• Building Forever (This Time Forever, #1) by Kelly Jensen


    Building Forever (This Time Forever, #1)My rating: 5 of 5 stars

     

     

     

     

    I don’t have the proper words to express how much I loved this story.

    Some of my favorite things:
    Widowed single dad of a teenager
    Newly single, middle aged love interest
    Delightfully eccentric and accepting friends and family (mostly)
    Unexpected return of a former lover
    Quirky gifts
    MCs that aren’t in their 20s!

    Charlie and Simon are wonderfully developed characters. Charlie is endearing and lovable and sweet, and so very genuine. Even when he breaks and his actions become hurtful, he still held a special place in my heart.

    While I immediately loved Charlie, Simon needed a few chapters for me to love him just as much.
    That’s not a bad thing, though. It totally fits with Simon’s personality. Simon is a quiet, pensive, almost stoic, presence to Charlie’s constant stream of peculiarly candid word vomit. They fit perfectly.

    Man, the slow burn in this story is amazing, and when they finally do come together (hehe), the heat is off the charts. I adored Charlie’s complete unabashed enthusiasm for the new intimate experiences with Simon. And I loved seeing Simon’s progression from stiff to cute and cuddly.

    This story hit all of my buttons: sweet romance, hot sexy times, funny moments, real world issues, and the best loving family I ever read (aside from TJ Klune‘s Bear, Otter, and the Kid series).

    I’m super excited to read the next two books in this series.

    Special thanks to A Novel Take PR for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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  • Too Hot! by Avery Giles


    Too Hot!

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I love that the MC is a person of color and that it’s reflected on the cover. I enjoy reading books featuring unconventional characters and characters different from me. One of the great things about Too Hot! is that a majority of the characters are persons of color.

    Eli is a hot (pun intended) firefighter, and Charlie is his equally hot love interest. From their initial meeting and on, these two are sizzling with the chemistry. I may have had to fan myself while reading the sexy firehouse scene.

    I may be biased because I am a cat person, but I adored Eli’s cats and the distinct personalities Giles gives them. I don’t know what’s more adorable, Eli and Charlie’s interactions with them or their names (Pistol, Moxie, and Chutzpah).

    I also enjoyed the suspense plot. It added extra depth to the story and the romance.

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  • Love Spell by Mia Kerick


    Love Spell
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Man, that cover is gorgeous!

    Kerick is a master at creating fabulously sassy and unique characters, and Chance, the star of Love Spell, fits the bill. He is “a boy without a box”, and struggling with gender identity. I loved his outrageous personality, his outlandish crazy sense of style, and all the pop culture references. His best friend, Emily, on the other hand, becomes a little too over-the-top about halfway through the story. I could have used less of her silly made up words and self-created drama. For me, they weren’t the best match as bffs, but given Chance’s choices of possible friends, perhaps Emily was his best bet.

    Following along with Chance’s plan to capture the fancy of Jasper (who he nicknames Jazz) is at times funny and other times heartbreaking. Taking cues from a magazine article and “love spells”, Chance sets his sights on Jazz, who is delightfully clueless. I so enjoyed Jazz’s personality and go-with-the-flow nature. Chance’s misguided attempts at seduction are endearing.

    Chance and Jazz have two completely different home life experiences, and it was interesting to see Chance’s realization of what family means and what’s most important in life by becoming close with Jazz. Honestly, I think Love Spell is a story about family.

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  • The Escort’s Tale: An MMF Bisexual Romance by M.J. Edwards


    The Escort's TaleMy rating: 3 of 5 stars

    **ARC received from author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.**

    I liked the concept of this story: An escort is hired to assist a married couple with a rather unique bedroom issue. Told from the escort’s POV, the reader gets a candid look into his profession as a sex worker, fulfilling fantasies of well-to-do couples and individuals.

    JD has a pretty awesome skill set: he’s bisexual, good at reading cues, and can adapt to any situation in the blink of an eye. The story jumps right into the erotica, setting the tone for the rest of the story. This is definitely not a book for anyone easily shocked or embarrassed by explicit sex scenes. (One would have to wonder why such a person would pick up a book about an escort–with “escort” in the title, no less.)

    The reader gets to see the glamorous side of JD’s job (hot and varying sex with mostly classy people) and the somewhat seedy side (role playing taken a bit too extreme). Jasper/JD’s feelings and emotions are perfectly conveyed, and it’s easy to get absorbed in his train of thought.

    While I liked Jasper/jD, I felt disconnected from Nick and Ali. I didn’t get Nick or Ali’s inner thoughts because everything is told through Jasper/JD’s eyes and perception. I also didn’t feel the emotional connection between the three. It was apparent to me that Jasper was lonely and seeking a committed relationship. Ali, on the other hand, came across as a bit spoiled and entitled. Nick almost seemed like Ali’s doormat.

    There were some word choices that were slightly off-putting for me. As I mentioned, the story starts off with an explicit sexual encounter, and while I have absolutely no issue with explicit content, the use of the words “juicy” and “cream” was unpleasant for me to read. Thankfully, those words were not used again. Additionally, Jasper/JD and Nick frequently call each other “dude” and “buddy”, even after they agree to end their professional relationship and pursue a personal one. Not words I associate with romantic or sexual partners.

    Another issue I had with the story was the manipulation of the three by a minor character. This made the whole premise seem unauthentic.

    Overall, the writing was good but the story left me feeling like something was missing.

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  • Savior (415 Ink, #2) by Rhys Ford


    Savior (415 Ink, #2)Savior by Rhys Ford
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Savior is the second book in the 415 Ink series, following the second eldest brother, Mace. The first installment, Rebel, had me invested in all the brothers and their stories, so I was super excited to receive an ARC of Savior.

    Mace’s background story broke my heart, and his strength and courage had me cheering him on. He’s met his match in Rob, who is the perfect blend of sass and support for Mace. Rob seems to know exactly what to say to Mace, once Mace gets his head out of his ass and stops being grumpy and standoffish with Rob. Rob brings out the loving and gentle side of Mace, sides that Mace didn’t think he deserved to show. And I appreciated getting to see Mace open himself up to his brothers with Rob’s encouragement. It becomes clear early on that not only are Rob and Mace attracted to each other, but they genuinely care about the well being of each other.

    Ford crafts a story that is sweet, emotional, and tense, and I was hard pressed to put the book down. There was never a good stopping point! The diversity of the characters and neighborhoods made this a wonderful read. I very much enjoyed the bits of culture throughout.

    The reader gets further glimpses into the lives of the remaining three brothers (Bear, Luke, and Ivo). The epilogue points to Ivo’s story being next, which I think I awesome as I’ve kinda made him my favorite. I am, however, anxious to know more about Bear and Luke, as well.

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  • The Academy by Quinn Anderson


    The AcademyThe Academy by Quinn Anderson
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    What a great college romance story! The angst and chemistry between Nick and Sebastian kept me riveted, and the side characters were just as intriguing. There are surprising twists and turns that kept me guessing.

    Sebastian’s best friends, Dante and Theo, are fabulous and help to flesh out Sebastian as more than a vapid player.

    Nick’s roommate, Deen, is sweet and funny, and I enjoyed getting to know him through Nick.

    The descriptions of the college campus are rich, and I felt like I was actually there. It was easy to visualize the grounds of the Academy.

    And that epilogue…Perfect ending!

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