Mature Content

Mature Content (Cyberlove #4) by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

4 stars!

Beau Starr and TrashyZane are both gay online stars, they each have their own channel and have hundred of thousands of subs. But both have very different brands, Beau is the straight laced, positive smiley guy, and Zane is well…. TrashyZane. Both hate each other, until a surprise evening of hate sex shows them they have undeniable chemistry. But one issue is constantly between them, do they even like each other?

The Cyberlove series is one of the best MM series there is, you always get something different with every book. This installment was seriously hotter than the other ones, and that’s saying a lot because this is a series that is on fire! I liked the hate/love trope it had going on, both characters legitimately got to know each other as a result of this. I do wish it had been a bit longer so as to develop their relationship a bit more, it felt rushed at the end, but otherwise it was great! I need more Cyberlove in my life!!!

Mature Content is book 4 in the Cyberlove series and can be read as a standalone novel.

ARC provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review

Tease

Tease by Ella Frank

3.5 stars!

“You’re where my heart is. So that’s where I stay.”

Try by Ella Frank was my first ever MM novel. In fact, I went into it not even knowing it was MM. After a while I had thought, where’s the love interest? Yeah. That was my dumb blonde moment. I ended up loving that book and it opened up a new world of romance for me. I love Tate and Logan and will read anything involving the two of them.

Tease takes place about four years after the original trilogy and we get to see what is happening in the “domesticated” lives of Tate and Logan. Both have been busy with work, and when Logan realizes this, he demands they make more time for each other.

I like that this book cleared up lose ends from the last book, things I definitely had questions about and some resolutions I never expected to get, so I was very happy for those. Why not a higher rating? I felt the pacing was off and I was skimming through the hot parts. I wish we had gotten more plot than hot, and it’s how I also felt about book 3. Again, I did enjoy this book and the fact that we got answers, it was just a bit too slow and didn’t hold my attention as well as books 1 and 2 did.

PS I am dying for the next book after the end of this one. So Ella still has me hooked!

“Forever’s a long time.”
“What? Worried you couldn’t put up with me for that long?”
“No. I’m worried it won’t be long enough.”

Who We Are

Who We Are by TJ Klune

4 stars!

“… it’s not about where you come from. It’s about who you are.”

This is such a sweet series. I am dying to read the next book so I am very quickly gonna review this one so they don’t blend. Who We Are is the second part to Bear Otter & the Kid, a continuation. Bear and Otter have moved in together and are in the process of adopting the Kid. It’s an adjustment period in their lives and while nothing is perfect, they are very happy together.

First thing I have to get off my chest. The cover of this book is HORRIBLE. It didn’t affect my rating or how I felt, but I put off reading these books because of the covers. Yes I judge a book by its cover, and I honestly think these would sell better with a cover update. That being said, I loved the story. I love how in this book Bear seems to have gotten over his “no homo” phase as my friend Eva and I call it (referring to the numerous times he said in the first book “I’m not like that”). Bear is working out his feelings for the opposite sex, and what seems to be GFY may not necessarily be the case.

I laughed a lot while reading this, all of the family dynamics and antics are so much fun to read. This being my 5th book by Klune I do see some of his patterns in his writing (older/younger couple, meet when one is a kid, family support systems, tragic moments, etc…)

But what I loved most was Otter and his unwavering devotion to Bear and Ty. He’s such an amazing man and I wish we got more of his POV and how he feels about everything. He’s got a touch of alpha in him and I love it!

If you haven’t read this series (or Klune’s books) yet, please do yourself a favor and just read them already. Guaranteed lots of smiles and feels…. in a good way.

“Nothing’s too fast if it means forever.”

Olive Juice

Olive Juice by TJ Klune

Well, I just spent the last hour like this:

I loved this book. DON’T READ SPOILERS, GO IN BLIND!

What a beautiful and heartbreaking story! This reminded me a bit of a play; I know Klune had a blog post referencing a one shot scene but honestly this felt like something you would see on a stage. Extremely well written, Klune is obviously very talented and there’s a reason why I will read anything he writes.

How to Bang A Billionaire

How to Bang A Billionaire by Alexis Hall

4 stars!

This book is the gay 50 Shades. Except I actually liked it. And I actually liked the characters. And there were no inner goddesses.

This was a book I requested on a whim, I love MM and am always curious to read more. I’m not one for billionaire romances, or BDSM but for some reason this book called to me.

How to Bang A Billionaire is about Arden, an Oxford student soon to graduate with a literature degree. He volunteers for an alumni fundraiser and ends up talking on the phone to billionaire and former student, Caspian Hart. On the phone they strike up a banter, and then Caspian comes to the fundraising dinner. There’s something there, but while Arden wants to pursue it, Caspian wants to resist.

Arden gives up hope of being with the attractive billionaire, when Caspian offers up a deal…..

“Everything was worth it for the power to give Caspian Hart just a little bit of joy.”

I really liked this book, like I said above I’m not huge on billionaires, not huge on BDSM, but this one worked! I thought Arden was such an interesting character, his outlook on life and his motivations. He’s playful and fun and up for anything. Caspian was more of a mystery, one we didn’t get to the middle of yet. I expect there will be more about him in the next book. But what we did get to know of him I liked, he just doesn’t know how to express very well.

This book wasn’t super steamy like I was expecting, and honestly I really liked that about it. It meant we could actually get some character development and get to know our players without constant sex. But there is sex! I promise. And you’ll like it. Hall just found a really great balance. And the BDSM element wasn’t as present as I thought, but I expect we will see more.

There’s no cliffhanger! I promise. I cannot wait for the next book though despite no cliffy, I want to know more about these two men. They were wonderful!

“I want to make you feel safe. And I’d make sure you never forget the extraordinary man that you are.”

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodbye Paradise

Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

5 stars!

Okay. Shut the front door. What friggin rock have I been living under that I had never heard of this book before?????

Goodbye Paradise was originally published under the title In Front of God and Everyone. Sarina Bowen is now republishing it with a new cover and title. Josh and Caleb live in a cult, the two are best friends. But Josh feels something more for Caleb, something forbidden. And when Josh gets dumped in the middle of nowhere by the cult, Caleb needs to find him.

“It’s a sin.”
“No,” he whispered, still stroking my face. “Hurting someone is a sin. Did I hurt you?”
“No.”
“Does this hurt someone else? Are you going to marry a woman, Josh? Am I keeping you from that?”
“No.”

I fell in love with this story. Caleb and Josh are my new book boyfriends, even if they love each other and not me. I’ll just be the fly on the wall of their relationship like the perve I am. I thought the cult aspect made the story very interesting, because an environment like that can bring so much hate into a person’s life, and it obviously affected these two men very greatly.

This story was only a wee bit angsty, I wish it had been more. But I love my angst. Caleb also used the word baby, and while normally I don’t care for that, it felt so genuine and made my heart melt. You could feel his love and protectiveness he felt for Josh. Caleb was kind of like an alpha male, but without all the frustration. Both guys were amazing. Josh was a vulnerable man and I loved seeing him find his bravery and his strength.

This book was seriously hot, emotional at times, and swoon worthy. Make this the next book you pick up!

“My whole life I’d wished for things. But I’d never known how confusing it might be to see my wishes come true.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Bear, Otter and the Kid

Bear, Otter and the Kid by TJ Klune

4 stars! 
“There’s nothing like being admonished by a nine-year-old ecoterrorist in training.”

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a LONG time.

Bear, Otter and the Kid is the story of Derrick (Bear), a 21 year old man who is raising his younger brother on his own. Their mom left when he was 17, and it’s been just him, his brother and his best friend for a long time. When Bear’s best friends brother Otter comes home after a long time away, and Bear must face feelings he never expected.

“You want to know what it feels like to be castrated? Try having your nine-year-old brother protect you from your ex-girlfriend after you’ve told her you’re in love with a man.”

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read forever. I just couldn’t get past the horrible cover (superficial and shallow of me, I know). But I honestly think this book would sell more with a better cover. Gay for you romance is my favorite kind, mostly because of ANGST and we all know I friggin love my angst.

I really enjoyed this story, Ty the little brother cracked me up. I know I would end up with a kid like him, but mine would probably be more of a shit. Otter was pure awesome, that man was a saint. My heart felt so much for that man. He and Bear just seemed perfect together, despite how friggin frustrating Bear could be.

One thing I have to get off my chest, the excessive use of the word “retarded”. I stopped counting after 6-7 mentions. For a book that preached not using the word “fag” because it was hurtful, it really shouldn’t be using the other word so much. Maybe it’s just me, but that really makes me mad…

Anyways, I can’t wait to read the other books in this series and have more of the kid, Otter and Bear in my life.

“I’ll never understand why people just won’t let others be who they are. It’s not like it’s affecting them in any way.”

Fast Connection

Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

5 stars!

“He’s completely complicated. And lost. And frustrating. But we do something for each other. . . . We fit. We need each other.”

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! This was my first full five star rated book of 2017, this was the perfect book at the perfect time!

Dominic Costigan served his country in the army for many years, and it was there he realized that his skirt chasing days may also include pant chasing. Basically, he’s bisexual. Upon returning home he gets a gay dating app and finds himself in a hook up with silver fox Luke.

Luke is a divorced father of two teens, also bisexual, and has zero interest in a relationship. But there’s something between the two of them that Luke recognizes and doesn’t want to. Can Luke look past his reservations and open up to Dominic?

“I couldn’t get enough of him. He was an addiction now, and I hadn’t decided yet if he was a healthy one like eating apples every day or an unhealthy one like meth.”

I loved this book, I loved it. I am going to keep saying that. I LOVED IT! There. It’s all out. Maybe. If you read the first book, the Dominic Costigan we met wasn’t his best self, I was wary of his character to be honest. But I love when authors take a character who doesn’t appear to be great in one book, and we see a whole new side of them in their own book.

Dominic is one of my favorite book heroes now, I loved reading about his journey to find himself and what he wanted to do with his life. His insecurities came from a real place, not having a supportive figure in his life. Luke was his perfect counter point despite being kind of a dick in the beginning. The two of them got each other, one kind of goofy and the other stoic. Dominic breaks through Luke’s hard exterior, and Luke recognizes that “Nick” needs affection.

Perk for all of you pervy pervs out there like me, this book was seriously HAWT. Very, vert hot. But it was equal with plot which is so hard to do and I appreciated that. And it had the perfect level of angst, the delicious kind where rainbows come out of my mouth while I am reading it. (Yes, I am weird).

Anyways, if you are in the mood for an awesome MM story between a hot Captain America type and a silver fox, this is the book for you!

“I want you. To be mine. Only mine.”

Tru Smoke

Tru Smoke by Edie Danford

4 stars!

I needed a good M/M rec so I went to two of my GR friends, J and Mirjana who are the queens of M/M as far as I am concerned. J recommended this gem and it was wonderful!

Tru Smoke is the story of a billionaire ranch owner Tru and his younger employee Jones. The two have been friends for years, but Tru doesn’t want to take advantage of Jones. After an amazing hookup gone wrong, Jones doesn’t return home for 3 years until a wedding brings him back. Tru regrets how things went but still cannot make any promises. Jones now knows better than expect more. But both feel the attraction and it grows stronger every day.

This was a semi angsty read (which I loved) and I devoured it, stayed up until 2 am to finish it. I’m not normally a fan of the older man/younger man trope but it really worked with this couple, they had been friends so long there wasn’t a creepy factor and they knew just what the other person wanted or needed. This is a book I am super surprised is not more popular, I think it really has a good place in the genre of MM romance and I hope more people check out this book. BONUS, it’s on kindle unlimited for all of you KU users!!!! Woohoo!

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

4.5 stars!!

“Sometimes it seems like everyone knows who I am except me.”

So I want to say I am just such a cool person I picked this book out from every other book in the library because of some hipster mojo magic. Whelp, I picked it up because it was the very first book in the teen section, first shelf, first book in the row. I am such a badass I am! Anyways, I found myself needing a major genre change, I basically binged romance the entire year and after a few duds in a row, I needed a change of pace. Hence, my first original love: the young adult genre.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a book that blows you away with how highly addictive and fun it is. It’s very high school in a sense. I know, duh, it’s a YA book. BUT, Simon himself was just a very believable high school kid. He had a few crushed (because who didn’t?). He messes up a bit with his friends, and makes a few mistakes. Simon was just a very human and realistic character.

“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

When I was a teen I didn’t care for GLBT books, but now as an adult I find I love them. This one stands out so much from others in the genre, because the issues were simple, and yet so big at the same time. Reading this book was almost like erasing all of the duds that came before it and I am excited to read more. I praise and curse the author for this being her debut novel because WOW and at the same time I WANT MORE!!!

I think any reader could find something they would like in this book. Any reader could find a piece of themselves in Simon, or Blue, or any of the other side characters. In short, this was a fantastic book, and I cannot wait to read more from this author in the future (please write more).

“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”

Where We Left Off

Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish

3.5 stars

“In Zeno’s paradox, halving the distance between you and what you sought meant that you would go on forever, always moving closer but never actually reaching it. But maybe if you set your sights on a thing beyond what you sought then you would eventually find yourself smack in the middle of it, having tricked the universe into rendering up exactly what you wanted.”

Roan Parrish is easily one of my new favorite authors that I discovered this year. Her writing is spectacular and she always manages to deliver complex and empathetic characters while highlighting issues most readers don’t really consider in their day to day lives. When we met Leo and Will back in the first book of this series, their story was one I was highly anticipating and was longing for.

That’s why it kills me that I didn’t love this book. I think my expectations were way too high and the reality of Will and the insurmountable ass he ended up being were too much for me.

Where We Left Off felt more like a coming of age novel to me than a romance, Leo is dropped in a new environment and he doesn’t know anyone and he must navigate this new world on his own. I really enjoyed his personal story, seeing the young boyish person he was at the beginning and then going through all of his experiences and epiphanies that made him into a young man by the end of the book. Essentially he needed to learn that he cannot mold himself to please everyone and at some point he has to let things go and let them be. The side characters were brilliant, I loved all of Leo’s college friends and coworkers, but then again Roan is amazing at setting a scene and creating characters that are so vivid and real to the reader.

What I cannot really get past is Will and the giant bag of dicks he ended up being. By the end of the book I understood where he was coming from, but I feel he used his past to make excuses for who he was instead of overcoming it and being a better person for it. I know Parrish doesn’t usually do dual POVs but this is a story I feel could have very much benefitted from it because I think I would have been more empathetic of Will knowing his background, instead of being left in the dark like Leo was.

I did like this book, despite my issues with Will I couldn’t put the book down. Plus on top of that there are some angsty bits and my angst whore ways ate it up. I loved the pop culture references interspersed throughout the book, luckily I’ve watched Felicity so I understood a lot of them. As I said before the characters feel like people I would meet in person, no one part of them felt fictionalized. By this I mean Parrish could easily have picked a real person and stuck them in the book. But I wish there had been more than what the ending gave, a very quickly wrapped up happy for now scenario. I was left feeling dissatisfied.

I still love Roan Parrish and no matter what I will continue to buy and read her books because she’s an amazing author and she writes great stories. Period. I do recommend if you haven’t read books 1 and 2 in this series to go and do so now because they are excellent and among some of my favorite books.

“My feelings for Will were a tender and naked heart beating tentatively in an iron cage, each expansion a risk, each deflation both relief and disappointment.”

Wolfsong

Wolfsong by TJ Klune

ALL THE STARS!

“You don’t get to decide what you’re worth because you obviously don’t know. You don’t get to decide that anymore because you have no fucking idea that you’re worth everything.”

This book. THIS BOOK. If I could use the praise hands emoji I would. THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK OF 2016 TO DATE! Oh my god, the everloving feels. This book made my soul hurt, in a good way.

This book is the story of Ox and Joe. Ox’s dad left when he was twelve, leaving Ox feeling worthless and alone. It isn’t easy for him to form his thoughts into words, and at school he is mocked for his slowness and treated unkindly. Then when he is sixteen, one day on the way home he runs into a boy who latched onto him and would not stop talking, who took Ox home to his family and they accepted Ox as their own. Ox finally had a family, and the Bennett’s embraced him and his mother. Years later, Ox discovers their secret and it opens up his world to new possibilities.

I don’t want to say more than that, because even though it’s all in the blurb it feels a bit spoilerly. This book exceeded my expectations and more, it holds a grip on my heart and I won’t ever forget this story. Sidenote, thank you to the awesome Eva, a real life friend of mine who never stopped recommending this book to me, I would have never read it otherwise and that would have been a tragedy.

“I needed to see him. To make sure he was okay. To tell him how sorry I was. That I never wanted to leave him. That I never wanted to be anywhere but by his side. All I ever wanted was to keep him safe. Ever since that first day on the road, when he spoke and moved like a little tornado, all I ever wanted was to make sure nothing ever happened to Joe Bennett.”

Klune has such a poetic writing style, the words flowed across the page and the fluidity of them matched the tone of the novel. My heart broke for Ox, for all of this insecurities and hardships. I loved that sometimes he was blind to what was in front of him when it was staring him in the face. His relationship with Ox, pre-romance and once they were together was stunning, the two of them together just fit perfectly, like puzzle pieces coming together.

There are so many layers to this story, I honestly could go back and reread it from the beginning again. The side characters, perfection. I really hope there are more books about them whether it is MM or MF because I need to have more of this world in my life!!! Gosh I almost forgot about the world building!! Two thumbs up! Completely believable shifter community, the town, all of it.

If you’ve read my ramblings this far, you can tell I just completely fell in love with this book, this story. If you read MM romance, read it now. If you’ve never read MM make this your first. This is a special story, one that will stay with me a long time.

“I just want to be wherever you are.”

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

4.5 stars!

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

The Song of Achilles is a retelling of the life of Achilles through the point of view of his childhood friend Patroclus. Patroclus was a prince who made a mistake as a young boy and was exiled. He became friends with Achilles and the two were inseparable; they even both began training under Chiron the Centaur together even when Patroclus was not meant to be trained.

There had always been a strong connection between Achilles and Patroclus, but over time friendship grew to love, and love into passion. Though their relationship may anger some, the two do not care, they only wished to be together. But then war against Troy comes calling, for both of them. And they must face fate, together.

“He is a weapon, a killer. Do not forget it. You can use a spear as a walking stick, but that will not change its nature.”

I picked up this book because I went to a book signing for author Taylor Jenkins Reid and she recommended this book to the crowd. After hearing her rave about it I was curious. I work in a library and requested it, and when another coworker saw I was going to read it she freaked out and became so excited because she loved this book. So basically at that point I had to read it.

This book completely blew me away. I normally don’t read contemporary fiction, at least not anymore. But this book is something special. I love retellings, even if the story isn’t exact because I love other people’s interpretations. Plus I am a sucker for the male/male romance. Beautifully written, poetic, I fell in love with both characters despite their faults.

And if you’ve read The Iliad, or seen any movies based on it, you know the outcome. Yet knowing what would happen, Miller still put her own unique spin on it and it was like reading a new ending. So so many feels, and I may have let a tiny tear escape (A TINY ONE). I will hold these men in my heart very dearly, their story is one I could never forget.

“Name one hero who was happy.”
I considered. Heracles went mad and killed his family; Theseus lost his bride and father; Jason’s children and new wife were murdered by his old; Bellerophon killed the Chimera but was crippled by the fall from Pegasus’ back.
“You can’t.” He was sitting up now, leaning forward.
“I can’t.”
“I know. They never let you be famous AND happy.” He lifted an eyebrow. “I’ll tell you a secret.”
“Tell me.” I loved it when he was like this.
“I’m going to be the first.” He took my palm and held it to his. “Swear it.”
“Why me?”
“Because you’re the reason. Swear it.”
“I swear it,” I said, lost in the high color of his cheeks, the flame in his eyes.
“I swear it,” he echoed.
We sat like that a moment, hands touching. He grinned.
“I feel like I could eat the world raw.”

His Royal Favorite

His Royal Favorite by Lilah Pace

3.5 stars!

“I was born heir to the throne. I was also born gay. These are both inseparable parts of my humanity. I can no more continue to hide one than I would hide the other, or feel shame regarding one while taking pride in the other. I was born to be, no more and no less, as are we all.”

His Royal Favorite is the continuation of His Royal Secret, which must be read before reading this book. At the end of the first book, James has decided to come out to the people as a gay man, and his boyfriend Ben has decided to stand by him. Being the Prince, James faces many challenges and he’s used to it, but Ben has not faced these same issues yet. With the overwhelming attention of the press and James’ whole future threatened, both don’t know whether their relationship will stand or break under the pressure.

I liked this book a lot more than the first one, I felt it was very compelling and interesting to read. I love the attention to detail the author put into this book, by that I mean her research on royal customs and procedures. She seems to have a very good grasp on what this kind of situation would entail should a real life prince of England were to come out.

This book seemed to have more focus than the first, maybe due to the characters being more committed to each other as a couple than in the first where it was more a secret lovers kind of situation. There was a lot of closure for many questions readers may have been left with from the first book.

I’ve enjoyed reading James and Ben’s story and while I didn’t love this duet, I did indeed enjoy it. I think many fans of MM genre will love these books and even readers who don’t normally read MM/ Maybe royal romance lovers will give this duet a shot.

“I don’t believe in the idea of a king, no. But I’ve come to believe in the king you could be.”

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

His Royal Secret

His Royal Secret by Lilah Pace

3.5 stars!

His Royal Secret is about the Prince of England, James. James has a secret, he’s gay. In a world that is fairly gay friendly you would think this wouldn’t be an issue, but when it comes to the monarchy the rules change. On a trip to Africa, James meets political reporter Ben during a rainstorm, and the attraction is instant. Neither one have had sex for a while, but find an instant sexual chemistry.

Living in different countries, the two part thinking they will never see each other again. But when Ben is reassigned to England a few months later, James and Ben begin a secret affair of the friends with benefits style. The more the two spend time together and get to know each other, it becomes less sex only and more of a mutual admiration for the other. But with James in the closet there can be no hope for something more and it puts a limit on their relationship.

I’m a huge fan of the MM genre, it’s my go to whenever I want something guilty pleasure to read. The plot in this one is a bit different, I personally have not come across any royal gay romances and I enjoyed that aspect, even though royalty romance isn’t normally my thing.

Lilah Pace did a wonderful job at making the entire situation feel real, the what if’s of having a homosexual prince in modern times and the options available to James. There are so many things standing in the way of him coming out and Pace listed all of them, displaying the extremely difficult position James was in. It’s completely overwhelming and when seeing what he stood against, I felt so bad for the guy.

Ben was an intriguing love interest, a reporter but one with morals and not out to use James to get ahead. I felt the more time Ben spent with James he understood what James stodd against. He tried very hard not to fall for James, but there’s something very endearing about the prince that just works its way into your heart. Ultimately the ending was not what I expected in a good way, and I do want to see what happens with this couple in the next installment.

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review