★★★★★ Blindside by N.R. Walker ★★★★★

I enjoyed this book even more than the first two books in the series and I really enjoyed those.

There are lots of reasons why I adored this book but even if I hadn’t, I think I would have given it 5 stars anyway, just for the cover. There is something that really appeals to me with this one and I think it might be one of my all time favourite covers. The smile lights up his whole face and conveys so much emotion! However, the story is good too!

The Blind Faith series

Blindside (Blind Faith, #3)Blindside by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Mark Gattison has avoided love and commitment his entire adult life. Not interested in more than a one night stand or a brief encounter in a bathroom stall, he is the epitome of a good time.

Will Parkinson is the guy who defends him, the guy who puts up with him, the guy Mark calls his best friend.

When Will becomes unsettled and a little distant, Mark takes it upon himself to find Will a boyfriend. Not familiar with the concept himself, Mark thinks Will needs someone to make him happy.

What Mark doesn’t know, is that he’s about to get blindsided. He’s about to get knocked off his feet by the one thing that’s been right in front of him the entire time.

So what did I think?

We first met Mark in Blind Faith where he was the loyal and funny bi-sexual best friend of Carter. Carter moved away and is now in a very happy relationship with Isaac so Mark has a new best friend.

Will is a work colleague and Mark’s constant companion and when Mark notices that Will is unhappy he tries to remedy the situation. Mark fears commitment himself but thinks a boyfriend is just what Will needs to make him happy and anchor him to the town.

What follows is a journey that is sometimes funny, sometimes sweet and sometimes painful. Mark is blind to what he has in Will and it is definitely one of those books where you wish you could just shake the character to open his eyes to what should be so obvious!

I loved the dialogue between Mark and Will. Their conversation was so natural flowing and filled with cute and amusing banter. They make a great couple and it is obvious to everyone except Mark!

The other characters in this book are also wonderful with Mark’s mother a particular favourite…
“Why can’t you date Will?”
“Mom, we’ve been through this.”
“Or someone like him. There has to be a boy out there that’s cute and nice…and hung.”
“No, seriously. Why can’t you whine at me about finding a nice girl, getting married, having the picket fence and two-point-four kids like all the normal mothers.”
“Because I’m not a normal mother, and you’re not a normal son.”

It is nice to see Carter and Issac make an appearance. They offer support to Mark once he finally realises he is losing Will. One of the highlights of the book was Mark’s physical manifestation of a broken heart. Shortly after follows my favourite scene (you know that scene in a book that makes it worthwhile reading the book just for that one moment?)
[ I love Mark snuggled under the covers, wallowing in his heartache, finally admitting he would do anything for Will, only to find out it is Will sitting on the edge of the bed – so sweet! (hide spoiler)]

Wonderful characters, sweet story, lots of love and laughter and a fabulous happy ending!

5 Stars

To find out more about N.R. Walker and her books, visit her blog or check out her profile on Goodreads.

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★★★★ The Truth about Riley by Henrietta Clarke ★★★★

This book is gorgeous. It is a heart-felt story of how one man’s love finally convinces another of his beauty.

The Truth about RileyThe Truth about Riley by Henrietta Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Riley Aylworth’s life has been completely devoid of intimate contact since a fire three years ago left him with horrific facial scarring, so when he finds an ad for a phone sex service, he decides to give it a call. Except that the number is not a phone sex service—it’s the revenge Cameron Kirkwood’s ex-boyfriend took on the uptight advertising executive after Cam forgot their anniversary and accidentally put him in the hospital. Needless to say, after thirty-nine disturbing calls seeking phone sex, Cameron is at the end of his tether and yells at his fortieth caller. What he doesn’t expect is for Riley to hit redial and yell right back.

The argument helps both Cameron and Riley vent about their issues, and when they’ve calmed down, they decide to exchange numbers and talk again. From this decision springs a friendship that, over time, grows into a gentle romance—all over the phone, because Riley is too scared to meet Cam in person. Showing a potential boyfriend his disfigured face is the fastest way to get rejected, right? Even a month of scorching hot phone sex can’t change his mind, no matter how hard Cam tries to persuade him that with their phone chemistry, the sex would be so much better in person.

Meanwhile, Cam is haunted by the scarred blond he seems to be seeing everywhere, and Riley can’t get the handsome brunet who always seems happy to see him out of his mind. It’s a shock to both men to realise that the guy they’re falling for over the phone is also the man who brightens their day with just a smile; but it’s one thing to let a stranger smile at you and quite another to let him close enough to see into your soul. If Riley can’t break down the walls in his mind and believe that Cameron loves him in spite of his scars, their relationship may be doomed before they’ve even had a chance to kiss.

So what did I think?

This book is gorgeous. It is a heart-felt story of how one man’s love finally convinces another of his beauty.

Through a series of telephone conversations and over a period of months, Cameron and Riley share their thoughts and feelings and develop a deep connection. It is so easy to like both Cameron and Riley. Through conversations we learn that both men are intelligent and witty and kind.

But Riley is a haunted by his own face in the mirror and can’t believe anyone would be able to see past his scars. It is so sad and heartbreaking to read of him referring to himself as a monster. However this made it even more beautiful when Riley finally starts to understand how Cameron sees him…“You’re just the same as everyone else, Cam’s voice said in his head. You’re not a freak, not an outcast. You just need to find the right person to walk through life with. Your load may be heavier, but you don’t have to carry it alone.”

I appreciated the slow journey of the relationship, sure it was frustrating for the two to take so long to meet, but it made their final getting together so much more meaningful.

There are some very special romantic moments in the story and some beautiful ‘firsts’ – first touch, first kiss – but the most romantic element to me was towards the end of the book where Cam used songs to send special messages to Riley, messages about love, support and inner beauty.

Here are the songs if you are interested before reading the book.

The ending was wonderful as the trust and love shown by Cameron ensures Riley finally realises the truth and what is really important to him.

The author closes the book with mention of a continuation of Cam and Riley’s story in 2014 so something to look forward to! Yes, I would like to see more of them, particularly as they are now actually in the same room together! But I do feel that this book can be read very much as a standalone. The ending didn’t leave me feeling that anything was missing or unresolved.

4 Stars

To find out more about Henrietta Clarke and her books visit her website.

Buy The Truth About Riley from Amazon.

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Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma #3) by Anne Tenino

The third book in the series, Sweet Young Thang lives up to it’s name! Collin is young and sweet. Eric is wonderful. The age difference is fabulous!  Add some mystery and drama to the romance and it all adds up to a great story!

The Theta Alpha Gamma series

  • Frat Boy and Toppy (Book #1)
  • Love,  Hypothetically(Book #2)
  • Sweet Young Thang (Book #3) – in this review

Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma, #3)Sweet Young Thang by Anne Tenino

My rating: 3.5  of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Thanks to Collin Montes, Theta Alpha Gamma now welcomes gay and bisexual students. Persuading his Uncle Monty, president of the TAG Alumni Association, that the open approach won’t adversely affect TAG’s reputation is Collin’s own first step toward coming out. As long as there are no repercussions, he’ll escape the closet by graduation.

Enter repercussions, stage left: someone rigs the TAG House water heater to launch through the ceiling, then plants a bomb—thankfully unsuccessful—in the fraternity’s basement. Now Collin has his hands full not only trying to convince his uncle that this might not be the work of homophobes, but also dealing with a fratful of brothers worried about their kegger fridge.

Paramedic Eric Dixon can’t stop thinking about the kid he met during a call at his former college fraternity house. The age gap between them is trumped by sexy eyes, so when Eric sees Collin again at the bomb scene, he pursues him. Soon, Eric is dreaming of being a househusband, fighting to keep Collin safe from whoever’s trying to destroy the fraternity, and helping his sweet young thang realize that repercussions sometimes have silver linings.

So what did I think?

I was looking forward to revisiting Theta Alpha Gamma and spending some time with the boys. I was so pleased to discover a story involving a relationship with an age difference.

Eric is immediately attracted to Collin but doubts his own reaction. “Besides, he was thirty-six and he had no business jonesing after a twenty-year-old kid who may or may not even be gay. Lecherous old fart.”. What I did find interesting was a repeated mention of the age difference as the relationship was announced to various friends, colleagues and family but no really obvious concern or fall out. There was just acceptance, including from Collin himself. The age difference also didn’t appear that obvious in how the men behaved – perhaps this was because Collin seemed quite mature (particularly compared to some of the other TAG boys) and he was confident in how he related to Eric.

I loved the way Eric was described, prematurely greying and losing his abs, and not just as a totally buff paramedic. Don’t get me wrong, he was obviously hot and sexy, particularly to Collin, but there was a sense of realism and also a relationship built on emotional attraction as well.

What didn’t work for me so well was the speed of the relationship and how quickly love developed between Eric and Collin, but that aside, they work so well together and I even liked the endearments.

Collin is still in the closet to his family and friends. He has an interesting relationship with his Uncle Monty who has huge influence on his life right down to his college subject choices and future career in the family olive oil business. Monty is also president of the TAG Alumni Association with a large influence on funds for Theta Alpha Gamma.

The story revolves around solving the mystery of who is trying to destroy Theta Alpha Gamma. Eric and Collin meet when Eric attends the scene of an explosion at the frat house. So while their relationship is growing, Collin is also facing frat house issues and dealing with his uncle who is exerting pressure for the fraternity to change their policy of publicly accepting gay and bi members, blaming this for the arson.

I didn’t really get into the frat house politics and thought maybe there could have been a bit less of this in the book and more of the relationship. Plus I must have missed why Eric’s knowing Monty from when they were at school was really relevant but all in all, the plot moved at a pretty steady pace, with enough action and drama to keep things interesting.

I did have some favourite funny scenes in the book. It was amusing to see the results of the Sensitivity Training the frat members had undergone – so many hearts in the right place but no idea how to execute! And Collin’s ‘coming out’ to his frat brothers was brilliant.“I’m sorry, dude, but I’m not really prepared to handle outing a guy to himself. Fuck, I hope I didn’t , like, traumatize you or anything.” Plus Eric’s mothers reaction to the age difference “Oh, a younger man.”….”So, can he just fuck forever? And my education is now complete because I know about the Awkward Turtle!

I love a happy ending and this book didn’t disappoint.
[“Ten years down the road, he wanted a househusband named Eric with completely gray hair and no abdominal muscles. An if he had to choose between those things? He’d give up the company and take the kids and the husband and the beer gut.”
(hide spoiler)]

3.5 stars

4 Stars

For more information on Anne Tenino and her books visit her website.

Buy Sweet Young Thang from Amazon.

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