Edge of Dawn (Midnight Breed #11) by Lara Adrian

Edge of Dawn (Midnight Breed, #11)Rating: 4.50 stars

Publisher: Ramdom House Publishing Group (February 21st 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Twenty years after the terror of First Dawn—when mankind learned that vampires lived secretly among them—the threat of violence reigns as the two species struggle to coexist. The only group preserving the fragile harmony is the Order, an elite cadre of Breed warriors dedicated to protecting humans and vampires alike. And in this precarious world of torn loyalties and shattered trust, Mira, a fiery squad captain, finds that every fight bears an intensely personal cost.

Raised among the Order, Mira has always believed in the warrior’s code of swift—and even lethal—justice. But the one thing she desires more than the Order’s hard-won acceptance is Kellan Archer, a sexy but troubled Breed fighter. In love with him since childhood, Mira once broke through his tough exterior during an unexpected night of rapture, but the next day he mysteriously disappeared, never to return.

Kellan didn’t think he would ever see Mira again—or have to confront the truth of why he left. After abandoning the Order years ago, he now leads a band of human rebels intent on carrying out their own vigilante rule of law. Yet a high-profile kidnapping assignment brings him face-to-face with the past he sought to avoid, and the striking woman he has tried desperately to forget. And as tensions mount and the risk of bloodshed grows, Kellan and Mira must take sides—between the competing missions that dominate their lives, and the electrifying passion that claims their hearts.

Review: The story takes place 20 years after the Breed made themselves known to the humans. Although a part of the Midnight Breed series it can also be read as a stand alone. Edge of Dawn tells Kellan and Mira’s story.

Kellan Archer, a Breed who came to the Order following the loss of his family, has been Mira’s friend since the moment she set her eyes on him and welcomed him to the fold.  Although he tried to keep to himself, Mira always found a way to get to him. His love and admiration for her went deeper than that of a friend, but after just one night in her arms he disappears to prevent her suffering. However, distance and years apart could never stop him from wanting her.

Mira has grown up into a warrior. She has been a part of the Order family after being rescued by Niko and Renata and made part of their Breed family. Now, 20 years later, she is a warrior of the Order. Strong and independent she has been made Captain of her team – her only weakness Kellan Archer. One of her best friends since her childhood, Kellan has always had her heart and even years after laying eyes on him, she still yearns for his touch and his presence.

I’ve read all the previous books on the Midnight Breed series and was wondering how the author was going to continue the series and make it work. I have to say that she has done it quite well. With her usual talent for world building and characterization, Lara Adrian introduces us the new set of Order warriors and their enemy.

The writing was everything I have come to expect from Lara Adrian. However, there were times where I found the narration to be repetitive. Kellan’s remorse was truly palpable but I did not need to be reminded of it time and time again. That goes for Mira’s need for Kellan or her feeling about the night they shared before his disappearance. Again, I could feel how much she loved him and how the events left her suffering and unable to move on, but it didn’t need to be expressed so many times for me to understand it. It was exasperating!

Having said that, I admit that I enjoyed reading this book from start to finish. I liked that the author took the time to express Kellan’s feelings in a way that truly revealed the way he felt about Mira and their situation. His remorse, lust and love were truly palpable and helped me connect to him fully. The same could be said about Mira’s emotions, but what I admired the most was her absolute determination to be with Kellan regardless of outcome. It was admirable how truly devoted she was to Kellan.

Edge of Dawn brings to the forefront an engaging plot line, emotionally driven interactions and a passionate friends to lovers romance. There are a lot of twists and turns, sizzling-hot love scenes and the introduction of a new enemy to the Order, but those details I will keep to myself because they are too juicy for me to give away. You’ll just have to read and find out for yourself. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

I am already looking forward to the next book in the series. No pressure Lara Adrian, none at all.

I received this title from Random House through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

A Taste of Trouble by Gina Gordon

A Taste of TroubleRating: 3 stars

Publisher: Entangled Publishing (February 18, 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:  When Liv Crawford decided to pursue her dream of owning her own bakery, it was no surprise that she forgot to add “maintaining a serious relationship” to her business plan. Not when she believes a cupcake can fix anything, even loneliness.

Jake Miller isn’t concerned about being lonely. He’s cast aside his playboy lifestyle to pursue something more meaningful, his passion for photography. So, when his boss asks him to pursue a beautiful woman and coerce her to his office for a disguised meeting—no matter what it takes—in exchange for the opportunity to turn his hobby into a career, he jumps at the chance. At first sight, Liv awakens his long-buried desire for commitment, but his secret mission could ruin his hopes of keeping her.

Despite Liv’s commitment to swear off relationships to run her bakery, Jake quickly becomes her number one distraction. Yet, even her misgivings can’t tame the heat as they straddle the line between love and ambition.

Review: Liv is on her path to achieving her dream – owning her own cupcake shop. She is determined to get it off the ground and has decided to focus all her attention to succeeding, until Jake walks into her life and her attention drifts over to him. Jake, with his handsome good looks and mischievous grin, is all set to win the promotion his boss has offered him. However, he was not expecting to be attracted to Liv. Although he tries to stay away and keep it just business, he can’t help but delay in telling her the truth because he wants her for himself.

A Taste of Trouble was a sweet, romantic read. The writing was entertaining and the story was interesting even if I felt that it dragged in places. The connection between Jake and Liv was palpable and their chemistry very hot. I found Liv to be an enjoyable character to get to know and her development throughout the story, although a bit predictable, was enjoyable as well. Now Jake is another story. I wanted to love him as I usually do my heroes, but his lies kept me from getting to that point. Although he redeemed himself a little there at the end, I thought he had ample opportunity to come clean to Liv and he just didn’t want to.

This is the first book I’ve read by Gina Gordon but I don’t think it will be last. I enjoyed the different emotions she brought to the page, the characters’ interactions and their sexual chemistry along with the bit of mystery she added to the story, so I’ll be looking for more from her.

I received this book from Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Big Man on Campus (Growing Pains #3) by U.M. Lassiter

Big Man on CampusRating: 3.75 stars

Publisher: Devine Destinies (February 15, 2013)

Synopsis:  Does size really matter? Whether he likes it or not, Alex is the Big Man on Campus.

Muscle teen titan Alex Johnson is starting his senior year in High School. Alex has spent most of his life seemingly invisible, but since an experimental genetic treatment to save his life, he’s literally Big Man on Campus. His friends think that Alex is large and in charge, so the school bullies won’t be a problem anymore, but the bullies have other ideas. Meanwhile, Alex is just trying to cope with the usual problems—peer pressure, sports, grades—and a suddenly rocky relationship with his first real boyfriend. Along the way, Alex reaches out to some of the geekiest freshmen in school– something no one ever did for him– and his plan to help them produces some startling results.

Review: Alex returns home to finish high school after spending a summer at the farm in the previous book, Small Farm Big Farm Boy.  From the beginning I could sense some hesitation from Alex at being home and going back to school not only because he left his boyfriend Ryan behind at the farm, but because he had found peace and acceptance there. Something he didn’t have before he left for the summer.

This time around Alex’s narration of his story is more laid back even if at times the decisions he made and the actions of others brought in Alex a side of him I had never seen – his temper. With Alex’s new range of emotions, his interactions with secondary characters and the events presented throughout the book, the writing was as great as I have come to expect from U.M Lassiter. I was engaged in the story and the way Alex reacted to the different circumstances that were thrown in his path. I especially enjoyed the times he spent with Ryan and his new friend Courtney.

I enjoyed how Alex’s and Courtney’s friendship developed. Their interactions revealed a softer, caring side to Alex and as they progressed they were funny and entertaining. It was fun seeing how Courtney developed throughout the story into a confident young man all because of Alex’s help and his friendship. It was also great to see that Alex had faults too. In the previous books we only got to see how well he accepted his situation and his caring and funny side. Although he is still confident about his looks, he falters when he has to deal with the fallout that comes from it – like having to move to the basement because of his size. However, what touched me the most was his hesitation in coming out to his parents. That was one of his biggest worries and although he didn’t manage to do it very well in his approach, his relief in doing so was palpable.

U.M. Lassiter once again brought a great storyline to the page while keeping us interested in Alex’s new experiences, thoughts and actions. This new chapter in Alex’s life is filled with worry over his new friends, exasperation by the actions of old friends and acquaintances and acceptance of his situation and his actions. I enjoyed how the author went about dealing with Alex’s remorse over the actions that hurt Ryan. It showed that he truly cared for Ryan and wanted things to work between them.

Alex’s interactions with the other characters were both entertaining and insightful, giving us glimpses into Alex’s maturity and understanding side. But what I liked the most was that it gave us a look into the life of a normal 18 year-old with all the angsts of teenage youth, high school drama and the uncertainty of first love. U.M. Lassiter did a great job of bringing it all together in the end, making Alex’s size just an everyday occurrence and bringing forward his true personality, which I appreciated because it made Alex seem more real to me.

All in all, Big Man on Campus is a great addition to the Growing Pains series. I enjoyed reading about how Alex’s story was coming along. It was a treat to read more about his continued growth as a person, his life and the new relationships he had established.

I received this title from the author in exchange of my honest opinion.

Temptation by Kathryn Barrett

TemptationRating: 3 stars

Publisher: Entangled Publishing (February 18, 2013)

Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Laura Hayes has been acting since she was an infant, making Hollywood the only home she has ever known. But when she moves to Pennsylvania’s Amish country to film her next movie, she discovers there’s more to life than a pair of Jimmy Choos and a Marie Claire cover.

Intrigued by the Amish simplicity, she’s soon gardening and baking plum pies—and enjoying it. And when her neighbor turns out to be the local heartthrob and a talented furniture maker, she realizes that what’s missing from her life might be the love of a good man—not to mention the perfect heirloom tomato.

Jacob fights the urge to question the teachings of his Amish beliefs—despite his desire to create furniture that is beautiful as well as useful—and struggles with his longing for the sexy stranger who makes him feel truly alive for the first time. As his attraction grows, so do his doubts, until he’s forced to face temptation and decide once and for all what is truly worth the fight.

Review: Laura is in location in Amish country for her next film. She feels strongly about the character she’ll be playing and wants to portray her as authentically as she can, so she delves into the culture and its people to learn more about them. What she discovers is herself being attracted to Jacob, a widowed, Amish carpenter and a need to simplify her life and find herself.

When I first read the blurb I was immediately drawn to the story about the forbidden love between a Hollywood actress and an Amish man. Although the premise was a great one I have to say that it wasn’t everything I had hope for. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the way the author, Kathryn Barrett, went about bringing the Amish aspect to the story, but there were some issues I found I could not overlook.

First, try as I might I could not connect to Laura in any way.  She came across as selfish woman who was oblivious to Jacob’s struggles. She was determined to have her way no matter the cost, without even thinking of sacrificing her career or her lifestyle over Jacob. I could not get over that, she didn’t even consider the possibility, she just expected Jacob to leave everything he’s ever known for her. Pfffft!

Also, although I enjoyed the fact that she was an actress, I did not need a play by play of the scenes she was filming. I still can’t see what it brought to the story, only that it confused me to suddenly find myself reading what Hannah was doing and thinking. I think the story would have flowed better if it only focused on Laura and her feelings, regardless if they were being influenced by playing Hannah or not.

Last and certainly not least I could not find the romance part of the story believable. Even though their chemistry was palpable from the moment they met, I just could not picture Jacob, a strong, level-headed man, with a woman like Laura. I’m not saying that he was wrong in his decision to leave, I just think she was not worth the trouble. I want to be clear that the fact that the romance was not believable to me is mostly because I did not like Laura and not because the author did a poor job of developing it. Like I said the chemistry was there as well as the emotions from both characters, I just could not get over Laura selfishness.

Having said all that, I enjoyed Jacob’s character, his development and his story. That is mainly why I am granting this book a three star rating. I encourage you to read Temptation because it is a lovely story of new beginnings and second chances. You might find you love it regardless of what I think.

I received this book from Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Take It Off (Market Garden #2) by L.A. Witt, Aleksandr Voinov

Take It Off (Market Garden, #2)Rating: 5 stars

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (February 25, 2013)

Synopsis: Turnabout is foreplay.

High-end Market Garden rentboys Tristan and Jared have found their niche. Men are willing to pay good money to watch Tristan tease Jared, and the two of them seduce London’s elite with sex and power games.

Except Tristan is less and less interested in getting money out of the johns these days. He wants his partner in crime, and he wants the seduction to be real. But is Jared just in this for the pay?

When Rolex, the john who started it all, returns to Market Garden, the boys jump on the opportunity to service him—and each other—for a fresh pile of cash. Rolex isn’t the only one itching for a rematch, though. Jared’s been waiting for a chance to get back at Tristan for teasing him so mercilessly the first time.

And for a former stripper, revenge is a dish best served extra hot.

Review: Once again I got to visit with Tristan and Jared from Market Garden, only this time around it was Tristan’s turn to experience the frustration of delayed gratification.

Since the first encounter that took place in Quid Pro Quo, Tristan and Jared have been teaming up to bring pleasure to the Johns that frequent Market Garden. Although the money has been good and the encounters get hotter each time, Tristan wants more from Jared than the time spent working with him. He is not sure how Jared feels about this and he fears that his chance for exploring their connection has gone by. He is currently thinking about his options and how best to bring the subject up when Mr. Rolex walks in with another offer the boys can’t refuse.

And so it begins.

A limo ride. A hotel chair. Kylie!!!

From the start I could see that Tristan was overwhelmed by his attraction for Jared, but it wasn’t until they got into the limo that I truly got a glimpse of how conflicted he truly was. His usual composure was shot to shit and his every thought centered in how to make Jared his. And then he sat in the hotel chair, the music started and Jared began moving.

Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt have ratcheted the lust factor to NUCLEAR HOT on this second installment of the Market Garden series. But the most surprising thing of all is the character’s connection. After having read Quid Pro Quo I wondered if these guys would develop something more than a working relationship. I knew Jared had a huge crush on Tristan, but I didn’t know how Tristan felt about him because he seemed so in control all the time. And how I enjoyed seeing him out of his head in lust.

Oh Lordy! This was a ride I won’t soon forget. Gyrations, licks, nips and thrusts. Lust, yearning, seduction. Here, there, everywhere. My only job was to sit back and enjoyed the show. And enjoy I did!

There are no words for me to describe what happens next since it’s something you have to read to get the whole experience for yourself, but I will say that is was extraordinary. From the first piece of clothing taken off to Tristan’s proposal to Jared in the end, the authors really outdid themselves. I was hot and bothered, expectant and completely engrossed in the scene as it played out. And the best part of it all is that I finally got into Tristan mind, so I can better understand the connection that goes along with the chemistry these guys share.

I had been anticipating the release of this title ever since I read the previous one and my eagerness was not helped every time I came across the author’s interactions on Twitter while I was lurking observing quietly my Twitter feed.  I am happy to say that Take It Off was everything I expected and then some!

I received this title from Riptide Publishing from NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Promises Made Under Fire by Charlie Cochrane

Promises Made Under FireRating: 4 stars

Publisher: Carina Press (February 25, 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: France, 1915

Lieutenant Tom Donald envies everything about fellow officer Frank Foden—his confidence, his easy manner with the men in the trenches, the affectionate letters from his wife. Frank shares these letters happily, drawing Tom into a vicarious friendship with a woman he’s never met. Although the bonds of friendship forged under fire are strong, Tom can’t be so open with Frank—he’s attracted to men and could never confess that to anyone.

When Frank is killed in no-man’s-land, he leaves behind a mysterious request for Tom: to deliver a sealed letter to a man named Palmer. Tom undertakes the commission while on leave—and discovers that almost everything he thought he knew about Frank is a lie…

Review: I am not usually a fan of historical fiction, but I am finding that I’ve come to enjoy reading the genre as long as the writing is done well and the story is an interesting one. This is the case with Promises Made Under Fire.

From the beginning Charlie Cochrane pulled me into the story by introducing me to Tom Donald. His voice was a mix of frustration over his predicament at being in the trenches and his joy at having forged a friendship with Frank, a fellow soldier. He enjoyed their conversations and their friendship, especially sharing Frank’s letters.  He came to look forward to these days because he could glimpse the love Frank shared with his wife Veronica – the kind of love he yearns to feel one day for another man.

When Frank is killed he is surprised to find that Frank wanted him to deliver a letter to a friend. He’s confused as to why Frank saw the need for him to do this, since Frank had not mentioned this friend to him in any of their conversations. Nevertheless, he sets out to fulfill his friend’s last wish only to find that Frank was not who he thought he was and that his life would be irrevocably changed by delivering Frank’s letter.

This is the first work by Charlie Cochrane that I have read and I enjoyed the way the author went about telling this story. Giving us glimpses of Tom’s life in and out of the war, his family dynamics and his struggles with his sexuality, Charlie Cochrane made it easy for me to connect to Tom. I could clearly understand his hesitations, thoughts and actions, which only made the story that much more enjoyable.

The slow pace of the story and the emotions that the author brought out of Tom and into the story gave this novella a very romantic feeling. It was like watching on of those great classic movies where you’re drawn into the story by the setting and the characters alone. Charlie Cochrane managed to do just that by taking me back in time to experience Tom’s journey in finding what he had looked for all this time – a deep connection to someone else.

I received this title from Carina Press through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Something in the Way He Needs (Family Series #1) by Cardeno C.

Something in the Way He NeedsRating: 5 stars

Published: February 25, 2013

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Synopsis: Police captain Asher Penaz’s staunch professionalism bleeds into his home life, down to his neatly pressed attire and spartan apartment. He enjoys being the man in charge, and leather bars satisfy his need for dominance—so his sudden and powerful attraction to the lighthearted, free-spirited Daniel Tover throws him for a loop. In his entire life, Daniel has never gotten what he needs, so he moves to the next place, the next job, the next attempt to find something worth staying for, always landing at the top of his game, but never feeling like he belongs.

The chemistry between Asher and Daniel sizzles, so Asher invites Daniel home. As both men struggle to learn themselves while getting to know each other, the lines of desire and control blur. With all that fire comes the risk of getting burned. But if Daniel and Asher can walk through the flames together, they might find what they desperately need.

Review: It’s a funny thing when you think you know what you’re going to get when reading a book by one of your favorite authors. I think I’ve read every book Cardeno C has published and I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by something – the dialogue, a character’s personality, the emotions, a sex scene.  They are always sweet, romantic reads that touch my heart and although Something in the Way He Needs was just what I had expected in that regard it was so much more in other ways.

Asher, Asher, Asher…oh how I loved this man! This gorgeous hunk-of-love of a man was so much more than I had expected and everything this book (and Daniel) needed. Strong and dominant but with a tenderness and vulnerability to him that got me each and every time, Asher made himself a home in my heart and I am not letting him go. Here I thought that Cardeno C couldn’t give me anyone better than Zev from Wake Me Up Inside or Andrew from The One That Saves Me then Asher comes into the scene, opens his gorgeous mouth and I AM LOST!

His attitude! That cockiness that goes along with that big cock, muscled body of his was irresistible to me.  Hmmm…I think there’s something there I should explore, but I’ll leave that for another time. Anyhow, Asher. Yes, my-I-don’t-give-a-crap-what-you-think Dom, has had many subs but never a relationship. All of a sudden he’s enamored with Daniel. He asks himself why again and again and try as he might he cannot let Daniel out of his sight.  He’s astounded by his thoughts and actions when he meets the man, but goes along with it because he is inexplicably drawn to him.

While Asher is confident and exudes sexiness, Daniel lives a life with no direction (literally!) and tries not to draw attention to himself. He has lived everywhere but has never had a home. He has done many things, but has never settled down. He wants to feel needed and guided and deep down he wants to love and to be loved. He wants to belong somewhere and to someone. That he accepts Asher’s offer doesn’t surprise him, but when he misses Asher and the life they shared when it’s no longer available, it clues him to the fact that he had found everything he wanted in Asher.

I don’t even have to tell you that the writing was brilliant, but I will anyway because I want you to understand why this book impressed me so. You see, I have come to expect sweet, lovable characters from this author with stories full of ‘awww’ moments accompanied by sighs, laughs and tears. And although Cardeno C doesn’t disappoint in any of those elements, I feel that he brought much more to the page. Not only did he bring an edgier feel to the story by adding the BDSM aspect into it, he made it work for the characters too. This could not have been an easy feat to achieve. Asher and Daniel are like night and day, but the author managed to bring them together in a believable way and made it look effortless.  Only the author’s ability to understand the intricacies of people’s personalities and how they can relate to each other can bring this about. He has proven this with each of his books and he puts it to the test once again with these characters.

The way the author presented these characters and developed them each throughout the story added to my enjoyment of the book. Through Asher’s inner musings I could easily comprehend who he was and what he needed and the same applies to Daniel. It’s not everyday that we get to see a man like Asher break every one of his rules to be with a man, especially if he has an array of men at his disposal at the club he frequents. And the way that Daniel opened up to Asher and trusted him, that right there was a major step from a man that ran away from anything that required him to make a commitment.

The connection between these two is not something I could easily imagine, but Cardeno C presented it in a manner that captivated my attention and after reading these guys’ journey I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is not the common boy meets boy, boys get to know each other until they fall in love and have their HEA. Nope. This story flows along in quite the opposite direction. So fascinated is Asher with Daniel that he asks him to move in together before they even get to know each other properly. Their relationship develops gradually and it is through this time together that they fall in love with each other even before they get to know each other better. Now do you see what I mean? It sounds unbelivable to me even while I am trying to explain it, but it works.

From their first meeting through the development of the relationship Cardeno C managed to keep me engaged with entertaining and meaningful dialog, emotions galore and fantastic man-on-man sex. The interaction between them ranged from the meaningful to the flirtatious and the emotions extracted from them were just as varied. But what I appreciated the most was the sense of realness I got from their journey. Although their chemistry was hot and their connection was developing with every moment they spent together both Asher and Daniel had to make an effort to make it work. And it is here that the characters’ development comes in. We get to see how Asher questions and doubts his feelings and that of Daniel’s while Daniel starts to open up to Asher and tries his best to stick around. Brilliance, I tell you!

Something in the Way He Needs is the first book in the Family series and I am looking forward to seeing what Cardeno C comes up with next for this series.

When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon

When Love Comes to TownRating: 5 stars

Published: March 1st 2013 (1st US Edition)

Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen

Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:  The year is 1990, and in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, Neil Byrne plays rugby, keeps up with the in-crowd at his school, and is just a regular guy. A guy who’s gay. It’s a secret he keeps from the wider world as he explores the city at night and struggles to figure out how to reveal his real self–and to whom.

First published in Ireland in 1993 and compared to The Catcher in the Rye by critics, Tom Lennon‘s When Loves Comes to Town is told with honesty, humor, and originality.

Review: This is Neil Byrne’s story. A young Irish man who has known he was gay since he was ten years old, he has been keeping his sexual orientation from his friends and family. He acts like the happy-go-lucky guy everyone has come to know when in reality his heart is breaking and his loneliness is eating him up inside.

I truly loved this story. Since the story took place in 1990 I could relate to the music references and the fashion, but it was Neil’s sense of helplessness and his tortured soul that really touched me. Add to that the common issues teenager struggle with and I couldn’t help but love him.

His voice was a wonderful mixture of humor, sarcasm and pain. He struggled with who he was every single day. He wanted to fit in, but wanted to be himself – accepted, loved just as he was. He feared his parents and friends’  reactions if they ever found out he was gay and endured bigoted comments from them, while maintaining his ever present humor and smile.

Packed full with emotions, introspective narrative and interesting characters, I thought that Tom Lennon‘s writing was excellent. He managed to bring all sorts of emotions and events to the page that kept the reader engaged and emotionally invested Neil’s story and his well being. The secondary characters were a mix of different personalities  – the supportive, the indifferent and the disloyal. Every character added to the story and to Neil’s development as a person. Little by little we get to see a different side of Neil. At first he was insecure and a bit lost as to what he really wanted from life, but as the story progressed we see how the interactions with the different characters has changed him, making him more assertive and looking at the world through the eyes of a grown up.

It was interesting to see how things have progressed over the years and how some issues remain the same. Today’s GLBT’s youth still struggle with similar problems as those Neil struggled throughout the story even though many things have improved since the 90’s. James Klise’s foreword brings to the front the fact that this story was written before famous people were coming out as gay and the availability of support groups was a click or a tap away.

This book was as sweet as it was heart wrenching. I laughed, I cried, I was exasperated and mad as hell, but above all else I was enlightened. When Love Comes to Town is a coming of age story that will stay with you even after you’re done reading it.

I received tis title from through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Red Zone (Daniels Brothers #2) by Sherri Hayes

Red Zone (Daniels Brothers, #2)Rating: 4 stars

Published: February 7, 2013

Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: After a case ended badly for Rebecca Carson, she’s losing her mind sitting around her apartment waiting on her superiors to allow her to return to work. Since she was a teenager, the only thing she’d ever wanted was to join the FBI. Now that dream was in danger.

Gage Daniels has made a pretty good life for himself. A nice house. A career he loves. As a professional football player, he’s used to getting almost everything he’d ever want with just the snap of his fingers. This includes women. A well-timed smile is usually all it takes to attract the opposite sex, especially in Nashville.

When a stalker threatens Gage, the team owner calls an old friend, Rebecca’s ex-partner Travis Hansen, to help protect his star quarterback and find the person responsible. Hansen offers Rebecca the job, and she jumps at the chance. It’s work, and it will get her out of her apartment. How bad can it be?

Posing as Gage’s girlfriend, however, isn’t as easy as it seems. The man is relentless. Rebecca must work to protect Gage while staving off his advances. She’s there to do a job, nothing more. The last thing she wants is to be another notch on a hotshot athlete’s belt.

As the stalker continues to up the ante, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep her distance from Nashville’s star quarterback. He isn’t what she expected in one of the city’s most notorious playboys. Now all she has to do is keep him safe until they can find his stalker, and hope she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.

Review: Rebecca, an FBI agent who has been put on administrative leave after her latest case, is going out of her mind. While waiting to be reinstated her former partner offers her an opportunity to distract herself by helping him on his latest case – finding Gage’s stalker. Gage is a famous football player. A handsome man who plays hard – both on and off the field, Gage suddenly finds himself being stalked. He refuses to believe that it’s anything serious, but his boss insists that he needs protection, so he hires Rebecca’s ex-partner to investigate and provide protection.  Now that she has agreed to help, Rebecca has to act as Gage’s girlfriend in order to keep close to Gage and keep him out of harm’s way.

Rebecca is everything Gage is not usually attracted to. Yes, she is beautiful and her body calls to him, but her stiffness and cold demeanor towards him is what really intrigues him. He sets out to discover if she is as composed as she seems to be and is determined to find out if he can rattle her feathers. Little does he know that with each passing day, it is his composure that it’s shattered and his heart that is affected.

I enjoyed this story so much. I liked that the characters were both head-strong and independent. However, both of them had a longing to connect with someone. They were both used to keeping their emotions in check, so when they felt this instant attraction to each other, each of them were determined to get over it. Obviously it didn’t work and their attempts made for some great reading material. I loved the way that Sherri Hayes brought them together. Their chemistry was palpable since the moment they met, but their connection took a while to develop, which I appreciated.

Sherri Hayes did a great job of engaging the reader from the beginning of the story. The romance part of the story was very enjoyable with entertaining and meaningful character interactions and lust-filled encounters. But I have to say that it was the mystery part of the story that really kept me engaged. Throughout the story I kept wondering who was behind the photos and threats and it wasn’t until the very end that I managed to catch up.

I found that the author did a great job with the writing by placing each and every encounter in the proper place to gain the most impact and maintain the reader properly entertained. The resolution to the plot was well executed and the ending believable. All in all, a great romantic and suspenseful read.

Red Zone is the second book of the Daniels Brothers series, but it can be read as a stand alone. However, as soon as you meet Gage’s family I assure you that you’ll be looking for the previous book to read Chris and Elizabeth’s story, which is exactly what I did. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m looking forward to reading Peter’s story, Gage’s older brother, his story already intrigued me and I can only imagine how the author will bring it to the page so he can find his HEA.

I received this book from The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Kissing Kendall (Maritime City) by Jennifer Shirk

Kissing Kendall (Maritime City)Rating: 4 stars

Published: December 7, 2012

Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Bliss)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Kendall Grisbaum is finally taking charge of her life—pouring her heart into opening a new bakery business and even allowing her best friend Georgie to play matchmaker for her. Trouble is, the one guy she secretly wants is Georgie’s older brother, Brad, who is decidedly off limits.

Brad can’t seem to get his little sister’s best friend out of his mind. He and Kendall used to be close friends, too, and as a local policeman, Brad can’t help but play protector, looking out for Kendall. When he offers to help her renovate her new bakery space on the side, their friendship—and their attraction—flares back to life.

Amid the temptation of doughnut muffins and blueberry cobbler, a new temptation draws them both closer. Can they take a chance on love when it means risking their friendship, even when not doing so risks everything?

Review: After losing her husband Jake, Kendall has been living her life in a haze of pain and loneliness. She feels that she needs to move on but doesn’t know where to begin. She is a talented baker and her friends encourage her to open her own bakery. She hesitates because she thinks it’s a big step for her to make, but her friend Brad puts it in perspective for her and she decides to give it a go.

Brad has been Kendall’s friends since the first time his sister brought Kendall to the house. He has always been attracted to her, but when his best friend made a move on her and married her he stepped back. Little by little he drifted from them until he was confronted by Jake right before his death. With his guilt and the thought that Kendall would never want him, he sets out to start dating again and forget about Kendall.

I truly enjoyed this book. Kendall and Brad were great characters to get to know. From the start I could see where each was coming from and I wanted them to work. The author, Jennifer Shirk, did a great job of developing the characters and their romance throughout the story. I especially enjoyed the changes Kendall went through. She went from being afraid and keeping to herself to being more assertive and open to change.

I liked that the author brought Kendall and Brad’s doubts and hesitations to the page in a manner that made them seem real. This made their getting together more believable. They started as friends and I could truly feel that connection between them and finally when they admitted their feelings for each other, I could believe that too. Their chemistry was very hot and although there was no sex written you could feel their attraction and how passionate about each other they were.

Kissing Kendall is a well-written, light and sweet read. It had humor, interesting characters and great dialogue. This is the first book I read by this author and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

I received this title from Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.