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Saturday, August 1, 2020

High Heat (Hotshots #2) [Garrick & Rain] by Annabeth Albert

There are many elements I really liked in this one, including the issues Garrick was dealing with due to his accident while on the job as a Smoke Jumper. Rain was a breath of fresh air, to him, but also to me, as a reader. He's such a sweet considerate guy, none judgmental and honest in the best kind of way. He saw in Garrick so much more than the physical state he was in. So much more than he let the world around him see.

Near the end of the first installment Garrick Nelson finds himself hospitalized with severe injuries to his head, legs and spinal cord. The prognosis isn't very promising but he is a fighter, always has been and he is going to work HARD and get back to work, jumping off planes, even if it takes time to get there. A year later he has made a lot of progress and though he is frustrated at times he doesn't let himself dwell on those feeling - he fights on. His life is a lot more isolated than it used to be. He was a social guy, going out, hooking up, meeting with friends, but now everything is different. His friends offer him help and he doesn't know how to react - if they are serious or not (or just being polite..) - and also there are the looks, the questions he doesn't know how to answer, the memories and the knowledge he is "missing out" while his friends are doing the thing he loves most and cannot do now.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Better Be True (Harrison Campus #3) [Nico & Luke] by Anyta Sunday & Andy Gallo

This book was THE sweetest. I loved everything about it so it's no wonder I finished it literally in one sitting. I'm already sorry this series is over. I hope Anyta and Andy have more plans for collaborations in the future they work so beautifully together - Nico and Luke are a "living proof" of that. While this is not exactly friends to lovers as they haven't known each other for long, it's more of a close proximity to lovers, the easy friendship they established right from the start made the transition from "pretend" to real more than natural. Both men were after a very recent breakup so jumping into a new relationship wasn't the best bet, but I think as both haven't experienced THIS kind of a connection, it was easy to put aside the heartache to build something real.

We've met Nico Giacomo Amato in the previous installment. He's
Isaiah roommate and best friend. While he's definitely the guy who knows how to have fun he doesn't seem to be able to keep any guy long term. People consider him to be "too much" - too touchy-feely, too colorful and too loud. But that's just who he is, and being anything else is simply unacceptable so when Tomas dumps him for exactly these reasons it hurts. That's exactly the moment his sister Elisa asks him to take over arranging her wedding and he NEEDS the distraction. Only problem is, he has to find a place in Philly for the summer to be able to do that and while he generally has the means to do it, he would rather find something cheap. That's where Luke comes in.

Lucas "Luke" DeRosa had it all figured out. He's the man with the plan. Always. So this time it's not different. After 9 months together (mostly long distance) he and Kent are going to share an apartment in Philly and work together in the law firm both are doing their internship in. That's when he gets an Email - an Email (!) - from Kent ending their relationship. As he's already signed his lease with Mrs. Randazzo for a one bedroom apartment - he cannot afford on his own - he doesn't know what to do. Looking for someone to share freaks him out but with his best friend and roommate Coury's encouraging him he puts an ad and hopes for the best.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Who Knows the Dark (The Vigilante #2) by Tere Michaels

Though this was a SUPERB book I was SO disappointed to realize the book ends with a cliffhanger and there in NO third book in sight. I mean Tere has said the book is practically ready but for some reason it hasn't been published yet. So while I DEFINITELY recommend this book (and the previous one"Who Knows the Storm"), keep in mind there are still a lot of unanswered questions and though Cade and Nox got closer together they still have a way to go before they can even call themselves a couple.

The previous book ended with Nox Boyet and his "son" Sam, together with Cade Creel, Mason Todd, Rachel Moon and Damian running away from New York City to Cade's family farm in South Carolina. It might felt awkward at first but with Cade's mother cooking a storm (and helping Sam get back in shape), his father patrolling with his shotgun (even if he plays the unhappy disappointed parent) and his brother who somehow turned into a hacker they manage to regroup and try to piece everything together. I wouldn't say Nox warmed up to Rachel (Jenny) but he came to realize she has a lot of knowledge that can help them solve the mystery of what's REALLY going on.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Who Knows the Storm (The Vigilante #1) by Tere Michaels

This (!) was a WONDERFUL surprise! It just shows when you adore an author venturing out to your less read genres is more than a good idea. I can't believe I read Tere's "Faith, Love and Devotion" series almost 6 years ago! It was superb! But as I'm still careful about reading Sci-Fi it took me long enough to actually grab it and start reading. While I usually find it difficult to connect with a futuristic dystopian world, Tere managed to make this cold rainy and frankly terrifying New York City too intriguing to put aside. Our two MCs couldn't be more different in the way they conduct their lives but inside they are both caring and loyal so when they realize they have something to figure out working together felt right.

Nox Boyet life consists of secrets and lies and not only because he chooses to wear black every night to protect the lives of the less fortunate citizens of New York City. There are thugs, gang member as well as drug dealers selling "Dead Bolt" the newest designer drug. That's why he stayed when he could have found a way to leave this decrepit part of the city. His other focus in life, the one that keeps him going, is his son Sam. He isn't really his son but it doesn't matter and he would rather not think about that day when so many died and he and Sam lived.

When a "model" from the Iron Butterfly Casino appears at their door offering Sam a letter concerning his "real" parents, Nox is LIVID. While he knows the truth, or enough of it, he doesn't want Sam to be a part of any of it. He would rather keep Sam in the dark about the powerful people who played a part in their need to keep quiet and away. It's better everyone thinking Nox Boyet has died that day and Sam doesn't even exist. But it seems someone found out after all.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Hands Down by Mariana Zapata

I ADORE Mariana's writing. I didn't even KNOW I love slow burn so much until I started reading her books. But I do! and in this one you have to WAIT and wait and wait and it's SO worth it because besides LOVING the slow burn it's also my favorite trope of (best) friends to lovers. It took me long enough but I DID finally realized why Zac was familiar.. He has already appeared in a previous novel by Mariana - "The Wall of Winnipeg and Me" - being firstly Aiden's roommate and second a close friend to Vanessa. These two actually make an appearance in this one which was much appreciated and also made me want to read it all over again.

Like all of Mariana's books this one is also solely told from our heroine - Bianca Maria Brannen. While she didn't have the easiest life she has managed to make it her own and even make a successful business as a cook on social media. She is still working at the front desk of "Maio House" (the business Elena's family from "The Best Thing" has founded) but until her close friend Deepa who also works there finds another job she is staying to be there for her and secure herself a bit more before counting on her rather new found business to support her.

She has a big extended family, but her close one is rather small with parents working far away they entrusted both her and her her big sister Connie to the loving hands of her Mama Lupe who cared for both girls as well as 2 certain boys until her last days. The two boys are Boogie - Bianca's cousin who is like a real brother to her, and Zachary "Zac" Travis his best friend who also lives close by. All of Bianca's childhood and teens are filled with endless memories of them spending time together and though Boogie and Zac are 7 years older than her, it never truly affected their friendship spending time together, playing and laughing. But things changed when Zac left their small town to college and became a known quarterback. They might call him "Big Texas" now, but he used to be her much smaller "Snack Pack" best friend. Back when he remembered who she was..

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Tank (The Train #3) by Cari Z.

While this isn't my usual read Cari is! This is the third installment in what I refer to as "The Train" series, as it was the first story of Anton and Camille. Where last we left off it's clear both men wish for more than they have but it doesn't seem like a future together is something they can have at the moment. Camille's post as "a Lumiere" the Emperor's investigator takes him whenever there is trouble and Anton is all invested in his academic studies. Please be advised, if you haven't read the first two installment you MUST start at the beginning but no worries, all three are free reads though Cari's blog.

Now that Anton Seiber has finished his Master training in Thaumaturgy (magic) in the Universitate Zurich he isn't sure what to do with his life. His previous "adventure" with Camille has brought him no more trouble but the association with the man who has tried to kill him has left him with no employment offers. On the eve of his graduation he wishes for a friendly face. He has contacted both his mother and his closest friend from childhood Caroline but both haven't replied to his letters. He would have LOVED for Camille to come but he doesn't even know how to contact him. Camille seems to appear out of the blue and stay for the shortest time. Yet before the evening ends two of the three appear with a promise of adventure, one he isn't really sure about..

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Conventionally Yours (True Colors #1) [Conrad & Alden] by Annabeth Albert

Though I'm a HUGE Annabeth fan (read ALL of her books) this one just wasn't for me. Somehow the plot and the characters simply didn't "grab" me. I felt like the road tripping itself (shifting drivers and getting lost) and the card game (including too many actual games) made this, well, boring.. I used to be into RPG (Role Playing Games) back in the day so I COULD relate and yet I totally couldn't because I don't know this game (or interested in it).

Conrad Stewart seems like he has it all but it's all a front to a lonely life. He used to have a loving family, a promising start in college and a very active social life. What's left? Working in as many jobs as he can and playing "Odyssey ". After coming out his family basically thrown him into the wolves leaving him with no way of paying college (so he dropped out) and barely a way to make things end enough for him to even feed himself. Two weeks on the road to get into an "Odyssey" convention seems like a waste of time and money but if he wins the big price he might FINALLY have means to support himself (while doing something he loves).

Alden Roth looks to have won the jackpot of a family. Two extremely loving moms (and two older sisters) with a planned future as a doctor. But he hides how much his family's expectations is weighing on him. He hasn't been able to get into any program and after two years trying he doesn't feel like going through it again for a third. His moms are pushing him to make decisions concerning his future and all he feels like doing is hiding and playing "Odyssey" - one of the few if not only thing he feels he is good at. Though he has a group who plays "together" he struggles socially. The guys don't really like him - especially not Conrad but the convention might be his way out. Winning big can change his future! Though it might not be the kind his family "approves" of, at least they are happy he is going with friends.. (though they don't know they aren't really).

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Redemption (Darkest Skies #1) [Luis & Paolo] by Garrett Leigh

I have no words. This book was angst galore, but the best kind. I couldn't put this book down. I only did when I absolutely HAD to. The pits of despair were open wide, but I was hoping and wishing Luis and Paolo will come out of it in one piece arms around each other. They did. It was one HELL of a ride, but it was SO worth it.

Luis Pope had very little choice in his life. His father died when he was very young and his mother couldn't have cared less about her children. Dante, his big brother, found his way in life through selling drugs and such in a gang and Luis found himself doing his brother's bidding with nothing to really look forward in life. Until the day he got arrested and realized that THIS is his way out of the life he despises. 6 years has passed and now that he is out he has no idea what to do. So much has changed and besides, who would want an ex-gang member? Wanting to warm his bones a little with a hot cup of tea he stumbles into Toni's Cafe with the job notice on the front - this HAS to mean something, right?

Paolo Cilberto's life has also been predetermined for him. Raised by his loving grandparents, now both in assisted care homes, he is running their cafe. Considering what his last few workers have said about him, it seems he's not an easy boss. Well, what can he say, he has a bit of a temper.. When Luis asks for a cup of tea and a job he offers the tea but doesn't feel desperate enough for the job. Yep, he recognized him, even if it had been years. But seeing him a few more times helps change his mind. Especially when the days aren't getting shorter or easier without any help.