• Abroad: Book Two by Liz Jacobs

    Abroad: Book Two (The Hellum and Neal Series in LGBTQIA+ Literature)Abroad: Book Two by Liz Jacobs

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    The Abroad series is one of the most unique stories I’ve read in that both books feature characters spanning a wide range of genders, races, nationalities, and sexualities, and each is presented in such a respectful manner. Book Two continues the story of Nick, Dex, and Izzy and their tight group of friends. It’s a story of growth and discovery and coming to terms with change.

    It’s delightful to see Nick evolve into acceptance of his sexuality. He’s like a kid in a candy shop, exploring all the new pleasures with Dex. His shy hesitance and astonishment of how right it feels to be with Dex in comparison to his ex-girlfriend is endearing. And it’s almost as if Dex is discovering a whole new side of himself and being in a relationship as well. Nick’s panic attacks are written in such a way that they feel real. Many times I found myself trying to catch my breath and feeling tightness in my chest.

    The gang goes through ups and downs typical to college age students, but there are also deeper conflicts stemming from the struggles of being a minority. Each issue is dealt with in the most sensitive manner and you can’t help but ache for each character and the turmoil they experience.

    Book Two is concluded perfectly. Everyone gets a happy ending and the reader is left with a smile on their face. (Well, at least I was smiling.) This is not a cookie cutter book in that two people meet, fall in love, have a conflict, and come together in a fantastical way. This is more like a day in the life narrative as the author takes the reader on a journey through the every day life of the characters and it absolutely works for me.

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  • How to Blow It with a Billionaire by Alexis Hall

    How to Blow It with a Billionaire (Arden St. Ives, #2)How to Blow It with a Billionaire by Alexis Hall

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    “Oh my Arden.”

    It’s taken me more than a few days to sit down and write this review. The book hangover is real, folks. Not only am I still breathless from the sheer hottness of Arden and Caspian’s intimate moments (Yes, hott with 2 t’s. I know what I’m doing here.), I’m also still reeling over the ending. Can my heart break for a fictional character? I think it can. Thankfully, the third installment promises to mend that broken heart. (At least, I’m holding you to that Mr. Hall.)

    How to Blow It with a Billionaire gets into more the of BDSM that was hinted at in How to Bang a Billionaire. While it’s pretty tame comparatively, there’s the potential for upping the ante in book 3. We even get a discussion of a safe word. However, there is no infamous several-page-long contract with hard and soft limits laid out. Again, this isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey.

    Arden continues to internally debate his sex-on-demand relationship with Caspian while craving more physical and emotional availability from Caspian. And Caspian continues to have his sweet, romantic moments that are very much at odds with what he initially sets out for with Arden. I *know* he wants more and I want him to have more. Those demons preventing him from taking that next step are becoming exposed to Arden, the pinnacle of which happens at Ellery’s birthday party. Wow, what a night! I’m still trying to wrap my head around Caspian’s dynamic with his family and associates. It will be interesting to see how these relationships develop in relation to Arden’s involvement with Caspian.

    The writing is excellent, the sex is hott (um, that office scene…*drools*), and the emotions are raw. And there are more types of sex toys inventoried than I ever thought existed.

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  • On Solid Ground by Quinn Anderson

    On Solid GroundOn Solid Ground by Quinn Anderson

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Quinn Anderson is my go-to for cute, fun, sexy reads with the best HEAs. On Solid Ground goes in a completely different direction. From the very first sentence, the author piles on the tension. I’ve never personally experienced an earthquake, but with detailed descriptions and perfect conveyance of emotions, I felt like I was right in the middle of the disaster and its aftermath. As the MCs are choking on dust-filled air, my throat clenched and I had to make a conscious effort to breathe. I’m pretty sure all my fingernails were chewed down to the quick by the end. The panic and the highs and lows feel so real.

    Amidst the unfolding natural disaster, the MCs are wonderfully developed, and the chemistry and tension building between the two perfectly meld with their focus on navigating a less than ideal situation. They even find enough calm in the chaos to get to know each other while waiting to be rescued.

    As an office worker and the partner of an IT professional, I can attest that the author is spot on with each careers’ mundane, daily tasks and ambitions. The supporting characters are flushed out just enough to add to the story without bogging it down with unnecessary details. And if you think a natural disaster in an office building isn’t terrifying enough, the author throws in two small children to amp up the anxiety to another level.

    OMG, let’s not forget the sexual tension. Not only do the MCs and the reader get a crash course in natural disaster anxiety, the sexual tension between the two is so enticingly frustrating. But it is absolutely worth it when they finally come together.

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