was HIV positive.

Kendall is insecure as well when it comes to relationships. He’s freshly off a breakup that is still affecting him. Kendall doesn’t want something serious again. Kendall’s ex-boyfriend had difficulty with his the way Kendall expressed himself. It seems like Kendall just doesn’t want to fall into the same situation he was in before.

These stories always have a little angst. I felt like they hadn’t gotten far enough in their feelings for each other to react the way they did to certain things when the angst came in. Still, it made sense for their characters based on what we’d seen from them. I have to say when it came to the romance I could not help but smile. Todd and Kendall’s relationship is sugary sweet. It’s so cute and I really loved these two together. They work really well as a couple.

This story also had that epilog all these romances have. I love epilogs and also wish they were a little longer. A lot happens over the six months following the gala for Todd and Kendall. I wish we could have seen their relationship grow a bit more. Just a little more time with these really great characters. I enjoyed my time with Kendall and Todd here. As always I recommend you check out this or one of Annabeth Alberts other romances.

Gay romance

Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert

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For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected.

I read Wrapped Together during the A Very Merry Readathon and really enjoyed it like I have with many other Annabeth Albert books this year. This was a part of the Portland Heat series. Each book is a standalone following different characters. This really got me interested in reading the rest of the books in the series.

The couple of characters we follow have a history together that is a little messy. There are misconceptions they have to dance around. Hollis is the character whose perspective we follow throughout and a lot of the time he annoyed me because I couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t let Sawyer in more.

Eventually, I could see that Hollis is stuck in a lot of ways. he hasn’t moved on from a tragedy in his family and hasn’t shifted in personality either. Because of this, he doesn’t see how much Sawyer has changed or even entertain the idea that Sawyer has changed.

This story had a good infusion of flashbacks. I’m usually not a flashback fan in stories.I liked the pace of the relationship developing. Hollis and Sawyer get into BDSM lightly and that was cool to see them explore that together. I do think the slow burn is worth it once they can figure things out together. Also loved the parts involving any of their family.

This is a nice story where someone needs to find their holiday spirit again. I really enjoyed it. The epilogue was cute even if it was a bit much.  Definitely, recommend you check out this book and more stories from Annabeth Albert.

 

Gay romance, LGBTQIA+

Leech Trilogy by James Crawford on Sale

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There  are not enough fantasy or sci-fi books with gay main characters out there.I’m always looking for them. I wanted to let you all know about a great opportunity to pick up a queer fantasy trilogy for  99 cents on Amazon. The Leech trilogy by James Crawford is a series I’ve been interested in reading for a while now and I already bought the first book Caleo a while ago. I was super excited when I saw the promo sale because now I have the whole trilogy on my Kindle and can read the trilogy straight through. Check out the description for the first book below to see if you might be interested in the world Crawford has created like I am. If you do want to read it head over to Amazon to get your set.

Caleo Leech Book 1 

Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever. Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as ‘Leeches’, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn’t mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem…He is that weapon! Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He’s now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the LEAST of his worries.
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Book Reviews, Gay romance

Beta Test by Annabeth Albert

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This book had a really slow start for me. It took a while for me to get into it. Once the road trip got underway and we start seeing the main characters Ravi and Tristan learn more about each other things really kick off. I was obsessed by midway through the story. I stayed all night reading until I was finished.

I love the stories being set in the video game production world. I found it really fun.I absolutely need the first book that features Adrian and Noah now because I enjoyed the bits of Adrian I saw in this story. This whole company is an interesting place.

I liked Ravi’s culture was handled. Seeing ra\ce issues when they hit a more conservative town. I thought it was done well. The whole issues with family played into this too for both of them. You can see how their situations with their families affect the way they think and who they are.

The build up of this romance is done brilliantly. Tristan and Ravi are very different characters. In a lot of ways they are completely opposite and have a hard time working together because of th way they perceive each other. It’s interesting to see how that changes as they actually have to work together.

Had no clue there would be a bit of a road trip before I went into the story. I so far have not read a book that contained a road trip that I disliked. I don’t know what it is because I’ve never been on one, but I really enjoy romances with a road trip in them. It gives so many great opportunities for relationship development and character depth to be shown.

When things implode/explode they do it in a big way. Loved the tension and drama in this story. I also really like the way things are resolved in the end. It’s so intense and I was completely pulled in by it all.

I stopped before the epilogue to take notes on everything I thought about the book up to then. Sometimes epilogues flop a lot for me.With this book’s epilogue everything is addressed, but not all solved.It’s not too much. It’s realistic.Something I’d say about a lot of this book is that it feels very real. That’s how I like my epilogues. Not everything will be absolutely perfect after 5 months, and that’s fine. This was a 5 star romance for me.

 

Book Reviews, Gay romance

Gay Romance Book Reviews

 

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Dain is at the end of his proverbial rope. He lost his job, his boyfriend, and his church after one horrifying accident a few months ago. Now it’s Christmas Eve, and he’s reminded of each of those loses in a heart-breaking confrontation with his abusive father. As Dain is driving aimlessly, he meets Jake, the local sheriff. Despite the circumstances of their meeting, Jake is very interested in Dain, but can Dain let go of the past and learn to believe in love again.

This hit on darker things than I expected when going into it. The MC is dealing with former abuse. Mental and physical abuse. He eventually gets his chance at potential happy ever after and I was really happy when he did. The relationship did develop pretty fast, but I was okay with it in the end.

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Dear Author,
My friends and I love cosplay, and this year we’re going all out for our city’s con. Yup, we’re going to go as members of the Justice League. I’m going as Batman, but I can’t figure out who’s going as a Superman. My friends are being a little cagey. What’s going on? How did I go from not knowing who Superman is to making out with the guy?

This was a really great story. It’s a second chance romance between two formerly close friends that weren’t able to take that step all the way when they really should have.  I loved how geeky the story was. It was one of the best parts for me.It’s really funny at parts. This story gets steamy too. What more could you want? I need to read more from this author A.S.A.P.