Monthly Archives:: October 2016

Bad Romeo & Broken Juliet Reviews

October 31, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★

Bad Romeo & Broken Juliet ReviewsBad Romeo (Starcrossed, #1) by Leisa Rayven
on December 23rd 2014
Pages: 417
Source: Purchased
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When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan's romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.
Cast as romantic leads once again, they're forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they'll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks

I had heard a lot of great things about Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet, so I grabbed both of them when they were on sale months ago and finally got around to reading them. Honestly, they weren’t absolutely terrible books, but I didn’t think they were anything special either. I’ve been striking out with a lot of romance novels lately, but the other ones I can’t even finish, so at least I was able to get through these books. They were actually rather entertaining and the author truthfully has a ton of potential. I just wasn’t a fan of the characters at all and wasn’t even rooting for them to end up together until very late in the story.  I might check out what this author writes next, but these books simply didn’t totally work for me and that makes me extremely sad.

Recently, I read and really enjoyed Act Like It, which was a hilarious and charming story that also revolved around two stage actors. So that was partially why I had high hopes for this one as well. Bad Romeo was hard to connect with for me. Though the author has potential, I didn’t like the general style of how it was organized. For example, there’s a lot of flashbacks that reflects on the majority of Cassie and Ethan freshman year at acting school. I didn’t mind that, but it did bother me how these flashbacks would get interrupted by chapters taking place in the present. In my opinion, the story would have worked a lot more smoothly if the flashbacks were a separate book, like a prequel so the whole book takes place in only one tense. I also felt like there could have even been the flashbacks first, then the present. It was just weird and so random how it was written.

Cassie was a fabulous character in the beginning of the flashbacks. She was so witty and hilarious. I laughed out loud several times of just funny little things that she said. She’s extremely feisty and not afraid to tell it like it is. I loved her spirit and her determination to make something of herself. She was a great and relatable character. Later in the story though, I kind of wanted to smack her. When she first meets Ethan, she doesn’t take any crap from him, but she slowly lets him walk over her. I absolutely hated watching this happen. I think that Cassie should have definitely known better and not given him another chance. I get that she’s young and he’s her first boyfriend. I totally would have likely done the same things if I was in her shoes. However, it was just frustrating to me nonetheless.

Ethan was easily why I didn’t like this book the way that I probably should have. I do see his appeal, he’s this dark and broody guy that every girl wants. But he’s seriously messed up. There’s nothing wrong with that, but he’s actions are just beyond awful. Clearly, I really really wanted to slap some sense into this boy. He was a lot more tolerant in the present, but I still found his younger self to be the actual worst. I feel like he’s just such a typical book boyfriend in the poor Edward Cullen or Christian Grey way. He’s damaged in a “hot” way, broody, and unfairly possessive over Cassie. He was ridiculously controlling to say the least. I wasn’t a fan!

In a way, I do get why people like Bad Romeo. But for me, it just wasn’t my kind of story. It was way too typical and not unique for the most part. I felt like the present and past chapters should have been more organized and not so random. I liked Cassie at times, and she’s why I bothered giving this two stars instead of one. Ethan was just your stereotypical romance hero who brought nothing new to the table. Yes, he changed in the present, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he was a ridiculous douche in the past.

Bad Romeo & Broken Juliet ReviewsBroken Juliet (Starcrossed, #2) by Leisa Rayven
Published by Pan on April 28th 2015
Pages: 336
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How do you fix a love that’s been broken beyond repair?
For years, Cassie Taylor tried to forget about Ethan Holt. He was the one great love of her life, and when he failed to return her love, a part of her died forever. Or so she thought. Now she and Ethan are sharing a Broadway stage, and he’s determined to win her back. Claiming to be a changed man, he’s finally able to say all the things she needed to hear years ago, but can she believe him? What makes this time different from all his other broken promises?
Ethan knows he can’t change their tumultuous past, but if he’s going to have any chance of being with the woman he loves, he’ll need to convince Cassie that her future belongs with him.
Don’t miss this stunning conclusion to the unforgettable love story that captivated over two million fans online.

So Broken Juliet is basically the same exact story as Bad Romeo. We’re still dealing with a combination of both the past and present in random ways. I don’t think that a second book was honestly needed. There could have been less flashbacks involving Cassie and Ethan’s first year, and more of a combination of all three years. This book was yet another fast read for me. I have to admit that I did enjoy the writing itself, just not the style. There’s not much new to say about this book. I liked it a little bit better just because I felt like Ethan was able to sort of redeem himself.

Cassie has changed a lot in the present. We saw in the first book how closed off and damaged she was. I did feel bad for Cassie, and I do hope that Ethan doesn’t screw up a third time. Cassie was pretty hesitant to get back involved with Ethan, as you might expect since he completely broke her not once but twice. Cassie is still feisty and awesome. I loved her roommate Tristan. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get his own book with a fabulous guy!

As mentioned, Ethan is a lot better in this book. I still don’t totally get why he suddenly decided in the past that leaving was the best thing for Cassie. It just felt like an odd time for him to suddenly wake up and realize that. Anyway, he is a better guy in the present who will do anything to get Cassie back. I think it’s good that he started seeing a therapist, because it’s clear that he had some major things that he needed to work out. He’s still not my favorite book boyfriend, but he’s more tolerable which is a start.

Though it wasn’t needed, this wasn’t a terrible book. I just didn’t really feel like the love story between Cassie and Ethan was all that epic. The love scenes in this one were pretty frequent, most of them happening in the past. I wasn’t bothered by the frequency, I just didn’t completely feel the chemistry in the first place. I hate it when I don’t like books that seem to have a lot of potential. I’m probably going to read more from this author in the future. I’m just disappointed with Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet.



Bad Feminist Review

October 30, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Bad Feminist ReviewBad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Published by Harper Perennial on August 5th 2014
Pages: 320
Source: Library
Also by this author: Difficult Women
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Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.
In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.
Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

I honestly don’t read a lot of non-fiction books or essay collections. However, I’ve been a fan of Roxane Gay since I read one of her fiction short stories on Rookie Mag years ago. I’ve wanted to read Bad Feminist for awhile, but just now got around to finally reading it. I’m glad that I did because it’s definitely a worthwhile read. Truthfully, I was surprised by how many negative reviews of this book that I read. In my opinion, Gay has done her research on these topics and isn’t afraid to share what she really thinks about pop culture, racism, gender, sexuality, and other topics. Though I know that you might always agree with what she had to say, but I personally was still able to respect her opinions regardless.

I’m not entirely sure how to review this book since it consists of various essays that sorted depending on the topic. While I found most of the essays to be engaging, there were certainly some standouts as well. One of my favorites was “The Trouble with Prince Charming, or He Who Trespassed Against Us.” She talks about how the “princes” in fairy tales and literature are extremely problematic at times. She first talks about Disney princes like Eric from Little Mermaid, Prince Charming from Snow White, and even the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. She makes the point that the female characters have to make some kind of sacrifice in order to be with that prince. Gay then looks at more modern literature like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, where both love interests are super possessive and the heroine has to give up a part of herself in able to be with him. It’s definitely a fascinating and truthful take on how popular culture can seriously damage our views on love.

As I stated before, not everyone is going to agree with the TV shows and movies that Gay criticizes. When she’s talking about race, she criticizes ridiculously popular movies like The Help, Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave, and Tyler Perry’s movies. I’m not going to lie, I personally was a fan of The Help, but I still believe that Gay’s analysis of it was well thought out, and honestly something that I sadly hadn’t considered before. She also analyzes Orange is the New Black, which is a show that I love. Gay wasn’t totally impressed with the first season, and I do agree that it acknowledges that it’s diverse a little too often. But I feel like it was a lot more fleshed out in the following seasons where Piper wasn’t the primary focus. It is a sad truth that the white characters seem to have more of a sexuality than everyone else, with the exception of a few characters.

I could go on and on about each essay written by Roxane Gay, but I’ll just leave it at that. I think that she’s an awesome author and I can’t wait to read more of her works, both fiction and nonfiction. Is this a perfect collection? No, not really, but that isn’t really the point. The point is that this is an honest and compelling work about modern feminism and what exactly it means to different women. This book might not be for everyone, but it’s still an entertaining and well written book that I’m happy that I finally got around to reading.



The Hating Game Review

October 28, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

The Hating Game ReviewThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on August 9th 2016
Pages: 384
Source: Library
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Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.2) A person’s undoing3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

The Hating Game is a book that my Goodreads friends seemed to be loving, so I decided to just jump right in and read it. From the first page, I was completely hooked on Joshua and Lucy’s story. Though I should have most definitely been doing my homework and not reading, I simply was unable to put this book down. Anyway, I’m glad that I read this book! I’ve always been a fan of the hate-to-love trope and I’ve never seen a book that absolutely nailed it better than this one did. This is a hilarious, charming, witty, and compelling debut novel that you don’t want to miss out on.

Lucy is seriously my girl! I loved her personality from the beginning. She has such a fiery attitude and I love that she’s never afraid to speak her mind. She basically embodies the whole “though she may be little, she is fierce” quote. Because as the author points out quite frequently, she’s a very small woman in stature, so she makes up for it by having a larger than life personality. I thought her pranks and games with Joshua were laugh out loud hilarious at times. Lucy is just such an intelligent and awesome character. It’s hard to fully explain what’s so great about her, you just have to read it to fully comprehend it all.

Joshua is a character who I do have some conflicting thoughts about. On one hand, I can’t deny the fact that he’s unbelievably swoony. Some of the seemingly little things that he does for Lucy were ridiculously adorable to me for whatever reason. I think this is mostly from the general tension that builds up from the love-hate relationship that they have, but I’ll expand on that in a bit. My conflicting thoughts about Joshua comes from his possessive side. I’m not a fan of alpha males, and I feel like Joshua doesn’t exactly meet the description of one. However, I didn’t like how jealous he got all the time of other guys interacting with Lucy, even when they hated each other. At a point, his jealously and protective nature became a little concerning to me. I still think he’s a solid and swoony book boyfriend, just not my favorite because of that reason.

The romance was easily my favorite part, besides Lucy herself. As mentioned earlier, I haven’t seen the hate-to-love trope done any better than it is with The Hating Game. The tension that’s slowly built up between them is tremendous in every possible way. Even when they supposedly can’t stand each other, you can feel the chemistry between them practically radiating off of each page. It’s one of those incredible and rare romances that you have to read, it’s hard to put it into accurate words. If you’re a fan of this trope and enjoy slow burn romances where they do everything they can to fight their attraction but are naturally unable to, you’ll likely enjoy this story. There aren’t many sex scenes, but trust me when I say that the few included are amazingly well done and just the right amount of steamy!

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book. From the first page, I could tell that this was something special. While I’m not sure how realistic some of the parts about the publishing house that Joshua and Lucy work at actually is, that isn’t the point. The point is that this is an entertaining and fun read. It’s hard to believe that this is only this author’s debut novel. I can’t to read whatever she writes next! This was a fast paced book that I was able to read in just a matter of hours. Though it’s not a perfect book, it’s still an interesting and unique one.



ARC Review: Interborough

October 24, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: InterboroughInterborough (Five Boroughs, #4) by Santino Hassell
Published by Riptide Publishing on October 24th 2016
Pages: 249
Source: Santino Hassell
Also by this author: Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1), Fast Connection (Cyberlove #2), Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs, #1), Sunset Park (Five Boroughs, #2), First and First (Five Boroughs, #3), Mature Content (Cyberlove, #4)
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I received this book for free from Santino Hassell in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.
David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.
The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

First things first, Interborough is a continuation of Raymond and David’s story, which began in Sunset Park. As I stated in my review of that book, I think that the two make a surprising couple, but they ultimately make a whole lot of sense. Though they couldn’t be more different, they balance each other out. I was honestly a bit nervous for them to get another book, just because I love them so much and didn’t want them to have to deal with any crazy drama. I should’ve trusted Hassell more, he knows what he’s doing with these characters. Even though the relationship between them isn’t a perfect one, it’s always entertaining. I loved getting to spend more time with these memorable and fun characters. Thank you Santino for giving us more Raymond and David!

In this case, it feels weird going over all the characters again since I already explained most of the details in my review of the second book. However, some things about these characters have in fact changed. Raymond is a lot more overwhelmed with his workload and taking classes than he was before. In the first book, he was a major slacker, but he eventually got it together for David because he wanted to make something of his life. I’m not going to lie, as much as I love Raymond, I wanted to hit him multiple times while reading this. He was blind to a lot of things that he shouldn’t have been, and I didn’t totally respect his decision to stay in the closet. I understand that not everyone can be out, and Raymond is someone that’s only very recently accepted that he’s bisexual, but it was frustrating that he kept doing this even when he knew it was hurting David. Raymond is still a lovable guy and I really felt for him as we realize all the struggles he has to face with the police profiling him just because he’s Latino. All in all, of course I still enjoyed him, he just drove me nuts at times.

Surprisingly, David was the one that I felt a lot of sympathy for at times. When we first met David, it was hard to like him since he was cheating on his boyfriend, but in the second book, we learned that there was a little bit more to the story. Anyway, I ended up liking David more then, and now I have to admit that I love him. Yes, he’s a pretty privileged guy, but he’s not stuck up. David is an intelligent guy who knows what he wants out of life. I felt bad for him because he started doubting himself at certain parts of the book. I just wanted to give him a huge hug. It was definitely weird to be on David’s side when it comes to his issues with Raymond, but I totally was. I’m glad that David continued to grow as a character throughout this story. As a result, it made him all the more likable.

Obviously, the romance here is automatically a bit different considering the relationship is already established. However, they have been having a bit of a dry spell sexually since Raymond has been busy and stressed with balancing work and school. Nevertheless, the sex scenes are still hot and steamy from the beginning. I expect nothing less from this pair since they’ve had such a strong chemistry even long before they first got together. Even though they are already together, they still have quite a bit of drama that threatens the relationship tremendously. Despite all that, I wasn’t worried for a second, it’s clear that these two are meant to be together regardless of whatever might be going on.

David and Raymond have always been my favorite couple out of the three Five Boroughs relationships. They have such a strong connection and bond that’s definitely unbreakable. I’m glad that we got to be inside David and Raymond’s heads one last time.  Santino Hassell has written yet another compelling romance that’s gritty and real. David and Raymond don’t have an easy road ahead of them, but they find a way to get through it all together. I’m so glad that I read this one and I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I’m hoping for possibly Ashton and Clive’s story.



First and First Review

October 23, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

First and First ReviewFirst and First (Five Boroughs, #3) by Santino Hassell
Published by Dreamspinner Press on April 18th 2016
Pages: 244
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1), Fast Connection (Cyberlove #2), Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs, #1), Sunset Park (Five Boroughs, #2), Interborough (Five Boroughs, #4), Mature Content (Cyberlove, #4)
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Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reigns, and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how… until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.
Oli is everything Caleb isn’t—risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.
As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.

At this point in my reviews of books by Santino Hassell, I’m just starting to sound super repetitive. Anyway, First and First is another steamy and entertaining M/M book from one of my favorite authors in this genre. I was honestly worried that Caleb’s story would be boring and frankly rather vanilla, but thankfully Oli’s presence made it anything but that. This was definitely a compelling and fast paced read. With some of the other books in this series, particularly the first book, it was a little on the heavier side so I personally wasn’t able to devour it in one sitting. I didn’t have this problem with First and First in the slightest, instead I read it in only hours. It was just the book that I needed at the time.

From what we learned about Caleb in Sunset Park, he seemed rather boring and predictable. However, I was glad to see that he received his own story because he turned out to be much more entertaining than I was expecting. I wouldn’t say that Caleb is my favorite character in this series, but I definitely admit that I enjoyed him and his growth throughout the book. It was great to see him develop more and more as a person as the book progressed. Yes, he’s a rich and super privileged guy, but I appreciated that his personality as a whole showcased more than just that.

Oli is basically the exact opposite of our boy Caleb. Where Caleb is closed off and seemingly cold, Oli is open and extremely friendly. Where Caleb seems vanilla and boring when it comes to his sex life, Oli is bold and up for anything. They are actually a lot like David and Raymond, they seem completely different on paper, but they somehow make sense. Now back to Oli, he’s such a fun and exciting character. I thought that he was so much fun when we were introduced to him in Sunset Park. Though he seems like this fun guy who doesn’t care about much, we learn that there’s a lot more to him than just that, and I loved that about him.

So I mentioned already that the relationship was far from being a boring one. Oli is a sexually adventurous guy to say the least. He isn’t a fan of monogamy like Caleb is, but there’s still something about Caleb that intrigues them from their first hot encounter on New Year’s Eve. I think that Caleb and Oli made a strange but incredible couple. I was a little uneasy about the fact that Oli basically had to change who he was in order to be with Caleb. I mean, it wasn’t totally who he was, but he’d never been a fan of committing to another person, and he makes this clear to Caleb. Towards the end though, he starts to suddenly change his mind and then everything is all happy. I felt like the happy ending happened too quickly. It’s not realistic that someone would change his ways that quickly, it was all too easy to me.

Despite the very minor issues that I had, this was yet another wonderful book from a fabulous author. Seriously though, there isn’t anything that Santino Hassell writes that I won’t read. Caleb and Oli were two characters that I really enjoyed and was able to relate to on some level. Out of the two, Oli is easily my favorite, he’s so full of life and energy. He was a funny and compelling character to read about. Even though my reviews of these books are starting to sound the same, I still have to say that I strongly recommend reading this one and the whole series.



Sunset Park Review

October 22, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Sunset Park ReviewSunset Park (Five Boroughs, #2) by Santino Hassell
Published by Dreamspinner Press on December 11th 2015
Pages: 230
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1), Fast Connection (Cyberlove #2), Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs, #1), First and First (Five Boroughs, #3), Interborough (Five Boroughs, #4), Mature Content (Cyberlove, #4)
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Raymond Rodriguez's days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.
David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.
Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

I thought Michael’s brother Raymond was totally hilarious in the last book, so I’m happy that he received his own love story. I first read from this blurb that the romance was between Raymond and David right after I finished reading the first chapter of Sutphin Boulevard, so I thought that they made the WEIRDEST couple. I couldn’t be more wrong, somehow Raymond and David just end up making sense together. Yes, there’s roadblocks in the way here, but it’s worth it in the end. Though I enjoyed the first book, I have to say that I might have liked this one just a little bit more. Nevertheless, Hassell has delivered yet again on a gritty romance filled with memorable characters. I highly recommend it for M/M fans, or new readers of the genre!

Like I said, Raymond was hilarious and entertaining in the last book and I’m glad we get his story here. It was interesting to see Raymond exploring his sexuality, now that he realizes that he’s bisexual. Throughout the story, we watch Raymond deal with his personal problems with what exactly this means and how he wants to go from here. He’s also very insecure when it comes to what other people might think about him, so that comes up again and again in the story. I thought that he was a fabulous character and I really liked him for the most part. He was a lot less frustrating than his brother, that’s for sure!

David was a character that took me a little bit longer to really love. I’m not going to lie, I judged him hard in the first book for cheating on his boyfriend just because he was “boring.” However, we end up seeing a different side to David in this book. Yes, he can be kind of stuck up at times, but Raymond ends up bringing out the best in him. What’s different from this book is that we get both POV’s, and I thought that was a smart move from Hassell. He was able to create two very unique and distinctive voices from these guys who came from completely opposite backgrounds, and make them both extremely relatable. Anyway, I liked knowing what exactly David was thinking, it made me like him so much more. At the end of the day, he’s a smart and interesting guy who is the perfect match for my boy Raymond.

I love that Raymond and David started out as being friends in the first book and at the beginning of this one, before they become roommates. The friendship seemed weird to me at first, but it ultimately ended up working in such a surprising and awesome way. I loved the natural progression of their relationship. There was a gradual and realistic build-up that truly worked. Sutphin Boulevard was totally hot, but I have to admit that Sunset Park might even be a bit hotter! Nope, there aren’t any threesomes in this one, but the heat and passion that exists in every David and Raymond sex scene was scorching hot. There were quite a few sex scenes, and I have no complaints about that at all. Aside from the physical parts, there’s still an emotional depth to the relationship that I absolutely loved. Sorry Nunzio and Michael, David and Raymond are my favorite couple in this series so far.

Santio Hassell has wrote yet another beautiful and complicated love story. Though I thought that the first book was refreshing and incredibly well written, I have to admit that I might just like Sunset Park a bit more than the previous one. I was happy that this book was a lot less dark and depressing than Sutphin Boulevard. I also felt relieved that David and Raymond seemed to get it together much sooner than Michael and Nunzio did. As I’ve already mentioned, this is a wonderful series that I recommend if you’re a fan of the M/M genre, or if you’re new to the genre and looking for an awesome series to start, try these books.



Sutphin Boulevard Review

October 21, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★½

Sutphin Boulevard ReviewSutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs, #1) by Santino Hassell
Published by Dreamspinner Press on July 31st 2015
Pages: 264
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1), Fast Connection (Cyberlove #2), Sunset Park (Five Boroughs, #2), First and First (Five Boroughs, #3), Interborough (Five Boroughs, #4), Mature Content (Cyberlove, #4)
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Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens to teaching in one of the city’s most queer friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.
Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.
When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years. 

So I read the first three books in the Five Boroughs series earlier this year and really enjoyed them. For some reason, I haven’t reviewed any of them. I thought that it might be a good idea to dedicate the next three days to this awesome series, considering the fact that the fourth book is coming out on Monday. Then I’m going to share my thoughts on that book, Interborough, which I highly recommend! Without further ado, I hope you enjoy my thoughts on Michael and Nunzio’s love story.

This is probably the most difficult book in the series for me to rate. Sutphin Boulevard is extremely hot, but it’s also downright depressing at times. I had heard that Santino Hassell writes really gritty and complicated love stories going into this, it just turned out to be even more than I was initially expecting. If you don’t like a whole lot of angst and heavy real world problems, you might not enjoy this. But I do recommend it if you want to read something realistic and fascinating. Hassell doesn’t sugarcoat anything, and that’s what I most enjoyed and found difficult about his writing. If you want a unique M/M story that is far from fluffy and romantic, check this one out.

Michael was the character that I personally had a tough time with. He was pretty ignorant when it comes to Nunzio’s feelings for him, and my heart hurt for Nunzio at certain times in the story. Michael wasn’t a bad character by any means, I think the reason why I had issues with him was due to how downright real Hassell made him. He’s an imperfect person who has some really awful things happen to him, and this also leads to him discovering his addictions and deeper problems. A lot of this story deals with that awful down spiral and how he comes back from that. It was hard to read his voice during those times, but I do like that it was raw and real.

Nunzio is a character that I absolutely love. Hassell actually wrote the first chapter in the POV of Nunzio for Sinfully. It was just as amazing as I hoped that it would be. Anyway, Nunzio has been Michael’s best friend since they were young kids. The sexual tension between them has been there for a LONG time, but both of them (mostly Michael) have just ignored it completely. The reason why I like Nunzio is because he was such a wonderful friend and eventually boyfriend to Michael. He stood by him through absolutely everything that Michael went through. He was also a funny and charming character. It’s safe to say that I loved him and wanted more of his voice in this story!

The romance in this book was definitely complicated. Meaning, the romance side of Michael and Nunzio’s relationship actually isn’t the focus. It’s more about them being these close friends who end up discovering that they have chemistry. In other words, it takes them forever to realize that what’s between them is actually love. So the focus is on the friendship, but it’s also about Michael’s breakdown and how he gets better. That being said, there’s still some hot scenes. For example, the first chapter of the books is a threesome between Nunzio, Michael, and David (remember that name for my review tomorrow) and it’s easily one of the hottest sex scenes I’ve ever read. It still would have been nice to see actual romance happen between them.

This was a book that was hard to read for me personally. At times, I found myself flipping through some of the pages when things got especially gritty and angsty. I just wanted something positive to happen to Nunzio and Michael. I did end up enjoying it because I feel like the story is very realistic. This author is absolutely amazing, and I now read everything that he writes. If you’ve never explored the M/M genre, I think that you should start with this series. It has excellent writing, serious romance, real plots, and fascinating characters. What more could you possibly want in a book?



ARC Review: Unsportsmanlike Conduct

October 20, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★

ARC Review: Unsportsmanlike ConductUnsportsmanlike Conduct (Pilots Hockey, #4) by Sophia Henry
Published by Flirt on October 18th 2016
Pages: 266
Source: Netgalley
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I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It’s really no secret that I’m a huge fan of sports romances. My favorite sports to read about are easily baseball and football, but I do enjoy a solid hockey romance every now and then. Though this series does center around hockey players, I do need to make it clear that there’s hardly any hockey at all in this particular book. So yeah, there wasn’t much sports in this one at all, but I did enjoy it. I thought that it was a very entertaining and fast paced read. I wouldn’t say that it was my favorite, I did have some issues with connecting with the characters and with the plot itself, but it was still a decent story.

Kristen was an interesting protagonist for the most part. She has cystic fibrosis, which is something that isn’t discussed nearly enough in romance books. I felt like the author did a fantastic job at describing everything about this, and how it affects so much of your life. Anyway, I thought she was a strong and fierce character. I like how she didn’t back down for the most part when it comes to certain things. Her personality itself wasn’t extremely memorable, but she was still fascinating and I cared a lot about her future.

Pavel was an alpha male hockey player who had a lot of positive qualities to him, despite his less than stellar reputation. He had a really challenging and tragic past, and I truly sympathized with everything that he had to go through. There was quite a bit of drama that he apparently caused in the first book, but I haven’t read the other books in this series. I still liked getting to know more about him and his past. My favorite thing about him was easily how understanding he is when it comes to Kristen having cystic fibrosis. She expected him to immediately run when he found out about it, but he surprised her by accepting it without any questions. Though I wasn’t a fan of some of the choices he made, like how he chose to tell her about his true identity, but he wasn’t terrible overall. I think that he actually made a pretty great book boyfriend, just not an amazing one to me.

The romance between them was another big issue for me. I get that the author wanted it to move fast since they had a limited time together on the cruise, but it was still insta-love, which I can’t stand. On top of that, the relationship was already being deemed as serious after just a few days, which was absolutely mind blowing to me. Another pet peeve of mine is when the couple has major communication issues, and this was completely the case here. Some of the ridiculous drama could have been easily solved if they were just open and honest with one another. Despite all the bad that I’ve talked about, they actually didn’t make a terrible couple, I still thought that they were cute together and truly balanced each other out. I just wanted them to get it together A LOT sooner than they actually did.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct was the fast paced romance that I was looking for. Yes, it could have used more scenes dedicated to hockey, but I guess that I can mostly overlook that. I will admit that it was kind of confusing jumping into this standalone series when it’s already on the fourth book, but the author did clue us in on most of the drama that went on between those characters. I probably won’t go back and read the other two, though I definitely plan on reading any future books in this series. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was still entertaining nonetheless.



Sustained Review

October 17, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Sustained ReviewSustained (The Legal Briefs, #2) by Emma Chase
Published by Gallery Books on August 25th 2015
Pages: 267
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Royally Screwed (Royally, #1), Sidebarred (The Legal Briefs, #3.5)
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A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.
When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.
Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.
Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I'm going to Mommy & Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal's office.
Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.
And that — that, I know how to do.

I actually can’t believe that I’ve never read a book by Emma Chase before. I tried reading Tangled, but I just didn’t get into it. I definitely plan on going back and trying it again. This book was amazing! I think Chase has a tremendous gift for writing male POV’s. I adored getting to know Jake: he’s hilarious, blunt, and pretty ruthless. Though I’m beyond late to the party, I now consider myself a fan of this author. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for a book that will make you feel everything. One second you’ll want to cry because it’s just so sweet and heartfelt, and the next page you’ll just laugh out loud. I really connected with this book and I’m so glad that I gave it a shot!

I’ve been reading more and more books that are narrated from only the male perspective, and I continue to only love them more. Jake Becker is a defense attorney in D.C. and he defends a lot of rich guys who honestly don’t deserve to get off for whatever they did. Jake tells it like it is, he doesn’t pretend to be anyone else, what you see is exactly what you get from him. However, we slowly but surely see the more sensitive and understanding side to Jake. His development throughout the story is pretty impressive and I loved seeing him grow and mature as a man. Your heart will most definitely melt over his interactions with Chelsea’s six nieces and nephews that she now has sole custody of. He finds himself getting caught up in their lives to the point where he would do anything to protect those kids. As I mentioned in the review I posted yesterday of Lauren Blakely’s latest novel The Sexy One, a guy who is good with kids makes him even hotter than he already is. He cares and loves those kids as if they were his own, and considering the pretty selfish guy he was at the start of the novel, that’s a huge accomplishment.

Chelsea is a fabulous character in her own right. It would have been nice to see her point of view, but I do like that it was strictly coming from Jake. She’s a very smart and responsible college graduate who faces unimaginable grief when her brother and his wife are killed in a car accident. I personally couldn’t imagine having to be in charge of six children with a partner, let alone by myself, and the fact that she’s still young is just the cheery on top. I had a lot of respect for Chelsea and all she was able to do for these kids. She was able to make the best out of this horrible situation and provide love and stability to these hurting children. On top of all that, she still manages to be fierce and not take crap from anyone. Chelsea is seriously the bomb, I really enjoyed her character.

Chelsea and Jake make an incredible couple. The attraction that they both have for one another is so clear from the first time that they meet. Yes, it could be interpreted as being a little insta-love like, but Chase avoided this by creating a strong build-up between them. It takes awhile for them to finally get their stuff together and hookup. As there always seems to be, there is that inevitable drama that threatens to tear them apart, but even that felt realistic enough that it didn’t bother me. Despite the six cockblockers that live with them, Chelsea and Jake actually get super steamy! There’s literally like three steaming hot sex scenes in a row. This is a hot book, almost to the point where I thought it was too much, but it didn’t take away from how much I loved the plot, romance, and characters as a whole.

Now let’s talk about these unbelievably adorable children who are more than a handful. I couldn’t tell you which one was my favorite, I felt like each child had their own unique little personality and I loved how Jake described them. Meaning, he’s totally overwhelmed by how obnoxious and insane they are when he first meets them, but they quickly grow on him. He forms a strong bond with each child, he clearly doesn’t favor any of them, he loves them all equally. One scene that made me laugh and swoon at the same time involved seven-year-old Rosaleen and her piano lessons. Jake takes her and the teacher, who is very prestigious, hits her knuckles with a ruler when she messes up. Jake then goes out to his car and comes back with a baseball bat and says that if he hits her again, he’ll hit him with a baseball bat, and they naturally get kicked out. It’s a hilarious and adorable story that sums up Jake and his love for these kids.

This was an amazing book that left a strong impact on me. I have no idea why I waited so long to read this one. It’s actually being just sitting there on my Kindle for months now. Nevertheless, I’m glad that I finally made the right choice to read it. It made me feel basically every emotion possible. If you want some major feels, this is the book for you. It’s also important that you like romance books that include children. This was such a memorable book that made me so happy and light once I finished reading it. There are some books that are just so entertaining and make you feel good, this is certainly one of those stories.



ARC Review: The Sexy One

October 16, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★★

ARC Review: The Sexy OneThe Sexy One by Lauren Blakely
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on October 17th 2016
Source: InkSlinger PR
Also by this author: Mister O, The Sapphire Affair (Jewel, #1), Well Hung, The Hot One
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I received this book for free from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From the NYT Bestselling author of MISTER O, comes a sexy new standalone romance...
Let me count the ways why falling into forbidden love is not my wisest move...1. She works with me every single day.Did I mention she's gorgeous, sweet, kind and smart?2. She works in my home.Playing with my five-year-old daughter. Teaching my little girl. Cooking for my princess. Which means...3. She's the nanny.And that makes her completely off-limits...But it doesn't stop me from wanting her. All of her.
The other nannies in this city don't call him the Sexy One for nothing. My boss, the amazingly wonderful single father to the girl I take care of every day is ridiculously hot, like movie star levels with those arms,and those eyes, and that body. Not to mention, the way he dotes on his little girl melts me all over. But what really makes my knees weak are the times when his gaze lingers on me. In secret. When no one else is around.
I can't risk my job for a chance at something more...can I? But I don't know how to resist him much longer either...

Lauren Blakely has quickly became one of my absolute favorite contemporary romance authors. She has this unbelievable talent of getting inside the minds and hearts of these fabulous heroes. The Sexy One is a book that I’ve been looking forward to since we were introduced to Simon and Abby back in Mister O. This book has everything that I want in a quality romance: two likable characters, swoon, a relatively slow build-up, sexy times, and no unnecessary drama to speak of. My only complaint at all is that I wanted more! It was less than 200 pages and I could have used a bit more Abby, Simon, and his sweet daughter Hayden. Otherwise, this was a book that gave me so many wonderful feels.

Abby is an awesome main character. She’s such a sweet and caring woman, and it’s obvious that she loves the little girl that she is a nanny for, despite her undeniable attraction to her father. Though she’s been taking care of Hayden for months now, she finds it more and more difficult to be around him constantly and not want to make a move on him. I can’t say that I blame her, Simon is clearly a hot guy and basically everything he says and does is totally swoony. Anyway, I found Abby to be nice and extremely smart. I really enjoyed how independent and just generally cool she is from the beginning to the end.

Simon is someone that I could talk about for days! Who doesn’t love a hot single man who has a daughter that is his whole world? I loved all the scenes that showcased him interacting with Hayden in such a gentle and loving manner. Everything about Simon screamed perfect to me. He had such strong feelings for his nanny from the start, but he also didn’t want to risk losing a great sitter for his little girl. It speaks volumes about what kind of man he is that he easily puts his daughter’s happiness well above his own. Once he’s finally able to actually be with Abby, he becomes even more swoony, which I honestly didn’t think was possible. He says some unbelievably perfect things to Abby that are able to completely melt your heart. Here’s one example:

“I’ve been falling in love with you since the day we met.”

I love how he finally puts it all out on the line and tells Abby how he truly feels. And yet another example of his lovely way with words:

“If loving that amazing, vibrant, talented, brilliant woman is a cliché, then I’ll gladly slap the sign on my chest. I’m a cliché, and I’m okay with it.”

He says pretty much everything that so many girls dream of hearing. I loved being inside his head and learning directly about what he was thinking and feeling since Abby began working for him.

I have to say that the romance is easily my favorite part, as you can probably already tell. As mentioned, she starts off as being someone who he is physically attracted to from the moment that they first meet. However, he slowly falls in love with her once he gets to know her personality even more. I LOVED all of the random and slightly nerdy texts that they exchange from the start. It really highlighted how they started this friendship that gradually developed into more. Abby also begins tutoring him so he can learn a little bit of French. My point is, I liked seeing them bond over different things that leads to them spending even more time together besides her watching Hayden. Though the sex scenes come pretty late in the book, that doesn’t make them any less steamy. The steam is real towards the end! Another thing that I loved about them taking awhile to get together meant that there was no time for any drama. That’s something that I love seeing since drama is something can really break a romance novel for me.

The Sexy One was a short and fast paced novel that I absolutely adored. This is one of my favorite Lauren Blakely novels to date! I loved basically everything about this book. I don’t think that the relationship between Simon and Abby could have been any better. Lauren Blakely has created two memorable and beautiful characters. Yes, that might be a little two perfect, but I can’t help but love them anyways. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for a guy as hot and good with kids as Simon is! If you have yet to read a Blakely novel, you need to pick one up right away.