Guest Review: Cultivating Love by Addison Albright

A man of few words, Joe is a hard-working farmhand who likes his simple, uncomplicated life. Ed is satisfied with his existence as an auto mechanic, but thrilled when an unexpected development in his life allows him to help Joe realize a dream.

It forces them, however, to reevaluate the casual, undefined nature of their relationship. They’re too macho to speak of love, and neither would acknowledge he doesn’t really mind when it’s his turn to bottom. When life throws them a curve ball, and the rules of their game get old, Ed tries to take every aspect of their relationship up a notch. Can Joe adapt to the open sentimentality Ed’s injecting into their relationship, let alone the new spice in their bedroom activities?

This is a previously published story that has been rewritten, expanded, and re-edited.

Reviewer: Lost in a Book


That was adorable!! Seriously. I just devoured Ed and Joe in all their cute, funny, sarcastic, too-manly-for-emotion glory.

And, Cowboys? Only every day of the week and twice on Sunday, please.

Ed and Joe are roommates and have been fuck-buddies for the past two and a half years. I say fuck-buddies because they’re very good at hiding from the emotional side of what they have going on. Joe is a farm hand working seasonal jobs and Ed is a mechanic. The two of them are all they have in the world due to an estrangement with Joe and his family and the fact that both of Ed’s parents are dead… or so he thought. Prior to the death of Ed’s mother eight years ago, she held steadfast to the lie that his father died before he was born. There is a little snag in this claim because a lawyer contacts Ed to inform him that his father actually passed away in an accident two weeks prior and listed him as the sole beneficiary of his estate…which is a running farm. Ed knows that running a farm is Joe’s dream and now he has the opportunity to make it come true.

“We’re solid, right? I mean—shit—we don’t talk about this stuff, but…well…you know. This isn’t something I can commit to without knowing you’re with me for the long haul, or at least that you intend to be.”

Joe agrees to make a go of it and they begin the process of leaving one town behind for another. Ed wraps up loose ends and Joe heads to the farm since he is familiar with working one. It is during this separation where they live the saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder."

“He missed Ed acutely. Hell, he’d rather bottom for Ed every day for a week than live apart for a week. Joe smiled reflexively. That was a thought he’d take to the grave with him.

With each push from Ed, Joe’s walls would crumble and just another hint of intimacy broke through. Their sex became more emotional and instead of a quick “assume the position” fuck, they started making out, switching positions, and even giving the BJs that were considered “too intimate.” I loved Ed and Joe together. They were sweet, funny, macho, and sarcastic. They were best friends that also happened to be partners in all forms of the word. They loved deep and it was great to see them evolve and not be afraid to show it.

I struggle with the synopsis for this book because it doesn’t do it justice. It is an all encompassing novella that has depth. Joe is estranged from his family because he is gay. We get to witness the beautiful transformation that takes place with his family and understand the reasons behind his detachment with Ed. We also get to come along on a journey as Ed gets to know his father through the people in Mayfield. We get to meet Bill, his father’s lover.

We also get to meet psycho Stan. Stan is a bigot and lets his hate for gay men run free. He became such a big part of the story and the synopsis mentions nothing about crime or them running into dangerous situations. One of the issues I had with this book was that Stan wasn’t explained. He had such horrific behavior and it was never discussed in further detail. At first I thought maybe he was gay and being a bully to deflect. I wondered if he was actually in love with Ed’s dad before he died. I had all of these scenarios plotted out in my head and it was never addressed at the end nor the epilogue. I almost took off 1/2 a star because it was such a glaring oversight.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a funny, sweet and hot cowboy read.

Review: Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2) by Amy Lane

Starting over and falling in love.

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family.

Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids?

Turns out, Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.

Amy Lane and the Dreamspun Desires formula is amazing pairing that I am hooked on.

While this book is listed as the second in a series and yes it does add to the story IF you have read The Virgin Manny, in my opinion Lane gives enough background information on everyone involved you don’t need to read it first. BUT it’s nice to see Tino, Channing and Sammy again and yeah, to know how it all went down with Taylor and Nica and just knowing the players in the story as they show up. SO while you could read this as a stand alone, it is best to read the books in order to get the full experience.

But enough about that. It’s time for a review.

So…Let me set this all up quickly.

Brandon is living over the garage of his cousin Jacob's house as he attends college at night working towards his Engineering degree and working construction during the day. His cousin Jacob is married to Nica and they have four kids with one on the way. That’s a lot of kids but I am the youngest of eleven children so it’s not THAT many. *shrugs* Nica is the sister of Tino from book one and the best friend of Taylor Cochran who broke her heart back in high school when she thought she was in love with him but Taylor was busy living in the closet.

When Jacob and Nica decide they are going to need help with the new baby on the way, Tino suggests they hire Taylor to help out since he is Nica’s BFF and Taylor happened to go to their mom asking for a job.

At first, Brandon is against hiring Taylor and letting him be around his little cousins at all. He’s heard stories about Taylor’s past but has never met the man and let’s others judgments become his own. When the whole gang heads to Tino’s and Channings for a BBQ, Brandon has one thought on his physical reaction to Taylor but still has another thought on not wanting him to be the Manny. Of course, knee jerk reactions and Brandon lacking a filter makes for an awkward situation but it’s nothing a couple beers and some butterscotch can’t put into perspective.

Taylor is pretty much a mess when we meet him. Having been in the Army for 6 years and then basically being blown up, losing his right eye and all that comes with recovery from such an injury, his life is at a standstill. He knows he wants to go back to school to become a teacher but waiting for grants to come in requires down time and he goes to Nica and Tino’s mom asking for a job. He’s reluctant to take the manny position because Taylor carries a lot of guilt around for what he put his friends though when they were younger and he hates that he led Nica on for so long. But after meeting the kids, he knows it’s the right place for him to be it’s just he now has to deal with Brandon and his unjustified disdain.

I love that Brandon took one look at Taylor and felt lust but also a distrust because of what he’d heard over the years. I thought the teasing about Taylor being a sexy pirate with his eyes patch was adorable and gave Brandon an early glimpse into how his family sees Taylor. When Jacob and Taylor sort their drama out and Jacob lets Brandon know he’s fine with Taylor taking the job, Brandon starts to look at the new manny differently.

Yeah, this moves a bit fast with how fast Brandon downshifts from Hell No to Fuck Yeah when it comes to Taylor but Brandon is a good guy with a natural caretaker gene in him so it makes sense he would gravitate to Taylor. Plus, I mean… Taylor is hot and grumpy so what’s not to love?

Getting both POV’s in this was helpful so you could see how each man quickly fell for the other. I love Taylor getting Jacob to chaperone to protect Brandon’s virtue and then defending Brandon’s honor when Brandon and his lack of filter combined with a morbid sense of humor gets him into trouble. I LOVED how Brandon could read Taylor so quickly and how his first love of Kinesiology allows him to help Taylor with his recovery. Taylor with his cat Marilyn was super sweet and his driving dangerously down windy roads with cliffs just because he knew Brandon would call but didn’t… was sigh worthy. Watching these two fall head over feet for one another and just get lost so fast was fun while being ridiculously romantic and Lane adds in her signature punch you in the gut feels a few times that had me tearing up at the beautiful intimacy of the moments.

I had a blast hanging out with everyone in the book. It was great to see Tino, Channing and Sammy again and see how much they have really grown into a family. Tino sounding just like Channing was hilarious but the unconditional love and acceptance that comes from all of them – Nica, Jacob and all the kids included – was beautiful because as it’s been said so many time, your true family isn’t always the one you’re born into. That’s what this story is about at the heart, family. Both Brandon and Taylor are born into ones that don’t accept them to find their new family that wants them exactly how they are and won’t take no for an answer.

Manny Get Your Guy is a great addition to the Dreamspun line as well as the The Mannies series from the author. I heard a rumor that Sammy will be the next book and just the thought of that puts my heart in a blender. I am curious if Sammy becomes a manny or if he falls for one, just like his dad did?

Don't miss the Manny Get Your Guy blog tour stop HERE!

Blog Tour: Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies, #2) by Amy Lane

Amy Lane is here today talking kids and their hysterics inducing shenanigans and to promo her second in The Mannies series, Manny Get Your Guy. See our review HERE!

Manny Get Your Guy—Blogpost 4

…Too Quiet… (2)

So, in my blog post at Open Skye Books, I talked about how most parents and caregivers of small children know that too much silence is a bad thing. It’s like watching a cartoon character tip-toe from behind the refrigerator to behind the couch—you just know that duck is up to no good.

But sometimes, the kid’s quiet is masked by the sound of your own activity—and that’s even worse. Cause you think that kid is safe. You think that kid is tended. You think that kid is… oh dear…

Eleven years ago after Squish was born, I went back to work full time because I was insane. And broke. Okay, we were broke, but I was also insane. The year was a disaster—my computer was literally eating my grades (not my fault, once we discovered the cause), the principal had purposefully given me sophomores who I hadn’t taught ever, and one of my two classes of juniors had 13/33 kids who had passed maybe two classes and were going to continuation school—in SECOND semester. (Yes, this too was done on purpose.) I could go on—the list of disasters that occurred in Squish’s first year was long and painful, and exacerbated by post-partum hormones and, hey, hello, ulcerative colitis. Welcome to public education.

So I was already exhausted by the third week.

I remember this day. I had it all so perfectly planned in my head. A. Get home and change myself and Squish’s diaper. B. Have Zoomboy playing in the fenced in back yard while I start dinner. C. Sit down and nurse a crying Squish while I wait for the water to boil. Such a simple plan.

I get to the part where I finally sink into my chair to have Squish nurse, and I think, “Wait—why can’t I hear ZoomBoy in his Big Wheel in the backyard?” Believe me—I could hear him before, cause it was a loud loud piece of equipment, and because he made “ZOOM!” noises while he rode.

And just as I think that, there is a knock at the door.

Three neighborhood women are standing there. One of them is knocking, one of them is holding the Big Wheel, and one of them is holding ZoomBoy’s hand.

He is naked.


“We think this is yours,” says one of the women.

I open my arm and he runs and jumps up on me, so I’m holding two children. He is laughing maniacally, I might add. “I got out!”

“Oh my God.” (Literally, the first thing I could manage to say. Now, after another eleven years of child-rearing, it would be like “Oh holy fucking Jesus,” but back then I was trying to behave.)

“Yeah,” said the woman handing Chicken the Big Wheel. (She is also laughing hysterically cause she was a sarcastic little shit then as now) “We saw him riding by naked once and didn’t see anybody behind him, and we thought you’d be along shortly. And then we saw him again, and thought, ‘Where is that kid coming from?’ And then we saw him a third time and thought, ‘You know… she might need a little help,’ and we followed him.”

I almost broke into tears. Oh my God yes, I needed a little help. And I got it. I never saw those three women again—not in ten years of walking myself and my dogs in this neighborhood. I have no idea where they came from. But they obviously knew me and my kids, and they stepped up.

And didn’t judge.

Goddess bless them all.

When it was Taylor’s turn for “too quiet” (in which much less drastic things happen than happened to me, because I didn’t want the storm of “He’s a horrible neglectful man who should never watch kids!” to hit my inbox like a tsunami) I gave him that heart stopping moment of “Oh my God where’d the kid go?”

But I also gave him an ally (yeah, sure, a romantic interest, but an ally nonetheless) who wouldn’t judge him. And someone who could tell a story about the time the same thing had happened to the entire family.

Because when your heart drops to your feet (and your bladder comes close!) and you think “Oh my God what almost… what could have… oh holy fucking Jesus how could I not have…” it really does help to have someone there holding your hand and going, “Kids are hard. Sorry, man—I wish I could say, ‘This is how you fucked up and how to never do that again’ but kids reinvent the rules every single time. There is always a way they can get into trouble—that’s why we hire nannies and day care places and beg relatives and pray. That’s why they age us worse than cigarettes and heroin, and that’s why having one more—even when you’ve got half a zillion already—is always a big deal. The only good thing going here is that now we have you, and you’re on the side of good, and you’re gonna look out for kids like we looked out for yours.”

Whether that person is a family friend, a boyfriend to be, or three angels with a naked kid and a Big Wheel, having that sort of support from the universe is the thing that keeps half the parents of the world from dropping down from heart failure and anxiety.

It just really helps to have someone on your side.


The Mannies

Starting over and falling in love.

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family.

Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids?

Turns out Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.




Sequel to:

The Virgin Manny


The Mannies

Growing up and falling in love...

Sometimes family is a blessing and a curse. When Tino Robbins is roped into helping his sister deliver her premade Italian dinners when he should be studying for finals, he’s pretty sure it’s the latter! But one delivery might change everything.

Channing Lowell’s charmed life changes when his sister dies and leaves him her seven-year-old son. He’s committed to doing what’s best for Sammy… but he’s going to need a lot of help. When Tino lands on his porch, Channing is determined to recruit him to Team Sammy.

Tino plans to make his education count—even if that means avoiding a relationship—but as he falls harder and harder for his boss, he starts to wonder: Does he have to leave his newly forged family behind in order to live his promising tomorrow?



Blog Tour Dates:

June 24 - MM Good Book Reviews
June 27 - My Fiction Nook
June 28 - Open Skye Book Reviews
July 1 - Boy Meets Boy
July 3 - Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
July 5 - Love Bytes
July 6 - Long and Short Reviews

Group Review: A Destiny of Dragons (Tales From Verania #2) by T.J. Klune

Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.

Life is good.

Until it’s not.

Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.

And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.

Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.

The first book in the DESTINY FUCK YEAH! Trilogy (because sometimes, having a destiny is the stupidest thing ever).

Chelsea - 4.5 Hearts

“Fuck dragons,” Gary said. “You’ve got a destiny of dick ahead of you.”

Look, if you're reading this book it's means you've already read the first book and most likely freakin loved it! (If you haven't, well go read the first book!). The story is so riveting, I thought it'd take ages to read a book this long but I was glued to the friendship, love, humor and adventure on each page!

I adore these characters and want them tattooed all over my body, like every where! Kevin would approve!

“And then there’s Kevin. Who is also a dragon.”

“Kevin,” I snorted, trying to cover my unease. “If you could even call him that. He’s more like a perverted lizard with wings.”

This groups is broken, quirky and fiercely loyal and I love them.

I am soooooooo super dooper scared to continue this series though! Things were said that make me worry… I mean we all know TJ Klune has no problem writing heart shattering stories and quite frankly I'm a little (lot) scared…. But for now I adored this book and I loved seeing Ryan and Sam together *heart eyes*.

“We’re probably about to see unnecessary displays of testosterone,” Gary said. “And it’s going to be glorious.

I wondered what the hell they were talking about until Ryan muttered, “He could have at least put on more clothes before coming in. And why can’t he walk like a normal person? Is he trying to have sex with the air? Who does that?”

Read this series! So wonderful!

Jenni Lea - 5 hearts

A Destiny of Dragons is my most anticipated read of 2017.  I have been waiting for this book since I first read The Lightning Struck Heart and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  Did it meet my expectations?  Nope.  It exceeded them. 

This story has a more serious tone than TLSH.  Now, that isn’t to say it doesn’t have humor; there’s plenty of snark and witty banter, but it doesn’t have the cracky hilarity that I found in the first book.  And, to be honest, I think I liked it better that way.  Sam’s got a destiny (fuck yeah!) that he’s trying his damndest to deny.  Avoidance isn’t working for him so has to suck it up and accept that he’s fated to be the hero.  It’s written in the stars, after all.

I loved that we got to know each of the characters on a deeper level.  My favorites were Ryan and Kevin.  So many layers to these two!  Ryan is a bit of a douche, but in a fondly exasperating way.  His jealousy was hella entertaining to read about.  And Kevin, well, whaddya know, he’s surprisingly deep when he’s not perving on everyone and everything. 

My favorite part of the story has to be the scene in the desert when Sam discovers just how awesome he really is.  My heart was in my throat the whole time I was reading that part.

And Tiggy!  We got more of Tiggy and I gotta tell you, that half giant is so amazing.  I love him so much!  Fierce protector and lover of brooms, Tiggy is wonderful and I would be proud to call him my friend.

So, go read this book.  It’s an epic story of grand misadventures, shenanigans, courage, awesomeness, betrayal,  friendship and love. 

You can’t go wrong with that, right? 

Ann - 5 Hearts

I’m with Jenni Lea on this one, this A Destiny of Dragons was the book I’ve been looking forward to the most this year and man, did this story deliver and then some. All the fabulousness was present, all the snark and all the dysfunctional unconditional love. We can all agree that Lightning Struck Heart was basically the most fun a person can have reading a book, agreed? Well, Destiny of Dragon’s is that much fun, but it’s also more. I wouldn’t say it’s heavier than TLSH, I would say it’s bigger. So much bigger. 

TLSH was an amazing book; A Destiny of Dragons is the beginning of an opus. 

Sam is . . . well . . . he’s Sam and he’s in denial about his destiny. He’s not thrilled about the prophecies he’s hearing and he reacts like the man child he is. Sam’s transition from wunderkind wizard to a man growing into his powers is represented perfectly in ADoD. He still has the cockiness of a teenager (absolutely NOTHING will come between he and his cornerstone, prophecies be damned!) but his instrospection grows as the story progresses and I appreciated the way the author showed me how Sam was maturing throughout. I felt like a part of the adventure and I took myself off the grid while I read because these moments were all about Sam, Team HaveHeart and me.

There’s more backstory and history that ties what we know of Sam and what we’re learning of his destiny. And while there is a lot to absorb and all the elders are all vague and whatnot, as prophetic destinies are destined to be, the plot is so well paced and tied together it flows organically and easily. The humor is front and center too, because how could it not be, but it does balance perfectly with the rest of the story. 

Sam is nothing if not loyal and as Sam matured his loyalty grew to encompass everything his destiny is calling on him to protect. He’s always been fiercely loyal to his biological and chosen families, but in Destiny of Dragons Sam’s allegiance to his country, his King and the citizens of Verania becomes everything and it’s overwhelming and wonderful all at once. It’s not easy and it speaks to his growth as a character as he works to unravel his fate and the fate of all he loves. 

I can’t recommend this book enough, it was so much more than I expected. All the moments and conversations that Sam had with new characters were always fun to read, because, Sam, but they also had a ton of meaning and I ate them up. Sam is growing into himself and he’s pretty badass in the most charming of ways. Ryan is delicious and immaculate, of course and Tiggy is quietly and unassumingly brilliant. Gary and Kevin slay me and I couldn’t love them harder if I tried. Morgan and Randall broke my heart on a lot of different levels, for their past pains and the inadvertent pains created. The King is the leader we all wish we could have and the Prince is growing on me a little more every time he makes an appearance. The banter is delicious as expected and I snortled out loud repeatedly. 

I anxiously await meeting more dragons, skipping out on RL and joining the adventures of Sam and his band of heroes. 

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**