Book Review: By My Side, by Jennifer Wright

wright-by-my-sideBy My Side, by Jennifer Wright
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: January 12, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5

Buy Links: Publisher / Amazon.com

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

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Blurb:

Noah has suppressed his urges for other men for years, but when a sexy bartender comes crashing into his life, all bets are off.

Due to his career as a lawyer and his father’s strict ways, Noah has always ignored the side of him that craves the touch of another man, not wanting to upset the calm waters of his life. But when he’s out one night celebrating his friend’s first win in a courtroom, Noah is taken aback by the raw lust that consumes him when he meets Shea. He wants to ignore what he feels for the man, but when Shea introduces a tantalizing side of sex that Noah has been dreaming of, he finds it impossible to keep Shea out of his life.

Shea’s been heartbroken before by a man who wouldn’t come out of the closet for him, and he doesn’t think he can go through that again. Can Noah let go of his fears of coming out to the world? Will the pleasures Shea gives him in the bedroom have Noah seeing what really matters in the long run?

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Release Day Review: Something Shattered, by Bailey Bradford

bradford-something-shatteredSomething Shattered, by Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: December 29, 2015

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Buy Links: Publisher / Amazon.com

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Blurb:

When something inside him is shattered by an act of violence, Caleb Tomas doesn’t think he can ever be whole again.

Police Officer Jesse Martin has lived in the small town of El Jardin, New Mexico, for a decade, but he’s never seen anything like the mysterious man who moves in in the middle of the night. The house across the street from Jesse’s trailer is no longer empty. There’s a puzzle waiting to be solved there in the form of one sexy, but decidedly different, man.

Bruised and battered inside and out, Caleb Tomas flees to the town of El Jardin in the hopes of escaping the terror that haunts him. Instead, he becomes more of a recluse, scared of everything, unable to get more than a dozen feet past his porch before he panics. His head’s a mess, and he knows he needs help, but that’s a step he doesn’t want to take. It’s easier, safer to stay hidden away with only his adorable puppy, Loopy, and the bird-murdering cat, Mix, for companionship.

But Caleb can’t help but notice the sexy man across the street, and when Loopy escapes from the back yard, it’s Jesse Martin who comes to the rescue.

And he might save more than one bouncy little poodle, if Caleb and Jesse are willing to take the risk.

Reader Advisory: This book contains references to physical assault.

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Advanced Book Review: Coming in Third, by Amber Kell

kell-coming-thirdComing in Third, by Amber Kell
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: December 22, 2015

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Buy Link: Publisher

I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Blurb:

Love sometimes comes in threes.

With his mother plotting to have him wed, Niall decides to sneak out of the fae palace and fulfill one of his greatest fantasies. At the Unconventional bar, he finds a pair of lion shifters looking to spice up their love life. Unable to resist the strong attraction between them, Niall lets the persuasive pair take him home.

Jovan and Luka have been searching for their third for years. When Niall stumbles into the bar, their shifter instincts tell them the innocent fae could be their long sought mate. After a sensual night together, they’re certain the beautiful man was fated to be theirs.

His guards fetch him from the shifters’ bed and Niall is taken away from the pair. Upset about Niall’s return to the palace and a possible arranged marriage, the lion shifters battle to decide their future—should they go and fetch their mate or let it only be the one-night stand Niall promised them?

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Advanced Review: It Was A Thursday, by Carol Lynne

lynne-thursdayIt Was a Thursday, by Carol Lynne
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: December 15, 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5

Buy Links: Publisher

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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It was a Thursday. The day one eighteen-year-old gunman would change the lives of an entire town.

Principal Mark Kurtz loved his school. He worked hard to give his students every advantage in life, but he could have never predicted that on a warm day in May, a distraught senior would commit an unimaginable act of vengeance on his classmates.

In the aftermath of the shooting that left both students and faculty members dead, Mark must deal with his own guilt while trying to help those around him feel safe once again.

Mark’s problems are compounded when an old flame, Lane Warner, arrives in town to help treat the trauma victims. How can he possibly deal with his own guilt, be there for his seventeen-year-old son and confront the part of himself he’s always denied while trying to heal a broken community?

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Book Review: Scenes From Adelaide Road, by Helena Stone

stone-scenes-adelaide-roadScenes from Adelaide Road, by Helena Stone
Release Date: December 1, 2015

Buy Links: Pride Publishing / Amazon

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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Military Short Stories, Week 3: “Live for the Day” by Sarah Masters & “Lifetime Hitch” by Megan Slayer

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This is Part Three of Three featuring military short stories, originally published in the Aim High anthology and now being published on their own. I’ll be posting two novella reviews each week. (You can find Part One here and Part  Two here.)

November is the month to celebrate Veterans, I want to highlight the service men and women around the world who put their lives on the line in the name of freedom. And even soldiers deserve love, right?

masters-live-for-the-dayLive for the Day, by Sarah Masters
Buy Link: Pride Publishing (Nov. 17, 2015)
Rating: ★★★★

Loving your best friend is easy. Telling him you do…well, that’s the hard part.

This story was gorgeous!

Michael is desperately missing his best friend, Steven, who is serving overseas with the Air Force. He’s been secretly harboring a crush on Steven for years, but has always assumed that Steven was straight. But when Steven comes home unexpectedly, injured and suffering from PTSD, he isn’t willing to hide his feelings for Michael any longer.

The friendship and romance here were handled extremely well, as were Michael’s emotions and Steven’s struggles to leave the war behind him. I really enjoyed this story!

slayer-lifetime-hitchLifetime Hitch, by Megan Slayer
Buy Link
: Pride Publishing (Nov. 17, 2015)
Rating: ★★★

Sometimes the best laid plans are meant to be thrown way off course.

Hunter has just gotten home from deployment with the Air National Guard, and is looking forward to seeing his best friend, Ryder, and his girlfriend and two daughters. But things don’t quite go as planned.

 

While I struggled a bit with some of the plot points, like Hunter’s girlfriend breaking up with him by letter when he returns from redeployment (it’s just cruel!), I think Hunter and Ryder’s friendship-turned-romance was really sweet!

 

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Military Short Stories, Week 2: “Venetian Skies” by Morticia Knight & “Search and Rescue” by Jenna Byrnes

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This is Part Two of Three featuring military short stories, originally published in the Aim High anthology and now being published on their own. I’ll be posting two novella reviews each week. (You can find Part One here.)

Today is Veterans Day where I live (and it will be in a few hours in the United States), and I want to highlight the service men and women around the world who put their lives on the line in the name of freedom. And even soldiers deserve love, right?

knight-venetian-skiesVenetian Skies, by Morticia Knight
Buy Link:
Pride Publishing (Nov. 10, 2015)
Rating: ★★★½

No one wants to lose a love that’s meant to be. Air Force test pilot, Chris Pierce, returns to Italy to discover that second chances are the sweetest.

Second changes at love are a trope that I love to read about, and I think the military base setting is a perfect one to show this, because military often get reassigned and sent all over the world. So when Chris returns to Italy, he thinks that he’s returning to bad memories after his ex-boyfriend said he wasn’t ready for a committed relationship. Instead, he finds that Brandon has been waiting for him, hoping that someday he’ll return.

This story was extremely sweet. Super, super adorable, with two men who really want to be together and are finally getting the chance to do so. I was a bit confused going in, and it took me a little while to figure out what was going on, but after that I was able to really enjoy the story. There is a LOT of sex though, for such a short story, and I feel like we were cheated a bit on emotions and backstory in favor of bedroom scenes.


byrnes-search-rescueSearch and Rescue, by Jenna Byrnes
Buy Link: Pride Publishing (Nov. 10, 2015)
Rating: ★★½

Two parajumpers freefall into a stealthy relationship before considering how quickly it might come crashing to an end.

This is another story about how relocation in the military can affect relationships. Matt is in training to become a parajumper, and his dream is to be assigned to the 58th unit. During training, he meets Drake, also with the 58th, and the attraction is instant. But when Matt’s assignment turns out to be on the other side of the country, some difficult decisions have to be made.

I like the story and the characters a lot, but I think Drake’s character was never really explained. He’s a jerk, and Matt is reluctant for about five seconds before falling into bed with him, but the fact that he’s a jerk is never resolved. I also wasn’t a fan of the sex scenes… the language was just not interesting or sexy to me. But that’s a personal opinion, not necessarily a reflection of the author’s writing ability.

Overall it was enjoyable, but not fantastic.

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