Raymond and David are by far my favorite couple in the Five Boroughs series. I'm so glad they got a followup story and that we got to see them developRaymond and David are by far my favorite couple in the Five Boroughs series. I'm so glad they got a followup story and that we got to see them develop and strengthen as a couple, in spite of - or actually because of - a set of stressful circumstances that could've easily torn them apart. Instead, they and their relationship come out on the other side even stronger than ever. And, of course, I loved the glimpses of all the other Five Boroughs couples. And the epilogue. Y'all... No one who knows me will be surprised to hear I might have shed a few tears. ♥
I look forward to reading the final, edited version. I'm sure it's even better now than the version I read when it was in the draft stage. ...more
Full disclosure, I can’t claim to be totally unbiased here. Over the last year, Avon and I have become close friends, and at this point I’m lucky enouFull disclosure, I can’t claim to be totally unbiased here. Over the last year, Avon and I have become close friends, and at this point I’m lucky enough to get to read her work as it’s being written (and we’re also currently writing together). But I will say that my love of Avon’s work and our friendship both started simultaneously. I was hooked with Breakaway and have loved everything I’ve read since.
It’s been a trend so far with the Scoring Chances series that I’ve loved each book more than the last, and this is no exception. Isaac and Laurent’s story is the darkest book in the series. It deals with sensitive subjects like abuse and an eating disorder, but it's still infused with Avon’s trademark humor, memorable characters, and witty dialogue.
These two men are perfect for each other. Of Avon's characters, Isaac is one of my favorites, and Laurent needed someone like Isaac to look beyond his cold, surly exterior to find the vulnerable person underneath… because that person is definitely worth knowing and desperately in need of the love and understanding.
Recommended, of course! And even if you’re not a hockey fan, I’d suggest giving this series a try. The books are about so much more than hockey, though if you are a fan, like myself, there is plenty here to keep the sports lover satisfied too....more
A lovely story and an instant addition to my favorites shelf. There was a bit of angst, but nothing overwhelming, and I loved watching these three menA lovely story and an instant addition to my favorites shelf. There was a bit of angst, but nothing overwhelming, and I loved watching these three men come together. This was my first book by Garrett Leigh, but it won't be my last. Highly recommended!...more
It's very rare that I can say a series gets better and better with every book release—usually, by their nature, I feel most series wind up being a mixIt's very rare that I can say a series gets better and better with every book release—usually, by their nature, I feel most series wind up being a mixed bag—but with the Scoring Chances books, I can honestly say my enjoyment and love grow with each new story.
Misha is a Russian former hockey player with a tormented past who even years later, still feels guilty about accidentally ending Max Ashford's hockey career. Knowing it was a legal hit doesn't ease his remorse, and he doesn't know how Max can look at him and not feel anger and resentment about the injury that forced his early retirement. He doesn't know how to handle Max, whose positivity and optimism throw stoic, life-is-suffering Misha for a loop. He isn't sure what to do with someone who's constantly happy and doesn't seem to bear any ill-will toward him when Misha can't seem to forgive himself. But their attraction is intense and immediate, and he can no more resist Max's charms than he can stop blaming himself for what amounted to a fluke accident and could've easily happened to any player. It's Misha's nature to brood, and Max is very much the opposite, which I think is part of what makes their chemistry so amazing.
I loved watching these two men fall in love. Max is unashamed and enthusiastic about exploring his newly discovered bisexuality with Misha. Misha is drawn to Max’s light after spending a lifetime locked in the darkness of his own head. When they come together, it’s every bit as explosive and sexy as you might expect with two such different men. It was a joy to read, sprinkled with Avon Gale's signature humor throughout, and as always, featuring a cast of vividly fleshed out secondary characters. And of course, anyone who knows me is aware I love to root for an underdog, so the story of two coaches trying to turn around the worst team in the ECHL is one after my own heart.
And the ending? It made me feel like I was in the middle of a giant hockey hug, surrounded by all my favorite players, gap-toothed smiles, and filled with the rush of a hard-won victory! Hell yeah, baby!
I'm going to write a more official review later... maybe. (Don't quote me. I'm really bad about remembering to do this.)
I know some readers might haveI'm going to write a more official review later... maybe. (Don't quote me. I'm really bad about remembering to do this.)
I know some readers might have their reservations about Caleb going into this book. He definitely didn't leave the greatest of impressions in "Sunset Park," but damn, rarely have I seen a character who needed love and acceptance more than Caleb. The reality is he and David were never meant to last. They were always destined to hurt each other because they never truly complemented each other. Caleb needed someone like Oli. Oli doesn't live his life by anyone else's rules or bow to anyone's expectations outside of his own. Caleb, who is so worried about appearances, about being successful and the opinions of others, needed someone who would help him let loose, who would challenge him to cast some of his reservations aside, someone to help him just fucking live without constantly worrying about every. Damn. Thing.
In bed Caleb and Oli were ridiculously hot together. (Do we expect anything less from a Santino Hassell book at this point? I think not.) But more than the sex, I loved seeing Caleb blossom and become more comfortable in his skin. He's still Caleb... but he's Caleb 2.0. And Oli is the spark the lights his fire.
Recommended, of course. But don't go into it expecting that Oli and Caleb will be like the Rodriguez brothers. Caleb and Oli are different, and in turn, the tone of this book is different. But it's still the fantastic writing and characterizations you've come to expect in this series....more
YOU GUYS. You know how I loved Breakaway and our dear Lane Courtnall? Well, as much as I loved him and that book, I loved this one even more! Riley anYOU GUYS. You know how I loved Breakaway and our dear Lane Courtnall? Well, as much as I loved him and that book, I loved this one even more! Riley and Ethan are perfect together, so sweet and hot.
This was a fairly light read, no deep, dark angst. It had humor and delicious smexy times and characters that felt real. Once again, I loved all the secondaries, particularly Ethan's fabulous family (and the little glimpses of Jared and Lane). But better yet, I loved the slow-burn pace and the thoughtful exploration of bisexuality and what it meant for these two characters, first as individuals and then as a couple.
And in regards to the hockey, while there was certainly enough to satisfy fans such as myself, you'll still be able to enjoy this book even if you never actually watch any games. It's not weighed down by a bunch of sports jargon and on-ice play-by-plays. It strikes a good balance for the sports fans and for those readers who just like to read about big, rough-and-tumble hockey players falling in love with each other.
Finishing this book made me feel like I'd just scored the game-winning goal in OT with .07 seconds left on the clock! Boom, baby, right over his shoulder, top shelf. ...more
Now, I can't claim to be totally unbiased because this story was written for me, but I didn't have any hand in the beta process nor dSqueeeeeeeeeeeee.
Now, I can't claim to be totally unbiased because this story was written for me, but I didn't have any hand in the beta process nor did I get to see it until it was finished.
One of my favorite tropes in romance is a hero having to fight in a tournament for his fair prince's (or maiden's) hand. I don't know what it is, but I LOVE this type of story line. The sacrifices, the fights, overcoming unlikely odds to get to the HEA. These are my favorite things! *happy sigh*
I loved this story. Megan Derr's characters always endear themselves to me, and this was no exception. I'll definitely be rereading this one time and time again. ...more
I had the pleasure of receiving an ARC of this book, and I loved it so much I had to review. I don't post reviews often, and I'm not the most eloquentI had the pleasure of receiving an ARC of this book, and I loved it so much I had to review. I don't post reviews often, and I'm not the most eloquent of reviewers, so I'm pretty much just going to paste what I said on Facebook after finishing...
Squeeeee. This book, y'all. It was like sweet balm for my hockey-loving soul.
LANE. I ♥ this kid so much. So awkward and endearing. I want to keep him in my pocket!
And Jared is lovely too, and Zoe, and Riley. (And speaking of Riley, OMG, I want his book ASAP.) All of the secondary characters were really great and well-developed, in my opinion.
I was so happy when I finished it I wanted to throw my gloves off and punch someone in the face! (This is the highest compliment I can think to give a fellow hockey fan.)
So, so lovely. Don't go in expecting action and drama. This was a slow, quiet story, truly a character study, and wonderfully told. I'm an unabashed KSo, so lovely. Don't go in expecting action and drama. This was a slow, quiet story, truly a character study, and wonderfully told. I'm an unabashed Kim Fielding fangirl, and I count a couple of her books among my all-time favorites. This just got added to the list. ...more
Full disclosure, I read this book during the beta stages. I'm sure the finalized, post-edits version will be even better, but even reading this in theFull disclosure, I read this book during the beta stages. I'm sure the finalized, post-edits version will be even better, but even reading this in the draft stage, I loved it more than its predecessor, Sutphin Boulevard. I adored Raymond - well and truly adored him - and I love him and David together. Their chemistry is off the charts amazing, and the characters continue to be so nuanced and so very real. These guys, man. ...more
Full disclosure: I proofread this book in the final draft stages, but really, all of the hard work was already done when I got my hands on it. I basicFull disclosure: I proofread this book in the final draft stages, but really, all of the hard work was already done when I got my hands on it. I basically just got to enjoy the ride... and what a ride it was.
This isn't your mama's contemporary romance novel, but it is very much a romance, albeit one with Santino's signature gritty style, which fans of the ICoS series will no doubt recognize. First, we have Michael, an MC who is flawed as hell and all the more real for those flaws. He reminded me of some of my own family members (I'm also Puerto Rican and from an area much like his.) Then there's Nunzio, Michael's best friend, who practically sizzles off the page. This man is hot, and their chemistry is unreal from the very start. Of course their story can't be easy--no one who enjoys this author will expect any different--but it's all the more amazing for that. Because, really, how often is life as simple and sweet as we'd hope? Life and love are complicated and messy and often heartbreaking. Sometimes we get things right. Sometimes we get them horribly wrong. Hopefully we come out stronger and wiser in the end.
Don't go into this book expecting fluff because you won't get it. What you will get is a realistic a portrayal of a man who's nursing a lot of resentment (and pain, though he probably wouldn't admit it) about things that have happened in the past, about his current circumstances, about work issues... and things only get worse as the book goes along. Michael's downward spiral is rather epic, and yet totally believable and true to life. Also, all the side characters are vividly drawn. There are no cardboard cutouts in this book. They live and breathe. You'll want them to have stories too. (Good thing there are more coming, am I right?) I'd almost call it a street romance, in that it has that vibe, with Nunzio and Michael having grown up together in this less than reputable neighborhood, and being the products of that neighborhood. Even though they're grown, the area plays a role. The story feels like a dirty, sexy New York love affair. It feels real. And let me also add how much I appreciate the fact that Santino is bringing more diversity to the world of M/M because I think it needs it.
But, man, these two... when things between them are good, it's like magic. The desire, the sexual tension, it's delicious. But it's the emotions that'll kill you. There are a couple of hard punches straight to the feels in this book. Yet the ending makes every difficult moment worth it. And, believe me, there are definitely some scenes that shred the heartstrings.
My review probably doesn't even do it justice. Let me just say I recommend it.
When I finished "Epitaph (Infected, #8)," I was crying. It wasn’t that the ending was sad. On the contrary, it was hopeful. In fact, it was as happy aWhen I finished "Epitaph (Infected, #8)," I was crying. It wasn’t that the ending was sad. On the contrary, it was hopeful. In fact, it was as happy an ending as I could hope for with this series. So, what made me cry? Relief. As I was finishing the book, I was filled with such an intense feeling of relief, I couldn’t express it any other way but tears.
If you’re as big of a fan of the "Infected" series and as invested in it as I am, you might understand why I was emotionally overwhelmed.
It’s been a hard, long road for Roan. All his life, he’s been told he’s a “dead man walking,” that he’s a freak, that he shouldn’t have survived for very long after his birth, and he certainly shouldn’t have made it into adulthood. Roan is the oldest known virus child in the "Infected" world. He defies all odds and expectations. He’s a pill-popping, self-proclaimed “sarcastic asshole.” If you put Roan through a trial by fire, he might come out a little singed, but he’ll also be stronger—and he’ll be giving you the finger and asking if that’s all you got.
Needless to say, I love him. From the very first book, I’ve been invested in Roan’s story like he was someone I knew in real life. So, when Andrea Speed—who knows what a big fangirl I am—offered me an ARC of "Epitaph" in exchange for an honest review, well, hell, no one could possibly have expected me to refuse, right?
Here we are at book eight. The official end to Roan’s story arc, not counting the prequel coming out in February. These books definitely need to be read in order. I don’t think they can stand alone. There are too many different threads and characters and too much backstory. If you jump into the middle of the story, you might be able to follow along since each book features a new mystery—usually several—but for maximum enjoyment, I’d suggest starting with book one.
How to review this without giving away spoilers, for both this book and the preceding ones, which are currently being rereleased by DSPP? I’m not sure, but I’ll do my best.
In this world, a werecat virus has changed everything. When you’re infected, you’ll turn into whatever big cat strain you were infected with (lion, tiger, cougar, panther, etc). These aren’t your ordinary shifters. They have a monthly cycle, but when they turn, well, they basically become animals. There is no rational thought, no empathy, no humanity. They become hunters, and as such, they need to lock themselves away whenever they enter their cycles so as not to go on a killing spree. Naturally, for a variety of reasons, the infecteds often get loose and start wreaking havoc—and that’s where Roan comes in. He’s strong, a veritable superhero in his own right. He makes other infecteds look like wee, helpless kittens—because he was born with the virus and something happened in utero to make him special. But, see, no one really understands what Roan is or how strong he might become. He’s literally the first of his kind, and so he’s writing the “how-to” guide as he goes along.
Roan is a former cop, current private detective. His sidekick is a former prostitute named Holden, his best friends are a mix of cops, hockey players, and EMTs, and he’s married to an artist/bartender. Over the last few books, Roan’s health has been getting worse and worse, even as he’s gotten freakishly stronger and stronger—even by his own standards. It doesn’t look like it’ll end well. Really, everyone keeps expecting that one day he’s going to either drop dead out of nowhere or go out in a hail of bullets. Because Roan can’t help himself. As sarcastic and cynical as he might be, as shitty of a childhood as he might have had, he still wants to save the world—or at least his part of it.
When tiger strain infections start showing up and killing people around Seattle, Roan is both horrified and furious. Followers of the series will know why. He needs to find out who is intentionally infecting people, in addition to a couple of other cases, but in the meantime, new symptoms are showing up every time Roan shifts, and he can almost hear his own death knell ringing. He knows if something doesn’t give—and soon—he’ll probably die horribly, leaving behind a hell of a lot of grief and anger. But how can he give up what feels like such an intrinsic part of his nature? What will he do with himself if he’s not investigating? But on the flipside, what’ll happen if the extent of his powers become known to the public? Nothing good. So Roan has to figure it out and make some decisions about his future and the life he wants to lead before it’s too late. But as with just about everything in Roan’s life, it won’t be that easy. Good thing Roan is such a stubborn bastard. ;)
I recommend this book for fans of the series, and to those readers who haven’t read it, if you’re a fan of shows like Supernatural or urban fantasy books, I’d suggest trying it out. There are romantic relationships, but these books are predominantly action/adventure mysteries. So, if you like your romance to be an undercurrent, not the primary focus, these might be for you. As always, this book was masterfully written, with Andrea Speed’s signature humor, emotion, and compelling characters. These books pack a punch, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll be captivated right from the start, and you’ll fall in love with Roan the way so many of the other characters do. He’s magnetic, even just on the page, and a character who will stick with me for a long time to come....more
Life in Desmond Poole’s world is dark and messy and full of self-destructive choices. He’s not your traditional romantic hero, and Meatworks is certaiLife in Desmond Poole’s world is dark and messy and full of self-destructive choices. He’s not your traditional romantic hero, and Meatworks is certainly not your conventional, feel-good romance. The characters are damaged and their path to love rocky. Yet that in itself is the appeal. Jordan Castillo Price breaks molds and defies formulas. Her work is always a breath of fresh air for its grittiness and realism. Meatworks is no exception. If you’re anything like me, it’ll dig its hooks in you and refuse to let go, even weeks after you reach the final page....more
Sooo cute! I'd say more, but that was pretty much the summation of my reaction to this book. I thought it was adorable, and it totally makes me want tSooo cute! I'd say more, but that was pretty much the summation of my reaction to this book. I thought it was adorable, and it totally makes me want to move to Colorado and take up knitting. ...more