Posted in ****3.5 Stars****, ARCs Reviews, By Rating, Copy, Home, LGBT Books, M/M ARC, Promotions, Reviews by ~Simone~

~Review~Storm Season (Accidental Roots #1) by Elle Keaton~

 

34521493Title: Storm Season
Author: Elle Keaton
Series: Accidental Roots #1
Publisher: Dirty Dog Press
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Page Count: 308 pages
Genre(s): M/M, Contemporary Romance, Mystery & Detective
Reviewer: ~Simone~
Rating: 3,5 Stars out of 5

~Blurb~

They say you can’t go home again, Adam Klay doesn’t intend to until the death of his father, a famous artist, forces his return to Skagit, Washington. Cleaning up his father’s chaotic life was never on Adam’s bucket list. Worse, Adam finds himself inexplicably drawn to the elusive, terminally-clumsy, gorgeous, Micah Ryan. No way is he getting involved with someone from his hometown; he’s always insisted the best view of Skagit was in his rearview mirror.

Micah Ryan has been coasting on auto-pilot since his family was killed in a car accident a decade earlier. He runs a web business and has an irritable cat. He hardly leaves his house, unless it is for his afternoon espresso. His world tips upside down when Adam Klay rolls into town. For the first time in years, he feels alive. Unfortunately, Micah’s return to the living has been noticed and is not appreciated.

Someone has a secret. Someone is exploiting the vulnerable youth population in Skagit. Teenagers are disappearing, young women turning up dead, the dirty secrets of Skagit are surfacing.


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Storm Season (Accidental Roots #1) by Elle Keaton

****3.5 Stars****3,5ghj

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An auspicious start to a new series…

@n3fariovs

… is part of his job, but he is also confronted with it where he expected it least of all…

Dedicated to his job, but worn out FBI Agent Adam Klay is called from the middle of a crime scene to return to his small hometown in order to settle the assets of his deceased estranged father. To say being back generates mixed feelings in him would be quite an understatement and he clutches at every straw to shuffle out of the situation of dealing with the estate and facing up to his past.

One of these distractions is Micah Ryan…

A totally adorbs, clumsy as hell man with an aura of sadness, who stirs up feelings in Adam he was not prepared for. No, he did not expect to find murder in this hick town of his youth, but he expected to find love even less.

Matthew Gray Gubler - From criminal minds. Niccccce :)

Micah is also completely taken by surprise when he discovers that he cannot get the stranger with the piercing expression out of his head, who evokes such intense emotions in him he never experienced before. Even after a stretch of ten years he is not really able to get over the death of his family due to a car crash and lives more or less the life of a recluse. Normally, opening up to someone is not easy for him, but there is something about Adam that makes him throw caution to the wind and want to trust this guy.

When bodies are piling up, when it seems like there would be more to this sleepy town than meets the eye and Micah is put in the crosshairs of somebody who attempts on his life, Adam is forced to give his all to keep him safe, especially when it becomes clear that all events seem to be connected somehow.


I had my ups and downs with Storm Season, but overall it was an enjoyable read and a promising debut from a new author. 

I particularly loved her dry sense of humor and the snark made me laugh out loud quite often. This book is rather long, but it did not feel this way. The chapters are short with alternating POVs of Adam and Micah and this contributes to giving this story a fast-paced aspect. There happens quite a lot in this book and as for me, it was sometimes a bit too much telling and not enough showing, but the embroilments and the mystery part are still nicely done.

What dimmed my enjoyment a bit was one of my favorite pet peeves…

Guess what! Yes, insta-love.

Since authors use it quite often, I slowly but surely have the impression that it is just poor me who never experienced this kind of phenomenon and therefore cannot relate to it in any sort. This kind of obsession with each other after bumping into one another two or three times and two nights together is simply not realistic for me. I get insta-attraction, yes, but insta-love? Not so much…

To be fair, though, I have to admit that Adam and Micah are good -not to say perfect- for each other to get over their past. Adam helps Micah coming out of his shell and on the other hand, Micah helps Adam finding back to his true self. He helps him appreciating himself and his past and even this dump of a hometown he tried to escape from ages ago. Accomplishing that in another –slower– way would have made it just more plausible for me.

With the case not really solved yet and a killer still on the loose, I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

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Posted in *****4.5 Stars*****, Books in / & Series Highly Rec., By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, M/M Series, Reviews by ~Simone~

~Review~Single Malt by Layla Reyne~

 

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Single Malt (Agents Irish and Whiskey #1) by Layla Reyne

*****4.5 Stars*****4,5ghj

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He rotated and folded his arms on the tub’s edge. “What would you do,” he said, voice rough and rumbling, “if you’d already lost the love of your life, only to find a second chance at something – maybe love, you’re not sure yet – and before you can even wrap your head around the idea, that second chance is almost snatched away? Not once but twice.”

Beautiful photos of gay couples:

My initial thoughts? Here we go again! Insta-lust.

Definitely one of my pet peeves, but…

For the first time, an author bothers to explain in a believable and realistic fashion to me why both men feel this way and I was able to relate, not to say be completely fine with it.


FBI-Agent Aidan Talley (“Irish”) is still grieving.

Eight months ago he lost his husband and his work partner in a car crash which slowly but surely proves to be not so accidental as it seemed. First day back at his job and he have to deal with a new case and a new partner. A new partner who stirs feelings in him he could not – should not – have. Despite his grief he is lonely, and his new partner, computer specialist Jameson Walker (“Whiskey”), meets exactly his type, but an irrational sense of guilt towards his dead husband makes him shy away from acting on his attraction.

As a former basketball star turned FBI-Agent, the burnt child, in this case, Jamie Walker…

…dreads the fire after the media frenzy surrounding his person, when it comes to the attention of any kind and hides in the cyber division of the FBI until he is partnered with Aidan. A man he already lusted after for three years, but who was definitely off-limits because of his marriage. He knows that life is too short to waste time when it comes to grabbing the chance and take what and who he wants, but he also knows what being in the spotlight can cost him.


Both men are more than reluctant to pursue their growing attraction…

…not just because of Aidan’s survivor’s guilt and Jamie’s fear of exposure, but due to the fraternization policy of the FBI. This proves to be the least of their worries, though, when they find themselves tangled in a web of terrorism, corruption, and betrayal that is their new case and there could be more at stake than just displeasing their employer, namely losing the life of your partner, the man who could be your second chance for love in your life.

 

He had no idea where they went from here. But for tonight, he wasn’t empty; he was holding life in his arms. Walker dropped a kiss in his hair and Aidan took a deep, contented breath of ocean and sex, of them, memorized it, and tucked it away so no matter what happened, he’d always have tonight.

I just love these two men.

Jamie is such a sweetheart and I just wanted to wrap Aidan in a bubble so he cannot be hurt again. I’m not really a big fan of age-gap, but these guys are just perfect for each other. There are swoon-worthy scenes that just melted my heart, but there is also lots of banter between them that made me howl with laughter.


At times it was a bit difficult to read, though, especially at the beginning, and that is exactly the reason why I don’t give this story solid 5 stars. It might be the fact that English is not my mother tongue, but there were a lot of technical terms I never heard of.  It was a bit arduous to look them up and all the shortcuts like CDC, GNL, BLS, MIT, UT and whatever, left my head spinning sometimes. To add insult to injury, I’m not a computer person. I consider myself lucky to install a new program on my laptop without breaking something and random pop-up windows will bring me occasionally on the verge of a panic attack…

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No, no, it is not that bad, but all the technobabble.

Um, sorry, Jamie, the hacker lingo – left me feeling like I should have read a manual first or taken the crash course ‘How to hack into a computer in five easy steps’ beforehand. After a while, I did not even try to pretend I understood every word they said and just went with the flow, just like at work when our technician tries to explain the engineering marvels to me. But it worked – just like at the office 😉 – and I got the gist of what was going on.


This is a great start to an amazing new series …

…and the ending left me more than anxious for the next book.

It is not a cliffhanger in the classical sense, but a hint that this is just the calm before the storm and secrets threaten to put a strain on Aidan and Jamie’s tentative relationship…

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Posted in *****5 Stars*****, Books in / & Series Highly Rec., By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, M/M Series, Reviews by ~Simone~

~Review~Consent (Power Exchange #3) by A.J. Rose~

 

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Consent (Power Exchange #3) by A.J. Rose

*****5 Stars*****

5ggh

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This story will test your boundaries…

… and not only yours, but those of Ben and Gavin, too. And I don’t mean the boundaries of their relationship. I was more than grateful that their steadfast love is the one constant in this book that kept me from ending up as a total mess.

“I love you,” I said, mouthing the edge of his jaw. “You’re my anchor. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“I love you, too. And you don’t have to find out. Because I’ve got your back, Gavin. Always.”

 :


Their love is solid as a rock and they find their strength in each other,

…despite every curveball life throws their way. And this time it is challenging, dark and brutal, even more so than in the previous books.

AJ Rose, bestows deeper insight on us, about what a human being is capable of to inflict pain on another person without any remorse and just for the own profit. There is a trigger warning from the author at the beginning of this book and you should take it very seriously.

This book is definitely not for everyone.

For me, the most challenging part reading about everything that happened here was that the events this story deals with are not just fiction, but to some extent brutal reality. At the same time, though, the knowledge that this book deals with such a tender subject was exactly what kept me reading.


Believe me when I say that the author does not sugarcoat anything…

She does not go easy on anyone. Not on Myah and the other victims. Not on Ben and Gavin. And not on the reader. There is no slow buildup, no lulling into a false sense of security at the beginning of the book. With one phone call in the middle of the night, right on the first page, I was thrown head first into the course of events that kept me on edge most of the time.

“It’s Myah. She’s missing.”

What ensues this call is the desperate search for Gavin’s ex-partner and sister-in-law, as well as the hunt for the perps, with Ben, Gavin and Gavin’s brother Cole left on their own and very little to go on.

While time is running out, evidence rather non-existent and most clues leading to a dead end, the nerves of Ben, Gavin and Cole are stretched too thin and all of them are pushed to their limits of how far they would go to save a life.

. . .:

“You are not a monster,” he said, voice low and trembling. “You are a hero.” I kissed the end of his nose. “So are you.”


For me, Myah just rocks. I liked her from her first appearance and of course, I had to know that she will be okay. No, this was by far not an easy read. We also get Myah’s POV in this book and a few times I was pushed against the walls of my comfort zone due to the graphic descriptions, but to be honest this was not even the worst. It was the mind fuck. The implications. To know what happened and to read about the effects it had on everyone involved.

There is no whitewash about the fact that life sometimes is not fair. And it was the fate of the boys, especially of Marshall, the boy we met in Safeword who already went through so much,…

that nearly broke me and I was a sobbing mess.

So much so that I had to put my Kindle away and needed some time to calm down.

Despite the fact that the search for Myah takes on an important role in this story, the main focus was still laid on Ben and Gavin and I loved how far they had come in their love and trust in each other.


There is still some exploring of limits and new territories, though, and even if I normally love my couples being exclusive, there was one scene that made my hormones perform an excited lap dance.

The threesome in this book was one of the hottest ever!

Lust:

The intimacy about it just felt… right. To be honest, I really don’t know if I should be relieved or disappointed that this will remain most certainly a one-time thing. I would love to read more about a certain someone in the future because for me he was more than an interesting side character.


As hard as it was sometimes to keep reading, towards the end I could not put my Kindle down and…

…the epilogue was just the icing on the cake.

I’m more than curious about where the author will take us with Restraint, the next book in this series.

I admire the courage of AJ Rose to pick up such a sensitive topic and deal with it in a quite relentless way -although she was probably aware of the controversies that will be provoked- while at the same time, she always kept sight of the basics…the romance between Ben and Gavin.

…the romance between Ben and Gavin.

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Posted in ****4 Stars****, ARCs Reviews, By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, M/M ARC, New Released, Promotions, Release Day Review, Reviews by ~Simone~

~Release Day Review~ Leap of Faith by Jackie Keswick~

 

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Title: Leap of Faith
Author: Jackie Keswick
Series: FireWorks Security #1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 5, 2017
Genre(s): M/M, Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 125 pages
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh
Reviewer: ~Simone~

~Blurb~
Close friends and partners at FireWorks Security, Joel Weston and Kieran Ross know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They have each other’s backs, make a formidable team, and carefully ignore their volatile chemistry.When Kieran struggles with the aftermath of an assignment gone wrong, Joel is there to help.
When Joel is caught in an explosion, Kieran jumps into a burning marina to rescue the man who means so much to him. But they never discuss what’s closest to their hearts, not prepared to risk their friendship for the mere possibility of something more.
Faced with bombs, assassins and old ghosts, Joel and Kieran must find out why they’re targets, who is after them and—most of all—how each would feel if he lost the other. Can they continue as best friends, or is it time to take a leap of faith?



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Leap of Faith by Jackie Keswick

****4 Stars****4ssdf


Bless my heart! This story did not only keep the main characters in suspense…

…but kept on me, too…

When I was offered the ARC for Leap of Faith I was all shining eyes and toothy grin, just because of the blurb alone. This is so my kind of book: friends to lovers romance wrapped in a mystery/suspense plot with a whole load of action. For the most part, the story kept its promise, so much so that my eyes were glued to my Kindle and I read it in one go.


Joel Weston and Kieran Ross are partners at FireWorks Security.

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They are also best friends since the day Kieran began to work for the organization of Joel’s father which is specializing in kidnappings, extortion and hostage situations.

They rely on each other.

They keep an eye on each other.

They complement each other in every possible way.

Two sides of the same coin.

Both men just clicked from the moment they met and teamed up to such an extent that neither one dares to admit to himself -much less to the other- that there are deeper feelings in play. They refuse to pursue their chemistry from fear of risking their friendship or their teamwork.

“Joel had no idea how to phrase what he meant to say. “We’re good as a team. We’re good as friends. We both worked hard to get this far. Going any further could ruin everything.”

When a hostage situation hits too close to home and subsequently someone tries to kill them at every turn, both men have to deal with their feelings for each other eventually, but also with ghosts of the past, both to overcome their fear and to get to the bottom of things.


I instantly connected with the characters, albeit a bit more with Kieran. That did not surprise me at all because it is a fact that I have a penchant for tortured heroes and Kieran matched this paradigm to a T with his PTSD and his compassion which leads to letting the fate of every victim of a crime get to him.

#ManCandy:

Compared to Kieran, Joel remained a bit pale for me, but since this is the first in a new series, I’m pretty sure that will change with the books to come. What I loved about him is his dedication to keep Kieran safe at all costs and to make Kieran feel safe no matter what. He has a somewhat bossy attitude while doing his job, but likes to let it all go when it comes to Kieran dominating him in bed.

Janis Ostojic:


Normally, I am the one who complains about not enough depth in a novella, not enough time to form a basis for a story, but this is not the case here. Like I said, this is the beginning of a series and the author manages to introduce the setting right down to the last detail, be it the location or the structure and tasks of the organization.

On the one hand, it did not feel like a short story. There is so much happening in this book and the roughly 12o pages are filled with adrenaline-level-boosting action scenes, which made me breathless while ensconcing myself in my comfy armchair.  Some people might complain that the romance took a bit of a backseat, but you are dealing with an ultimate slow-burn lover here, so the gradual progress of the relationship just sealed the deal for me to enjoy it. I felt the connection between Joel and Kieren everytime they were together and this kind of relationship needs development, which obviously cannot be established within a few pages.


On the other hand, I still wish the story would have been longer.

My main niggle about it is that there was sometimes too much telling and not enough showing, be it regarding sex scenes – the first real sex scene was off-page, goddammit! – or conversations I would have liked to read about and not just being told afterward that they took place. The sex scenes that were there made up for the lack of those non-explicit, though. Kieran’s kinks are mirrors and –holy moly– that was really hot

sinfullymmblog: “SINFULLY GAY ROMANCE BOOK REVIEWS ”

The story ends on -um, no… no worries, not on a cliffhanger, at least not regarding the relationship, which can be considered as an HFN – but on a not solved case which will keep the main characters -and I’m pretty sure the reader as well- busy in the next installment.

This was the first book for me from this author, but definitely not the last.

I like her writing and she was able to make me curious about both, the further course of events in this story and also about her other works.

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Posted in *****5 Stars*****, Books Highly Rec., By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, M/M Highly Rec., Reviews by ~Simone~

~Review~Safeword by A.J. Rose~

 

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Safeword (Power Exchange #2) by A.J. Rose

*****5 Stars*****

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“I tilted my head, baring my neck, my control to him, hoping he’d take it and make it his, make it safe to be vulnerable again. Make me feel his control over me so I could finally let go and just be.”

kiss:

Two questions are whirling around in my head since I finished this book last night.

What it is about this series that I love it so much? And what the hell took me so long to start with this sequel?

Honest to God, I don’t have an answer, so maybe reviewing it might help me to find one.


First of all, I don’t mind kinky sex. At. All. BDSM, though, is so not my thing.

Okay, I might have mentioned it already, once or twice, and I’m sorry you just heard it a third time, but I have to explain it a bit. It is not even the dominance part or the giving up of control, in fact, I can understand it to some extent.

It is rather the whole concept, the accomplishment, that bothers me. I just don’t get why someone likes to get spanked (not me, when I was a child and got a smack on my backside for getting up to nonsense, that’s for sure!) or likes to wear a collar like a watchdog. Somehow, in this series, this concept works for me, though.

Maybe it is just the context, with the thrilling aspects of another murder case or the perfectness of Ben and Gavin being together, all wrapped up in a gripping writing that made me experience the full range of emotions and kept me completely engrossed in the story.

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It’s been almost four years since I’ve read Power Exchange and at first, I was hesitant to start with Safeword without re-reading the first book. I should have known better! Power Exchange left such a deep impression, I even remembered the names of side characters and that is something that astonishes me the most. Normally, I write my reviews after finishing a book because after reading something in between, it is entirely possible that I can’t seem to remember shit, so you get what I’m saying. A very deep impression.

Ben and Gavin have been through so much in the first book and now they have to deal with the aftereffects on their daily life, be it in their relationship with the relearning of trust, or in (mostly) Gavin’s job as a detective dealing with another serial killer, or facing the incomprehension and sometimes even homophobia of the outer world.

What I loved the most about this book was the fact that Ben and Gavin’s love never wavered, not for one second.

Both men are even willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the happiness of the other…

… and the two scenes when both men were safewording to each other almost broke my heart.


But I promised you the full range of emotions and this book not only made me cry, it also made me laugh because of Gavin’s lovely douchebag of a brother, it made me feel overwhelmed because of the cohesion in Gavin’s family, it made me bite my nails while searching for a killer, but it also made me feel compassion for him due to what he went through and it made me hate the man who sent him on a downward spiral and made him a killer.

So, scratch the “maybe” in the paragraph with the context. It is the whole package that made me love this story so much and I definitely won’t wait another four years to read the next book.

Highly recommended!

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Posted in *****5 Stars*****, ARCs Reviews, Books Highly Rec., By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, M/M ARC, M/M Highly Rec., New Released, Promotions, Release Day Review, Reviews by ~Simone~

~Release Day Review~Enemy Within by Tal Bauer~

 

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Title: Enemy Within
Series: The Executive Office, Book 3
Author: Tal Bauer
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: 3/28/2017
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

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~Synopsis~

The White House, infiltrated.
The president, running for his life.
A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground.

When everything falls apart, who do you trust?

President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach.

Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together.

Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life.

As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks.

Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?

~Purchase Links~

Amazon | Smashwords 


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Enemy Within (The Executive Office #3)

by Tal Bauer

*****5 Completely-Blown-Away Stars*****

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Umm, no worries, this gif is not a spoiler!

Enemy Within picks up right where Enemy of my Enemy ended and Jack, Ethan, Sergey, Sasha, Adam and Faisal and all the others try to stop former General Madigan and his henchmen from pursuing his idea of “a new dawn rising”, from creating a new world order by destroying everything known to mankind at any sacrifice, which would not only affect America, but the world in its entirety. To make things worse, each step to achieve their goal is endangered by Madigan’s followers who already infiltrated them on the inside. With just a few men against an army, outmanned and outgunned, the odds are against them and their time is running out.

By scattering our heroes all over the northern hemisphere, Tal Bauer sends us on one hell of a ride…that will make you clutch at any straw for a moment to breathe…


I will keep this review as spoiler-free as possible so I won’t go into detail about the storyline.

I just promise you that you will be sitting most of the time on the edge of your seat. Well, umm, at least that is what I did. I could not sit still and I fidgeting the whole time. I am even pretty sure that I discovered the one or other gray hair when I looked in the mirror today, that what is left of tearing it out I mean. There are lots of jaw-dropping situations where I wondered if one of the characters I came to love so much during all the books would make it and…I am more than happy that Ethan kept Jack in good shape, beforehand…

…so he was able to keep up with the other guys.


Of course, there are also scenes that made me laugh out loud due to a certain adorkable Secret Service Agent and others that made me cry -sob even- when it was questionable if Jack and Ethan, Sergey and Sasha or Adam and Faisal would see the love of their lives, respectively each other again.

But most of all, each and every swoon-worthy moment was the one thing that conjured a goofy grin on my face and made each situation when my heart leaped into my throat that much more bearable.These moments kept the balance in this book. These moments helped the characters…

…to have some time for themselves, some time to recover…

…and not only them but me too. 😀


Obviously, suspending your disbelief seems to be once again mandatory, but for one thing, the story takes place in the near future and who knows what will be feasible by then and for another thing,…

…thinking about the current political situation, this

Our leaders must be accessible. They must be trustworthy. If our leadership is not accessible, honest, and accountable, we run the risk of our nation sliding into a degradation of democracy and a despairing illusion of freedom.

… leaves some doubts about the story being that far-fetched.


Tal Bauer did once again a great job with his research, be it regarding locations, religion or events that actually took place at some point and which he included perfectly into the story. If you are interested in more details, make sure to read the author’s notes at the end of the book.

The circle story is complete, everything is wrapped up, but the author left the door open to continue with the series at some point down the line. Well, it is pretty rare for me that I love each and every character in a book -at least the good guys-, and yes, okay, Adam and Faisal are still my favorites, but this being the case…

…I so wouldn’t mind a sequel. I WANT MORE!!!

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Posted in ****4 Stars****, By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, Reviews by ~Simone~

~Review~ Under Pressure by Kara Greenan

 

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Under Pressure (No Pressure, No Diamonds #1) by Kara Greenan

****4 Stars****

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To Catch A Thief…

… starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid.

I loved this film. Maybe that is the reason why everything revolving around a heist fascinates me, be it a movie or a book. Hence I could not resist when Under Pressure popped up on the site of a publisher and of course had to click the download button. And what can I say? I don’t regret it.


London is a thief and good at his job.

The best, as a matter of fact. A legend, despite his young age.

..:

Nobody knows any details about him and that is exactly the way he wants it. The less attachment, the better. So you won’t get hurt when people abandon you, right? He learned that lesson at a very young age, when his mother submitted him into foster care, but kept his siblings. That is why it hits him hard when he thought he had found someone special in Sebastian, a colleague during a planned heist in Venice. He thought he had found someone he could love, someone he could trust, only to be dumped after a few nights of passion, hot sex and something London thought, would be more. Deeper.


One year later. A new heist. A new team. A team, London calls his friends, his almost only friends. When the heist proves not to go to plan, not to be as smooth as they hoped it would be….

Sebastian comes in.

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Sebastian is a grifter. The son of an Earl, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and because of the wealth of his family and his good looks used to get what he wants.He is able to charm his way into the coldest of hearts and everybody is happy to please him. My initial thoughts were “spoiled brat” and that is true to some degree, but there is more to him than meets the eye. The only problem? When you are used to telling lies left, right and center, nobody will believe you when you tell the truth. Especially not London, who is set hard on revenge, when Sebastian joins the team. Getting it without endangering the heist proves to be difficult.

 And resisting Sebastian’s charm and the chemistry between them which is still there, even more so…

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Obviously, the heist plays an important role in this book…

… but the main focus lies on the relationship between London and Sebastian and their dance around each other.

The story, told in British English, is very interesting, albeit a bit slow, and with the setting in three of the most beautiful metropolises in the world, London, Venice and Paris, it is absolutely refreshing. Add great characters to the mix and consider me hooked.


You might ask yourself now, why only four stars and not five, then?

For one, Under Pressure contains two of my pet peeves: present tense narration and flashbacks. It is virtually two stories in one, the present day when London and Sebastian meet again and one year ago when they met in the first place. Where I adapted to the present tense pretty soon this time – which surprised me the most, because that is something I normally don’t like at all -, the flashbacks yanked me out of the story sometimes, even if I understand that they are necessary to comprehend everything, especially Sebastian’s motives for dumping London a year ago. On the positive side, because of the flashbacks, it did not really feel like the insta-lust/~love that it actually was. We get to know the story bit by bit and that was something I have not experienced before.


Probably it is just me, but sometimes I found it hard to keep track of in which head I was in because for me the perspective changed at the whiplash-inducing speed at times. I had to read some sentences twice to know whose thoughts I was reading about.

And then there was the first sex scene, or rather the nonexistent first sex scene… Well, to say I like sex scenes would be an understatement, but I even survived a whole series without real sex scenes. But then there was no sex! The first sex in this book was off-page and clueless me did not even get it at first. A few pages later (after another flashback) London claimed that he and Sebastian had sex and me: “Huh? When?”. I actually had to turn back and yes, there it was. The clue. Don’t get me wrong, the following sex scenes were absolutely hot and they so made up for the lack of the first one (just to give you a hint, not to say an appetizer: rimming over a balcony rail. Do I have to say more???), but it was a bit disappointing at that moment, although I know where the author is coming from.


All in all, though, this was a very enjoyable read…

…which I can only recommend and of course. I cannot wait to read more about London and Sebastian and the team planning a new heist.

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Posted in *****4.5 Stars*****, Books Highly Rec., By Rating, Home, M/M Highly Rec., Reviews by ~Simone~

~Review~ In The Wreckage by Hailey Turner~

 

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In The Wreckage (Metahuman Files #1) by Hailey Turner

*****4.5 Stars*****

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 What an amazing debut novel!!!

This book pushed all my buttons!!! 


The blurb is conclusive enough so I won’t go into further detail. You will get the idea what is going on when you read it. I will just say something about the great job the author did with this book.

As for the worldbuilding… One word: excellent! 


Everything is described with a passion for detail and you just feel the excitement and the dedication of the author to introduce us to the world she created. So, if you are looking for a fantastic, action-packed sci-fi story with lots of emphasis on paranormal elements, burning-the-sheets hot sex, and great characters, don’t look any further. You will get it all in this book.

From the very beginning, you will be thrown right into the action and it felt like being part of the team. Admittedly, I had to write down the names, functions, special abilities and code names of the team members, because they were introduced in quick succession and my old brain could not memorize them, not for the life of me. A few glances at my notepad helped, though and after a short while I had a feeling I would know each member for ages. The story is a well-made combination of thrilling, hot and personal moments and I think it is safe to say that this book will satisfy the needs of everyone.


What was just meant to be a random hook-up for Jamie Callahan

No kidding:

and Kyle Brannigan

:

…in search of some stress-relief on both sides,…

…turns into something both men feel instantly, but are intent on not pursuing any further. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about insta-love here (and believe me, I was thanking all my lucky stars for that!), but a connection Jamie and Kyle cannot deny for long when they – albeit involuntarily – meet again as part of the same team. Despite their own principles and the non-fraternization policy of their employer, both men cannot take their hands off each other and what follows is some hot sex and a slow but steady development of deeper feelings.


Jamie has a very complex personality.

I loved his caring-at-the-job, but bossy-in-bed attitude. Kyle found in him the Alpha to his Omega, so to speak, with him being more on the submissive side in bed, but a bad-ass in his job, nonetheless.

Speaking of bed… Boy, can this author write sex scenes!!!

Long, kinky and hot as hell.

Did I mention they were long? As in thirty pages long?

Yes, umm, I counted the pages. And that was just the first one. Thirty pages of hot and kinky sex… I was in book heaven! I said to a friend that this was one of the hottest sex scenes I have ever read and I stick by my word. And that was just one of them…

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The story itself was exceptionally well written

…but the editing could have been a tad better. Umm, I am really not an expert in regards to English grammar and everyone who reads my reviews probably recognizes that in an instant, but I had to read some sentences twice because they just seem to be strung together without the use of any commas, so it was hard for me to understand them immediately. Some words were missing too, but overall, that did not keep me from enjoying this book immensely.

I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel! Highly recommended!

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Posted in ****3.5 Stars****, ARCs Reviews, By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, M/M ARC, Promotions, Release Blitz, Release Day Review, Reviews by ~Simone~

~Release Blitz~Review & Giveaway~Momo: My Everything by Posy Roberts~

 :

~Release Blitz ~ Review & Giveaway~

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Title: Momo: My Everything
Author: Posy Roberts
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Genre(s): M/M, Contemporary Romance
Length: 27,000 words
Cover Image: Igor Madjinca
Photo Editing: Posy Roberts
Cover Typography: Natasha Snow 
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William Harris is a reserved man, private and guarded. He has no one to go home to. He’s never found a man worth sticking around for. He’s never been in love. And he’s convinced he’s happy with his lone-wolf life.

Nate Kelly is William’s opposite, social and easy going. He comes into William’s life as the elegant geisha Momo. When William realizes Momo is a man in drag, he’s captivated.

From their first date, William’s world changes. Nate is nothing like his usual type. And William soon finds out being with this carefree man means always being on display and attracting attention, which makes him want to retreat. He tries to keep Nate at arm’s length, but it’s no use. Nate’s transformed his life in a matter of months and keeps drawing him back in.

If they stand a chance, William has to be comfortable standing next to someone so at home in the limelight. Their future together and William’s happiness depend on it. Is Nate the man finally worth giving up William’s solitary existence? Is he worth sticking around for?

*Extensively reworked from the short story, The Measure of a Man.*
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Momo: My Everything by Posy Roberts

****3.5 Stars****35sdr


“Does anyone ever really get another person?” Nate asked. “Everything they get is still filtered through their own lenses.”

I’ll second that! And it is not always the first impression that counts… Sometimes you have to take a closer – not to say a very close – look at somebody to see what makes him tick, to see through his facade. Regardless of the fact whether he is wearing an actual disguise or not.


William Harris and Nate Kelly meet during a company event at a Japanese teahouse…

…where Nate works dressed up as a Geisha named Momo.

ۣ•ᎧƦᎥᏋƝᎢƛ꒒•ᗪƦᏋƛᗰς•~✿ڿڰۣ:

William is the first of his colleagues who recognizes the man behind the drag …

…and although Nate normally is so not his type, both men feel an instant attraction for each other, which they pursue over several dates until it turns into something deeper despite their differences.


How is the saying? Opposites attract and this also proves to be true in this nice short story.

 :

William leads some kind of double life.

During the day at work, he is an uptight, reserved man who cherishes his privacy and who rather keeps to himself.At night he is someone who likes clubbing, doing hook-ups in back rooms or taking them home. No relationship, nothing permanent, no strings attached. He himself is completely amazed when he feels attracted to Nate/Momo and even more surprised at himself when he makes a spur-of-the-moment decision and takes him up on his offer for a date.


Nate is out and proud. Flamboyant, comfortable in his own skin and his surroundings.

,:

He has no problem with being in the center of attention…

…and that is exactly the crux of the matter… Wherever Nate shows up, there will be attention and William, accustomed to hiding his true self, has to come to terms with accepting himself, with being in the limelight as well, if there ever will be a real chance for both of them.


I don’t know the – much shorter – previous version of this book The Measured Man, so I cannot assess to which extent the story has been altered or extended. Momo: My Everything is nicely done, even if a bit clichéd regarding William’s sexist, unlikeable boss, acting like a jerk. I have to admit that it was maybe a bit too sweet for me, though, and I would have liked there to be more drama. It is told solely from William’s POV and for me, it would have been more enjoyable to get to know more about Nate’s thoughts and feelings. 


What I loved about it, though, was the fact that despite there was – for a short story seemingly mandatory – insta-love or in this case ~attraction, both men did not jump into bed with each other on their first date, not even on their second. There was a lot of getting to know each other, before they act on their attraction more thoroughly, so to speak ;-), and that was really refreshing for a change.


I will leave it to the author herself to have the final word, to describe this book perfectly.

This is a story about falling head over heals in love. It’s a story about transformation. It’s a story about shattering boxes people try to place us in. But more than that, it’s a story about learning to love yourself.

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An ARC of Momo: My Everything was kindly provided to DirtyBooksObsession in exchange for an honest review.imageedit_87_4983558021


~About Author~

 Posy Roberts

imageedit_80_8909769091 Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.

Posy is a Jill of all trades and master of the drill and paintbrush. She’s married to a partner who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep during her writing frenzies. Her daughter, a budding author, and cinematographer helps her come up with character names. For fun, Posy enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make regular life more interesting.imageedit_80_8909769091

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Posted in *****4.5 Stars*****, Books Highly Rec., By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, M/M Highly Rec., Reviews by ~Simone~

~Review~ The Difference Between by Blake Moreno

 

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The Difference Between By Blake Moreno

*****4.5 unbreakableandpure stars*****

45srtr

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 Admittedly, it is pretty rare that I read dark books and, if so, I definitely have to be in the right mood.

Nonetheless, I would not consider myself being particularly squeamish, but nothing in the world could have prepared me for the chapters two and three of this book. If they are not dark and disturbing, I don’t know what is. You will learn in detail what a mentally ill person is able to do to another human being and though this is fiction, it felt realistic and brutal and excruciating. There is a trigger warning at the beginning of the book and you should take it seriously, as in really seriously.


You might ask yourself now, why the hell did she not give up on this book.

Well, authors who are eclectic, who are not set on a special type of story, who can write pretty much anything from funny to emotional to dark, and moreover do this in an authentic, believable fashion are pretty rare. Authors who make me enjoy topics I’m normally not pretty fond of are even rarer. When I learned that this is a book by Leta Blake – written under a pen name – of course, I could not resist giving it a shot. Leave it to her  -or in this case Blake Moreno – to turn such a gut-wrenching story with almost unbearable occurrences into an overall enjoyable read for me.


Wade leads a happy life, in a stable loving relationship with Russ…

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… When he is being kidnapped, raped and tortured by his ex-friend-with-benefits, Owen.


In the first three chapters of this book, we get a pretty graphical presentation of the things Owen does to Wade and surviving this horrible experience seems to become nearly impossible. I have to admit that I powered a bit through these scenes. On the one hand, I had to read through my fingers sometimes and on the other hand, I could not put it down.

After having faced all sorts of humiliation over several weeks, Wade is finally being rescued…

…and what starts now is an emotional journey of taking control over his own life again, of being in charge of his feelings. Especially his sex life, something he more than enjoyed being rough and kinky before, is understandably a sensitive subject now. His devotion and determination to make it work made my heart clench.

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You cannot imagine how much I felt for him.

Obviously, the task at hand is far from being easy and there are more than just a few regresses when random things like words, events and even things that belonged to the daily routine so far, trigger flashbacks, but I loved Wade so much for not giving up. With the help of a special therapy and with the support of his lover Russ, Wade slowly but surely gets a grip on “normalcy” again, or rather as normal as his life can be from now on.

The same goes for Russ, though. Let’s face it, Wade might wear the physical scars, additional to the emotional ones, but the ordeal of a loved one also takes a toll on the one left behind, and Russ is no exception on that matter. Feelings of guilt and pain almost wreck him, but he does everything in his power to be supportive and protective and to make Wade feel safe again. That is all that matters to him. At the end, his intentness on how far he will go is put to the test and once again there were some scenes that made me swallow if not even a tad uncomfortable, but to a certain degree, I could comprehend Wade’s train of thoughts in order to feel whole again.

 :      :


What I also loved about this book, aside from the strong characters…

 …and the sensitive fashion the author deals with the recovery of Wade, was the fact that there is no additional drama due to Wade and Russ’s relationship. One feeling that does not waver during the whole book is love which goes along with a lot of trusts. On both sides. Both men never question their love for each other and it is love and inner strength that keeps both of them sane.

Always:


I recommend this book with caution, it is definitely not for the faint of heart.

You can skip the most challenging parts, but be aware of the fact that there are still some references to the happenings during Wade’s torment, although not that graphic as in said chapters.

But if you like to read an intense story filled with hope, love, and fortitude,

you should give this book a try.

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Posted in *****4.5 Stars*****, Books Highly Rec., By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, M/M Highly Rec., Reviews by ~Simone~

~Review~ The River Leith by Leta Blake

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The River Leith by Leta Blake

*****4.5 Stars*****

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Sometimes it took divine courage to let go and end up in an ocean of the unknown.

Hände / Wasser:


Compared to the hectic and stressful times we are living in, three years appear to be nothing. If your memory of three years is completely erased, though, it could change your life forever. Suddenly you realize how important such a short period can be. You have forgotten about events that took place in that time. Your own habits. Your surroundings. People you have met and people you have lost. The person you love more than anything else in the world.

You feel like a stranger in your own life.


Leith, an amateur boxer, who got a blow to the head during a fight, awakes from a coma and has to deal with the aftereffects of this fateful day when he learns that he cannot remember the last three years. His old life is fed to him bit by bit, but some things he has to recover on his own. When Leith is introduced to Zach, his supposedly best friend, he also has to deal with certain feelings he develops for him over time. Feelings he cannot really comprehend. You might imagine his shock when he discovers that said feelings apparently have already been there.


This was my second book by Leta Blake and even though I have to admit that I loved Vespertine a bit more, I enjoyed this story immensely.

The River Leith virtually vibrates with emotions. It’s safe to say that they are oozed page by page and I can guarantee you that some tissues will be required when you read it. Umm, well, I hope those who have already read the book won’t consider me a wimp, so let us rather agree that I needed them. 😉


You practically feel the anger and the frustration radiating from Leith sometimes, when he is not able to regain his memory or when there are situations too heavy for him to deal with.

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You feel the pain and the despair of Zach, having the love of his life in front of him and still somehow gone.

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You feel the small glimmer of hope blossoming in Zach every time there seems to be an improvement in Leith’s health.


And you feel the love both men have to rediscover, tentatively at first…

 :

… but soon getting stronger and stronger again.


I loved the sometimes mythical and philosophical undertone of the story and how it played out in the end. I don’t have a medical degree of any kind so I cannot evaluate how authentic the amnesia topic is handled by the author, but what is important to me is that it felt this way. That’s all I need to feel this story.

Highly recommended!

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Posted in *****4.5 Stars*****, ARCs Reviews, Books Highly Rec., By Rating, Home, LGBT Books, M/M ARC, M/M Highly Rec., Promotions, Release Day Review, Reviews by ~Simone~

~Release Day Review~ Hard Wired by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

 

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Title: Hard Wired
Series: Cyberlove, #3
Authors: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Publisher: Megtino Press
Release Date: February 13, 2017
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Gaymer

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My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

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Hard Wired (Cyberlove #3)

by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

 *****4.5 Stars****
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Amazing.. Adorable.. Angsty..

It might be the fact that this story was a bit angstier than the previous books.

I just love angst in my books!!!… But I can safely say that Hard Wired replaced Fast Connection as my favorite in this series, at least regarding storyline and characters. There was one thing that niggled me a bit, but I will come back to it later.

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The beginning of Hard Wired takes us back to the games convention in Boston.We already visited in the previous book, from where Dom retrieved his little runaway sister and her boyfriend. We also know Jesse Garvy and Ian Larsen, the two mods of Kai Bannon’s Twitch channel – better known as Garvy and Cherrycakes- being at the convention to represent Kai who cannot go himself due to his social anxiety.

So far, everybody deemed Cherrycakes to be a girl and not a man with a secret crush on Jesse for a long time. The convention is their first meeting in person which is already doomed to go awry because of said secret. When they finally meet, sparks fly, although Ian struggles with the right time to tell Jesse the truth. When his fear of being too late apparently proves to be true, Jesse’s initial reaction sends Ian into a spin and results in him taking flight. What follows is a fight for a connection to deepen into a relationship, which proves to be anything but easy.


There werent many things in my life I fought for. Ever. Something told me this was a risk worth taking. ~Jesse~


Both, Ian and Jesse, are some damaged characters due to their past.

Ian, with his tattoos and piercings, feels rejected all his life. Literally. His own parents dumped him as a baby, followed by an abusive childhood in foster care and Ian comes to the conclusion that he is simply not likable.He tries to hide his insecurities, his vulnerability, and his issues in dealing with other people behind his two alter-egos.

Cerise, the cynical, seemingly confident fan-artist whose dream is to visit an art school in order to improve his drawing skills to make something of himself and Cherrycakes, the sweet and endearing mod of Kai’s channel, everybody loves for his/her witty comments.

 :


My personas were all I had. My online friends... my only friends. My art was my world. And Kais chat had become a second home. Without it? Who was I? ~Ian~


I would not call it a split personality because of him choosing these “personas” deliberately and not due to an illness, but rather a way to build up a facade, to feel strong and loved at the same time. To find his place in the world. He has a long way to go to accept himself, to accept the fact that each and every persona is a part of himself.


Jesse seems to be the only adult in his family.

He is just too good to be true, which does not contribute to his own good.He has an abusive past of a different kind, with his parents taking advantage of his left and right, guilt-tripping him into supporting them financially, what might cost him his own dream of becoming a vlogger like his cousin and best friend, Beau. Believe me, his parents made me throw a tantrum more than once and you can be glad that you are not my neighbors, otherwise you would have probably heard me ranting and raving at them through the walls. Loud.

 :


I loved Jesse for not giving up on Ian, for pursuing his attraction and love for this man, even though he is always the one to call and does not really get something back at the beginning. Ian was the one I wanted to hug constantly. My heart went out to him and his story made me even choke sometimes.

They were just perfect for each other, in giving each other strength and reinforcing their self-confidence. In convincing each other not only to chase their dreams but to make them come true. In giving each other hope not only for their personal but also for their professional future.


As for the one thing that niggled me and what is the reason for me to give this book 4.5 instead of 5 stars: I don’t mind the insight into the background of a convention. On the contrary, I found it rather interesting, since I will presumably visit a convention myself this year, not a games convention, but a convention nonetheless.What bugged me, though, was that this book was a bit heavy on – I don’t even know how to call it – gamer speech? Slang? Pin it on me being too old or maybe on the fact that I don’t have children at this age or that I live in Germany, but there were quite a few words I had to google, what somewhat disturbed my reading flow sometimes.


Overall, though, this story feels as real as the first two and that is still what I love the most about this series.

 Highly recommended!

An ARC of Hard Wired was kindly provided by the Authors to DirtyBooksObsession in exchange for an honest review.

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 About Authors

Megan Erickson
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Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.


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 Santino Hassell

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Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.


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