Could You Love An Apple? (Becky Jerams)

Taylor Raven is starting over.

After a few difficult college years, he has decided to finally move away from Havensdale (and away from his father) to take a tennis coaching course in the tiny village of Westerfield.

The peaceful country life is exactly what Taylor needs to get away from it all. However, it is also incredibly lonely living by himself in the middle of nowhere. And no matter how far he runs, Taylor just can’t seem to escape the mistakes of his past.

As he struggles to find any kind of meaningful connection, he comes across a place on the outskirts of the village that will soon change everything. The Apple Inn – a pub run by a curious, slightly eccentric family who welcome Taylor into their world with open arms.

Soon Taylor finds his guard dropping, particularly around the kind and fun-loving son of the family, Benjamin Apple. But the closer Taylor gets, the more he feels compelled to pull away…

Can Taylor ever fall in love again when the one obstacle in his way… is himself?

Hey guys! I don’t know if you remember – it was along time ago – but I read the first book of this series a while back, Reasons to Love a Nerd Like Me, and I really enjoyed it at the time. So when Becky Jerams asked me if I wanted to read and review the sequel, I of course said yes. But I have to say, even though I did like the theme of the story and the overall plot, I had some major problems with the characters, some actions, and most of all, some things said within the book. I’ll try to explain the best I can, without giving it much away, ok?

This book follows Taylor, who was a very important character in book 1 of this series, as in, he was Scotty’s first love and also his bully. Taylor does have a transformative arc in the first book, and he regrets what he did to Scotty immensely, and they are even able to get past it and become good friends. While I liked his arc on the first book, the friendship was something that was always just a bit too much for me, but I rolled with it.

Now, a couple of years later, Taylor is trying to rebuild his life distant from his toxic father, and far away from the town he grew up with, and acted horrible. While trying to keep his distance from everyone, he ends up meeting the Apples and he forges a relationship with Benjamin, and the two of them face a lot of problems and setbacks to be able to be together.

My first huge problem with this book was how unlikable I found Taylor. He was already not easy to love due to his past, but even understanding his issues and knowing where he’s coming from, it was kind of hard for me to like Taylor when he was treating people terribly. This was sort of mild when he was trying to keep people away from him, but there’s a point in the book when he says horrible things to Benjamin, and while I understand that Taylor has some serious issues, he did believe the things he said and I don’t think they’re excusable.

With that said, I did like Taylor’s growth. He goes through some major things in this book, and he’s overall trying to be a better person, and he is. I really liked Benjamin though, even if I’m not sure he was always a consistent character.

This romance develops kind of slow, and for the most part, I liked Taylor and Benj together, they were so different that they kind of balanced each other out. I also liked the overall story and plot, so that was a major point FOR the book. But the relationship does go through a lot of stuff, and I didn’t think they were all necessary, to be honest.

Now, my major, and I mean MAJOR issue with this book was the homophobic language and messages. I found this extremely problematic.

The first thing that truly bothered me came from Taylor himself, a gay character, when he insinuates that being topped during sex is somehow bad, or would make him somehow LESS. That it would be a source of shame. I do understand that Taylor has not come to terms with his sexuality completely and lives with some huge hangups, but the whole language and situation were just wrong. And while he later sort of understands that he’s not “less of a man” for it, I still felt like that wasn’t enough to make up for all the hate speech done earlier.

One other thing was the homophobic language and stereotyping done by some secondary characters. Homophobic people will always exist and ignorant people too, but the impact wouldn’t be so huge if the characters had less dialogue page time, because they were really not important. Most of those comments were not necessary and didn’t contribute to the story at all, so they weren’t useful at all, and they made me seriously dislike this book.

Finally, I have to talk about the writing and the pacing. One of my issues with the first book was its length, and at the time I thought that book 1 could have used some editing, because it dragged on a bit. I have to be honest and say that I felt like this one dragged even more. It took me a long long time to get through it. And I also wasn’t a huge fan of the way the more intimate scenes were written, and I didn’t feel like there was a seamless flow, you know?

Either way, to sum it up a bit, because I do realize that the last few paragraphs have been kind of negative… I did like the story and some of the characters, especially the Apples. I saw a huge potential in the plot, but I couldn’t totally enjoy it due to the issues mentioned above. Not really liking the MC is a huge issue for me, and that along with everything else, didn’t make for a very enjoyable reading experience.

Goodbye Paradise (Sarina Bowen)


Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

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As usual, I read this book as a buddy read with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too, so go to her blog in the next few days to read her take on Goodbye Paradise.

Ever since I heard about this book, I’ve been super excited to read it. Why? It’s Sarina Bowen! Enough said! So far, I’ve read quite a few (almost all) of her books, and I loved them all, so yeah, I was ecstatic 😀 .

I really liked this book, and once again, I cried like a baby – which did not surprise Cátia, because like she so eloquently put it “everything makes you cry”… TRUE! But hey, this was painful.

I really liked the writing and the way this book is structured. Goodbye Paradise is told through both perspectives of Josh and Caleb, but it isn’t alternating. Instead we have blocks narrated by Josh and others from Caleb’s POV, which gives an interesting dynamic to the story, as in, we’re not sure at first what’s going on on Caleb’s head, and so on. They also have completely different voices, which I loved, and it went right along with their personalities.

I loved both boys, but mostly Josh. Josh had lived on the compound (a.k.a. CULT) all his life, with very little to no interaction with the real world. His head was messed up. He thought that his likes and his wants were sins. He was plagued between the feeling of happiness and guilt. And my heart broke for this guy. But he also has an amazing character development, and the first time he truly stands up for himself, I had tears in my eyes.

Caleb had a little different background, because even though he had grown up with Josh, he had outside world privileges, so he knew what he was missing, and he knew that there was a better life for them waiting on the outside. Caleb was also more confident and sure of himself.

I liked their relationship a lot. These guys had been in love for all their lives without truly acknowledging that, so it was so good to see how their relationship evolved after they left.

One thing I wasn’t truly expecting but truly liked was the pacing and the time span of the book. The book emcompasses over one year of their lives, and shows how they adapt to the world. Nothing is hurried and everything takes a long time to be achieved, whether a job or the ability to be honest about their feelings to other people. This is also mostly a character driven story, and I loved the growth that both boys did during the book, and the bonds of family, friendship and love they created. I really loved how they achieved a good step on their relationship, and they became more equals. I loved that.

Also, Josh and the kids? ADORABLE!!!

It’s tough for me not to compare this book to Him and Us, because Jamie and Wes have my heart, but I really enjoyed Cable and Josh’s story, though the Him series will forever be my favorite.

One thing to keep in mind is that even though Caleb and Josh left a religious cult, the religious aspects of this book are very minimal. And on the other hand, they sure get to explore all that sexual tension that built up for years and years…

If you’re a fan of Sarina Bowen, and love a good romance, give this one a chance.

Cover Reveal: Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Check out the cover of Sarina Bowen’s new M/M New Adult ROmance, Goodbye Paradise!


Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye #1)
Formerly In Front of God & Everyone (Pay It Forward #1)
by Sarina Bowen
Book 1 of the Hello Goodbye duology
Scheduled to release: March 21st 2017


Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. 

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. 

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. 

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? 

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.


Goodbye Paradise and Hello Forever had been published before in 2015 under different titles and a different author, but are now being released again, and I’m so excited for these books! These are M/M romances, and I’ve loved Sarina’s previous books, so I’m ecstatic for these.

Also, I’m kind of in love with these covers… 😀

Falling for the Player (Jessica Lee)


Bad boy and former NFL running back Patrick Guinness is tired of meaningless sex. Ever since his scorching hot one-night stand three years ago, no one has interested him. So when Max Segreti wanders into his mechanic shop — and his life again — Patrick can’t stop thinking about the totally-out-of-his-league law grad and the possibility of getting him out of his system once and for all…

Max Segreti has spent his entire life doing what his father wants. But when he runs into the hotter-than-hell player he’s never been able to forget, he’s not thinking about studying for the bar. A distraction is the last thing he needs, but after an encounter leaves him wanting more, Max embraces the chaos that Patrick brings…even as he knows it can’t last. They’re too different to ever have a future together.

People… I have a problem! If I come across a sports romance on Netgalley, I want to request it. I kind of request it faster if it’s a LGBT+ romance – I blame this one the fact that one of my favorite books of the past year was a M/M sports romance… Jamie and Wes ruined me. Because Falling for the Player was my first book of the year of 2017 and it was not good.

First of all I didn’t like the writing. The book is told in the 3rd person and dual POV, but the problem is that the two guys didn’t have distinct voices, even though they were super different characters. But each time a chapter began, it took me a few sentences before I realized whose POV I was supposed to be reading, Max or Patrick’s. I read a lot of dual POVs romances, and this was a huge issue for me. But apart from that, the writing in general did nothing for me, I was especially not a fan of the amount of times that the word “lover” was used.

Now about the characters… I thought they were ok, but Max and Patrick ended up feeling a little one dimensional, and the fact that they went about the big decisions on their lives all wrong, didn’t help it. I just didn’t connect with the characters or their romance…

These dudes meet one night, talk TV Shows and Movies, end up hooking up and then they don’t see each other for 3 years… no contact, nothing! But when they see each other again, they can’t keep away, and I didn’t quite get that connection. I’ve read a load of books with instalove, and it’s something that might work, if the characters are well written, but it just didn’t here.

The one thing I actually did like was Liam, Patrick’s 18 yo brother, because he made sense to me. Another thing that I would have liked a lot, if circumstances were different, was the actual reason for the “falling apart”, because I did like that theme, I just thought it wasn’t handled right.

There were some very weird and WTF moments in this book, and I need to share some of them, because I kind of need to get it out of my chest, so be warned, there will be mild SPOILERS ahead:

  • There’s a gratuitous scene of voyerism, where Max and Patrick watch a gay couple having sex at a club. It didn’t feel natural and I didn’t see any logic in it. Max asks Patrick if he’s trying to “shock” him, and he says maybe, but it doesn’t make any sense, because just a minute before the guy was thinking of what a terrible idea it was for them to meet at that club. BTW, all the scenes in that club were weird!
  • Max’s dad was not exactly on good terms with his son’s sexuality, meaning that he’s OK with Max being gay, as long as not in public. He asks him not to take a male date to this huge fundraiser party (in the name of his dad’s company). So Max obviously decides to take Patrick without really trying to even have a conversation with his dad EVER, and without actually letting Patrick know how important this is. It was a huge no for me.
  • Then, Max being Max again, after they have been broken up for 2 weeks, as soon as they talk on the phone, Max decided to introduce Patrick to his family, in this big dinner thing, but without actually telling Patrick where it is that he’s going. Also, they didn’t even talk about whether they were back together or not… BAHHHH!

So, this was not a good way to start the year, but I’m sure my next reads will be slightly better. I had high hopes for this one, but unfortunately, I really didn’t enjoy it. But it might be a ME problem, so give it a chance if you feel like it 😉 .

#Rev (GearShark #2) (Cambria Hebert)


Trent Mask puts the REV in revolution.
A line has been drawn.
Indie vs Pro
Here at GearShark, we’re straddling that line to bring you exclusive coverage of what some have dubbed the war of racing.
Every war starts with a spark and ends in revolution.
Drew Forrester was the spark,
but his second-in-command is the REVolution.
What does it take to stand brave in the face of opposition?
Resolve of steel…
Stubborn will…
And a heart that refuses to give up.
It isn’t just the drivers in this war.
The revolution is about more than just racing.
It’s about shattering labels and taking risks.
So we asked Trent Mask: Truth or Dare?
His answer?

Check out the full feature article inside…

*This is book 2 in the GearShark series.
This book contains french fries, fast cars and two men in love.

A little while back I reviewed the first book of this series, #Junkie, be sure to read that review, because it’s quite difficult for me to separate both books completely.

#Rev starts exactly where #Junkie lets off, with the aftermath of an horrible attack on Trent and the couple dealing with it. Trent is clear in what he wants, he never ever wants Drew to be in danger, he can’t bear the thought of the love of his life being hurt. But Drew doesn’t accept that easily, and had to fight to convince Trent that they’re better together, stronger.


While in the first book they both have to come to terms with their sexuality and their feelings towards one another, in this second book they have to deal with what the world thinks of their love and how the people they love will react. That’s the whole theme of this book: the coming out.

I liked this second book better than the first one. I thought that their voices were more distinct, the fact that I had already read a whole book about them helped a lot, and their romance was even sweeter and more swoon-worthy than book 1. There’s no doubt that these 2 were meant to be. It also has less car racing in it, which is good in my opinion.


I did feel like the book dragged a bit, and it was over the top romantic and extra sweet at times. As well as some strong co-dependency… let’s chalk it out to the honeymoon period that never faded. I also disliked some of the reactions they got to their relationship. Although negative backlash was to be expected, I somehow thought they would have some support from at least some important people in their lives…

To sum it up, this was an enjoyable duology, and Trent and Drew have their own (small) space on my heart. If you enjoy a good M/M romance, give this series a try.


#Junkie (GearShark #1) (Cambria Hebert)


Drew Forrester is a total adrenaline junkie. 

His high of choice? Cars. The faster, the better.

He’s been making waves in Maryland’s underground racing circuit since he crossed the state line, and after speaking with him, we know he’s not hitting the brakes anytime soon.

So what exactly does it take to burn rubber and make a name for yourself in a world where the only rule is there are no rules? 

You gotta be hungry… You gotta have balls… And you can never back down.

What’ve we learned here at GearShark? Drew is all of the above.  

We also know he’s got some secrets buried under his hood. Secrets we think are loaded with octane and just might set the world of cars on fire.

Check out the full feature article inside…

** This book contains an M/M romance relationship. **

Oh wow, this review took me long enough to write… ups! I’m here now, so lets do it!

After reading Him and Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy a while back, I was curious to try another M/M romance, to see if my love for the Him series was just a fluke. So when I came across this book, with high ratings, and a good price, I decided to give this series a shot.

First of all, let me just say that I love this cover. The format of the cover and the blurb are unique, and they catch your attention. The fact that both things are actually part of the book, is a plus. However, the blurb is not informative at all, and if it wasn’t for the warning I would never would have guessed that this is a M/M romance.

To sum it up a bit, given that this info is nowhere, this book is told in dual POV, from Drew and Trent’s perspectives. Drew and Trent are best friends, and treat each other like family, until they realize that what they feel for each other goes over the friendship line. So they have to realize what this means, what do they want out of each of their lives and of each other.

I liked the writing for the most part, but it was too introspective at times, which worked sometimes, but was not necessary during most of the book. Also, can I say that it was a little bit too mushy?

I will admit that I was majorly confused when I started this book. The reason? Despite this being a new series, these characters, and the secondary characters, were introduced in the Hashtag series… which is quite a big series. So it took me awhile to grasp completely the relationships and concept of family between all members of their group.

I liked both Trend and Drew, though contrary to Jamie and Wes in Him and Us, it did take me sometime to differentiate their voices. They are ultimately very different people, but it shows a lot more when they are with each other than when they’re with everybody else, and I had to check more than once whose chapter I was in fact reading.

The romance is slow and oh so sweet, and their moments together were definitly my favorite part of this book. I liked how in it they were, there was never a chance in either of their minds that they would be something less than together. Completely. I really liked that, they were kind of perfect.

I’m not the biggest fan of racing – not at all in fact – but I did like the concept created here, and the descriptions of the races were cool. Also cool, and a bit sad too, was the dynamic Trent had inside his frat house – you’ll see what I mean.

You have to keep in mind, however, that this book is not a standalone, it ends on a cliffhanger, and for you to read the whole story and for it to make sense and for you to be satisfied with it, you need to read both books of this series.

Ultimatly I think I would have enjoyed it better if I had read the Hashtag series before, and if this book and the next one, #Rev, would have been condensed into one, because the book ran way too long and slow at times. I would still highly recommend it if you like sports romance, and M/M romance.

Us (Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy)


Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated? 

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves — Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.  

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

This book! THIS BOOK!!! I loved the first book, Him, but this one? OMG! Us will forever be in my list of favorite books because it just messed with my emotions so damn much.

Once again the writing was perfect, Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen are a hell of an amazing team. And Jamie and Wes are as perfect as ever! And I loved to see their relationship develop and all the issues that came from it.


I was so afraid throughout all the book, because it showed that no matter how much you love someone, life can still mess things up, and sometimes love is not enough. 😦 My heart was breaking for Jamie and Wes during this book, so much, I wanted to cry 😦 (I might have cried a few times for real).

I loved the role of the family and friends in this story, and I absolutely adored Blake and I’m so so excited that he will have his own book, because he was a TRUE friend to Wes and Jamie, even if they took a little while to see how awesome he truly was.


Overall I loved this book beyond words. I loved Wes and Jamie falling in love in Him, but watching their relationship in this book was amazing and perfect and painful. I would read anything about these two, I just love them that much.

Him (Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy)


They don’t play for the same team. Or do they? 

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died. 

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever. 

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself. 

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

Guys, this series, wow, just wow, I’m in love with it! Here’s the story though, last month I read a LGBT book that I didn’t love at all, South of Sunshine, and I wanted and needed a LGBT romance that would knock my socks off. So, after having seen a few awesome reviews of Him, I took a trip to Amazon Kindle store and bought Him and Us. I started this book that same night and I couldn’t put it down.

The writing is perfect! I’m a huge fan of male POVs, and I’m a huge fan of Hockey books, and this book has it all. I was worried for a moment that Jamie and Wes’ voices wouldn’t be distinctive enough to tell the two guys apart, but I shouldn’t have worried, because the boys are so awesomely different.

I love Jamie and Wes so much. SO MUCH!!! I love how different they are and how they totally complete each other. SO GOOD!


The romance was so swoon worthy. I love BFFs to lovers romances, because they’re awesome, and this one didn’t disappoint at all. And even though Wes always had feelings for Jamie, and Jamie didn’t (or he just didn’t name them), I never once doubted how much Jamie cared for his best friend. Also, I loved how Jamie came to terms with his sexuality, he’s awesome.

I can’t say I loved this enough. If you like New Adult romances, and you’re cool with M/M explicit scenes, I BEG YOU TO READ THIS! You won’t be sorry. I will read anything that Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen write, that’s for sure.