Betting On Love SINK OR SWIM–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M navy romance from Annabeth Albert. SINK OR SWIM is the second book in her Shore Leave series that features naval submarine officers finding love. In this installment, a landlocked submarine logistics chief finds his big win of an idyllic cabin really nets him a family, instead. This book follows SAILOR PROOF, and features Arthur’s brother Calder getting past his competitiveness and into a cooperative relationship.

About the book:

Winning and losing are subject to sexy interpretation…

Navy chief Calder Euler loves to win big. His latest score? A remote mountain cabin. Checking it out is supposed to be a quick trip, but Calder’s luck abruptly turns when a freak injury and a freakier snowstorm leave him stranded.

Oh, and the cabin isn’t empty. A silver fox caring for two young girls claims that the property is his, but Calder’s paperwork says otherwise.

Felix Sigurd is on a losing streak, and his ex-husband risking the cabin in a reckless bet is only the latest in a series of misfortunes. He’ll tolerate the handsome stranger for a couple nights–even care for his injuries—but that’s it.

Calder doesn’t know a damn thing about kids, but making pancakes for Felix’s girls is a surprising delight. Trapped in the cabin, the four of them slip easily into the rhythms of a family. But when the ice melts, they’ll have to decide if a future together is in the cards.

My Review:

Navy chief Calder Euler is about to be blindsided. He’s driving in to the Cascades to view his “new” cabin, that he’d won in a high-stakes poker game. As a submarine logistics manager, Calder is notorious for his organizational spreadsheets, and gambling. He’s always prepared to make a calculated risk, but this time, the dude he was playing didn’t actually own the collateral he’d offered up. Nope, the cute snowbound cabin had been in his ex-husband’s family for generations, and the guy thought it would be another fun way to stick it to his ex, Dr. Felix Sigund.

Felix knew his marriage was falling apart, but adopting his orphaned nieces was the final straw for his happily childfree ex. But, the settlements of their “joint” property–read Felix’s inheritance–have cost Felix a good bit of cash. He’s happy for a weekend escape to his woody cabin, until his young nieces scream about the stranger inside calling it his own. Startled, Calder falls down the stairs and twists his ankle nastily. It’s a tough blow since he’s still recovering from a concussion suffered on his last sub deployment. It’s why he was even stateside to “win” the cabin. As frustrated as Felix is for this unexpected drama, he’s not about to force an injured Calder into a dangerous car trip–which is moot, since the roads soon snow over. 

During the weekend, Felix and Calder develop a few sparks, and Felix indulges going along with Calder’s easy-going attitude. Thing is, Calder recognizes that Felix is a pretty great guy, and awesome parent, and he’s drawn to Felix’s care-taking nature. He’s been a bit melancholy missing his best-friend (Derrick) who moved cross-country with his younger brother (Arthur) several months back. (Derrick and Arthur are the couple in Book One of this series.)  Bisexual Calder rarely has strong connections or successful hook-ups, but Felix is amazing at putting him at-ease, and turning him completely on.

Calder guesses Felix doesn’t want to continue seeing him, he’s super focused on his parental responsibilities, but Calder has plans to ensure he’s able to connect with Felix over and over again. First, he insists on helping him settle his ex’s machinations, and secondly giving Felix a friends-with-benefits offer that’s too good to be true. An indispensable Calder means Felix has some fun, too. And, well, Calder’s not averse to kids; he just hasn’t really been around kids much since he was one. That said, he’s all about plans and his careful attention to detail gives him insights that cause Felix’s nieces to trust him pretty quickly. It’s Felix who’s been burned too much, and Calder pretty much never figured on a committed relationship–until he’s nearly smack in the middle of one with Felix and his small family. 

I really loved how Calder woke up and realized he had a toxic obsession with winning. He’d heard it from Derrick and Arthur, and he’s trying to turn over a new leaf, in that regard. He’s got plenty of opportunities to grow into a better man through his developing relationship with Felix, but Felix is just struggling to be 100% independent and berating himself if he needs to accept help. He can’t deny that the girls need a bigger circle of folks who love them, and Calder (plus his large family) is an unexpected support. Felix’s difficulty with responsible delegation of parental duties really hit home for me, and he was such a caring and dedicated person. He is truly a man worth Calder’s deep love, and their meet-cute was adorable. 

Highly recommend!

Interested? You can find SINK OR SWIM on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo. I read a review copy provided via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Find Annabeth online on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

A Tough Choice: SINK OR SWIM–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary LGBTQ YA adventure from Tash McAdam.  SINK OR SWIM is a novella featuring a 16 year-old trans teen and the girl he really likes enjoying a joyride in the sea before it takes a dark turn.

SInk or swim coverAbout the book:

Sixteen-year-old shy, socially awkward trans teen Bass reluctantly skips school and goes on a boat trip with his adventure-seeking girlfriend, Rosie. When a sudden storm smashes their boat on a rocky shore off a deserted island, Bass and Rosie struggle to make it to safety.


Bruised and battling hypothermia, the pair have to seek shelter and work together to survive until they can be rescued. After a horrible night, Rosie, an experienced climber, decides to scale a steep cliff to find help. She falls and injures herself badly. Now Bass has to find the strength and courage to swim around a dangerous headland and make his way back to civilization before it’s too late.


My Review:

Sixteen year old, Bass has a distinct thing for his friend Rosie, but he’s not sure if she reciprocates, exactly. It’s a little difficult, maybe, because Bass is trans, and he’s afraid that dating Rosie will bring her trouble at school, or at home. Also, he doesn’t want to mess up their firendship, and Rosie’s an adventurous and lovely girl. She’s all sport, while Bass, well, he reads a lot.

One sunny school day Rosie gets the daring idea to steal a rowboat from school grounds and have a sweet little picnic lunch at a nearby secluded cove, Bass is pretty eager–despite not being a strong swimmer. He really just wants some alone time with Rosie, and it seems that this is going to be a fun afternoon. Except for those thunderheads approaching swiftly on the horizon. And, the huge thunderstorm that arrives brings huge waves that capsize the boat, leaving Bass and Rosie stranded in a tiny cove for damp and miserable shelter overnight. Rosie daring cliff climb for  help leaves them in worse straits than before. It’s up to Bass to swim for safety and help–if possible.

This is a quick, suspenseful read that evokes all the tenderness and exhilaration of new and young love–combined with the heart-twisting struggle of a life-or-death experience. Bass is a great kid, and he’s so hopeful, in the beginning. Putting all his worries into Rosie’s capable hands. Their connection seems strong, but the continued misadventures have Bass fearing that he’s lost all chance of friendship, even, by the end–if they even do make it back home. I really loved being in Bass’s head. He’s a reliable narrator, and his fears are all well-founded. The resolution brings a satisfying end, with Bass and Rosie getting help and happiness. 

Highly recommend for readers looking for a short adventure, and those who enjoy LGBTQ YA romance.

Interested? You can find SINK OR SWIM on Goodreads and Amazon. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:

Tash is a Welsh-Canadian author and teacher. Their publications include The Psionics (Nine Star Press), and the Gold Standard Select Blood Sport (Orca Books) as well as multiple anthology contributions.

When they’re not writing, they’re usually found teaching either Computer Science or English in Vancouver. Tash identifies as trans and queer and uses the neutral pronoun ‘they’. As an English teacher they are fully equipped to defend that grammar! They have a degree in computer science so their nerd chat makes sense, and a couple of black belts in karate which are very helpful when it comes to writing fight scenes.

Their novel writing endeavours began at the age of eight although they will admit that their first attempt was derivative, at best. Since then, Tash has spent time falling in streams, out of trees, juggling, dreaming about zombies, dancing, painting, learning and then teaching Karate, running away with the circus, and of course, writing.

They write fast-paced, plot-centric stories with diverse casts. They write the books that they wanted to read as a queer kid and young adult (and still do!)

Catch up with Tash on their website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!