Christmas in A TOWN CALLED NOELLE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary F/F Christmas romance from M. K. Hardy. A TOWN CALLED NOELLE is set in a Michigan small-town and features a driven baker dispelling a lifetime of disillusionment for a grieving woman.

About the book:
Just a few days before Christmas, high-flying city exec Brooke Hawkins is forced to return to her small home town due to the death of her mother, who she hasn’t spoken to since she left for college over a decade before. The town, Noelle, is as full of the Christmas spirit as its name suggests. Brooke is more of the “Bah, Humbug” persuasion. She has a funeral to attend, property to sell, and she wants to do it and leave—preferably before December 25th. Unfortunately, the weather and the pace of small-town life both conspire to keep her right where she is.

Small-town baker Holly Jackson gets a nasty shock when she receives the news, just days before Christmas, that her little shop is about to be sold from under her by her late landlady’s estranged daughter. In the years since her husband died in a tragic accident, she and her daughter Maya have been getting by, healing and rebuilding. Holly was beginning to really enjoy life again. She doesn’t plan to let some woman she hasn’t seen since high school come in and ruin everything.

When Holly and Brooke cross paths, sparks fly—and not in a good way. Brooke is determined to sell up and get out of town—and outrun her bad memories in the process. Holly is determined to make her business work. When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, can the spirit of Noelle change minds… and melt hearts?

My Review:
Brooke Hawkins believes that everyone in her hometown of Noelle will hate her–that’s what she’s been told by her estranged mother all her life, after all. Brooke left for college and hasn’t returned until her mother’s death–and the need to settle the estate. For Brooke, this means selling all her mother’s property and returning to her regularly-scheduled, if lonely, life.

Holly Jackson grew up with Brooke, and looked to her mother as a mentor. She admired Brooke somewhat in school, but they were never close. Holly’s a widow now, raising a young daughter and working hard to make her quirky bakery one of the must-stop places for tourists to Noelle. She’s not happy when her realtor calls to tell her that her lease is being broken–because Brooke is selling the property to a developer and Holly can’t even make a bid.

In such a small town, it’s inevitable that they will meet, and Holly let’s Brooke have it, confirming Brooke’s suspicions of being the odd-woman out. It seems her mother was highly respected by the community, and no one really knows how emotionally abusive she was to Brooke growing up. Brooke wants to sign all the paperwork and leave, but ice storms and a blizzard cut her quick escape off. Force to endure an extended stay in Noelle gives Holly the chance to apologize for her fiery temper–and maybe kindle a tiny spark of desire and connection that each woman needs.

This is a short read, with two rather interesting main characters. I liked them both, but I didn’t really get a good sense of their connection. Brooke was enchanted to be included in Holly’s plans–including the holiday festivities–once she could get over her ingrained shyness. There aren’t many tender moments on the page, which made it hard for me to really understand what changed for Holly, in terms of her attraction to Brooke. I get that she was emotionally connected to the decisions Brooke made that ultimately played in her favor, but Holly’s sudden interest in a physical relationship with Brooke–who could jet out as soon as the weather clears–didn’t have a firm grounding, to me. It’s a decent story, but my disbelief at the situation and the plot couldn’t stay suspended long enough to reach the happy ending.

Interested? You can find A TOWN CALLED NOELLE on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
MK Hardy is the pen name for two geeky women living and writing together in Scotland. They’ve been writing partners for eleven years and life partners for nine. When they’re not typing frantically at one another they like to walk the dogs, cuddle the cats, drink cocktails and play boardgames.

Catch up with MK Hardy on their website, Facebook, and twitter.

Falling For the TOUGH GUY–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new M/M contemporary hockey romance from Rachel Reid. TOUGH GUY is the third book in her Game Changers series, but is a standalone romance.

About the book:
They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?

Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.

Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.

Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.

My Review:
Veteran Ryan Price is a defenseman and enforcer for the Toronto Guardians hockey team. It’s not a role he relishes, but his bulk and size have pinned him into the situation, so he goes to battle on the ice, and throws more punches than shots on goal. He’s new to Toronto, having been recently traded after having a spectacular meltdown on the bench of his previous team during a game, though his anxiety struggles are being medically managed for the most part. Ryan is gay, and he’s never hidden it, but he’s also never broadcast it–not that he’s had many friends, or boyfriends, to speak about it. His social anxiety, size and reputation usually keep him isolated, even from his own teammates. Ryan’s self-esteem is pretty low, despite being a pro hockey player.

On this team, however, the back-up goalie Wyatt seems determined to make friends with Ryan. He sits with him on flights, helping him to manage his deep-seated fears, and invites him to a local kids club where Wyatt volunteers. This relationship is the first that Ryan cultivates in years. The second, is a reconnection to Fabian Saleh, a boy he lived with in his teens, since Fabian’s family regularly hosted junior hockey players. Fabian is out and fabulous, having a genderqueer sensibility. He keeps a day-job at the drug store nearest Ryan’s new condo in the heart of Toronto’s queer village. Fabian is a first-rate violinist, though, and Ryan has many memories of listening to Fabian play back in his childhood home. Fabian’s rabid hockey fan family has never been that supportive of Fabian, his music or his life. It turned Fabian away from hockey, but he never forgot Ryan, the shy boy who made more of an effort to see Fabian play back then than Fabian’s own parents did.

Ryan had a big regret of never kissing Fabian back when they were young, but he’s not going to make the same mistake again–even if he’s terrible in bed. His meds and his anxiety often make him unable to perform, but Fabian’s outre look has his libido perking up big time–and Fabian’s happy to go at Ryan’s pace–even if Ryan is a hockey player. Fabian’s friends adore Ryan, even wishing to scoop him up if Fabian doesn’t make a claim, and Ryan’s so happy to be accepted by Fabian’s posse–and hear the fantastic music he makes. For a couple of months it seems things are going really well for Ryan, but then Wyatt is traded and he loses that close friendship. Then, he hurts his back on the ice, and the recovery is…bad. Fabian is mad that Ryan won’t take time off from the season to heal, and Ryan’s frustrated that Fabian keeps harping at him. With all his pain meds on top of his anxiety meds it’s an untenable situation.

With a break looming, both Fabian and Ryan are searching their souls. Should they make up? Should Ryan quit hockey? What would help them find the right path to mutual happiness? There are some really touching moments of deep introspection here, while each man figures out how to live a true and happy life. Ryan gets a chance to connect with an old teammate who offers him a chance to explore his passion for hockey in a low pressure situation. Could this be the first step to Ryan taking care of himself–first and foremost? The resolution is tender and awesome, with Ryan and Fabian being the support one another needs–right when they need it. I loved how each man found his personal happiness, and that magnified their joined happiness. Each man is a little bit broken, and to see both healed and whole in each other and in the end was so cool. I loved how uninhibited Fabian is, and how he coaxes Ryan out of his shell by his sheer exuberance. Not only that, Ryan developing a support network for himself was so great to experience. I really liked both of these characters a lot, and I liked the little glimpse of Ilya Rozanov and Shane Hollander, from the second book in this series, that we get at the end.

Interested? You can find TOUGH GUY on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Rachel Reid is the pen name of Rachelle Goguen. She chose it because it is much easier to say, spell and remember than Rachelle Goguen!

Rachel writes cute, romantic smut, mostly about hockey players.
Rachelle co-hosts a comic book podcast called Living Between Wednesdays.

Rachel/Rachelle lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. She has always lived there, and it’s looking like she probably always will. She has two boring degrees and two interesting kids.

The first two books in her Game Changers m/m hockey romance series, Game Changer and Heated Rivalry, are both available now from Carina Press. Book three is coming soon!

You can catch up with Ms. Reid on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Are you a hockey fan? I am honestly not, because all my winter sports effort goes into wrestling–which my kids do and my hubs coaches. Still, I’ve been reading hockey romance for years now, and have more book reviews coming in that sub-genre over the next month or so. Feel free to share some of your fave hockey romance titles in the comments.

In the meantime, thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Breaking Free As a DEMON ON THE DOWN-LOW–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M contemporary paranormal romance from EJ Russell. DEMON ON THE DOWN-LOW is the third book in the Supernatural Selection series that follows supes of all types finding love through a witch-run online matchmaking service. I’ve shared reviews for the two previous stories in this series, SINGLE WHITE INCUBUS and VAMPIRE WITH BENEFITS, which should be read first for best enjoyment. These books are a spin-off from the Fae Out of Water series, and set in the same world as CUTIE AND THE BEAST, THE DRUID NEXT DOOR, and BAD BOY’S BARD.

About the book:
After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.

Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.

When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.

But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

My Review:
Hamish Mulherne is a kangaroo shifter who also plays drums in the super popular band Hunter’s Moon, but he’s been not-so-secretly in love with the band’s bass player, Tiff, for four decades and she’s finally settling down…with sibling jaguar shifters. Instead of pining, Hamish is contacting Supernatural Selection to find his perfect match–for a date to an impending wedding, and probably for a marriage himself.

Zeke Oz is a low-level minion demon who is the single applicant for the Sheol work-release program. The Supe council had been leaning on the Host for some reforms in Hell, and this was the compromise. Zeke doesn’t know why more demons didn’t escape to the Upper World when he did, but he’s relishing this freedom even if it’s not a perfect situation. He has an Angel Interface observer monitoring him from within a glowing cylinder that hovers in close proximity at all times. And, he’s barely paid enough to afford a little bit of human food from time to time. Well, he makes enough in wages, but he has to turn over most of that to his demon overlord, Melchom. The Supernatural Selection spells have all been taken offline, however, due to some match irregularities, leaving Zeke at loose ends. It’s a big surprise when Hamish arrives for his matching appointment.

Hamish isn’t picky about his lovers, which is a big problem for Zeke. Zeke has been ordered to make Hamish happy, and Hamish won’t engage in the process. If Hamish isn’t satisfied, though, Zeke will lose his job and have to return to Sheol. He makes a couple promising matches for dates, but they both turn out disasters for different reasons–and that’s when Hamish realizes that Zeke being nearby REALLY makes him happy. But Zeke has been a demon slave his whole existence, and Hamish doesn’t want to force him into a different kind of servitude. With a little luck, and some pre-concert champagne, these two make the most unlikely of connections.

This is the third book in the Supernatural Selection series, and sports the return of all five couples from this series and the linked Fae Out of Water books. It’s a culmination of paranormal power, which is lucky for Zeke as he has some close-to-home attacks to weather, as well as the heart-tearing decision of whether to collect Hamish’s soul–on Melchom’s orders. The end is pure Orpheus, with a dash of sassy drummer and a splash of demon in transition. The biggest enemy was in plain sight the whole time, and I liked how we knew that, without knowing the full extent of it until the climax. In the end, this is such a fun world, with such loving and lovable characters that I was sad to see it brought to a close…

Imagine my delight when I learned there is a NEW book coming out this week! Look forward to a review in the coming days.

Interested? You can find DEMON ON THE DOWN-LOW on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
E.J. Russell writes romance in a rainbow of flavors — from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural — but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.

You can catch up with Ms. Russell on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Coming to Terms: JEREMIAH–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M contemporary interracial romance from new-to-me author Jayce Ellis. JEREMIAH is the first book in her High Rise series. This urban romance features a black, mid-30s, closeted paramedic falling hard for a wealthy, queer, white man who’s trying to get his rambling life on track.

About the book:
Jeremiah Stewart’s sexuality is no one’s business. Not that he’s hiding it. When—if—he finds the right one, he’ll absolutely introduce him to Mom. But a late-night brush with a sexy stranger in too much lip gloss has him rethinking nearly everything…

To Collin Galloway, direction is a four-letter word. Sure, he hates his job, he hates living with his parents and he really hates watching everyone move on without him. But he doesn’t know what he wants to do, long-term, and he won’t figure it out by thirsting over Jeremiah, the superhot, superintense paramedic who is suddenly everywhere Collin looks.

When Jeremiah’s faced with losing all he’s worked so hard to build, he reluctantly accepts Collin’s help. They’re both determined to stay professional…which works about as well as either would imagine. But Collin only does closets with clothes, and Jeremiah has to decide if he’s finally found the one worth bringing home to Mom.

My Review:
Jeremiah Stewart is in his mid-30s and an experienced paramedic working in the Washington D.C. area. He’s a black man who became the “man of the house” at the age of 6 when his father disappeared from their lives leaving his mother to raise the four kids, seemingly on her own. He is gay–out only to his best friend–and lives in a high rise condo. One hot June night he’s arriving home and finds a slender whit man with booty shorts, eyeliner, and lip gloss wrangling two drunk friends into the elevator of his building. The guy is cute, and clearly overwhelmed, so Jeremiah valiantly assists. He would like to get to know the cutie some more, but the stranger shuts him down almost immediately. Maybe he’s dating the dude who’s passed out drunk? JEremiah can’t tell, but he also can’t forget the man.

Collin Galloway is 29 and a college grad working as a pool secretary in a law firm, a job arranged by his wealthy father–who is a longtime friend of one of the firm’s partners, Mr. Carter. Collin lives in his old childhood bedroom in his parent’s posh condo, which his father resents. He has strained relations with his parents, who had him late, after they’d already shipped his older sister off to boarding school. Collin was primarily raised by nannies and refused to go to boarding school when his last nanny quit. He feels like an outsider in his family, and has really close ties with a childhood friend, Lizzie, and Ryan–with whom he’d unknowingly shared an ex-boyfriend in college. He often crashes at Lizzie and Ryan’s apartment on the weekends to avoid being around his parents.

Collin is totally drawn to Jeremiah, but he lacks confidence due to what he feels are low circumstances–drifting through a job, sponging off his parents, and not being a full-adult despite his age. Jeremiah looks way too put-together to suffer a flight man like Collin, right?

A 4th of July incident reunites them–with slightly better results than the first meeting. And another run-in at a local cafe gets them to exchange numbers–Lizzie’s gratitude becomes an offer for Collin to re-work Jeremiah’s resume in search of a new job. In this effort, Collin’s nerves and insecurities disappear. The rapport strengthens and provides a nice segue into sexytimes. Both men have family issues, and isolation problems–there are fights and separations that neither has anticipated. They are different on the outside, but they mesh well. When Jeremiah gets some time off, he convinces Collin to play hooky from his new position as Mr. Collin’s temporary secretary. It is ultimate sexy bliss, until one of Jeremiah’s siblings gets clued in on his sexuality–and it ends up with a bail-out and a freak out–not necessarily in that order.

This is a sweet and sexy romance, with two very different men, who find full acceptance with one another. Jeremiah is awed by Collin’s resilience, and Collin is attracted to Jeremiah’s brawn and determination. Being in the closet isn’t easy, and Collin clings to the idea that Jeremiah will introduce him to his mother. The Stewart family needs to have some heart-to-hearts to clear up the mystery of what happened to their father, and how this affected the whole clan. There is a lot of emotion that needs to get sorted out, but the end is happy, with a lot of support throughout the ending. This is the first book in the series, and I would be eager to read on.

Interested? You can find JEREMIAH on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Jayce Ellis is an author and an attorney. You can connect with her on twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

True Love For A VAMPIRE WITH BENEFITS–A Throwback Thursday Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M contemporary paranormal romance from EJ Russell. VAMPIRE WITH BENEFITS is the second book in the Supernatural Selection series that follows supes of all types finding love through a witch-run online matchmaking service. I think reading SINGLE WHITE INCUBUS first would help you enjoy this book better. Both of these books are a spin-off from the Fae Out of Water series, and set in the same world as CUTIE AND THE BEAST, THE DRUID NEXT DOOR, and BAD BOY’S BARD.

About the book:
A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.
Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

My Review:
At 116, Casimir Moreau is the second-youngest vampire in existence, and he’s continually making mistakes the vampire council is tired of cleaning up. In an effort to “civilize” Cas to vampire ways, he has been…required to wed an incubus of good breeding, Quentin Bertrand-Harrington. This match has been wrought through the complicated spellwork of witches at the Supernatural Selection Agency, and guaranteed to be a perfect match. Not that Cas wants this–at all. He’s not eager to be married to a man he’s never met and has no faith he’d be a good partner. It was the Council that filled out all the paperwork, and Cas is barely able to contain his frustration when he learns his “fated mate” Quentin has been inexplicably married to a bear shifter.

Rusty Johnson is a big broad inactive beaver shifter who owns a successful construction business. He’s heartbroken that his longtime friend, and boyfriend, recently broke everything off to announce an engagement to a female beaver shifter. So, Rusty has signed up with Supernatural Selection to find a true mate who could also serve as a date for his ex’s wedding. He was matched with Ted Farnsworth, an affable bear shifter, but he’s dang mad to learn Ted was somehow married to a bougie incubus.

While Cas and Rusty wait for their intended’s marriage to be annulled, they agree to a temporary marriage to one another. Cas is pleased to learn that Rusty’s inactive shifter blood isn’t toxic to him–which also makes his odor palatable, too. Rusty likes Cas’s forthrightness, and won’t stand-by when he learns that Cas NOT being immediately wed is tantamount to a death sentence.

Through the shenanigans they endure for one another, Rusty and Cas develop a rapport. Instead of Rusty’s shifter blood killing him, Cas is energized in unimaginable ways. Instead of Rusty feeling down about the loss of his first love, he’s intrigued by his handsome vamp husband. There are a couple of subplots involved with power structures straining within the vampire community–and some romps through time with a naked Druid. Cas is definitely in immortal danger, and Rusty comes to his rescue more than once.

This is a charming odd-couple romance, with all sorts of zany characters, and fun adventures. I liked how these guys fit each other so perfectly, both helping the other through the hard parts of their lives. While they originally thought it was imperative to weather a temporary marriage, they soon fall for one another. Should they still honor the original match? Or, did the magic make a last-second switch for all the right reasons? Their choices sway the situation in favor of true love, and it works out to a very happy ending. As this book is connected to the larger Fae Out of Water series, there are some fun callbacks to THE DRUID NEXT-DOOR, with Dr. Bryce MacLeod making some daring appearances.

Interested? You can find VAMPIRE WITH BENEFITS on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
E.J. Russell writes romance in a rainbow of flavors — from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural — but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.

You can catch up with Ms. Russell on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Discovering AN ALASKAN CHRISTMAS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary Christmas romance from Jennifer Snow. AN ALASKAN CHRISTMAS is set small-town Alaska and features a driven doctor making time for romance with her old bestie’s protective brother.

About the book:
In Alaska, it’s always a white Christmas—but the sparks flying between two reunited friends could turn it red-hot…

If there’s one gift Erika Sheraton does not want for Christmas, it’s a vacation. Ordered to take time off, the workaholic surgeon reluctantly trades in her scrubs for a ski suit and heads to Wild River, Alaska. Her friend Cassie owns a tour company that offers adventures to fit every visitor. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush Erika feels on being reunited with Cassie’s brother, Reed Reynolds.

Gone is the buttoned-up girl Reed remembers. His sister’s best friend has blossomed into a strong, skilled, confident woman. She’s exactly what his search-and-rescue team needs—and everything he didn’t know he craved. The gulf between his life in Wild River and her big-city career is wide. But it’s no match for a desire powerful enough to melt two stubborn hearts…

My Review:
Dr. Erika Sheraton is a workaholic surgeon in metropolitan Anchorage, at the same hospital where her father is the surgical department chair. She has put in countless hours as a clinician in order to prove herself to her father, and work on a research project to test a new anti-rejection drug for organ recipients. Her own mother had died when Erika was a young girl–due to a failed kidney transplant. This life-long mission is interrupted when her father suspends her privileges at the hospital for a mandatory vacation–since she hasn’t had one in years.

At loose ends, Erika returns to her small hometown of Wild River, to reconnect with her childhood best friend, Cassie. It’s awkward, mostly because Erika has arrived with barely two weeks until Christmas and the few hotels in town are book up–and Erika’s now imposing on Cassie to sleep on her couch. Not one to stay still long, Erika’s soon finagling her way into Search and Rescue missions with Cassie’s brother Reed, who has surely grown up. As part of this team, Erika makes some medical situations way easier, earning the gratitude of her father’s old boss at the community hospital.

Her attraction to Reed is inconvenient–now that Erika has time off she has time to reflect on happier days in Wild River and lament all the things she routinely gave up for a career she’s not convinced she wants any longer. Not now that her father’s pulling power plays and possibly removing her from the drug study. Reed is the emotional rock she remembers, only taller, more muscled, and sexier. It isn’t long before these two are burning up the sheets and each other. But life in the arctic wild is dangerous and soon Erika’s surgical expertise is necessary for Reed’s survival.

I’ll be honest, there were a LOT of issues in this book that didn’t make sense to me–because they fell short of the realism I enjoy in my contemporary romances. In previous careers I ran medical studies and have decades of working experience within the American medical system. So, Erika’s experiences in the hospital felt like gross exaggerations which pulled me from the story. Likewise, her assertions of power on Search and Rescue seemed farfetched and unrealistic. The romance between Erika and Reed felt rushed, and the environmental challenges of an Alaskan winter seemed conveniently mild to allow for situations that would foster the romance. In the end, Erika needs to make a choice between her previously self-sacrificing career and some level of work-life balance in a new position. She makes the only realistic choice, though it seemed a bit of a false choice within the constraints of the story. To me the story was more melodramatic than I had anticipated, and I didn’t really connect with Erika as a character until well past the halfway point in the book. I’m on a huge Alaska reading cycle now, and this was not the best book I’ve recently come across.

Interested? You can find AN ALASKAN CHRISTMAS on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Jennifer Snow is an award-winning author living in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and five year old son. She is a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, the Romance Writers of America, the Canadian Author Association, and SheWrites.org. She is a contributing author to Mslexia Magazine, WestWord Magazine and RWR. She has also taught RWA Chapters courses online.

Her publishing credits include two holiday novellas, previously published by The Wild Rose Press, now re-released as self-published editions through Amazon. The Mistletoe Fever was an Amazon bestseller for two weeks in the category of Kindle Short Reads. Her six book small town, Brookhollow series is published through Harlequin Heartwarming and her MMA sports romance series Beyond the Cage is published through Berkley/NAL Intermix.

Catch up with Jennifer on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Finding Happiness With A BOYFRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary Christmas M/M romance from Jay Northcote. A BOYFRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS is a sweet story featuring a wealthy closeted virgin falling for a motorcycle-riding tattoo artist.

About the book:
Archie’s posh parents want him to meet a nice girl–how can he tell them he’s fallen for a bad boy instead?

Closeted, innocent and lonely, Archie Arandale longs for someone special in his life. A Christmas party organised by his wealth management company is the last place he expects to meet the man of his dreams.

With his leather jacket, tattoos, and piercings, Cal Turner turns heads the moment he walks through the door. He definitely isn’t looking for a boyfriend, but Archie’s hesitant charm captures his attention, and sneaking off during the party to have a little fun can only make a dull evening more interesting.

After their reckless and thrilling encounter, Archie is keen for more experience and Cal is happy to oblige. The need for secrecy means this can only be a casual fling, yet as they spend time together in the run up to Christmas, their feelings become more intense than either of them had bargained for. How can Archie find the courage to tell his family about Cal, when Cal’s the exact opposite of the ‘nice girl’ they’ve been hoping for?

Contains: A closeted virgin, a tattooed biker, class differences, a dramatic coming out, a very inappropriate Christmas gift, and a happy ending (of course).

My Review:
Archie Arandale is the youngest son of very wealthy parents. He’s lived a very sheltered life, and only just moved out on his own now that he’s completed uni. He does work for his father’s investment firm, but he truly wants to open a non-profit to help LGBT youth. Archie envisions someday coming out, but first he should probably have some physical experience with a man.

Cal Turner is a tattoo artist who won a lottery a few years back. He’s big, burly and brash, but a compassionate and sexy man. He paid off his mum’s home and bought himself a place, then donated a bunch to charity and invested the rest. He’s been out since school, but he’s never had a real relationship even though he’s nearly thirty. His best mate convinces him to attend one of the seminar dinners hosted by his investment firm–and there he meets Archie. Archie is thin, blonde and adorably shy. It’s good fun to tease him a little, if only to watch him blush crimson, but when Archie truly responds to Cal’s teasing they make a connection neither anticipated.

One rushed encounter leads to and exchange of numbers, and a continued acquaintance. Cal’s stunned that Archie has so little experience, as wealthy and attractive as he is, but he realizes that Archie’s been so scared to ask for what he wants, leaving him isolated and lonely. Cal can empathize with loneliness, and he makes the effort to be a good partner to Archie, helping him explore his sexual needs safely, and build a rapport as well. They are so well suited, despite the class differences, because Archie’s a down-to-earth guy, not a posh git like Cal had anticipated. The only real problem is Archie being closeted–and he’s warming to the idea of sharing his truth after the Christmas holidays. Can Cal trust him to make that choice? Will Archie’s posh family accept the common man he’s falling for?

This is a sweet and sexy romance. I really loved the intimate moments and Archie’s exuberance to find an attentive partner. Their growing friendship is fun and flirty, with such potential. I loved how adventurous they were with one another, and I totally fell for both Archie and Cal, as they fell for one another. Archie’s family are more accepting than he would have guess–once he revealed all his secrets, including a mismatch in their politics. I really enjoyed the coming out scene, and Archie’s unexpected advocate was a breath of fresh air. This is a holiday story, but fully enjoyable at any time of year.

Interested? You can find A BOYFRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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