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.

 

Comics, Top Ten Tuesday

Authors I Discovered This Year

I got a great amount of reading done this year and a lot of it is from authors I never read until this year.Here is a list of some of my favorite New to me authors.Some from debut authors, some from classic authors, and some from comic writers. Check out Brokeandbookish.com for Top Ten Tuesday topics every week.

1. Shaun David Hutchinson 

I don’t know why it took me so long to read a Shaun David Hutchinson book. I started off this year by reading Five Stages of Andrew Brawley pretty early on then reading We Art The Ants. I love Shaun David Hutchinson’s mind. We Are The Ants is a book that should have gotten way more attention this year. It’s an emotional journey with really compelling characters. Plus a big red button that can save the earth from Aliens.One of my most anticipated releases for next year is At The Edge of the Universe. I really can’t wait for the book to come out. I’m a little obsessed in a good way.

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2. Caleb Roehrig 

I was so excited when I got an advanced copy of this book in the #YaPride challenge unboxing and that’s an understatement if you’ve seen the video. Last Seen leaving is one of my favorite books of the year and it’s a debut work. I loved the pace of the novel. It had such a compelling coming out story thrown in with a great mystery. I’d love to see this get some kind of movie adaption because visually this could be a great film.

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3. G. Willow Wilson

Ms. Marvel is probably my favorite comic of the year and the first time I was caught up on a comic book series. Read all five volumes over a couple of months because I love following Kamala’s journey. She also works on Unbeatable Squirrel Girl which I’ve been enjoying a lot so far.

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4. Truman Capote

I started off by reading Truman Capote’s short stories which are really amazing. Then read Breakfast At Tiffany’s and loved it. I read a couple of biographies about Truman Capote this year too. He had a really interesting life.Need to get my hands on his remaining works.A Christmas memory may be my favorite story I’ve read from him.One of the sweetest stories I’ve ever read.

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5. Annabeth Albert 

I thought i read some works from this author last year but according to Goodreads, my fist time was earlier this year with Waitin For Clark. The #Gaymers series is what made me a huge fan. Annabeth Albert writes romance stories between men that are realistic and beautiful. I have a thing for road trip books too so The #gaymers series is completely my thing. Reading Albert’s new book Wrapped Together right now and I’m loving it.

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6. Riley Redgate

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Seven Ways We Lie. I often have found myself thinking back to this story over the year. Redgate did a great job with telling so many very different and compelling stories. including great representation of a character on the ace spectrum.

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7. Tim Federle

 

The Great American Whatever had a relatable MC. A creative style I wasn’t expecting. Plus one of the best friendships I’ve seen in a book this year. I really love Tim Federle’s writing. So much wit and this book actually made me laugh at points. I absolutely need to read more of his books next year.

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8. Steve Orlando 

I’ve now read both volumes of Midnighter and I’m obsessed.Super happy with the direction Steve Orlando has gone with the character right now and a lot of the supporting character as well.The world building is fantastic too. Planning on reading some of his older series of other characters soon. Virgil is next on my list right now.

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9. Michael Barakiva

I loved One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva. It was a story i thought I’d like but didn’t know how humorous and fun the story would actually be. It still touched on many serious issues as well. Cute teen romance with an interesting coming out Arc. Excited to hopefully read more from this author next year.

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10. Gary L. Blackwood 

This year I finished my first ever trilogy. I liked the first book of the trilogy so much I had my boyfriend get me the other two so I could read them as soon as possible. I wasn’t disappointed with the trilogy at all and had to put the author of that trilogy on this list. I’m a big Shakespeare Stealer fan so.go check out these books.

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ARC's, Book Reviews, LGBTQIA+

Looking For Group by Alexis Hall

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A guy falls for a girl while playing an online MMO. The girl turns out to be a guy. The guy is mostly okay with that. After having a mini sexuality crisis moment. The guy starts the new relationship. He messes up a lot in the new relationship.He might tick you off. Eventually, things get fixed and it’s all cute and stuff, though. Yay!

That’s a simple reaction to this. Let’s go into a little more detail. There are things I loved about this and problems I can’t really get over too. At the same time, I still recommend this to people.

I loved how geeky this story was. The main character Drew is going to school for video game design. His conversations with his friends about gaming and so many other geeky things were fantastic for me. I was geeking out.

The relationship development was pretty good in my opinion. I thought the two were great together before they met at least. Drew starts to love the game again because of Kit and I liked seeing that happen. I liked how they interacted in the game and how I could see the parallel when they were together IRL. they were just really cute together. Top ten couples of the year material.

I like the in game portions of this a lot. I liked seeing them go on raids in the game. The description of the combat and the lore in the game. The issues with the world building in the game. I liked that the author thought to bring these elements into the storyIt was all pretty great.

Drew’s friends are great and annoying. His best friends comments throughout the book just annoyed me. It really made me wonder how they became friends of stay friends. Sanee just kept getting worse as the book went on. Not knowing how to react when he met Drew’s boyfriend was one of those moments.

Luckily we had Tinuviel, Drew’s pansexual poly friend in the mix too. I loved her. She actually reminded me a little of a friend from college. When Sanee said things he shouldn’t either Sanee’s girlfriend of Tin would shut it down if they were around. Tin also helped guide Drew in his crisis moment.

I said I wondered why Sanee and Drew were friends. Then I realized Drew could be just as much of a dick as Sanee. He was such a jerk for a portion of the book. I was sitting there like you are so in the wrong right now and you don’t even understand why. Eventually, he does realize the error of his ways but it bothered me a bit too much.

I loved Kit, though. I honestly found him really relatable. Since high School, I’ve had many of friends that I met online that I was closer to than people I knew day to day. I really saw where Kit was coming from.Maybe that’s why I was so ticked at Drew when he started messing things up. This book was good. Not my favorite of the year but good.

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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