• Return to Sender


    As I announced a few weeks ago, I have my first book coming out on November 17th.  That’s right around the corner.  Literally days away!  The entire process has been, and still is, a learning process.  I’ve always had a an appreciate for those who produce the stories that I enjoy.  Now, being on the other side, I have a greater appreciation for the time, effort, and creativity that goes into forming a story.

    The characters I created in Return to Sender are constantly on my mind.  I adore my guys, Drew and Wes.  What started off as a quick, fun project with a dear friend, blossomed into a a full story.  I am proud of what I’ve written and hope readers enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    Blurb

    College professor and website designer Drew Hampton has had only one great love in his life. A loner as a teen, he found solace in art, his self-styled mullet, and the television show ALF. Then a new boy moved in next door, and he discovered love.

    Mechanic Wes Harrison was thrown into adult responsibility at a young age. He’s managed to build a good life through hard work and determination; however, he hasn’t been in a relationship since high school.

    Drew and Wes were deeply in love thirty years ago, but then they were torn apart. Unlucky at relationships after their separation, both men treasured memories of their one true love.

    Fate intervenes and gives them a second chance. Will they rekindle their once great love and find happiness, or has too much time gone by?

    Where to find:

    JMS Books, LLC

    Amazon

    Goodreads

     

  • Between the Lines by Sally Malcolm


    Between the LinesBetween the Lines by Sally Malcolm
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Confession time: Characters who start off completely against love and relationships, and then have an epiphany because of the main love interest usually aren’t my cup of tea. I’m cynical and jaded. It takes a lot to convince me one person can completely change someone so drastically. In Between the Lines, Malcolm knocks this trope out of the ballpark. I was rooting for Luca and Theo with every fiber of my being.

    If you’ve read Perfect Day by Malcolm, you may remember Luca being very briefly mentioned as the summer lifeguard/surf instructor and son of the owner of the bed and breakfast on the bay. He’s travels all over the country, taking jobs in different states for each season. He’s the anti-relationship, anti-love MC. He’s up for fun and zero attachments. Until…

    …dear Theo. Oh, how he stole my heart. I learned a lot about dyspraxia through Malcolm’s portrayal of Theo. He’s sensitive and proud and passionate and trusting, and I just loved him. That’s not to say I didn’t love Luca. I did, just in a different way.

    These two were so sweet together when they finally got their heads out of the sand. I adored the grand gesture and the inclusion of “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds, my favorite song by one of my favorite artists.

    Without a doubt, I am looking forward to Malcolm’s next offering in the M/M romance genre.

     

    ***ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

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  • Beat of Their Own Drum (Replay 3) by K.M. Neuhold


    Beat of Their Own Drum (Replay, 3)Beat of Their Own Drum by K.M. Neuhold
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I give the third book in the Replay series 3.5 out of 5 stars.

     

     

    Things I loved:
    – bad boy drummer Jude
    – stressed to the max manager Archer
    – unresolved mutual attraction
    – different characters’ perspectives of the same scenes from the previous two books
    – Chuck Palahniuk reference
    – the hot, hot sexy times

    Things I didn’t care for:
    – fairly stoic, kinda arrogant former military Bennett
    – the seemingly easy and quick drug rehab
    – the weird dynamic between Bennett and Archer

    I’m guessing Benji’s book is next. He’s come off as the only band member without drama. No doubt he has some skeletons hidden in his closet.

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  • When Fate Falls Short by Brooke Edwards


    When Fate Falls ShortWhen Fate Falls Short by Brooke Edwards
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Unintentional hurt without the comfort.

    Have you ever read a book that started you off with a smile and all those fuzzy, cute feelings just to crush you into a million pieces at the end? That is this book, and I loved it.

    Edwards’ words convey emotions so perfectly, I was a snotty, blubbering mess for the last half of the book. I love stories that stray from the conventional formula of two people fall in love, overcome a conflict, and live happily ever after. The reader does get the meet-cute and falling in love part. But real life doesn’t always end on a high note, and When Fate Falls Short drives that point home.

    The characters are well written, and it wasn’t hard to sympathize with each one, even on the opposite sides of the conflict. My heart ached for the men and the pain they experienced.

    If you’re looking for a story that is going to leave you with that aforementioned fuzzy feeling, this is not it. But I can guarantee this is an excellent read.  For fans of Last Dance with Mary Jane by John Goode and Olive Juice by TJ Klune.

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  • Renewing Forever (This Time Forever, #2) by Kelly Jensen


    Renewing Forever (This Time Forever, #2)Renewing Forever by Kelly Jensen
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Building Forever, Book 1 was fantastic–one of my favorites of 2018. I adored Simon and Charlie. They make very brief appearances in Renewing Forever and I craved more of them.

    I had trouble getting into Frank and Tom’s story. Frank is introduced in Building Forever, and I wanted to get to know him after reading the first of the series. Unfortunately, the build up was a bit of a let down for me. He just wasn’t that interesting. He seemed to have lived a fascinating life as a journalist traveling all over the world and publishing articles in magazine. I wanted to know more about his travels and his career…the people he met, the topics he covered. Jensen barely touches on his last assignment, reporting from the devastation in Puerto Rico, and how that experience made him want more from life. But I just didn’t feel it.

    As for Tom, I had much difficulty liking and sympathizing with him. He was weird and awkward, and not in a cute, sweet way. His reason for pushing Frank away so long ago didn’t resonate with me. His actions and reactions rubbed me the wrong way.

    Even their relationship as kids/teens didn’t feel right to me, and not because they were from two different social classes.

    I really wanted to like this book. Here’s hoping Brian in Book 3 can win me over.

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  • Less Than Three by Jess Whitecroft


    Less Than ThreeLess Than Three by Jess Whitecroft
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    ***I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.***

    Straight twin playing the part of the gay twin to win over the gay twin’s love interest. Very interesting. When I first started reading Less Than Three I thought, for some reason, the story would be written from Simon’s POV (the gay twin). What a surprise it was (to me, at least) to find it’s written from the Nathan’s POV (the straight twin). A gay romance told from the straight twin’s point of view. Very, very interesting.

    Whitecroft could write about any topic–seriously, anything–and I would gobble it up. Stealing Rob’s words regarding Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: “He wanted to be off writing dense historical novels that would bore the pigeon poo off a statue.” Whitecroft could be write such novels, and I could be the pigeon poo…only, I wouldn’t be bored. Not by a long shot.

    The previous books I’ve read by Whitecroft were set in the US. This one is set in England, and some of the British references escaped me. I had to Google several of the people mentioned to get an idea of what was being said. But, that’s all on me, being a dense American.

    So, the twins. They have two very distinct, individual personalities. Where Simon is as dry as unbuttered toast (“My brother’s love life–as far as I could tell–was a lot like Fifty Shades of Grey: long periods of boredom interspersed with awkward conversations about cheese and Twinings tea bags.”), Nathan is animated and funny. Nathan tells his brother, “I don’t mean to brag, but you’re good looking.”

    I loved being in Nathan’s head for a front row seat to his unabashed realization of his feelings for Rob. And Rob was just adorable. I enjoyed their frank conversations about literature and sexuality. When questioned by Rob about his previous gay experiences, Nathan tells him, “One time I did E and it got…oral.”

    Holy mackerel, this book is hilarious and sexy and emotional. I give Less Than Three a solid ten.

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  • The Law of Inertia by S. Gonzales


    The Law of InertiaThe Law of Inertia by S. Gonzales
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    ***Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.***

    TW/CW: mental illness, suicide, drug and alcohol addiction

    This was an emotional read, chocked full of the hard truths of mental illness.

    “If only I could be unconscious constantly, I felt life might be bearable.”

    It was interesting to read different perspectives of Ash and his actions, including from Ash himself. I began guess the twist a bit before it was revealed, but I wouldn’t say that took away from the story at all.

    Ash was written so well as a lost boy, recovering from a suicide attempt while continuing to deal with the depression that led him on this path.

    “I can’t remember the last time I went for a week without thinking about dying.”

    His conveyed thoughts were easy to identify with as someone who also suffers from depression.

    “I have to try so, so hard at every single little thing I do. I get out of bed, and I feel like I’ve run a marathon.”

    While I felt Ash was a great character, I had issues with his brother, Elliot, and the adults in his life. Elliot has his own demons, and it seemed like no one–maybe aside from Ash who was not in any position to take care of anyone, in my opinion–wanted to help him. And the adults–the foster parents and one teacher, in particular–seemed to recognize that Ash needed help but didn’t act.

    I also had issues with the way Ash dealt with his mental illness. Without giving too much away, I don’t agree that his method was a cure-all.

    In short, great mental illness rep and interesting twist, but lacking in responsible authority figures.

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  • 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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