Most Anticipated Reads: February

I think this post might as well be sub-titled “I want it! I want it NOW!”

Catherine asked, and so she received.

A raise of hands: Who here sets a TBR each month with books that they want to get to within that time frame? *Counts* Alright, now who here is a mood reader who says a big screw you to TBRs and lives by the motto: “I’ll read what I want when I damn well want to”? *Counts*

Yeah… that’s kinda what we thought.

It just so happens that both of us are mood readers. We almost never stick to our TBRs (Catherine is witness to just how quickly I change my mind about reading a book), and books that we really wanted to read – like, yesterday – are put on the back burner when we come across something newer and shinier. It’s a problem and we know it . . . we just don’t care.

Yeah, you guessed it. We’re total badasses. *Fist pump*

But despite our status as mood readers, it doesn’t stop us from hoping that a few of the books that we really want to get to are ones that fit our fickle whims each month. So, in hopes that we’ll finally stick to a TBR pile if it’s small enough, here are three books each – new and old – that we’re hoping to read in February.

Runell’s 3 Most Anticipated Reads of February 2014:

Bone Rider1. Bone Rider by J. Fally: I’m sorry, but have you ever read a cooler synopsis to a book than this one? Let me break it down for you: Riley is on the run for his life from, who he thought was, the love of his life who is actually a part of the Russian mob. An alien (I’m guessing not of the little green men variety) is running from the U.S. military because he forgot how to parallel park a spaceship (I might have paraphrased that a little bit) who stows away in Riley’s truck but then decides that the best course of action is to stow away in Riley himself. Their reluctant partnership–methinks Riley doesn’t take to kindly of the fact that his body is being used as a hideout–turns into something much more.

See! told you! Awesomeness on a level in which awesomeness had never dared to go before.

And you know when I review this baby, Star Trek .gifs will be a must. I’m warning you now.

Something Like Autumn2. Something Like Autumn by Jay Bell: Seeing as the fourth and final book in the Season series was just released, it’s time I finally put on my big girl britches and read this one. I love Jay Bell. Every single one of his works that I’ve read, I’ve loved. I know this one will be absolutely no different. The thing is, I know how the end happens for the main character in this book (he is a main character in the first two books). I was heartbroken when I read about it in Something Like Summer. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to handle it. I don’t handle angst very well. So many of my Goodreads friends thrive on the stuff, crave it, but I can only handle so much of it before I have this mental breakdown and when it comes time to review it, I can’t form words so I resort to .gifs.

Then I lay in bed with the covers pulled over my head, my knees pulled up to my chest, rock back and forth, and make a mantra out of: Why? Why? Why? . . . And no. I didn’t forget to take my medication . . . I think.

Silent3. Silent by Sara Alva: I know, I know, I know! I just got through saying that I don’t handle angst very well, and here I go wanting to read about a boy who doesn’t belong and a “special” mute boy, but I’ve been dying to read this ever since it was gifted to me this past Christmas by my Secret Santa (thank you!), and I absolutely loved Sara Alva’s Social Skills so I’m willing to risk my sanity to finally be able to say that I’ve read what looks like to be an amazing book (talk about Cover Lust).

Just don’t expect me to be very . . . sane during the times that I’m reading Something Like Autumn and Silent because I can guarantee you, that’s just not going to happen.

Catherine’s 3 Most Anticipated Reads of February 2014:

Broken Pieces Cover1. Broken Pieces by Riley Hart Broken Pieces is set to be released on February 4th, a day which also just happens to be my birthday! I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to celebrate turning 30 than with a smokin’ hot book that has not one, not two, but three sexy leading men. One for each decade, right?! 😀

I have to admit that menage books are usually hit-or-miss with me; it’s too easy for bad writing to cause them to feel cheap and dirty as opposed to sweet and steamy. I need to feel that solid, loving connection between all of my main characters. Otherwise, it totally kills the mood and ruins the book for me. Fortunately, I’ve read another book by this author (Collide – Blackcreek #1) and have faith that Ms. Hart can pull off everything I’m looking for.

The Boy Who Belonged Cover

2. The Boy Who Belonged (Boy #2) by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock – It’s no secret that I LOVE Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock. Individually they are fantastic authors, but together those two ladies create some of the sweetest, sexiest, funniest, most fearless main characters I have ever come across in the romance genre. And it doesn’t hurt that they can write love scenes that are are so fucking hot they’ll melt your panties right off! I love that they have the ability to explore kinks that I’ve never found appealing (cross-dressing) or have found downright scary (fisting, anyone?!) in a way that challenges me to push my own boundaries regarding the way that I think about sex and intimacy. These particular kinks may never turn my crank, but Henry & Rock write in such a way that I start to understand the needs that they can fulfill for other people. And hey, we all have our kinks, so no judgement here!

But why am I looking forward to reading The Boy Who Belonged, specifically? Well, I read The Good Boy (Boy #1) and The Naughty Boy (Boy #1.5) in December 2013 and they were so frickin’ good. I fell in love with Lane’s vulnerability and Derek’s big heart and the chemistry that the two of them had together and I just want more! That’s as complicated as it gets.

Promises Cover3. Promises (Coda #1) by Marie Sexton – When I first starting reading MM Romance books, a friend gifted me a copy of this book and told me that it was hands-down one of her favourite books – and series – of all time. That is a lot of pressure to put on a book! What if I read it and didn’t like it?! I’d feel like I was letting my friend down (silly, I know, but there you have it). And so this book sat on my Kindle. And it sat. And it sat. I look at it every now and then with my finger hovering over the select button, and then at the last second, I chicken out. Well, no more chickening out! I am reading this book in February. There! It’s written on the internet for the whole world to see (and we all know that everything written on the internet is true).

What are you most looking forward to reading this month? Let us know in the comments section below.

Cover Lust: January

I’m not an artist or a graphic designer, but I am a reader that shamelessly judges (and often chooses) her books by their covers. If the cover art is sexy or sweet, or if the colours are appealing and the fonts well-chosen, chances are I’ll be willing to give the book a shot. Likewise, if the images don’t evoke some emotion, or if the layout is poorly designed and the fonts make my eyes want to bleed, I’ll probably skip the book unless it receives glowing reviews from my Goodreads friends. Sometimes this approach to choosing my next book works in my favour. Other times, it bites me in the ass. Either way, it points to the importance of hiring a talented cover artist who pumps out amazing art.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share with you my 3 favourite and 3 least favourite covers of books and short stories that I read this month. Check out the full list of candidates below:

Cover Lust - January

Cover Lust - January 2

Cover Lust - January 3

Favourite Covers:

#1. Pup by S.J.D. Peterson (Cover art by Paul Richmond) – 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… GUSH! I love literally everything about this cover. I love the moody black and white photo. I love the gritty black speckled overlay. I love the dramatic contrast of the crimson title against the image. I love the clean sans-serif font choices. And let’s not forget how smokin’ hot that cover model is (even the goosebumps on his pecs are sexy as hell)! I mean… excuse me while I roll my tongue back into my mouth and wipe the drool from my chin. This cover practically jumped out at me from a sea of other covers and screamed, “READ ME! READ ME, NOW!”

* Richmond also did the cover art for the rest of the series (Tag Team and Pony) and they are equally as amazing. In fact, I actually prefer the image to title space ratio of Pony more than Pup (what can I say, my brain appreciates the two-thirds rule).

#2. Unexpected Daddy by Brenna Lyons (Cover art by Reese Dante) – I friggin’ adore this cover! It’s moody and sexy and sweet all at the same time (just look at their hands entwined in the lower right corner!). I like the fact that the artist stuck with two fonts (one sweet, the other practical and clean), the title and publisher information information was well placed so as to be noticeable but not detract from the image, and I even like the understated line beneath the author’s name. All of the elements combine skillfully to make me believe that the photographer has caught a special, quiet moment between this couple. A significant moment. This is the type of cover that makes me feel, it makes me want, and it promises me a fabulous story. It’s practically criminal that the short story did not live up to the hype of the gorgeous cover.

* Unsurprisingly, Dante also designed the totally sweet and fun cover I loved so much for Eli Easton’s Blame It On The Mistletoe.

#3. Mark Cooper Versus America by Lisa Henry &  J.A. Rock (Cover art by Dar Albert) – Let’s be real: headless, naked male torsos sell a lot of romance novels. However, it’s scientific fact that as humans we’re drawn to the faces (specifically the eyes) of others as well. This is true for art, for advertisements, and for book covers (which is essentially a combination of the two), so I’m always appreciative of cover designs that use this approach. Plus… Did you see that guy?! He’s fucking adorable. Who wouldn’t want to read a book about him?! I dig the red, white and blue colour-scheme used for the titles (very fitting), the neutral gray background that makes the image feel like a school picture, and the guy’s super stylist outfit which is somehow both modern and cool and a throwback to a by-gone frat era of soda pop machines and sock hops. The only thing I don’t really like about this cover is that I feel like the title text is crowding the model’s face; move it a smidgen to the left and you’d have had perfection!

*Warrior’s Cross by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux (cover art by Anne Cain) was a very close runner up to Mark Cooper.

Least Favourite Covers:

#1. Coming Home by Jay Northcote (Cover artist unknown) – I probably found this to be the most offensive cover simply because of how generic it is. The image is clearly a stock photograph that could have been taken by any amateur on a beach vacation. It doesn’t tell me anything about the characters or the story or even all that much about the setting (supposedly the “wilds” of Cornwall). To be honest, I half expect some barefoot, silver-haired couple to come strolling into frame hand-in-hand at any second to sell me life insurance or that little blue pill that changed the life of men everywhere. Fail. Ms. Northcote, your writing deserves better than that cover.

#2. The Winter Courtship Rituals for Fur-Bearing Critters by Amy Lane (Cover art by Catt Ford) – Ugh. I’m sorry, I’m sure that this is supposed to be whimsical or adorable or something, but it just does nothing for me. The words in the title are stacked too tightly together and seem to have no rhyme or reason to where their alignment starts and/or ends and the visual of an animal in knitted accessories (which have been clearly photographed separately and layered together using the magic of Adobe) is super dorky. The only thing that I really do like about this cover is the colour; using a relatively plain, light-coloured backdrop and then using such bold, fun colours for the title was a great choice. I love Amy Lane’s writing, but I did not love this cover.

#3. The Ghost on My Couch by L.A. Gilbert (Cover art by Paul Richmond) – Okay, I’ll admit this upfront: I am really, REALLY hard on hand-drawn covers (or covers given a hand-drawn effect). I think they are cheesy and I tend to avoid them like the plague. Objectively, I think the blue wash over the entire cover, the typical horror style font on “Ghost”, and the nod to Ghostbusters hit absolutely the right notes for this book. And yet, if a friend hadn’t highly recommended this book as tots adorable, there’s no way that I would have touched it with a ten-foot pole. Hand-drawn, cartoony images are just not my cuppa.

What’d you think of my list? Have a favourite I didn’t mention? Hated something that I loved? Let me know in the comments section below.

Review: Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan

Nowhere RanchTitleNowhere Ranch
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Pages: 240
Read: January 7-8, 2014

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Roe Davis is a man who works hard, keeps to himself, and never mixes business with pleasure — until he takes a weekend away from his new job at Nowhere Ranch and runs into the owner at the only gay bar for two hundred miles. Getting involved with the boss is a bad idea, but Travis Loving is hard to say no to, especially when it turns out their kinks line up like a pair of custom-cut rails. As Loving points out, so long as this is sex on the side, no interfering with the job, they could make it work.

The truth is, there’s good reason Roe never settles down and always spends his birthdays and holidays celebrating alone. Shut out in the cold by his family years ago, Roe survived by declaring he didn’t need a home. As his affair with Loving grows into more than just sex, Roe finds out what happens when he stays put a little bit too long: the past always catches up with you. Eventually, even a loner gets lonely, and home will grow up through whatever cracks you leave open for it — even in a place called Nowhere.

My Thoughts:

I had certain preconceived ideas about what this book was going to be like, how the characters were going to act, and how the ending was going to come about. I knew that it was going to be hot, my boundaries and what I identify as my comfort zone were going to be pushed–and oh, were they ever–, and that there was a distinct possibility that I wasn’t going to like it at all.

Of course, the definition of preconceived is to have formed an idea or an opinion before having given evidence that either confirms your original thought or smashes it into a million pieces.

Surely you can guess what happened to mine.

Nowhere Ranch honestly surprised me. It is much more than just a book with characters that have sexy–and eyebrow raising–times. Its tone is natural. It doesn’t try too hard. It just is. There isn’t a single word that I felt wasn’t true. It felt to me as though Roe and Travis aren’t just characters that Heidi Cullinan had living inside her head that she decided to put on paper, but rather it felt as though they are living and Cullinan decided that their story deserved to be told.

My heart went out for Roe instantly. I have this thing for people–men, women, children–who feel as though that no one loves them, that they don’t belong, and because of that they’re better left alone. If I meet them through a book or in real life, I immediately want to prove them wrong, that they do belong, that there’s a difference between wanting to be left alone and being bereft of human contact–because even the most introverted of people (*raises hand*) needs human contact every once in a while, even if it’s just to complain that you spilt your coffee all over your t-shirt this morning when you got up, that you accidentally put on two different colored socks and didn’t realize that you did until after you had left the house, or that you dropped your phone and now have the latest update from Spider.

Roe doesn’t have any of that. He claims that he doesn’t want it, that he doesn’t need it. He doesn’t want a friend and he doesn’t want someone to love him. His reasoning? He isn’t good enough for any of it. That he doesn’t deserve it because of the way he is–because he is gay and because of how he likes his sex. I sympathized with him, and I couldn’t wait until he was shown, not just told, that he did deserve someone to love him, and for him to love in return. And Travis was the perfect person to show him.

Roe and Travis are absolutely wonderful together; they just work. It isn’t just that their kinks ‘line up like a pair of custom-cut rails’. They are the perfect example of when two different people who virtually have nothing in common (besides their kinks and livelihood), but grow to understand each other better than anybody else ever could. It starts off as just sex, as sometimes ‘relationships’ do, but grows to become something more. It doesn’t happen over night, it doesn’t even happen in a couple of chapters, and that’s what I loved. It felt real. Their emotions, their feelings for the other, they happen naturally, as relationships, relationships that stand the test of time, do.

As for the ending, I absolutely loved it. I’ve read a few comments by people who didn’t like the ending because it felt like a cop-out or that it was too cheesy, but for me, it was perfect. It isn’t just because that Roe and Travis get their fairytale ending, as the ending would have felt any other way in any other book written by any other author, but rather because it’s the ending that brings the story to a full circle. Nowhere Ranch starts off as a book about a man who doesn’t want love and isn’t looking for love but over the course of the book learns one form of love–that between a man and a man–but also by the ending has learned another kind of love, a love that tests, teaches, and encompasses you more than any other.

Full circle.

Quotable Quotes:

“I was feeling like all that crazy sea inside me was settling into a calm. He had drawn it all out of the bottle I kept it in, but when I looked up at him like that, it settled, because if my wild insides were a sea, those gray eyes were the world’s biggest fucking bowl, and they held me. Caught me and held me and bore me up.”

My Rating:

1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch

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Review: Unbeautifully by Madeline Sheehan

UnbeautifullyTitleUnbeautifully
Author: Madeline Sheehan
SeriesUndeniable #2
Release Date: May 13, 2013
Pages: 374
Read: January 5-6, 2014

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Warning: This is not a story about fate or destiny. This is a story about pain, sorrow, and suffering. This is an impulsive whirlwind romance between two lovers that are not meant to be together. Theirs is not a world with sunshine and roses. Instead, their love blossoms in a secret world full of crime, violence, and death. Their story is about what can be born from nightmares.

Danielle “Danny” West is the daughter of Deuce West, President of the Hell’s Horsemen Motorcycle Club. A sweet and beautiful girl, she loses her way, searching for things that are always out of her reach. Erik “Ripper” Jacobs is the Sergeant of Arms in the Hell’s Horsemen. Once a man who always had a smile on his face, his life takes a turn for the worst when a tragedy befalls him, leaving him scarred and broken. During a midsummer night, Danny and Ripper’s paths cross, forever changing their lives. Hastily, their lust turns to love until another tragedy forces them apart. On a journey that is marred with ugliness and chaos, Danny and Ripper must discover if their unforeseen connection can find the beauty in their world.

This is Danny and Ripper’s story.

Everything has beauty. Even the ugly. Especially the ugly.
Because without ugly, there would be no beauty.

My Thoughts:

Now this . . . this was much better than the first book, Undeniable. Whereas the first book didn’t seem to really have a point to me, Unbeautifully, which tells the story of Deuce’s oldest daughter and one of the guys in the gang, very much had one. The point? To be proud of who you are–no matter who you are, no matter what you look like. It’s a lesson that should be taught to and learned by everyone.

The story starts off with the prologue that takes off directly after the epilogue of Undeniable then proceeds to fill in the missing couple of years that were skipped in Undeniable and then near the end takes off from where the prologue ended . . . hopefully that didn’t confuse anyone. Despite the whole start, skip, back to start jumps that it had, Unbeautifully wasn’t hard to follow whereas Undeniable was (damn all those time gaps). Maybe it was because, while even though there was still that honest and blunt brutality that shocked the fucking hell out of me in Deuce and Eva’s story, in Danny and Ripper’s story it’s–while definitely not tamed–more . . . constrained. Yes, I think that would be a good word to describe the story. None of these guys in Hell’s Demons are tamed, not with all the fucks that they do and don’t give out–physically, mentally, or emotionally–and they never will be, but it seems as though Sheehan, while still giving everyone a chance to growl and bark and bite and territory to piss on to mark as theirs, had a more deft handle over her characters and the story was told and made its point in a neater fashion that just made sense.

Or maybe it’s because Danny and Ripper aren’t as fucked up as Deuce and Eva . . .

*Shrugs shoulder* Eh, in any case, I didn’t get nearly as big of a headache reading Unbeautifully as I did Undeniable so all in all, it was a win-win for me.

Whatever it was, I liked reading Danny and Ripper’s story. Their story made me laugh, roll my eyes, and actually made me awww a couples of times (and that’s saying something because Sheehan really doesn’t write awww scenes). Of course, that didn’t last forever because there was that inevitable fuck-up moment between them that sent Ripper riding off on the back of his bike because he wasn’t “good enough” for Danny which made Danny become annoying depressed female.

Then shit goes down (a lot of shit actually) that I didn’t see coming but really shouldn’t have been shocked by it because I knew something had to happen, the truth is finally told, and we have the happily-fucked up-ever after (which despite it all made me awww and smile because I couldn’t help it).

This is still definitely a guilty pleasure series for me, but I can’t say I’m too ashamed of it because I imagine that this series, these characters, the fuckery, is akin to what crack cocaine is like to addicts: Bad for your health and sanity, but y’know . . . addicting. And damn hard to break the habit of after that first hit.

Quotable Quotes:

“Baby,” he said, “listen to me. I ain’t beautiful, you are. You’re so damn beautiful you got it spillin’ out all over the place, blindin’ you into thinkin’ I’m beautiful when I ain’t. Farthest thing from it.”

My Rating:

1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch

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Review: A Family of His Own by Sean Michael

A Family of His Own CoverTitle & Author: A Family of His Own by Sean Michael
Series: Mannies Incorporated (#2)
Release Date: December 18, 2013
Publisher: TorquerePress
Pages: 202 pages

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
Will’s a widower with three little girls, including six month old twins, to look after. Most days it’s all Will can do just to get home from his advertizing job in time for goodnight kisses, but now his mother-in-law is leaving the country with her new boyfriend and Will needs the help of a professional nanny.

Benji loves being a nanny; looking after other people’s kids is the next best thing to having his own, and as a gay man, he figures it’s as close as he’s going to get. He’s between jobs and is thrilled when he gets the call from Mannies Incorporated to interview with Will’s family.

He falls in love with the girls right away, but also finds himself attracted to their father. Benji knows he shouldn’t moon over his boss, especially when Will desperately really needs his services as a nanny, but he can’t help but wonder what it would be like to have a family of his own.

My Thoughts

When I picked up Sean Michael’s A Family of His Own (Mannies Incorporated #2), I was looking for a sweet, fluffy, funny book with minimal angst. I wanted to read about hot gay men taking care of adorable tiny humans who use improbably precocious dialogue and leave me with a serious case of the “awwwwws” when the book is finished (I swear that shit is like catnip to me – I go crazy for it). 

So did this book deliver? Abso-freakin-lutely.

After some initially heartbreaking moments that set the scene for the book and help readers to invest in the characters, A Family of His Own totally delivered on the sweetness and fun and heart that I was looking for.

First of all, it has to be said: I loved Ben! I mean, how could I NOT love someone who was as sweet, open, intelligent, and caring as this guy?! A born nurturer, Ben’s desire to be part of the Cavanaugh family – first as a nanny, and then as a father and husband – was palpable. He just wanted a place to belong and a family to call his own, and who can blame him for that? No one with a heart, that’s who. And, oh gosh! The way that he looked after those kids…? It was positively ovary melting!

But as much as I loved Ben’s character, I have to admit that I was far less enthusiastic about Will’s. There’s no denying that Will has had a rough year – the love of his life is dead which leaves him to raise their three young daughters alone, his closest family member and sole support system is leaving them to take an extended vacation, he has an incredibly demanding job and a boss from hell, and his type one diabetes is out of control. He’s sick and lonely and depressed and utterly overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t be?! That’s a lot for any one person to handle. I understood Will’s grief, but I’d be lying if I said that his reactions and the way that he treated his children in light of that grief didn’t put a strain on the sympathy that I initially felt towards him. Thankfully the author did show readers significant growth in Will’s character, both personally and professionally, by the end of the book and it was lovely to see.

Still… I struggled to see exactly what Will brought to his relationship with Ben beyond his three beautiful daughters and a paycheck. To me a relationship is a partnership – a two-way street – but Will spent almost the entire novel needy and cranky and sick. He never seemed to give anything to the relationship in the same way that Ben did. Not that he was a bad guy (he wasn’t!), but he also didn’t seem particularly supportive or even all that interested in Ben as a person outside of his role as a nanny. Whereas Ben was always willing to ask about Will’s day, his work, his life with Dale, his art, etc., I didn’t see a whole lot of that reciprocated by Will and this imbalance ultimately left me feeling a little unsatisfied with that aspect of their relationship.

That said, the couple’s sexy times were PLENTY steamy and the connection between the two of them felt entirely natural. That scene in the attic with Will’s art?! Hot damn! I mean, I’m not gonna say I wouldn’t have appreciated it more if Will had played the part of the lecherous artist and ask Ben to pose nude for him, but what actually happened in the book was good, too… 😉

One of the best things about the book was the dialogue. Carrie’s kiddie-speak was done well; it was cute and sweet and funny and ran in patterns of conversation and attitude that would certainly be familiar to anyone with children. Even better than that, however, was the dialogue between Ben and Will during their more intimate moments. Their bedroom talk didn’t make me want to laugh awkwardly and their stuttering afterwards was perfectly executed to show how brain-melting the sex was. It was never overdone, and always had the kind of natural feel to it that chatting with my friends does. So well done, Mr. Michael!

Overall, I’m going to steal Will’s phrase and say that this book was full of “win.” It’s perhaps not the most memorable book I’ll read in 2014, but I’d definitely recommend A Family of His Own to anyone looking for something with feeling and heart as well as a dose of sweetness.

My Rating:
3 SmoochHalf

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Review: Starfish and Coffee by Kele Moon

Starfish and CoffeeTitleStarfish and Coffee
Author: Kele Moon
Release Date: February 28, 2013
Pages: 302
Read: January 2-4, 2014

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

On the island where they first met two lovers from opposite sides of the tracks are reunited. Now jaded and broken, Alex and Matt still can’t deny their sizzling connection or the memories of one perfect, uninhibited year together.

At twenty-two, Matt Tarrington is rich, good-looking and destined to be powerful, but behind that confident exterior lurks a man who resents the life his family thrust upon him. Desperate for an escape, Matt heads to Mirabella Island off the coast of Florida for a year of relaxation and some wild nights with vacationing party-girls.

Matt never expected to find real passion in the arms of Alex Hunter, a handsome, laid-back local.

Alex is gay, but closeted. Matt should be completely off limits, but Alex finds the deeply in denial rich boy too tempting to ignore. Especially when a bet has them working together, fighting the heat in the rundown, beachside cafe where Alex sweats for every dollar.

Their love felt inevitable until youth left them vulnerable to hatred and greed. Now after six years of hating the lies they live, Alex and Matt will have to risk it all for the second chance they both desperately need.

My Thoughts:

Ohhh. I have my first very favorite for the year 2014.

A new favorite for all-time.

This, for me, was pure magic. I loved every word, every page. I was enraptured by Alex and Matt’s story. By the end of page three (according to my phone), my heart had broke into a million pieces. I got a little sniffly, a little teary eyed, and I was already demanding that this Alex and this ‘Matty’ have their happy ending; I wouldn’t accept anything less.

I honestly can’t explain why this story affected me as profoundly as it did or what it was about it that made me love it so hard. Something, whatever it was, just clicked.

While I had wanted to write a rational and thoughtful review that would clearly express just how much I loved this book, it’s been three days since I completed Starfish and Coffee and I know that such a review will not happen. What will happen is me fangirling. (To be fair, I did warn you that this would happen.)

And I’m going to fangirl the hardest way I know how . . . also known as Star Trek style, so heads up, I’m about to get really geeky here.

This is what the prologue did to me:

This is how I felt when Alex and Matt see each other after six years:

Oooh, I’m gonna like you two . . .

This is how I felt when I realized that this book had a GFY vibe (also known as my crack):

Mmmm, yes, please. Carry on.

This is how I felt every time Alex and Matt were heading toward kissing, having sex, fucking, or making love–whatever you want to call it:

Please . . . ?

And this was me because of the last couple of chapters:

And, finally, this is what the epilogue did to me:

Awwww . . .

I really do wish I could put all the feels that I had because of this book into words, but I can’t. All I can say is that I wanted to turn into a puddle of mush every time Matt called Alex “Lex” or “Lexie” or Alex called Matt “Matty”. I sighed dreamily as I watched two men who are so far a part in likes become friends, then friends who had really hot sex, and finally into friends who had fallen in love with the other and wanted to be together (and had really hot sex).

seethed when Matt’s mother does what she does, which makes Alex become afraid, and when Matt just leaves. I understood why Alex became afraid, and I understood why Matty left, and I knew that, in some ways, this separation had to happen, but damn it! That doesn’t mean I wanted it to or that I accepted it.

As I stated previously, I don’t know what it was exactly about Starfish and Coffee that made me fall in love with it as completely as I did (Catherine happened to be reading it at the same time I was and while she liked it, she didn’t love it to the level that I do, so there you are). I just know that it gave me this sense of calm while I was reading it (except when it pissed me off those couple of times). It’s like it cleansed my soul for the new year, getting me ready for all the shit that could happen; it gave me a safe haven for a couple of days that, in the long run, will surpass the number of days it took me to read it. And I’m thankful for that.

Now you should give it a chance. Maybe it might offer you the same calm it offered me. You never know.

Quotable Quotes:

Holly thinks I should tell you I love you,” Alex whispered once he caught his breath. “At a time when it actually counts.”
Matt’s chest tightened, and he had to clear this throat. “Now would probably count.”
Alex reached up and brushed at Matt’s wet hair; then he pushed up and whispered into his ear. “I love you, Matty.”

My Rating:

1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch

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Review: Undeniable by Madeline Sheehan

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Author: Madeline Sheehan
Series: Undeniable #1
Release Date: October 7, 2012
Pages: 332
Read: December 28, 2013 to January 2, 2014

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Warning: This is not a “typical love story”. This is an all-consuming, soul-crushing, tear-your-heart-into-pieces story. It’s intense, gritty and raw, dark and disturbing, and it doesn’t happen overnight. This is an epic love story that knows no boundaries and has no time limits. It grows and develops—with hurt, sacrifice, and heartache—over the span of a lifetime.

Eva Fox is the princess of the Silver Demons Motorcycle Club. Growing up with bikers in the club lifestyle is all that she knows. When she’s a young girl, Eva meets the reason for her existence. Deuce West is the sexy, biker bad-ass of the Hell’s Horsemen Motorcycle Club. Like Eva, he was born and raised in the club—but that’s where the similarities end. Their first meeting is innocent, but as Eva matures into a woman, their chance reunions evolve into a fit of lust and love. Fate continues to bring them together time and time again, but their twisted journey is filled with pain, betrayal, and bloodshed that could tear them apart. Eva sees in Deuce what he cannot see in himself—a man worthy of love—and Eva spends her lifetime proving to him that her undeniable love is the one thing he can’t live without.

This is Eva and Deuce’s story.

It wasn’t easy.
Nothing worth doing ever is.
And love is worth everything.

My Thoughts:

Warning: This book is fucked up.

So very unbelievably fucked up.

It’s so fucked up, I don’t even know how to write this review.

I’m going to give it my all though. *Takes a deep breath*

First thing first, we have the two characters Eva Fox and Deuce West who are respectably in two different motorcycle clubs, Eva in Silver Demons and Deuce in the Hell’s Horseman. They first meet when they are both visiting their fathers in jail—Eva is five and Deuce is twenty-three. Eva immediately thinks Deuce is some kind of God and Deuce thinks that Eva is some cute little kid who has him the moment she slips her small little hand into his without preamble.

Skip about seven years when Eva is twelve (this is the first of many time gaps). Eva, developing at a young age, still hasn’t quite grown into her knees and elbows. She sees Deuce when the two gangs (who have come to a business agreement after being rivals for many years, I gathered) sees her and they talk. She thinks he’s still a blonde, ass kicking, fucking God who doesn’t give a fuck (and God do all of the characters in this book love to fuck, say fuck, and they don’t give a fuck if anyone else gives a fuck for their lack of fucking vocabulary for the word fuck).

Skip about four more years. Eva is sixteen and she’s definitely grown into those elbows and knees of hers, and when Deuce sees her at yet another party that both gangs are attending, his eyes and his dick takes notice and he’s a goner; Eva still thinks that Deuce is a God, but a God that she might be able to have her way with know that she’s older—and it doesn’t matter to either one of them that Deuce is married and has kids. Nope. That doesn’t stop Deuce from pushing Eva up against a wall, Eva from wrapping her legs around his waist, and them going at it. Not at all.

Eva’s father, however, does put a stop from Deuce doing anything with Eva again for about two more years by shooting him in both legs. He, apparently, has cameras everywhere (it was at Demon’s headquarters where the party was occurring). When they meet at a club in New York after Eva has snuck out with her best friend, Kami, they proceed to have sex in an alleyway for Eva’s first time.

Another time gap. Bullshit occurs. Another time gap. More bullshit occurs. Fucking occurs in between both time gaps and once again, no one gives a fuck. Oh, wait, I forgot another time gap and one more bullshit (though bullshit happens all the time).

Now, if you’ve gotten this far along, you might be thinking, okay, now what happens? And all I can say, yet again, is bullshit. This book is filled to the very brim of fucking over the top drama it puts afternoon soap operas to shame. Now you might be thinking, okay, well what’s the point to all of the drama? To which I would have to say, not a Goddamn thing. There is no point to this book. At all. Besides the fact that Deuce and Eva’s love is supposed to be this dirty, rawsoul consuming love, that’s it. Yet, with me saying that, I don’t really think that their love was even the point. At least, it didn’t feel that way to me because of the way too many time gaps, Deuce being a fucking idiot, Eva being a fucking idiot, and everyone cheating on everyone, men calling every woman they come across a bitch, and just plain crazy as fuck shit happening.

Oh, wait, I forgot. A lot of people get killed too.

Nothing else though. It feels as though the book was wrote just because the author felt like writing a book with nothing in mind besides writing some fucked up shit.

And did she ever succeed.

To the point where this is what I was doing 90% of the time:

Even Dean thought this story was fucked up . . . And that within itself is fucked up.

And yet, I must say that every last word, every last character (who I pray to God doesn’t exist because the world is already fucked up without adding them into the mix), every last name calling, every last temper tantrum, and every last sex scene . . . was addicting.

In short, I have found a new guilty pleasure.

And the fact that I liked this fucked up story scares the shit out of me and I think I should start seeking professional help. And fast.

While it may sound like that this book has basically nothing going for it besides its fuckery, it did have its moments. Deuce, while ninety percent of the time was an asshole, did make me awwww a few times and at one point made me just plain melt. And while Eva was so stupid sometimes, at least she was stupid on her own two feet—she didn’t need any man to help her with that, but also she was kind of kick ass in a way, stubborn as hell, and in the long run, I ended up liking her.

I liked all the characters . . . except the ones that you are clearly not supposed to like.

I’m looking up psychiatrists in my area as you’re reading this.

And this, I forgot to mention, is a series.  As of right now it appears to be a five book series. And you know what? I plan on reading every last one of them.

Oh, God, it’s too late for the psychiatrist . . .

Quotable Quote:

“Hey,” I said softly and cupped his cheek.
“Yeah?”
“What about your dream?”
His face went dimples. “I’m lookin’ at it, darlin’.”

My Rating:

3 Smooch

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