Sandra @ My Fiction Nook

I like romance and boys loving boys in my books. 

You can also find me on my main blog



1402 Devotees
123 Devoted To
3219 BOOKS

Currently reading

Secrets and Charms
Lou Harper
Progress: 100 %
The Luckiest (Lucky Moon Book 2)
M.J. O'Shea, M.J. O'Shea
Progress: 100 %
My Favorite Uncle
Marshall Thornton
Progress: 100 %
The River Leith
Leta Blake
Progress: 100 %

Favorite quotes

Author Of The Month - Vanessa North - Week Three

Join us again today as we celebrate this fabulous author. 

ARC Review: The Misadventures Of Doc And Dirk Vol 3 by Dan Skinner

The Misadventures of Doc and Dirk, Volume III - Dan Skinner, Tina Adamski

This isn't as funny as the first two, though it still has Dirkisms all over the place, but in this installment, Dan primarily tells us about the cat ears Dirk wears, and his quest to find out why he wears them. The reason, as told by Dirk's mother Rebecca, is utterly charming and so sweet, and it made me love Dirk so much more. He reminds me a bit of my own son, who's only eight (almost nine, Mom!). He too thinks in a different universe, and I can only hope he grows to be such a fine young man as Dirk.

Dan, if he's reading this review, you must tell me if he blushed. :)

This is non-fiction, and gives us adoring fans glimpses not only into Dan's life with Dirk in it, but also about Dan who is, despite being super private, letting us see the real person behind the gorgeous photos he takes that we've enjoyed for so many years.

Seriously, this series is fabulous. Read it!

** I received a free advanced copy of this book. A positive review was not promised in return. **

ARC Review: Pansies by Alexis Hall

Pansies (Spires Book 4) - Alexis Hall

This was only my second book by this author, but much like the first one, it basically blew me away.

Alexis Hall's books are like reading poetry. Each word is carefully chosen, and the story just flows like music.

I savored reading this book. Slowly. Carefully. Making sure to capture each word and every nuance.

Alfie Bell is visiting his small hometown (South Shields) for the wedding of his friend Kevin, with whom he doesn't have much in common anymore. But they were besties back in school, so here Alfie is. A question from an elderly aunt prompts him to unintentionally come out. Loudly. Because just then the music stops.

Alfie's life is in London, with a six-figure salary, a fancy apartment, a high-priced car he's wanted since he was a boy, and some good friends, one of whom is his ex-boyfriend. He feels out of place in his hometown, and while Kevin reacts positively to the inadvertent coming out, Alfie feels stifled and flees, ending up at The Rattler, a bar.

Where he meets Fen. He's never met anyone like Fen before, with the pink-tipped hair, who smells like flowers and tastes like salt and wine. They spend the night kissing and groping, Alfie is blown away by this young man, and then the truth comes out.

Alfie has met Fen before, way back when they were in school and Alfie was confused and scared and a bully, and Fen was his victim, a small elfish boy who was out and proud, and stubborn, so stubborn, who wouldn't stand down.

Who's angry, so angry with Alfie, and who won't give him a chance to explain, to say sorry, to maybe show that he's changed. Alfie was the bully, and Fen isn't inclined to forgive.

Except Alfie maybe hasn't changed all that much yet since his school bully days, but change he does in this book. Because Fen has struck something within Alfie, and now all he wants to do is make things right, whatever that means, however he has to, even if it hurts him. Even if it makes him cry.

Alfie pursues Fen. They talk. They talk a lot, about yesterdays and about today, about a cocky yet scared boy saving a butterfly, about a femme boy loving and hating his bully, about what makes them happy and what makes them sad. Slowly but surely, Fen opens up to Alfie, and Alfie opens up to Fen. And Alfie's priorities change. He realizes that he's not happy with what he has accomplished, because happy is how he feels when he's with Fen. And once he realizes that, once he realizes that he's fallen head over heels, it's no longer about Alfie but all about Fen. What Fen needs. How Alfie can help Fen. How Alfie can love Fen. How Alfie can show Fen that he has changed after all.

And still, Alfie learns. He learns that words have meanings, and that cruel words can hurt more than sticks and stones. He learns that love is selfless, and makes you do stupid things. He learns that giving up isn't an option. He learns how to ask for help. He learns that cooking vegetarian meals for Fen makes him happy because Fen is happy. He learns how to hold Fen, how to make Fen feel safe. He learns about kissing in caves, and taking risks, and being out, and trusting Fen not to hurt him.

I wish I had better words to tell you how beautiful this book is. How exquisitely the author dives into his characters, how deftly he approaches past hurt, current grief, and lingering anger, and explains their depths and their impacts on his characters. How deeply he explores the complexity of their relationship, and gives them a supporting cast that enhances their personalities and explains so much of their characters.

There are some humorous moments too, between Alfie and Fen, and between Alfie and his steadfast London friends, and with Gothshelley, a teenage girl who helps Fen in his flower shop. Her snark is strong, and I adored her. There's humor in some of Alfie's desperate attempts to attain Fen's forgiveness, going so far as offering Fen to dump Alfie's head in the loo for a change. Does Fen take him up on it? You'll just have to read this book to find out!

I loved Fen and Alfie, and I loved how beautifully their romance unfolds. How much they need each other, and how love heals them both.

Utterly gorgeous, and perfectly British. Highly recommended. Seriously. Go, get this book. Go.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **

Release Day ARC Review: Suddenly Yours by Jacob Z. Flores

Suddenly Yours (Dreamspun Desires Book 20) - Jacob Z. Flores

I had high expectations for this book, because of its author, and while he didn't let me down, I did end up disliking Julian to the point of it costing this book that extra half star.

This book is at its core about two men whose expectations of love and relationships have been set by the examples they had in their parents. They don't believe in love. Overrated. Love is a useless emotion. Right.

Fundamentally, Cody and Julian are rather well-suited to each other, their personalities meshing nicely, but because of their belief systems, their oopsie-on-a-dare marriage appears to be doomed from the start.

Julian is adamant that he's not going to fall in love. While he's openly gay and won his senate seat while openly gay, and while he supports same-sex marriage and equality, he has no intention of ever getting married or being in love. His parents' marriage is Exhibit A, and no, sirree, it's not for him. Besides, he almost got married once, but that didn't work out, so here's Exhibit B. No love for Julian, thanks.

Cody too has a lot of reservations about love and marriage. He's in Vegas for a bachelor party weekend, seeing one of his frat brothers tying the knot. He feels the pressure of taking the next step in adulthood, meaning finding The One and getting hitched, but his mother's bad luck in love has warned him off that path. He's perfectly happy not being in love and finding his meat-du-jour.

Except, they are both looking for the same thing - companionship, friendship, having someone to come home to. Sex. Someone who supports you. More sex. Everything a relationship offers, except the love part. Because, you know, love is overrated. And love can hurt you.

So their agreement after their hasty Vegas marriage is a six-month trial period of living together and seeing whether this works for them both. Sex is off the table, because neither wants the holy hot boysecks they had the night before to distract them from making the right decision. And they agree that they will not fall in love.

Famous last words.

Jacob easy writing style always draws me right in, and this book is no exception. What carried it for me, and what kept me glued to the pages, is Cody. He was adorable and sweet and kind, even if he's a bit of a rake early on, but he seemed committed to making things work and help Julian retain his senate seat. He works within Julian's rigid rules (borne out of a need to control all things), but also tries to pull him out of his head and enjoy life.

Love always finds a way, though, no matter how oblivious or dead-set against it the characters may be. When things come to a head, because love does happen as it's wont to do, and Julian does a stupid thing that hurts Cody, I was so upset that I nearly didn't finish the book. He really ticked me off, and I think because I so adored Cody, it made me even more angry how Julian treated him.

The book has plenty of humorous moments though, and I did enjoy reading it. I especially liked Cody's Days Of Our Lives soap opera obsession, and thought that the author cleverly used that theme with tongue-in-cheek. And while we get a tentative HEA, as expected because this is a romance after all, I would have liked to see an epilogue to really cement it. I wasn't quite as ready to forgive Julian as Cody was, and would have preferred a bit more begging.

By design, this book is low on steam on-page, but high on UST, which was highly entertaining.

While is is a Dreamspun Desires title and certainly has a Harlequin-type feeling to it, it's also the 2nd book in the One Fine Day series. In that it too fits well within the overall theme.

Nicely done, Jacob, even if Julian made me mad.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

Release Day ARC Review: Ben And Shiloh (Belladonna Arms #4) by John Inman

Ben and Shiloh (The Belladonna Arms Book 4) - John Inman

The 4th book in the Belladonna Arms series delivers. It delivers high on snark and sarcasm, plentiful with Arthur and his fabulous get-ups, and even includes a bit of a mystery.

I giggled so much and so often and laughed out so loud that I woke up my snoring husband. He didn't appreciate it, and demanded an explanation. I tried. Oh how I tried, but I was laughing so much trying to read him that passage, I couldn't quite get it out.

Shiloh Smart is looking for a place to live after a failed relationship. He's decided he's done with love, so he's not interested in finding someone new. Also, the snark is strong with him. Shiloh's inner thoughts were oftentimes the catalyst for my giggle-snorts. He works as a waiter in a restaurant where his uniform consists of a kilt and all that comes with it.

Arthur's nephew Ben Moss also moves into the building, right next to Shiloh. Right into the apartment that Barney occupied and from which he romanced Ramon in the last book. You know... the one with the connecting door in the closet.

Ben takes one look at kilt-clad Shiloh and begins his pursuit. He's also looking for a wad of cash that someone who decades ago lived at the Belladonna Arms stole from his employer and hid somewhere, most likely within the building.

This book was so much fun to read! Full of zingy one-liners, full of comedy, full of Arthur being larger than life, and full of love pollen. Because you know, if you move into the Belladonna Arms, you cannot help being pollinated.

Love blooms between Shiloh and Ben, even though Shiloh tries his hardest to resist - resistance is as expected completely futile. Ben is in hot pursuit, and Shiloh eventually surrenders. Romance is in the air. And in the bedroom, hahaha.

I figured out about halfway or so where the money was hidden. I don't think John Inman necessarily intended to keep it a big secret from his readers - I thought it was pretty obvious, considering the hints we'd been given thus far. But if you don't figure it out while reading, don't feel bad. The fun is in the chase, yeah?

Seriously, get this book. Read all of this series. While this book can be read as a standalone, I don't recommend doing so. Reading them all, in order, is best.

I hope the next book will feature Arthur's wedding (can you imagine what that'll look like???), and we need to find out about Lester and Dan, especially about the time they spend in the shed together. For reasons.

Please get right on that, John.

This was fantastic. Highly recommended if you like romantic comedy with much emphasis on the comedy part.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A review was not promised in return. **

ARC Release Day Review: Dinner At Jack's by Rick R. Reed

Dinner at Jack's - Rick R. Reed

We first meet Beau St. Clair in the prologue, during a memory of a date eight years back, a first date with a great guy named Jackson, a date he enjoyed so very much. Sparks flew during their date, over Gnocchi's at Soldano's, an Italian restaurant in Seattle, and Beau was looking forward to their next date when they said good-bye for the night.

Only, he never heard from Jackson again.

Fast forward eight years, and Beau, now a personal Chef, finds out one morning during an innocent copy/paste action on Facebook that his husband Ross is cheating on him. Heartbroken and devastated, after a divorce from his cheating "I don't love you anymore" husband, he returns to his small Ohio hometown against the advice of his father to lick his wounds and start over. He's got a bit of money in the bank after the divorce settlement, so he has a bit of time to find a new job.

From the start, I liked the narrator's somewhat snarky voice. He drew me right in, and I read with ever-growing fascination as the story unfolded. He talks to his dog, a little pug named Ruth. The dog talks back. Not really, of course, but in Beau's mind, she does. It's fun. I found it endearing.

So, back in Fawcettville, Beau is unsure how to proceed, having just rented a FROG (furnished room over garage) close to the river, with a gorgeous view, until he finds an ad on Craigslist from someone looking for a personal Chef to make some home-cooked meals for her grown son. That someone is Maisie, a sweet older woman, who works hard to make a living, and takes care of her son Jack who used to be a lawyer and lives with her. Jack has what appears to be PTSD from a traumatic event he doesn't remember. He's mostly hiding from the world in his room, doesn't eat much, and spends his days watching TV.

My spidey senses were already going off here. Could it be... ?

So Beau takes the job that pays very little, and at this point, the author begins providing us with detailed recipes for every meal Beau makes (like he's done in all of his "Dinner At" books. Cue the mouth-watering. I'm going to try all of them myself, I tell ya. They sounded scrumptious!

This is a wonderful book. It's about second chances, about doing what you love, about finding the one truly meant for you, about healing from trauma and about living again. Beau isn't deterred by Jack's initial gruffness, and once he realizes who Jack really is, he gently continues to pull him out of his shell, out of hiding, and back into the land of the living. Under Beau's warmth and compassion (and the fabulous food), Jack begins to blossom again. So beautiful.

There are setbacks, of course. Jack also eventually recognizes Beau, but doesn't believe he has anything much to offer. Recognizing Beau though triggers the memories that he suppressed all these years, and there are the expected challenges from those.

I enjoyed reading this so much. My only niggle is the long time between what happened to Jack and the memories surfacing. I wondered if that was realistic, but without doing a ton of research, I'll go along with this.

The romance is by design slow-burn, and I think if their relationship had moved faster, this book wouldn't have worked as well for me. There's almost zero steam here, also by design, and I'll reiterate that this book wouldn't have worked as well for me otherwise. What we are given, however, is a quiet, sweet, and comforting second-chance romance between two people who had a spark once, a spark that reignites when they meet again.

Beautiful. Excellent, well-drawn characters, fully realized personalities, including the supporting cast. Even Ruth, the little dog, had a personality that was just so endearing. The writing was engaging and kept me glued to the pages, and the story had an easy flow, unfolding in perfect timing.

This may be my second-favorite book by this author, withBig Love firmly at the top. Dinner At Jack's though is a very close second. Well done, Rick, well done. I loved it.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

ARC Review: Enjoy The Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Enjoy the Dance (Dancing Book 2) - Heidi Cullinan

This story is the 2nd book in the Dancing series, and picks up after Dance With Me concludes, which means it takes place toward the end of 2012 and the beginning/middle of 2013.

During this time, Minnesota, where Spenser and Tomas (and Ed and Laurie) live, had a Marriage Amendment on the ballot, which would, as a state constitutional amendment, banned same-sex marriage in the state. DOMA is also still in place when this book begins.

We first meet Spenser when he comes home to his apartment to find a young man slumped in the hallway, clearly showing signs of having been in some kind of fight. He's bleeding and hurt, and looking for Tomas, who lives with his parents in the apartment across from Spenser and is a dance instructor at Laurie's studio, among other jobs.

Spenser is an elementary school teacher, and he wastes no time in coaxing the young man into his apartment to take care of the wounds and offer him a shower, while they wait for Tomas to come home.

The young man is Duon, whom you might remember as one of Laurie's students from the first book.

While the romance that develops between Spenser and Tomas doesn't exactly take a backseat to the rest of the plot in this book, it is quiet and subdued, but provides the backbone to everything else that happens within.

Tomas' parents are illegal immigrants, and while Tomas and his sister were born in the US, his parents could theoretically be deported. Tomas' sister also tends to dump her children at her parents place while she runs off living her life, which has Tomas working multiple jobs to make ends meet. There's not a lot of time for him to date, but after he sees Spenser take care of Duon, and then apply to be the young man's guardian/foster parent, a spark begins a slow-burning, smoldering fire.

Spenser knows what it's like to be in the foster system, having grown up in it, and he has built a bunch of walls around himself, to avoid being hurt. He had two foster mothers, with whom he lived after aging out of the system, and while one has passed on, the other is still somewhat prominent in his life, an anchor of sorts, someone he knows he can rely on if he needs it. He immediately jumps in when it's clear that Duon cannot return to his grandmother's house, not wanting the boy to be sent to a group home.

The book has a very political overtone, considering that DOMA is still in place, a state amendment banning same-sex marriage is on the ballot, and they're still four years away from the SCOTUS decision in the Obergefell case. Even though Laurie and Ed are married, their marriage might not be valid in Minnesota if the amendment passes. (Spoiler alert: It doesn't) The author also makes a point of showing the lack of funding and resources that plague many Social Services departments, as well as the difficulty in securing citizenship for illegal immigrants.

The romance is by design slow-burn, and not front and center in this book, but it is there, smoldering and providing warmth. There are some hot as hell scenes too, when Spenser and Tomas finally get it on, and boy, oh boy, Tomas talking dirty is super sexy.

Both Spenser and Tomas are givers. They care so much about the people in their lives, and find joy in helping others, in being there for each other, in doing little things to make the other's life easier. I enjoyed that part of their romance so much, because it showed me how much they truly care about each other. Tomas draws Spenser out of his shell, and Spenser is a safe harbor for Tomas to cast his anchor. They meshed so well, despite their differences, and it was a joy to read their story.

While this surely isn't your typical Heidi Cullinan romance, I would still recommend you read this book. And keep dancing.

** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

ARC Review: A Matchless Man by Ariel Tachna

A Matchless Man (Dreamspun Desires Book 19) - Ariel Tachna

While I liked the writing in this book, and the characters the authors created, especially Akshat, Navashen's younger brother, the romance part didn't work as well for me.

Navashen returns to Lexington, where he grew up with his parents and younger brother in rather poor circumstances, after sixteen years of college and medical school and becoming a fine doctor and having secured a great position in a local hospital. Upon his return, he seeks out an old schoolmate/rival to help him find a home big enough to accommodate not only Akshat, whom he wants to move in with him, but possibly also their elderly parents.

Brent, the old schoolmate, is now a realtor and only too happy to help Navashen find his first house, as well as play matchmaker to find the guy a, well, guy.

I liked the story arc, and as I said before, the characters were all well done, and I enjoyed reading this book. The only thing that left me somewhat cold was the romance between Navashen and Brent. It just didn't feel organic enough for me, and didn't actually come about until more than 80% of the book was already done.

I appreciated the cultural differences of Navashen's family and thought that they were well done here - the author clearly knows her stuff. Navashen's mother clucking around Akshat, and using his disability as a reason to keep him tied to her, not letting him grow into his own person, was as frustrating for me as it was for Navashen and Akshat. And I really like that Akshat really grew under Navashen's guidance, and found a niche for himself, found something that he enjoyed doing, and became so much stronger for it.

This really wasn't so much a romance as it was a story of family ties and how specific change affected them. The relationship between Navashen and his brother really carried this book for me. It was sweet and supportive, and Akshat became Navashen's greatest supporter when things with his mother's plans to find a nice Indian girl come to a head.

The entire book is told from Navashen's POV, and while the differences between him and Brent are very clear, they also meshed well in their personalities. Though I think this book would have worked better for me if we had been given a view into Brent's mind. When the two men begin dating, it felt too passionless for me from Navashen's POV only, as if he was settling for Brent after trying out other options, instead of seeing this man as being his perfect match. I expected a passionate and grand romance between these men, but that's not what I got, sadly.

Well, can't win them all, I guess. Of course, YMMV.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

Book Review: Bashed by Rick R. Reed

Bashed - Rick R. Reed

I don't have a lot of clever words for this one either, other than that it made me angry, so angry, because the gay-bashing within happens still all over the world, and it enrages me to know that people like Ronnie exists, people who hate others simply for who they are.

I cried a lot. Donald's grief and pain, and even his numbness, all rang true.

I wanted to reach in and throttle the young men who commit this horrible crime before it happened, so Mark could live, and he and Donald could be happy.

The afterword from the author about killed me. Thank you to the cop who showed up just in time sor his story didn't end like Donald and Mark's.

Book Review: Brute by Kim Fielding

Brute - Kim Fielding


I know I'm supposed to have some clever words to write up a review, but I haven't got any.

I can tell you though that if you haven't read this book, you must.

That is all.




ARC Review: Sergeant's Secrets (Highgate Shifters #6) by Sydney Presley

Sergeant's Secrets (Highgate Shifters Book 6) - Sydney Presley

This was a bit of a letdown, especially for my expectations based on the blurb.

It started out well enough, with intrigue about why Sergeant is being kidnapped, and what's happening, and what's going on, but that then had a weird explanation, which basically ruined the book for me.

During the kidnapping and his subsequent freedom, Sergeant is told that he mustn't share whatever he knows with anyone, not even his mate Dillon. Now, the mythology in this series has the mated shifters share their thoughts at all times, speaking to their mates in their minds, and it's a bit unsettling to Dillon that Sergeant is keeping him out, and it's even more disturbing to Sergeant that he has to do that.


What is made clear though is how strong Sergeant and Dillon's relationship is, how absolutely they trust each other, even if Sergeant can't tell Dillon what's going on. There's no jealousy, no drawn-out nagging, just two men who have each other's backs, who believe in each other and their mating bond. This is what earned this book the stars it received. 

There's mucho sexy times inside, and while I certainly enjoyed that, it felt at times a bit like a filler, because the real plot of this installment wasn't meaty enough to carry the book.

When Sergeant is given permission to share the secret with his mate, and the reader also finds out what's going on, the reason behind it was a complete letdown. It didn't make a whole lot of sense, to be honest, but since I love this series, I will continue to read about these wolves.

It was nice to see characters from the previous books as well in this story, since it's always nice to revisit.


This book should not be read as a standalone, and I recommend that you read this series in order. 

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

ARC Review: Of Love And Corndogs by Parker Williams

Of Love and Corn Dogs (Of Love And... Book 1) - Parker Williams, Jae Ashley

This was a sweet romance about one MC getting a second chance at love and leaving his ivory tower, and the other MC learning that his worth isn't in his wealth or lack thereof, but in what he offers the first MC - love, companionship, challenging perspectives, and honesty.

Darwin Kinkade is very wealthy, but lonely and lost in his grief after his long-time lover Dean died a few years ago from cancer. He spends his days working at his company, and some of his evenings ogling the hot server at Asiago's, an upscale restaurant he frequents.

Until his hot server has been replaced by another hot server, one who disarms him with honesety, engages him in conversation, and begins to pull Darwin out of his self-imposed prison.

Ricky Donnelly has a knack for working with people, and while he thinks of himself as just a lowly server, he does enjoy his job for the most part, enjoys making people feel welcome and special while they're at the restaurant. He doesn't let Darwin's rudeness get to him, but instead challenges him and even offers up his own favorite thing to eat.

Darwin has never really had a friend who didn't work for him, or was as wealthy, and he is still grieving Dean's death. However, Ricky intrigues him.

They're a bit of a mismatch at first look, but as the story unfolds, it's very obvious that Ricky is exactly what Darwin needs. And vice versa.

They begin to date, but Darwin keeps his money a secret from Ricky, dodging and hedging whenever Ricky asks about his job and such. It's obvious that Darwin has more money, but the full extent isn't known to Ricky at first. Their first date outside of Asiago's is startling to Ricky, and begins to sow the seeds of doubt and conflict, but their attraction is strong, and they keep going, getting closer and more intimate with each subsequent date.

Until Darwin comes clean and Ricky is confronted with the truth, which then triggers the real conflict.

I enjoyed reading this book very much. The author created complex characters, not only in Darwin and Ricky, but also in the supporting cast. There are some really old loyalties at play as well, what with Darwin's driver/best friend/first kiss, and Darwin's cook/housekeeper, who both treat him like family more so than their employer. Darwin's brother and SIL also offer support when he most needs it.

Ricky too has supportive family, especially in his mother, who counsels him when Ricky is overwhelmed and scared off by Darwin's wealth, and worried that as a poor server he has nothing much to offer the other man. He won't let Darwin pay for much, and he won't let Darwin get him a new job either, too proud and self-sufficient, perhaps rightly so, to allow himself to be a "kept" man.

There's some drama, of course, and some of Darwin's reactions seemed a wee bit far-fetched, but I could see how desperate Darwin was to keep Ricky, to do whatever he had to do to keep him in his life, even if it came at great cost to himself, because he credits Ricky with bringing him back to life.

I would have liked to knock Ricky over the head a couple of times toward the end, but he did pull his head out of his ass soon enough to spare him. While I understood his reasons to some extent, I thought that he reacted pretty badly, instead of looking at the bigger picture and seeing what he truly brought to the relationship. That what had started to bloom between them was worth so much more than all the money in the world.

An engaging, sweet and cute romance, one I would recommend.

** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

ARC Review: Into You by Jay Northcote

Into You - Jay Northcote

Jay Northcote does a great YA!!!

Back when they were younger, Olly and Scott were besties, running around their 'hood, spending mucho time at Olly's house, sleepovers, and even having tea with the old lady next door when a ball flies over the fence. Until a kiss and a lie changed it all, and now Ollie and Scott don't even speak to each other anymore.

Olly is out and proud, and Scott has a pretty girlfriend he doesn't like much. Olly is into literature and the performing arts, and Scott is a football jock. Soccer for you Americans.

In their last year of school, they stay as far away from each other as possible. Friendship is over. Dead. Finito.

Taking a corner just a little too fast in his car, irritated with clingy GF, Scott bumps Olly off his bike. Their subsequent shouting match is overheard by the little old lady from their younger days.

And the next morning, Scott wakes up in Olly's body and vice versa. Holy crap, right?

What follows is a comedy of errors in parts, and in other parts it's an exploration of walking in someone else's shoes. Because, see, not all is as it seems with Scott, and Olly's hatred is thisclose to still loving Scott.

Forced to work together to keep anyone from finding out what happened (like anyone would believe them, anyway), Scott and Olly start spending a lot of time together and begin seeing each other for who they really are. There are humorous moments, and confusing emotions, jealousy, and finding out things they never knew. Of course, being teenage boys with morning wood, there are some really, uhm, awkward moments when, in each other's bodies, they take matters into their, ahem, hands.

Their story is told in dual POVs, which was a little confusing initially, because even though Scott looks like Olly, he's still Scott inside, but to everyone else he's Olly, which made it a little hard to follow early on, but then I found my groove and it was all just fine.

As Olly finds out, once he's in Scott's body, Scott's homophobic and belittling father has made Scott's home life pretty unbearable, and you can imagine how Olly as a gay boy feels hearing the nastiness first hand. At the same time, Scott as Olly realizes how warm and welcoming Olly's family is, and how much he's missed out on - how much he's missed feeling part of that family. And how freeing it is to live your life being who you truly are.

It's a really cute story, one where both boys get a chance to see into each other lives, and especially Scott gets to find the courage to be who he really is, instead of someone his father wants him to be. And the more time they spend together, trying to figure out how to switch back, the closer they get again, until they are once again friends and then truly in love. And repeat the kiss, this time without the lie.

This is definitely YA, with intimate scenes limited to the above mentioned handjobs, some kissing and such, which is what I expected at most. The writing is engaging, and I was enthralled from start to finish, and slightly upset when it was over. Utterly adorable, bit fluffy, bit of angst, and a good dose of magic, with a great HEA - what more could you ask from a YA romance?

** I received a free copy of this book from its author as part of the review tour. A positive review was not promised in return. **

Author Of The Month - Brandon Witt - Grand Finale

Join us again this week as we celebrate this awesome author!!

ARC Review: David, Renewed by Diana Copland

David, Renewed - Diana Copland

This was fabulous, y'all. I hope you've already ordered it.

Seriously, though, this book is near perfect, with a fantastic cast, two utterly lovable MCs, great moms, a snarky assistant who needs his own book, and a tender and oh-so-sweet romance.

The plot is fairly straight-forward:

After breaking up with an abusive boyfriend, David Snyder, who works as an Interior Designer, is looking for a new place to live and on impulse buys a house he falls in love with. The abusive ex has kept everything, including the condo David pays for, all the furnishings, and even the Keurig.

Soon after closing on the house, David regrets not insisting on a home inspection when the house he fell for turns out to be more like a money pit. Interior Design hasn't prepared him for leaking roofs, bad electrical wiring, bad plumbing, and a myriad of other issues.

David's mom hands him a business card for a handyman. Jackson Henry is nothing like what David expected.

Cue massive UST. The attraction is immediate, but of course David is still licking his wounds, and while Jackson is interested, he's also working for the guy, so nothing much happens other than glances and errand thoughts. So while Jackson fixes up David's house, the mating dance begins.

There is very little drama in this book as far as the relationship between the two men is concerned. As their dance continues, they fall more and more, and their relationship is exactly what one would expect - full of mutual respect, comfort, and helping each other. When Jackson's mom is hospitalized, David is right there, lending a hand, keeping Jackson propped up. And Jackson does the same for David.

Jackson has a bunch of awesome friends, who also become David's friends, and David has a fabulous assistant, who needs his own book. This being set in a small town, there's also some homophobia inside, not within Jackson's inner circle, but from people living in the town, who'd rather not hire someone who's gay. Because, you know, gay cooties could rub off. Morons.

The only real drama is with Jackson's siblings (for whom I had no use, and I wish Jackson wouldn't either), and David's ex, Trevor, asshole first class. The latter was perhaps slightly OTT, but whatever. This is me not caring about that, because it helped to really show how well David and Jackson fit together.

This novel is by design low steam and slow burn, but I appreciated that more than I would have appreciated David and Jackson falling into bed together at first sight. When they do finally get it on, they burn up the sheets. Their emotional connection translated into some really hot passion, and oh my... yeah, that was awesome.

Wonderfully engaging writing style, with fantastic dialogue, excellent pacing, some comic relief - this was as close to perfect as possible.

I very much enjoyed reading this, and while this may have been my first book by this author, it won't be my last. And I'm definitely hoping that there will be a sequel to this one. Soon.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

ARC Review: It Takes Two To Tango by M.A. Church

It Takes Two to Tango (Fur, Fangs, and Felines Book 3) - M.A. Church

This is the 3rd book in the Fur, Fangs, and Felines series by this author, and we get to explore the new mating between Remi, our kitty-cat, and Marshell, a Vetala.

Vetalas are sort of snake-like non-shifting creatures that share some traits with vampires, primarily the one about living off blood.

I liked Remi a lot, including the hilariously snarky shirts he so adores and wears as often as possible. He's pretty straight-forward, and likes to snark just as much as his shirts. Marshell is a very likable guy too, but if you've read the last book, you already know that. Scary, sure, but definitely likable. He's got a lot of power but he uses it wisely. For the most part.

The characters from the previous books all make an appearance as well, including Marshell's sister Janelle who's mated to one of the male weres from Remi's clowder.

Marshell has a bit of a problem. Hunters are on his tail, and he's also dealing with a stalking werewolf. Add to that his recent meeting of his mate, Remi, who's just as dominant and toppy as Marshell, as well as some pushback against him joining the clowder from some of the elders, and it's a bit of a fuster cluck all around.

The only thing going well for Marshell is the actual mating. He and Remi set the sheets on fire, with lots and lots of dirty, dirty talk, and finish the mating. Learning about each other has never been so much fun or so very hawt!

I really enjoyed reading this. Remi and Marshell fit really well together, and there's little drama between the two men - no, the drama is all about outside forces trying to tear them apart. And at the very end, the author rather enticingly sets up the next book in this series, I believe, what with the deluded hunter and the werewolf... and the werewolf's Alpha, one Carter Lovelock, and Adraic, one of Dolf's betas... well, I'll let you read this for yourself. I'll foresee some fur flying in the next one, hahaha.

A nicely done and solid addition to the series. This shouldn't be read as a standalone, as each subsequent book builds on the previous ones, and you'd miss out on a lot of good stuff if you ignore books one and two.

As a side note, there was a mathematical error in my ARC regarding the age of the hunter and his age when the alleged murder occurred. 35 - 16 does not 21 make. I assume this is fixed in the published version. I also noticed after some googling that the Vetala mythology in this series appears to closely follow that of the Supernatural TV series.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **