Review: How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karole Cozzo

How to Keep Rolling After a FallHow to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karole Cozzo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4star

Genre: Young Adult

This one I devoured in one night of insomnia. I really enjoyed this story about teenagers whose lives change in an instant and the impact that befalls them. I enjoyed the growth in Nikki and how wonderful Pax was to her when she needed someone to believe in her.

Nikki’s life crumbles around her when her circle of friends post incriminating photos of a drunk girl on Nikki’s Facebook page. Even though the gaggle of girls all participate, it’s Nikki who’s forced to deal with the consequences and expulsion from her school. A social pariah in her town, she’s forced to figure out how to start over at a new school when people already hate her.

Nikki meets Pax at the rehabilitation facility she’s working at to fulfill her community service hours. Pax is wheelchair bound due to a car accident that left him paralyzed. He’s worked hard for the last few years to accept his new life and befriends Nikki when she needs it most.

I enjoyed this story, and the plot moved along quite nicely. The writing was solid, and the relationship between Nikki and Pax blooms naturally. If you like uplifting Y/A stories, this one will leave you with some feels without too much angst.

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Review: All Note Long by Annabeth Albert

All Note Long (Perfect Harmony, #3)All Note Long by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4star

Genre: LGBT Romance

Aww… I really liked this one. Michelin was such a dichotomy – he’s this confident and larger than life on the stage when he’s playing, but when he’s out of the spotlight, he becomes reserved and unsure of himself.

When a chance meeting with Lucky, a go-go dancer from a WeHo nightclub, Michelin’s life is suddenly turned upside down.

When the tabloids start flaunting photos around of Michelin and Lucky in a compromising position, claiming it to be solicitation. Michelin’s record label decides maybe him having a boyfriend would make the fans swallow him being gay a little bit easier. Threatening not to release his album unless he makes Lucky his boyfriend du jour.

The only problem is Michelin and Lucky want it to be real.

The usual back and forth of misunderstandings and miscommunication happens. Michelin’s conflict about coming out so suddenly and what that means to him and his career is so palpable. Lucky’s feelings about not being a ‘kept’ man are so weighty and meaningful to who he his as a person, a dancer, and a boyfriend.

I haven’t read the other stories in this series, but this title read just fine as a standalone. Check this story out; I promise it won’t disappoint.

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Review: Beta Test by Annabeth Albert

Beta Test (#gaymers, #2)Beta Test by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

4-and-one-half-star-rating

Genre: LGBT Romance

Loved this book. Was sweet, a dash angsty and a spoonful of sexy. I devoured it in a day or two. a nice addition to the series.

The story revolves around Tristin and Ravi. Ravi is an outgoing and flamboyant graphic designer who makes friends wherever he goes. Tristin is the uptight, semi-closeted geek in the office. He’s an organized list maker who keeps everyone on task, something that drives Ravi batty.

When the two are paired up to drive a truck of trade show booth items up to Seattle, they are both afraid of having to be in the car for that long with someone they dislike. Ravi thinks Tristin is an uptight micromanager, and Tristin, while he says he just wants everyone to do their jobs so he wouldn’t have to, he still longs to be part of the ‘in’ crowd that Ravi belongs to.

The road trip brings the pair closer together and their misconceptions of each other are cleared up, but Ravi is not going to be shoved into the closet like Tristin’s parents for him to be.

This story really is a love story of being true to yourself and finding love in unexpected places. Annabeth Albert is becoming one of my favorite authors. If you like interesting and complex characters, this story is for you. While you don’t need to read the first in this series first, it too is a lovely read – I highly encourage you to read it first.

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Review: Love Lessons Series by @heidicullinan

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Love Lessons Series – by Heidi Cullinan

I received the original Love Lesson’s title from NetGalley a while back and fell absolutely in love with the characters, writing style and premise of this series.  I’d long forgotten about the follow-up titles until I stumbled across one of my friends on GoodReads who had reviewed the third book in the series, Lonely Hearts.  I banged my head on the desk when I realized I’d somehow missed the release of two more books into this series.   Needless to say, I downloaded those bad boys and have since been on a Heidi Cullinan binge for a couple of weeks now.

Today, I’m going to review the Love Lessons Series (book 1 through 3.5) I’m hoping there will be more for these crazy kids. (wink, wink… how about Lejla’s story, right?  You can’t just introduce her and let her story drop, just saying)

By the way, if you don’t know, this entire series is M/M – so if that’s not your cup of tea, that’s okay, my next post is going to be Sarina Bowen’s Ivy League series, all about hunky hockey players.  I’m a lover of all romance.  You know, love is love is love is love…

Okay, back to my reviews.


Love Lessons

Love Lesosns

five-stars

If you are looking for a warm fuzzy kind of read, this book is for you.  It’s filled with a dash of drama, a whole lot of Disney references and a smoking hot hero.

Kelly is the adorably unexperienced Disney lover, who blushes at the mere mention of sex and is as virginal as snow white.   He’s strong and resilient and manages to crack the tough exterior of Walter, the player on campus known for his many hookups.   Walter befriends his new roommate and looks out for him – which is just really hot to read, honestly.

The pair starts out as friends, Walter trying to get Kelly to go out and meet some people.  The buildup is a slow burn, but so worth the wait.   The story is a little saccharine, but honestly, some days you need a little bit of sugar to go with all the crap real life has dumped on you, so enjoy it, is what I say!

So if you love fluffy little love stories with the Disney happy ending, check out this one for sure!

Frozen Heart

frozen heart

3

This title is a short little novella leading up to the ending of Love Lessons.  I don’t want to spoil too much about the ending of Love Lessons, but this one left me wanting more.  I imagine if you read it right after Love Lessons, it would be okay, but the gaps it left out (which are in full detail in Love Lessons) just left me feeling less enamored than I wanted to be.   A cute, little, free extra you can find on Heidi’s website.

 

Fever Pitch

fever pitch

five-stars

LOVED THIS ONE!  Okay, this is the second book and is about Giles and Aaron.   The pair are freshman who came from the same hometown.  Back home, Giles was the out of the closet gay kid from high school who the popular kids both beat up and used as a random hookup whenever the itch wasn’t being scratched.   Giles felt like moving away to college would give him the safety he never felt like he had at home.  When he spots Aaron around campus, his heart drops at seeing one of his random hookups and bullies on the same campus he fled.

Aaron first meets Giles the night they both are hiding out in a laundry room at a graduation party in their hometown.  Aaron is lost, having to go live the rest of the summer with his bully of a fatherThe same man who threatens to cut him off from all funds, college included if he doesn’t kowtow to his demands, one of those is giving up music and becoming a lawyer.  When Giles offers him a ride home from the party, sparks fly and the pair hook up by the lake under a starry night.

Giles never expects to see him again, and Aaron gets the feeling Giles isn’t exactly thrilled by Aaron following him to college.  The pair eventually becomes friends that grow into more with their love of music, and each other become the glue the helps them deal with the world at large.

This story sucked me in.  It had a lot of musical references – sometimes a bit overwhelmingly so, but still a great read.   The ending will have you clawing for more, which thankfully you don’t have to wait for since it just came out.

This book is for anyone who loves reading about people willing to give up everything for what they love, to be able to do what they love and to help save someone who isn’t getting any love at all.   A great second book in the series.

 

Lonely Hearts

lonely hearts

five-stars

Ah… Lonely Hearts.  This one just broke my heart.  The story revolves around Elijah and Baz, two characters who we meet in Fever Pitch.  Elijah is left wrecked after his extreme Christian parents almost kill him and another student Baz.  Elijah comes from a world that beats you down to stuff you into the box that they want you to fit in.  Elijah is jaded and oh, so broken.   But then again, so is Baz.   Baz comes from an entirely different kind of world but is still being stuffed into a box by his wealthy and politically aspiring parents.

Baz doesn’t do relationships; everyone at the ‘White House’ knows he’s been running away from growing up for the last six years.  Instead of graduating and finding love, Baz just wants everything to stay the same.  Unfortunately, when the time has come for all his great friends to graduate, Baz is left reeling and wondering what he’s doing with his life.

Elijah uses sarcasm and fury to keep people at arms distance.  When Baz breaks down the wall, Elijah has spent so many years erecting, his heart comes tumbling right down with it.

Oh, I love Baz so much.  His mother is a raving bitch who wants nothing more from Baz than to play a puppet in her political pandering game.  Elijah is the balm that somehow soothes Baz’s restless heart.  The pair works so well together and are equally broken, just in different ways.  I adored this story even as achingly heartbreaking as it is.

This book… Gah! It ripped my heart out at times, and while I didn’t understand any of the anime or manga stuff, I got the gist of what they were talking about without feeling the need to hone up on those topics.

If you’re into LGBT titles that are heart –warming, –wrenching and — melting, then this entire series is for you.

 

Short Stay

short stay

4star

Short Stay is the follow-up novella to Baz and Elijah’s story.   The pair takes off to Vegas on a whim when neither men want to hang out at Baz’s mother’s New Year’s Eve party.  Grabbing Kelly and Walter from book one, the foursome drives to Vegas for the weekend.  While there, they meet up with some characters from Cullinan’s series, Special Delivery.

This story is a lovely conclusion for Baz and Elijah, if not wholly unrealistic. Sorry, I enjoyed it, but yeah… some of it was a bit over the top and took me a bit out of the story. The characters from Cullinan’s Special Delivery series felt a little wedged into the story, and since I haven’t read that series yet, I had a hard time with all the new characters being mentioned in such a short story.

A nice way to round out the story and I am hoping there’s another Love Lessons in the works. I’ve loved this series so much and hope you will too.


So there you have it.  Check out this series if you have some time, because it is honestly one of the best ones out there dealing with LGBT topics without hammering you over the head with it.  The characters are all so well developed, and the plots are masterfully crafted.  I have fallen in love with so many of these characters; I don’t want to say goodbye to them.