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The Second Chances series by Susan Laine

The Second Chances Series – an enjoyable series with an injection of humour – a fun, quick read

  • Twice by Chance (book #1)
  • Accidental Chemistry (book #2)

Twice by Chance (Second Chances, #1)Twice by Chance by Susan Laine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

As a teenager, Addy Monroe had a life-changing experience-although technically the “experience” was happening to someone else in the steamed-up backseat of the taxi stuck in traffic next to him. Six years later, at a club in LA, Addy meets rock singer Zak Roscoe-the man who unwittingly taught him who he is-and gets a shot at experiencing Zak for himself. A private and guarded person, Zak finds Addy’s determined advances both annoying and intriguing, and he allows himself to be seduced for a night of pleasure. Unfortunately, some old habits die hard: Zak’s postcoital nature leaves something to be desired, and Addy quickly realizes that sometimes fantasy and reality don’t have much in common. If wishes were second chances….

So what did I think?

The beginning of this book set up for an interesting scenario as 15 year old Addy witnesses two men making out in the back of a cab which confirms he definitely likes men! The scene, and eye contact with the man in the back of the cab, makes such an impact on the young Addy, that he can’t forget and fantasises about the man for years. Eventually Addy runs into Zak and gets to enjoy the man in person.

While an enjoyable story, this was a difficult relationship to believe. Zak is not exactly likable – he is avoids relationships and treats Addy poorly after their one night stand. But Addy is persistent and keeps chipping away at Zak. This is the part where I struggled as I couldn’t fully understand why Addy was interested in Zak, why he wanted the second chance.

Zak is ‘no good at relationships’ but Addy gets under his skin and eventually he can’t deny his feelings. While I wanted them to have a happy ending, and eventually Zak does open up to Addy, it feels more HFN, with not enough insight into the relationship to really believe it will last the long haul.

3 Stars

Accidental Chemistry (Second Chances, #2)Accidental Chemistry by Susan Laine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb...

Zane Roscoe’s evil day job at a musical instrument store is supposed to teach him responsibility. What he really wants is the fun, excitement, and artistic challenge of being a musician. Joshua Norton is in college, training to become a pharmaceutical chemist, and he is Zane’s complete opposite: introverted, intellectual, and quiet. When the two meet at a gay night club, their relationship begins with a case of mistaken identity and a wounded ego.

They try talking but stumble over one miscommunication after another. So Zane decides they better stick to sex—except a series of bumbling disasters, accidents big and small, and minor mishaps leads to frustration. Afterward, Zane wants to apologize for his behavior. But Joshua ran, and finding him turns into a test of character, as does earning Joshua’s forgiveness. Can they find the new beginning they need for a second chance at love?

So what did I think?

It was great to find this story focused on Zak’s (from Twice by Chance) little brother Zane.

The story was sweet as Zane and Joshua commence a relationship filled with accidents and incidents – basically anything that can go wrong, does go wrong. There is no real relationship development, more just these guys trying to have a successful sexual encounter without mishap! However they do seem to have an opposites attract chemistry.

There are definitely moments of cuteness and this makes a fun quick read.

I also like books that contain songs. This one includes “Who Will Love Me Now?” by PJ Harvey. Zane’s band plays the song and Joshua sings “And his voice was divine, echoing such mournful tones and painful longing that I felt my fingers slip and miss a few chords because I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Never had I seen or heard anything as beautiful as Joshua singing, his voice growing stronger and more confident as the song went on.”

 

To find out more about Susan Laine and her books visit her website.

Buy the Second Chances series from Amazon.

View all my reviews

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Sounds of Love (Senses and Sensations #1) by Susan Laine

The Senses and Sensations series..

  • Sounds of Love (book #1) – in this review
  • Love in Plain Sight (book #2)
  • A Luminous Touch (book #3)

 

Sounds of Love (Senses and Sensations, #1)Sounds of Love by Susan Laine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

What does love sound like? If you hear it, will you heed its call?

Police officer Jordan Waters is recovering from a shooting by moving to a new apartment in a new town and taking a new job. In other words, he’s lonely. His first instinct is to relieve his anxiety through uncomplicated sex—until he meets a man so far out of his league and experience that he stumbles for the first time.

Police volunteer Sebastian Sumner may be deaf, but his spirit, openness, and sense of humor give him the strength to get through anything—even the emotional defenses of Jordan Waters. But it’s his own family history that poses the biggest challenge. Can he learn to trust Jordan with his heart, or will his upbringing blind him to the sounds of love?

So what did I think?

This is one of those books that I really had mixed reactions about which totally surprised me as I had seen quite high ratings and reviews from my GR friends plus found the blurb really appealing.

I actually struggled to engage with the story for about the first 50%. So what didn’t I enjoy? I’m not sure if I totally liked the first person POV. I think I actually got a little sick of Jordan’s voice. Jordan seemed all over the place, flitting from thought to thought. He could be in the middle of a drama and suddenly starting thinking about something totally unrelated and things seemed to drag out with long internal monologue.

But after the first 50%, things started to pick up and also more characters started to play an active role in the story. The plot centres around Jordan, a policeman and self-confessed “A guy gifted in sexual pleasures but talentless in love.” who falls for Sebastian, a deaf volunteer police worker. Sebastian manages to break through to Jordan and even from the first meeting, it is clear that Jordan has feelings for him. He cares enough to warn Sebastian about his past and suggest he gets the low down from his partner before they take their relationship any further.

My favourite line which really illustrates Jordan’s soon-to-be-changed view of the world……..“It wasn’t like I was in love, or like he was in love, or like we were going to be together forever. It wasn’t like the future was etched in stone for us, destined to be lovers, to become one. That was straight romance, not gay sex.”

Sebastian was a fabulous character (strong, capable and honest) and his deafness was NOT his defining quality. This was not a story about how Jordan forms a relationship with a deaf man, rather a story about how Jordan forms a relationship with any man.

I found some of the dialogue to be a bit flowery, some scenes a bit disjointed, some events or reactions that seemed strange or unrealistic and there was definitely something weird going on with gay men coming out of the closet left, right and centre! I would also like to let Jordan know that talking about someone’s brothers’ living arrangement isn’t the best way to stall to make sex last! Distracting? Yes. But in a good way? No. 🙂

It may sound like I didn’t like this story much but I actually did find the second half enjoyable. The story is redeemed by men who aren’t afraid to show love and emotion, cute kid brothers (Bro is great!) and happy endings!

3 Stars

To find out more about Susan Laine and her books, visit her website.

Buy Sounds of Love from Amazon.

View all my reviews

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Short stories from the DSP 2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play (PART 5)

The Daily Dose from Dreamspinner Press is a collection of themed short stories  released every day in June. The 2013 theme is sport.

Nothing fires the blood like a little friendly competition. Anything from a meeting of the minds to full-body contact, these men are making a play. There are no losers in the game of love.

The stories in this review include:

  • Prize Package by Kyle Adams
  • Press Start to Play by Brianna Lawrence
  • Protection by John Amory
  • Riding the Board by Cate Ashwood
  • Sage Advice by Susan Laine
  • The Magic Broom by Teegan Loy

Prize Package (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Prize Package by Kyle Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

When Jason Smith wins a contest he doesn’t remember entering, he earns a visit with The MeatGrinder, aka Trent Peterson. Trent expected a rabid fan; instead, he gets Jason, who knows nothing about wrestling, doesn’t care about the prizes, and would prefer to skip the official wrestling demo, please. Trent should be annoyed, but by the end of the day, Trent knows he wants more than one day with Jason. Now he just has to convince Jason that Trent is more than his alter ego.

So what did I think?

Brilliantly witty! Absolutely loved this story! Loved the characters, loved the plot and adored the humour.

Jason, who knows absolutely nothing about wrestling (just like me!), wins a contest consisting of a full day spent with The MeatGrinder, a wrestling star. Turn out Jason knew and crushed on The MeatGrinder back in school, back when The MeatGrinder was plain-old Trent and before he become famous. Jason, is also not the same guy he was in school, with improved looks he has also lost his shyness.

Prize Package had me laughing out loud on nearly every page. The comments made by Jason were brilliantly witty. He was definitely the star of this story!

Favourite line…..Jason in response to The MeatGrinder (Trent) flexing his pecs…“Oh my, you big stud, your dancing boobs have enchanted me with your hypnotic sexual magnitudeness.”…that basically sums it up!

5 Stars

Press Start to Play by Brianna Lawrence

Protection (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Protection by John Amory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Jamie is an anomaly in the shooting world: a relative newcomer who became a leading contender overnight. He’s representing the United States at the 2012 Olympics, and people are drawn to him both for his marksmenship and the past he refuses to divulge. During his downtime in London, Jamie visits a gay bar and meets a chipper young man named Ben. Despite Ben’s heartfelt offer of succor, Jamie’s mounting nerves over the Games and his scars from the past threaten the new relationship before the night even begins.

So what did I think?

This was short and sweet. What could have just been a casual hook up has the potential for so much more as Ben sees beneath Jamie’s exterior and recognises the sadness within.

After a night together, Jamie seems to have more hope “Your eyes. There isn’t as much sadness as before.” and he obviously has developed a trust in Ben, able to share the details of ‘The Incident’ which led him to take up shooting as a sport.

There is a cute HFN ending as Ben sends Jamie breakfast and a sweet note.

4 Stars

Riding the Board (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Riding the Board by Cate Ashwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Blake Emmerich arrives at practice, already apprehensive, to meet his new synchronized diving partner. When he sees Nick Freeman, Blake doesn’t feel confident about their chances. The day begins with Nick pushing Blake off the ten meter and ends with their coach cuffing them together to force them to deal with each other like the adults they’re supposed to be. Synchronized diving is about trust—how can you trust someone you can’t stand, no matter how hot you think they are?

So what did I think?

This was a interesting take on the enemies-to-lovers theme in the world of synchronized diving, not that Nick and Blake were truly enemies, it was more a case of Blake not really knowing or understanding Nick.

Their coach has a very interesting approach to getting them to work together which has some very interesting results for the men! The cuffs force them to spend every minute together and it becomes very difficult for them to deny how they feel about each other.

“He had thought he would barely make it through the week without killing Nick and now he was reluctant for it to end.”

It was a nice short story. 3.5 stars.
4 Stars

Sage Advice (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Sage Advice by Susan Laine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Piper is a ballet dancer who has lost his footing—literally. Now his dreams are shot and he’s depressed enough that his best friend, Sage, lures him into a night of drinking and games. Except the game is truth or dare, and they end up doing less drinking and more confessing. Hidden secrets spill out and brazen acts draw the two men closer as they discover what really matters: if they’re winners or losers in the game of love.

So what did I think?

Very short and sweet friends-to-lovers story. A game of Truth or Dare provides opportunity for Piper and Sage (interesting names!) to reveal some interesting truths. Of course, they love each other and this is revealed but I also liked the reveal of the issues that Piper was facing. Piper is going through a really emotional period in his life impacting his career as a ballet dancer. The depth of Sage’s feelings are really shown in his ability to see something is wrong with his friend and his understanding.
3 Stars

The Magic Broom (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)The Magic Broom by Teegan Loy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

With the winter Olympics on the horizon, Cody Mikkelson’s editor assigns him several stories about athletes in the area with gold medal aspirations. But there’s a catch: Cody has to try all the sports when he interviews the athletes—and he is so not an athlete.

The day before his torment begins, four new guys move into the apartment down the hall, including the handsome Shane Spicer. Cody is immediately desperate to figure out if Shane is gay, but both men have busy schedules, leaving little time to socialize. So Cody heads back to work and goes to interview the local curling team, where among brooms, laughter, a sore backside, and an unexpected meeting, Cody finds he just might get his chance after all.

So what did I think?

I loved this book purely for the humour element. It was laugh aloud kind of stuff. Following Cody from one winter sporting event to the next was hilarious!

Here are some of my favourite bits – don’t read further if you think it will ruin your enjoyment of the story!

“The amount of work she put into her sport was either amazing or incredibly stupid, considering the only time anyone knew this sport even existed was for the two weeks when the Olympics were on television.”

“The next moment he was down on the ice with his face pressed against the cage of his helmet. That should be an interesting bruise. Someone would probably think he fell asleep with a waffle stuck to his face.”

“Cody knew what he would be thinking about, and it certainly wouldn’t be steering some sled down a giant slide made of ice. He’d crash on the first turn and probably break his dick or shatter his balls.”

I didn’t need the romance to enjoy this book although I enjoyed seeing Cody, even with his broken gaydar, finally get together with Shane.
“In my mind, I’ve already won the gold medal.”
“Me too,” Cody said. “And I suck at sports.”

5 Stars

Buy a book from the series from Amazon. (Select the 2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play link)

View all my reviews