Tag Archives: friends

A winner on pretty much all counts

Thirst for you coverThirst for You by Jaclyn Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one was, in the vast majority, a total winner for me and I thought it worked very well as the second book in this spin-off series.

It’s only not five stars because I was personally disappointed with the way the stalker plot played out.

That’s totally on me and not in any way a criticism of how Jaclyn wrote it.

It works well and came out of left field so that was a positive and it completely fits within the plot narrative.

***Note, if you don’t want any clues as to the villain of the piece, avoid this spoiler. It doesn’t identify them but it may be more of a hint to some readers.***

*** SPOILER

My disappointment is more with the “who” as it felt like the trope of fridging the (insert obstacle here) because ABC is in the way of a future relationship.

***END SPOILER

But it is an utterly personal niggle and has no bearing on the pacing and clever plotting of the suspense element.

The romance side of things is excellent and I loved Drew’s unshakable feelings for Zach, even if the older man took a bit more warming up.

I love this setting, and I’m seriously stoked for the next couple of books which look likely to be on the cards from the clues given here.

It was nice to catch up with some of the Haven’s Cove crew too and made me remember how much I enjoyed that series.

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

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Excellent opener in this new small town hospital set trilogy from Heidi Cullinan

The Doctor's Secret (Copper Point Medical #1)The Doctor’s Secret by Heidi Cullinan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So many positive things to say about this new series from Heidi Cullinan, it’s ridiculously romantic, totally sweet, has a wonderfully detailed setting and fabulous secondary characters as well as multi-cultural representation.

My only ‘negative’ and its a minor one at that, is that on occasion it felt like the political awareness elements which Heidi is so good at incorporating into her stories were just dropped in like being hit over the head with a frying pan.

Her stories usually gently educate and inform but one particular passage in this one made me feel like I was being given a history lesson and a lecture on fair behaviour at the same time.

Now, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just felt a touch more heavy-handed than I’m used to from this author.

That said, in the whole this book is absolutely adorable, with two compelling and perfectly judged characters who are wonderful together. I loved Hong-Wei and I loved Simon.

The home town man and the Taiwanese doctor brought out the best in each other and the whole premise of personal liabilities and responsibilities married well into the wider plot about integration and the fight with an old-fashioned and controlling hospital board.

I’m not sure if it was because it’s a Dreamspinner publication or not, but this was way less steamy than I’d usually expect from Heidi, with only one on page encounter and then everything else off page or fade to black.

It was a slight disappointment only because of the very visceral feeling of love and emotion between the two men. I missed seeing more of it expressed physically on page.

Still, overall this delivers big time on great plot, wonderful characters and plenty of lead in for the next two in the trilogy. I’m dying to find out more about Owen and Erin (don’t worry, he’s a man even though his name is one I’d almost always associate with a woman) and their definite frenemies vibe.

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Dreamspinner Press in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Book releases April 23rd, pre-order your copy here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-doctors-secret-by-heidi-cullinan-10296-b

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Release Blitz: Acts of Service by Jessie Pinkham

Acts of Service | Jessie Pinkham

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Length: 22,000 words approx.

Publisher: JMS Books

actsofservice

Blurb

Tom can’t catch a break when it comes to his love life. He’s not good with romance, as his exes told him in uncharitable terms, and he’s starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with him.

So when he finds himself attracted to his temporary roommate, he’s afraid of being called inadequate all over again.

Alex has serious anxiety which makes his life a challenge and his dating prospects slim to nonexistent. He assumes Tom isn’t interested in him because men never are.

It’s a pleasant surprise to start a friends with benefits relationship, so Alex goes out on a limb in an attempt to impress Tom. When it backfires spectacularly, he thinks all hope is lost.

Both men are held back by past rejections. Will a minor crisis bring them together … or tear them apart?

Excerpt

This is undoubtedly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done to impress a guy. 

“Go ahead, start it up,” said Tom.

Alex took a deep breath and turned the key. Tom’s truck roared to life. No such luck as a fortuitously-timed engine malfunction. Though he shouldn’t think such things, as Tom was only being nice and wishing expensive repairs on him was hardly fair.

He looked around trepidatiously. The parking lot really was almost deserted, with only a few vehicles parked and those much closer to the doors. He wondered what role those people played in the postal service that required them to work on Sundays, then realized the line of thought was just a mental delay.

“You’re not going to cause any damage,” said Tom. If he was impatient, it didn’t come across in his voice.

“Your brakes are in good order, right?”

“Yes. The truck just passed inspection last month with no problems at all.”

It was a valiant attempt to make Alex feel better, and he appreciated the intent even though it failed.

The brake pedal went down smoothly under his foot. Such a small little piece of metal, and it could be a matter of life or death. Did people who worked at brake factories realize how much trust was being placed in them every single day?

Once he had that all-important device pressed firmly against the floor, he reached for the gear shift. The first notch down put the truck in neutral, the second in drive.

“Now ease up on the brake,” Tom said, remarkably cavalier about putting his safety, not to mention his vehicle, in the hands of a man who couldn’t drive.

Nothing happened when he lightened his touch on the brake as instructed. Maybe it was a sign. Alex had never believed in such things, but he was willing to consider the possibility.

“Wow, you had it stomped all the way down, huh? Okay, let it go. Take your time so you’re comfortable.”

As if that will ever happen.

“How about less terrified? I believe in setting realistic goals.”

“Sure. Whatever works. Just remember, there’s nobody around us, so you can’t do much damage.”

“I could drive into a light pole,” countered Alex, not because he was trying to be ornery, but suddenly concerned about damaging Tom’s truck. Those poles were stuck into cement, a material not known for being kind to vehicles.

“I’m not worried.”

Well, that made one of them. Alex eased up on the brake a bit more, but nothing happened aside from a vague sense of power waiting to be unleashed, though that could have been his imagination.

“Good,” said Tom. “Now give it some gas.”

If I crash into a light pole, he can’t say I didn’t warn him.

Of course he knew the truck was an inanimate object and thus had no feelings. All the same, it seemed as though the massive beast was eager to move, and it lurched forward when he pressed on the gas pedal just the slightest bit. He wasted no time in going back to the nice, safe brake.

“Not bad. Try again, and let it go a little more.”

Alex tried to ignore the churning in his stomach and nervous sweat rolling down the back of his neck, and he depressed the gas pedal again.

This time, the truck moved a good six feet forward before he threw down the brake. The parking lot was beginning to spin around him, something which hadn’t happened in years, and suddenly the truck’s ventilation system seemed entirely insufficient.

“That was good,” said Tom. “A little jerky on the brake, but with practice …”

He was still talking, but Alex didn’t hear a word because he was trying to get his traitorous body to obey him for once. It wasn’t working.

Five years since he’d last had a panic attack, half a decade, and he recognized the oncoming storm as though it had been five days. His heart raced, he struggled to breathe, and if he’d eaten recently he’d probably be on the verge of throwing up. Most of all, the whole world raged around him, out of his control while he couldn’t even manage his own physiological response to stress.

Never mind driving, at this point he’d have happily settled for not breaking down in front of Tom, but he knew it was too late for that. Once a panic attack started, there was no cutting it off.

So much for making a good impression.

Copy of Jessie Pinkham Logo.jpg

Some kids have imaginary friends. Not content with that, I dreamed up an imaginary village, and I never stopped, though these days my stories feature a lot more hot men.

I love a rich fictional universe as much as a happy ending, and I have a tendency to get so lost in worlds of my own creation that I have to rush out at the door the last minute in a panic, desperately hoping I don’t hit too many red lights.

Other ways to describe me: avid reader; chocoholic; historian; sci-fi geek; proud New Englander; koala lover; travel enthusiast.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jessiepinkham.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessiePinkhambooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16835564.Jessie_Pinkham


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All That Has Flown Beyond is a complex romance

All That Has Flown Beyond

All That Has Flown Beyond by Marina Vivancos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just like the first book in this series, All That Has Flown Beyond is a complicated and complex narrative which covers a multitude of subjects all wrapped within a paranormal romance.

I’m never sure what I’m going to be reading in the next chapter with this author and here we get taken along a journey of mythology, customs and traditions ranging across Europe and into South America and across the Far East to Japan.

It’s wonderfully lyrical and descriptive, the otherworldly feeling comes pouring out as the story progresses through the shamanic route Kaiyo takes after he’s forced out of the pack he’s always been part of even though he’s not a wolf shifter.

There’s also incredible pain in this book, head the trigger warnings carefully, Marina doesn’t skimp on any of the details as she demonstrates how the black dog of depression controls lives, how it pulls its web over even the strongest of souls.

But there is also much love in this book, even though the romance itself takes some time to return, second chances need to have the necessary payback to make them believable and to get the reader rooting for reconciliation.

All in all, I’m again wowed by the writing talent while being exhausted by the subject matter!

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

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Release Blitz: To Be Honest by S. M. James

To Be Honest | S. M. James

#lovehim series #3

Publisher: May Books

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Genre/s: YA, LGBT, romance

Length: 81,000 words/380 pages

Heat Rating: 1 – 2 flames

It is a standalone story.

Release Date: November 15, 2018

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK  Amazon AU

Blurb

2400 miles. Four friends. One big secret.

Angus Reid is pretty sure he’s being catfished.

After spending the last half of junior year talking online to the guy of his dreams, Angus wants to meet. In person. So when Scotty brushes it off with excuses of not being ready, red flags go up.

Determined to either catch Scotty out, or take a shot at real love, Angus embarks on a summer road trip with his adorkable roommate, Tyler. But as summer stretches on, and mixed messages fly between them, Angus finds his heart torn.

His potential catfisher?

Or his straight best friend?

And while their road trip takes them across the country, Angus is headed for one destination.

Either a happily ever after … or a broken heart.

All books in the #lovehim series are stand alones. The series number is recommended reading order.

Excerpt

I pull out of the parking lot and Tyler directs me to the campsite. The ground is rough as anything, and it’s lucky it’s summer, because I can just imagine that in winter we would be driving on ice.

“Just here,” Tyler points to a space ahead, confirming it on the map the campsite admin handed us.

It’s reasonably busy and we’ve had to drive a bit further down. There’s forest pushing in all around us and I can only spot two other tents. Not that those monstrous things could be called tents.

“Just do you know,” I say as I put the car in park and follow Tyler out. “If I get killed, I’ll hold you personally responsible.”

“If you get killed, I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

“I’ve got to tell you though, I’m not planning on dying a virgin.”

He throws a smirk at me over the roof. “Don’t worry, neither am I.”

I open the trunk and start shifting some of our stuff into the front while Tyler lays down the back seats. When I climb in, a thrum of electricity passes over my skin and I have to remind myself to cool it. We’re just friends. Tyler slides in after me.

“Here.” He hands me some blankets and we set to work making it comfortable before lying back, heads rested at the opening.

It’s so peaceful. The night is still and quiet, holding the warmth of the day, and the stars stretch out above us endlessly, smudges of silver blurring them together. I fold my hands behind my head as Tyler takes off his glasses and tosses them in the front.

“And that right there,” Tyler says in a nasally voice, pointing through the back windshield of the open trunk. “Is the ubulla majorious.”

I give him the side eye, not sure if he’s joking or not. “Oh yeah, and what’s that?” I point to another cluster.

“The fibrosious enema.

“And that?”

Ursulla’s Uranus.

I snort, rolling onto my side to look at him. “You are so full of shit.”

“I swear.” He lays a hand over his heart. “See? There’s Angusius’s Titianus.

He finally gets a laugh out of me and I shove his shoulder a little. “I think your brain’s broken.”

“Nope. It remembers everything, remember, Angus?”

“I do remember. Which is why I wouldn’t be surprised if you knew all the actual names of the constellations and were just goofing around.”

He tries to hold back a guilty smile.

We lapse into a comfortable silence, him staring up at the stars, and me staring at everything but him.

I hesitate. “Thanks for not bailing on me.”

“Are you kidding? It was a choice between this and going home. Trust me, it was a no brainer.”

“I’m honored.” I roll my eyes.

He chuckles softly and pokes me in the bicep. Two fingers. Just like the first day we met. “You should be. You’re always my first choice.”

My cheeks heat and my stomach twists painfully. I’m well aware of his teasing tone but somehow my body completely misses it. “I mean, I wouldn’t say you’re my first choice. At least second or third, though.”

“Ho-oh!” He hangs his head back, showing off his long neck. “You’ve wounded me.”

“Need mouth to mouth?”

He cracks up. “I’d probably enjoy it too much.”

He’s teasing. Teasing. But damn it, if I don’t get this flirting under control it’s only a matter of when not if our friendship implodes.

I’m dying to trace my lips over that long, smooth stretch of skin just below his ear.

He rests his head to the side, looking at me, and a chunk of hair flops down in his eyes. “Have you heard from Scotty yet?”

The lust dries up as worry kicks in. “No, actually. I’m trying not to think about it.”

“I’m sure he’s fine.”

“If he’s done something—”

“No. He wouldn’t have. From what you’ve told me it was his choice, you can’t think like that.”

I scrub a hand over my face. “I basically forced it on him though.”

“Hey.” Tyler’s fingers circle my wrist and he tugs my hand away. “Nope. We’re not doing this. You don’t control other people’s choices. Not today, not tomorrow, just don’t.”

“If only it was that simple.” I sigh.

“It is.” He’s so certain I almost believe him. Instead I reach out and pull the back door closed.

“I’m tired,” I say, tucking up my legs. And if my legs are too long for the space, Tyler’s definitely will be.

With the door closed the outside world is cut off. Tyler turns back to the window, looking up at the sky, and for the thousandth time this year, I wish I had someone to share my feelings with. It sounds lame as hell but I could really use a hug. I just want somebody to be my somebody.

And with Scotty gone, I’m further from that than ever.

About the Author

S.M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBTQ characters.

Author Links

Blog/Website

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3 x eBooks international (That Feeling When or To Be Honest)

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Perfect festive peek into the Skins men’s Cornish Christmas

Crossroads (Skins, #3.5)Crossroads by Garrett Leigh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I only wish it were longer. As anyone who follows my reviews knows, Garrett Leigh is my crack, I would read her shopping lists if she printed them 😉

But this one brought me all the feels I’d expect as she skillfully wraps together all the six men from the Skins series and brings them together for a Christmas no-one’s ever going to forget.

This book is hot, like stick your pants in the freezer after reading it hot but it’s so much more than the epically sensual and emotionally powerful encounter involving four of our favourite men (and no, it’s not a foursome in the traditional sense so haters of anything more than man on man can breathe a sigh of relief) which creates such a stunning visual.

It’s about love, it’s about family, it’s about friendship, it’s about finding a way to make even the most difficult of situations work because the other person is worth all that and more.

If this is Garrett’s last peek into the lives of this bunch of men then, while I will be very sad, I’m also going to rest easy with the six of them happily going about their day down on a horse farm in Cornwall and just loving each other.

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

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A really satisfying conclusion to the Out of Uniform series

Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7)Rough Terrain by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I write this in a strange state of both joy – at such a lovely romance – and sorrow at knowing this is the final book in what has been a quite outstanding series of military romances from Annabeth.

She chooses to end her Out of Uniform series on a high though and this is a story I didn’t know I was needing which gives Canaan (who we last saw in Ben and Maddox’s On Point literally coming between the two men) his own complex SEAL with which to fall in love.

I loved Canaan, initially seen as a bit of SEAL chaser only interested in the uniform, it quickly became clear that he was a man with far more depth than outward appearances indicated. I loved his scenes with his Grandpa.

Rooster/Renzo – ooh I wanted to shake him sometimes but he behaves as he does for good reason and I completely got why he was so hesitant but once he decided he was in, he went all in and the Epilogue in this one just made my heart sing!

There’s troubles along the way, the sex is possibly some of the most varied and intense Annabeth has ever written (view spoiler)

Canaan’s former bandmates, manager Kelly aside, weren’t particularly pleasant people and I could feel his hurt seeping out when he was forced back into their space. So-called friends don’t behave like they did, never mind his ex-twat of a boyfriend and I found the scenes with them to be quite moving.

Renzo’s family were fab, Italian, expressive, consuming, overwhelming, but proud of their son and not quite sure how to demonstrate it in a way which didn’t bring more issues.

There’s lots going on in this one but Annabeth saves the best for last as she pulls all the plot lines together for a truly wonderful conclusion. I will miss this series, although there will still be new shorts put out every now and then according to the lovely author so all is not gone forever!

#ARC kindly provided by Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

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