Review: Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins

Five DatesTitle & Author: Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins
Release Date: July 25, 2014
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Pages: 74

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Helping his sister Lucy raise her kid has put Devin’s love life on hold. When he loses a bet to her and the penalty is to go out on five dates with men she’s chosen from Guys4Guys.com, he thinks that’s bad enough. Finding out she used a thirteen-year-old picture of him to score a date with a young guy who looks like a rock star? Epically bad.

Jay thought he wanted to fall for an older man. But his last boyfriend left him feeling humiliated and determined to stick to guys his own age. When he realizes he’s been conned into a date with exactly the kind of man he’s sworn to avoid, he’s ready to walk away on the spot. Only Devin’s swift apologies convince Jay to accept dinner to make up for the deception.

“The date doesn’t count for the bet unless you get a goodnight kiss.” After one not-a-date dinner with Jay, Devin isn’t worried about his sister’s rules. He just wishes he could convince Jay to go out with him for real. Jay wants no part of Devin, but Devin wants every part of Jay . . . so he asks Jay to help update his look for the rest of his dates. But once Jay’s made Devin over into the perfect date, will he be able to let him go?

My Thoughts:

Okay, I’m going to be honest with you: there wasn’t much in this story that I haven’t already seen in a thousand Hollywood rom coms. Seriously. There was a meddling sibling, an implausible scenario used to bring two unlikely people together, some snark, some laughs, lust at first sight, pining, someone getting drunk, denial of feelings due to past baggage, the Big Realization, and an even bigger Declaration of Feelings (which naturally leads to scorching hot sex and a sweet as can be happily ever after).

And yet.

And yet I don’t give a flying $%& that Five Dates isn’t uber original because I fell for Devin and Jay hard and fast. I swear, it only took about 5 pages to have me wrapped around Devin’s little finger and grinning like a fool. Both characters were incredibly sweet, average, and relatable. They were just good guys and, unlike a large portion of the female population, I LOVE the good guys. The whole thing was just pure cute, fluffy escapism that made me genuinely happy as I was reading it. In fact, I had to create an all new shelf on Goodreads – “Too Cute For Words” – just to contain this one. I can’t recommend it highly enough for someone looking for a total mood-booster.

Oh, and if you needed any added incentive to read this short story? It’s entirely FREE as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Loves Landscapes event. Grab your free copy of Five Dates here.

My Rating:

3 Smooch1 Smooch Half

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Spotlight: Loser Takes All by Kora Knight

Loser Takes All Part 1Title & Author: Loser Takes All by Kora Knight
Series: Up-Ending Tad: A Journey of Erotic Discovery #1
Release Date: September 5, 2014

Publisher: Self-published
Length: 63 pages

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Tad’s weekend started out like any other; hitting a college frat party with a handful of buddies. But just as the evening hits its peak, things get up-ended fast. Ditched by his drunken, trolling friends, Tad winds up getting hustled by three jocks playing poker. Now he’s forced to pay his dues in the most outlandish of ways; accepting a couple broken bones or spending an hour with his victors’ favorite flogger, Scott. But the guy’s tantalizing torture quickly proves to be the least of Tad’s worries… and the kickoff to a night of raw, shocking lust.

Experience the graphic, minute-by-minute account of that hour spent at the hands of Tad’s insatiable tormentor. Addicting chemistry lights the stage as Scott ignites Tad’s reluctant desires into a frenzy of forbidden need.

My Thoughts:

“You’re a fucking perv.”

Scott laughed. “You have no idea. But don’t worry. I’m a fun perv. You’ll like what I do to you.”

Boy, did I ever!

Okay, so the novella’s premise is a little ludicrous – I’ll give you that – but I’m going to overlook that fact (and you should too!), because this book was HOT. Like, have your honey or your favourite battery-operated boyfriend on standby levels of hot. 😉

I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on Volume 2, which is set to be released October 8, 2014.

My Rating:

1 Smooch3 SmoochHalf

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About the Author:

Kora Knight is a woman of mystery. No, really. A new author, Kora is too busy writing sexy morsels of porny perfection to write an “About the Author” blurb for social media or her books, so I’ve got nothin’. But if you want to connect with her (read: gush about all the dirty things her book has you fantasizing about happening to Grey Shirt Guy), check out the links below:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8529860.Kora_Knight 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorkoraknight/timeline

Speed Dating Bibliophile Style: April (Runell)

Book slumps fucking suck.

1. Mark Cooper versus America by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock: This was bloody damn good. [4.5 smooches]
2. Frog by Mary Calmes: I get what people are saying about “the classic Mary Calmes” now. [3.5 smooches]
3. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira: This was so, so, soooo good; ugh, my heart still gets fluttery when I think about just how good this was. [4.5 smooches*]
4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I really liked this one, and I can see why people fangirl (see what I did there) about it so much; Rainbow Rowell is a really fantastic author. [4 smooches*]
5. Only Love by Garrett Leigh: Yeah, it hurt. [4 smooches*]
6. Collide by Riley Hart: A huge difference between Broken Pieces, but still good. [3.5 smooches]
7. Wood, Screws & Nails by Piper Vaughn and Kade Boheme: Sooo much better than I thought it was going to be (and I already thought it was going to be awesome). [4 smooches]

Review: Mark Cooper versus America by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

Mark Cooper versus AmericaTitleMark Cooper versus America
AuthorLisa Henry & J.A. Rock
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Loose ID
Pages: 273
Read: April 1-2, 2014

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Mark Cooper is angry, homesick, and about to take his stepdad’s dubious advice and rush Prescott College’s biggest party fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi. Greek life is as foreign to Aussie transplant Mark as Pennsylvania’s snowstorms and bear sightings. So, when the fraternity extends Mark a bid, Mark vows to get himself kicked out by the end of pledge period. But then he’s drawn into Alpha Delt’s feud with a neighboring fraternity.

Studious Deacon Holt is disappointed to learn Mark’s pledging Alpha Delt, his fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa’s sworn enemy. Mark is too beautiful for Deacon to pass up an invitation for sex, but beyond sex, Deacon’s not sure. He wants a relationship, but a difficult family situation prevents him from pursuing anything beyond his studies.

Mark and Deacon’s affair heats up as the war between their fraternities escalates. They explore kinks they didn’t know they had while keeping their liaison a secret from their brothers. But what Romeo and Juliet didn’t teach these star-crossed lovers is how to move beyond sex and into a place where they share more than a bed. That’s something they’ll have to figure out on their own—if the friction between their houses, and between Mark and America, doesn’t tear them apart.

My Thoughts:

This was bloody damn well good.

It made me happy, it made me annoyed, it made me awww, and, most importantly of all, it made me hot.

It’s all about how angry bunny with an Australian accent meets older (not by much) geeky American bartender and how they become Romeo and Juliet as they are a part of opposing fraternities (never frat) who find that they have really kinky sides and decide to explore it and along the way fall in love.

Trust me when I say the book is a million times better than the bastardization of a synopsis that I just gave you.

I mean, this book has got things that I myself, not just Mark or Deacon, didn’t know that I would ever find hot.

Like cross dressing. Not hardcore cross dressing, but definite I’m a man, but I’m totally rocking this French maid outfit . . . kind of thing. And spanking. Dear God, as many BDSM books as I’ve read so far (which, to be fair, hasn’t been an overabundance, but still) where spankings definitely take place, I have never been turned on by spanking as much as I was in this book. I don’t know what it was that made the spanking so different in this book, but whatever it was, I appreciated it a lot. (And when I say I appreciated it, I mean I drooled/foamed at the mouth over it.)

This was the first book that I read from the partnership of Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, and it won’t be my last. Their writing is superb, not a single word felt forced or fake or meh. I haven’t read a J.A. Rock book in which she is the sole author of, but even still, it was impossible for me to be able to point out a single scene, line, or character and think, “Oh, I know who wrote that,” because of the fact that they flow so wonderfully together.

That’s a beautiful partnership.

That’s fantastic writing.

While I pretty much loved everything about this book (except Bengal. Bengal must die. Bengal must die painfully.)–the cross dressing, the spanking, the Australian accent and the cute way that Mark thinks it’s okay to spell words with ‘u’s that they don’t belong in and saying ‘arse’–the best aspects to this book, the things that drove the book the most for me, was the relationship between Mark and Deacon, how relatable they both were, and how they never apologized for liking what they liked.

The ‘relationship’ between Mark and Deacon doesn’t begin immediately, it grows from an acquaintance to a blowjob behind the bar where Deacon works to friendship to discovering not just each other but even deeper facets of themselves together to, finally, the relationship. The arc between acquaintances to he’s mine, and I’m his is genuine and real which makes it all the more plausible that Mark and Deacon are real people and Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock are deeply into voyeurism. (I kid . . . or do I?)

It takes a very confident person to never apologize for being the way they are and for liking what they like. Mark and Deacon? Yeah, they don’t apologize for any of it: the cross dressing, the spanking, the desire to feel used, to feel dirty, but to never feel less than, and the fisting. Yes. You read that right. The fisting. To realize that is something you want, you got to know yourself. Mark and Deacon, though they have their moments of self doubt–everyone does, after all–know themselves.

Mark and Deacon are so relatable for me because, while our situations aren’t the same, I’ve found myself in the same places that they both found themselves in. I was able to connect with them and not just see them as figments of these authors’ minds, but as two people. And when that happens, you know you’re reading something good.

The moment characters become people is the moment everything becomes real.

Mark Cooper versus America is real.

Quotable Quotes:

“Because Clare had never let the fact that Mark didn’t have a father in his life get in the way of sex education. She’d been showing Mark how to roll condoms onto bananas long before he’d known it was other bananas he was interested in.”

My Rating:

1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch1 SmoochHalf

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Speed Dating Bibliophile Style: March (Runell)

Here we go again for March:

  1. Broken Pieces by Riley Hart: If only every M/M/M was written like this . . . [5 smooches*]
  2. The Darkest Hour (KGI #1) by Maya Banks: Ethan, sweetheart, you can call me “baby” anytime you want. [4 smooches*]
  3. St. Nacho’s (St. Nacho’s #1) by Z.A. Maxfield: I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, but Cooper and Shawn stole a piece of my heart and refused to give it back. [4.5 smooches*]
  4. Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8) by Abigail Roux: I loved it because it’s Ty and Zane, with the wonderful bonus of Nick and Kelly, but it still left me feeling like a mixed bag of emotions; I’ll always love my boys though, no matter what. [3.5 smooches*]
  5. Sinner’s Gin (Sinners Series #1) by Rhys Ford: My first audiobook and dear God . . . Tristan James + Irish accent = eargasm of the fucking century[5 smooches*]
  6. Wanting (Rocky Mountain High: Campus Hearts #1) by M.L. Rhodes: A quick, light GFY (my crack!) that made me aww, but is still pretty forgettable. [2.5 smooches]
  7. Silent by Sara Alva: This hurt. [5 smooches*]
  8. Pony (Guards of Folsom #3) by S.J.D. Peterson: I was in the very least expecting first degree burns; I was hardly singed. [2.5 smooches]
  9. Normal Enough by Marie Sexton: A nice, light, fluffy read. [3 smooches]
  10. Our December (The Making of a Man #1) by Diane Adams: I thought there would have been more angst considering how one of the main characters was so caught up with the age difference (and rightly so), but there wasn’t. [2.5 smooches]
  11. Coming Home (Rock Bay #1) by M.J. O’Shea: I didn’t like it at all. That’s all I got to say about that . . . [1 smooch]
  12. The Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon: Three things: 1. This book is fucking awesome; 2. Claire is probably my favorite female protagonist ever; 3. I want to marry Jamie. [5 smooches*]

*Will Be Reviewed Eventually

Speed Dating Bibliophile Style: March (Catherine)

I Heart Books

(Probably more than is healthy.)

Last month I read a couple of books. Then I put my sassy pants on and wrote a single sentence book review* for each of them. It was kinda like the fast-food version of book blogging, but it worked out so well that I thought I’d do it again in March.

Only this time… I refuse to wear pants. Betcha didn’t see that coming, did ya?!

1. Unbreak My Heart (Unbreak My Heart #1) by K-Lee Klein: A quietly beautiful story about a drifter who falls in love with a brokenhearted cowboy musician in a way that feels both authentic and inevitable.  [4 smooches]

2. Floodgates by Mary Calmes: A fluffy popcorn read that was let down by a doormat of a main character, too many ludicrous plot points and improbable red-herrings, and an entire gaggle of extraneous characters. [2.5 smooches]

3. Charlie, Rentboy by J.P. Barnaby: A sexy short story that grabbed my attention with its narrative style and the Cockboys on the cover, but had a happy ending (get your minds out of the gutter!) that felt… hopeful.  [3 smooches]

4. Secrets, Skin and Leather (Secret Series #1) by Sean Michael: All porn and no plot, this book had little to no character development, repetitive dialogue, clunky narration, and inexcusably bad punctuation. [1 smooch – DNF’d at 33%]

5. Trouble & the Wallflower by Kade Boehme: With its three-dimensional characters, realistic depiction of a sweet but sometimes rocky opposites-attract relationship, and a bittersweet ending, this book by new-to-me author Kade Boehme far exceeded every expectation I had for it. [4.5 smooches]

6. All in a Duke (Gambling on Love #1) by Ava March: This M/M historical romance was the perfect balance between sweet and sexy, with great characters and a realistic struggle towards their happily ever after. [4 smooches]

7. Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek by R. Cooper: While the characters in this short story are familiar, Cooper makes them enough against type to feel fresh and interesting, their dialogue both snappy and mundane, and their HEA satisfying in its realistic work-in-progress nature. [3.5 smooches]

8. The Perfect Play (Play by Play #1) by Jaci Burton: I really tried to enjoy this contemporary M/F romance, but even though there’s no denying the steam level of those sex scenes, having two main characters who were nearly flawless bored me to tears. [2 smooches – DNF’d at 60%]

9. Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8) by Abigail Roux: The eighth installment of Roux’s fantastic Cut & Run series, this book disappointed me with its beyond ludicrous plot and its startling lack of focus on the series’ main characters Ty and Zane, but gained ground in some other areas (e.g. the relationship between Ty and Nick and between Nick and Kelly) and provided a few solidly sweet/cute/funny moments to appease my mushy heart. [2.5 smooches]

10. Stripping the Pain by Kathleen Lee: A friends-to-lovers short story that deals with too many big-ticket issues (sexual abuse, BDSM, etc.) in too short a time-frame (which makes it seem a little exploitative). [3 smooches]

11. From the Ashes (Fire and Rain #1) by Daisy Harris: A great novel by a new-to-me author that gave me a main character (Tomas Perez) whose voice felt fresh and unexpected, yet entirely relatable. [3.5 smooches]

12. After the Rain (Fire and Rain #2) by Daisy Harris: One of the main characters is a firefighting cowboy, gay sex virgin, who saves puppies, and the other is a snarky French-Canadian obsessed with coffee; my ovaries never stood a chance. [3 smooches]

13. Keeping Sweets by Cate Ashwood: A solidly sweet but entirely predictable story about a wannabe porn star who falls in love with his porn Yoda (like Amy Lane’s Johnnies series but with very minimal angst). [3 smooches]

14. Doctor, Doctor (Groves Anatomy #1) by Scarlet Cox: This short story is pure fantasy that reads like the raunchiest porn you’ve ever watched (but not in a good way). [1 smooch]

15. A Fostered Love (Foster Siblings #1) by Cameron Dane: A book about two men with troubled pasts finding a home in each other  that manages to balance the sweet, the angsty, the primal, and the thrilling. [4 smooches]

16. Snowfall (Foster Siblings #3) by Cameron Dane: A sweet, gooey (and insanely hot!) glimpse four years into Jonah and Christian’s life together that made me deliriously happy to read. [4 smooches]

17. Taboo For You by Anyta Sunday: A totally adorable GFY romance told from three rotating perspectives (the two MC’s and the one MC’s teenage son) that is equal parts sweet, frustrating, poignant, and sexy. [4 smooches]

18. His Client by Ava March: Ava March sweeps you into her stories by creating characters you’ll care about, then sprinkling liberally with smokin’ hot sex, genuine affection, and a hard-won happily ever after; His Client is no exception. [4 smooches]

19. To Feel the Sun by Marie Sexton: Eight pages of poignant perfection. [5 smooches]

20. This is What a Cold Lake Looks Like by S.A. McAuley: A 4-page story that reads like the most heartbreaking poetry. [4 smooches]

21. Slide (Roads #1) by Garrett Leigh: With its unique characters and gripping story, Garrett Leigh’s Slide will break your heart but leave you wanting more. [4 smooches]

22. Marked (Roads #1.5) by Garrett Leigh: This “missing scene” from Slide was perfect – sweet and sexy and if you read this without getting just a little turned on when Ash tattoos Pete, I’d check for a pulse. [4 smooches]

23. Coffee Shops and Condoms by Eden Winters: Effectively a PSA on safe sex, this cute friends-to-lovers story about two sexually inexperienced teenage boys is sweet but purposeful. [3 smooches]

24. Blind Faith (Blind Faith #1) by N.R. Walker: Not my favourite by this author, but Blind Faith was another sweet novella with mostly likable characters (I wanted to throttle Isaac after his last temper tantrum), a few tear-jerking moments, and a gooey happily ever after. [3.5 smooches]

25. DILF by Twentysomething: The third person present tense narrative style of this Teen Wolf / #Sterek story took a little getting used to, but the dialogue was so spot on, the characters so endearing, the humour so well-written, and the sheer cuteness factor so overwhelming that I couldn’t help but adore it. [4 smooches]

26. Normal Enough by Marie Sexton: A raunchy muscle car kink/fetish novella from the same woman who wrote the adorable twisted fairy tale, Cinder: A CinderFella Story. [3 smooches]

27. Where the World Ends by Kade Boehme: This book had strong, likable characters, palpable tension, blisteringly hot sex scenes (facial cum shots – yeah, buddy!), and a setting both familiar and alien, but I found that it lost momentum in the last third of the book and not all of the conflicts were resolved in way that I found personally satisfying. [3.5 smooches]

* I sometimes use punctuation in a shameless (and often incorrect manner) to give myself a second sentence. Don’t judge.

There you have it – my picks and pans for the month of March. Is there something you’ve read lately that I need to bump to the top of my TBR pile? Please let me know in the comments section below.

Speed Dating Bibliophile Style: February (Catherine)

Reading AloneOkay, I’ll admit it: I am a bad, bad book blogger.

Ninety-nine per cent of the time when I finished a book, I don’t want to blog about it. If it was a good book, I want to ride that sweet high while I scour my To-Be-Read pile looking for the next awesome story that is going to make me laugh or cry or blush furiously before I melt into a giant puddle of lust and hormones. If it was a bad book, I need something to wipe it from my memory STAT – like chasing a shot of cheap tequila with a really good imported beer.

Alas, blog posts do not write and post themselves (no matter how much I sometimes wish this were true).

Still, I know me, and I’m not going to magically turn into the person that reviews every book I read. So, for those times when I absolutely cannot tear myself away from finding and reading the next shiny book right this second, Runell suggested writing a ONE sentence book review to tide over the bookish hordes (uh… I guess that’d be you guys).

Surely even can manage a single sentence between books, right?! Right.

So I dubbed these mini book reviews Speed Dating Bibliophile Style and there you have it. I hope you enjoy these bite-sized morsels!

1. Sixty-Five Hours (Sixty-Five Hours #1) by N.R. Walker: This gay-for-you/out-for-you MM romance novel may not be entirely memorable, but it’s a sweet, sexy, fun book that is way too good to be free. [3 smooches]

2. Sixty-Five Hours: The Twelve Days of Christmas (Sixty-Five Hours) by N.R. Walker: This super short story was sugary sweet, completely over the top Christmas cuteness and I loved every Diabetes-inducing word of it. [4 smooches]

3. The Nothingness of Ben by Brad Boney: A great book that took me through a wide range of emotions but ultimately left me feeling buoyed and optimistic. [4 smooches]

4. Newton’s Laws of Attraction by M.J. O’Shea: The friends-to-lovers trope is one of my favourites, and O’Shea always seems to find the perfect balance of sweetness and bittersweetness for her novels. [4 smooches]

5. The Flesh Cartel #1: Capture by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau: Objectively, this was a well-written start to what many tell me is a compelling and addictive series, but I only found it sickeningly violent with a beginning so abrupt it left me feeling disconnected from the main characters. [1 smooch]

6. Way Off Plan (Firsts and Forever #1) by Alexa Land: This book was one giant, cheesy, endearment-filled insta-lovefest with an entirely improbable plot and a laughable conclusion, but I read the whole thing with a big, stupid grin on my face. [3.5 smooches]

7. Broken Pieces by Riley Hart: My feelings about this deeply moving book are difficult to articulate, but it has probably become one of my favourite of all time – one that I know I will be drawn to re-read and recommend to friends for many years to come. [6 smooches. That’s right, 5 smooches just wasn’t enough!]

8. Fire Balls (Balls to the Wall #2) by Tara Lain: This horribly titled novella was an awful combination of cheese and sleaze (with the added bonus of cheating and main characters that sound like 13-year-old girls). [1 smooch]

9. Learning to Feel by N.R. Walker: This book about the unlikely love that blossoms between a workaholic doctor and an artist in small town Maine is a sweet, fun tale of self-discovery that gets a little gooey towards the end. [4 smooches]

10. Totally Covered by Sean Michael: A deliciously spicy BDSM short about an injured cop and the two growly Doms who just want to tie him up and looooooove him. [3 smooches]

11. All In by Alexa Land: This book had a way, way over the top Days of Our Lives-esque melodramatic vibe to it, but between the gooey insta-love that this author seems to favour and the curiously PG-rated BDSM scenes, the whole thing fell kinda flat for me. [2 smooches]

12. Hot Ticket (A Serving Love Story) by K.A. Mitchell: I loved the dynamic between the alpha male and the naive virgin in this hot short story, but the story itself both began and ended rather abruptly. [3.5 smooches]

13. Tag Team (Guards of Folsom #2) by S.J.D. Peterson: A definite improvement over the first Guards of Folsom novel, Tag Team is a sweet novel that’s more about the depth of the bond between its main characters than it is about three-way sexy times. [3 smooches]

14. Smartass (part of the Love Has No Boundaries anthology) by Lynn Lorenz: A free short story about a veteran and a t-shirt maker who’s more damsel-in-distress than smart-ass – not a lot of sugar or spice. [2 smooches]

15. Getting Rowdy by Lori Foster: This book was the classic case of “it’s not you, it’s me”; I really enjoy this author’s work and the previous books in the series, but I found that given my newly discovered love of M/M, the M/F romance just couldn’t hold my interest this time around. [3 smooches]

16. Saving Sam (Zero, Ohio #2) by Megan Slayer: A sweet (but not entirely memorable) short story about old friends who get a second chance at love. [2 smooches]

17. Queers by A.J. Rose: A slow-building story with multiple story lines, complex characters living complex lives, and a hard won (but completely satisfying) happily ever after.  [4 smooches]

18. Lazy Valentines (Lazy Days #2) by K-Lee Klein: This totally cute (and free!) short story picks up just four days after Lazy Sundays ends and manages to bring a wonderfully surprising amount of emotion and character development in so brief a story. [3.5 smooches]

19. The Proposal (A Valentine BDSM Story) by Nik Valentine: I was exactly in the mood for something naughty, short and not too serious, and this story delivered all of that. [3.5 smooches]

20. A Better Man (The Men of Halfway House #1) by Jaime Reese: A book about second chances and being true to yourself that is both sweet and incredibly romantic. [4 smooches]

21. The Accidental Cupid (A Valentine Rainbow) by Xavier Mayne: An adorably quirky Valentine’s Day short story with a kickass narrator; Josh (a.k.a. Cupid) is bold, snarky, and refreshing. [4 smooches]

22. Unintended by M.J. O’Shea: No one writes about those first blushes of young love and self-discovery quite like O’Shea – her stories always get me right in the feels and leave me smiling like a dope. [4 smooches]

23. Blah Blah Valentine’s Day by Kyle Adams: Though not poorly written, this short story was not particularly sweet, sexy or snarky, and it ultimately failed to hold my interest. [2 smooches]

24. Elements of Retrofit (Thomas Elkin #1) by N.R. Walker: Another smart, sexy short story from Walker with a fun May-December twist and plenty of panty-dropping architectural jargon. [4 smooches]

25. Clarity of Lines (Thomas Elkin #2) by N.R. Walker: There’s nothing not to love about this second helping of dreamy Thomas Elkin and his sassy boy toy Cooper Jones – it’s smart, funny, and feels-filled. [4 smooches]

26. Sense of Place (Thomas Elkin #3) by N.R. Walker: A fantastic conclusion to Walker’s Thomas Elkin series that was even funnier and sweeter than the first two combined, with plot points that just made my heart sigh. [4 smooches]

27. One Good Deed by Andrew Grey: A wonderful book about risk, reward, guilt, grief, forgiveness, and love (so much love). [3.5 smooches]

28. Being Chase (Chase #1) by J.J. Scotts: The first in a series, Being Chase has a unique premise and a lot of potential, but not as much interaction between the two main characters as I had hoped for/would have liked. [2.5 smooches]

29. Paper Planes by M. Jules Aedin: This book was equal parts poignant, deliciously filthy, and unexpectedly funny – I loved it! [4 smooches]

30. Heat of the Moment (Out of Uniform #1) by Elle Kennedy: This short story was well-written and the naughty bits were plenty entertaining, but the plot and characters were wholly unoriginal. [2 smooches]

31. Pole Star by Josephine Myles: A free short story filled with two sexy main characters and tonnes of fun British-isms. [3 smooches]

32. Southern Winterland (By Degrees 0.5) by Taylor V. Donovan: A sweet, sexy introduction to the By Degrees universe that made me feel for the characters and want to get to know them more. [3 smooches]

33. Ten in the Bin by N.R. Walker: Classic Walker, this short story was sinfully sweet and left me with a massive case of the warm fuzzies. [4 smooches]

34. Quid Pro Quo (Market Garden #1) by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov: The first in a series of short stories about rent boys, Quid Pro Quo was scorching hot. [4 smooches]

35. Three’s Company by N.R. Walker: This super sexy menage novel felt like a brand new Walker too me; more raunchy than sweet, it took a little getting used to. [3.5 smooches]

36. Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson: A super fun, super hot, way over-the-top short story about two “str8te boys” playing “gay chicken” and falling in love. [3.5 smooches]

37. Someday It Will Be by S.A. McAuley: This short story was beautiful – poetic, even – but it fucking destroyed me emotionally. [5 smooches]

38. Taxes and TARDIS by N.R. Walker: Another solidly cute, opposites attract-type novella from Walker, but it was missing just a little bit of the spark that I love about her work.  [3 smooches]

39. Physical Chemistry by Jana Downs: For me, this short story blew hot and cold so often in the beginning it gave me whiplash and the whole thing ended up feeling amateurish and clunky. [2 smooches]

40. Professor’s Keeper by Nicole Dennis: A cute short story about an unlikely couple, but between the insta-love and the fact that the voice of Rhys was inconsistent (flip-flopping between extremely proper and good ‘ole boy), it had some definite issues. [2 smooches]

41. The Boy Who Belonged by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock: A delicious second helping of Lane and Derek that was incredibly loving and sweet, but spicy  enough to push me out of my comfort zone as a reader (unsurprisingly from these two talented authors). [4 smooches]

42. Red Dirt Heart by N.R. Walker: A fantastic novella that transported me to the heart of the Australian Outback, introduced me to two amazing new men, and wrapped me up with warmth and acceptance and love. My favourite N.R. Walker title to date. [5 smooches]

43. Cinder: A Cinderfella Story by Marie Sexton: This fantastic twisted fairy tale was a light, sweet, FUN retelling of an old classic that gave me the expected happily ever after in a completely unexpected way. [4 smooches]

44. The Broken Road Cafe (The Broken Road Cafe #1) by T. A. Webb: In terms of plot, characters, and writing, this book was a bit of a mess (and the “cliffhanger” ending was both lackluster and frustrating). [2 smooches]

45. The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick: A wonderfully written YA novel about high school, bullying, identity, the consequences of our actions, love, and forgiveness, this book is at times confusing, funny, heart-wrenching and inspiring. [4.5 smooches]

46. Sno Ho (Sno Ho #1) by Ethan Day: A charming short story that had tonnes of laughs, throw-me-up-against-a-wall sex, and some surprisingly sweet moments. [4 smooches]

Read a book lately that I simply can’t miss (or one I should avoid at all costs)?! Feel free to leave your own single sentence book reviews in the comments section below.