Hooked on a Feeling by Ainslie Paton (and Sixteen Reasons)

hooked It’s 1975, Gayle is separating from her cheating husband and has to move into a new neighbourhood with her 8-year-old son Dean, when divorce is still taboo and women mostly work in health care or education when they do work.

It’s got a hot Vietnam vet, an even hotter architect, a nice neighbour, a darling little girl Kim who becomes best friends with Dean and a sick puppy. It’s got a really cool playlist if you listen to all the songs as they come along in the book. It’s peppered with “Far out”s and disco and Australian ’70’s expressions like “dag”, “groovy”s and platform shoes. It’s got two gorgeous love stories twined together.

And it’s Ainslie Paton, so you have moving sentiments described in the most beautiful, hard and raw metaphors.It’s also got a very interesting scene involving a washing machine.

I loved it, I read it with relish and didn’t want it to end. I’d read more about Hazel and Steve (hot Vietnam vet and nice neighbour mentioned above).

“You want to know the best thing in my week?

“Why not, since we’re being such responsible adults right now.”

“When you bring Dean to the car in the morning.”

She laughed. “What on earth is special about that?”

“You smile at me.”

Paton, Ainslie (2014-08-01). Hooked On A Feeling (Kindle Locations 2122-2125). . Kindle Edition.

sixteen Then you have Sixteen Reasons, a parallel story of two of the Hooked teen characters. It’s a very cute short love story.

They’re not for kids, there’s sex in there. Yay!

Shattered Promises by Jessica Sorensen

I read the first book, Shattered Promises (free ebook), probably two years ago. I remembered I liked it and went to Amazon to buy any other books of the same series. ShatProm1

I found the Fallen Star series. I bought them all.

I started reading Fallen Star, only to realize that it was Shattered Promises all over again, but without the sex parts. You see, Jessica Sorensen wrote Fallen Star and its YA sequels first, then decided to revamp it with sex and stuff and resell it as Shattered Promises. I was fuming and decided not to read the rest of the YA series, keeping my interest for the full-adult version coming in the future.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I was so looking forward to reading the rest of this interesting story with a funky parallel universe and the characters and everything while I was clicking my purchases on amazon.ca. Then POW my bubble burst as I started reading Fallen Star (my investment so far: $9, big deal).

So fast-forward to about a month ago when I saw that Fractured Souls, Shatprom2 book 2 of Shattered Promises, was out. I remembered liking No. 1 so I bought it.

The premise of the first book is fun: this twenty-year-old girl Gemma has emotions for the first time in her life, bam, right in the college’s parking lot. She meets this girl in her class and has a friend for the first time in her life too (’cause you got no friends when you can’t feel anything, right?). This new friend has a hunk of a brother who appears in Gemma’s dreams. She wonders why. Then starts a whole sequence of events that explain why she had no feelings before, why she has them now, who is the mysterious gorgeous dude, and it goes on.

Book two, well, continues the story, it’s fun but missing a bit of the novelty of the first one. There’s repetition in the plot line and something that bothers me to no end, blatant unprotected sex. You just know that when your protagonists have unprotected sex so often there’s an unwanted pregnancy there somewhere, right? Nope, not in this one. But some mistakes and bad editing, which surprise me as Jessica Sorensen writes a shitload of books in different series. But still. I was hooked.

I bought book 3shatprom3 Broken Visions to see where the story was going, I was curious even if the main character was starting to seriously get on my nerves with her attitude and stupidity. I hate when the character becomes an idiot because it’s gonna help the plot. If the character had not made that stupid decision, the book wouldn’t be taking that direction. I understand we’re not all intelligent 24/7 and it’s normal to sometimes be bad but come on!! Seriously? Oh, and that unwanted pregnancy because they still have unprotected sex everywhere? Guess what the cliffhanger is at the end of book 3. Yup. I’m not spoiling anything here, folks, I think everyone reading this book saw this coming. And the blatant, huge grammar and spelling mistakes peppering this book made it hard to read for me. I checked some reviews on amazon.com and people just love this book so maybe it’s just me. But when I re-read a sentence three times to understand what the author’s trying to say because the grammar sucks so badly, I feel a bit cheated – okay, at CAN$4.41 it’s not expensive but book 1 was okay and it’s free so somewhere someone read it I(Kristin Campbell, editor, apparently) and made corrections. Book 2 and certainly book 3 need the same treatment.

I’m not buying book 4. I don’t care about that baby at all. Too bad/good for her. If book 4 is as badly edited as 2 and 3, I’m not spending my money on it just to realize that yes, dammit, the heroine is a misguided, immature idiot with superpowers.

The Bible Boys by Dan Skinner

bibleboys First and foremost, the picture on the cover. That man is truly delicious. Just the cover would have hooked me. But it’s a Dan Skinner book, so I had to have it, cover be damned. Damned beautiful. Yup, I can be that shallow.

The book is not at all shallow. It’s a sweet, sometimes bitter, look at two gay Midwestern boys growing up in the strict religious beliefs of an Evangelist extremist congregation (or cult, if you prefer) in 1969. Women need permission to speak from their husbands, boys must wear crew cuts, no one can listen to music by long-haired singers and being gay is, of course, an abomination. So long as you pay your tithe, though, they’ll overlook certain things like the length of your son’s hair.

The Bible Boys is a beautiful story of first love, told in a simple yet heartfelt way.

One main character, Matt, grew up within the congregation but his love interest, Caleb, only joined at the age of sixteen when his mom decided to convert, so Caleb knows life outside of the church structure and has a different perspective on nature and life:

“Out here you don’t have to have someone tell you what’s natural and what isn’t. It just comes to you. You know? It’s okay to be different. To grow into whatever you’re supposed to grow into without someone trying to change you into something else. To force you to fit into their mold.”

Skinner, Dan (2014-07-16). The Bible Boys (Kindle Locations 977-980). Cerberus Inc. Kindle Edition.

It’s a bit short, I would’ve read more about these two (approx. 125 pages) but it’s well worth the read.

My favourite part: when the minister tells a group of boys about Sodom and Gomorrah. Read it for yourself, it’s delectable.

Warning of gorgeous and graphic lovemaking scenes.

Keep Swimming by Kade Boehme

keepswimming I like Kade Boehme, you already know that. I’ve only reviewed one more book of his on this site although I own quite a few more. Kade has an honest, sincere way of writing I like very much. Nothing is superfluous, there’s no long-winded imagery or blabla to fill pages, just pure, sincere feelings with a good story.

Here we have a single guy raising a four-year-old on his own and a bisexual serial dater who doesn’t want a commitment. Sparks fly, stuff happens, not everyone is out, complications occur, love conquers all and they live happily ever after.

A truly feel-good story, just like I like them.

And sex? Oh yeah, there’s a couple of nice sex scenes, not too graphic but enough to make a twelve-year-old blush. And perhaps a granny or two. Probably my mom. Hence: not for those who haven’t had the privilege of being responsible for all their actions yet and who could only get a juvenile criminal record for the time being.

Top Secret Twenty-One, A Stephanie Plum Novel, by Janet Evanovich

twenty-one I usually review inexpensive books. This is not one of those. I started the series about ten years ago, when I read books made of paper. I still feel a little strange not owning the last two books in paper form, as I have the whole series up until 19. Oh well… I’ll live.

No. 20 of the series had fans a little frustrated. Stephanie, our favourite bounty hunter, was still undecided between  Joe Morelli, the safe but sexy cop, and Ranger, the dangerous, sizzling-hot ex Special Ops security expert. The story wasn’t really great.

This one is much better. Ms. Evanovich got her mojo back and wrote a fun, exciting, humorous story in which Stephanie is still between boys but okay with it, finding skips and clearing up a couple of mysteries.

Lula and Grandma Mazur are still up for jokes and quirky developments, Ranger is still hot and still says “Babe” to mean a whole lot of things, and Joe is still his usual good cop with sex with Stephanie on his mind at all times. Even Bob the dog eats something new and gag-inducing.

All in all, a good continuation to a good series that’s still hanging on. It’s got solid 4-star ratings on amazon.com and amazon.ca, well deserved.

 

Cross & Crown (Sidewinder 2) by Abigail Roux

cross&crown The second installment of the Sidewinder series by Abigail Roux, the first being Shock & Awe, reviewed here. After Shock & Awe which I so loved and read many times – it’s a short one – Cross & Crown is a perfect continuation of Nick and Kelly’s new romance. After fifteen years, training and war, adventures and mischief, they fall in love in Shock & Awe.

We now see how their lives have changed because of it, and how it needs to change more for them to see each other if they’re serious about it, as they live in different states.

In Cross & Crown, Kelly comes to visit Nick in Boston for two weeks and arrives just when a crime Nick is investigating gets complicated. Kelly helps him out and, with Nick’s partner Hagan we get to meet and a surprise visit from Julian Cross of Warrior’ Cross Ms. Roux wrote with Madeleine Urban, they solve the mystery and continue on with their love and their lives.

It’s a good mix of adventure and mystery and romance. Some very touching moments between the two guys, some funny lines from surly, sarcastic and smartass Julian Cross – who I love (I will write about Warrior’s Cross in a future post) – and a good mystery full of historical stuff in Boston.

“I love you,” Nick whispered. “Has nothing to do with the circumstances, or our history, or how close to death we’ve come together . I would love you in any incarnation of yourself.”

Roux, Abigail (2014-06-07). Cross & Crown (Sidewinder) (Kindle Locations 1496-1497). Riptide Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Now isn’t that just sooooo romantic? Who doesn’t want to be loved in any incarnation of ourselves? Wow. Ms. Roux, you certainly know your way around words.

It’s also got a few very sexy sex scenes. And they’re not sexy just because they describe sex but because of the chemistry between the two guys and how they talk to each other, how they turn each other on. It’s great.

Kelly turned the video camera to face him, and gave it a sly smile. “Not usually recommended, but this is going to be worth it.”

Roux, Abigail (2014-06-07). Cross & Crown (Sidewinder) (Kindle Locations 2363-2364). Riptide Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Bet you’re wondering in which circumstances Kelly would say this, huh?

 

So if you’re not eighteen, don’t tell your parents you’re reading it – and I should probably tell you not to … so don’t tell me either.

Great book. Can’t wait to read the third one, apparently called Part & Parcel.

 

Don’t Read in the Closet, collection published by MM Romance Group

I haven’t been posting about book reviews in a while because I’ve been reading the Don’t Read in the Closet collections from the MM Romance Group (Goodreads) of 2011.

The four volumes are published at allromanceebooks.com for free (search Don’t Read in the Closet). 

Members of the MM Romance Group pick a photo from the gallery and write a Dear Author letter to go with it. In the letter, they give a story prompt to the author who will pick their photo and write the story, with their preferences and criteria (some want hot sex, some don’t, some give free license to the author, some specify they want cowboys or paranormal, etc.)

Lots of authors I’ve read and reviewed on this blog participated in these events and I didn’t even know! Maybe it launched their careers, maybe they already had a good career going and wrote for fun: Kyle Adams, Piper Vaughn, Damon Suede, to name a few. I also discovered new authors I really liked, such as Taylor V. Donovan and Jaime Samms. I’ll have to buy their books. So much to read, so little time….

Anyway, if you like MM Romance, these volumes have all kinds: first loves, virgins, hot sex, BDSM, dom/sub, athletes, cowboys, friends to lovers, paranormal, hurt/comfort, (whatever that is, I’m still not sure), military, ménage, cops, gay for you, you name it, they’ve got at least one.

Each story is presented with a description of the photo and the Dear Author letter, then the genre and tags, which tell me if I want to read it or not (I don’t enjoy reading BDSM and dom/sub stories), then the story itself. 

Check them out. Good stories for free. Nothing to lose, except your heart (awwwww…)