Gabbi Reviews: From a Jack to a King by Scotty Cade

Title: From a Jack to a King

Author: Scotty Cade

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 200

Characters: Bay Whitman, King Slater

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

New York Times best-selling mystery writer Bay Whitman leads the life of a celebrity—at least on the surface. In public he’s self-assured and in control. Women hang on his every word, while men envy his confidence and swagger. But in reality, Bay is a loner. He’s shy and introverted, and his life consists of sitting in a dimly lit room writing his famous Jack Robbins mystery novels. His one vice—gambling. Winning an escort in a poker game will change Bay’s life in ways he never imagined.

Matthew “King” Slater is one of the hottest tickets in gay porn. He spends his days in front of the camera and his nights as a highly paid escort to the rich and famous. Deep down, he craves romance and a real connection, but his past makes it hard to separate the needs of his body from those of his heart. For now, it’s easier to think of sex as just a job. But while doing a shoot in Vegas, King is hired for a tryst at a famous hotel and casino, and his handsome client might blur the line between work and play.

Review:

I just finished reading From a Jack to a King and all I can say is, Whew! Scotty Cade can write romance! There is something special about the way his heroes connect with each other that really make his stories a well-written, beautifully told romance.

King is an unapologetic gigolo and porn star. He’s good at what he does and he enjoys it, too. At first, King seems to be very arrogant and his confidence about himself that borderlines a superiority within his field that can almost be off-putting. At first, I honestly didn’t know if I was going to like him.

Here’s the thing about King. He is a very complex character. As more about him is revealed, I began to really care for him. I liked how Mr. Cade did not sugarcoat his character or some of his behaviors at all. Why? Because watching King’s personal growth and how hard he falls for the sweet, intelligent and sexy Bay was a heartwarming thing to experience.

I understood why King fell so hard for Bay. Bay is a genuinely nice guy. He has a knack for poker, he’s a very successful writer and is an all-around likable guy. But, Bay is a very introverted man who is afraid to open up and allow people to see who he is on the inside. When he meets King, Bay is challenged to take a hard look at himself, as well as, allow himself to be opened to new possibilities.

I loved this book. Yes, there were times I wanted to strangle King, but those moments were few and far between. As a reader, I appreciated the way these two men learn to communicate and open their hearts and minds to one another.

I also loved the difference between King going through the motions at his job vs making love with Bay. Yes, there was a significant difference between it, and I was swept up in how each touch King and Bay shared between them was a loving, beautiful one.

I love romantic tales that sweep me up into the lives of complex, sexy, intelligent men who clearly are made for one another. Mr. Cade is a master storyteller and I adored every moment I spent reading this book.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed by: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Click HERE to read my review of An Unconventional Courtship by Scotty Cade. *It’s one of my all time favorite reads*

 

 

 

Gabbi Reviews: In Too Deep by Kate Sherwood

Title: In Too Deep

Author: Kate Sherwood

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 234

Characters: Cade, Aiden

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kisses: 4

Blurb:

At first glance, Cade and Aiden hardly seem like a match made in heaven. Their worlds couldn’t be further apart. Cade is quiet, serious, and determined to succeed; Aiden’s a party-loving frat boy. Cade comes from a rough home and worked hard to get the scholarships that make it possible for him to attend college; Aiden’s had it all thrown in his lap by supportive, kind, and wealthy parents. Cade wants nothing to do with Aiden, but from the moment they meet, Aiden is determined to find a way to bring their different worlds together.

Aiden manages to persuade Cade he’s a decent guy, and a tentative friendship becomes much more. But a trip to Aiden’s family cottage puts Cade in the path of a ghost from his past, and a dark secret he never expected to face again. Cade did what he had to do to escape his dead-end life, but now he sees he didn’t leave it as far behind him as he thought.

Review:

Kate Sherwood writes strong-willed heroes who always have an interesting story to tell. I had a feeling when I started this book, it was going be an interesting read and I was right.

What I liked about this book was personal growth each of these young men goes through. Cade has had to be street-smart and work hard for each and everything good in his life. Between his excellent work ethic and drive to make the best grade point average, so he can keep his scholarship and continue to work toward changing his life for the better.

On the other hand, Aiden was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He enjoys having fun and being around his family and friends. His zest for life is often contagious and though he can get a little frustrated at times, basically Aiden keeps a positive attitude.

At first glance, these two men are total opposites. Because of his past, Cade has a chip on his shoulder and pushes people away. He has very few friends and likes to keep to himself. What Cade doesn’t expect is Aiden’s determination to get to know him. Aiden’s stubbornness to get to know Cade, even though Cade can be quite hateful at times, shows how much Aiden really wants to get to know Cade and hopefully have him in his life.

In Too Deep is a difficult story to read at times. Cade can be surly and even unlikable at times, but as the story progresses, we learn why he is so scared to open himself to friendship and love from Aiden. Aiden’s sweetness and determination to be around Cade could be considered either lovestruck or even a little stalkerish, but honestly, I thought Aiden was truly a sweet guy who is simply dazzled by the mystery of Cade. In the end, I ended up really getting behind these two men and enjoyed the journey they go through to form a solid bond between them. I liked how these two men brought out the best in each other and loved how everything turned out between them.

In Too Deep is a well-written story with complex characters and a gritty and romantic storyline. I really liked it and I’m looking forward to reading more stories written by this author.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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LeeAnn Reviews: Bad Company by KA Mitchell

Title:  Bad in Baltimore, Book 1: Bad Company

Author:  KA Mitchell

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 200

Characters:  Nate, Kellan

POV:  3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series

Kisses:  5

Blurb:

Bad in Baltimore: Book One

Some things are sweeter than revenge.

“I need a boyfriend.”

Hearing those words from his very straight, very ex-best friend doesn’t put Nate in a helpful mood. Not only did Kellan Brooks’s father destroy Nate’s family in his quest for power, but Kellan broke Nate’s heart back in high school. Nate thought he could trust his best friend with the revelation that he might be gay, only to find out he was horribly wrong and become the laughingstock of the whole school. Kellan must be truly desperate if he’s turning to Nate now.

Kellan’s through letting his father run his life, and he wants to make the man pay for cutting him off. What better way to stick it to the bigot than to come out as gay himself—especially with the son of the very man his father crushed on his quest for money and power. Kellan can’t blame Nate for wanting nothing to do with him, though. Kellan will have to convince him to play along, but it’s even harder to convince himself that the heat between them is only an act….

Review:

At first, Kellan made me mad.

He wanted to use a man who was once his best friend.  To get even with his day, Kellan abandoned him  in high school. As the story progressed, and things became clear to me about Kellan, I began to like him a lot. In this story,  KA Mitchell puts us face to face with the dilemma that Kellan faces. There are truths about himself Kellan was a tiny bit aware of but couldn’t face.

I loved how KA Mitchell fleshed out the characters of both Nate and Kellan. Their mannerisms and the way they held themselves was so clear, I could visualize things as they happened.

Eli was another treat in this book. I LOVED him!  He had this perky personality AND there is something special he could do, BUT the YOU need to read it to find out just exactly what he is capable of.

KA Mitchell didn’t give me the satisfaction I craved in regards to Kellan’s dad, but that is probably a good thing. The way Kellan and Nate’s story unfolds held my attention and made me want to find out how it ended. I enjoyed Bad Company so much, I didn’t want it to end.

I hope Eli will get his own story because I liked him so much and wanted to know more about him.  After watching his interactions with Nate and Kellan,  I wanted him to get an HEA too.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: LeeAnn

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Gabbi Reviews: All that Glitters by Kate Sherwood

Title: All that Glitters

Author: Kate Sherwood

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 206

Characters: Liam Marshall, Ben Harding

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

No matter what he tells himself, wealthy NYC architect Liam has never been able to forget his first love, Ben. But as he approaches midlife and realizes something is missing, can he forgive himself for the worst mistake he ever made—the one that left a hole no amount of career success can fill? Or will fear keep him from the full life he really wants?

Liam and Ben were childhood sweethearts, then college boyfriends. But when Liam cheated on Ben, Ben forced himself to cut ties and move on. He’s still living in the small town where they grew up, teaching, but it’s not the life he imagined for himself as a younger man. Still, when Liam returns, he can’t risk his heart again. He certainly can’t allow himself to love Liam again after fighting so hard to get over him.

Neither man wants to let go of the past and face their apprehension at starting over. They don’t want to fall in love a second time—but sometimes love happens whether it’s wanted or not.

Review:

All that Glitters is a lovely told story about redemption and rekindling a love once lost. I’m a newish fan of the author, Kate Sherwood and was admittedly a little hesitant to read and review this book. Why? I’m not a huge fan of reading about heroes who cheated. I dislike a cheating storyline *hey, I read romance for romance, not for a lot of true-life heartache and angst* but because the hero, Liam, cheated over 15 years ago on Ben, I thought I would push my reservations aside and give this one a try.

I am glad I did.

At first, I wasn’t sure of what I thought of Liam. He successful and a bit arrogant, bitter even, but I quickly saw that there is so much more to Liam than meets the eye. Though Liam can be a tad materialistic, he is also searching for something he is missing in life. Liam’s social card is always full, but inside he is lonely and unsatisfied with his life. I liked how Liam is willing to put himself out there and allow Ben and his former friends to vent their anger and frustration at Liam’s past betrayal and behaviors. I also liked how much Liam himself, goes through some personal growth and begins to strive to hopefully gain Ben and his friends back into his life. Liam’s determination to find his “Passion” for life became a journey that I enjoyed reading.

Ben was also a complex, interesting hero. I liked his integrity and genuine affection and love he freely gives to the people he cares about. I understood why he was so bitter towards Liam, but I was honestly glad to see him become willing to look inside himself and see if starting something special with Liam was something he truly wanted to do.

Both Liam and Ben have a heart of gold and I quickly became fond of them both. The secondary characters also brought something special to the story. Between the genuine friendship and love they all shared among them, I felt like all these characters were likable and interesting within their own right.

Best of all, Ms. Sherwood penned a serious tale with enough humor and lightness to make this reader not only laugh out loud at times, but my heart was filled with warmth for these two heroes and all her characters as well. All that Glitters is an easy book to recommend and I can’t wait to read more from Ms. Sherwood in the future.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Gabbi Reviews: Love You So Hard by Tara Lain

Title: Love You So, Book 1: Love You So Hard

Author: Tara Lain

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 77

Characters: Craig Elson, Jesse Randall

POV: 3rd Limited

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series

Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Craig Elson’s life has hit rock bottom. Even though he’s one of the best strategic planners around, a more confident guy takes credit for his work, and despite being a good-looking man, he suffers insults from the slimiest creep at the bar. Taking care of his beloved mom, who has Alzheimer’s, uses all his funds, leaving him in a plain, depressing car… and a plain, depressing life.

Until he sees gorgeous grad student Jesse Randall and his T-shirt that reads “I Would Bottom You So Hard.” The message seeps into Craig’s soul, and he asks Jesse to teach him to top.

Jesse’s had his eye on the quiet hottie who comes into the coffee shop, and he’s more than eager to perfect his tutoring. He sets out to get Craig a new job, a new apartment, and a new life so far outside plain and depressing that it’s unrecognizable. The problem is, Craig loves his lessons—and his teacher—too much to want to graduate. How can Craig reach the top without losing his sassy bottom?

Review:

Tara Lain writes romances with sexy, unique characters. I’ve read several of Ms. Lain’s books and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. She seems to have a real knack for writing romantic tales filled with sensual and likable men. I was in the mood for a light, romantic read and Love You So Hard filled that need for me perfectly.

Love You So Hard is told from Craig’s perspective. Since he is a good storyteller and an interesting character, I found myself quickly becoming intrigued by the story he had to tell. Craig is a quiet, shy and thoughtful man who gets overlooked by others. He’s a good son who takes care of his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and he is a good worker who never gets the recognition he deserves. The one bright light in Craig’s life is the sexy man he sees at the coffee shop every morning. The younger man’s zest for life and sexy disposition makes Craig wish he was more bold, more confident and more comfortable within his own skin.

One day when Craig is at the shop he is surprised when the young man, Jesse, approaches him and begins talking to him. Soon, Craig is almost overwhelmed by Jesse’s interest in him and is almost unsure of how to handle himself around the sexy man. When Craig blurts out that he needs Jesse’s help *You’ll have to read what he wants help with* and Jesse seems more than a little excited and interested in helping him, Craig is determined to enjoy every moment he has with Jesse…no matter how long or short it is.

I really loved this book. Not only is it a fast-paced story, I found myself really getting into Craig and Jesse’s romance and the story Craig had to tell. I loved both characters and though it seems like they are polar opposites from one another, together they fit perfectly and easily became a couple with a solid, loving foundation. Though I Iiked both men, I have to say that Jesse’s sweetness and zest for life made me easily see why Craig adored him so much, because I did too!

Love You So Hard is an easy book to recommend. If you are in the mood for a fun and flirty romance with two heroes that you’ll easily adore, then Love You So Hard is the book for you!

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Gabbi Reviews: My Fair Captain by JL Langley

Title: Sci-Regency, Book 1: My Fair Captain

Author: JL Langley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 244

Characters: Nathaniel Hawkins, Prince Aiden Townsend

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Science Fiction, Series

Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

A Sci-Regency Novel

When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden.

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

Review:

My Fair Captain by JL Langley is one of my all-time favorite books. I read and have re-read the first edition years ago and it has been one of my comfort reads ever since it was published in 2007. When Dreamspinner Press republished it as a second edition, I jumped at the chance to read and review this re-edited and revamped edition of it.

Since the blurb does an excellent job at describing the story, I won’t rehash it. Instead, I thought I’d write about why I love this story and why I consider it a desert island keeper.

Ms. Langley writes heroes that are easy to identify with. They are flawed, likable men who is so easy to come to care for. It’s also easy to see that Ms. Langley loves her heroes because they live and breathe off the written page. You feel as if you are experiencing their journey with them. I loved every minute I spent watching their lives intertwine with each other, and I’m always enraptured by the story they have to tell.

The romance between Nate and Aiden is beautifully told. From the first moment they meet, sparks fly, and it seems to be a natural transition for them to fall in love. What’s even better is…these two men genuinely like and respect one another. Their admiration for their partner is something, as a reader, that I love to watch unfold before me. I love how they love each other and the sexual chemistry between them truly sizzle up the pages they are written on.

Not only will you love Nate and Aiden, you’ll fall in love with the secondary characters, too. Every character in this book *and beyond* have something to bring to the story. I quickly found myself wishing Ms. Langley wrote faster so I could about their lives and future loves. Out of all the secondary characters, you’ll fall in love with Aiden’s two fathers…omg…they are a hoot and soooo sexy together. I hope Ms. Langley writes a prequel about them one day…hint, hint.

The romance drives the story but there is a whodunit mystery that is also intriguing. Between the suspense, danger, and romance, My Fair Captain, will keep you captivated with Nate and Aiden’s story from start to finish.

I simply adore this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m glad I read the second edition and enjoyed it as much as the original one. If you love highly romantic tales that will live with you long after you finish the book, then My Fair Captain is the book for you.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Kimberly Reviews: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever by Andrew Grey

Title: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press, Dreamspun Desires

Pages: 190

Characters: Tommy, Grayson, Petey

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 4.5

 Blurb:

How can heartbreak turn into happily ever after?

Tommy Gordon is all set for happily ever after—until heartbreak strikes when his husband-to-be leaves him at the altar. In a bid for distraction, his best friend, Grayson Phillips, suggests he takes advantage of the luxury honeymoon anyway! But the last thing Tommy wants is to go alone, so he invites Grayson and his son, Petey, along.

Beautiful Bonaire lends itself to romance, and along with close quarters, relaxing on the water, and a matchmaking kid, Tommy and Grayson soon find themselves closer than ever… and considering more, much to Grayson’s delight. But before they can plan the best best honeymoon ever, dark clouds descend in the form of Tommy’s ex and a sting from paradise that could ruin everything.

Review:

Friends to lovers stories are always a favorite of mine, as are kids-fics, so The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever hit all the right buttons for me. Left at the altar, poor Tommy Gordon feels like his life is over and just wants to be left alone to sulk inside his house in isolation. His best friend, Grayson, isn’t going to let that happen. Instead, they’re going to take the honeymoon trip that Tommy’s already paid for and have a great vacation together, along with Grayson’s son, Petey. And what develops in the island paradise of Bonaire will change their lives for the better.

In terms of character background, I felt like we got quite a rich and cohesive story for the main characters. We find out how Petey entered Grayson’s life and what his current status is, as well as what befell Grayson’s past relationship in terms of prioritizing his son. And we got information on how Tommy and Grayson became friends, standing beside each other over the years, as well as how Tommy’s been a part of Petey’s life since Grayson started raising him. Should we get a sequel within this universe, I’d like to see some more exploration around Petey’s mother, as well as Tommy’s aunt. Both of these women got a bit of time within the story, but there is much more to delve into for both of them. Perhaps we’ll get to learn more later.

I enjoyed seeing how both Tommy and Grayson’s unsaid attraction to each other finally got to come to the forefront. They had such an easy relationship as friends, and Tommy already treated Petey as a beloved nephew, so the transition was pretty smooth to being lovers. There were hints towards the need to ease Petey into the changed status, but overall there didn’t appear to be any real issues ahead. Even the supposed threats from Tommy’s former fiance, Xavier, didn’t put any real barriers towards their eventual committed relationship status.

If you enjoy happily-ever-after stories where best friends become a family, The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever is a great choice! Life can throw curve-balls, and threats might be lurking around the corner, but in the end, it all works out. I look forward to what else Andrew Grey brings us with these characters.

Reviewed By: Kimberly

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Lydia Reviews: Crocus by Amy Lane

Title: Crocus

Author: Amy Lane

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 244

Genre: Contemporary, Series

Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?

Review: 

Crocus is the second book in the Bonfires series.  It continues the story of Larx and Aaron, as well as their children.  Because of this, if you have not read the first book you may want to skip this review because it will have spoilers.

Since the end of Bonfires, Larx and Aaron have moved in with each other, blending their families.  They also have foster child Kellan living with them.

Both men are also dealing with problems surrounding their oldest daughters.  For Larx, it is Olivia’s radical behavior and now that she is pregnant he is even more worried.  For Aaron, it is Tiff and her reaction to the changes in her father’s life.  I will say that more than once I wanted to smack her because of the way she carried on.  Thankfully it appears as if their youngest, and Kellan get along perfectly as siblings.  While life at home is busy, and the two men are having a little trouble finding alone time, it is the problems at work that may end up throwing a monkey wrench into their relationship.

Two of Larx’s “kids” from school are going to bring a world of problems to Larx’s doorstep.  Unfortunately, they also fall onto Aaron’s radar and what results makes Larx’s think twice about him and Aaron.  In the end, though he knows that his happiness lies with the Deputy

I love the way these two men are with each other and their children.  I also love the way they are so open to adding to their brood, bringing those in need close to them.  In Crocus, the men add Jaime, Elton, and Berto.  Elton is Olivia’s boyfriend who shows up looking for Larx’s daughter.  I had to laugh at the nickname the family gives him but am glad he was not upset to be known as wombat willie.  As for Jaime and Berto, they are brothers who left gang life behind them.  It was not easy for them and Berto now suffers from PTSD, as well as guilt that he is not able to take better care of his younger brother.  When one of Jaime’s classmates, who happens to be his neighbor ends up in trouble the boys get pulled in.

I could not believe how brave Candace was.  To travel through the woods at night during a snowstorm takes a lot of guts, even if she is just a fictional character.  This just shows the work the author goes through to make the characters, main and secondary, so believable.

While Ms. Lane may not be for everyone, her stories are some of my favorites and the author is one I go to on a regular basis.  I hope she has plans to add to this series and I would love to see more of Larx and Aaron.

Reviewed by: Lydia

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Kimberly Reviews: BFF by KC Wells

Title: BFF

Author: KC Wells

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 200

Characters: David, Matt

POV: 1st

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 4 

Blurb:

I’m about to do something huge, and it could change… everything.

I met Matt in second grade, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same schools, studied at the same college. When we both got jobs in the same town, we shared an apartment. And when my life took an unexpected turn, Matt was there for me. Every milestone in my life, he was there to share it. And what’s really amazing? After all these years, we’re still the best of friends.

Which brings me to this fragile, heart-stopping moment: I want to tell him I love him, really love him, but I’m scared to death of what he’ll say. If I’ve got this all wrong, I’ll lose him—forever.

Review:

I absolutely love best friends turned lovers stories, so hearing the blurb for BFF by KC Wells immediately put the novel on my must-read list. In a first person account, we got to hear how David and Matt grew up together, inseparable throughout life’s major milestones, and went from being best friends to roommates to something more. They were surrounded by a family who loved them and accepted them for who they were, even if the boys did not realize how deep their love for one another actually ran until they were older.

The characters themselves held rich potential. I thought that Wells dealt with David and Matt’s relationship with care and consideration, especially since it was inspired by true events. And the approach of both Matt’s brother, Darren, and Matt’s coworkers towards his sexuality felt truthful, as the world is complex and so is the acceptance of others when revealing who you love. We got to see the depth of the devotion that existed between David and Matt, as well as understanding how one particular incident could push them to finally admit how their relationship had changed. There’s much potential there for more exploration, should we get a sequel.

The framing of the book was a bit interesting, done as if David was writing up their history in the form of a book. While much of the novel developed through the use of timestamps, there were also inserts from the author in terms of notes as if he were looking back from an adult perspective and thinking about what the events meant with the benefit of current knowledge. I wasn’t a big fan of that aspect, since I felt like it broke up the development and timeline a bit too much. I was also hoping that we could get a more cohesive continuance of story rather than the quick check-ins that were presented. Many of the accounts took place during the summer or on holidays, jumping months or years in between. It left me wanting to spend more time with the characters to see them actually develop from one event to the next. It was more of a story where we were told what happened rather than experienced it.

Despite these minor drawbacks, BFF was a heart-warming peek into Matt and David’s lives and made me hope that we might revisit these characters again in the future, perhaps telling a story more in real-time in the next go-around. There’s certainly a rich history and a potentially-rich future to draw from. We saw them go from boys to boyfriends. What is next in their journey? 

Reviewed By: Kimberly

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Jet Reviews: The Wanderer by Rowan McAllister

Title: The Wanderer
Author:  Rowan McAllister
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 176
Characters: Yan and Lyuc
POV: 3rd person
Sub-Genre:  Fantasy, May/December
Kisses: 3.25

Blurb:

After centuries of traveling the continent of Kita and fighting the extradimensional monsters known as Riftspawn, mage Lyuc is tired and ready to back away from the concerns of humanity.

But the world isn’t done with him yet.

While traveling with a merchant caravan, Lyuc encounters Yan, an Unnamed, the lowest caste in society. Though Yan has nothing but his determination and spirit, he reminds Lyuc what passion and desire feel like. While wild magic, a snarky, shapeshifting, genderfluid companion, and the plots of men and monsters seem determined to keep Lyuc from laying down his burden, only Yan’s inimitable spirit tempts him to hang on for another lifetime or so.

All Yan wants is to earn the sponsorship of a guild so he can rise above his station, claim a place in society, and build the family he never had.

After hundreds of years of self-imposed penance, all Lyuc wants is Yan.

If they can survive prejudice, bandits, mercenaries, monsters, and nature itself, they might both get their wish… and maybe even their happily ever after.

Review:

In the Wanderer, you’ve got a wizard, a waif, and a magical element, all the ingredients needed for a fantasy tale. While traveling from one part of the continent of Kita, the wizard Lyuc and his magical companion Bryn, happen across Yan, a man looked down upon in society due to his lack of a family name, in service to the caravan their traveling with, trying to find his way in the world, leaving everything he’s ever known behind him.

The story focuses heavily on the pair and there were with a sprinkling of darker machinations. The plot is very linear, with most of it taking place on the road. Peril and pitfalls line the way, but they don’t feel like enough to break the monotony for me. The world Lyuc, Bryn, and Yan reside in is interesting if rife with hard to pronounce names. Yan is pretty straight forward, but the longer versions of Lyuc’s and Bryn’s names are harder for me to wrap my head around. I’m not even sure how to say “Lyuc” but. I’ve settled for something close to “Luke.”

The romance in this book is May/December again (a set up that I’ve mentioned my feelings on in previous reviews so I won’t harp on it too much here), though this one is so extreme, it’s more like January/December. There are parts in the narrative where Yan, the younger of the two, is shown to have a naiveté that bordered on unbelievable for me. He’s in his early 20s, but the way it’s presented, it makes him appear younger. Lyuc is ancient and while he doesn’t appear to be his true age, he is closer to that than the age of his love interest. When Yan has these episodes, it makes the age gap of more than a thousand years feel even wider. It didn’t happen often, but when it did it was a jarring reminder of this gulf between them that bothered me more than it did them.

That said, Eurocentric based fantasy isn’t really my thing for various reasons, but pushing my grievances aside, I did like this book for what it was. The world was interesting, if there wasn’t enough of it shown for me, there are a decent amount of sex scenes that were well done and they didn’t overshadow the story, the characters were engaging (though I’ll admit Bryn was by far my favorite) and though I felt the plot was a little too straight forward, it was tight with no real conflicts in the story or nagging holes.

If you’re a bigger fan of Euro-fantasy than I am, and enjoy long trips with interesting characters, then this might be the book for you.

Reviewed By: Jet

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