Review of Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote

Starting from Scratch (Housemates, #5)Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free ARC of this book from the author, for my reading pleasure. This has in no way affected my review.

I love the Housemates series. Fun, lighthearted, hot and thoughtful NA series, and they just keep getting better, book by book. This story is Ben and Sid’s story. We met both of them briefly in book 4, but you do not need to read any of the others in the series to enjoy this book – although why would cheat yourself out of that treat?

I read romance for the sake of romance. I am not too concerned with the gender pairing or how many participants are in the romance, as long as it is a good story with a happy ending, I’ll read it!
However, I have been following Jay’s own personal journey, and have a person in my own circle who is also transitioning, so transgender characters in romances do hold a bit of special interest to me. This is by far the best romance with a transgender MC, I have read so far! So much more focus on the mental issues of transitioning, and not just the physical ones.

Ben has a great supportive network in his family, thank god, and when he finds the courage to come out to his friends, he luckily finds nothing but support there as well.
We get to see things from Sid’s point of view too, which I thought was great. Because yes, you would have thoughts and questions in your mind, if the person you were interested in turned out to be transgender, it’s human nature.

Due to its subject matter – and maybe the importance of the subject to the author – this is not as lighthearted a read as many of the others in the series, but it is still a great NA story, with a super sweet and steamy love story between its pages. Warmly recommended.

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Review of Losing Control by Riley Hart

Losing Control (Broken Pieces, #3)Losing Control by Riley Hart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this audiobook from www.openskyebookreviews.com in exchange for an honest review.

Well, this was painful. Ben, our protagonist, is suffering from severe PTSD both after a recent kidnapping, which ended with murder, as well as his childhood memories of his older sister taking her own life.
He is spinning desperately out of control and into depression when we meet him. He is not working, not eating and not sleeping. All he does is drink, write letters to his ex-lover, and fuck strangers in clubs, or rather he tries to fuck strangers, except that his dick is not really co-operating any longer.
He meets Dante on such a night in a club, a mysterious stranger, who refuses to have sex with him and who takes him out for a drink, except that that drink turns out to be coffee, not alcohol. The relationship between Dante and Ben is not healthy, anyone can see that, but it does manage to keep Ben alive, something I was not certain was quite possible at the early stages of the book. Dante basically blackmails Ben into eating and sleeping, if he wants contact with him.

This book is not a happy book. It is not a light read. It is full of darkness, angst and drama. I have no idea how it compares to the two others in the series, as I have not read them, but it is not a read for a day when you want light hearted and romantic. There is no romance here. There is only desperation and need.

I would have liked more from Dante’s point of view. We spend all of the book in Ben’s head – which is not a nice place to be – but Dante is also a very broken man, and it would have been nice to see the world and their relationship through his eyes. Also I would have liked more emphasis on the relationship after they hit the wall and started coming back to life. We leave Ben and Dante in a very good and hopeful place, but my romantic little heart would have liked more assurance, that they would be ok, both as individual people and as a couple.

I had not read the first two books in this series, but didn’t feel the lack of back story was a problem at all, not until the very ending, where we were treated to glimpses of people who I had no idea who was, but that was all on me, not on the author.

Despite it’s dark and angsty feel, I am intrigued enough that I would probably go back and read the first two in the series, to get Tristan’s story too.

The narration of this book was lovely and flowed nicely. The narrator did separate voices for each character and you were never in doubt as to who was speaking. Jack DuPont was a new to me narrator, but I enjoyed his voice and his narration and would definitely buy something narrated by him again.

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The Housemates series by Jay Northcote

Jay Northcote has a new book coming out next week!  Book 5 in the Housemate series. A steamy fun New Adult series that I can warmly recommend.

Housemates_banner_5

I will be reviewing book 5 next week for the release date, until then you can see my reviews of some of the other book in the series or hurry up and buy those books in preparation for book 5, even if every book in the series work well as a standalone.

Housemates Series on Amazon

Review of When it All Falls Down by Tanya Chris

When It All Falls DownWhen It All Falls Down by Tanya Chris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb: Maybe Charlie should have waited until he graduated high school before coming out, because since that revelation there’s been a growing distance between him and his friends. Charlie’s tough, though. He doesn’t mind eating lunch alone or watching his former gang interact with their new best buddy. What he does mind is seeing Drew Lavoitt suffer the same fate.

Drew didn’t come out. As far as he, or anyone else knows, he’s straight. What Drew did is accidentally hit and kill a little girl. Now the boy who was voted Most Popular, and who Charlie has maybe had a crush on since eighth grade, faces financial ruin, expulsion, and the fear that if he’s not everything, he’s not enough.

Popularity, wealth, acclaim—these things are easily lost. In each other’s arms, Drew and Charlie find something that can’t be taken from them. Together the two build a foundation on which they can re-create their lives.

——-

I am not a big reader of YA or High School romances, mainly because I need the happy ever after, like a junkie need a fix, and I cannot believe in a happy ever after when the characters are that young. However, this was so much more than a High School romance, this was a coming of age story filled with heartache and tragedy, but also hope and friendship, and so I will warmly recommend it.

Tanya Chris is a new author to me, but I will be looking up her other books, as this was very well written and engaging from the start. The story flowed nicely and the characters were sympathetic and likeable.

The only reason this book does not get 5 stars is the fact that I felt that the teenagers acted a tad too mature most of the time, everyone were just a little bit too nice and understanding and embracing of one another – a tad too after school special, really. And while I do understand why the author made those choices (without the sympathetic side cast, this could have turned into angst fest 2017) it just felt a tad too idealistic to ring true.

I received a free review copy of this book from the author and have reviewed it for www.openskyebookreviews.com

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Review of From Top to Bottom by Kevin Klehr

From Top to BottomFrom Top to Bottom by Kevin Klehr

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received and ARC and reviewed this book for the Open Skye Book Reviews blog.

Is there such a thing as erotic comedy? Because if there is, this must fit in that genre. Tony, a dedicated top, is curious about bottoming and decides to advertise for likeminded tops, for a little self help group. Butch and Ford reply and the three embark on an adventure of ass and cake.

This is primarily erotica, a smorgasbord of dick and ass, of rimming and blowing and fucking, in different locations and with different partners. We start out with the self help top to bottom group in Tony’s apartment, but quickly relocate to orgies in clubs and saunas.

The lack of length means that we get very little back story or real plot in the book, this means that we never really get to know our main characters or what drives them, which is a pity, because they all had interesting facets, that I would have liked to have known more about. Tony is a dedicated man child, pushing thirty, without any close friends, who only works part time, because that leaves him more time to fuck strangers, Butch is a bear in a very unhappy open relationship who loves to bake, Ford is a cheat, who actually has a supportive boyfriend when it all comes down to it!
I wanted to know more! I wanted their back stories and their characters to grow, but alas, this was erotica. A fluffy steamy bite sized snack, not a full length character driven novel.

I thought the dialogue felt a bit wooden and stiff and to be honest: cheesy porny, and I hate to be a prude, but the complete lack of any sort of safe sex throughout the story, regardless of location and partners bothered me immensely, even for an erotic short, I couldn’t get over it.

But aside from that, it worked well as an erotic short with a few funny light hearted bits to lighten the mood in between sex scenes. However, thinking of the cringe worthy conversation I had with my father about still liking girls, even if he had just stumbled upon my google image search on cock rings, I cannot imagine how anyone could have the kind of conversations Tony has with his father and not die of embarrassment. But that is probably just me.

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Review of True Colors by Anyta Sunday

True Colors (True Love, #2)True Colors by Anyta Sunday

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***I received a free copy of this book from NetGally.com, in exchange for an honest review***

3-3.5 stars
This is a love story, no doubt about that, there is a romance in there, but it is mainly a story about friendship and forgiveness.

Marco and Oskar have been best friends through all of their childhood, weathering happiness and sorrow, including Marco’s mother dying in a horrific car accident which leaves Marco scarred for life, until 16 year old Oskar betrays his best friend out of fear, right when Marco needed him most to stand up for him.
The boys have been out of touch for four years when our story begins and Oskar returns from Mannheim to Berlin to continue his university degree there. Marco, now twenty, is not ready to let go of his hurt and anger towards Marco or to be truthful to him or his family about who he really is.

This is a slowburn romance and a slowburn getting back to being friends kind of story. The secondary characters, Marco’s Opa and Papa, as well as Oskar’s sister Zoe and Marco’s friend Elena are lovely and it was a very enjoyable read all in all.

I never did really connect to Oskar though, I felt Marco’s pain and humiliation and Marco must be a better person than me, because I couldn’t completely let Oskar’s betrayal go, at least I needed more time.

All in all though, this is a very sweet and quite angsty slow burn romance, which I encourage you to give a try, it is not my favourite by this author though, but I can warmly recommend Anyta Sunda’s work nonetheless.

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Review of An Invitation by Jay Northcote

An InvitationAn Invitation by Jay Northcote

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Steamy little piece of office erotica for you. A HFN ending, but as this story is short, it is mainly just hot office sex. And really, where’s the downside?

An enjoyable night time snack, with a side of spanking, to warm your sheets before sleep.

*I received a free copy of this book from the author, for my reading pleasure*

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