QR: Wreck the Halls – Jessica Payseur

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“He’d thought Paul’s actions were part of some misunderstanding, but no, it sounded like he genuinely wanted to drive Nick out. Well, two could play at that sort of thing.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Business has been good at Paul’s Café in Madison, Wisconsin—until a few months before Christmas. When Nick opens Nick’s Restaurant next door, Paul watches his customers leave for cheaper food and an owner who smiles more. With his livelihood at stake, Paul lashes out, trying to drive away Nick’s customers, but Nick won’t go easy, and escalating sabotage threatens to ruin the holidays for both of them.

Paul thinks all he wants for Christmas is to see Nick’s Restaurant go under, but the more he tries to drive Nick away, the less he’s sure he wants him to go. Nick is everything Paul secretly craves, but by the time he realizes Nick is all he really wants for the holidays, he might have ruined any chance for them to get together. And there might not be a present in the world that can fix that.

 

[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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QR: Christmas Grace – C.L. Miles

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“Stop overthinking it. I want you to stay the night. We’ll see where that leads us. Just relax, sweetheart.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Christmas has been a lonely time of year for Aaron since losing his family fifteen years ago. But now he’s seeing Craig, and though Aaron is sure they belong together, both have been hurt in the past, so they’re taking things slowly. So far, Craig has been supportive of Aaron’s struggles with anxiety—struggles that cost Aaron relationships in the past.

On Christmas Eve, Aaron is closing his bookshop when Craig surprises him with a specially planned evening. Will this be the night they take that final step and deepen their physical relationship? Aaron hopes so, but things aren’t that simple. Craig has been keeping a secret…. Can Aaron take his place as part of a family again and accept the love he’s missed for so long—or will he find that some deceptions are too big to be forgiven, even with the help of some Christmas grace?

 

[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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QR: Pining for Perfect – Ki Brightly

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“His voice goes soft and deep, sweet on the ear yet nothing like what goes out over the airwaves. This is something special.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Stokely leads a solitary life, trying to do all the right things. He has a solid, respectable job, a properly decorated, respectable apartment, and goes to work every single day, no matter what. But it’s Christmas, and he hates Christmas, especially since his one guilty pleasure, listening to Asher Banks on the radio, is ruined with upbeat, holiday garbage.

Asher is the polar opposite—he loves Christmas to a fault and schedules himself into the ground with fundraisers to help the local community. When Asher and Stokely meet during one of the holiday spectacles Asher has thrown together, sparks fly, but neither one of them has ever had a real Christmas—or a real home. Will they be able to make one with each other?

 

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

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QR: Dom of Las Vegas (Sin City #1) – Tricia Owens (narrated by Nick J. Russo)

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“You know what you desire, but you are afraid to accept it.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing?

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Ethan Winter has known since he was a kid that he wants to work for the FBI. Until then, he’s stuck modeling underwear and photographing cheating spouses for a private investigator. But when a trip to Las Vegas for a security conference brings him into contact with the magnificently dominant Maxmillian Poole, Ethan finds himself faced with a dilemma: pursue his childhood dream, or become the partner of a man who seems to know him inside and out – and who offers a life any submissive would crawl for.

 

[available for free or purchase from Tricia Owens Books, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as an audiobook from Audible]

 

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My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! (Jock #1) – Wade Kelly

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“But this was Ellis. Ellis! The guy who kissed me. Ellis! The sexy soccer player who invaded my dreams every night.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing? I’m thinking that this book just wasn’t for me. There really wasn’t all that much I really liked about it. At most it was a ‘meh’ read for me. The two leads are Cole and Ellis; Cole grates on my nerves most of the time (which really sucks because the majority of the story is told in his first-person point of view), and Ellis doesn’t seem to have much personality beyond ‘walking sexuality crisis’. A lot of Cole and Ellis’ problems getting together could’ve been prevented by them just communicating like the adults they are supposed to be (they’re both a few years into college), but they don’t, naturally, because drama. There are also a few friends of Ellis’ that show up quite often, but I still can’t really decide what to feel about them. On the one hand, they’re nice guys, but on the other they also kinda rub me the wrong way (a part of that is due to the large-ish focus on religion I wasn’t expecting). Also the story just trucks along with misunderstandings and low-key drama until suddenly there’s some major hate that shows up near the end. That felt kinda weird and out of place. On the whole I’m thinking that the story just wasn’t the right fit for me; the humour fell flat, the narration got on my nerves, and I couldn’t really make myself feel much for the two leads.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) It’s easy to become cynical when life never goes your way.

Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he’s gay. As he sees it, he’s bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother?

By the time Cole enters college, he’s become an anal-retentive loner—but it’s not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a “jock”!

During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole’s glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole’s reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie.

 

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

 

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Sweetwater – Lisa Henry

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“You and me – men like you and me – we don’t always fit with other people. So we make our own lives.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing. Looks like I’ve finally come across a Lisa Henry book that I’m not completely in love with. I know a lot of people gave this good reviews, but I thought it was a bit too bleak for me. The story kept me fully engaged and I basically couldn’t put it down, the writing is great (as usual), but after I finished reading I couldn’t really say that I liked it much. The story isn’t necessarily dark, but Elijah’s story from beginning to end is kind of a downer. His partial deafness gives the townspeople an excuse to look down on him and mistreat him, and his attraction to men is something he feels that he needs to keep secret (this story takes place in 1870 Wyoming, so he really does) and causes him to alienate himself from his adoptive father. He thinks some of those issues may be solved when he catches the eye of saloon owner Harlan Crane, but all that really brings him is a different set of problems. He also gets the attention of cattle rustler Grady Mullins, who gives him affection Elijah doesn’t really know what to do with. I think my biggest problem with this book is that I went into it looking for a story where Elijah gets in over his head with Crane and then Grady saves him and they ride off together into the sunset happily in love. That wasn’t what this story was ever going to be, so I ended up disappointed. Though if you are interested in a bit of a downer story about tortured souls, love, murder, revenge, and morally ambiguous characters in the old west, you’re probably gonna have a good time with this one.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Wyoming Territory, 1870.

Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.

Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.

When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.

 

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

 

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Buchanan House (Buchanan House #1) – Charley Descoteaux

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“Was he trapped in a tiny prison of his own making, or had his life been saved by the happy accident of finding Buchanan House?”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing? The main feeling I had while reading this book was frustration, which doesn’t strike me as a good thing when one is reading a romance novel. I had a really hard time getting into this book and caring about the main relationship. I never did really come to like Eric, who is essentially our narrator. I found him annoying and aggravating, and sometimes inconsistent. The man he falls in love with, Tim Tate (not to be confused with Eric’s ex, also named Tim), is a bit bland and confusing. Also them falling in love kinda skirts the edge of insta-love territory, which I don’t think was done well here because I was definitely not invested, especially since I didn’t think they had any chemistry with each other. Though having said that, the passage of time in the story was never really made clear and I’m not entirely sure of the time frame. The story either takes place over the course of a few months or a few weeks, I was never entirely sure about that. There were too many side characters wandering around with nothing to do. Even Nathan, who is Eric’s best friend and easily the main side character, didn’t seem to have anything relevant to do half the time once Eric and Tim’s ‘relationship’ really kicked off. There’s also the issue of Eric’s family, which eventually became a non-issue at some point since the story mostly seemed to forget about them most of the time. The writing was also something I wasn’t fond of, mostly because I felt, bland characters and tepid romance aside, that we really weren’t getting enough information about the important things. We got bits and pieces of things, but never really enough to put major plot points together. Honestly I felt as if I was trying to read this through a brain-fog, which wasn’t fun.

 

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

 

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