Gabbi Reviews: Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan


Title: Love Lessons
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Heidi Cullinan
Pages: 301
Characters: Kelly Davidson, Walter Lucas
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

2nd Edition

Love doesn’t come with a syllabus.

Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus.

Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.

Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view.

As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.

Review:

I’ve read several books by Heidi Cullinan and I’ve loved them all. Ms. Cullinan has a way of really getting to the heart and soul of her characters. She has an ability to write well-told, sexy and thought provoking stories that live long with you long after finish reading it. The blurb does an excellent job at describing the story, so I won’t rehash a lot of it. Instead, I thought I’d talk about why I love this book and why I highly recommend it.

After I finished reading Love Lessons, I couldn’t help but feel like this was a well-rounded story. I loved how both heroes, and in my opinion, by the way Ms. Cullinan wrote them, loved them too. They are definitely not your average everyday cookie-cutter characters. No, these two men are extremely well-developed, humanly flawed and lovable heroes that live and breath off of the written page.

When it comes to the old adage that opposites attract, it is never better said than the romance in Love Lessons. Kelly comes from a small town, loves anything romantic. His favorite movies are Disney related and he hopes to one day find his own Prince Charming. Kelly is determined to have his own happily ever after.

When Kelly meets his new roommate, Walter, he wonders what in world they could have in common…except that they are both gay.

Walter has a love ’em and leave ’em attitude and doesn’t believe in romance, but he can’t keep from becoming fascinated with his new roommate, Kelly’s, romantic ideas and naive view of the world. As a budding friendship between the two men turn into something more, Walter soon learns that maybe there really is a Prince Charming out there for everyone…even for a pessimistic romantic like him.

I loved how Ms. Cullinan reveals the quirks and problems her characters are experiencing little by little as the story continues. Just as the Walter and Kelly get to know each other, we as readers, also truly get to know who these two heroes really are on the inside. I also loved how these two men really seemed to have an undying affection, friendship and deep love for each other. Believe me, Kelly and Walter’s story is not a quick, easy ride, but it’s truly a beautiful one to read.

Love Lessons is one of my all-time favorite books. It will be on my re-read and keeper shelf where I know I’ll revisit these characters and their amazing story again and again. If you are looking for a romantic read that will both bring tears to your eyes and joy in your heart, then Love Lessons is definitely the book for you!

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan

Gabbi Reviews: Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood


Title: Textual Relations
Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Cate Ashwood
Pages: 88
Characters: Henry Hathaway, Asher Wescott
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4

Blurb:

Evolutionary psychology professor Henry Hathaway is ready to spend his birthday the same way he does every year: a good teeth cleaning followed by lunch with his brother. But when he receives a wrong-number text confirming the details of a date, he does what any considerate person would—he goes to meet them and explain why they’ve been stood up.

Asher Wescott hadn’t expected his blind date to go well, because when do they ever? Henry shows up instead, and things are suddenly looking up. Socially awkward and attached to his routines, Henry is nevertheless one of the most charming and kind men Asher has met in a long time.

Too bad he’s not Henry’s type.

An accidental date, an impulsive kiss, and a few conflicted feelings later, can Asher get Henry to see the world—and him—in a different light?

Review:

Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood is a sweet and sexy romance that left a smile on this reader’s face. I needed a light, romantic read and this story was just what the doctor ordered. Since the blurb does a good job at describing the story, I won’t rehash it. Instead, I decided to write about why I liked this story and why I recommend it.

One of the stronger aspects of the story are the two heroes. Both Henry and Asher are likeable men. I truly enjoyed watching them form a strong bond together and liked their story. Since the book is told by Henry’s point of view, we don’t get to know Asher as much as I would have liked, but we are able to see through Henry’s eyes how special he thinks Asher is and how easy it was for Henry to fall for him despite never being attracted to a man before.

Henry is an intelligent man, but despite this, he is quite walled-off and sheltered many ways. He has a routine he sticks by and doesn’t like change very much. It’s because of his reluctance to try new things, Henry has a controlled and somewhat boring life. When Henry meets Asher, his world is turned upside down. Asher is sweet and sexy and his zest for life, both fascinates and frightens Henry. As the two men get to know one another and Henry begins to allow himself to see more and do more, the two men form a strong bond and attraction toward one another.

I really liked Henry but he is cluelessness sometimes was off-putting to me. There were times I found myself wondering how he could be so naïve about some things, but in some ways, I did understand why Henry would be endearing to a sexy and more compulsive Asher. It would be interesting to see this couple in the future. I’d like to see how their relationship continues to evolve and if, despite their differences, they really do stand the test of time.

If you are in the mood for a sexy and flirty read, Textual Relations is the book for you. It’s a perfect rainy day read and an easy book to recommend. I’m looking forward to reading more books by Ms. Ashwood in the future and hope she does continue writing more about Henry and Asher one day.

Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Texual Relations by Cate Ashwood

Are you looking for something great to read? Check out the latest releases from JMS Books!


TITLE: Cinnamon Eyes
AUTHOR: Nell Iris
ISBN: 9781634864404
GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 34,679 words
PRICE: $3.99
PURCHASE EBOOK

Cory’s had a rough year struggling with severe depression. He’s desperate to rebuild his shattered life and break away from his demanding family. When his therapist encourages him to do something for himself, he knows exactly what he needs. I want to see Asher again. The best friend Corey ever had who, at fifteen, held Cory’s heart in his hands without knowing it.

Asher’s had a troubled relationship with his father since he came out. Now that Pops is sick, he’s fighting for his right to help or even find out about his father’s health. Then there’s the complication of an ex-boyfriend unwilling to let go.

When Cory and Asher meet again after sixteen years, Cory’s feelings are as strong as ever. But does Asher feel the same?


TITLE: Manfred’s Curse
AUTHOR: Shawn Lane
ISBN: 9781634864145
GENRE: Gay Paranormal Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 6,233 words
PRICE: $1.99

PURCHASE EBOOK

An unsettling storm arrives in Conrad’s seaside town, turning his life upside down when his housecat shifts into a sexy man.

Manfred is used to being a cat — and shifting to his human form whenever he wants — until he crosses paths with a vindictive witch who curses him. He finds the man of his dream in Conrad, but before he can get his man, the curse must be broken for good.


TITLE: The Grump
AUTHOR: Wayne Mansfield
ISBN: 9781634864138
GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 18,775 words
PRICE: $2.99

PURCHASE EBOOK

Brad can’t believe his luck when he finds the perfect place to live at the perfect price. It’s a pity his new landlord Douglas is such a miserable grump. It isn’t long before he wonders if it’s a good idea to be living in such close proximity to such a moody ogre.

Fortunately, his life at work is looking up with the arrival of a new employee named Enzo. Brad falls immediately in lust with the hot Italian. They start dating, though it soon becomes apparent there are going to be problems. Enzo starts exhibiting some unlikeable traits and, while Brad finds himself slowly falling in love with the man, he also realizes Enzo has problems not just with commitment, but also with his sexuality.

Brad has a dilemma. Does he persist with Enzo, tolerate his bad behavior, and pray for a miraculous, happy ending? Or will the love he seeks come from an entirely different direction?

Gabbi Reviews: Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert


Title: Rainbow Cove, Book 1: Trust with a Chaser
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Annabeth Albert
Pages: 275
Characters: Mason Hanks, Nash Flint
POV: Alternating 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Review:

As soon as I read the blurb to Trust with a Chaser, I knew I had to read it. Not only has, Annabeth Albert, quickly become a must-read author for me, I was excited to see that Trust with a Chaser is the first book in a new series.

Many of you know that I am a sucker for a May/December romance. Throw in a surly chief of police officer and a thoughtful man who is determined to make something of himself and I’m all in! The problem is…I made the mistake of starting this story right before my bedtime. Honestly, I should have known better, but since I was anxious to at least start the book, I didn’t think there would be any harm in reading a chapter or two before falling asleep. WRONG. I ended up becoming so wrapped up in Nash and Mason’s lives that I read through the night and finished the book without any sleep. Believe me when I say it was worth it! I loved every minute I spent reading this story and I can’t wait until the next book in the series!

Mason and Nash are complex characters. Nash is a forty year old man who still lives his life firmly in the closet. For all of his life, Nash has lived his life to not only serve the community he loves, Nash has strove to live up to his dead father’s expectations. Since his father was something of a homophobe and a cold fish, Nash has pushed aside his own wants and happiness to please a man who couldn’t ever be possibly pleased.

Mason Hanks has just returned to town and he is determined to not live up to his family’s bad reputation. To the townspeople and to Nash, the “Hanks” name has become synonymous with trouble, and Mason’s conviction to be nothing like his family is a noble one. Mason’s steadfastness to become a successful businessman and to make Rainbow Cove a safe haven for LGBTQ tourist makes him an easy character to like. Between his dedication to get Nash to like and respect him and his zest for life, Mason is truly a force to be reckoned with.

At first glance, one wouldn’t think these two men should be together, but between the sizzling chemistry they shared between them, and Mason’s determination to be seen as someone important in Nash’s eyes, I admit I hopelessly fell for this couple. I liked the way they brought out the best in each other and I loved the way both of them continued to grow and evolve as people and as a couple throughout the book.

Mason and Nash truly fit together. I loved them and I hated to see the book come to an end. I will say that both of their family’s attitudes drove me crazy. There were times I wanted to punch Mason’s family in the throat because of their laziness and constant mooching off of Mason. Nash’s mother can be a real cold fish, too. BUT saying this, the hate I had for them made this story and Mason and Nash’s journey an even better read.

Trust with a Chaser
is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. It’s a great start to what looks to be an amazing series and I can’t wait to read the next book! Do yourself a favor and read it and check out other books written by this author. You won’t regret it.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Trust with a Chaser

Lydia Reviews: Symbols by Mario Kai Lipinski


TITLE: Symbols
Author: Mario Kai Lipinski
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 350
Characters: Shane and Matt
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, New Adult
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Violence is hard to escape because of the scars it leaves—on the body, the mind, and the heart.
Small, skinny, and timid, Matt is the school’s punching bag. He suffers in silence and holds no hope anyone will come to his aid. The last thing on his mind is finding someone special. He’s sure it’s impossible, so why bother trying?
Shane is no stranger to pain. At his old school, he broke a football player’s arms for tormenting his friend, and with his size and multiple tattoos, he looks every bit the thug everyone—Matt included—assumes he is.
Building trust isn’t easy, but a sweet yet passionate romance slowly unfolds. Their road isn’t without bumps, but Matt and Shane navigate them together, finding happiness and security in each other—until another act of violence and its aftermath threatens to tear their lives—and their love—apart once and for all. But like the symbols etched into Shane’s skin, some things are made to last.

Review:

For those who love the young adult sub-genre, Symbols is an excellent story to pick up. From the first page, I found myself drawn into the world created by the, new to me, author. I loved the characters, yes, they could be cookie cutter in the way that Matt is small and picked on, while Shane is the big tough scary one. However, while we may have seen characters with similar descriptions before, these two have their own personalities that help make them stand out.

Matt has learned to live with the bullying he faces in school, going on alone without even letting on to his parents. He is worried when he hears the rumors floating around about the new kid, and scarred shitless when he finally sees him. Matt has every reason to be afraid as Shane is bigger than any other student at the school. His size and tattooed covered body screams thug, and the rumors saying he killed someone at his last school do not help. But, Shane is a bit of a teddy bear who will protect anyone he cares about, even at a cost to himself. While they notice each other earlier in the day, they really do not meet until Shane comes to Matt’s rescue. Matt is unsure how to react to Shane and cannot help worrying what the cost will be for the other student’s aide.

It is easy to see that Matt suffers from PTSD due to all the bullying he has gone through. I like that Shane realizes this and, in his own way, tries to help Matt. But Matt is not the only one suffering. Shane has many issues to overcome as well. There are the scars that are the result of a car accident when he was younger, he has covered them with tattoos which unfortunately helps flesh out his thug status. Then there are the events of last school year and the reason he is starting over in a new place.

Both of their issues cause a lot of misunderstandings between them. More than once I felt myself close to tears and wanting to hug one, if not both, of them. I want to say that after a rocky start their relationship flows smoothly and everything changes for them, however, that is not the case as this is a story that is full of angst. It is also one that I will be reading again.

For me Symbols is one story that I will re-read many times. the characters and the story line not only grabbed my attention from the beginning but stayed with me even after the story ended. I will also be keeping my eye out for more books by this author.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Lydia Reviews: Love Wanted by John Inman


TITLE: Love Wanted
Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 270
Characters: Larry Walls, Bo Lansing, and Jimmy Blackstone
POV: 3rd POV
Sub-Genre: Ghost
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

When it rains, it pours. Not only has Larry Walls been evicted from his apartment, but his hours have also been cut at the department store where he works, leaving him facing homelessness.
Meanwhile, Bo Lansing, a total stranger to Larry, toils at a dead-end job as a fry cook while attending night classes to become a certified chef. When the school closes its doors without warning, leaving Bo in the lurch for thousands of dollars in tuition, his dream of becoming a chef is shattered and his financial troubles spiral.
Desperate for a new beginning, each man answers an ad for live-in help posted by a wealthy recluse, and wonder of wonders, they are both hired! Just as their lives begin to improve, a young Kumeyaay Indian named Jimmy Blackstone joins the workforce at the Stanhope mansion.
When Mr. Stanhope’s true reason for hiring the young men is discovered by one of the three, a fourth entity makes its presence known.

Greed.

With all these players vying for position in a game of intrigue orchestrated by one lonely old man and a mischievous ghost, can a simple thing like love ever hope to survive the fray?

Review:

This newest book by Mr. Inman is not at all what I was expecting. Let me say upfront that I am a huge fan of this author and Love Wanted has not changed that. However, I was expecting another fun filled romp like many of his earlier books and while Love Wanted is funny, and will no doubt have the readers laughing at times, for me it had a different feel to it.

The book starts out with a prologue to set up the background of the book. Old wealthy Mr. Stanhope knows he does not have a whole lot of time left and with no family he has no one to leave all his money to. With that in mind Stanhope sets out to find two men who will find the kind of love he had with his husband. To do that he turns his house into a form of Big Brother, the only difference is that there will only be two young men ‘hired’ and neither of them know what is really going on.

When the story starts out it appears as if this will be a fun romantic story between Bo Lansing and Larry Walls, each having to start over, and hoping that their new jobs with Mr. Stanhope is just what they needed. Of course, you expect things to be a little crazy with Stanhope playing the two to see how they will react, and Jeremy, the ghost of Stanhope’s husband causing a little mischief. Slowing things begin to change and I started to wonder what was going to happen next, especially after Stanhope hires Jimmy Blackstone.

This is one of those books that would be easy to spoil so I will not go into too much detail. I will say that fans of this author really should think of picking up Love Wanted. While it, in some ways, was not what I expected, it was very well done. I found myself staying up late into the night to see how everything would play out. I loved the way the author wraps up the story and found myself wanting to cry at the end. I was glad to be given a chance to read this and will be putting it in my keeper file.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press homepage

Lydia Reviews: Darkest Hour Before Dawn by Charlie Cochet


TITLE OF BOOK: Darkest Hour Before Dawn
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 224
Characters: Sebastian Hobbs and Hudson Colbourn
POV: 3rd POV
Sub-Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.
As life-and-death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most… for good this time.

Review:

Darkest Hour Before Dawn is the latest book in Ms. Cochet’s THIRDS series. I must tell you I am a die-hard Dex and Sloan fan, and worry when each new book comes out that I will not like the new story or couple because it does not center around them. This never happens as the author does an excellent job bringing each book and couple alive in a way that pulls the reader right in. Darkest Hour Before Dawn is no exception.

This story centers on Seb and Hudson. Fans of this series know that these two have some serious history. While it is easy to understand the reason these two are not together, even if you do not agree with it, as soon as they share their first scene together, you can see the chemistry that still exists between them. It was fun getting to know these Seb and Hudson as more than just secondary characters, however, more than once I wanted to smack one, if not both, of them. Their stubbornness causes them both more pain than they needed to go through. That they finally find their way back together is not a shock, but what they go through will keep the readers turning the page. I must say that the scenes with Hudson and the Hobbs family really had me close to tears. I wanted to grab Hudson and tell him “This could be yours. Stop running”.

Darkest Hour Before Dawn is not just about Seb and Hudson’s relationship. Like each previous book this one furthers the underlining plot of the series. More characters are finding themselves tied to Dex and Sloan as they get ready to move to TIN. While I cannot wait to see what Ms. Cochet’s new series, TIN, will bring, I will hate to see the end of THIRDS. There are also a couple of surprises in this book that readers will like, one of which makes a lot of sense once it starts to unfold.

Fans of this series are really going to like this book. I know that some skip around in this series and only read certain books. I would suggest that readers really follow the series in order as each book brings another new aspect to the series.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Website