The length of this one may put readers off but the slow burn is worth it


Untouchable by Ruthie Luhnow & Kay Simone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a 4* for me simply because of the length, I felt the same situation arose over and over (the internal monologuing and second guessing of the other person’s thoughts and feelings just got a bit wearing for me personally).

But, that aside, the rest of this book is a beautifully written exploration of how two completely different and disparate people can actually turn out to be perfect for each other and just “understand” how the other one ticks and know how to comfort and support them.

Both Kay Simone and Ruthie Luhnow have written books I’ve previously 5*ed and thoroughly enjoyed and I thought this collaboration between the two of them highlighted and showcased each of their great writing skills for both a sense of place and in the beautiful language used.

It’s written in first person present, which can be a little difficult to get your head around and is one of the reasons for me that the first quarter of the book just felt like it was going on forever with very little happening.

However, once Harp and Parker actually admit to their blossoming feelings, the pace kicks up a gear and we start to see some real character development as Harp gets over his insular nature and Parker begins to stand up for himself and not feel quite so unworthy. Both men have suffered from the slings and arrows of life so it’s joyful to see them start to open up to each other.

There are hurdles along the way though, and this means there’s a lot of angsty and only a little steam – which actually makes sense given the unique natures of each individual man.

I love a good May to December and Harp is almost two decades older than Parker (who is 26), which again leads to a whole other level of anxiety and insecurities and what I liked about this story is that the relationship didn’t all of a sudden remove all those characteristics.

Both men remained anxious at times, insecure at times, fearful and with all their hang ups, but they also grow and adapt, learn to be flexible and rely on the other.

I think this will appeal to readers who enjoy a slow burn, it is glacial at times, but because of the quality of the writing, it’s something you (generic) can live with as it marches on to what’s a bit of a swoony epilogue.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in exchange for an honest and unbiased review


Lots of positives in this debut read from a new to me author

Our Stage (Weldstone Harbor, #1)Our Stage by James T. Prince

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars


I have lots of thoughts about this book, most are positive and I enjoyed reading a new author who clearly has a lot of talent.

I do have a couple of negatives, the main one being that, for me, the book went on too long without the narrative justifying it.

There was a fair bit of repetition about David’s anxieties and what he was feeling (and while it’s never said, I think it’s fairly clear he’s either demisexual or gray ace) and Louis’ inability to clearly state his feelings left me a bit frustrated at times.

Also, the big misunderstanding element, in this case a missing letter, was a neat way to bring tension but when combined with all the other angsty things which were going on, again just felt a bit forced.

But the positives did make up for these two issues which will probably not be a big deal to other readers. The writing style is nice and clean, the setting is very well described and brought to life, the secondary plot was handled well and with a lot of sensitivity, and David and Louis were both uniquely fascinating in their own right.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Day Blitz: Closets are for Clothes by Addison Albright

 Universal Buy Link

 Length: 43,199 words
Publisher: JMS Books

Mike’s life is carefully compartmentalized. He’s deep in the closet to his family back in Kansas, but lives life honestly and openly in Austin. He’s unnerved when Wes, his old university crush, turns up at his door in answer to a roommate advertisement, but quickly sees the potential…benefits of the arrangement. Wes has never doubted nor denied his sexuality. With the support of his family he’s an out and proud LGBT activist.

On the scale balancing his self-esteem on one side, and the love of his family on the other, Mike has to decide which weighs more. Is Mike being fair to his parents by not giving them the chance to know his real self? When the delicate balance of his life is disrupted, he decides he’s tired of living a lie. Will Wes understand his concerns, or will their fledgling relationship crumble under the strain of Mike’s uncertainty?


I walked down the narrow aisle with a book jammed under my arm and holding my carry-on bag in front of me as I focused on the labels for the rows. Due to the effect my nerves were having on my stomach, I was beginning to regret the meal I’d eaten during the two-hour layover in Houston.

I found my aisle seat, but it was occupied. Nobody sat in the window seat. This leg of my trip used a smaller plane—Wichita was hardly a bustling hub—and there were only two seats on either side of the aisle.

My shoulders stiffened, waiting for the request. My guess was he had a traveling companion, but they’d booked their flight too late to get two seats together. I’d be willing to trade, but I hoped it would at least be to another aisle seat. I wasn’t claustrophobic at all, but I preferred the freedom an aisle seat provided.

I stopped in front of my row and looked at the man, my eyebrows raised questioningly. He stood and stepped into the aisle. I opened my mouth, but wasn’t entirely sure what to say. He hadn’t moved on. He stood as if waiting to sit back down after letting me in. “I’m sorry.” I held up my boarding pass. “Apparently, there’s some confusion. This is my seat, here.”

“You don’t mind, do you?”

My whole body tensed at his tone. As if he simply assumed I’d switch seats for no obvious reason beyond he preferred mine. Which frankly—dammit—was likely to happen because I was non-confrontational and this wasn’t worth the fight. But it pissed me off that he wasn’t asking, acting like it was a done deal, and he didn’t even try to offer justification. He also had the kind of smile you see on people trying to sell you a load of crap, be it a used car or a dubious political position.

“Is there a problem?” The inquiry came from behind—a male voice with a polite but firm tone.

“No problem,” the man in front of me said. The slick politician smile that had come so naturally to him now seemed strained, or rather, a mild sneer supplemented it. “We were just switching seats.”

“Sir, do you want to switch seats with this gentleman?” the flight attendant asked.

“Gentleman” was a generous term for the jerk, but points for diplomacy. I was sure the answer was obvious. I’d booked an aisle seat because that’s what I preferred. But I imagined that wasn’t the real question. I wasn’t sure if the flight attendant would rather, like me, avoid a confrontation, or if he’d like to see the pushy bastard put in his place. I knew which I’d rather see if I were a random spectator, but I wasn’t.

“I’m willing to switch.” But I refused to say I “wanted” to. It was a cop-out, but it would be miserable enough sitting next to the guy for the next couple hours without adding the possibility of his simmering hostility to the mix.

I hefted my carry-on bag into the overhead bin and sidled across to the window seat. I sat with my book in my lap and stared out the window at the tarmac, hoping it was clear I wasn’t interested in making small-talk and wished to be left alone.

The man parked himself back in the seat that should have been mine, and the flight attendant made his way toward the back of the plane.

“Jesus H. Christ. We had it under control,” the man muttered.

Apparently, being left in peace was too much to wish for. As my dad liked to say, you could wish in one hand and—

“Don’t know why that faggot felt he needed to stick his nose in our business.”

My grip on the book tightened and I spun without thinking toward the man. “Excuse me?” My tone oozed with aversion. I didn’t try to hide my feelings, so I’m sure the incredulous disgust I felt at his use of that word showed on my face as well.

Was it Wes’s influence or was I more likely to stick up for someone else than for myself? I wasn’t sure which, but I found I couldn’t let that go without expressing my repugnance at his shameless and vocal bigotry. I didn’t even know if he was simply using the word as a general derogatory insult or if he’d assumed the flight attendant was gay because of his career choice.

His lip curled as a soft snort puffed from between his thin lips. “I said, I don’t know why that fellow felt he needed to stick his nose in our business.”

That wasn’t what he’d said. I hadn’t imagined it. But I wasn’t going to pursue it. If nothing else, at least he knew his prejudice wasn’t always going to be accepted when aired in public. The more people realized it was bigotry that needed to be hidden in a closet, not the targets of it, the better the world would be. Yeah, Wes’s activism was influencing me.

I turned back to the window, closed my eyes, and counted to ten before reopening them. This was the last thing I wanted to deal with on the flight home to come out to my parents. My gut was churning enough without this added stress.

I’d been rather proud of how I’d managed to push aside my uncertainties the past two weeks and return to being my regular normal self. Right up until it had been time to head to the airport, anyway. I’d studied Wes’s pamphlets, and Greg had taken a set of them home, too, so he could be prepared on my behalf. That alone had taken a huge share of the weight off my shoulders.

Even so, now that the big moment was looming, it took a concerted effort to not be that jittery guy on the plane that everyone kept an eye on, waiting for them to crack and brandish a nail file that had slipped by security. Sure, there was a good chance everything would be fine. But there was still a possibility that my relationship with my parents would never be the same, and there was a huge sliding scale of degree for that potential unpleasantness.

Would my dad react similarly to the man sitting next to me? Under pressure, faced with his son admitting to being gay after he’d spent years talking about how wrong he felt that was, would he crack? He’d never used that word—“faggot.” He’d never used any kind of derogatory word.

Thinking back, I knew Greg was probably right about Dad’s apparent angle during his campaign to convince me it would be wrong to be gay. It all boiled down to the motivations behind his efforts. Was it as simple as he’d convinced himself I was making a choice, and wanted the best possible life for me, or did he think there was something intrinsically wrong—sordid, contemptible—with being gay?

Would I lose his respect? His love? Would holidays forevermore be tense? Helen was on my side, thank goodness, but what if Dad were to become convinced that I couldn’t be trusted around her two young children?

I shifted in my seat, trying to get comfortable, but it couldn’t keep my mind from picturing him mining for all his arguments from only websites that were biased against LGBTQI+ people and not seeking the truth from a fair balance of sources. If that was the case, then there’d be a good chance he’d bought into a lot of the bullshit they were peddling. The fact he’d held off saying the more disparaging claims didn’t mean he hadn’t read them and thought there might be something to them.

The plane taxied down the runway and took off, and I turned my gaze to my book. I’d brought Andy Weir’s The Martian because I’d read it before and loved it, and I’d figured I might be distracted, so it’d be best not to try to follow a new story.

I opened the book, read the first three lines with the character thinking he was “pretty much fucked,” and closed it again. I didn’t believe in omens, but that summed up how I felt. It was just a question of degree.

About Addison

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay (sometimes erotic) romance in contemporary settings. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

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These teens aren’t overly dramatic which gives a sweet romance

Room for RecoveryRoom for Recovery by D.J. Jamison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I don’t often read Young Adult, mostly because ‘teen drama’ is so long ago in my own past I find it exhausting to think about what I was like as an 18 and 19-year-old and don’t really want to consider it anymore!

However, I made an exception for this one as it was connected to the Hearts & Health series which I’ve enjoyed and because it was about Beau and Wade.

And I have to say, I enjoyed the vast majority of it and it dealt sympathetically with some quite serious subjects and kept a realistic tone throughout.

Both Beau and Wade are believable characters, they act their ages and aren’t some uber teenagers who know every thing and have shedloads of stuff and things.

Wade’s fears were justified and understandable, as was his behaviour, even if it was uncomfortable to consider that level of internalized pain and Beau really was the perfect foil.

I’m looking forward to finding out more about Dr Casper in the next one and it was nice to catch up with Trent & Xavier and Paul & Zane briefly.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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This is a wonderful debut novel about small towns and second chances

38579725Hard to Let Go by Jaclyn Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book about small towns, second chances, old school enemies reconnecting and how the actions of our younger days can go on to define us through into adulthood.

I believe this is Jaclyn’s debut book, if so, it’s superbly well done with a narrative which is well paced and flows easily between past remembrances and current happenings. It’s hard to get the tone right when you have two characters who were antagonistic in their past but this was played to perfection.

When Owen bumped into Brody – literally – all the feelings he’d buried away from the torment he’d suffered were brought back to the surface and, while the set up of them meeting again was clearly telegraphed, it still worked.

There are also brilliantly strong female characters in this, Owen’s mum, aunt and cousin, Brody’s aunt and his mum, there to provide positive and loving influences.

There’s a great bunch of secondary characters in this book too and the world building was great, evoking the small town feel of a place where everyone knows what they “think” is your business but not always having the full truth.

Both Owen and Brody have hurdles to overcome. This isn’t a straight forward fall into love, there are deep rooted fears and pains which get in the way at times. But they have a real connection, one which neither of them can put aside.

I loved how their friends (Owen’s ex Jonah – please tell me we’re going to get his story as well) and Gabe (who is awesome and, I hope, the subject of a book 2!) were also supportive and quietly scheming in the background.

The sex is beyond hot, it’s emotional and passionate, but also settles into supportive and loving as their relationship develops. I loved that there was no misunderstandings or a lack of communication about what was going on and their feelings.

There was anger and hurt, understandably so on Owen’s part, but he wasn’t just stubbornly refusing to try sort it out. There were conversations and painful truths revealed which just made the whole romance even more understandable.

I’m hoping this is just the start of a series set in this little town because I NEED to know whether Gabe manages to finally find out why Nate runs away from him at every turn and I want Jonah to find his own HEA.

#ARC kindly supplied by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Day Blitz: Pretty In Pink by Jay Northcote

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Length: 58,000 words approx.

Housemates Series

Book #1 – Helping Hand
Book #2 – Like A Lover 

Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy–and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.

Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes–normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.

Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.

Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest–first with themselves, and then with each other.

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.


Ryan was a few drinks down and feeling pretty buzzed when he first caught sight of blond hair through the crowd of partygoers.

He nearly hadn’t bothered coming out tonight. He had his third year project to write up, and should have been working on that, not partying with his next door neighbours. But the rest of Ryan’s housemates had talked him into it and he could do with letting off some steam, so he hadn’t put up much of a fight. One night couldn’t make too much difference, right?

The blonde arrived late and headed straight into the throng of dancers in the living room, bottle in hand. Tall and leggy in black skinny jeans with shit-kicking boots, Ryan’s interest was piqued immediately and a spike of arousal made his cock wake up. Tall and blonde was completely Ryan’s type, but when this blond slid a leather jacket off slender shoulders and tossed it on the back of the sofa, his washboard-flat chest made it clear he was a guy—so not Ryan’s type after all.

Despite the gut punch of disappointment at that revelation, Ryan found his interest persisted. The guy drew Ryan’s attention like a magnet lining up iron filings, and no matter how hard he tried, Ryan couldn’t stop watching him.

Spurred on by alcohol and reckless impulsivity, Ryan made a conscious decision not to question his attraction and just roll with it. He gradually edged his way into the group where the blond was dancing, and when he finally managed to make eye contact, the guy gave him a knowing smile that reflected Ryan’s interest right back at him. It curled around Ryan’s balls like the gentle, insistent squeeze of a hand.

Game on.

University was supposed to be all about new experiences, and Ryan only had a few months left before he graduated. He’d never hooked up with a guy before, and it had always been on his sexual bucket list, but not a high priority. As a young teen he’d sometimes admired androgynous male models on the pages of magazines that his mum used to buy and felt a confusing interest in them… but he’d never seen a guy in real life he’d wanted to fuck enough to actually do something about it.

Until tonight.

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.
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Another pitch perfect addition to the Out of Uniform series

37544729Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s a few authors who I know, when it comes to a military setting, that I’m going to get a book that not only gets that aspect right, but also perfectly pitches the romance that goes with it.

Annabeth Albert is one of those and in her latest Out of Uniform offering, she gives the reader something different. This book still has all the military elements down pat, even with the narrative including a rush job home at the end of a deep ops mission.

But it also has great depth, especially when it comes to dealing with, and processing, the emotional, financial and legal aspects of sudden death.

There is grief here, but also anger, there is mistrust and fear, but also hope and expectations things will just work out with enough effort.

And, ultimately, there is a gorgeous romance and a relationship which relies on more than just a sexual connection to build up the tensions in the plotting.

Now that’s not to say that this book isn’t without sex, as always Annabeth has a light touch which puts on paper some incredibly powerful and moving experiences between Unca Ike and Unca Mark.
Mark’s awareness of his demisexual, possibly grey ace, status is handled with sensitivity.

He doesn’t suddenly want sex just because Ike is his person, sometimes the act of kissing is even more sensual and a bigger turn on than a full on sex scene.

There is a lot of hurt/comfort in this, but also a lot of situations which become hurtful to one or the other character and it’s refreshing to see this handled through conversation and not just magic dick-ed away.

The kids are also believable, there’s a good set of secondary characters and we get a chance to catch up with some of the guys from the series. Now, can we get as HEA for Bacon next please 😉

#ARC kindly received from the author NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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