Tag Archives: M/M

Series Review: Portland Heat by Annabeth Albert

Served Hot (Portland Heat, #1)  Baked Fresh (Portland Heat, #2)  Delivered Fast (Portland Heat, #3)
Note: This review is for the first three books in the series (spoiler-free)!

Portland Heat by Annabeth Albert
Served Hot: 3 of 5 stars
Baked Fresh: 3 of 5 stars
Delivered Fast: 4 of 5 stars

Series Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since David had come into my life I’d learned a lot more about hope. It looks like ivory sheets and stacks of paint cans and two pairs of shoes next to the bed. It sounds like rustling bedcovers and murmured endearments. Hope tastes like skin and soap and victory and coffee. And I can say now with absolute certainty that hope does come in a paper cup and smells an awful lot like a vanilla latte to go. – Served Hot

This series is full of quick, sweet contemporary M/M romance novellas. Each installment features its own main couple, with their own romance, and while the other characters make an appearance, it’s only in passing. One upside of this is that the stories can basically be read in any order, and there’s no need for recap between them.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series so far. It helps that stories like this are candy for my brain – I’m a serious sucker for romance, the novellas are short enough that they progress quickly with a limited amount of drama, and they require very little mental focus on my part. I’ll definitely keep reading more from Annabeth Albert when I’m in need of a guilty pleasure read.

Recommendation: Read this if you are a fan of lighthearted M/M romance with lots of sexy times, or if you’re a pacific-northwesterner looking for a delightfully familiar setting.

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Minute Review: Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert

Love Me Tenor (Perfect Harmony, #2)
Love Me Tenor by Annabeth Albert (Perfect Harmony, Book 2)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Release Date: 2/16/2016

He cuddled into Jalen, burrowing against him until they were both under the blankets, Trevor’s head on Jalen’s chest, Jalen’s arms around him.

Not touching. Um. Yeah. That was going to work out well.

I read this in the middle of an Annabeth Albert binge, and I’m so glad I did. Set with the reality TV backdrop of a boy band competition, the writing style is conversational and the contemporary plot of singing and romance will suck you in. It’s a perfect guilty pleasure book that can be read as a standalone or as part of its companion series.

Recommendation: Read this if you love M/M contemporary romance and the goofiness of reality TV talent competitions. Oh, and LOTS of steamy adult scenes…

***

(This ARC was generously provided through Net Galley for an honest review.)

Minute Review: Treble Maker by Annabeth Albert

Treble Maker (Perfect Harmony, #1)Treble Maker by Annabeth Albert (Perfect Harmony, Book 1)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

The timbre of his voice was like the sea salt caramel sauce Lucas had sampled in Chicago last summer–velvety and smooth caramel, with a classic timeless flavor, but then the pow of the salt–raw, gritty, and one of a kind.

This was such a guilty pleasure read for me! The writing was so-so and there were some formatting issues with the Kindle copy, but the story was upbeat, compelling, and full of steamy, very adult scenes. Overall, I enjoyed it immensely and immediately set out to find more books by Albert.

Recommendation: Definitely read this if you’re a fan of adult M/M contemporary romance, especially if you enjoy reality TV antics and a capella!

Minute Review: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Boy Meets BoyBy Meets Boy by David Levithan
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

We all need a place. I have mine–this topsy-turvy collection of friends, tunes, afterschool activities, and dreams. I want him to have a place, too. When he says, “I like it here,” I don’t want there to be a sad undertone. I want to be able to say. So stay.

This is a sweet, sad, quirky, and whimsical tale about a boy named Paul and his many friends. Being set in a world that reminds me of a carnival-mirror version of our own, it explores a lot of serious issues while wrapping them in humor and whimsy. I know some reviewers didn’t appreciate the seemingly unrealistic community of characters, but I thought they framed the story beautifully, allowing me to imagine a world, not too different from our own, in which acceptance can come a little easier.

Recommendation: Read this if you are craving a wacky, whimsical world in which the high school’s top drag queen can also be the star quarterback.

Minute Review: The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

20500616The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Love’s more than holding hands and going to dances. It’s two people who struggle to live, even when they should maybe both be dead. When maybe one of them would be better off dead.”

Andrew Brawley’s story is beautiful and tragic in so many ways, full of grief, guilt, friendship, family, and love.

Recommendation: Read this if you are looking for a somber, but deeply moving story. I also recommend a box of tissues.

Minute Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
 by Becky Albertalli
My Rating
: 5 of 5 stars

But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.

I loved this book so much, and in ways that I find really difficult to articulate. The writing is charismatic, snarky, and just plain fun to read, and while the story is largely about Simon falling in love and coming out to the world, its themes are astonishingly universal.

And there are way too many great quotes to just include two…

I love the way you smile like you don’t realize you’re doing it. I love your perpetual bed head. I love the way you hold eye contact a moment longer than you need to. And I love your moon-gray eyes. So if you think I’m not attracted to you, Simon, you’re crazy.

Recommendation: Read this if you liked Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, because they have so many great qualities in common! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should read Carry On, too! 😉

Review: Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye

Hard to Be Good (Hard Ink, #3.5)(A quick note before I dive into the review: I think this cover will go down in history as one of my least favorite romance covers ever…)

Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NOTE:  This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!

Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye is a novella in the Hard Ink contemporary romance series. It falls right between books 3 and 4, and while it is primarily about Jeremy and Charlie’s romance, it does fill in some of the gaps of the progressing story. If you aren’t a novella reader, or aren’t an M/M reader, it would be safe to skip this one. That being said, it’s a WONDERFUL story and I highly recommend it!

Love knows no distinctions, it only knows the joy of finding in another everything your soul needs to feel complete.

I loved Jeremy the moment his character was introduced in book one (Hard as It Gets), and I was over the moon when a flirtation between him and Charlie popped up in the first novella (Hard to Hold on To). I’m so glad that Kaye included this story in the series, even though it doesn’t follow the usual series pattern of sticking with one orientation. This was actually my first M/M read so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Because of that I’m not sure what to say about that aspect of the story except that I really enjoyed it. I’d be happy to give other M/M books a try in the future, especially any by Kaye.

The romance was pretty short and quickly progressing, but I thought it developed naturally given the fact that Jeremy and Charlie became fast friends over the course of the series before reaching this point. The style fits right in with the other Hard Ink stories, and the characters are respectful, loving, passionate, and genuinely good people. I spent the whole read with a giant grin plastered to my face. I really am a sucker for a good romance 🙂

Tattoos make another appearance, of course, with Charlie getting his first. Being a computer genius, it’s only fitting that he elected to do a quote in ASCII – the computer language that converts letters to 0’s and 1’s. The following means “No Fear” and Jeremy inked it down Charlie’s side ribs.

01001110 01101111 00100000 01000110 01100101 01100001 01110010

As I’ve said a couple times now, I loved this story. I’ve already read it twice, and I’m sure I will read it many more times in the future. It’s definitely an asset to the series, so if you’re a fan of the other Hard Ink books, please give this one a try!

PS – Here’s my favorite of Jeremy’s dirty t-shirts from this installment:

“I’m trying to give up sexual innuendos. But it’s hard… SO HARD!”

 

See my review on Goodreads for Some Particulars, including a steam rating!