Review: The Roommate Situation by Zoe X. Rider

RoomateTitle & Author: The Roommate Situation by Zoe X. Rider
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages: 330

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

College freshman Shane Hahn finds himself unexpectedly shuffled to a new dorm room–which is fine by him, but his over-involved mother takes one look at toothpick-chewing, motorcycle-riding Derek McClain, his new roommate, and gets on the phone with the school. The school requires that Shane be the one to file the room-change paperwork, but Shane’s reluctant.

He’s attracted to Derek’s independence, even though that independence means Derek has to pay his own way through college, which he does by making leather products (you know: belts, wallets…bondage gear) and selling it online. Shane isn’t even allowed to work while he’s in school, much less join a band, which is what he really wants to do with his life. Unfortunately, his parents are holding his guitar hostage until he can prove he’s taking his future seriously.

When he decides he needs a way to come up with cash–the kind his parents won’t find out about–so he can buy a guitar his parents can’t take away from him, he turns to Derek with what sounds like a win-win solution: he’ll model bondage gear for Derek’s online store photos, Derek will get more sales, and Shane will get a cut. The one thing he doesn’t factor into his plan is the giddy stomach-flip feeling Derek McClain causes whenever he walks in the room–and what that might mean for them when Derek starts locking leather cuffs on his wrists.

My Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this one.

The relationship between Derek and Shane was strong and the slow-build from tentative overtures of friendship to lovers to being in love was utterly believable. There was also some decent character development. Both characters felt like your genuine ‘every man’ – like the guys that lived down the hall from you in the dorms, or sit next to you in class, or pass you in the hall at a party – and it was nice to see their growth over the course of the book (particularly that of Shane). Also, the small dose of kink that Rider threw in was somehow sweet and innocent and honest; it felt completely natural for both of these guys to explore these different sides to their personalities and sexuality while in college.

One aspect of the book that didn’t hugely thrill me was that after about 200 pages I found the minutiae of college life and the mundane nature of some of the conversations to get a little tedious. I’ve been there, done that – three times (but who’s counting?) – and I know these conversations by heart already. I’m over them. Let’s sing a new song already!

Still, I think the biggest obstacle to my enjoyment of this book was that the focus was split pretty evenly between Shane’s relationship with Derek, Shane’s relationship with his parents (particularly his sMother), and Shane’s journey of self-discovery. Personally, I would have preferred a little less of the parental pressures and a little more outright romance in my romance novel – just a few more outright declarations, sweet nothings, or casually affectionate gestures to lighten my heart. But that’s entirely a personal preference; you might find it to have the perfect balance.

Definitely worth a read, but it wouldn’t make the top of my recommendation lists.

My Rating:

3 Smooch

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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

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: Code Blue by Stephani Hecht

Code Blue CoverTitle & Author: Code Blue by Stephani Hecht
Series: EMS Heat (#5)
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Pages: 104 pages

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
As a firefighter, Justin has learned the hard way that bad things always seem to come in threes and the sudden turn of events in his life is no different. First, major budget cuts to the fire department force him to take a part-time job as a medic and his new partner hates not just him, but all men in general. Next, his rig gets stolen by some drunken bum named Indian Jack, who then crashes it into the local planetarium. Finally, some punk named Clayton shows up and stirs up all kinds of trouble.

Young and way too damn hot looking for his own good, Clayton has come to Flint to claim back his first love, Dylan. There is just one problem with that: Dylan is already in a committed relationship with Justin’s best friend, Kaleb. Since Justin loves Kaleb like a brother, he intervenes by coldly telling Clayton to leave Flint and never come back. To his annoyance, not only does the younger man refuse to leave, but he somehow manages to get a job at one of the local hospitals. So now not only does Justin have to face that Clayton is not going away, but he has to see him every day – all the while fighting the growing attraction between them.

Then Justin learns that everything about Clayton may not be as it seems. The younger man harbors a past and secrets from which he’s never healed. Despite himself, Justin finds he is drawn closer to Clayton and knows nothing will stop him from tying to protect the troubled man. Will Justin be able to help him become whole, or will Clayton be lost to him forever?

My Thoughts:
Well, that was mediocre.

Let me back up for a sec…

I was first introduced to Stephani Hecht’s EMS Heat series by a Goodreads friend (and fellow M/M romance junkie) in December 2013. All she had to say was that the eighteen-book series revolved around a group of doctors, paramedics, nurses, and firefighters who live and work in the rather economically depressed city of Flint, Michigan, and I was all grabby hands and “gimme, gimme, gimme!” (after all, I’m fairly certain that the only thing better than one man in uniform is two men in uniform).

I read the first novella in the series, Running Hot, that night and enjoyed the heck out of it; I thought the story was a perfect balance between sweet and sexy, the main characters were equal parts smokin’ hot and adorkable, and the ending had a twist that I totally didn’t see coming (you can find my full review for Running Hot here).

Since then, I’ve read the next four novellas in the series and they’ve been good (good, not great). Running between 80 and 140 pages each, I’ve found these stories to be the perfect palate cleanser between longer and/or more intensely emotional books.

But now I think I’m bored.

Code Blue is the fifth installment in the series and it was… just okay.

I must confess that I liked Clayton’s character quite a bit. While a little stereotypical for the gay son of a preacher, his back story was nothing short of heartbreaking and I found my heart immediately going out to the poor guy. But despite having endured a hellish few months at the hands of those who were supposed to love and care for him, Clayton managed to remain a sweet, kind, humble guy. I appreciated his independent streak, chuckled over his sheltered upbringing, and found his enthusiasm for pop culture and gay sex strangely endearing.

However, as much as I liked Clayton, I felt almost nothing towards Justin. Well, except for the fact that I was mildly annoyed with his mercurial mood swings and attitude changes towards Clayton — he was smitten, then he was suspicious and irate, then he was annoyed, then he was vaguely accommodating, then… BAM! He was so deeply in love he couldn’t see straight. And yet somehow the character’s personal roller coaster of emotions and reactions didn’t grab my heart and pull me along for the ride.

Overall, I thought the chemistry between the two characters was okay (but nothing to write home about), the sex was okay, too (but again, not as scorching hot as earlier novellas in the series), the dialogue was passable (but mundane), and the ending was sweet (but forgettable). All in all, it was a perfectly satisfactory story, but one whose title I’m struggling to remember even as I write this review.

That can’t be a good sign, can it?!

My Rating:
2 Smooch

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