Category Archives: Sarah

5 Star and 3 Star Review for Caught Inside (Boys on the Brink #1) by Jamie Deacon #MM #YoungAdult @JamieDeacon82

CoverTitle: Caught Inside (Boys on the Brink #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Jamie Deacon (Beaten Track Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: September 29, 2016 – 320 pgs

Synopsis

Luke believes he has his life figured out…and then he meets Theo.

It should have been simple—a summer spent with his girlfriend Zara at her family’s holiday cottage in Cornwall. Seventeen-year-old Luke Savage jumps at the chance, envisioning endless hours of sunbathing on the private beach and riding the waves on his beloved surfboard. He isn’t interested in love. Though his rugged good looks and lazy charm mean he can have his pick of girls, he has no intention of falling for anyone.

Nothing prepares Luke for his reaction to Theo, the sensitive Oxford undergraduate who is Zara’s cousin and closest friend. All at once, he is plunged along a path of desire and discovery that has him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. No one, especially Zara, must find out; what he and Theo have is too new, too fragile. But as the deceit spirals beyond their control, people are bound to get hurt, Luke most of all.

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Review

ThreeStar

I find it difficult to love a book when I find myself disliking the characters more and more as the story progresses. This story starts with a simple mismatched romance between working class Luke and his wealthy girlfriend Zara. And slowly, as characters are added and poor decisions seem to multiply, we see the absolute worst of each character.

I enjoyed the chemistry between Luke and Theo but I hated the exaggerated class divide and Giles’ snobbery. I really never understood the reasons for Giles’ aggressive behaviour and I really didn’t understand how Theo and Zara allowed it in their home. Adding cheating and secrets and lies just made these characters more difficult to like. I felt the ending exploded and then fizzled before limping to a rather unsatisfying conclusion – it just didn’t work for me.

As this descended into angst and drama, I struggled to finish it. I am awarding three stars because this is a young adult story and fans of Hollyoaks and other teen soaps will probably enjoy this much more than I did.

Sarah

FiveStars

This was a great read about the hardships that some young adults may go through when they realize what their sexuality is.

Luke is 17 and has a girlfriend that he is content with, Zara. For summer break Zara invites Luke to join her and her cousin at her parents beach cottage for he summer. Luke is all for the surfing and spending some time with Zara.

Just like any good book there is a twist. When Luke meets Theo, feelings he has try to banish from his mind start to arise. As hard as he tries to deny he is attracted to Theo, he no longer can when Theo kisses him. From that moment on Luke knows that he can no longer deny his attraction and he no longer wants to try too.

Luke and Theo come to the understanding that they will keep things under raps for a while but it keeps getting harder and harder to hide the truth. Especially since Zara really wants to make things work with Luke and Luke really wants things in the open about him and Theo.

Things finally come to a crashing hault and everyone is hurt in the mix.

This book was a great read. It is the perfect example of the struggles that some may face when they come to the realization that they can no longer deny who they are. It is also the perfect example of how some people may be caught in the cross fire and end up hurt. I think that Jamie Deacon did an amazing job with this book and did all the characters justice by making the book so close to reality.

Great read!!!!

Tosha

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5 Stars, 3.5 Stars and 3 Stars for Choosing Home (The Call of Home #1) by Alexa Milne @Alexa_Milne #MM #Romance @PridePublishing

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Title: Choosing Home (The Call of Home #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Alexa Milne (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: June 14, 2016 – 187 Pages

Synopsis

You can never escape from yourself.

Zac McKenzie is an ex-professional footballer with a secret he gave up his career to protect. Several years ago, he fled to his home in the North East of Scotland to avoid being outed as gay. Now, he owns a successful hotel and restaurant, but is it time to finally come out into the open?

Seth Pritchard feels he is damaged goods. He comes to Scotland to escape memories of the accident that left him injured, his bullying step-brothers and a life of lies.

For their whole lives, Zac and Seth have denied who they truly are to themselves as well as to others. When they meet, each man is forced to confront his fears and tear them down one by one.

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Review

FiveStars

This is such a great story but it also one of those stories where your breaks for one of the characters.

Seth just broke my heart. His life growing up with his step brothers was nothing short of tramatic they way they treated him and the cruel things they said and did to him. They left him pretty much hating himself for being gay out of fear of what others thought of him. Not only just that, but he was also left not being able to be intimate with anyone after everything his step brothers did to him. My heart broke over and over for Seth but at the same time I think he is so much stronger then he even realized. He works through his issues and becomes a stronger man that is capable of standing up for himself and he is able to truly start living and loving for the first time in his life.

Zac has always been worried about coming out but not because of his family or friends but because of the profession he was in. Seeing Seth face his Demons made it easy for Zac to be strong and decide it was time to stop hiding and time to start living in the open.

These two men made a beautiful story together, horror parts and all. They proved that love can and will conquer all. This is a great book by Alexa and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

Tosha

ThreeandHalfStars

This is my first book by this author. I had high hopes for the story, as I love stories about sports, but it was at times difficult to relate to Sean (one of the MC’s). The other MC, Zac I was totally able to relate to. We never got much of the background story about Sean, only bits and pieces, whereas Zac we got lots of background info. The plot was excellent and I was really hoping to get more from the book then I did. The author definitely has a way with describing a scene and I loved how she described Scotland (someplace I’ve always wanted to visit). I loved the secondary characters especially Abby and Zac brother, Ellis. I will definitely read the next book in the series hoping this was just a one-time thing.

Lynn

ThreeStar

There is a fantastic sense of place in this story set on the Scottish Coast.  I enjoyed the characters and sense of community, but this didn’t entirely work as a romance for me.  

I enjoyed Zac’s story – the closeted footballer returned home to set up a holiday lodge.  His family, his kids, his friends and employees all contribute to the wonderful sense of family and community surrounding the man.  The details of Seth’s life are less clear through the book and because there is so much mystery surrounding him, I found him harder to relate to.

I had to re-read parts of this story to fully understand why I failed to fully connect with it.  Ultimately, I settled on the dialogue as my biggest problem.  The conversations between these characters feels stilted.  I would expect casual slang from a retired footballer and  Zach’s unnaturally formal speech prevents him from becoming a fully developed character for me.  Similarly, Seth might be the most formal 30 year old I’ve ever encountered.  When this formality meets the bedroom the result is entirely awkward and not at all sexy.  Ultimately, there is something stiff and formal about both men and it just doesn’t work, especially for Zach.  

Also, there really aren’t many closeted 30 and 40 year olds left in the UK.  As a professional footballer, I was almost able to understand Zac’s situation.  Seth’s story might have been believable in the US or twenty years ago in the UK but it failed to ring true for a 30 year old in the UK today.

Ultimately, I really wanted to love this story more than I did.  I loved the premise and the setting but the execution just didn’t work very well for me.  

Sarah

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5 Stars and 3 Stars for Highland Hearts by J. P. Bowie #MM #Romance @PridePublishing

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Title: Highland Hearts
Author Name & Publisher: J. P. Bowie (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: July 12, 2016 – 103 Pages

Synopsis

Callum Robertson has inherited his grandfather’s mansion in northern Scotland, but the house comes with a history he knew nothing about—should he be thrilled, or feel threatened as the house seems to lure him in?

When Callum Robertson first sees the old Scottish country mansion his grandfather bequeathed him, his first instinct is to sell the antiquated pile for whatever he can get for it—admittedly not much in a downturned market. Then he meets Craig MacPherson, a local farmer with auburn curls and sparkling gray eyes, and suddenly the gloomy old house doesn’t look quite the white elephant it first appeared to be.

Craig tells Callum that it’s rumored the house is haunted but by what or whom no one seems to know. Books flying off shelves then being mysteriously replaced give Callum pause to reconsider his rejection of the idea of an actual ghost haunting the place. When he finds a journal relating to the history of his family he is, by turn, intrigued then fascinated as the family saga unfolds through the writings of his ancestors.

An encounter with what he feels must be the spirit of his great-great-great uncle Alistair makes him change his mind about not only selling the house, but also about his future with Craig.

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Review

FiveStars

While Callum Robertson tours for the first time, the mansion he inherits from his Scottish grandfather, he receives a visit from local farmer Craig McPherson. Unsure how he can maintain the larger than life home and still survive, Callum toys with the idea of selling when “something” or “someone” drops a book in his lap so to speak. It’s a journal written by his great-great-great grandfather.

While reading about his family history from several generations, Callum not only learns the rumors of the house being haunted are true, but he comes to appreciate the love his family had for the home. He is saddened to find out his grandfather wasn’t the horrible man his own father made him out to be. And he’s also angry with himself for not visiting when he was old enough to make his own decisions.

His relationship with Craig also grows quickly into something they both realize neither one wants to live without.

This is a nice, quick read with a HEA.

Kris

ThreeStar

This is a sexy, romantic, short story about family history, family secrets and new love.  When Edinburgh software manager Callum inherits  a rural Scottish mansion from the grandfather he never knew, he meets Craig, a local farmer.  While trying to sort out the estate, Callum and Craig uncover all sorts of family secrets including a resident spirit.  

 

While the connection between Callum and Craig is a little too instalove for me, I did enjoy the intrigue as Callum unravels his family history.  For a short story, Callum and Craig are well developed characters and I liked the clash between the local boy and the public schoolboy.  Callum’s family tree is fascinating and I enjoyed the way Callum is quick to embrace the unexpected.  

 

The sex is hot in this story, but there is little romance.  The connection between Callum and Craig feels convenient in the first instance, a comfortable, repeating hookup.  The jump from convenient hookup to HEA is as fast as the jump from strangers to bed partners.  While entirely realistic for the twenty-first century, this won’t work for romance purists.  
This is a quick, easy read with two well-developed leading men and an exciting plot.  

Sarah

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5 Star, 4 Star, and 3 Star Reviews for Raw Lust (Raw Trilogy #1) by Sibley Jackson #MM #Romance @caddyorpims

CoverTitle: Raw Lust: The Raw Trilogy 1
Author Name: Sibley Jackson
Publication Date: June 27, 2016

Synopsis

*Note: This gay romance contains graphic m/m sex scenes.

Z: dynamic, in your face sexual rock star in the making. He and his band, Wild Riot, are hoping to hit the big-time, and they’re getting close. He knows a relationship is out of the question if he hopes to make it big.
Jason: low key and handsome, he’s sworn to never care for a guy again—at least not without taking it slow and easy. He chose poorly once. By the time he walked away, his self-esteem had been in shreds.

Then Wild Riot takes the stage at the city’s most popular gay club. Jason has scored a front row table. He’s heard all about the band and their sexy lead singer. Big deal. He’s seen a ton of bands.

A single spotlight explodes from the darkness, illuminating Z. Their eyes meet—and the heat between them could incinerate the whole damn place.

Before the first set ends, both know they can’t walk away. Not until they’ve had one night of scorching, animalistic sex.

After all, neither is looking for anything more. Especially nothing as inconvenient and terrifying as love.

ATTENTION: 1/3 of this story was published on Amazon only in serialized form, under the name The Performance Series. 2/3 of this story is new, due to popular demand for Z and Jason. Even if you have read The Performance Series, you will enjoy the Raw Trilogy.

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Review
FiveStars

I truly enjoyedthis book and I am on pins and needles waiting for the next one to come out. By the name of this book and the warning of explicit male/male scenes at the beginning of the book I thought there would not be a lot of story line in it. But that is so far from the truth.

Yes there is a lot of explicitly hot scenes in the book but there is so much more then just that.

This is a book in my opinion about two people finding each other and having this powerful connection from the get go. The problem is it comes at a time in their lives when their careers are taking off and it makes it extremely hard for them to have a relationship.

Zeke or Z to his friends is the lead singer in his band and they are the point that they may just get the contract to become even bigger. Their following is huge is getting bigger each show.

Jason is a window designer at a big retail store and is moving up in the business with each new display.

When these two men meet is only meant to be a one night stand but they both soon realized he could be so much more and decide to give it a try even though Z is leaving for tour for six weeks.

Things progress between them and they become closer. At the same time the band gets closer to its dream. It is not easy being with a rock star but both are trying. They even have issues with their friends and co workers telling both of them are fools for waiting for the other. But regardless they remain together and committed to each other.

This book was truly an amazing read. I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out because I have a feeling it will be explosive. This is the first book I have read by this author but I can guarantee I will be reading more in the future.

Tosha
FourStars

This book was full of hotness. Jason and Z just can’t get enough of each other and when they are together it is explosive. I hate the whole I am a rocker and I am going on the road and I will be faithful crap. Yeah I know it can happen but I wonder how often and for how long. That kinds of stuff just sets me on edge but I did enjoy the book and I will read the next one in the series because I liked the chemistry between Jason and Z.

Angie

ThreeStar

This book had its moments.  While I enjoyed the premise, I struggled with the writing style and I found myself giggling through sexual descriptions.  For a rock star story, I enjoyed Z’s realistically slow building career.  The strain on his and Jason’s relationship feels honest and accurate.  

 

Both Z and Jason feel very young in this story and the intensity of the relationship doesn’t always fit with the new adult vibe of the book.  I did enjoy the long distance relationship, the insecurities faced by both men and the trust that develops between them.

 

But honestly, my favourite parts of this book are the inadvertent bloopers and bizarre sex descriptions.  I highlighted so many brilliant quotations that made me giggle.  My favourite passage was probably Z’s description of licking Jason’s ass crack.   The 21 year old struggling musician says the taste of Jade’s ass “was like a fine French wine. His taste wasn’t simple.  It consisted of several layers.”  The same man whose ass tastes of French wine also has perfect balls, “like eggs in a basket”.  By the time the pucker of Jason’s ass was personified and “signalling it was willing to allow him eventual access”, I was in tears.  
Possibly for the wrong reasons, I am really looking forward to the next installment in this series as both Z’s music and the relationship between the two men continues to develop.  Honestly, I just can’t wait to see how sex is described in the next book.

Sarah

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3.5 Stars and 3 Stars for Canyon Creek Love Story by C.A. Blocke #MM #Bisexual

CoverTitle: Canyon Creek Love Story
Author Name & Publisher: C.A. Blocke (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 22, 2016 – 107 pgs

Synopsis

Fifteen years ago Robert left Canyon Creek behind, and has made a life as a junior detective in Brooklyn. When he returns home to attend his mother’s funeral, however, circumstances make it difficult to leave again.

Stuck in the place he once tried to leave behind, helping his pregnant little sister, Robert meets Charlie, the sheriff’s son now turned sheriff. He’s kind and sweet, but also divorced with a young daughter to raise. But the more time passes, the more Robert wonders where he’s really meant to be, and if that place just might be the home he once left behind.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars This was my first book by this author and I really wanted to love it but sadly this book was only okay and I would really call it a love story. A part of it was but a lot of the story focused on Robert and his sister Maggie. There, to me, a lot of mistrust in this book. I also did not connect with Charlie or Robert and that makes it hard for me to give this book anything more than a 3.5 star review. I really have to have the connection with the MC’s to really enjoy a book. The author writing was good which made it a really easy read. I just think that there should be more character development to be able to bring up the star rating.
Lynn
ThreeStar

When Robert returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral, he is a bit of a mess.  His professional life in the big city is tanking and he left too much baggage behind in his hometown.  
This is a slow, gentle story.  The pace drags at times but Robert’s developing character is

I enjoyed watching Robert begin to repair the relationship with his sister and reassess his feelings about both his career and his small town.  
I still can’t completely decide how I feel about the romance aspect of this story.  While Charlie is a great character and a great father, the closeted nature of the sheriff’s life makes it difficult for me to believe in the possibility of a true HEA.  Robert’s prejudice against bisexual people also makes it difficult for me to imagine him committing a lifetime to a bisexual man.   There are times in this book that I really don’t like Robert and I don’t trust Charlie.  Unreliable characters work in literary fiction, but the don’t  necessarily make for a convincing romance.  
Charlie’s daughter is cute, and Robert’s pregnant sister is sweet, but if, like me,  you read m/m to avoid conformative heteronormative family structures you might find this all a bit sickly sweet in parts.  At the same time, readers who enjoy sweet white picket fence stories with cute kids don’t usually want their leading men to enjoy sex with other partners during a story.  So I’m not entirely sure who the target audience for this story is.  
I enjoyed parts of this story, but I wasn’t completely sold on the central romance or the two leading men.

Sarah

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5 Stars and 4 Stars for Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry #MM #NewAdult @lisahenryonline

CoverTitle: Adulting 101
Author Name & Publisher: Lisa Henry (Riptide Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: August 15, 2016 – 231 pgs

Synopsis

The struggle is real.

Nick Stahlnecker is eighteen and not ready to grow up yet. He has a summer job, a case of existential panic, and a hopeless crush on the unattainable Jai Hazenbrook. Except how do you know that your coworker’s unattainable unless you ask to blow him in the porta-potty?

That’s probably not what Dad meant when he said Nick should act more like an adult.

Twenty-five-year-old Jai is back in his hometown of Franklin, Ohio, just long enough to earn the money to get the hell out again. His long-term goal of seeing more of the world is worth the short-term pain of living in his mother’s basement, but only barely.

Meeting Nick doesn’t fit in with Jai’s plans at all, but, as Jai soon learns, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to have the adventure of a lifetime.

This is not a summer romance. This is a summer friendship-with-benefits. It’s got pizza with disgusting toppings, Netflix and chill, and accidental exhibitionism. That’s all. There are no feelings here. None. Shut up.

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Review

FiveStars What can I possibly say about this book other then it is sooooo hilarious and in some major ways so true.

Nick is 18 years old and has just graduated high school. He is not your typical 18 year old. In some ways he is so much younger and in other ways he is more mature then other 18 year olds but not by much. Nick is spending his last summer at home and is supposed to be working and learning responsibility but instead he gets fired and gets a boyfriend out of the deal. Which is not what he expected. He is freaking out about college because he knows it is not for him but hat is what his parents want and they are not really hearing him when he in his round about way tells them he is not ready to go.

Jai is 25 years old and never expects to connect the way he did with Nick. Jai thought it was just summer fun but it is life changing for him too. He has never had a boyfriend and never expected him to be younger then him but there is just something about Nick.

College is the big obstacle for Nick and deciding what path he truly needs and wants to follow. As the summer unfolds and Jai and Nick how closer and fall in love with each other things finally start to come into perspective for both of them. Time will only tell how it will end, that is if it ends.

I really enjoyed this read. It was so funny and Nick and Devon and their antics made this book. But Jai and Nick are who I fell in love with. There summer together is what I picture a lot of people’s summer being like before starting college. It is was a wonderful read and I hope many others think so also.

Tosha
FourStars
This is a silly, fun and very well observed coming of age story. Confused and conflicted 18 year old Nick just keeps getting caught with his pants down. He can’t seem to do anything right or plan more than a day ahead. 25 year old Jai has put off all of the planning by travelling the world.

While there is a little bit of romance in this story, there is also a refreshing acknowledgement that at 18, Nick is probably not looking for a HEA. The heat in this story is low, sex is awkward and interrupted and neither Nick or Jai demonstrates much emotional depth.

I loved the quirky cast of characters – Nick’s friends are fantastic and Jai’s family adds some heart to the story. The pressure on Nick’s bond with his best friend Devon as they both start adult life is the focus of much of this book and I love a well developed friendship storyline.

There is more humour than depth in this story and surprisingly little romantic angst – Nick has enough angst in his life as he attempts to become a grown up. Part time work at the pizza place made me nostalgic for my own high school summer jobs.

Ultimately, this playful take on new adult m/m romance is refreshing and welcome.

Sarah

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ONE 4.5 Star and TWO 4 Star Reviews for All Note Long (Perfect Harmony #3) by Annabeth Albert #MM #Romance @AnnabethAlbert

CoverTitle: All Note Long (Perfect Harmony #3)
Author Name & Publisher: Annabeth Albert (Lyrical Shine)
Publication Date & Length: August 2, 2016 – 320 pgs

Synopsis

Giving true love a spin . . .

Michelin Moses is a country music star on the rise. With a hit single under his Texas-sized belt buckle and a sold-out concert tour underway, his childhood dreams of making it big are finally coming true. But there’s one thing missing—a promise to his dying mother that he’d find it—him—when the time was right. With a little luck, he won’t have to wait too long . . .

Lucky Ramirez is a hunky boy toy who dances at The Broom Closet, one of West Hollywood’s hottest gay bars. He loves what he does, and he’s good at it—almost as good as he is at playing dumb when he spots Michelin Moses at the bar. What happens next is off the charts—and keeps Michelin coming back for more. He’s just not sure it’s the right move for his career. But if Lucky gets his way, Michelin will get Lucky—and no matter how the media spins it, neither of them will be faking it . . .

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Review

FourandHalfStars

This was an excellent book. I loved the chemistry between Michelin and Lucky. That makes for what I consider as a really HOT book. The men in this story were absolutely amazing and I immediately feel in love with both of them. Michelin does come across as a man who just doesn’t have it in him to stand up for himself. That’s ok with me even though he’s dealing with Lucky who appears taking the bull by the horns. There were clearly many things that these two men had to work out but when they did it was amazing. The author writing style made this a really easy read and even though this book can be read as a standalone I will definitely go back and read the previous stories.

Lynn

FourStars

This was a sweet story that developed somewhat slowly.

Michelin is a rising star in the county music circuit.  He knows that if he comes out, his career could be over.  I found that his wishy-washiness detracted from the character that he could have been.  I thought that he would have stood up to his label more, but ultimately, he was not a very strong main character.  I can appreciate that Michelin struggled with the way he came out, but once it’s over and done with, he takes almost the entire story to come to terms.  It would have been nice to see him stand up and do more.

Lucky, however, is a different story.  While he has been out and proud for a while, he tries to understand where Michelin is coming from.  I think Lucky did the right thing in making Michelin decide for himself whether or not he was OK with being gay.
I love Lucky’s personality and what he does for a living.  I love that he’s not afraid to be himself, despite what others might think.  I think that he was my saving grace in this story.

Overall, it was a sweet story, but I would have loved to see more of their “after” life.

AvidReader

FourStars

The third book in this series is a little more mature and slightly more serious than the previous two reality TV focused books. While still fun and very sexy, this is definitely an adult, rather than a new adult title.

Unlike the younger characters in the first two books, Michelin Moses is an established star. Lucky might be younger, but his confidence and strength of character makes him feel older even than Michelin. It took me some time to warm to the closeted star. His insecurities and his martyrdom felt whiny at times and I spent most of the story wanting him to take control of his life, stand up for himself and Lucky and make some concrete decisions. But Lucky – I loved him from the moment we first see him go go dancing in combat boots. Where Michelin is an insecure, indecisive mess for most of the story, Lucky is confident, clever and unapologetic.

There were times I couldn’t decide whether I liked Lucky and Michelin as a couple. I wasn’t always convinced that Michelin understood and supported Lucky’s dancing. All the drama focuses on Michelin and his insecurities about being outed. I wanted more care for Lucky through the story. There are some very sexy scenes between the two and some moving moments that really resonated with me.

Controlling agents and studios are becoming a slightly overused trope in m/m fiction about musicians and film stars and not much is fresh about the pressures facing Michelin in this story. I enjoy pretend boyfriend stories but the only thing saving this story from mediocrity is the strength of characterisation and the warmth of Ms Albert’s writing.

Sarah

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