Friday, July 29, 2016

Playing for Keeps by Avery Cockburn

Playing for Keeps by Avery Cockburn

Review by Lauren

source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryRule One: No Drama!

Fergus Taylor is damaged goods. Reeling from a brutal breakup, he’s determined to captain his LGBT soccer team out of scandal and into a winning season. For that, he needs strict rules and careful plans. He does NOT need a brash, muscle-bound lad messing with his head and setting his body afire.

John Burns has a rule of his own: Don’t get attached. Boyfriends are for guys with nothing to hide. Nobody—not his university mates, not the men he beds—knows his family’s shame. Now his double life is starting to unravel, thanks to a certain Highlander whose storm-riddled eyes turn John inside out, who wears a kilt like he was born in it.

Fergus is the first man John wants to share his secret with—but he’s the last man who could handle it. John knows the truth would shatter Fergus’s still-fragile heart. But how can he live a lie when he’s falling in love?

Review: To be honest, sport-related books aren't usually my thing but I've found that I tend to like the ones that also feature an m/m romance. Enter Playing for Keeps! There is actually a novella before this one, but I just went straight to this book. Cockburn also has other books in the "series" featuring other members of the LGBT+ football (soccer for us U.S. folks) team. In Playing for Keeps, the new captain Fergus is introduced to John, who helps a non-profit in Scotland that works with refugees. The two are working together to set up a friendly (meaning the score doesn't count toward the regular season) between Fergus' team and another where all the money benefits the charity that John helps.

The two are immediately attracted to each other, but John is dealing with a lot of family issues and he knows that part of them need to stay hidden. Well, he believes they should. At least until he can figure out how to break the news to his dad that he no longer wants to be part of the whole Orange Order. Okay, I'm going to stop here and say that if you live in Scotland, maybe some of this will make sense to you, but I didn't know about any of the bad blood between various parts of Scotland. I think the author did a good job explaining everything and how John's family is on the opposite side of Fergus - a lot if is religion. John is Protestant and Fergus is Catholic.

Anyway, I might not explain it 100% perfectly but the book does a good job, so no worries! Back to the book - as John and Fergus work together, they start up a relationship and Fergus thinks he might be getting over his ex, who up and left him at the end of the last season. He still has troubles with trust though. As readers, we know that John isn't always telling the truth to Fergus but he's not cheating and he does care about Fergus. However, Fergus is burned from a past relationship with lies that he second guesses things and jumps to the wrong conclusions at times. It makes sense, but you definitely want the two to get things all out in the open and make it work.

Overall, this was a really layered story and I loved that. It's a romance, but there is more to it than that. I like a romance with substance! I'll certainly be checking out the next book in this series.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Music: "Youth" by Troye Sivan

For some reason, I couldn't get the actual video so I'm including a lyric video. However, I do suggest you go directly to youtube and look it up.

Anyway, this is "Youth" by Troye Sivan. I think I shared another of his songs awhile ago, but I thought I'd do another one as he's a great performer and if he's coming near you on tour, you should go! I wish I could, but he's not touring near my city. Sigh.

At any rate, in case you don't know, Troye is an out Australian singer who used to be a Youtube Star before sharing his wonderful music!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Finding North by Carmen Jenner

Finding North by Carmen Jenner

Review by Lauren

source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryRed Maine’s blue-collared bad boy, North Underwood, has a dirty little secret—Will Tanner.

Friends since kindergarten, North had been the one to jump first, and his fall into Will’s bed ten years ago had been no exception. Will and North had been inseparable, but things change, people grow apart, and even a blazing flame can dwindle to a dying ember over time.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

After a run in with a bottle of Bundy rum, Will and North find themselves in a compromising and all too familiar position.

Blurred lines, bad decisions, and one wrong foot after another lead these two down a spiral of sarcasm, secrets, and sex, but when North’s hetero status is called into question he can’t figure up from down. And despite Will telling himself he wouldn’t fall again, he’s head over heels and wandering without a compass.

Love is love.

Love is truth.

Love … shouldn’t be this damn hard to figure out.

Review: I've had a lot of ebooks saved on my wish list on Amazon, so I decided to grab some of them recently when I could and finally read them. One of these was obviously Finding North. I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads, but I left a comment saying it's really more of a 3.5 read. It's good, but it's not something I'd tell people to run out and ready right away. However, it kept me engaged well enough and I'm happy to have it read in the end.

What surprised me a bit about this one is how Will and North are both pretty similar to each other when it comes to their temper. Both of them let people and circumstances get to them and react with violence. Granted, Will does this a lot less than North, but it did surprise me to realize. I thought North would have been the more reactive character. At any rate, the two of them together seems to work well. Of course, North doesn't seem to want himself to be happy. He lets fear and other people dictate his life and while it made sense when he was a kid, he's a grown adult now and he's still letting life slip by him. Instead, he's sleeping with random girls, working in the mill with his alcoholic deadbeat father, and drinking himself at the local pub...where childhood friend Will lives and works with his own father.

I appreciated the fear that North had about being open to loving Will. You get enough from their past to understand it. I did think they seemed like an odd pairing when they were younger, because North seems to push Will into doing what he wants, in a way. It's not that Will doesn't want some of the same things - especially concerning loving North - but it just seemed as if North made some of those decisions for him in the beginning. I don't know how much this makes sense without giving things away though!

In the end, this was good, not great, but hey, they can't all be 5-star reads! I do want to mention that the cover model is Will, not North. You tend to think if someone's name is in the title, then they are on the cover, but the description of Will is definitely the model.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Teach Me by Sloan Johnson

Teach Me by Sloan Johnson

Review by Lauren

source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryTwo words stripped Austin Pritchard of the privileged life he’s used to. The moment he uttered the words, “I’m gay,” he realized there is no such thing as unconditional love. Now, he’s gone from traveling the world with his family to living on the streets trying to figure out how he’s going to stay in school.

A chance opportunity changes everything. Austin impresses the foreman and lands a job, but even more, he catches the eye of David Becker, who is determined to teach him that true love doesn’t come with strings. 

The only thing David had as a child was love. His family struggled to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. That has driven him to stay focused on his goals; become a tenured professor at a university and save enough money to build a home of his own. It’s not until he sees an insecure college student working on his new house that he realizes that he hasn’t planned on someone to share his life with. He’s about to learn that everything he’s already accomplished is nothing compared to the task of making Austin see that he is worthy of love.

Review: I've owned this book for awhile now, having received it in a blog swap. I finally took the time to read it and I'm glad I did! This is the first book I've read by Johnson, but I'm curious to check out more by them. I'm not someone that seeks out relationship books where this is a big age gap, as I think sometimes it's done well and sometimes it's not. In this case, I thought it worked well. Austin is a 20 year old college student living on the streets because he told his parents he was gay and they effectively told him they didn't want him part of their family. As for David, he's a 35 year old professor who has worked hard for his lot in his life, but he's always had a supportive family.

The two meet when Austin works on David's new house over the summer. Austin needs the money to help him survive the streets, and David starts to help the contractor and his workers because he wants his house ready by the time school starts again. David is immediately intrigued by Austin and wants to get to know him more, so he asks him out to dinner and even helps him find a more long-term job. He doesn't know Austin is homeless and Austin wants to keep it that way as he already feels inferior to David, despite really liking him and of course, being attracted to him.

I thought the relationship worked well. It seems as if Austin is more immature in the beginning, and he is a bit. He's never been in a relationship with a guy before and he's new to all of it, so David definitely has a lot to teach him in that regard, plus he's always trying to make sure that Austin knows he's worthy of love and that not everyone will leave him. Despite Austin being unsure in the relationship at first, he knows he wants to make his way in life and not always rely on David, so he's not an immature guy. What I liked about this book is that David has his "issues" too and there is a big moment later in the book that shows David isn't always "mature" either. They both have their moments, but they work on them together and that's the main thing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Bouquet for Adam by A.J. Marcus and K.T. Spence

A Bouquet for Adam by A.J. Marcus and K.T. Spence

Review by Lauren

source: copy for review from Dreamspinner Press; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryAdam Stephens’s simple life working in Denver as a computer programmer is turned upside down when his mother suddenly dies. His crazy relatives in Virginia want him to move in with them because they believe his autism makes it impossible for him to care for himself. But life improves, at least for a time. One day while wandering through the botanical gardens, he runs into struggling wildlife photographer Trent Osborn.

As a hesitant love blossoms between the two, Adam’s aunt and uncle push for him to live with them. Adam again refuses. The struggles between his desires and what everyone else wants collide. Adam disappears, and Trent is unsure if he’s run off to escape life’s pressures made worse by his autism, or if something far more sinister has happened. Trent embarks on a cross-country journey in search of Adam. What he discovers changes the course of his and Adam’s lives and the lives of everyone connected to them.

Review: One thing I really loved about this book is that Adam is an autistic young man who is as capable as most people in living his life. He has things he needs help with, yes, but overall, he's an "everyday guy." I thought the authors did a really good job at portraying Adam and his autism. It's not the only defining quality about him, but they made sure to show his various quirks and how he differs a bit from other people. At the same time, meeting Trent and them becoming friends and then boyfriends shows another side to Adam. He can care about new things. He likes getting to know people. He loves.

I initially thought this would be a normal love story, of Adam and Trent meeting and falling in love. However, the book turned into much more than that. There is a lot of familial drama on Adam's side. His mother passes and some people in his family think he should move in with them. They think 'autism' and equate that with 'helpless' even though they are well aware that Adam is smart enough to work with computers and make a decent living. He might need some help, living on his own, but he in no way needs someone to take him away from his home to keep him "safe." He's not a harm to anyone.

I won't go into much detail about the plot, because I don't want to give things away. I will say that it was an intriguing direction to take the story, but I appreciated what the authors were trying to show. People don't always understand things like autism and they don't always treat those with it with respect.

Overall, this is a well-done novel!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Broken by Nicola Haken

Broken by Nicola Haken 

Review by Lauren

source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryWhen Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.

Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.

James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.

Just a little fun - that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding. 


Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James? 

Review: On the surface, James isn't an easy guy to like. When Theo first meets him, it's a hook up in the bathroom of a bar and they never actually speak. Theo is upset with himself. He doesn't do one-night stands. However, he's even more appalled when he realizes he slept with his new boss at Holden House and the guy's a class-A jerk. Except he's not. And eventually Theo sees that.

It starts when Theo's car breaks down at work and he can't get a hold of anyone to give him a ride. James sees him, offers him a ride, and he reluctantly accepts the offer. What he doesn't expect is James showing up in the morning to bring him too work. This routine continues until Theo's car is fixed, and Theo soon realizes he misses seeing James and slowly getting to know the actual guy behind the rough exterior.

This is a love story. It's also a story about mental health. Learning to love oneself. Learning to love others who can't always love themselves. It's a wonderful book, but it's also a difficult read. I would definitely it could be triggering if you have a history of suicide or self-harm. I just want to warn those who may be interested but think they couldn't handle the book. If you don't mind these topics, then I would definitely recommend it.

Sure, there is plenty of sex and happy times. This is a growing relationship. At the same time, Theo eventually sees the James that he didn't in the beginning. James wants to hide this because he feels he's "broken" but he's not. He has problems and issues, like anyone, and while his may be more difficult to manage, he can manage.

This is a book that definitely leaves you rooting for the characters, as well as the relationship.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy 

Review by Lauren

source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryJamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend...and a big one to learn about himself.

Review: I've had this book on my wish list for a very long time, and I finally bought an e-book copy and then I still didn't read it. I often find myself trying to read so many review titles that I don't get to the ones I have bought myself. I want to try and change that, and after seeing this book floating around the blogosphere lately (with good reviews), I knew I had to finally read this one. It's a full-fledged story with very three-dimensional characters. However, it's still and easy and quick book to read. There is some angst/drama, as any relationship story, but it doesn't overwhelm the story.

The basic of this story is that best friends Jamie Canning and Ryan Wesley used to spend summers together at a prestigious hockey camp until their final summer as campers when Ryan (or as he is called most of the time in the book, Wes), stops talking to Jamie. No fun gag gifts in the mail. No phone calls. No email. Jamie doesn't get what he did or why Wes disappeared on him, but the two reconnect when their college teams face off in a hockey tournament.

The bulk of this book takes place at that hockey camp, as Jamie goes back every summer to coach. While Wes is always asked, this is the first summer he agrees to coach as well. Thrown together as roommates once again, the two have to spend time together and it soon becomes hot hot hot.

Wes is out, but he only ever has casual hook ups because she's been in love with Jamie for years. Jamie thinks he's straight, but he soon realizes he might not be. The two start up a 'romance' of sorts while coaching, not letting anyone know they are hooking up. They say it has to end when the summer is over, as both have been drafted into the NHL and don't need the drama. Of course, not all plans work out.

I really loved this one and I'm glad I finally got the chance to check it out! I'm also really excited that there is a sequel called Us, and it's out now, so I must get a copy. Who knows, I might have read it already by the time you read this review. It looks like there will be a third novel too according to Goodreads, which is great. When it comes to m/m novels, the "sequels" are usually just companion novels. You don't tend to get another book with the same couple and I would love that to happen more.

Back to Him, this is a very physical novel, so if you want all the sex scenes in a romance novel, you won't be disappointed! However, I like that it's more than that too. There is bonding and hanging out. After all, these two are best friends. I like the mix between physical and emotional and Him does it pretty well!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

Review by Lauren

source: giveaway win; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryIf you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world--letters he never intends to send--he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

Review: This was a 5-star read for me and one of the things that I most loved about this book was how realistic it felt. Sure, we've read similar stories to this one. A teenager struggling with their sexuality, as well as all the other aspects a teen goes through from school to family. But Logan takes this story and makes it a bit different. He also makes it easy to relate too and as a reader, I appreciated that. I loved reading this book and feeling like James was a real guy and that the people in his life were realistic too. They acted and spoke like people you would meet in your everyday life. Not everyone gets the actions and/or dialogue of a teen right, but I think Logan nailed it.

As for the character of James, he doesn't always do what you want him to do, but his reasoning makes sense. He's always told himself he's straight and that he likes girls. It doesn't really occur to him to fight that until he begins to fall for a guy at another school, instead of his sort-of girlfriend, Theresa. I really liked Theresa as a character. James doesn't necessarily always treat her the way he should, and she doesn't always treat him the way she should. They are friends though, and they do genuinely care about one another.

This book is full of great, three-dimensional characters. I loved getting to know the guys in James' life, as well as his family. I know I keep saying it, but they were realistic. Not everyone is okay with people being gay. Not everyone knows how to act when someone comes out. It's not an overly angsty book, but there are serious moments throughout. Don't worry, though, there is still plenty of humor and fun as well!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Review by Lauren

source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryI was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.

That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel. 

I never expected to become fixated on someone who'd initially been a rival. And I'd never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn't planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions.

But it did. And now I can't stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it's love at first sight.

Except, like most things in my life, it doesn't go as planned.


I've read all of Megan Erickson's M/M novels and loved them all, so I was really excited to see that she was coming out with another title but co-writing with someone else. Now I MUST read Santino Hassell's novels because Strong Signal was fantastic. Honestly, I have no idea how the two of them broke up the writing but it all felt seamless and you would never know that two people were writing.

The premise of this novel is that Garrett is overseas in the Army and he comes across a fellow gamer named Kai. The two of them start talking via email, then move to chat so they can talk in 'real time' and finally, they start to use Skype to really get to know one another. I thought the romance was great, because it does make note of how it might seem strange to fall for someone online. As a person who has made many friends online - and even met quite a few of them in person - I can definitely see how you can grow a relationship over the internet. People tend to open up more in writing or through a webcam than if they were sitting face to face.

This is true for Garrett and Kai. Normally, Garrett isn't great with people. He doesn't smile a lot, so people tend to see a stern-faced soldier and don't want to get closer. As for Kai, his social anxiety has turned him into a hermit of sorts, someone who feels much safer inside his own home and won't venture past it except to a neighbor's apartment. Talking to Garrett makes him want to try harder though, and once the two meet in person after Garrett comes home, Kai wants to try ever harder. It's not easy though. I liked that the authors showed this. I know what it's like to have social anxiety and I can see how some people with it could find themselves completely avoiding certain situations. Kai makes his money online, so by doing that, he eliminates his need to leave the house for any reason.

I really liked the relationship between Garrett and Kai. They felt real, and not everything was picture perfect, even though it's easy to tell they are good for each other. I can't wait for the companion novel! 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Review by Lauren

source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryHigh-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia's confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.


Leila knows she likes girls, but she's not sure how to tell anyone else. She's Iranian American and she knows other families like hers have shunned their out children. Would her family do the same? It doesn't help that she feels wholly inadequate next to her sister, in whatever she does. Instead, she tries to enjoy school as much as she can. All of this changes when new student Saskia takes a liking to Leila. She has an immediate crush and she begins to think that Saskia just might like her back, even though Saskia is pretty and interesting and could easily be the popular girl if she wanted to be.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel is an honest portrayal of growing up and growing into your own skin. Leila might know she likes girls, but that doesn't mean she's 100% come to terms with it. This book clearly shows the questions she faces when it comes to coming out, especially to her family. People being to learn Leila's secret but is it enough to make her more comfortable? I loved that, regardless if you are gay or straight, that you could relate to Leila. She has a loving family that she doesn't always agree with, friends that have their own "issues" and "problems" away from Leila, and Leila doesn't just dwell on her sexuality. That is a big part, but a lot of it is just being a teen - falling in love, finding new hobbies and interests, learning to let friends grow around you, and more.

I'd definitely read more by this author!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

On the Brink by Kate Willoughby

On the Brink by Kate Willoughby

Review by Lauren

source: copy for review; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryDue to popular demand, Kate Willoughby brings you Hart Griffin and Jeremy Fenton's origin story. Find out how these two met and fell in love... 

Holtzer University junior Hart Griffin won't let anything interfere with his future as a professional hockey player. No way, no how. He's the star forward of his college team and a first round NHL draft pick.

One hot night with a male super fan calls into question everything Hart thought he knew about his sexuality and launches him on a soul-searching journey in which nothing is as it seems and his entire world is turned upside down.

Review: To be honest, I haven't read any of the other books written by Kate Willoughby but I came across this one on Netgalley and was curious to see how these two guys came together. Of course, I hadn't read anything about Hart and Jeremy before, but I like "origin" stories so I thought it would be a nice story, and it was! This is essentially a novella and it's something you can read on its own. I never felt confused or like I was missing something about any of the other characters.

As for the actual story, Jeremy is out and proud of that fact, with a secret crush on college hockey player, Hart. He knows he doesn't really stand a chance, but that all changes one night after a game when Hart offers Jeremy a ride home after seeing that his jeep has been graffiti-ed. Hart has had an idea for awhile that he might like guys, but he's never tried anything until that night. So whoo boy- it's definitely a sexual and intense moment. After it ends though, the two have to figure out how they are going to continue their relationship - if they have one.

It's friendship at first, because Hart can't admit his true feelings, but you know that things are obviously going to progress and they do. Hart and Jeremy really get to know each other and see that they have a lot in common, besides the initial physical connection. Since you know the two get together, you are ultimately just reading to follow that journey, but it's a good one!

Monday, July 4, 2016

What Remains by Garrett Leigh

What Remains by Garrett Leigh 

Review by Lauren

source: copy for review; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryWeb designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right? 

Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.

Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.

Review: What Remains is a very different sort of love story. In the beginning, Jodi is out as bi and knows what he likes, but Rupert is an ex-husband with a young daughter. He knows he likes guys, but he doesn't know anything about being with one. Jodi shows him the way though, and the two of them fall in love and start to build a life together.

The first half of the book goes back and forth between time, showing the current moment - five years after the guy's first meet - and the past when the two are getting to know each other and build a relationship. The second half of the book takes place completely in the present. Don't worry, it's easy to follow!

Rupert and Jodi are different in some ways, but they really do complement each other. You root for them and want everything to work out. It's a tough ride though because five years after they have met and are in an established relationship, Jodi gets in an accident and is put in hospital for a couple months. Even when he gets home, he's not the same. He's on medication and often in a lot of pain...but the worst thing of all is that he doesn't remember the last five years of his life. That's right, he's forgotten his whole relationship with Rupert. I don't think this is much of a spoiler, because it essentially hints at it in the summary. I'll leave the rest for you to read about though!

Will Rupert and Jodi make it work a second time around? Is Jodi able to call himself bi, or will he only ever remember being with women? There are a lot of questions and it's not easy for either man, but it's so worth reading about their journey.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Rekindled Flame by Andrew Grey

Rekindled Flame by Andrew Grey

Review by Lauren

source: copy for review; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryFirefighter Morgan has worked hard to build a home for himself after a nomadic childhood. When Morgan is called to a fire, he finds the family out front, but their tenant still inside. He rescues Richard Smalley, who turns out to be an old friend he hasn’t seen in years and the one person he regretted leaving behind.

Richard has had a hard life. He served in the military, where he lost the use of his legs, and has been struggling to make his way since coming home. Now that he no longer has a place to live, Morgan takes him in, but when someone attempts to set fire to Morgan’s house, they both become suspicious and wonder what’s going on.

Years ago Morgan was gutted when he moved away, leaving Richard behind, so he’s happy to pick things up where they left off. But now that Richard seems to be the target of an arsonist, he may not be the safest person to be around.

Review: I love the friend to lover trope in romance books, and that's exactly what we have here! When Morgan and Richard were younger, they were the best of friends, until Morgan's dad moves them away. Now the two are all grown up and thrown back into each other's lives after Morgan saves Richard from a house fire. Richard had been in the military but he can no longer use his legs, leaving him in a wheelchair. Due to his past military experiences -and obvious PTSD - as well as his injuries, Richard doesn't feel like anyone could or should love him and want to take care of him.

Morgan does though. He might not have been in the military, but he's a firefighter and he has his own sad stories and nightmares. It's obvious to the reader that these two are meant to be together, but Richard definitely needs some persuasion. It doesn't help that the cops and firefighters start to believe that the arson who attacked Richard's house, where he lived with friends, was specifically after him and not just a random victim or the other family. This definitely turned Rekindled Flame into a suspenseful read in a number of reads. I kept reading, desperate for these two to be together, but also t be safe from whoever is out there attacking Richard.

Overall, this was a really good read! I'd definitely check out more by the author.