5 Star Review for Match Point (Sports of the Seasons #1) by Leigh Carman #MM #Romance #Sportsromance @Dreamspinners

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Title: Match Point (Sports of the Seasons #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Leigh Carman (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 20, 2016 – 200 Pages

Synopsis

Two stubborn men.

One is a rude jerk. The other, the life of the party.

It was hate at first sight.

Pro beach volleyball players Finn Callahan and Dexter Savage have been rivals since college. While Finn always comes out on top on the court, Dexter’s carefree and fun-loving personality earns him scores of adoring men and women. And as much as Finn fights to deny it, there’s another reason for the tension he feels when Dex is around. Hate wasn’t the only thing he felt when he first laid eyes on his opponent.

When they’re forced to team up, the two men must bury their differences—on and off the court—if either of them is going to succeed professionally.

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Review

 FiveStarsThis book is powerful. From almost the beginning my heart broke for these characters. Both have different things in their past that affects their future so tremendously. Just when I think neither of them are going to get it together something changes and everything starts to fall into place for them.

Finn tore me apart with his grief. I hurt for this character so much so that I cried right along with him. He is such a powerful character in this book. You cannot help but to fall in love with him. I think Finn hits his own rock bottom in this book and it is so moving to be along for the ride to see him climb his way back up.

Dex has so many demons from his past that he lets them dictate his future and the things that he does in his life. It is a constant struggle for this man to feel secure in his day to day life and he is denying himself the things that he wants that will make him truly happy for the first time in his life.

These two men are strong and have such horrible acts in their pasts that they each have to overcome. With each other’s help may be able to do just that, that is if they both can learn to let go of what they cannot change and move forward together before it is too late. Life is short and neither realizes that it can all change in a blink of an eye, so they need to learn to live, love, and let go before the chance passes them by.

This was such an amazing, powerful read that it will be with me for some time to come. Leigh Carman is truly an author that knows what they are doing and has such an maxing talent. Cannot wait to read more from this author in the future.

Tosha

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Audiobook Review: 5 Stars for Chase the Stars (Lang Downs #2) by Ariel Tachna #MM #Outback @dreamspinners

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Title: Chase the Stars (Lang Downs #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 10, 2012 – 250 pgs

Synopsis

Twenty-year-old Chris Simms is barely keeping his head above water. After losing his mother and his home, he struggles to provide for himself and his brother. When homophobes attack him, he thinks his life is over, but then he’s rescued by jackaroos from a nearby sheep station. He’s as stunned to be offered a job there as he is to discover both the station owner and foreman are gay.

For Chris, Lang Downs is a dream—one that only gets better when Chris realizes the jackaroo he’s crushing on, Jesse Harris, is gay and amenable to a fling. Everything goes well until Chris realizes he’s falling for Jesse a lot harder than allowed by their deal.

Jesse is a drifter who moves from station to station, never looking for anything permanent. Convinced Chris is too young and fragile for a real relationship, he sets rules to keep things casual. Watching the station owner and his foreman together makes Jesse wonder if there are benefits to settling down, but when he realizes how Chris feels about him, he panics. He and Chris will have to decide if a try for happiness is worth the risk before the end of the season tears them apart.

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Review

FiveStars

**AUDIOBOOK REVIEW**
I loved this story. Ariel Tachna is becoming one of my favorite authors. I love the way her stories slowly unroll and the reader is kept wondering what is going to happen until the very end, yet love every word along the way.
The characters are unique and fun to learn about as they deal with their own struggles as the story progresses. There is even a bit of steam included in the story, but it’s on the back burner for the most part as there is such a good plot line going on.
I love the narrator and his accents and stutters.. he just does an excellent job all around.
Renee

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TWO 4 Star and ONE 3.5 Star Review for Staying the Distance by Franci McMahon #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: Staying the Distance
Author Name & Publisher: Franci McMahon (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: May 17, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Rachel Duncan, a Montana rancher, has led a self-sufficient life and kept her complications of the heart to a minimum. She is as tough as her horses and believes nothing can stop her from winning the one-hundred-mile in one day horse race, the Tevis Cup. She has a horse who can do the job, the Arabian mare, Kestrel. The element of the team she isn’t so sure of is her new veterinarian, Dr. Margaret Carson. Margaret proves herself to the reluctant Rachel, broadening her vistas to discover a tender side, one capable of loving and being loved.

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Review

FourStars

This was an enjoyable read. The two main characters were both likable. An original setting for a gentle love story.
I liked the way Rachel slowly found herself and who she was through experiencing and learning from those around her and the trials and tribulations she had to face while competing in the long distance race.
I also learned a some interesting facts about horse breeds and some fascinating information on Indian culture.
I did feel that the story line did at times fluctuate between being a love story and at times a history lesson and an equine handbook. On some occasions I also felt there was lack of dialogue between the two women and that some of the lesser characters, like the reporter could have added more to excitement and dynamics to the plot. Personally I would have enjoyed hearing more about the women’s growing relationship what was happening between them.
But it was a good read and Ms McMahon is obviously a proficient writer.
Chris
ThreeandHalfStars
Rachel and Margaret were interesting ladies to get to know. The story pulled me in immediately and I was intrigued by Rachel. I enjoyed watching the budding romance. And I especially like the addition of Kate; she was a great supporting character.

However I lost interest in the larger story in the middle of all of the details. It was great to have the landscape and the locations described in such great detail. I loved that the author was so knowledgeable about horses; as someone that knows a great deal about horses, I hate when an author doesn’t do their homework. McMahon’s descriptions and knowledge of horses is to be commended. My issue was the large and flowery descriptions that weren’t needed in many areas of the book. It caused a lag in the flow of the book and pulled my attention from the overall story because I expected something more from the more flowery parts of the book.

All-in-all I enjoyed the book and loved meeting all the ladies that helped Rachel through the Trevis Cup.

Tori
FourStars

I wasn’t sure I liked this book at first. Things seemed to move fairly easily for the two mains, Rachel and Margaret. They’re drawn to each other from the start, even though Margaret is trying to protect her heart, and Rachel doesn’t even realize she’s gay.  Despite both of these things, the two move inexorably closer to each other. After an initial struggle, Rachel seems to accept her own homosexuality and attraction to Margaret. Margaret doesn’t even struggle; she seems to feel that Rachel is special and any relationship with her would be deep and inevitable. They get together so early in the story that I was left wondering what could possibly happen next. Then the big event, the Tevis Cup, begins. Here is where the story seems to come alive, not just because of the obstacles and dangers in the competition itself, but also because we finally see just what it is that Rachel really has to accept in order to become a partner to Margaret. It has to do with her father and what his words created in Rachel. Margaret sees it before Rachel does, on one of the holds during the race. And Rachel’s struggle to not only see what Margaret does, but also overcome it, is what this story is really about. The physical struggle of the race is a subplot, but it cements everybody’s feelings about each other and what they’re doing, and at the end is a small group of powerful women who have bonded together. I absolutely love the last half of the book. Definitely a good read.

AmyP

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5 Stars, 4 Stars, and 3 Stars for Downpour by R. M. Grace #MM #Romance

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Title: Downpour
Author Name & Publisher: R. M. Grace
Publication Date & Length: June 15, 2016 — 168 Pages

Synopsis

Two strangers BOUND by one past . . .

Ash Greene has nothing left to lose when he stands on the curb, ready to lose his dignity. The rain is relentless and has been for days—the story of his life. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, he only has one option if he wants to earn enough money to survive. Yet, when a chance encounter with a stranger spares him from making the terrible decision, he believes things may be about to change.

Cole Harris is getting by, living his life from day to day. He’s not looking for love because people like him are incapable of love. All people like him do are push others away. He has too many demons haunting his past to let anybody step foot into his despair. Yet, when he stumbles upon a guy soaking in the rain, only fate can be at work.

Letting Ash into his life, Cole soon discovers a devastating reason he should treat him as he does everyone else. The only trouble is, for the first time in his life, he has met a guy worth keeping. Desperate to hold onto him, he will face the tough decision to tell Ash the truth of who he is, or hope he can keep his past buried.

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Review

FiveStars

Wow. What an emotional packed story. These two men are two lost souls for different reasons but with a horrific past that connects them both even before they know it does.

Two strangers two pasts two broken hearts and two men that can heal each other and find the love they have been missing out on and hoping to one day be lucky enough to find.

Both Cole and Ash know loss and they both know guilt, grief, heartache, pain, and loneliness. They may be strangers but they connect once they meet through their painful pasts. They both may be what the other has been looking and hoping for but in order to get there they have to share with each other their painful pasta and hope they can overcome and forgive.

This is a wonderful story full of so much emotion that you cannot help to feel it along with the characters. RM Grace did an amazing job on this book and I cannot wait to read more by RM Grace in the future.

Tosha

FourStars

This is a story about two men who have both been through so much, find someone worth being with but both having secrets. Ash has lost everything and is about to do something he hates just so he can be warm and get some food in his belly. Cole is fighting his demons but sees something in Ash’s eyes and offers help. Ash and Cole’s paths have crossed before, they just don’t know it yet. This was a story of forgiveness, learning to live again and mostly learning to love and be loved.

Angie

ThreeStar

Downpour is a touching story, but I find the writing to be awkward. It is okay, but I don’t really recommend it.

My biggest complaint about the writing style is that it’s written in present tense. I’ve never seen that work when writing a story. I find it very difficult to read. There are also other times in the book that are awkward and confusing. I understand that the version I’m reading isn’t the final version, but in my opinion, the number of issues I’m seeing won’t be cleared up in just the final edit.

Even considering all that, there is potential in this story. There are touching moments and moments with good romantic suspense. I can see potential in the characters as well, but the writing needs to be better in order to really bring their stories to life.

Amanda

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5 Stars and TWO 4 Stars for Hurricane Season by B. J. Phillips @bjwrites01 #FF #Romance #Lesfic

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Title: Hurricane Season
Author Name & Publisher: B. J. Phillips (Desert Palm Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 5, 2016 – 201 Pages

Synopsis

Shawn Richards (aka S.K. Richardson) is a romance author. She’s had her heart broken badly again and is done with love. Ditching San Francisco, she moves back home to Southwest Florida to get her feet back under her and finish her latest novel.
Carrie Alexander is a huge S.K. Richardson fan, but has no idea what she looks like. She does, however, like the looks of the new neighbor down the street, Shawn Richards. Drawn to each other as friends, Shawn still tries to keep some distance in spite of what she’s beginning to feel for Carrie. Carrie isn’t the kind of woman you just have a fun night with and then move on. Carrie’s the kind you fall in love with and make love to, and live happily ever after with—but she just can’t let herself trust her heart yet. After all, the last time she fell for one of her fans, it ended badly. Carrie is looking for ‘happy ever after’ just like in all those romance novels she reads. Shawn could be the one, or maybe Carrie’s fooling herself and there’s really no such thing as all that romantic stuff in Shawn’s books. Shawn is afraid she can’t deliver on that ‘happy ever after’ she knows Carrie wants—and she wants, too, truth be told. Destiny might have given them a push when Carrie tripped at the local grocery store and literally fell into Shawn’s arms. But fear could cost Shawn the woman of her dreams.

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Review

FourStars

This book is an enchanting love story. Purely a romantic novel detailing the meeting and eventual falling in love and accepting each others love, nothing more, certainly nothing less.
The back drop of the effect of the hurricane was realistically described adding colour and excitement to this affectionately told tale of two women’s burgeoning  relationship.
If you are looking for a tale relating solely to love and affinity then I can recommend this book.
The story line was at times a little compartmentalized, and relied solely on the relationship between the two women, but some times this is all you need if you are seeking a little escapism.
Chris

FourStars

This is a pretty good debut novel. Shawn and Carrie meet by accident and are drawn together by attraction and desire. The problem? Shawn’s last relationship was a trainwreck and she’s still trying to recover from it. It makes her wary and closed off to taking a chance on the possibilities she senses she’d have with Carrie. And that’s a lot of the plot, and possibly the problem as well. Carrie does a lot of waiting around for Shawn to get her stuff together, and gives her more than one second chance. That’s a lot of waiting for someone she isn’t sure will ever take the chance to be with her, and truthfully, as nice as Carrie seems, she also seems like a doormat because she’s so passive about letting Shawn make all the moves. And it doesn’t help that anytime Shawn does make a move, 30 seconds later she runs away, then hides for the next week. I’d say on paper, that doesn’t necessarily sound like a good story, but I actually enjoyed following along as the two try to find their way to each other. Besides occasionally wanting to smack each upside the head to make them wake up, the characters are basically likable, and they do make you root for a happy resolution. I liked hearing about all the stuff they did to weather the hurricane at the end, however it seems to me there was a lot of hype about the storm but not much happened, unless you count the way they spent their time waiting. It seemed like a buildup of tension about the storm, but the storm didn’t actually do much. Anyway, the book is sweet and romantic, and an enjoyable way to spend some time.

AmyP

FiveStars

This is a very sweet, beautifully romantic book and I felt that I really knew the characters and wanted them to be together forever.  Shawn has been badly treated by a former lover and is very wary of getting involved again.  Carrie is a hopeless romantic, who loses herself in the kind of novels written by Shawn.  Shawn knows Carrie wants the whole package and not a quick romp so keeps backing off when things get interesting.  Believe me this is very frustrating – and not just for Carrie!  They are obviously hugely attracted to each other and Carrie is very patient with Shawn, letting her get to where she needs to be.  I really liked both main characters.  Carrie was a strong, capable woman who could see the big picture.  I was glad she was willing to wait for Shawn.  Shawn was lovely and sweet but very scared of being hurt.  As she begins to see that she and Carrie are soulmates I found myself swept away with the romance of it all.  It was lump in the throat kind of stuff and so beautifully written. The other characters, their friends, were well rounded too.  I especially liked Kelly, Shawn’s old school friend, who was a bit smitten by Carrie too but could see that her friend was crazy about her.  I really want to read more from this author now and can’t wait for her next book.
Kitty Kat

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TWO 4 Star and ONE 3 Star Reviews for Drag Prince Charming by B.A. Huntley #FF #Romance @LT3Press

CoverTitle: Drag Prince Charming
Author Name & Publisher: B.A. Huntley (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: June 29, 2016

Synopsis

When 33 year old Katharyn reluctantly returns home to recover from an illness, she is forced to attend several elaborate parties with eligible gentlemen she has zero interest in. All to make her stubborn, pushy mother happy.

One night, she meets the beautiful seamstress and drag king Renata. In order to fool Katharyn’s mother until Katharyn moves back out, Renata dons male apparel while taking her out on the town.

But the deception can’t last forever, and once she’s well again Katharyn will not just move out, but return to a life of traveling, meaning she’ll be leaving Renata behind her one way or another…

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Review

FourStars

Katharyn goes home to stay with her parents while recuperating from an illness.  Her mother is intent on setting her up with dates with eligible young men, even though she knows her daughter dates women.  Katharyn is too nice to confront her mother and goes on these awful dates, much to the amusement of her sisters.  While on one of these dates she meet Renata and falls for her.  When it transpires Renata also has a drag persona, Mateo, they decide to pretend she is seeing this man to keep her mother happy.
This is a sweet short story with likeable characters and is a light read to take on holiday.  I enjoyed the scenario and felt it was all done for the best intentions.  Katharyn just hadn’t worked out how to stand up to her mother yet and found an option that worked for everyone.  Renata was very understanding and I liked that she cared enough about Katharyn to wait till she was ready. The minor characters were well written too and came to life.  This was well done for such a short book.
Kitty Kat
FourStars

I really liked this story. And there was a lot to like. The chemistry between Renata and Katharyn is great, and kind of magical, drawing me in to their conversations and interactions and leaving me wanting more. Katharyn seemed like a pushover, until you realize that there is a core of steel there that allows her to be true to herself, even in the pressure from her mother. And Renata is willing to do a lot in order to get to know Katharyn better, but never allows Katharyn to mix up who she truly is with Mateo. It’s an interesting dynamic. There are a couple of things I’ll point out that held me back from an even better rating. First, as with a lot of short stories, while I was reading it, I kept wondering why it wasn’t longer. There was a lot of room to be able to turn it into a longer story, which may have made it fuller and deeper. However, even while saying that, at the end of the story, I was satisfied, so I guess it didn’t actually have to be longer. That’s just my own penchant for wanting to spend more time with characters that I like. Next, the relationship between the two seems to happen off the page. By that, I mean that while we’re there a bit when Mateo and Katharyn are together, we get told that they’re engaging in courting rituals. We don’t actually see, or read, about them interacting as Mateo and Katharyn in that deep way that would indicate them getting closer, and I miss that. Third, I’m not sure exactly what time period this occurred in; the beginning made me think of Pride and Prejudice, especially with all the names of the sisters, but it’s described as contemporary, which didn’t feel quite right either. I did love the last question for Katharyn’s mother from Renata, since I had wondered the same thing, and I loved the answer. That made me laugh out loud, something that doesn’t often happen for me. In all, a lovely short, fun and engaging.

AmyP

ThreeStar

I loved the concept of this book unfortunately, for me personally, I found Katharyn’s  character and circumstances did not require or necessitate the deception on which the story was based.
On a positive note it was an agreeable and charming love story and if you are looking for a lesbian based fairy tale this book is ideal.
Ms Huntley writes well but for me this novel was just to predictable.
Chris

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5 Stars and 4 Stars for The Big Reveal by Eve Francis #Trans #bisexual #lesbian #Contemporary @LT3Press

29915484

Title: The Big Reveal
Author Name & Publisher: Eve Francis (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 29th, 2016 – 116 Pages

Synopsis

Samus Mallory believes the right kind of fantasy can change someone’s life. Which is why she started to teach fantasy literature at her university, and why Jackie Vasquez, a cute cosplayer who always cross-plays, catches her eye.

As the two connect over their favourite novels and a cyberpunk game called Hack The Planet, Samus thinks she’s found the perfect person to be herself around—until their busy schedules and Jackie’s upcoming graduation ceremony puts a strain on their relationship, and Samus fears she’s to blame.

But as Jackie spends more and more hours on a new cosplay, she starts to realize that her fantasy life—and future—might not be what she and everyone else has always envisioned.

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Review

FiveStars

What a lovely and sweet story. It’s short enough to read in an afternoon, but long enough for a well-paced romance to blossom. The first word that comes to mind with this is natural. Everything in it feels so completely organic. Samus and Jackie meet, discover they had a prior connection (not terribly unusual in a university setting), and slowly build friendship and love. Their discoveries about themselves and each other are realistic, a few bumps and lots of mutual respect.

This is a story about discovery, which fits perfectly with the theme of speculative fiction and gaming. Some people may not be interested in another coming out story, but I liked how it was handled here. For one thing, it didn’t feel like some primer on all things transgender. It also wasn’t full of drama. Samus (who is already living life the way she wants) and Jackie (who is just making some important self-discoveries) are really good together. I loved so many of their interactions and how they both handled their relationship. Samus was kind and respectful, and Jackie asked good questions. I loved when Jackie wondered about “copying” Samus rather than becoming self-aware.

There are also plenty of fun moments. I won’t spoil them, but I will say that I loved the cat-sitting. The sensual moments between Samus and Jackie are lovely and well done. Some things were spelled out and done really well, while others were implied. It was a nice balance.

Overall, I really liked this story, and I’ll definitely look for more by the author.

Amy

FourStars

I liked this book because it challenges some of the preconceptions many have about transgendered people. A lot of people get hung up on the genitals that a trans person has, that may not agree with the gender they present. It feels to me, that the more people are exposed to stories where it’s not only normal but nothing to make a big deal over, the more they will understand. That’s part of why I really liked this book; Jackie doesn’t feel that having a penis makes Samus any less of a woman. Also, the simple fact that Samus is extremely matter-of-fact about the bodily boundaries that Jackie has makes an incredible impact on me. There are no intrusive questions about why Jackie feels this way. Jackie says she doesn’t like something and Samus says okay, no problem. There isn’t any pushing of the boundaries either. And it’s that respect from both, not only respecting each other’s boundaries but also respecting (and feeling safe with) the other enough to be able to communicate about their desires and hang ups. I did feel that Jackie’s transformation was incredibly telegraphed, but that isn’t actually a bad thing. It shows her state of mind before her own realization, and Jack’s state of mind once he does realize who he really is and how he really feels. And it’s that sort of mental and emotional click where everything finally makes sense and feels right that is so important to show to others who may not understand until they see that. Anyway, I really enjoyed the book, and would definitely look at others by this author.

AmyP

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