Susan Reviews: Ryan by Wayne Mansfield


Title: Ryan
Author: Wayne Mansfield
Publisher: JMS Books
Pages: 25
POV: 3rd
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 3.75

Blurb:

For the past twenty years, Dane has taken care of his wealthy Aunt Beatrice. One rainy day, she’s killed in a car accident, and Dane is devastated. When he returns to the large, luxurious home they once shared, he falls into a depression.

Lonely, he places an advertisement on Craigslist, in part to find someone to keep the house clean and take care of maintenance, but also to keep him company, as he did Aunt Beatrice. The next morning, Ryan is at his door to claim the job. Soon Dane finds himself falling in love with the handsome handyman. But there’s more to both men than first meets the eye.

Secrets and shocks culminate in a decision no one should have to make. Especially without all the answers.

Review:

The blurb is quite misleading. A lot. I can’t really go into details without spoiling the surprise. But this certainly wasn’t the story I expected, about a man getting over his grief and starting to live again with a hunky handyman. That doesn’t mean, however, that this was bad.

The first chapter sets the stage with a rueful tone, a middle-aged man coping with loss in an empty mansion and sinking into apathy. It takes the place going to ruin for Dane to get a live-in housekeeper, Ryan. After that, things perk up. Literally.

The two men couldn’t be more different. Dane’s quiet and reserved, as he’s still in mourning. Ryan’s a breath of fresh air, laidback and upbeat. The characterization was done with easy, fluid dialogue that sounded realistic. The physicality of both men is shown well, the attraction and magnetic pull they feel for each other.

The plot moves with a swift pace, there’s no chance to get bored. We only get Dane’s POV, and have to interpret Ryan’s character through Dane’s view of him. The talks and behavior patterns help a lot. I got a distinct feel for both men and didn’t feel deprived of any detail.

There’s a lot of introspection and talking about serious issues but also sporadic humor and levity, not to mention sensuality. The language is efficient and to the point, and the writing style easy to follow without being flowery or over-descriptive. Mansfield can write. The relationship could have been fleshed out a bit more with longer scenes and showing the men actually getting to know each other. We learn more about Dane than Ryan who is the titular character.

Had the blurb been more true to the story, I would have given this a solid four or maybe more. The story’s quite lovely, to be honest, sweet and caring and hopeful. I recommend this to people who aren’t immediately turned off by unexpected plot twists or story surprises. In the end, this was a nice little romance with a touch of deeper questions.

Recommended!

Reviewed by: Susan

Click HERE to purchase Ryan by Wayne Mansfield

Gabbi Reviews: A Game of Hearts by Deirdre O’Dare


Title: A Game of Hearts
Author: Deirdre O’Dare
Publisher: JMS Books
Pages: 47
Characters: Tim Hardesty, DeVore Weyrick
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, May/December Romance
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

DeVore lost the love of his life ten years ago, left his seven-figure career with a huge financial firm, and became a recluse. He now indulges a hobby of photography which has become his new vocation. At one of the few social functions he attends, he meets an amazing young man. Can he find new life and new love? The game of hearts is always risky, but what if a part of your first love now lives in another body?

Tim was a preemie and always frail. Later, an organ transplant was the only thing that could save him. Now grown, he still struggles to break restrictive family ties and find a purpose. It’s a thrill to meet the charismatic DeVore, an idol whose powerful photographs move many. But is this attraction his own, or coming from the stranger’s heart now beating in his chest?

Review:

A Game of Hearts by Deirdre O’Dare is a fast-paced, well-written read that gave me a lot of enjoyment and escapism from my hectic day. I was immediately enthralled with these two heroes lives and anxious to read their story.

From the blurb and even the title I was pretty sure how things were going to be. I thought this story would be predictable and even a little trite at times, BUT was I wrong! I was very pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this book, as well as, the way the two heroes begin to develop a life together.

I loved both the heroes. Both Tim and DeVore are intriguing, multi-dimensional men. They are both likeable men with a complicated and you can even say difficult past. Both have experienced loneliness and disappointment and the unpredictable things that life can give. In many ways, both men have been walled off from others. DeVore is a loner by his own choices and Tim has been because of overprotective parents and the side-effects of being chronically ill can often give you. When they meet, there is something special that flows between them and as they continue to get to know one another, they begin to not only bring out the best in each other, they truly begin to live a full life together.

I loved this story. I loved Tim and DeVore. I loved the pacing of it and adored how these two men truly seemed to fit together. A Game of Hearts is an easy book to recommend. It is a perfect choice for those looking for a quick romantic read that will sweep you off of your feet.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase A Game of Hearts by Deidre O’Dare

Gabbi Reviews: The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee


Title: The Masterpiece
Author: Bonnie Dee
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 142
Characters: Arthur Lawton, Joe Sprat
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Historical Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Built from the bottom up: one perfect gentleman.

Man about town Arthur Lawton spends his days pursuing entertainment while shoeshine Joe Sprat labors to better his family’s lives. When an argument about nature versus nurture sparks a wager, Arthur swears to a friend he can turn this working man into a gentleman who will pass at a society function.

Joe is happy to participate in the experiment for a fee but receives more than he bargained for after moving into Lawton’s house. Arthur is determined Joe won’t merely wear a veneer of sophistication but educates him in every way. As he creates his new and improved man, Arthur grows more deeply infatuated with him, while Joe falls equally hard for his charismatic mentor.

Underneath a growing friendship, desire simmers and one day explodes. After their relationship escalates, the pair exists in a dream bubble until the threat of exposure sharply reminds them they belong in different worlds. When the ball is over, each must resume his own life, changed by their encounter but destined for different courses.

Find out if love is strong enough to bridge the gap between peer and pauper in this twist on the tale of My Fair Lady.

Review:

The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee is a brilliantly written romance set in 1909 London. Not only was I immediately swept up into the lives of these characters, the historic setting was almost as captivating.
The blurb describes the story so well, there is really no reason for me to rehash it. Instead, I thought I’d write the reasons why I loved this story and why it’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

To say that I loved this book is an understatement. Not only was it a beautifully told romance, I became addicted to these two heroes. Coming from two totally different lives and circumstances, they shouldn’t have fit together so perfectly…but they did.

There is an honest emotional connection between them. It was easy to see how much they came to like, respect and admire one another. I loved the friendship they developed and enjoyed the camaraderie and easy banter they shared together as their story progressed. When they do give into the heated attraction they have for one another, it is a natural and beautiful step in their relationship.

Actually, heated attraction is an understatement. WHEW! The sizzling chemistry they shared steamed up my computer screen! After a scene or two, I found myself needing to turn on the fan to cool off! *Fans Self*

There isn’t anything I didn’t love about this story and the two heroes. They will live with me long after I write this review and I know I will have to read this book again, just to have my Joe and Arthur fix. In my opinion, Bonnie Dee is one of the best gay historical romance authors out there, and her books are not to be missed. I’ve loved each and every one of them and I can’t wait to read more stories written by her in the future.

If you love historical romance…read this book. If you love sexy heroes that are so well-written they live off of the written page…read this book. If you are craving a fast-paced romance that will live with you long after you finish reading it…read this book.

I honestly can’t recommend it enough.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to buy The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee

Gabbi Reviews: Just His by Shawn Lane


Title: Just His
Author: Shawn Lane
Publisher: JMS Books
Pages: 49
Characters: Adrian Michels, Geoff Spencer
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4

Blurb:

After his boss at the hospital suggests he take a sabbatical for a much-needed rest, neurologist Geoff Spencer ends up at his friend’s cabin in Big Bear, California. But to Geoff’s surprise, his former lover is also there — his friend’s brother, the beautiful Adrian Michels, a brooding artist and a “commitment-phobe” who broke Geoff’s heart years earlier before leaving unexpectedly for Europe.

Now, Adrian suggests a no-strings affair while Geoff is with him in Big Bear. Although torn, Geoff eventually agrees. But what he really wants is for Adrian to be his — Just His — for eternity …

Review:

It’s easy to admit that I enjoy Shawn Lane’s stories. Her heroes are always interesting and I always find myself getting wrapped up into the story they have to tell.

As soon as I started this story, I was immediately swept up into the lives of these two men. Both Geoff and Adrian were likeable men whose paths once again meet after breaking up several years ago.

Geoff is a doctor whose personal and professional life is in an uproar because of a string of unfortunate events. When he is forced to take a sabbatical, Geoff agrees to stay at his friend’s family cabin for the duration so he can hopefully get his life back in order. When he arrives, Geoff is surprised when his first and only love, Adrian, answers the door. Geoff hasn’t seen Adrian since Adrian broke up with him years ago and isn’t sure what to do or how to react. When Adrian insists that Geoff at least stay for the night-if not longer- Geoff reluctantly agrees to do so.

At first glance the two men do not seem to fit together. Sure, there is a heated chemistry between them, but Adrian is a free-spirited artist who has had many lovers and a carefree lifestyle, whereas, Geoff is a stable man who craves a monogamous relationship instead.

As the story continues we quickly see why the two men broke up. Through this, we realize that the two men did fit together, despite living very different lives. I ended up really rallying behind Geoff and Adrian’s budding relationship with the hope that somehow they find a way to work through their differences and be together.

This is a short novel and I truly wish it had been longer. Though I was thrilled to see Geoff and Adrian together, I found myself wondering what kind of problems and road blocks these two men would have in the future. Adrian admits several time both to Geoff and to himself that he has a hard time thinking he can be with just one man, but he agrees to be monogamous because he loves Geoff and wants to be with him. It would have been interesting to see how and if they are truly able to work through this and if a free-spirit like Adrian can really commit to one place and one man.

Despite this, I really, really liked this book. It’s a great edition to the ‘His’ series and like the other books, can be read as a stand-alone book in the series. I enjoyed the story the two men had to tell and loved the happy ending. If you are looking for a quick and sexy read with intriguing characters that live and breathe off of the written page, then Just His is definitely the book for you!

Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to buy Just His by Shawn Lane

Anne Reviews: Detour by Sid Love


TITLE: Detour
Author: Sid Love
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Pages: 264
Characters: Austin Reyes/Dylan Carver
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: contemporary
Kisses: 3.5

Blurb:

Austin Reyes works as a bartender to support his ailing mother in a small town called Eaton. But his life takes a horrible turn when his boss’ son, Caleb, arrives in town and forces himself upon Austin. There is no end to Caleb’s lustful intentions. Austin leaves Eaton and flees to Denver to start a new life when his mother commits suicide after succumbing to depression. There, he meets Dylan Carver.

Dylan is out and proud. He’s also a well-known actor in the porn industry. When haters damage his car, Austin, now homeless and destitute, is injured and Dylan helps him. In the immediate aftermath, Dylan develops more than a passing interest for Austin, and, though they part ways, chance meetings never stop.

Austin lets Dylan in on the secret about his past, but soon realizes that the man who looked so happy on the outside, has his own baggage. Unbeknownst to them, someone is plotting to get Austin killed.

Even while surrounded by danger, Austin and Dylan’s relationship takes a detour that was always meant to be. Will this detour be Dylan’s undoing? Will Austin finally come to terms with his mother’s suicide and follow his own truth? Or will their lives implode?

Trigger Warning: Content includes a rape scene.

Review:

I enjoy reading books with flawed heroes and the characters in Detour make plenty of mistakes. I found the writing style very easy to read, and the story flowed well. The settings and characters were easy to visualize, and I really liked the secondary characters especially Amy and Liana. I enjoyed the fact that they had their own HEA to pursue. The bad guy was really horrible—but then he’s meant to be. Detour brings to home the importance of family and their influence in a person’s life, which I think is one of its strengths.

I did find the plot a little predictable in places although that didn’t stop me from continuing to read to find out what happened next. I also had some reservations about the decisions some of the characters made considering what they’d just been through, and found myself thinking “seriously, why would you do this?” in places, but I figure people make mistakes and that is part of what makes these characters come across as human. Although I felt the story was more of a HFN with a hint of HEA in the future, as the characters still have a way to go on their journey to work through their experiences, I felt satisfied with that, and it worked well for the story.

I’d recommend Detour to readers who enjoy contemporary romance with flawed characters, well developed secondary characters, and a strong sense of family.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase Detour by Sid Love