Silent Strength (Strength #1) – M.A. Innes

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“I want there to be no doubt I’m sincere and it isn’t something I saw online last week and decided to play with.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I loved this! I read this after reading Secrets in the Dark by the same author and I have to say that I liked this one so much better. Eric has wanted a Daddy since he was a teenager, but a traumatic experience in high school has made him wary of his desires and of sharing them with others. It’s on a disastrous date, and first visit to a BDSM club, that Eric meets the man that will forever change his life. Marcus is a Daddy Dom and he’s looking for a special little boy to share his life and home with. Their first meeting is a bit awkward, but they both decide to take a chance on each other and it turns into something beautiful. Probably my favourite aspect of this book is the loving relationship between Eric and Marcus. They’re both pretty different, considering their ages and their levels of confidence with their wants and needs, but they still fit together perfectly. Past experience has left Eric shy and skittish and he needs someone like Marcus, who is more confident and sure of things, to show him how to live authentically. The whole book is basically about Eric and Marcus falling in love while exploring their age play dynamic. Age play for these two means that Eric gets to be Marcus’ little boy and be taken care of. There’s a mild sexual component to it, although their sex life is mostly separate, but for the most part it’s Marcus looking after Eric’s needs and helping him be comfortable with the things that make him feel good. Seriously, there is so much caring in this story. Marcus was so loving and tender with Eric, and Eric just soaked everything up (when he was able to get over his fear and embarrassment enough to relax). There’s no major plot happening, though it’s not exactly a slow-burn, so the story just kind of slowly goes along with Marcus and Eric growing closer and falling in love with each other. It’s pretty great, and I’m excited for the second part.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) M/M Age Play Romance 

Eric knows what he needs…he just doesn’t think anyone else will want it too.

He’s finally reached his breaking point. There’s only so many times he can put himself out there and get shot down. After a disastrous first date at a BDSM club, Eric is ready to walk away and push his desires to the furthest reaches of his mind—but then up walks Marcus. But just because the sexy older man is looking for a submissive doesn’t mean he’s looking to be someone’s daddy.

Marcus knows what he wants, and he’s spent months getting everything perfect for his boy…now he just needs to find him.

When Marcus sees Eric at Bound & Controlled, he’s immediately drawn to the sweet submissive who’s desperately trying to hide his devastation. Marcus steps in when he sees the sub’s evening going wrong, but he’s not sure what the shy submissive is looking for. Just because he wants the boy to need a daddy doesn’t mean he’s going to get what he hopes for.

As they discover their mutual desires, Marcus is sure that Eric has the strength to go after what he yearns for; he just needs his daddy’s help and love to see it.

67k+ words
Story Contains: M/m Sexual Content, mild BDSM, Age Play, Mild ABDL

*Authors Note* This is not a standalone book. This is book one of a two-part series. The first part of their story ends in a HFN because there was too much to their story to put in one book. Their journey will continue in Quiet Strength, which will be released in January 2018.

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca]

 

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Lights! Camera! Cupid!: No Easy Way (Bluewater Bay #6.3) – S.E. Jakes

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He’d never wanted Dylan to see that he still mourned their old relationship, thought about him all the goddamned time.

 

In a word: Read the thing. This is novella-length so it was a fairly quick read, which was both good and bad, I suppose. Good because it was a fast read for the little space of time I had to read it in; bad because I felt like there could’ve been more to the whole story and some things felt a bit rushed. Cary and Dylan knew and loved each other as teenagers, but their romance was over before it quite began due to the toxic environment they were forced to live in (they both had horrible parents, and at the time Dylan was nineteen to Cary’s fifteen, which complicated things even further). Dylan enlisted in the army and Cary went off the rails a bit. Six years later they’re both in a more stable place in life and Dylan is ready and willing to give their love a second chance. Cary is a bit more reluctant. Dylan really hurt him when he left, and he still hasn’t quite gotten over it. Dylan had his reasons for leaving, but he does show up back in Bluewater Bay and acts as if Cary will welcome him back with open arms. That’s one of the things I didn’t really like about this story: Dylan’s attitude. Considering what was going on six years ago, Dylan leaving was probably for the best, although he definitely could’ve gone about the whole thing in a better way. The fact that he expected that Cary wouldn’t hold any of that against him was fairly annoying and didn’t really speak well to his character. The two of them do get there in the end, but with the speed it happened in it didn’t really sit right with me. Cary spends a lot of the story angry with Dylan, as well he should, but he’s also still in love with him and that makes it hard to stay angry. That whole situation with his current ‘boyfriend’ also made me side-eye him. Really I think the whole thing was a bit too short for everything that was happening. Dylan is trying to win Cary back in the present day, but for the most part it seems to be only with sex, and I don’t think we ever really get a complete picture of all that went down before Dylan joined the army. I really could’ve used a lot more establishing information, and a lot more groveling on Dylan’s part.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Cupid is visiting Bluewater Bay, and he’s leaving chaos in his wake.

Nothing’s been the same in this sleepy little logging town since Hollywood came to shoot the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing—especially Valentine’s Day.

In L.A. Witt’s Just Another Day, beloved actors Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels have an announcement for their fans, while in Z.A. Maxfield’s I’ll Be There, actor Spencer Kepler and his boyfriend Nash Holly brave a blizzard and a fan convention to spend their first February the 14th together.

Of course, it’s not just TV stars celebrating the day. In Anne Tenino’s Helping Hand, an aspiring artist eager to escape Bluewater Bay decides he just might have a reason to stay: lust-inspiring logger Gabriel Savage. In S.E. Jakes’s No Easy Way, a local teacher reconnects with an old lover working security on the film set. And in Amy Lane’s Nascha, a Bluewater Bay elder recalls how his own unconventional family used to celebrate the holiday.

Real life may be nothing like TV, but when Cupid comes to town, there’s plenty of romance and drama to go around.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide PublishingAmazon.caBook DepositoryChapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Omega’s Wedding (Mated to the Alpha #6) – Wolf Specter & Rosa Swann

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“Just a few hours and everything will be different, at least on paper. I’ll be the new official Alpha of the Powell pack, the eighth one in line, all first-born, and I’ll be Ethan’s husband, the first and only one.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. As the title probably makes obvious, we’ve finally reached Max and Ethan’s wedding. It’s been about a month since Part 5 and Max and Ethan have apparently been in hiding from the media the whole time. I hope their time away was somewhat relaxing because the stress seems to start as soon as they return as the media are camped out at the airport when they land. We do get a bit more insight as to why Max is so popular with the media, but the behaviour of the media here is despicable. But I tend to hate pushy reporters anyway, so me not liking them here was practically a given. Max has a surprise for Ethan when they get back and everything about it was the best part of this installment for me. I was honestly expecting Ethan’s mother, but luckily she doesn’t show up at all. Dodged that bullet. Ethan’s friend Tim doesn’t show up either, which I thought was weird. Alexia does, though, which I found annoying. The wedding/passing-of-the-Alpha-torch ceremony was kinda boring, I don’t think the writing was good enough to make it interesting. This part had some really good emotional moments and I really like how in love Ethan and Max are with each other. There wasn’t any sort of relationship conflict at any point here, which makes me a bit apprehensive for the next part, but I’m also looking forward to what’s coming next. So glad the fuss about the wedding is over though.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) It’s almost the big day, Ethan and Max are getting married. But it wouldn’t be them if they didn’t have quite a couple of hurdles to jump through before they reach the special “I do” moment.

Because before they start, Max has a very special gift for Ethan. Something that will change their lives forever.

And maybe, just maybe, it will heal Ethan too, let him come to terms with his own past.

Omega’s Wedding is the sixth story in the Mated to the Alpha series. This series contains an innocent human, a sexy alpha, naughty scenes and Mpreg (male pregnancy).

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the full Mated to the Alpha collection x x x x]

 

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Omega’s Bond (Mated to the Alpha #4) – Wolf Specter & Rosa Swann

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“This connection between us two, this bond, it gets stronger and stronger.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. The only reason I didn’t put this as a ‘maybe’ is because this isn’t really a part people can skip if they want to continue reading the series. Although maybe it is, who knows, though I do think some significant background information comes out here. This is, in my opinion, the worst part of the Mated to the Alpha serial so far. For a number of reasons, though most of it can be put down to inconsistencies. I will say that there were also some things that redeemed this part somewhat. Ethan and Max have known each other for about a week now, meaning this takes place a few days after Part 3. This part already starts off on a sour note with Ethan pissy at Max for a poorly though-out doctor’s visit. It goes a bit downhill from there for a bit. Alexia is back, unfourtunately. I liked her when she was first introduced in Part 1, but she’s since fallen out of favour with me. She was especially aggravating in this part. I dread her next appearance. There was also a bit of a mess in the interactions between Max and Ethan. Mostly as the result of some misunderstanding it seems that Ethan is really not as okay with his new life as Max thought he was. I have to admit that it came as a surprise to me too because Ethan’s chapters (which are first-person POV, as are Max’s) never really made that clear. It is clear that Max has maybe been trying to control too many things, but to his credit he does rein that in a lot. I think the worst he’s done so far to control Ethan is to keep him in his house, which I saw as less about trying to control Ethan and more as trying to keep him away from the media vultures. But, whatever, they do eventually sort all that out and Max vows to do better (and from what we’ve seen of Max so far we know he’ll definitely try). There is even an ‘I love you’ from Max, which I think is moving way too fast (so much for natural progression). Though that does come up from a weird scene where Ethan seems to have some sort of psychological break or PTSD flashback or something. Apparently there’s been a reason we haven’t seen his mother so far in the series, though none of what we learn here has ever been alluded to before. We’ll see what comes of that. Another thing that got more focus in this part is the mating ceremony, which I am not really looking forward to. Hopefully Part 5 is better.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Ethan and Max are settling into a pattern. It’s been a week since they met for the first time, and things seem to be going well… but are they really?

When Alexia comes over to discuss the mating ceremony she throws their whole dynamic off and uncovers that maybe the two men are not as settled as they think.
When Ethan gets a call from his mother, old wounds are reopened and the two men need to learn to trust each other quickly before everything goes wrong.

Then Max speaks the three words that Ethan fears the most…

Omega’s Bond is the fourth story in the Mated to the Alpha series. This series contains an innocent human, a sexy alpha, naughty scenes and Mpreg (male pregnancy).

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the full Mated to the Alpha collection x x x x]

 

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The Teddy Bear Club (The Teddy Bear Club #1) – Sean Michael

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“Dev laughed again, and Aiden decided he really liked the sound of it, bright and full of life.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing. This book probably won’t be for everyone. It’s very sweet and fluffy and very kid-centric. I was drawn to the story because of the summary, but the summary turned out to be a bit inaccurate. Most of the story is complete fluff and the minutia of daily baby care while Aiden and Dev’s romance kinda just falls into place. There is some drama with Dev’s mother, but that ultimately never comes to anything and more or less seemed like a waste of time. Though it was an entertaining break from all the child care fluff (seriously, if you don’t like reading about children in your romances you won’t like this book, like, at all). Really, everything of substance in this story doesn’t come to much since most of the focus remains on Aiden and Dev coming together and merging their families (probably a bit quick, but whatever, Dreamspun). Aiden and Dev getting together happened very easily, like there was pretty much no angst surrounding that. It was welcome, unnecessary relationship drama just for the sake of it can get pretty annoying, but also there wasn’t really anything in there to fill that gap. Aiden and Dev took care of their children together with very little fuss, they were always fairly upbeat and positive, and everything was just really overly cute. They had no obstacles, and when the closest things to obstacles did show up it ultimately came to nothing. It was a nice change to read a romance where the couple didn’t have to fight for every little aspect of their happiness, but it was also pretty boring to read a romance where every interaction was written out as a series of steps. There were whole sections of the story where one scene went on for pages because it was full of step-by-step actions and bland dialogue. Sometimes Aiden’s oldest daughter had some cute interactions, and Aiden and Dev’s friends could be pretty funny, but everything was mostly bland (even the sex scenes got a bit long). The thing with Dev’s mother was really a non-issue and a bit of a let-down considering how she was built up. Though I will say that it was a nice change to read a story like this (with an evil grandparent demanding custody of a child they don’t actually have rights to) where the current parent/guardian doesn’t just roll over and accept a ton of abuse in the name of keeping the peace (this seems to be a thing with Harlequin romances, of which the Dreamspun Desires books resemble). Also the fact that we never get much closure with Dev’s sister and her situation was a bit disappointing. Anyway, the biggest problem this book has is that it’s kinda boring and over-padded with minutia. Definitely avoid this if you aren’t a fan of children in romances.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Two lonely men. One perfect family.

Aiden Lake adopted his institutionalized sister’s two daughters, and he’s a good dad. He works nights on websites and gets in his adult time twice a week at the Roasty Bean, where he meets with other single gay parents.

Devon Smithson wants to be a good dad now that his sixteen-year-old sister asked him to babysit her newborn… three months ago. But he’s overwhelmed with the colicky baby. An invitation to the daddy-and-kid gatherings at the café is a godsend. The pot is sweetened when his friendship with Aiden develops into more—maybe even something that can last.

But the mother who kicked Dev out for being gay wants to get her claws into the baby, and she doesn’t care if she tears Dev, Aiden, and everything they’re building apart in the process.

 

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

 

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A Heart for Robbie – J.P. Barnaby

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“Daddy loves you so much, and I’m going to make it all better. I promise.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This was a heavy read. Holy shit. I knew going in that this book involved a very sick child and a lot of serious medical situations, but I had no idea that Robbie was only a newborn. Like, sick children in general is depressing, but just the image of a teeny tiny newborn having to go through all the pain Robbie has to go through is especially hard to read about. This book really has two distinct aspects to it: the first, and major, one is baby Robbie’s fight for survival and how his single father Julian deals with it all; the second is Julian’s romantic relationship with insurance coordinator Simon. Although Julian and Simon’s relationship is important in the grand scheme of things, and also involves Simon’s journey in coming out of the closet for the first time ever, Robbie’s care and illness definitely comes across as the more involved part of the story. The stakes certainly seem higher for it, anyway. The romantic aspect of the story starts out very slowly. The story starts with Robbie’s traumatic birth and the focus mostly stays on Robbie and Julian for a while. There are some chapters from Simon’s point of view but they mostly focus on his strained relationship with his mother and his fears over coming out, because Julian and Simon don’t really cross paths at first. Once Julian and Simon really start connecting, though, their relationship becomes more prominent in the story and the two plotlines start meshing together. This book can be a bit of a heavy read, but pretty much all of that comes from Robbie’s medical issues and how Julian and his family deal with them. Simon has some drama on his end with his fear of coming out and the homophobia he deals with, and the threat to his job if it comes out that he’s dating a patient’s father, but the relationship itself actually is surprisingly without much conflict (there isn’t even a third-act breakup). This read was very emotional and suspenseful, but I really enjoyed it. Maybe don’t read it if you need a pick-me-up, but it’s still good. Julian and Simon are great, Robbie is sweet, and the ending didn’t ruin anything for me.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Waiting for someone else’s child to die so yours can live is the worst kind of Hell

Celebrated Young Adult author Julian Holmes pits the heroic characters in his Black Heart series against all different kinds of monsters. But when a critical heart defect threatens his son’s life, he finds he has no champion. No amount of books, classes, or practice can prepare Julian for the fight to save his beautiful son’s life.

Suddenly there are hospitals, transplant lists, and the nightmare of insurance red tape to navigate. In the midst of his trouble, Julian meets Simon Phelps, the insurance coordinator for Robbie’s case. Simon lives so deep in the closet he might never find his way out, but he dreams of exactly what Julian has. Then one night, drunken need and desperation brings them together, and a new fight begins.

 

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

 

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A Second Chance – Van Cole

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“It was childish to cling to the idea of this boy that had built me up and ruined me, especially ten years later – but there was nothing I could do. I was a slave to the lack of closure. I couldn’t move on.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. Not exactly what it says on the tin, though. The summary gives the impression that what we’re about to read will be a more complete novel than what we actually end up with. It’s not entirely inaccurate, but it’s making promises that it doesn’t really deliver. Having said that, this is still a good read and I did enjoy it, there just wasn’t a whole lot to it. The whole story, which is fairly short and only took me about an hour to read, is told from Dane’s first-person point of view. The way it’s written is less like reading events as they take place and is more like Dane is summarizing the events for us and telling his story from some nebulous future point. Some of the story takes place in the past, when Dane was in high school, but the parts that take place in the present read the same way. Even without much focus on Sam’s thoughts and motivations, and the somewhat stilted delivery, I still felt that this was a solid story. I do wish we could’ve gotten more focus on some aspects, there were a lot of points (mostly having to do with Dane’s family) that could’ve been expanded on, but as it is it’s still pretty decent. The main point of the story is Dane trying to get closure over the disaster that was his first love, and I really liked the read. The emotions in the story were great, though not as explored as I would’ve liked in some places, and I thought the outcome was great. The writing isn’t the best, but the story was really good and I would definitely recommend it for the experience of reading it.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Will A High School Reunion Bring These Lovers Back Together?

Sam and Dane were two young men on the brink of their futures. Sharing high school adventures together, these two young men were both figuring out how to deal with their homosexuality when they found solace in the sexual expression of each other. Confused and concerned, Sam and Dane live in a world of mixed emotions, fighting their desires while finding each other undeniably linked.

When Dane shares with his family the fact that he is gay, his world is turned upside down and he turns to Sam for comfort. But, family pressures and a societal fear push the lovers to the breaking point, life and prejudice seeming to separate them forever. Life goes on and two worlds are built…two very different worlds. Then, an invitation threatens to turn their worlds upside down.

Ten years after a graduation, will the reunion of their two souls bring them back together for good?

Or, will time and fate tear them apart forever?

This Romance Short Story Was Formerly Title The Reunion

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca as part of the Surprise Baby: Gay MPREG Romance Collection]

 

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