Brigham’s Recommendations – “Double Dutch Courage” by Helena Stone

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Sudden changes require great bravery. Can both men find the courage to be true to themselves and each other?

Blurb

Ronan Collins has spent most of his life in Dublin hiding who he really is. Coming out would hurt his mother, and Ronan isn’t going to be the second gay man to do that. When he receives news the father he has never known has died, leaving him both a house and a business in Amsterdam, he jumps on the opportunity to get to know the man who fathered him and to discover what he’s been denying himself for years.

Lucas Brandt thought he had it all when Paul Kelly offered him a job and rooms to live in. With Paul deceased he fears he may be about to lose both. He didn’t even know Paul had a son, and now this stranger is on his way from Dublin to pull the rug out from under Lucas’s feet.

The two men don’t expect to like each other, never mind feel attraction. With numerous reasons why hooking up would be a bad idea, why does giving in feel so much better? And is Ronan’s back story really as he’s always imagined it to be?

Excerpt:

Ronan seemed to search Lucas’s face for something, then lowered his gaze until Lucas was convinced he was staring at his lips. He mused that the sunshine had to be getting to him as the afternoon took on a dreamlike quality. Ronan licked his lips, the tip of his tongue tempting Lucas, teasing him. When Ronan leant forward Lucas wondered what was happening, whether he was imagining things. Surely Ronan wasn’t about to —

The soft press of Ronan’s lips against his elicited a sigh from Lucas. He would have been embarrassed about his reaction if he hadn’t been lost in the moment. It was the second time Ronan had taken him by surprise in this manner, except on this occasion he didn’t appear to have any intention of pulling back.

With so many reasons why this was the worst idea ever, it didn’t make any sense that the overriding thought running through his mind was more.

He cupped Ronan’s neck, keeping the pressure light, barely there. Ronan reacted as if Lucas had used force and pressed his lips firmer against his, parting them in the process.

Lucas was helpless against the onslaught. It had taken him days to stop obsessing about Ronan’s mouth after that quick, shy kiss a week earlier. There would be no coming back from this. He had no doubt he would end up hurt. Even as he had the thought, Lucas parted his own lips, slipped his tongue through the gap and tentatively caressed Ronan’s mouth.

“Oh.” Ronan’s soft exclamation meant his lips parted farther and Lucas took advantage. Fuck being sensible. Fuck worrying about tomorrow, or next week, or six months from today. He was here, now, and the tongue hesitantly exploring his was nothing like what he’d expected and everything he wanted it to be.

The kiss transported him back to his teenage years, to the first boy he’d ever kissed. Clumsy and with clashing teeth, it had been as awkward as it had been exciting. Pretty much as it was now, except this time it didn’t make sense.

He pulled back until the tips of their noses were the only parts of them still touching. Ronan’s lashes fluttered before he opened his eyes. They widened and he lowered his gaze.

“That bad, eh?” Ronan directed his words at the grass beneath their knees.

“Not bad.” Lucas tried to figure out what to say. Not sure what he was reacting to, he didn’t know which words to use either, so the truth would have to do. “It just brought back a memory of something I hadn’t thought about in ages.”

“Oh?”

Ronan still wouldn’t look at him and Lucas didn’t like it. He lifted Ronan’s chin with his index finger. “It reminded me of when I was fourteen and me and Hans, my best friend back then, decided to find out what the big deal about kissing was.”

“It was like your first kiss?” Ronan still tried to avoid meeting Lucas’s gaze.

“Yes.” Lucas smiled. He couldn’t believe Hans had slipped his mind. They’d done a lot of exploring together before Hans decided he was interested in girls after all. He got so lost in his reminiscence he almost missed the words Ronan muttered.

“Makes sense.”

It hit Lucas like a ton of bricks. Here was yet another reason why getting involved with Ronan was the worst idea ever. If he was right, he would be Ronan’s first in everything. The thought that Ronan’s inexperience might include kissing hadn’t crossed his mind until this moment. He wasn’t sure he could make that journey with Ronan without getting emotionally involved. He had to know for sure.

“I’m your first?”

The combination of shame and defeat Lucas read in Ronan’s expression tore at him. He didn’t need an answer. He also didn’t need to think about what to do next. Yes, he would end up getting hurt, but he’d deal with it. It wouldn’t be the first time or, in all likelihood, the last. He could be Ronan’s first and make it a good, a memorable, experience.

“I want to be your second, too.” He didn’t wait and pressed his lips back against Ronan’s before he could respond.

 

 

Kopstootje Meme

 

Review: 

I’ll be the first to admit, I am totally biased when it comes to Helena Stone’s books. We’re friends. I was staying at her home in Ireland when I beta read “Double Dutch Courage”. But biased or not, it’s a wonderful story.

“Double Dutch Courage” follows Ronan Collins from Dublin to Amsterdam as he learns about an inheritance left to him by his absent father, Paul, and begins to take the first steps toward being open about his attraction to men. Lucas Brant, Paul’s business partner and flatmate, helps guide Ronan along that path.

The author deftly weaves in Ronan’s discovery of Amsterdam through the story and it plays such a large role in the book, it needed to be mentioned. It’s wonderful and vivid and makes me want to travel there (more than I already did)!

This is a quiet story. Ronan’s journey doesn’t have huge, wildly dramatic twists and turns, but the gently unfolding self-discovery is no less compelling. The attraction between them and the building relationship is skillfully done and you’re rooting for them as Ronan overcomes those final obstacles and moves forward into the kind of future he’s always dreamed of.

“Double Dutch Courage” has wonderful characters, a fantastic setting, and a sweet romance. What more could any reader want?

Buy Links:

Amazon

Brigham’s Recommendations – Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North

Summary:

Love is coming into season.

Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.

Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.

Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.

Review:

Before I say anything else, let me say how much I love the cover of this book. Maybe because it brings back memories of picking blueberries with my family when I was a kid, but something about it evokes a warm, sweet feeling in me.

It fits with the story so well because overall it’s a gentle story. That’s not to say there wasn’t conflict in the story. Far from it. There’s conflict between Jed and Connor as they try  to figure out what will happen with the farm and how to make a relationship work when they live such drastically different lives. There’s conflict between the men and the town. There’s conflict between Jed and his family and his coming out. Conflict between Connor and his brother Scott. The conflict kept me turning the pages and wondering how on earth they would ever resolve it. But there’s a certain sweetness to Connor and Jed’s relationship that permeates the story.

There’s also steamy chemistry and some incredibly hot scenes between them. Connor is a photographer, and let me tell you, there is a phenomenally hot scene involving a camera that shouldn’t be missed. But throughout every steamy scene is a certain amount of tenderness and sweetness that I absolutely loved.

I think the author did an excellent job resolving all of the conflict in the story in a realistic way. Not everything was wrapped up in a neat little bow, but there was a hopeful feel that in time, relationships with family will be mended. And Connor and Jed carved out a perfect life that they can enjoy together.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

 

Brigham’s Recommendations – The Law of Attraction by Jay Northcote

Summary:

When a professional relationship turns personal, it’s impossible to resist the law of attraction.

Alec Rowland is a high-flying lawyer in a London firm whose career is his life. He doesn’t have time for relationships and his sexuality is a closely guarded secret. After picking up a cute guy on a Friday night, Alec’s world is rocked to its foundations when his one night stand shows up in the office on Monday morning—as the new temp on his team.

Ed Piper is desperate to prove himself in his new job. The last thing he needs is to be distracted by a crush on his boss. It’s hard to ignore the attraction he feels, even though Alec’s a difficult bastard to work for.

Both men strive to maintain a professional relationship, but tempers fray, passions ignite, and soon they’re both falling hard and fast. If they’re ever going to find a way to be together, Alec needs to be honest about who he really is because Ed won’t go back in the closet for anyone.

Review:

I’m a huge Jay Northcote fan. Always have been. And this book was no exception. She has a talent for telling simple stories very well. There are probably thousands of office romance stories out there, but Jay does an excellent job making the romance between Alec and Ed feel fresh and exciting.

The chemistry between Alec and Ed was palpable and the scenes where they interact are tension-filled. Jay never disappoints when it comes to love scenes and the ones in “The Law of Attraction” are absolutely electric.

Getting the characters from passion to romance is a rocky ride though. Ed’s feelings are a bit complicated and Alec’s are even murkier. Both characters were well-thought out however and their motivations were solid and interesting. The way they worked through their problems was  very well-handled and in the end, led to a satisfying yet believable HEA.

My favorite stories are the ones that combine romance with a touch of realism. I like to get lost in the magic of attraction and love without losing sight of the real world. Jay Northcote is one of my absolute favorite writers because she always pulls that off.

“The Law of Attraction” is definitely a book you don’t want to miss.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Goodreads

Brigham’s Recommendations – Irregulars (Anthology)

Summary:

It’s a secret international organization operating in cities on every continent. It polices relations between the earthly realm and those beyond this world, enforcing immigration laws, the transfers of magical artifacts, and crimes against humanity.

The agents who work for the NATO Irregular Affairs Division can’t tell anyone what they do, or how hard they work to keep us safe. It brings a colorful collection of men together:
Agent Henry Falk, the undead bum. Agent Keith Curry, former carnivore chef turned vegetarian; Agent Rake, Babylonian demon with a penchant for easy living; and Agent Silas August, uncompromising jerk.

Four cities, four mysteries, four times the romance. Is your security clearance high enough to read on?

Review:

I first discovered the agents of the NATO Irregular Affairs Division in the Charmed and Dangerous Anthology. If you haven’t read it, you really should.  Some of my favorite authors were involved and all of the stories are fantastic.  It’s also where I first met Keith and Gunther.  I loved the world they were a part of and when I found out they were from the “Irregulars” anthology I bought it immediately.

All four stories in “Irregulars” are spectacular. Every single one was rich and detailed and truly brought the magical (and non-magical) world to life. The way the stories intertwined was particularly enjoyable and kept me glued to the book. All four authors had distinct voices, yet their styles meshed so well it felt like the stories seamlessly transitioned from one to the other.

The anthology had stellar pacing. It was satisfyingly  long without feeling like it dragged, yet I would have happily read more stories in this world. I loved all of the characters. They were interestingly flawed and the way magic impacted their relationships was fascinating.

I tried to pick which of the four stories I liked best: “Cherries Worth Getting” by Nicole Kimberling, “Green Glass Beads” by Josh Lanyon, “No Life But This” by Astrid Amara, and “Things Unseen and Deadly” by Ginn Hale. It was an impossible choice. I loved all of them and each had their merits.

One of the biggest compliments I can give the anthology is that I want to read it again. That’s something I rarely do, but this one is begging for a re-read.

Buy Links:

Amazon 

Blind Eye Books

Brigham’s Recommendations – “Blue Steel Chain” by Alex Beecroft

Summary:

At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.

Local archaeologist James Huntley is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan — nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion — brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.

As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love — even their own.

Review:

I enjoyed all three of the books in the Trowchester Blues series and I’d recommend all of them. The writing is beautiful and a handful of times I stopped just to ponder the way the writer chose to word something.

The third book stood out to me in particular though.  The first two books were excellent, but “Blue Steel Chain” resonated with me on a deeper level. Aidan’s relationship with Piers-his sugar daddy-is truly, gut-wrenchingly horrible. And the more you learn about it, the worse it gets. That being said, none of Aidan’s experiences seem written for titillation, but strictly to further the plot.

James’ previous relationship with Dave-the rock star-is less abusive, but still very painful. At times, it was frustrating to see James’ struggle to move on, but his journey to understand that he deserves better from a partner was very interesting.

Aidan’s escape from Piers and Piers’ pursuit of him kept me on the edge of my seat, but what really sold this story for me was the way the relationship between James and Aiden developed.

They seemed so perfect for each other, until the sexual tension began to rise. It’s still relatively rare to read about ACE characters, and I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of asexuality is something I’ve been actively working to wrap my brain around. This story gave one of the best explanations that I’ve read thus far and did it in a way that didn’t feel preachy. Aidan’s understanding of himself and James’ understanding of his new partner was very well-written. It was a natural evolution for the characters and thus, the reader.

Was the sexual tension off the charts (particularly from James’ perspective)? Yes. Was I disappointed that their sex life didn’t go the way a typical romance does? Not at all. The way they were able to work together and find ways to have a relationship despite the differences in their sexualities. The compromises they made were satisfying to both of them and I loved the way the story wrapped up.

This story was the perfect blend of dramatic action and touching romance and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

Brigham’s Recommendations – Scenes from Adelaide Road by Helena Stone

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Summary:

Can a young man find the courage he never knew he had when faced with losing everything he holds dear?

A few months before his final exams in secondary school, nineteen-year-old Lennart Kelly discovers he’s inherited a house on Adelaide Road in Dublin from a grandfather he never knew. Having been ignored, bullied and abused for as long as he can remember, Lennart can’t wait to leave behind his father and the small town he grew up in. Moving away as soon as he finishes his exams doesn’t cure his deep-rooted insecurities though.

Meeting twenty-three-year-old Aidan Cassidy in a gay club on his second night in Dublin, scares Lennart. Used to being ignored and ridiculed, he doesn’t trust the attention he receives and can’t believe a man like Aidan could possibly be interested in him. It takes infinite patience and understanding from Aidan to slowly coax Lennart out of his shell.

But the past refuses to stay where it belongs and Lennart’s father is determined to take the house in Dublin off his son by whatever means necessary. Just when Lennart is learning to trust and embrace life, a violent attack threatens everything he holds dear. Suddenly Lennart is in danger of losing his house, the man he’s grown to love and maybe even his life. If Lennart wants to protect Aidan and safeguard his future, he’ll have to find the courage he never knew he had.

Excerpt:

“Are you ready?”

I frowned at myself in the mirror. I looked ridiculous and couldn’t believe I intended to go out dressed like this. Aidan had been messing with my hair until it fell any which way, with one or two tuffs sticking up to accentuate the disorganisation. I scowled at the white shirt, grey jumper and yellow and burgundy tie.

“Hey, did you hear me?”

Aidan appeared behind me in the mirror and grinned. Trust him to look great. Dressed in identical outfits we should have looked the same. Yet here I was, a prime example of the ultimate dork, while Aidan, as always, looked hot as hell. The added dark rimmed glasses and the scar he’d painted on his forehead accentuated his cuteness and made me want to jump him there and then and forget about the evening ahead of us.

“I look like a bloody eejit. Why did I allow you to talk me into this?”

“You love me.” His grin grew wicked and I couldn’t help returning it.

“Yeah, I do. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t love you too much.”

“Come on. Stop moaning.” Aidan punched me lightly. “It will be fun. What’s not to like about a night out dressed up as Harry and Ron?”

“Going out as ourselves?” I raised an eyebrow at him before frowning at our costumes again.

“Stop sulking. We’ll have fun. The whole town is going to be dressed up tonight. Besides, I can’t go out with the lads from work and not wear a costume. Trust me, you got off light.”

I nodded and smiled. Old habits apparently died hard but I was more than ready to embrace another new experience. I’d be a fool to spoil my first ever night out with the lads with my sulky behaviour.

* * * *

At the restaurant, Larry, Aidan’s manager, smiled at us when we reached the table. “Here we have Gryffindorians. Great outfits, lads, although it does remind me of this fan fiction my wife is forever talking about and reading. I’m not sure I want that image in my head right now.”

My cheeks flamed up to match the colour of my hair as some of Aidan’s colleagues burst out laughing while others clearly had no idea what Larry meant. I did. I’d read some of those stories online and one quick glance at Aidan told me he had as well and that he’d had those very stories in mind when he’d suggested our costumes.

“Cockus Engorgio.” Aidan smirked at me as he whispered the words while we sat down and damn if his words didn’t have exactly that effect on me. I said a silent prayer of thanks for the tablecloth covering my crotch as I tried to ignore his still sniggering colleagues.

Review:

I read “Scenes from Adelaide Road” twice. Once as a beta reader and again yesterday, both to make sure I had read the most up-to-date version and refresh my memory, and because it was a lovely story worth reading again.

The one thing that struck me both times I read this story was how sweet it was. Not that Lennart and Aidan didn’t have some very  serious, weighty issues to deal with, but their innate goodness and sweetness together shines through. This isn’t a light or frivolous story by any means, but there’s just the right amount of humor and well, romance, to balance those weighty issues.

Seeing the delights of new love and a first relationship are so joyful through Lennart’s eyes and his wonder about everything is very sweet.  Although he’s plagued by insecurity and doubts, his enjoyment of the newness of it all is wonderful.

Lennart can be a bit frustrating–at times I wanted to shake him–and I can’t say enough about Aidan’s patience with him. But the dynamic between them seemed very natural and realistic.

Lennart’s journey from beginning to end is more profound than Aidan’s, but there is no question that they both grow as men throughout the story.  The backstory about Lennart’s family  is fascinating (and should Helena ever want to write the story of Lennart’s grandfather and HIS relationships, I would dearly love it).

The complexity of his relationship with Lennart’s father, and thus Lennart’s father’s interactions with Lennart played such an interesting role in the story. I loved the setting of Dublin and the way it–and Adelaide Road and Lennart’s grandfather’s house–had their parts to play in the story as well.

This is a beautiful story of first love and emotional growth and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Buy Links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Pride Publishing

About the Author and Contact Info:

ME 6

Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.

Helena can be found in the following places:

Author website      GoodReads   Facebook     Twitter         Pinterest

 

 

Brigham’s Recommendations – “The Bohemian and the Banker” by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon

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Summary:

A night lost in Paris finds two hearts changed—forever.

Sent to Paris on business, Nigel Warren doesn’t quite understand why his colleagues’ eyes twinkle as they tell him to meet them at a local night spot.

When he discovers it’s a drag cabaret and his acquaintances aren’t there, he realizes he’s the butt of a joke. Yet he finds himself quite undone by a singer dressed in an elegant gown, crooning a spellbinding ballad.

It’s not unusual for Jay, a former Londoner, to bring a new “friend” home from the cabaret, but he’s never had a guest quite like Nigel, whose straitlaced manner hides an unexpected passionate streak.

One romantic night on a rooftop under starry skies, followed by an afternoon enjoying the excitement of the 1901 Paris Exposition, bonds these opposites in a way neither can forget—even after they part.

Their spark reignites when Jay comes to London, but he’s not sure he can go back to hiding his true self, not even for the sake of love…unless Nigel is willing to shed his cloak of staid respectability and take a leap of faith.

Review:

I’ll be the first to say I’m a sucker for a well-written historical romance. Thankfully, “The Bohemian and the Banker” falls squarely into that category.  I wouldn’t claim to be an expert in history, but I know enough that errors can be pretty glaring and pull me out of the story.  This book was beautifully written though. The historical accuracy kept me rooted in the time period and immersed in the plot

I adored the characters. Nigel, an uptight British banker, and Jay, an American expatriate living in Paris and working as a performer at a drag cabaret, were perfect for each other.  Nigel’s naiveté was a great foil to Jay’s somewhat jaded attitude.  The cast of French artists who wandered in and out of Jay’s apartment were well-written and added a wonderful depth and bohemian flavor to the story. It was a such a contrast to Nigel’s reserved anti-social life in London.

Their meeting and first night together was electric, and the struggles they both faced were very realistic.  I never felt that either the conflict or the resolution was contrived and the way the story wrapped up was extremely satisfying.  The authors did an excellent job making both Paris and London come to life.

Both characters’ journeys were interesting and well thought out, although I particularly liked Nigel’s understanding of the two sides of Jay.  Jay, the everyday man he fell in love with, and Jean Michel, the drag performer. His growing appreciation and understanding of the man he loved really made the story something special. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more books by these authors.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Samhain

Brigham’s Recommendations – “Borrowing Trouble” by Kade Boehme and Author Interview

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Author Interview:

What is your favorite M/M romance book?

Wow. What a hard question to answer. Hm. I could tell fave authors: Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon, Sue Brown, JL Langley. 

      Where did the inspiration for “Borrowing Trouble” come from?

I wanted to write a book about guys I KNEW, guys I grew up with. I wanted steady, southern guys. I hope I did them justice.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Totally a plotter. I only pants the “meat” of the story. I gotta have points A, B, and C before I can even start a book. 

Is there a story you’ve been dying to write, but don’t feel quite brave enough to tackle?

I am DYING to write a historical. But it’s scary because there’s so much research and stepping outside of your own narrative. It’s a lot of work. But I’d love to try.

Out of all of your books, who is your favorite character? Why?

Gavin. I feel like he was the one character that was the most like a younger me.

What was the most difficult part about writing Landon and Jay’s characters?

First, not getting carried away with their angst. I tend to enjoy the angst when I write haha. But really, it was hardest to write these guys in this place I knew they’d never be ONE HUNDRED PERCENT out and open and free, in the end. I tend to like bows neatly tied at the end of my stories. But, to make it super neat while being realistic they’d have had to have moved to some larger area and they didn’t want to lose their roots. So, I had to sacrifice some “romanticism”.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I am, sadly, a total diva when I write. I MUST have had two cups of coffee, must have music on, and must have my social media stuff out of the way. If any of that isn’t done, I get distracted and can’t do a thing.

What type of research did you do for “Borrowing Trouble”?

I had to call old friends, mostly. I had to ask questions about saw mill work and carpentry, because I didn’t remember much from growing up w my dad.

How would you spend a perfect Saturday?

Writing like two thousand words, drinking coffee, then going out and having fireball, and ending the night with cheese cake. I’m simple. Haha.

Can you tell us a little bit about your next writing project?

Easy enough to say, I’m shipping two of my favorite guys and my usual bar. I’m looking forward to it because it’ll be my first serial.

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Summary:

After an amicable divorce, Jay Hill decided to move back to his rural hometown with his teenage kids. Being on good terms with his ex-wife and in laws has made the transition into single life pretty smooth. Things were good and uncomplicated. Then Landon Petty walked into his life. Landon didn’t expect to still be stuck in his hometown working at his dad’s sawmill at this point in his life. Being an openly gay truck driver was as awkward in practice as in description. When Jay came to take over managerial duties at his dad’s business, Landon was surprised to find a friend. When Jay turns out not to be as straight as he thought, things get complicated. When feelings for Landon shine a light on how much Jay’s life has been actually half lived, he’s forced to decide if he’ll jump in with both feet or if he’ll let Landon slip through his fingers.

Review:

I always enjoy Kade Boehme books, and “Borrowing Trouble” was no exception.  He consistently writes stories that suck you in and make you connect with the characters from the beginning. Jay and Landon were engaging characters with real depth and it was interesting following their journey, particularly Jay’s, as he begins to explore his sexuality. This trope can be so badly done, but Kade handled it with a deft touch that made this book truly enjoyable to read.

In particular, I enjoyed the end of the book and the realism of their happily-ever-after.  Although there was no doubt that these men would have a wonderful life together, it didn’t gloss over the issues they’d be likely to face in the future and contained just the right about of realism.  Beautifully done!

Buy Link:

Amazon

Contact Info:

Blog – http://kaderade.blogspot.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kade.adam?fref=ts

Twitter – @kaderadenurface

Brigham’s Recommendations – “Sloe Ride” by Rhys Ford

Sloe Ride by Rhys Ford

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Summary:

It isn’t easy being a Morgan. Especially when dead bodies start piling up and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Quinn Morgan never quite fit into the family mold. He dreamed of a life with books instead of badges and knowledge instead of law—and a life with Rafe Andrade, his older brothers’ bad boy friend and the man who broke his very young heart.

Rafe Andrade returned home to lick his wounds following his ejection from the band he helped form. A recovering drug addict, Rafe spends his time wallowing in guilt, until he finds himself faced with his original addiction, Quinn Morgan—the reason he fled the city in the first place.

When Rafe hears the Sinners are looking for a bassist, it’s a chance to redeem himself, but as a crazed murderer draws closer to Quinn, Rafe’s willing to sacrifice everything—including himself—to keep his quixotic Morgan safe and sound.

Review:

Rhys Ford has always been one of my favorite writers so I am sure it comes as no surprise to anyone when I say I loved “Sloe Ride”.  I was so eager for Quinn and Rafe’s story and it did not disappoint.

As always, Rhys’ writing was simultaneously concise yet lyrical and her characters were layered and complex.

She did a beautiful job with the dynamic between Quinn and Rafe and Rafe’s ability to understand Quinn’s uniqueness without trying to change him was refreshing.  Learning more about their history together was interesting too and added an unexpected layer to the story.

I adore the Morgan clan and I loved seeing them through Quinn’s eyes, one of the family, but an outsider within it.  His relationship with both Donal and Brigid was fascinating and the flaws and the missteps in the ways they all interact added another interesting layer to the story. The imperfections make them so much more realistic and human.

The mystery in the story was interesting and complex and there was a little twist to it I didn’t expect. Rhys does an excellent job getting inside the killer’s head and giving them a sympathetic side, even as you’re horrified by what they’ve done.

My only issue with the book is that it means we’re nearing the end of the “Sinners” series. *gulps* I’m not ready for that yet. I guess I’ll just have to savor what’s left.

“Sloe Ride” is not to be missed.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Brigham’s Recommendations – “Falling for Ramos” by Sue Brown

Falling for Ramos by Sue Brown

falling-for-ramos

Summary:

A glimpse of a group of businessmen in a newspaper tells Colin Hess his old love, Alejandro Ramos, is back in London a decade after they split up.

They met by chance as students, when Colin was pushed into Ramos’s lap at a party. Despite the disapproval from Ramos’s parents, Colin and Ramos were inseparable from that moment and settled in their own place as soon as they finished university.

But when Ramos’s father fell ill, Ramos was forced to return to the family vineyard, leaving Colin behind. When Colin joined him for a holiday, the plans Ramos’s parents had for their son became painfully clear—and those plans did not involve Colin.

Colin knows it would be stupid to rekindle their old love after the devastating end to their relationship. Still, neither can deny that they still have feelings for each other from the minute they meet, and Colin learns the meeting might not be as random as it seemed.

Review:

For some reason, I’ve had “Falling for Ramos” on my tablet for a long while.  It must have been because I’m busy because I always enjoy Sue Brown’s work (adored “The Isle of Wight”) but something about the book called to me this morning and I devoured it without stopping.  Colin and Ramos were both wonderful characters, but Ramos?  *sighs* He was perfect.  Not as in “un-flawed” because he certainly had flaws and made mistakes along the way, but the way he was written was so utterly perfect.  He absolutely leapt off the page and I couldn’t help but fall for him too.  Colin was equally endearing and the depth of their connection was incredible.

Their path was rocky, and considering the way the time jumps and flashbacks happened it the story could have become very confusing.  But even without the handy date at the beginning of every chapter the author made it easy to figure out when the action was taking place.  It made for a beautifully layered story that all came together for a wonderful ending and I truly enjoyed every minute.  The journey the men take as they struggle to be together was wonderful.  If you’ve been thinking about reading this book, don’t wait another second!

Buy Links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press