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Review: The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes

Tuesday, February 28


My rating:
Unrelated: Why are there banner ads at the top of my GR homepage?

Anyway.
4 Stars…

Synopsis:

Professionally, Dr. Alec Johnson has almost reached his goals. As this year’s recipient of a humanitarian award with his ex, Dr. Tyler Hall, Alec’s work with the homeless is about to be recognized. Unfortunately, his personal life sucks because now he has to attend several events alongside Tyler—with his ex’s new boyfriend in tow. In an attempt to lift his mood and break out of his rut, Alec purchases a motorcycle he has no idea how to start.

Dylan Booth doesn't have time for Dr. Clueless and his fickle 1964 Harley, but the cocky mechanic can’t say no to the request for help. Having spent his teen years on the streets, and losing his best friend to HIV, Dylan decides teaching the do-gooder how to ride is the least he can do. But watching Alec flounder in his ex's company throws Dylan into protector mode, and the confirmed hetero introduces himself as Alec's new boyfriend.

The ex suspects Dylan is lying.

Alec claims Dylan’s plan is insane.

And Dylan’s not sure he can fake being gay.

But he’s a master bullshitter, and the phony PDA soon turns ultra-hot. Alec can’t afford to get attached, and Dylan’s learned everyone eventually leaves. Unfortunately, playing the backup boyfriend is starting to feel way too real…

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What I loved:

So. I'm not a massive fan of stories that start out with a lie. Exceptions would be Bossman and... probably just Bossman. There must be others but 3 glasses of wine. So the plot itself made me a little uncomfortable. But I've gotta say, I really loved how this story worked out.

Awesome, open, loyal characters. Dylan and Alec had a lot going on in their lives - they were legit doing cool stuff for their communities. Alec runs a free health clinic, and Dylan does a charity bike run in honour of his BFF. They're awesome! They're like... too cool for me to be sitting here with wine and Twisties judging them. I really loved them both.

I LOL'd for real at this one. Dylan's dry wit and Alec's awkwardness were hilarious.

Quote…"What kind of problems are you having?"
Christ, where to begin?
"Oh, you know. The usual," Alec said, surprised the man had asked. "Loss of appetite. Insomnia. I'm second guessing every decision I made during our two-year relationship. We'd even talked about getting married-"
Alec caught sight of Dylan's almost horrified expression.
"Dude," Dylan said. "I meant what kind of problems are you having with the bike?"


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Alec is so sweet. He's been hurt, but he's still so open, honest, and lovely. He just puts his heart out there and everyone knows what he's like. I just wanted to keep him safe.

What I didn’t love:

As much as I loved Dylan, it all seemed like a game for a long time. He really didn't take bugger all seriously, so Alec was taking a massive risk. But he was still super hot.
Noah was a bit of a non-event for me. I like strong, entertaining peripheral characters, and he was actually sort of annoying. I get why he was there, so it wasn't a major, but he just fell a little flat for me. The mum was funny though!

Overall…

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Review: Crossroads (Crossroads #1) by Riley Hart

Saturday, February 18

My rating:
5 Stars…

Quote…"I'm sorry I hit you."
"I'm sorry I kissed you. I think. Maybe not. No, I think I'm just sorry you hit me, too."


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Image unrelated, but seriously, how adorable is that laugh?

Synopsis:

After divorcing the woman he’d been with since he was seventeen, Nick Fuller is starting over. He owns the restaurant of his dreams and he’s determined to meet new people, find new passions, and experience life to its fullest. Easier said than done—that is until he meets his new neighbor, Bryce Tanner…

Bryce is all about a good time. He plans to show Nick how it’s done, help him meet a few women, and enjoy the gift of the single life he’s been given. But things don’t go as planned, and soon they realize they’d rather be together than with anyone else.

Neither man has ever wanted another guy, but there’s a connection between them from the start—a spark they can’t deny. They find themselves navigating an unfamiliar new world and dealing with unforeseen obstacles. Physical desire isn’t enough, and now Nick and Bryce are at a crossroads. They have to decide which way to go: the easy path they’ve always followed, or the one that's determined to trip them up at every turn.

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What I loved:

Both Nick & Bryce are new to the guy on guy thing (which I personally find mad hot yo... and don't talk to me about how unrealistic it actually is.) They are funny, curious, experimental, open, and adventurous. I loved the realism of their experiences, and even how their sexual journey plays out. It's all super cool.

There's a lot of cheekyness in this one - funny situations, great banter, awesome character dynamics. I did that stupid grinning-to-yourself-so-hard-people-look-at-you-funny thing repeatedly throughout this story.

Riley Hart knows some smut. The pornographic level is set way high on this one, and it was awesome.

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The dramatic stuff that pulls them apart and tests their relationship isn't angsty. It's just a lot for two previously straight people to deal with, and it's real, and it's sad, and it made my heart cry and scream and yell at them. But it's not OTT tragic or anything, which I really appreciated after some super heavy reads lately. Shout out to Riley Hart for that.

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What I didn’t love:

I can't think of anything. The story flowed beautifully, the writing was flawless, the editing was top notch, and the characters were fab.

Overall…

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Review: Him (Us #1) by Sarina Bowen

Monday, February 13
My rating:
4 Stars…

Turns out, straight man + gay man romance is my thing.

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Synopsis:

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend... and a big one to learn about himself.

****

What I loved:

Quote…And I'm going to prove it to him. Show him how much I fucking love him, because I sure as shit can't tell him.


If you're not really into YA / College age romances, don't let these characters ages put you off - there was none of the teenybopper angst I've come to detest. These were mature, developed characters with words and feelings and proper shit happening in their lives. I adored all the people.

- Jamie with all his bright eyed, open amazingness. He was raised in a fun, chaotic, open family and he has so much to offer. No wonder Ryan was so in love with him forever. I'm in love with him, and I only knew him for 300 pages.

- Ryan and his damned near obsessive love for his best friend. He didn't always handle it as well as he should, but his devotion to his friend was sweet in so many ways.

- The raunch factor is gloriously strong in this one.

- And it's a really funny book. Quirky funny.

Quote…Like we're close even when he's twenty yards away. I wear a consciousness of him like a second skin.

Okay, that sounds a little creepy. A little too Silence of the Lambs. Sunshine and sexual confusion have gone to my head.


- And fuck-buddy Holly! What an amazing girl she was. I actually find myself hoping Holly gets a story, but I'm gonna go ahead and assume I'm barking up the wrong tree there. Still, she was awesome.

What I didn’t love:

- A few times I thought Ryan was too closed off to deserve Jamie. Like, Jamie is the one taking all the risks both publicly and privately, and Ryan takes none. Ever. Ryan was already gay - he doesn't have to come out all over again. It's not his family that have to learn all this new stuff about their son. Luckily, Ryan redeems himself a little bit in the end, but even then I didn't feel like he truly put himself out there to the extent that Jamie did.

Overall…

Quote…I'm telling you right now. Just in case we can ever get more than a summer. I love you, and I wish things were different."

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Review: Hot Head by Damon Suede

Wednesday, February 8

My rating:
5 Stars…

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My first ever M/M romance novel, and OMG. Everything about this was gorgeous!

Quote…"In love, I mean. With you. For so long."

Synopsis:

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire...

Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.

Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there—together. Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?

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What I loved:

- First off, the basics: editing was excellent, writing was amazing, the story unfolded in a beautiful, slow burn, tension building way that made me fall in love with everything about our couple and their peoples.

- Dante. I go all in for a cocky, arrogant, swaggering ladies' man like this. Everything about him was fuckable sprinkles.

Quote…"Because I don't have a good time. I am a good time. Why the fuck else would I be here?"

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- The hothead.com premise. Awesome! And so cunning.

- The banter. I love when I story feels organic, and like you can actually imagine this stuff happening to someone. I want to be friends with these guys. Ha, that's a lie - I want to be between these guys for a day. And their family! Loved all the Anastagios.

Quote…Dinners were always a tug-of-war between the requirement that everyone eat more than possible, and their duty to take home huge shopping bags filled with enough food for a week.

^^^ That's my house!!

- And my #1 reason for keeping this story forever in my heart: Griff. Holy shit, he is possibly the most amazing hero I've ever met, and I can't even make him my book boyfriend because I lack key pieces of equipment. Fuck it all.

Griff was so sweet, and so deep, and so loving, and heroic, and generous, and loyal. Also, of course he was a hot man-mountain so, yeah.

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Quote…Please let someone come down and stop him while I can still say no.

Please don't let anyone come down here until I say yes.

Honestly, so many lines in this story squeezed my heart.

- And Beth! Not a main character, but she was a funny little fucker.
Quote…"And if you touch my shit again, I'm gonna kick your insides out and wear you as a party dress."

What I didn’t love:

Just gonna put a gif here that I like, because I don't have anything else for this space.

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Overall…
Quote…"Awww, G..."

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