Review: Pawsitively in Love – M.J. O’Shea

PawsitivelyInLoveLG

What Austin Lloyd lacks in academics, he makes up for in his love of the animals who frequent his pet salon. He’s not lucky in romance, though, and his family would like him to settle down with a good man. Austin—and his golden retriever, Maggie—couldn’t agree more.

Evan Partridge isn’t good at letting people in. His messy family life and the past that’s shaped him aren’t worth bringing up. But his pug, Dexter, sure likes the pet salon owner.

Austin and Evan get off to a rough start, but being friends soon turns into something more. Unfortunately, Evan’s secretive behavior nearly does the relationship in, and the budding love affair almost crashes and burns when Evan’s troubled sister shows up on his doorstep.

Not speaking to each other is killing them both, but Evan doesn’t know how to keep Austin and help his sister at the same time. He just knows he has to try. Winning back Austin’s trust back, however, is going to take a whole lot of work.

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I’ve got to preface this by saying I’m a sucker for anything with animals. O’Shea had me at the mention of a pug and a golden retriever. And they’re awesome (that’s right, awesome). A lot of the humor in this story is centered around the two dogs, and it’s the little pug that allows Evan to meet Austin. They act as a good parallel relationship for the two men, as well.

Which, right, we should talk about the human relationship in this story. It’s sweet. It starts off completely on the wrong foot, and I love that. It’s not swept under the rug in five seconds flat. Austin has to prove that he isn’t trying to truly scar Evan for life, and Evan finds himself irritated and confused, but it pulls him in. And I loved Evan. He needs everything to be just so, and when it’s not you can see the panic building. I found him to be very relatable, and his struggle to be not over done but not under exaggerated. O’Shea presents a nice balance in this story.

The background characters are (mostly) lovable. The friend group dynamic is a big part of the story, and it makes a difference. The one thing I would have liked to see in this story was an ending that didn’t feel so abrupt. I’d have liked to see a glimpse into the future, or at least one of the loose ends tied up a bit.

4 Stars

Find it at:

Dreamspinner / Amazon / ARe

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Review: Finding His Home – Thianna Durston

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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.

~~~

Finding His Home is a very sweet, heartwarming read. I’ve not read the previous novel, but I had no problem following the story, and I quite enjoyed the supporting characters. While you don’t need to read the first novel to understand this one, the characters will make you want to.

The relationship between all the characters is what really makes this book good. It’s more about friendship than it is romance (though that is definitely included, don’t worry). Bastien is finding himself,  he’s taking a huge leap to do it, and without the characters supporting him it wouldn’t have been the same. He’s a charming young man, easy to love and feel for as he struggles to figure out what he wants. It’s not all easy for him, and there’s just enough angst to keep things interesting. The story is told from Bastien’s POV, so we don’t get a good look into David’s head, but he’s a pillar for Bastien (and a wee bit jealous of the competition at times). It was nice to see him stand by Bastien through everything, and how he pushed his own feelings down at points because he cared about what Bastien wanted.

Overall, this is a feel good read that will have you rooting for Bastien and his friends and laughing aloud at times. I’m hoping a certain supporting character *cough* Alan *cough* gets a book soon.

4 stars

The novel can be found at:

Dreamspinner

Amazon 

Review: The Law of Attraction – Jay Northcote

28365986When a professional relationship turns personal, it’s impossible to resist the law of attraction.

Alec Rowland is a high-flying lawyer in a London firm whose career is his life. He doesn’t have time for relationships and his sexuality is a closely guarded secret. After picking up a cute guy on a Friday night, Alec’s world is rocked to its foundations when his one night stand shows up in the office on Monday morning—as the new temp on his team.

Ed Piper is desperate to prove himself in his new job. The last thing he needs is to be distracted by a crush on his boss. It’s hard to ignore the attraction he feels, even though Alec’s a difficult bastard to work for.

Both men strive to maintain a professional relationship, but tempers fray, passions ignite, and soon they’re both falling hard and fast. If they’re ever going to find a way to be together, Alec needs to be honest about who he really is because Ed won’t go back in the closet for anyone.

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What I think:

Northcote provides everything you could want in The Law of Attraction. There’s humor, angst, plenty of sex, and a relationship that develops over time. Not to mention some very handsome lawyers.

I’ve always been a fan of telling a story from both characters’ perspectives, and that’s done here. We get an inside glimpse as to how both men feel as they struggle through, and it makes it very easy to like them. Alec could easily come off us an unlikable character at first, but I found myself falling in love with him, and the way he was written is perfect. His complete lack of knowing what to do with Ed from the get go is absolutely adorable. In many ways he came off the more dominant character on the surface, and it was nice to see Ed come in and shake that up. Alec’s been through a lot, and Ed helps him while managing to stand his own ground. That’s what sealed the deal for me when it came to The Law of Attraction. Ed was such a strong character, and he stuck to his principles. It was nice to see the combined strength of these characters.

Overall this is a fantastic read. You’re going to run the gamut when it comes to emotion while reading this.

5/5

The Law of Attraction can be found on:

Amazon

Save of the Game by Avon Gale – Review

Save of the Game

A Scoring Chances Novel

After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His new roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences. Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.

~~

Words cannot express how much I loved this book. Hunter was the absolute, most adorable thing on the planet and I fell in love with him. His relationship with Ethan was fitting, with a minimal amount of angst and enough bumps along the way to keep it realistic but not over the top.

Much like the first novel in this series, you’re going to laugh when you read it. These two are far less awkward than Lane – the main in the first one – but they’re unique enough in their own ways that they’ll have you rolling. They’re foils for each other, exact opposites, and they work together beautifully.

This novel features the characters – both main and background – from the previous novel, which is always great to see in a sequel. You don’t have to say goodbye to any characters you might have liked from the first one. In particular I’m a sucker for this, because I get attached to characters quickly. I like to see them throughout a series, to know how they’re doing.

Perhaps my favorite thing about Ms. Gale’s books, is how the romance isn’t actually the entire plot. Both characters have external issues they’re working through, and there’s no ‘oh man I fucked up and we need to reconcile moment’. I’ll admit I do like those as well, but it’s refreshing to read something where the characters are together and just dealing with life. They’re not complicating each others, they’re helping. It’s a nice change of pace.

All this being said, I definitely recommend this novel. If I’m starring it, it’s a five. You’re going to want to read it all in one sitting.

 

You can find it on Amazon and Dreamspinner

The novel will be out January 29th

Breakaway Review – Avon Gale

 

Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He’s put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.
Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.

 

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I’ve got to start by saying Lane was adorable. As an awkward person, it’s very easy for me to appreciate characters who excel in one area but can’t quite get a grasp on normal human interaction. I loved that he was such a mess, and I think one of the important things to take into account is that he’s in his early twenties. He’s not the normal thirty and up guy that we see. He’s just starting out, he’s away from home, and up until this point, he lived and breathed hockey. He still does, but now there’s more to it.

Jared is a nice foil for Lane. He’s the opposite in almost every way, and he’s charmed by Lane’s awkwardness. He provides a steady force that Lane really needs, and Lane manages to help him out a lot as well (possibly more than Jared helps him, which is a nice twist).

I laughed A LOT while reading this book, and I’m not going to lie, I got a huge kick out of it taking place in Jacksonville. I’m from Florida, so when certain things are mentioned it’s probably a little funnier to me because it’s a Florida thing. And Avon nailed it. I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get to see Lane in downtown Jacksonville because that would have been hilarious, but overall I was really impressed.

As a hockey fan, I appreciated it even more. I don’t know the first thing about the ECHL, I’ll admit, and this book actually sparked my interest. So it’s possible alongside my NHL game schedule there might be some ECHL ones now.

Overall this was a hilarious and very light hearted read. It’s easy on the drama and big on the humor. I definitely recommend it.

5 Stars

Review: Signs of Desire

Signs of Desire – Tempeste O’Riley

4.5

This was a delightful, very sweet and emotional story. Simon and Adrian are adorable together, and while their relationship does move along at a somewhat fast pace, it fits them. Adrian and Simon both have trust issues of a very similar kind, despite them being for different reasons. Adrian is hesitant to date a Hearing man, as that has backfired in the past. He’s worried that his being deaf will cause a problem, that Simon won’t be able to understand. Simon lacks confidence thanks to his prior relationships and the treatment they’ve heaped on him, and he has a fair amount of issues regarding his family that provide bumps along the way.

I think one of the key things for this story, and what really sold it for me, were the relationships between all of the characters. This is the latest in a series (which I’ve not yet read), but the supporting characters provide an extra layer to the story and a humor that could struggle to be present in certain parts otherwise. This novel is very much about these two men working through their issues in order to be with each other, and I liked how realistically that was portrayed. Nothing was magically or immediately fixed and mistakes were made. Overall, this was a lovely read that had me really rooting for Adrian and Simon to pull through.

You can find it at:

Dreamspinner

Amazon 

Cinderella Review

It’s a tale that’s been told a hundred times before. It’s not a story that contains any surprises, and you know how it’s going to end when it starts.  But it’s fantastic. Kenneth Branagh, director of Thor, has done an amazing job bringing Cinderella to live action. The cast alone is superb, with Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother, Cate Blanchett as the evil-stepmother, Stellan Skarsgard as an advisor to the King (played by Derek Jacobi) and his son, the Prince (played by Richard Madden), and Lily James as an endearing Cinderella. This film is more than its cast, though.

Oftentimes Princes aren’t likable and they’re asses. Sometimes it takes them a bit to have that needed turn around. Kit gets it quickly. There’s actual chemistry between Kit and Cinderella. He listens to what she says, and he tries to emulate it. He becomes a better person (and you see this in the film) by meeting her. We see the prince in a very human light in this version, and that’s novel.

Lily James does a stellar job as Cinderella. She’s emotional, she’s got bundles of courage, and she portrays an innocence not often seen. Her version of Cinderella is going to hit you right in the feels and leave you wondering just how Cinderella does it. Cinderella is always known for her kindness, but in the case of this version that’s really shoved home. Cate Blanchett’s evil-stepmother is truly evil to her very core and she spends a lot of the time with a big smile on her face as she stomps all over Cinderella.

Emotions aren’t glossed over in this film. You feel the characters’ loss, their frustration, their joy. You’re put through the emotional ringer. There’s a lot of humor in it, too. It’s the little things that really accomplish this, with several brief scenes strategically located to relieve the tension. Carter’s fairy godmother scene is perhaps one of the biggest comedic/touching moments in the film. The choreography for the dances is gorgeous and the way the dance between Cinderella and Kit was filmed was exceptional. It’s old-fashioned, yet romantic, and the two of them flow together wonderfully.

If you get the chance, go see this film. Cinderella isn’t a girl waiting for her prince to save the day. She’s a woman who overcomes all of her obstacles, who teaches a prince that you should always be kind, and who possesses an amazing power of will.