Category Archives: Amy

4 Star and 3 Star Reviews for Goblet’s Edge by Lore Graham #MM #Fantasy @LT3Press @Grahamlore

CoverTitle: Goblet’s Edge
Author Name & Publisher: Lore Graham (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 25, 2016 – 68 pgs

Synopsis

August and Laurence have been lovers for years, and it’s a love August has never had any cause to doubt, even if Laurence is also his employer—until they arrive in Umbra and meet Queen Maeve, the woman Laurence is to marry.

It’s immediately clear to August that Maeve is more than a little interested in Laurence, and as the gap between him and lover widens, Laurence growing increasingly reserved and distant, August fears the moment he’s always dreaded is near to hand.

And the end of their relationship might be easier to accept if he could hate Maeve, but asking him to hate the beautiful, intriguing Maeve would be like asking him to stop loving the Lord he’s served and adored so long. Which just makes August more miserable than ever, and waiting for the moment when he’s finally cast out.

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Review

FourStars

Lore Graham’s worlds are complex and interesting, and I love the way the world-building is threaded into the plot seamlessly. I enjoyed discovering August’s culture and surroundings as the story unfolded.

For the most part, I enjoyed this story. The characters and setting are interesting. Although I wanted to know more about their society, there was enough detail to keep my attention, and I didn’t feel as though it were lacking. It’s more that I want to see other stories set in this realm.

I liked August very much, but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about his relationship with Laurence or with Maeve for that matter. I am still on the fence about the power imbalance. I don’t really think August is being used, exactly, but he certainly isn’t on the same level with the others. It particularly bothered me that August seemed more like he was servicing Laurence than that Laurence actually cared about him as a person, and that bothered me a bit. I was left with the impression of “we trust you and we will occasionally have you in our bed, but you’re basically still a servant and should know your rightful place.” It may just be a case of it not really being my thing.

Other than that, though, it was very well written. There were some nicely steamy moments, and I definitely appreciated the skill regarding the creation of this world. I hope to see more about it in the future.

~Amy

ThreeStar

Although I did enjoy this quick read, I was left feeling as if there could have been much more to this story.

August in my opinion really does get the short end of the stick in this book. He works for Laurence basically as his personal assistant to whatever he needs and he is his secret lover also but I feel as if he is being used and nothing more. Then you throw Mauve (Laurence’s soon to be new wife) into the mix and I feel as if both Laurence and Mauve are both getting their cake and eating it too.

I believe that August is in love with Laurence and would never deny him any of his wishes but what I did not like about the story is Laurence never really said how he felt about August one way or the other and also Laurence is rather gold to August for the most part throughout the book.

What I did enjoy about the book is the fact that Mauve was a very bright woman and treated August with respect even though she really did not have too. I think that she actually has feelings for both men. The fact that she wants to include instead of exclude August in their wedding night was more then August could have ever asked for. Not to mention she did not want him to leave when they were done.

I enjoyed this story but I really wish that Laurence’s character would have been more forth coming with his feelings and I wish that he would have made it clear what he really wanted from both Mauve and August.

Tosha

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5 Star Review for According to the Order of Nature (We Too Are Cosmos Made): Art and Text for Gay Spiritual Sensuality by Stephen Mead #MM #Poetry

CoverTitle: According to the Order of Nature (We Too Are Cosmos Made): Art and Text for Gay Spiritual Sensuality
Author Name & Publisher: Stephen Mead
Publication Date & Length: January 24, 2016 – 158pgs

Synopsis

“According to the Order of Nature (We Too Are Cosmos Made”) is a mixed media series of paintings and montages begun in late 2009 and completed by New Years 2014. The title refers to all of the laws which weigh against LGBT individuals globally, only this project reverses the persecution, exploring LGBT sensuality for its spiritual roots and profound bonding, more so when people risk their lives in order to have and to hold love. While specific pieces present graphic erotic gay sexuality, by incorporating organic matter such as moss, hair, leaves, spices, rose petals etc., they go beyond the realm of titillation for the viewer to celebrate (or be challenged by) the validation of earth-centered sensuality. Juxtaposed with the larger mixed media series are small 8″ x 10″ images depicting outlines of the naked male form in traditional yoga poses. These independent paintings are then merged with various star, earth, and weather pattern imagery to create the sense that, looking at the night sky, a person may connect the dots, draw pictures in the clouds, and find not just Orion or The Big Dipper, but an innate sensual energy directly connected to the heavens. I envision the combination of all these images, as being exhibited on one wall, the text which eventually evolved from them forming underneath letter by letter: forest green on rose marble.

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Review

FiveStars

This is a beautiful mixed media book of art and poetry celebrating the male form and the spirituality of male/male intimacy. The images are lush and beautiful–erotic, sensual, and deeply spiritual. The poetry reads as a love story of energy flowing from human to the divine, human to human, and the divine to human.

There are bits and pieces from a multitude of spiritual and religious practices, and I was pleased to recognize a number of sources. I loved the way holiness and sensuality are not separate entities here but intertwined.

This is one worth reading more than once because each time is likely to have a different effect or spark some new thought. Although I can’t directly relate or speak to it because I’m not a man, I think it’s worth reading for anyone who has struggled with identity and spirituality and the ways we’re often instructed to separate the two.

~AmyM

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PRE RELEASE REVIEW! 5 Stars for The Pirate of Fathoms Deep (Tales of the High Court #2) by Megan Derr @amasour #MM #Fantasy @LT3Press

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Title: The Pirate of Fathoms Deep (Tales of the High Court #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Megan Derr (Less Than Three)
Publication Date & Length: July 13, 2016

Synopsis

High Commander Lesto Arseni is the most feared man in the Harken Empire. None but the High King dares risk his wrath—and a pirate who once punched him in the middle of the imperial pavilion. A pirate who later snuck away with Lesto to an empty room, touched him in ways far more memorable. And then immediately bolted like a man who’d gotten what he wanted.

Shemal just wants to live a normal life, leave his pirating days behind him and prove that he’s respectable now. The last thing he needs is the two idiots who show up wanting his help with the noble they’ve kidnapped—the very man Shemal had been hoping to prove himself to, the man he hasn’t forgotten since Shemal punched him a year and a half ago.

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Review

FiveStars

Megan Derr is one of my favorite authors, and the first part of this series was one of my favorite books last year. I was delighted to see there was a sequel, and I was even more delighted when the book met all my expectations.

The biggest reason I can see for reading this series is the world in which the books are set. It’s almost a character in itself. I loved seeing more deeply into the political structures between the realms.

The second reason to read is the relationships between the characters. I loved the good-natured banter between Sarrica and Lesto. Anyone with a strong preference for men so masculine you can practically smell the sweat when you read should love them. Even though that’s not my personal preference, they are so utterly likable that I couldn’t help being swept up in their roughhousing.

There’s a lot to enjoy here–political intrigue, kidnapping, fistfights, and a love story somewhere between swoon-worthy and so hot it burns. I liked both Shemal and Lesto individually, and I liked them together. I loved that despite their insecurities, they didn’t spend the whole book hiding from each other. They worked things out and would have been content to settle down if it hadn’t been for external events.

I was thrilled to see some of my favorites from the last book (and particularly glad to see how far Allen and Sarrica had come). The only thing I missed was that I’d have liked to see more of Lord Tara (loved him in the last one) and Jac (she was my favorite). But since there looks to be more coming in this series, maybe I’ll get my wish in a future installment. Also, I’d love to have my burning question answered about Shemal saying he didn’t have the equipment to bear children, since I wasn’t clear from the first one whether male pregnancy is actually possible in this world or whether some of the characters are gender variant.

All in all, this was everything I want in a fantasy/alternate world. I loved it from start to finish, and I can’t wait to read more.

Amy

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5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for Mulligans by Charlie David #MM #ComingOut @CharlieDavid @Dreamspinners

CoverTitle: Mulligans
Author Name & Publisher: Charlie David (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 25, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Chase never had many friends, but at college, he meets and forms close ties with straight jock Tyler Davidson—a connection he fears he’ll lose if he tells Tyler he’s gay. Keeping his sexuality secret becomes harder for Chase as he joins Tyler and his family at their idyllic lake house for the summer. It grows more and more difficult for Chase to avoid Tyler’s attempts to set him up with girls, and he’s tired of making excuses. Chase is ready to embrace the man he is, but he’s afraid of what it will cost him.

The Davidsons seem like the perfect family, but Chase soon realizes there’s trouble in paradise. Tyler’s dad, Nathan, has done everything to make a good life for his wife and children—including suppressing his sexuality and denying his needs for years. But like Chase, Nathan is growing weary of living a lie. What begins as an offer of support from Chase grows into an unexpected attraction that will have profound effects on everyone. Chase and the Davidsons are about to learn that there’s no such thing as a perfect family, but that perfection isn’t a requirement for friendship and love.

1st Edition published by Palari Publishing LLp, 2010.

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Review

FiveStars

This is not a love story. This is what reality can look like in a situation like this. Honestly this story completely broke my heart.

Chase in my opinion does not have the best outlook on things. He is scared to come out to his best friend Tyler for fear of losing he only person that he feels like is family. He lost his dad at and his mom pretty much stopped living when this happened and he was alone. With deciding to spend the summer with Tyler and his family I think that Chase got a taste of the other side of what a family could be like and it was not all pretty like the outside package appeared.

Nathan is Tyler’s father and I believe that he is just existing. He is not really a part of his family even though he goes brought the motions. Once he learns that Chase is gay he starts questioning all the things that he has tried to suppress. And he starts to make major mistakes that affects everyone he loves.

This is a story about someone who has hidden himself for so long that when it finally came to light who he really was, it destroyed his family. But on the other hand, they all love each other as a family that even though they are hurt they come to accept that things change and along with that change they can still love each other as a family.

The one I feel sorry for in this book is Tyler and Chase. I feel sorry for Chase because he may have very well lost the one person he thinks of as family and I feel sorry for Tyler because he feels betrayed by not only his mom and dad but also someone he considers a brother.

I do not really see anyone truly winning in this book. What I think is this is more of a reality instead of a fairy tale and it is a perfect description of how messy life really is. It was a good book but like I said it broke my heart on so many different levels.

Tosha
FourStars
I had previously seen the movie, but I hadn’t been aware there was also a novelization. I was interested to see if there was any more detail because I always felt as though there was just a bit more I wanted to understand about the characters and their motivations. The book does contain some more, since we could actually see into their thoughts, but for the most part, it follows the movie. I particularly appreciated how much more depth Stacey in particular has, since I really liked her.

On the whole, I loved this. I think it’s particularly relatable for people who have come out later in life and especially after creating a life built on one’s own assumptions of themselves and what they should do. Nathan’s internal conflict about wanting to be the best father and husband he could despite his repressed identity is understandable and even to an extent admirable. What makes this so good is the realness of everyone’s feelings and how they deal with the aftermath of Nathan and Chase’s affair.

I had two issues with this. First, it’s really not timeless. This story is seven years old, and a lot has changed since then. Jarod mentions not knowing any out pro athletes, for example, which is no longer relevant in pretty much any sport. There are a few other similar details which make this feel slightly less relevant.

My second problem is that I saw Nathan both in the film and in the book as truly bisexual but never having been able to explore that. Are there gay men who fell in love with exactly one woman? Sure. But nearly all Nathan’s internal dialog, as well as a lot of his behavior, suggest that his orientation isn’t so binary. It bothered me a lot because I think the way the story was told lent itself so well to exploring something more. Instead, we’re left with Nathan riding off into his gay sunset with very little remaining thought to the deep and genuine love he’s had for Stacey.

Despite that, I still recommend reading this book. It’s not a romance, so it’s not for people looking for a sweet falling-in-love story with a happily ever after. It’s about complex and deep issues and how families handle the big things.

~AmyM

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5 stars for There You Are (Wild and Precious #2) by CJane Elliott (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #Erotic @CJaneElliott

ThereYouAreFS

Title: There You Are (Wild and Precious #2)
Author Name & Publisher: CJane Elliott (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: December 23, 2015 – 33,000 Words

Synopsis

Bisexual musician Cody Bellstrom is a free spirit, easygoing and unattached. On a cross-country trip, Cody befriends young Sandy Nixon and gets him safely to Portland and his uncle, Phineas MacDonald. Beautiful Phineas turns Cody’s life upside down, and Cody learns he’s not as unattached as he aspires to be. With the hard-won knowledge of what lies underneath his need to be free, Cody wins a chance at real freedom and true love.

Ever since his longtime lover Allen died, Phineas MacDonald has lived a circumscribed life. He stopped performing as fierce drag queen Phanny Hill and works part-time in a bookstore. Phineas never expected to find love again. But when sexy and caring Cody Bellstrom turns up, Phineas feels his orderly life slipping out of his control. Cody brings him alive again, but now Phineas must find the courage to let go of his grief over Allen and give love a second chance.

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Review

FiveStars

This is a delightful story, and I’m so glad I read it. I loved the first part of the series, and I recall thinking that I wanted Cody to get his own happy ending. I wasn’t disappointed!

I liked Cody already from the previous story, so I knew I would love getting to know him better. He’s a well-rounded character, and of course, I always like to see good bi characters–especially if they’re in the spotlight.

Phineas is terrific,both as himself and as Phanny. I could easily see why Cody went googly-eyes for him right from the start. He’s wonderful, and their relationship is so sweet.

There’s not a lot of drama, tension, or angst here. This is pretty much a gooey, sweet love story, start to finish. Short enough to read in an afternoon, this one’s perfect for a cozy, rainy day read.

~Amy

Excerpt

“YOU SURE about this?” Bette’s pointed glance packed a world of meaning as she maneuvered the car through the DC traffic and Union Station came into view.

Cody shifted, touching the door handle to ready his escape. “Yes, I’m sure. Didn’t we go over this?” In excruciating detail, he added silently but didn’t dare say aloud. Not with the mood Bette was in.

“I’m giving you one more chance to come to your senses.” Bette pulled up outside the train station, frowning, and turned off the engine.

She looked so unhappy, Cody wanted to change his mind. I can’t, he thought.

Won’t, you mean, said the Bette in his head. He reached over and laid his hand on top of hers. “You’ll get along fine without me.”

“That’s not the point.” She nailed him with a baleful scowl. “We don’t want to get along without you. Dang you, Cody Bellstrom, you have no idea who you are to us.” At his puzzled expression, she turned away and stared stonily through the windshield.

“Well… I guess this is it.” Cody waited, but she didn’t respond. “I love you, girl, you know that, right? You and Aurora.” He meant it. He, Bette, and Aurora had been friends since they were college freshmen ten and a half years ago. Cody sometimes found it hard to believe that he’d known them since before Bette and Aurora had become a couple. It seemed like they’d been together forever.

A barely perceptible nod.

“Come on, Bette, don’t be mad. I’ll be back. I swear.”

“Sure you will.” She sighed and turned a softer face toward him. “Goddammit, you better. We love you. If you gotta do this, of course we can’t stop you. All we want is for you to be happy.”

A car honked behind them, and a uniformed officer motioned them to get moving.

“Shoot,” Bette muttered. “All right, babe. Get outta here.”

Cody leaned over and planted a kiss on her cheek. “I’ll text. And call. And Skype.”

“Okay. Send us a postcard from every stop, and take a picture of yourself in Powell’s Books when you get to Portland.”

“Will do.”

Cody opened the door and unfurled himself from the passenger seat, then hauled out his luggage, such as it was. He traveled light; always had. A knapsack, one rolling suitcase, and his guitar, and he was good to go.

He stood on the curb and waved as Bette pulled away, then strode into the station, his spirits lifting, while Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again” played on a loop in his mind.

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3.5 star and 4 star review for Housekeeping by Kim Fielding {AUDIOBOOK REVIEW} @kfieldingwrites #MM #Romance @Dreamspinners

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Title: Housekeeping
Author Name & Publisher: Kim Fielding (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 13, 2013 – 98 Pages

Synopsis

When Nicky Hauser walks in on his restaurant-owner boyfriend having sex with a waiter, Nicky loses his lover, his job, and his home all in one night. Although he’s nearly thirty, he’s never settled on a true career, and he has nothing to show for his years with Tom. Depressed and unable to find work, Nicky ends up couch-surfing with friends until he lands a house-sitting gig for a wealthy family.

When Nicky’s clients discover that he loves to clean, demand for his services skyrockets. Word of mouth leads him to Spencer Cartwright, a busy computer consultant and a slob. Spencer and his wife divorced when he came out, but he’s never found the time or courage to settle down with a man. As Nicky sets Spencer’s house to rights, the two men find friendship. But Nicky’s past experiences make him wary of risking everything on love.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was short and sweet, a cozy afternoon read. The characters are likable, and the story flows smoothly.

There’s really not much to say about it, which surprises me. I usually like Kim Fielding’s writing because it has so much depth. This story felt pretty much like most other contemporary romance shorts–there isn’t anything that stands out about it. It’s a fairly fluffy story about a meet-cute and a friendship that becomes love.

I was surprised, actually, that there wasn’t more about the concerning habit Nicky seems to have with being employed by his lover. I kept waiting for that to come up in a bigger way than Nicky’s lack of trust because of Tom’s behavior. “I won’t date my boss because my last boss/lover cheated on me” seems like the least important reason to avoid dating the person you work for, especially given that he was Spencer’s live-in housekeeper. I was surprised there’s never any exploration of that subject.

The falling in love part seemed a bit rushed to me. It was a lot of telling us Nicky and Spencer’s friendship is expanding but very little showing us how it happens. This is surprising, given how the beginning of the story is so detailed and powerful. I wish we could see more of Nicky’s changing feelings or his tension and worry.

Overall, it’s really well-written, it just didn’t do a whole lot for me. I liked it but didn’t love it. I think fans of this type of story (sweet, fluffy, very little angst) will love it, as it’s an excellent example of that kind of tale.

~Amy

FourStars

This review is for the audiobook, read by K.C. Kelly.

This is a light and heartwarming story, beautifully read. This is not one of my favorite books by Kim Fielding, but I still enjoyed it very much.

As Nicky is forced to make some drastic changes in his life, he faces the issues of what it means to grow up, have a career, home, love and family. All these issues are dealt with well as we get to know and love Nicky. Spencer and Nicky’s romance is more in the background as the focus is more on Nicky’s journey. But their romance is sweet, as Spencer learns to let go and Nicky learns to trust again. There is more focus on romance than sex in this story.

I recommend with for anyone looking for a fun story about starting over.

~Amanda

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NEW RELEASE: TWO 5 Stars, 4 Stars and 3.5 Stars for Tiny House (Buchanan House #3) by Charley Descoteaux #Bisexual #Romance @CharleyDescote @dreamspinners

Cover

Title: Tiny House (Buchanan House #3(
Author Name & Publisher: Charley Descoteaux (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 29, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Pride weekend is over, but for Nathan Lucas, the summer is just heating up. He appears to have it all. He’s tall and blond, ripped and handsome, and half owner of Buchanan House, a successful gay retreat on Oregon’s beautiful central coast. But his joie de vivre hides a fear of abandonment. When he was twelve his mother had triplets, and instead of the cherished only child, Nathan became a scapegoat for his exhausted parents, and he has never truly dealt with that pain.

Portland chef Paulie Nesbitt is head over heels in love with Nathan. They’ve been drinking buddies with benefits for years, while Paulie has not-so-secretly yearned for more. Paulie’s extra pounds and self-doubt have kept him from acting on his feelings. Their friends know they would make the perfect couple, but Nathan and Paulie will have to let go of past insecurities if they want a future together.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

I have only read the first book in this series.  I enjoyed it.  However, this was not my favorite story.

Nathan and Paulie have been friends forever.  However, they have been too shy or scared to tell each other that they have feelings for each other.

I think I had an issue with this story because there was so much more going on than just their story.  It was less about them, and more about this group of people who have banned together to create their own family.

Then, you throw in the wrench of Nathan’s family coming in to the picture again and it becomes even less about his relationship with Paulie.

I loved the two main characters – they were fun, playful and sweet, however, their chemistry was somewhat lacking for me too.  Maybe that had more to do with the premise stating that Paulie had body issues… I’m not really sure, but they just had ho-hum chemistry for me.

Overall, this was not a great story for me.  However, I did enjoy the sweet moments within the story for all of the couples and do hope that Evan gets a story too.

AvidReader

 FiveStars

Charley Descoteaux did it again. This is another winner in the Buchanan House series. And if is s full of all over the place emotions it is not even a joke.

I already love Paulie and Nathan from the first two books in the series and I could tell by their interactions in the previous two books that these two men had some serious feelings for one another but they were nothing more then best friends and sometimes hook up buddies with no strings attached even though they both wanted so much more from each other. In this book we (the readers) get to see so much more of what the issues is these two men have with not being honest with the other about their feelings.

It is sad really because Paulie and Nathan missed out on so much time together because of their different insecurities. They have known and been in love with each other for 18 years but they have never maned up and told each other how they felt until it was almost too late for the both of them.

Paulie has issues with not feeling good enough for Nathan because of his extra weight and he does not feel that he is good enough because he cannot see himself the same way Nathan does.

Nathan has issues with not feeling good enough for Paulie because he has abandonment issues and is afraid he is a bad person inside and that no one stay once they realize that even though that is the furthest from the truth.

I broke my heart that these two men loved the other so much and completed one another but they was both so insecure with themselves that they was willing to let the other go because of it.

As stated before this book has so many emotions in it and I cannot wait till the next book comes out. I can only hope the next book will be about Kyle, Brandon or Evan. Those are three that I am interested in seeing what is to come for them either separately or together.

Great job thus far on this series and cannot wait for more to come.

~Tosha

FiveStars

I can officially add Charley Descoteaux to my auto-buy list from now on. I loved this series, and this book made me hope with all ten fingers and ten toes crossed that it’s not over yet.

The first thing I loved is that there is much, much more to this story than just the romance between Nathan and Paulie. I normally dislike “will they or won’t they” type plots, but it worked perfectly here in large part because it wasn’t the only thing going on. These two men have a lot of history, both individually and with each other. It would have been unfair to both of them if they’d wrapped it up tidily on page three.

I loved Nathan already in Buchanan House, and I was so ready to see him get his happily ever after. But Paulie, for me, was the one I related to. Their story isn’t a slow-bloom or even a traditional friends-to-lovers tale. It’s a complicated dance, and neither of them wants to give in first. When they finally–finally!–get together, as we know they will, the moment matches the whole tone of their relationship. It’s sweet, steamy, and has just a hint of the insecurities which characterize their love story.

The side characters are fantastic, and a couple of them make me think this isn’t the last we’ll see of Buchanan House and its inhabitants. There are also some indications we may get to see some other complex relationships play out. The secondary characters are as interesting and have as much depth as the main couple.

About the only thing I can say I wasn’t sure about was the ending. It was great, but it felt like a little too much, a little too long. But that’s for sure personal preference, not a flaw with the story.

This is not a book for people who want a very traditional romance. It’s quirky, interesting, and touches on some deep and emotional subjects, such as Paulie’s weight, Nathan’s self-image, and tricky family dynamics. This isn’t done in a hyper-emotional way; it’s handled with humor and heart. As someone who can get bogged down in too many heavy feelings, I prefer the lighter touch, though other readers may feel differently.

All in all, this was a great addition to the series and only served to fuel my hope for more about these delightful characters.

~Amy

FourStars

This book was told from multiple POV and I really enjoyed this book much more then book one. This book still has some problems in the author writing as it took me some time to connect with the characters. I really prefer an almost immediate connection as then when I read I’m not struggling. I was glad to see that Nathan was finally getting his own story. However this book seems to deal more with “Tiny House” rather than Nathan and Paulie’s relationship. I did enjoy seeing them fumble around each other and was excited to see them fall in love. It seemed to build up slowing and that was good as Nathan and Paulie have been friends forever. This book had a lot going on and I loved the direction the author took. I can’t wait to read more from this series.

~Lynn

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, 4 Star, 5 Star, Amy, AvidReader, Lynn, M/M, New Release, Review, Tosha