A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Earthquakes (New Amsterdam #4) by Kelly Wyre — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 This is the fourth book in the series focusing on Ellis and his crush on one of his customers from the firing range named Bryndon. Previously Ellis seemed enamored with Clark; there is definitely still hero worship involved, complicated by doing BDSM scenes with Clark and his husband, but […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Nuts (Ace’s Wild #2) by S.E. Jakes — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5 This series takes place in the same town, though each book is by a different author. Jagger and Preston meet on the first day of junior year after Preston gets punished for flunking out of several private schools and sent to a rough Boston public school. Although Jagger is […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Hellion (415 Ink #3) by Rhys Ford — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating:3.75 stars out of 5 This is the third book in the series featuring five brothers who own a tattoo shop together. The whole series has a strong theme of survival and friends as family, so they would have the best emotional impact if read in order, but there is so much recapping that it’s […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Heart Strain (Interlocking Fragments #1) by Michele Notaro & Sammi Cee — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 Holden moved away from Baltimore nine years ago; his life is now in Ithaca where he’s a veterinarian. He has his best friend Gavin and his pit bull Peanut. But when he gets a call his twin brother Hendrix has been shot in the line of duty, he rushes […]

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Review: The Bucket List by RJ Scott

BucketList
Cover design by Meredith Russell

I would rate this 4.5 stars.

Jason contacts Mark about the death of his brother Andrew. Andrew and Mark had been best friends when they were young, but didn’t keep in touch after Mark left town at 15. Now at 33, all the memories Mark buried away are back. It was Andrew’s last wish that Jason complete his bucket list of things he wanted to do and Mark is made a part of it with his 15th high school reunion. Throughout this book they both face grief of a life lost, lost chances, and regret for bad decisions and might have beens. This is tapered with some of the best memories of their lives. Questions of all the missed years are painful. At first, both have things they are hiding; watching them earn those secrets is an emotional rollercoaster. The flashbacks they both have keep the emotional punches coming.

This was a bit unexpectedly triggering for me. Be advised much of this is about child abuse and bullying. The grief and shared history gives them something to bond over initially, but it is being together daily that makes it mean more, letting their relationship blossom. This book come across as very real to me with enough sweet and sexy parts to make it believable they can make it work and not just as a vacation romance. I liked the honest communication between them, both about the past and what they are feeling for each other as it happens. This is about righting old wrongs and really living because life is short, not revenge or comeuppance, although the reader gets a bit of that too.

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Review: Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

Better Not Pout Cover
Carina Press does in house covers.

I would rate this 4.25 stars.

When I read the blurb that a military policeman and an elf get caught in a snowstorm, I knew I had to read the book. I’d read anything by this author anyway, but that’s just too much fun to pass up, right? The Sergeant Major is doing a favor for his CO by playing Santa for a charity event. Teddy is the director of a charity resource center for low income people and volunteers to be an elf. As Nick and Teddy get thrown together, they’re acting like more than a hookup, but there is a short timeframe on this romance as Nick is about to retire in a month and move away from base.

There’s a bit of an age difference here with Nick the grumpy “old man” in his forties and Teddy as the enthusiastic, sweet guy in his late twenties, but this is not Daddy kink. While you might expect this to be fluff, the characters are people who know life is not all fluffy. The connection Nick fights is real, the sex hot. I found them both cute in their own way. I enjoyed the alternating POV. I wanted these guys to get their happily ever after, and yes I could see all the ducks lining up in a row to make that happen, but it was no less charming. There was some angst to get there, not because anything awful happens, but because sometimes things don’t work out because people decide they won’t, rather than deciding that they will. That’s what made me cry.

The author does a good job of making me feel like I was watching all this, like I was at all the events. There are a few family members or friends highlighted–nothing that stands out a lot, but enough that the story feels three dimensional. People say you can’t fall in love in a month, but I was engaged a week after I met my spouse. This isn’t instalove; Nick and Teddy know everything they need to know about each other and have built a good foundation. The last chapter takes place a year later and shows what building a life together looks like. This was realistic, sweet, romantic, sexy, and I liked the characters.

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Trusted (Until You #3) by Karrie Roman — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 This starts three days after the events of the previous book and focuses on Zach, the cult leader’s son, who was rescued during an FBI raid on the compound. He may have had a crush on Ben for helping rescue him, but it’s Ben’s brother Cameron who is helping […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Bad Habit (Bad in Baltimore #6) by K.A. Mitchell — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 Scott and Liam have a history. It’s hard not to love them both right away and want to protect them as children in foster care. The author only spends enough time here to establish the relationship and how heartbreaking it is when they’re separated. When they find each other […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: A Deeper Blue (The Game #2) by S.E. Harmon — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 This is the second book in the series and should be read in order for maximum emotional impact. A year later, Blue is still basically in the closet. Happily ever afters are work. So, I’m not going to lie: I was upset about Blue using a beard. Keeping this […]

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Review: The Blueprint by S.E. Harmon, The Game 1

The Blueprint Cover
Cover Artist is Kanaxa

I would rate this 4.25 stars.

Kelly Cannon is having a very bad night. This book throws you in the deep end immediately. But sometimes you can’t ignore things anymore and Kelly is in love with his best friend, NFL player Britton “Blue” Montgomery. With Blue under so much pressure in his career, to have to worry about losing his best friend too is not helping. I can say I liked Kelly right away. I loved the use of humor. It took me longer to warm up to Blue, but then he does get less time on page at the beginning. After being in their heads, I can say these two deserve each other. The most difficult part of this book is being in Blue’s head, how does he not know?! Oh course, it’s obvious why. But, there comes a point when he can’t lie to himself anymore either. Turning a 17 year friendship into a relationship is not without its ups and downs.

This just feels natural. I love their interactions. Even during sex, they are themselves with humor and banter. Just when I thought they couldn’t be mature about things, they proved me wrong. The reminiscing about childhood events really works in this story as they both think about how much their relationship means to them. Kelly’s family adds so much to this story, I can’t imagine it without them but, it makes Blue’s family a glaring omission. I would have liked to see them too, even though his dad doesn’t sound pleasant. There is nothing about his brother. Still, they have made an impact on who Blue is and it would have added another layer.

There were small issues I had, like how accepting everyone is, which is less realistic than the rest of the book. There is also the timing of Kelly basically giving Blue an ultimatum–while I understood his feelings and why, the particular moment had me more sympathetic with Blue than Kelly. Maybe that’s on purpose though, and I just didn’t realize it. For anyone who likes friends to lovers, the nerd and the jock theme, and bisexual for you, as well as a coming out story, this is your book. Because there is a full range of emotions here, and it’s realistic without being overly dramatic, it doesn’t feel like a list of tropes.

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