GWM Wanted (Husbands and Wives) – Amanda Young

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“The more he tried to pretend there was nothing wrong with their relationship, the worse it became.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing. I had issues with this one. My main complaints are the miscommunication could’ve been easily resolved, the sex scenes were too long, and I just plain didn’t like the climax (of the story). The whole miscommunication was probably my biggest complaint, though. Really, the whole issue of ‘Is My Relationship Over?’ could’ve been solved with just one conversation. The book alternates between both Sam’s and Mark’s (the main couple) points of view, and it’s obvious just how much the two of them love each other. Like, these two are still very much in love, even after 15 years together, they just can’t talk to each other apparently. So the whole plot of the story is that both Sam and Mark feel like their relationship is on the verge of ending; communication has fallen through and other life obligations have made it difficult for them to connect the way they used to. Sam talks this over with a friend and the friend suggests bringing a third man in for a night to spice things up in the bedroom. It’s clear, from both of their internal narration, that neither of them are particularly excited about sharing each other with a stranger, but they both force themselves forward because they think it’s what the other wants. Of course, the whole situation goes to shit, but not in the way I was expecting. That was another problem I had: the way that whole night turned out. Like I wasn’t expecting the whole thing to go well, necessarily (neither Sam nor Mark were really into it; especially Mark), but I thought the way it did go down in flames was particularly extra and ugly. It was as big disappointment for me because it looked like it was going one way, and then the tone completely changed and something completely different happened. I wasn’t into it. So this story isn’t particularly bad, but the miscommunication was annoying and the execution of events wasn’t really my thing. The way the threesome thing ended was a major disappointment for me and kinda ruined the emotional flow of the story, and then the ending kinda fell a bit flat for me after that.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Mark is still deeply in love with Sam, his partner of 15 years. He’s perfectly happy with their relationship, even if their sex life has grown a little stale lately. But when he begins to notice Sam’s gaze wandering toward other men, he fears that his younger lover may be losing interest in him. Then Sam suddenly suggests they broaden their sexual horizons by inviting a third man into their bedroom. and Mark’s fears become almost certainty. He reluctantly agrees, willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto Sam. He’s willing to share his husband’s body if he must, so long as he retains his heart. Together, they answer an ad in an online advertisement. The other man seems to be just what they’re looking for–handsome, hung, and only interested in no-strings-attached fun. But once the excitement begins they find out they’ve made a terrible mistake. Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play, male/male sexual practices. Other Books: Par Three by Anne Douglas and For Better, For Worse by Michelle Cary. Series Note: Each title in the Husbands and Wives series can be read as a standalone title.

 

[available for purchase from Amazon.ca, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Lone Wolf (Bluewater Bay #4) – Aleksandr Voinov & L. A. Witt

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“Kevin was a literary genius and one hell of a twisted pervert. In other words, Hunter’s catnip.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I will admit that the third-act breakup miscommunication nonsense that happened near the end was a bit annoying, but other than that this was a very enjoyable read. This is the fourth book in the Bluewater Bay series, and the first book where we get a proper introduction to Hunter Easton, the author and creator of Wolf’s Landing, the in-universe popular book series and TV show most of the characters are connected to. Before this I think Hunter had maybe one or two actual appearances (though he is mentioned more), but this time the story is all about him and we get to know him a bit better. I really liked Hunter, I found him to be a genuinely good guy and also pretty funny and cute. I felt the same about his love interest, Kevin Hussain, who is a lot like Hunter except with an extra layer of geek. Their whole story is a bit of a fan’s fantasy, with Wolf’s Landing fan Kevin meeting and starting a relationship with his favourite author and also getting to turn his fanfiction into something profitable and integrated into the show’s canon. I don’t think I’ve read a book that focused so much on fandom and the relationship between fans and creators (though it didn’t go too deep, that wasn’t the main focus of the story). As a fan myself, that was pretty fun to read. The main focus of the story was on Hunter and Kevin trying to figure out their relationship while also dealing with Wolf’s Landing writing obligations and Kevin’s sudden rise to fame. I really liked how the story played out, though I could’ve done without the lack of communication surrounding their romantic expectations. A whole lot of grief could’ve been avoided if Hunter and Kevin had actually talked to each other like the adults they were supposed to be. That whole drama wasn’t even close enough to ruining the book by any means, it’s still a solid read. And as a bonus we got some more scenes with Levi and Carter (from Starstruck), and maybe a bit of clarification on what Wolf’s Landing is even about.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Hunter Easton is screwed. Fans, producers, and his agent are all chomping at the bit for the next book in his wildly popular Wolf’s Landing series, but he’s got epic writer’s block and is way behind deadline. Then he reads The World Tree, a fanfic novel by his online friend “Lone Wolf.” It isn’t just a great story—it’s exactly what the series needs.

Kevin Hussain is thrilled when “Wolf Hunter” wants to meet up after reading The World Tree. When Wolf Hunter turns out to be Hunter Easton himself, Kevin is starstruck. When Hunter tells him he wants to add The World Tree to Wolf’s Landing, Kevin is sure he’s being pranked. And when their online chemistry carries over—big time—into real life, Kevin is convinced it’s all too good to be true.

The problem is . . . it might be. The book deal, the sex, the money—everything is amazing. But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Kevin is left wondering if Hunter really loves him, or just loves his book.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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QR: A Holiday Crush – CJane Elliott

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“Sure, he was too old, and Michael was practically a kid, but Christmas only came once a year, and this year… this year he needed something to celebrate.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) San Francisco lawyer Brad Halberstam is in a rut. At forty-one, he’s successful but alone. Even his holidays are predictable—he spends every Christmas golfing in Napa with his ex-boyfriend. Then attractive but oh-so-young filmmaker Michael Blair invites him out. Brad joins Michael and his housemates in their holiday celebrations and learns that life can be joyful. He hesitates to saddle Michael with a much-older boyfriend but as their attraction ignites, Brad’s tempted to let Michael sweep him into a bright new future.

Michael lives in a group house in Berkeley. He loves making life into a celebration, especially during the holidays. Michael longs for a partner, and he hopes serious but sweet Brad Halberstam is the one. Michael’s infatuation grows over caroling and cookies, but his housemate reminds him that Michael always latches on to someone during the holidays, so he won’t be alone. After a misunderstanding, Michael loses heart, no longer sure if his relationship with Brad is real or just another Christmas crush.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) – Avon Gale

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“Really? You can’t believe two contrary people who thought they were just gonna have sex every now and then decided to have feelings?”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I’m always happy with a new addition to the Scoring Chances series, and this time is no exception. Coach’s Challenge is a book that has a completely new and separate plot from the other books, but still furthers the general series timeline in significant ways. Main characters and romantic leads Troy Callahan and Shane North are both newcomers to the series, though they aren’t completely unknown to the other characters (Troy got a mention at the end of the previous book), and their story fits in well in the established universe. The team getting the focus in this book is the Asheville Ravens, probably the most hated team in the ECHL, and rival to the Spartanburg Spitfires. Troy is hired on as their new coach, to replace the vile Denis St Savoy, who was banned from the league at the end of the previous book. Troy’s job is to whip the Ravens into shape and turn them into a more cohesive team that can play a clean game. Shane is a veteran hockey player, but new to the Ravens. He’s there playing out his last season, and is easily the oldest member on the team. He and Troy get off to a bit of a rocky start, what with them both being contrary assholes, but it isn’t long before they fall head over heels in lust with each other. As good as the sex is, though, it doesn’t stop it from being a bad idea since Troy is Shane’s coach, and the Ravens really can’t afford any more scandals or bad press. Too bad Troy and Shane have way too much fun fighting and fucking to even bother trying to keep away from each other, even if it does all threaten to blow up in their faces. For all the serious background and possible disaster in this situation, this book is hilarious. Troy and Shane’s banter nearly made me laugh out loud a few times, which is good because it’s what they do most of the time they’re together (seriously, if snark and banter and constant arguing isn’t something you enjoy reading, you’re probably better off skipping this one because it happens a lot). Also we see the return of a lot of the characters I really liked in Empty Net, so that was definitely a bonus. This is another great addition to the series and I can’t wait for the next one.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds out the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression—especially when Shane’s rough good looks have Troy thinking inappropriate thoughts about a player, even if he’s set to retire at the end of the season.

Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon, and with a team that doesn’t trust him, Troy, or each other. Despite his determination not to get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff, out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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His Right Choice (Men of Falcon Pointe #4) – Thianna Durston

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“His plan had been to meet some gay guys and realize that wasn’t who he was. Instead Nick had found more life in the last few weeks than he had in his total twenty-one years.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This one I liked a lot better than the previous two books. This was the sequel I’d been waiting for (though I did like Books 2 and 3, don’t get me wrong). I liked everything about this book (even the really ridiculous parts). Anyone who’s been reading the whole series knows the score by now (gay Mormon boy goes to university and meets a group of men who make him realize that he’s a person that deserves love and respect, and then he gets a hot older boyfriend and spanking is involved), and this book follows the same pattern while still managing to be a bit of a different story. Nick is struggling with his sexuality worse than the others ever did. He’s convinced himself that what he needs to do is work past his attraction to men and then settle down with his long-time girlfriend and start a family. It’s a sure recipe for disaster, but it’s all Nick knows to do. Luckily, he catches the attention of the gang from the other books, and they’re able to help him work through some things. He also catches the attention of Ethan, an older man and an old friend of Cory and Levlin’s, who would definitely like to get to know Nick better. There’s a lot of angst in this book because Nick has to come to terms with both the fact that he’s gay and nothing’s going to change that, and that everything he believed in up until this point might be built on lies. He’s in a very different place than the others were, and he has a lot more to work through. One thing I really liked about this book (and my favourite aspect of this whole series) is how everyone really came together to support Nick and help him on his journey. All the characters from past books are back and just as great as ever, and the new characters in this one make the story that much richer (I will forever love Nick’s friend Deke). This book was also very emotional and I had a hard time putting it down (a lot like my feelings for the first book in the series, actually). This is currently the last book in the series, but I really hope there are more coming, I’d really like to see what all these guys will get up to in the future.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Nicholas Layton, fresh off his mission for the Mormon church, attends Falcon Pointe University with plans to enjoy his final year of freedom before he gives in and marries his long-term girlfriend. But when he meets a group of gay men, some of whom are ex-Mormons and some who practice loving physical discipline, he finds he is more comfortable with them than anywhere else. Suddenly, he’s straddling the line between good Mormon and gay man.

As an added bonus—or problem, depending—he meets Ethan Kierk, who is good-looking, fun to be around, and who wants to be with him. Nick tries not to think about dating a man, but he can’t help it. He wants Ethan, and that terrifies him.

To avoid his feelings, Nick steels himself to propose to his girlfriend but breaks things off at the last moment. Instead, he jumps headlong into a relationship with Ethan, and it feels so right—until he has to tell his family. When they reject him, he shares his darkest secret with Ethan, hoping Ethan won’t reject him too.

Hoping he made the right choice.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Becoming Rafe (Men of Falcon Pointe #3) – Thianna Durston

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“As long as you are proud of yourself and have a support team, you can face anything and anyone. So let’s build up Rafe Norton and let the rest find its place.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. There were some things I really liked about this book, and some things I kinda didn’t. This was a bit of a mixed bag, I feel. The story about Rafe (formerly known as Nephi) going away to university and trying to find himself was a good one. It was similar enough to the others to fit the pattern, but still different enough so as to not be repetitive. There was also a lot of focus on Rafe hanging out with his friends, which was good because I found a lot of the things about his boyfriend Levlin a bit lacking. I liked Levlin, don’t get me wrong, but I mostly just didn’t get him. Through all of his and Rafe’s interactions, I kept finding myself wondering what a (assumed) successful psychologist in his mid-thirties would want with an 18-year-old college freshman struggling to find himself? I never had this problem with the other relationships (maybe because Rafe was younger than Trent and Bastien? I dunno), but it kept picking at me here. Outside of that, though, Rafe and Levlin’s relationship was stable and loving and engaging. Though, having said that, I thought that it moved a bit too fast for my liking. There were a lot of throwbacks to past books, with past characters showing up and interacting with the new characters. David and Bastien even got married, which managed to both be sentimental for the reader and a poignant moment for Rafe. There’s still discipline in this story, but this is the first time that Cory is not the one doling it out, Levlin is. Also Rafe’s family was a lot more involved in the story than any other character’s ever was, which made for great scenes and great angst (his siblings are awesome and I love them).

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Eighteen-year-old Nephi Rafe Norton goes to Falcon Pointe University to find himself. Away from his conservative family, he hopes to discover if his attraction to men is the real deal. Encouraged to be someone a little different, he starts using his middle name. “Rafe” quickly makes friends, some of whom practice loving physical discipline, and lives it up—until midterms hit and he realizes he’s flunking statistics class.

When Scotland native Éigneachán Jackson Levlin offers to help, Rafe is eager to accept—not only because Levlin is a psychologist, but also because he’s out and proud and hot as hell.

As their relationship heats up, Rafe decides to spend one last Christmas with his family before he tells them. When his little sister outs him to his siblings, they turn out to be fully supportive, and he takes heart—until he introduces Levlin to his father, who brutally dismisses both of them. Now Rafe must come to peace with his father’s rejection or risk losing Levlin—and all that he has become at Falcon Pointe—forever.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Finding His Home (Men of Falcon Pointe #2) – Thianna Durston

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“It was sweet, and Bastien couldn’t tear his eyes away. Sure, he’d hoped gay men could be loving, but that was the first time he’d ever seen it.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I will admit, I didn’t like this one as much as I did the first book (this one was a bit slow in places), but I did really enjoy reading it. It’s similar to the first book in some ways, but it’s still a different story. Like Trent from Book 1, Sebastien Cather is trying to break away from Mormonism because he knows that he’ll never be able to be happy in that lifestyle. Also like Trent, Sebastien makes his way to 959 Brenton Street and finds a new home, a new family, and a new love. Sebastien is in a different part of his journey than Trent was, though. He’d come to terms with the fact that he’s gay back when he was 14, and by the time he makes it to Falcon Pointe he’s already decided that he’s going to leave the Mormon church. His dilemmas are less about his religion and more about his relationships. David, from Book 1, is back in a main role, so we get a bit more insight into him. Trent, Cory, and Alan are also back, and it was great to see them again. Also Trent’s father tries to make some more trouble and is put back in his place, which is always fun. This is a good sequel to a book I enjoyed, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) A Men of Falcon Pointe Novel

Sebastien Cather moves to Falcon Pointe with a dream to live life his way. Offered a room at 959 Brenton Street, he discovers how liberating it can feel to live among accepting people, especially in a household where they practice loving physical discipline. And he quickly gains a boyfriend in Avery, a fellow student. Unfortunately Avery isn’t his first choice. His roommate David is fascinating and good-looking, and Bastien would do anything to have him—but he doesn’t think the attraction is returned.

Tensions rise as his roommates’ wedding is threatened and his present and past lives clash. Outed by the national media, Bastien knows he will never be able to return home again. Just as he’s sure he can’t handle any more stress, David shows his interest. Bastien slowly makes his way forward, trying to find firm footing in the minefield that is his life. But when his landlord makes an announcement about the future of the house, it may change all of his dreams.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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