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.

 

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.

 

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Misfits by Garrett Leigh | Book Review

This was a story about a polyamorous relationship forming. You start off with Cas and Tom who are extremely in love with each other , but have an open relationship. Tom meets a guy named Jake and brings him home for sex. Jake wakes from an awesome night of sex with Tom only to see Tom has gone into work. Then he meets Tom’s partner Cass. He’s definitely surprised and initially wants nothing to do with the open relationship Tom and Cass has, but life has other plans.

Like I said Tom and Cass are in an open relationship. So when Tom has sex with Jake it’s not cheating. Even though that’s what Jake initially thinks when he finds out about Cass. It’s something that wasn’t difficult for me to understand, but I can see how others might struggle with it. I’d still tell you to give the book a shot even if you thought you might struggle.

I did not know what to expect going into this story. I’d never read a story where the couple had a relationship quite like Cass and Tom’s.I’ve read other stories with characters in an open relationship, but this was really different. Every interaction said so much even when I was still questioning the strength of Cass and Tom’s relationship.

I didn’t understand why they  ever decided to open up their relationship at first.By the end I think I had a good answer for that. Cass and Tom loved each other, but they were still broken. It was really great seeing them go on this journey. I feel like they were pieced back together in the end. I don’t think that was just because of Jake becoming part of their lives.

I definitely think Jake helped. Jake is really honest about what he is feeling  even if it’s not intentional sometimes.I think that’s something that Tom and Cass needed.  I loved seeing how Jake dealt with his tics. I’d never read a character with TS before and really enjoyed getting to do it in this story. i also enjoyed seeing how differently Tom and Cass were with dealing with Jake.

Cass was the most mysterious of the three for me. He often said things that felt kind of sardonic. Part of it may be that we don’t get his perspective until the end, but I enjoyed that it took us some time to get him. When you learn more about his past it all clicks for me. I understand why his relationship with Tom seems so broken at times.

I really loved seeing all three of the characters develop individually and together over time. Jake’s connection to Tom was instant, but I liked seeing his connection to Cass grow over time. It was a really beautiful story.

You can get the book from Amazon. See more works from Garrett Leigh at GarrettLeigh.com .

Book Reviews

Beach Patrol by Michelle Moore

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This story is about jay and Dan.Dan is an oceanography student studying turtles in Playa Escondida. Jay is a lifeguard Dan meets his first night out on the beach.One night out something happens to Dan that he can’t explain. The next day has a mark on his hand and it’s possible he’s been marked by a demon.

I loved the paranormal aspects of this book. I love a good ghost story and even better if we’ve got a demon to deal with.I was surprised by how interested I was in trying to figure out the mysteries of the town.

Sometimes in stories like this there are characters who will have all the supernatural things going on around them, but still be skeptical. That’s fine when it doesn’t last too long. I felt like Dan’s progression was really natural for him. He has a scientific mind, but after witnessing the impossible a few times you have to eventually believe your eyes.

I don’t know how I felt about Jay. He has to deal with a lot in this story so I cut him some slack after not initially liking his character much. I think the things I liked about the character had a lot to do with his role in the paranormal elements of the story.I found myself rooting for him as the story went on.

The big action moments at the end felt a little rushed, but I might feel that way because of how enthralled I was with the mystery of the Mary Louise. I was so excited to figure out how they would end the curse and stop the demon. There was definitely some suspense. I wanted to see more in the ending though. I would have loved to find out what Eloise and Joseph were doing during the big scene.They were just really odd characters that I liked.

I felt like the relationships were really realistic in the story. Jay and Dan’s attraction to each other is pretty evident at first.They definitely act appropriately for the situation they are thrown into. I also really loved the direction their relationship went. This story is short, but you don’t have to worry about it being an instant romance story either. I felt like this was an instant attraction that grew to a place where they can start a relationship.

There was definitely more that could have been done in a few areas. I just wish it was longer because I would have loved to see either more development of the relationship between Jay and Dan, or information on Eloise and Joseph, or get a bit more action in the final scenes against the demon.

Playa Escondida is a really interesting town. I’d definitely want to go there. I need to read the other book in the series so that I can see more of it.

**ARC was kindly provided by Less Than Three Press via NetGalley for an honest review.**

Book Reviews

May Audiobook Reviews

I had never listened to an audiobook until this month. The first one went so well that I decided to look for another and that one was also pretty great. It was a good thing that I started off with books that I felt like I would love if I read them. I’d always wanted to read Like and Subscribe by Jay bell, but after downloading the eBook I  never got around to it. hero by Perry Moore is also a book that I’d really wanted to read for a while. I’ll definitely see if I can get some more audiobooks in the future. I liked being able to listen while I cleaned my house or while I was working on some other projects that still allowed me to focus on the story being told. As for the individual stories keep ahead for reviews of the books.

LIke And Subscribe by Jay Bell

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Jay Bell is a really fun writer.He writes really great characters and romances that you want to root for. Like and Subscribe is about a guy that is absolutely obsessed with a Youtuber. When he meets that Youtuber in person he finds out that he might have been putting the guy on too big a pedestal. The romance that does develop in this story is wonderful. I didn’t really expect it when the story began, but I was definitely there for it.

The Audiobook was narrated by Kevin R. Free and I absolutely loved the way he did the voices of all the characters. Especially the main character’s best friend Julie. At first I thought it was a bit exaggerated, but really grew to love it. I liked the narration of this book a lot more than in the second audiobook I read.

Hero by Perry Moore

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I always wanted to read hero. It has a gay main character named Thom and a world with superheroes. I loved the concept of this book. Thom is the kid of a disgraced superhero. he has the ability to heal people and the desire to be the heroes he obsesses over. After an incident Thom gets a chance to try out for the superhero league. Except Thom also has to hide his sexuality from his teammates and his father who hates gay people just as much as he hates superheroes.The parallels made between being a super hero and having a secret identity to being a gay person in the closet were great. It was a lovely book that made me wish that Perry was still around to keep writing amazing novels like this one.

As for the quality of the audiobook. The audio was really clear and it felt like the narration of some old tv shows I use to watch with my father. The narrator didn’t really change his voice much between characters though, which gave me a laugh anytime Scarlet was speaking. Still, I really grew to enjoy it by the end of the story.

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M/M Romance Shuffle #1

I came up with a new thing for my YouTube channel where I talk about M/M Romance and Erotica stories at random. Why am I doing this you might ask.I don’t see anyone talking about stories like this on booktube and it just happens to be something that I read a lot of in my spare time.So here I am telling you how I feel about some of the stories I’ve read.

A lot of the stories are things ones I found for free . Often thanks to things like the Goodreads M/M Romance Group‘s yearly M/M Romance anthology release, which I will be published in this year. I plan on continuing to talk M/M romance in sets of five per video.The next one will actually be up tomorrow and I get to talk about my favorite M/M romance in it while wearing a rainbow cape.

In this video I talk about the following stories:

Taken By The Minotaur : https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18458480-taken-by-the-minotaur?from_search=true&search_exp_group=group_a&search_version=service

The Man Who Came Too Much : https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13517026-the-man-who-came-too-much?ac=1

The Circle ( Heirs of Ghorus) : https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18284415-the-circle?ac=1

Good Boy (Unrepentant): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22701102-good-boy?from_search=true&search_exp_group=group_b&search_version=service

Cumming Out With His Step: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23785693-cumming-out-with-his-step?from_search=true&search_exp_group=group_a&search_version=service