Gabbi Reviews: The Truth As He Knows It by AM Arthur


Title: The Truth As He Knows It
Author: AM Arthur
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 243
Characters: Noel Carlson, Shane Joseph
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Lies are the chains that keep you weighed down at rock bottom.

Perspectives, Book 1

Officer Noel Carlson isn’t out to anyone in small-town Stratton, Pennsylvania, only to distant friends and family, so a relationship is out of the question. That doesn’t stop him from wanting one, though.

When a night-shift call brings him face to thonged butt with a hired stripper whose girl-party gig went terribly wrong, Noel takes pity on the guy and lets him go. But he can’t get the encounter out of his mind.

Shane has big-time debts to repay, especially to the brother who sacrificed nearly everything for him. His two jobs, in a deli and as a stripper, leave him no time for a social life. But a non-date of hot sex and takeout food with Noel? He can squeeze that in.

The bond they form is stronger than either expected or wanted. Especially since the step Shane’s about to take to put his brother—and his soul—back in the black isn’t quite legal. And he never calculated just how much his determination to make things right will cost him in the end.

Product Warnings

Following on from the Cost of Repairs series, this book contains a closeted cop who’s looking for love, an indebted stripper who doesn’t believe he’s worthy, and a tasteful abundance of dirty guy sex. Also contains references to past physical abuse some readers may find disturbing.

Review:

The Truth as He Knows it the first book in the Perspective series. Somehow, this series escaped me until I read the third book, The Truth As He Knows it and I totally fell in love with these characters. I’ve read all three books in this series and although they could each be read as a stand alone story, I do highly recommend reading all of these books in series order. Why? Because once you read one book, you’ll become addicted to all of these heroes and you’ll be anxious as I was to see the story they had to tell.

One thing I’ve come to appreciate about Ms. Arthur’s work is her gift of writing compelling, flawed characters that are so realistically written they seem to live and breathe off of the written page. Each and every one of heroes show true growth both as person. As a reader, it’s enjoyable to get lost into her character’s lives. Sometimes I found myself cheering them on and since they are human and far from perfect, there were times I wanted to shake some sense into them too.

I enjoyed the story that Noel and Shane had to tell. Shane definitely has a huge hole he has to dig himself out of. Because of his past, he feels like he’s constantly trying to amend things and get ahead in life, only to take two steps back. When he meets Noel, Shane really doesn’t believe he’s good enough for him and it’s because of this, he pushes Noel away. Good thing that Noel is an understanding man who is determined to be with Shane. He sees the person Shane is inside and Noel hopes one day that he too, will see himself as worthy.

There were times I wanted for Noel to walk away from Shane. Shane can be pretty stubborn and although I liked them together, I wondered how many men would truly put up with him at times. BUT, do not get me wrong. I liked this couple and though Noel is Mr. Fix-it he learns that sometimes things are beyond his control and good intentions. It was good watching these two men work hard to develop something special between them.

A word of warning…this is a tearjerker. This author made me cry the ugly cry and I’m still saddened by one specific thing that happened *read it and find out* Don’t worry though, the heroes get their happy ending…just as they deserve.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase The Truth As He Knows It

Gabbi Reviews: Hard Candy by Amy Jo Cousins


Title: Hard Candy
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 111
Characters: Vincent Lim, Bryan
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

How to get over someone? Get under someone else—as soon as possible.

Bend or Break, Book 7

Vincent Lim always assumed his best friend (and occasional hookup) Austin would be waiting for him—that eventually they’d end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with a dance major, Vinnie knows the drill. Minimize the embarrassment by pretending they’ve never met. Yet Bryan’s vibrant spirit and calm center lure Vinnie like a shelter from an emotional storm.

But Vinnie’s thrown off his game by the rest of Bryan’s total package. Vinnie’s a rowing jock with a single-minded focus on living up to his parents’ academic and social expectations. Bryan might as well be outfitted with glittery butterfly wings—with plenty of pride to match. Vinnie’s haphazard attention to a lover won’t cut it this time.
Physically, they can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

Product Warnings

Contains one uptight rower, a dancer who can rock a skirt like nobody’s business, yoga lessons, and the benefits of being very bendy.

Review:

I walked into reading this series without realizing how much I’d enjoy it. Although this is the seventh book in the Bend or Break series, this is the first book I’ve read in the series. Believe me, after reading Hard Candy, I’m going to remedy the situation and catch up on the entire series.

Though I haven’t read the other books, I found myself easily following along in the world Ms. Cousin’s created. I probably missed out on some of the camaraderie between the other characters, but I do believe this book is definitely written well enough to be a stand-alone in the series. I normally, do not recommend reading books out of series order, I know I myself hate doing it, but this book is definitely good enough to read out of order if you wish.

I really liked both of the heroes. Both Vincent and Bryan were likeable men. There were a lot of things both characters hid from others. In some ways, like real life, we all have different shoes we wear when we are in the company of different people. It is a hard candy shell we all wear and sometimes when we are lucky enough to meet someone we trust and allow them to see our true selves, it can be a beautiful thing.

I highly enjoyed watching these two men discover not only themselves but each other. Together, they learn to trust, respect and truly allow themselves to be vulnerable. I thought they were a good match together and enjoyed reading their story very much.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Hard Candy

Gabbi Reviews: The Heart As He Hears It by AM Arthur


Title: The Heart As He Hears It
Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 234
Characters: Jon Buchanan, Isaac Gregory
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Love can slip through the smallest crack in the door.

Perspectives, Book 3

While most of his friends have moved on to “real” careers, Jon Buchanan is content skating through life as a part-time waiter and gay porn star. Firmly single thanks to a previous relationship disaster, he focuses his spare time on Henry, a dear friend dying of cancer.

And with Henry’s happiness paramount, Jon is on a mission to help Henry meet his recently discovered grandson.

Isaac Gregory hasn’t set foot outside for the past year. He has everything he needs delivered, and his remaining family knows better than to visit. When a complete stranger shows up claiming to be his grandfather—with a distractingly handsome younger man in tow—his carefully structured routines are shaken.

Despite his instant attraction, Jon senses Isaac is too fragile for a relationship. Yet tentative friendship grows into genuine companionship. And when Henry’s health begins to fail, they realize Fate brought them together for a reason.


Product Warnings

Product contains a neurotic porn star with body image issues, a virgin hero with severe agoraphobia, and a fluffy ball of gray cuteness you’ll want to take home and cuddle. Also contains references to past abuse some readers might find disturbing.

Review:

Sometimes I am privileged to read a book that really resonates with me as a reader. I admittedly read a lot, so I’m always thrilled when I come across a story that gives me everything I look for in a romance and more.

First, let me warn you…make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to read this book. Why? Because once you start it you’ll be unable to put it down. I was immediately gripped into the thought-provoking story-line and in these characters’ lives. Before I knew it, it was well-passed my bedtime, and I had read the entire book, from start to finish, without interruption. I found myself so caught up within the story these men had to tell and I enjoyed it so much, I truly hated to see it come to an end. This is definitely a well-written, character driven story. Both heroes are definitely flawed, sympathetic characters that go through so much personal and emotional growth, I found myself really becoming invested in the story they had to tell.

Jon is a porn star who enjoys what he does for a living. In his eyes, doing porn is a safe and secure way of having sex. Also, though Jon is a very friendly man, he has a small, secure circle of friends who he totally trusts. Most people do not realize the pain he’s been through or the abuse he has suffered. Though Jon is learning to deal with this pain, sometimes it still haunts him and he slides back onto self-destructive behaviors. *Sorry, no spoilers. You’ll have to read the book to find out what* In many ways, Jon prefers to live in the moment. His best friend, Henry, is dying of cancer and though Jon recognizes this, he has yet to really deal with the implications of losing his best friend and mentor forever. One of Jon’s great qualities was his innate ability to look out for the people that he cares about. Jon is definitely a caregiver, so when Henry wants him to go with him to meet his long-lost grandson, Jon doesn’t hesitate.

When they meet Henry’s grandson, Isaac, Jon’s protective instincts take over because Isaac is pretty much an agoraphobic mess. But, Jon quickly sees the lonely, sweet but frightened man Isaac is, and he is immediately drawn to him. He is thrilled when Isaac seems to surprisingly open up to him and as they continue to get to know each other, both men find themselves opening up to the possibility of sharing something truly special between them.

In a million years, Isaac would have never thought he’d meet and want to trust someone as he does with Jon. Jon doesn’t seem to judge him, instead his unconditional support and friendship draws Isaac into his friendship like a moth to light. Slowly, Isaac find himself craving the friendship and more from Jon, but to do so, Isaac must take a big step and allow Jon into his life and heart.

The Heart As He Hears It is a beautifully written story about the healing power of hope and love. AM Arthur’s characters really touched this reader’s heart and I loved every minute I spent reading it.

The Heart As He Hears It is the third book in the Perspectives series. Somehow, I’ve missed the first two books in the series, but you can bet I will rectify this immediately. I can honestly say that I wasn’t lost while reading this story. I hate not reading books in order, but I can truthfully tell you that this story can definitely be read as a stand-alone in the series. I don’t recommend it because once you read Jon and Isaac’s story, you’ll be back for more.

The Perspectives books in series order are:
The Truth as He Knows It
The World as He Sees It
The Heart as He Hears It

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase The Heart As He Hears It

Winter Wonderland by Heidi Cullinan


Title: Minnesota Christmas, Book 3: Winter Wonderland
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 172
Characters: Kyle Parks, Paul Jansen
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Holiday Romance, Series
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Finding Mr. Right can be a snow lot of fun.

Minnesota Christmas, Book 3

Paul Jansen was the only one of his friends who wanted a relationship. Naturally, he’s the last single man standing. No gay man within a fifty-mile radius wants more than casual sex.

No one, that is, except too-young, too-twinky Kyle Parks, who sends him suggestive texts and leaves X-rated snow sculptures on his front porch.

Kyle is tired of being the town’s resident Peter Pan. He’s twenty-five, not ten, and despite his effeminate appearance, he’s nothing but the boss in bed. He’s loved Paul since forever, and this Christmas, since they’re both working on the Winter Wonderland festival, he might finally get his chance for a holiday romance.

But Paul comes with baggage. His ultra-conservative family wants him paired up with a woman, not a man with Logan’s rainbow connection. When their anti-LGBT crusade spills beyond managing Paul’s love life and threatens the holiday festival, Kyle and Paul must fight for everyone’s happily ever after, including their own.

Product Warnings
Contains erotic snow art, toppy twinks, and super-sweet holiday moments. Best savored with a mug of hot chocolate with a dash of spice.

Review:

When I am feeling down or need a pick-me-up, Heidi Cullinan is one of my go-to authors whose stories always leave me with a light heart and a happy smile on my face. One of the reasons why I love Ms. Cullinan’s books is because she writes likeable, yet flawed heroes that live and breathe off of the written page. Also, Ms. Cullinan mixes just the right amount of sweetness, sexiness and angst in her books that keeps her readers coming back time and time again.

Winter Wonderland is the third book in her Minnesota Christmas stories and in my opinion, it’s the best in the series so far. I’ve always had a soft heart for all of her characters in this series, but Paul has always been one of my favorites in the stories. I was thrilled to learn more about him and see the walls he has so carefully built around him, crumble down from Kyle’s tender love and care. As I read this story, it was easy to see that these two men truly belong together and I found myself really rooting for them to find their happy ending together.

Their happy ending doesn’t come easily but when it does it is truly a beautiful thing to read. Winter Wonderland has everything I love when it comes to reading romance and more. Between the sexy heroes and their hot chemistry together, it is definitely going to have a spot on my keeper shelf.

If you are looking for a well-written, feel-good and sexy holiday romance, then Winter Wonderland should be added to your must read list. Even though Winter Wonderland could be read as a stand-alone book in the series, I highly recommend reading all of the books in series order. Believe me when I say that you will fall in love with all of the characters and their stories will keep you warm on a cold winter’s night.

The Minnesota Christmas Series is book order are:

Let it Snow
Sleigh Ride
Winter Wonderland

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Buy HERE

Sentimental Sunday: Without Reservations by JL Langley

Without Reservations by JL Langley is one of my all time favorite books. If I had to rate it, Without Reservations would be 5+ Kisses and a Desert Island Keeper.

Why?

There are several reasons why I love this book. Without Reservations was one of the first M/M shifter books I read. I remember when I bought it and read it I couldn’t believe how fresh and interesting it was. I had never really read anything like it within this genre before and once I finished it, I immediately read it again.

Although it’s been released for a while now, I still believe this book stands the test of time. For one, Ms. Langley really writes amazingly well-written characters that not only live and breathe off of the written page, I almost always fall totally in love with them. In this book, Chayton and Keaton made me laugh, cry and have that feel good feeling of watching two incredible people fall in love.

The chemistry between these two men are off the charts. Between Chayton’s laid back personality and Keaton’s southern charm these men are truly perfect together. Even now, years later, they are still one of my all-time favorite couples and probably always will be.

Also, Ms. Langley created a very interesting pack world and pack mentality. It’s intriguing and very interesting to see how the pack lives, functions and has harmony with one another. All of her characters really bring something special to the story and once you start this book, you won’t be able to stop until you read the last word.

Without Reservations is definitely one of my top ten all-time favorite books. If you haven’t read it, please check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed by: Gabbi

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BLURB:

Sometimes love just catches you by the tail…

Chayton Winston is a veterinarian. He is also a werewolf. Much to his Native American parents chagrin, he has always dreamed of a fair-haired, Caucasian mate. However, he never imagined his mate would be male. As a heterosexual man, he’s not quite sure what to do with a male mate, but more than willing to find out.

Keaton Reynolds wakes up, in wolf form, and finds himself with a mate. He’s instantly attracted, but not so thrilled to find out the man is straight. Having been in a relationship once before where his partner professed to be “Not gay” left a bad taste in his mouth. Keaton wants to make a break for it and pretend he never set eyes on Chay—but Chay is not ready to let him go.

Together the two work to solidify their shaky relationship and battle the prejudices against homosexuals. Chay must deal with not only his mother’s prejudices against gay men but also her hatred of white people. When a power struggle in Keaton’s pack threatens Keaton’s life, the two men learn to depend on one another and their relationship to get them through it.

The Shepherd and the Solicitor by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon


Title: The Shepherd and the Solicitor
Author: Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 137
Characters: Gregory Tobin, Daniel Pierce
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Victorian, Romance
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

When a storm is brewing, taking shelter could be the most dangerous move of all.

One careless, public sign of affection cost Daniel Pierce’s lover his life at the hands of a hate-filled mob. Grief-stricken, Daniel retreated from society to a sheep farm in the wilds of the north. Years later, Gregory Tobin erupts into his solitary life.

Sent to confirm the existence—or the death—of the Pierce family’s lost heir, Tobin isn’t sure he’s found the right man. The gruff, shaggy hermit calling himself Jacob Bennet bears little resemblance to photographs of the younger Pierce. Tobin needs more time to study his quarry.

With lambing season in full swing, Daniel grudgingly admits he could use an extra hand. Through a long, exhausting night, they parry back and forth as Tobin probes closer and closer to the truth. And something beyond casual attraction simmers between them.

They come together in a crash of desire, but ultimately Daniel must overcome the terrors of the past to reconcile the man he was with the man he’s becoming—a man capable of loving again.

Product Warnings

Many sexy encounters on a sheep farm—NO, not like THAT!—between two adult males with temperaments as different as night and day.


Review:

If you follow my reviews you know it’s no secret that I love the writing team of Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee. I’ve read just about every one of their books and I have to admit I’ve loved just about all of them. They have a smooth, descriptive writing style that easily flows throughout their stories and their characters live and breathe off of the written page.

I loved every minute I spent reading this book. I thought both men were sexy, humanly flawed heroes that were able to work through their own insecurities so they could develop something truly special between them. Both Daniel and Tobin go through a lot of personal growth and as a reader, I enjoyed watching these men learn to work together as a team.

Despite them getting off on a rocky start, their immediate distrust for one another changes and it soon becomes obvious that they really begin to like and respect each other. Daniel has many secrets and Tobin’s determined to find the truth about Daniel’s past. Their journey isn’t always an easy one, but it’s oh so much fun to see how everything worked out in the end.

When it comes to writing historical romances Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee are masters at what they do. It was so easy to get swept up into the lives of these two incredible men and the story they had to tell. If you love well-written, sexy romances with a perfect amount of angst, sweetness and intrigue then The Shepard and the Solicitor is definitely the book for you!

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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To Love a Traitor by JL Merrow


Title: To Love a Traitor
Author: JL Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 143
Characters: Matthew Connaught, Roger Cottingham
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Historical Romance
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Wounds of the heart take the longest to heal.

When solicitor’s clerk George Johnson moves into a rented London room in the winter of 1920, it’s with a secret goal: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, is the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother his life.

Yet as he gets to know Matthew—an irrepressibly cheerful ad man whose missing arm hasn’t dimmed his smile—George begins to lose sight of his mission.

As Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, George tries to convince himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding a secret of his own. His true identity—and an act of conscience that shamed his family.

But as their mutual attraction grows, so does George’s desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres. If only to prove Matthew innocent—even if it means losing the man he’s come to love.

This is a novel-length expansion of previously published novella.

Product Warnings

Contains larks in the snow, stiff upper lips, shadows of the Great War, and one man working undercover while another tries to lure him under the covers.

Review:

I love historical romances. In my opinion, there’s not enough stories set during this time frame within this genre. So, when I saw To Love a Traitor was not only a book set not long after World War I AND it was written by JL Merrow, well I knew I had to read and review it. I am so glad I did! Ms. Merrow not only captures the time-frame in this book, she also wrote a very beautiful and thought-provoking romance.

I absolutely loved these two heroes. The chemistry between them was addictive to read and I truly loved how they relationship evolved from a friendship into something very special.

George is determined to see who set up his brother’s wartime death. When he is given the task of finding out who the traitor is he can’t resist in finding out the truth. When he finds himself face to face with the man that is suspected of treason, George can’t believe how drawn to him and how likeable Matthew is. Soon, he is swept up into Matthew’s life and as George gets to know him, he finds it harder and harder to believe that he is the one who betrayed so many.

George is a determined man who truly wants to do what is right. He is driven to find out the truth behind his brother’s death, but he isn’t blinded by this. He follows his instincts and quickly begins to believe that Matthew could never betray anyone, and they continue to get to know each other, George become plagued with the guilt of his own deception against his friend.

Matthew is one of the sweetest, likeable men I’ve ever read. He’s got this bubbly and positive attitudes that I really loved. Even though he’s been through his own hell in life, he’s refused to allow it to bring him down. I loved his zest for life and I absolutely adored him and George together.

In many ways these two men made sense together. They are like two peas on a pod. They truly do respect one another and even thought George has an ulterior motive, I wanted them to somehow work through all of the mess of the past and find a way to be together.

I also like the suspense of who the traitor was. This book did keep me questioning who did it and I highly enjoyed finding out who the culprit was.

To Love a Traitor is a unique and truly lovely romance that will live in your heart long after you’ve finished the book. I loved every minute I spent reading it and look forward to reading more historical romances by JL Merrow in the future.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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