Bout-of-Books 25 Progress

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As usual, I’ll keep this post front and center for the duration of Bout-of-Books 25 so it’ll be easy for everyone to see how I’m doing. I have a couple of books that I know I’m going to read and most of them are ARCs. I may, once again, attempt to pick up an actual physical book, because I can’t honestly remember the last time I actually did that. *sigh* I usually have at least one book I’ve started and need to finish by the time Bout-of-Books starts, but I think I’ll be starting fresh on midnight. Other than that, I have a feeling that most of you will be just as surprised as me by what ends up on my reading list 😉 The only other thing that I promise myself every Bout-of-Books is to write reviews as I finish a book. I usually stick to that promise, but since I’m ahead on my reviews (Wahoo!), there may be a bit of a time lapse before they actually show up here. I do post them as soon as I write them on Goodreads and Amazon, so if you’re super curious, you can track them down there.

Once again, I hoping I get around to at least a couple of the Challenges during this Bout-of-Books because some of them sound really cool and I definitely plan on taking part in the Twitter Chats on Monday and Saturday, because they are a blast!

You have until Tuesday, May 14 at 11:59 pm (CST) to join in on the fun… after all, you were gonna read anyway, right? Why not join in on the epic craziness? You can sign up on the official Bout-of-Books site.

5/13
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: (1 Book, Approx. 393 Pages)

  • Started & Finished All Boy by Kia Merrick (Approx. 373 Pages)
  • Continued Open Season (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2) by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin (Approx. 20 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read:  (1 Book, Approx. 393 Pages)
Today’s #insixwords Challenge: First Day Down – One Book Down o.O
Books: 

  • Finished All Boy
  • Continued Open Season (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2)

5/14
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: (1 Book, Approx. 249 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: (2 Books, Approx. 642 Pages)
Today’s #insixwords Challenge: Another Day Down – Another Book Down 😉 
Books:

  • Finished All Boy
  • Continued Open Season (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2)
  • Finished Knave of Blades (Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga #1)
  • Started String Boys by Amy Lane 

4/15
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: (1 Book, Approx. 233 Pages)

  • Finished Open Season (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2) by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin (Approx. 50 Pages)
  • Continued String Boys by Amy Lane (183 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: (3 Books, Approx. 875 Pages)
Today’s #insixwords Challenge: Sleep is Highly Over Rated, Right?
Books:

  • Finished All Boy
  • Finished Open Season (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2)
  • Finished Knave of Blades (Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga #1)
  • Continued String Boys

5/16
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: (1 Book, Approx. 133 Pages)

  • Finished String Boys by Amy Lane (103 Pages)
  • Started Deep Trouble (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2) by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin (Approx. 30 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: (4 Books, Approx. 905 Pages)
Today’s #insixwords Challenge: All the feels, followed by scares
Books:

  • Finished All Boy
  • Finished Open Season (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2)
  • Finished Knave of Blades (Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga #1)
  • Finished String Boys
  • Started Deep Trouble (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2)

5/17
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: (1 Book, Approx. 166 Pages)

  • Finished Deep Trouble (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2) by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin (Approx. 100 Pages)
  • Started American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera (Approx. 66 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: (5 Books, Approx. 1071 Pages)
Today’s #insixwords Challenge: Friendly & Not So Friendly Ghosts
Books:

  • Finished All Boy
  • Finished Open Season (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2)
  • Finished Knave of Blades (Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga #1)
  • Finished String Boys
  • Finished Deep Trouble (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2)
  • Started American Fairytale (Dreamers #2)

5/18
Number of books & pages I’ve read today:
(Approx. 155 Pages)

  • Continued American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera (Approx. 155 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: (5 Books, Approx. 1226 Pages)
Today’s #insixwords Challenge:
 Work + Reading + Wedding = A Full Day!
Books:

  • Finished All Boy
  • Finished Open Season (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2)
  • Finished Knave of Blades (Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga #1)
  • Finished String Boys
  • Finished Deep Trouble (Spells, Salt, and Steel #2)
  • Continued American Fairytale (Dreamers #2)

5/19
Number of books & pages I’ve read today:
Total number of books & pages I’ve read:  
Today’s #insixwords Challenge:
Books:

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String Boys by Amy Lane (Bout-of-Books 25 Review)

Seth Arnold learned at an early age that two things in life could make his soul soar—his violin and Kelly Cruz. In Seth’s uncertain childhood, the kindness of the Cruz family, especially Kelly and his brother, Matty, gave Seth the stability to make his violin sing with the purest sound and opened a world of possibility beyond his home in Sacramento.
Kelly Cruz has loved Seth forever, but he knows Seth’s talents shouldn’t be hidden, not when the world is waiting. Encouraging Seth to follow his music might break Kelly’s heart, but he is determined to see the violin set Seth’s soul free. When their world is devastated by a violent sexual assault and Matty’s prejudices turn him from a brother to an enemy, Seth and Kelly’s future becomes uncertain.
Seth can’t come home and Kelly can’t leave, but they are held together by a love that they clutch with both hands.
Seth and Kelly are young and the world is wide—the only thing they know for certain is they’ll follow their heartstrings to each other’s arms whenever time and fate allow. And pray that one day they can follow that string to forever… before it slices their hearts in two.

That description? That doesn’t even come close to the heartbreak that surrounds Kelly and Seth in String Boys. I’m not opposed to angst. Honestly, just about any emotion filled M/M romance has to include some type of angst, but this one? The only reason that this book isn’t getting a solid 5 stars from me is because I couldn’t believe how much this author put these characters through – and I’m not just talking about Seth and Kelly. The whole Cruz/Arnold clan was put through more than most people would survive… but that’s also one of the big reasons I loved this story so much. This wasn’t just Kelly and Seth’s story, this was a story about two families who as a whole, kept each other from falling apart. ❤

It’s amazing how sometimes one event can change things forever. That moment in String Boys was a turning point for everyone, not just Seth and Kelly. It followed them and everyone else for years. The sad part is that not only did those events pull Seth and Kelly away from each other, it took another series of tragic events to bring them back together.

They may have lost time together and both of them had to grow up a lot faster than most kids, but they never really “lost” each other. Their love and devotion toward each other was sometimes the only hope either one of them had. I cherished those moments that they got to share as their story unfolded almost as much as they did.

String Boys is as heartbreaking as it is heart warming. It begins when the boys are in elementary school and follows them to young adulthood. There’s a lot of emotion packed into this one. Some characters redeem themselves and some just dig themselves deeper. My heart broke for Seth as a young boy, but he wasn’t alone, which makes all the difference. Although both families had more than their share of tragedy, they never lost hope – at least not for very long.

Finally reaching their well deserved and long over-due HEA, is almost enough to forgive this author’s torture. Almost. On a side note, after the cameo at the end of String Boys, I’m now moving Red Fish, Dead Fish, which is the second book in Amy Lane’s Fish Out of Water series, up on my reading list. 😉

Knave of Blades (Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga #1) by S.M. Reine & Rory Hume (Bout-of-Books 25 Review)

They are destined to find each other…
Allene Whelan is scavenging through the ruins of post-apocalypse Oregon when she finds a strange tarot card, the Knave of Blades. Touching it awakens her magic—the power of the sylph, a rare and deadly seelie sidhe who can defeat any other of her kind. Her pollen is intoxicating. Her magic is irresistible. And she’s suddenly at the center of the Autumn Court’s war against the rebellious True Kingdom.
She’s the only person who might be able to defeat Macsen, the prophesied Fenrir who will one day grow big enough to devour the world. But first she needs to make herself strong enough to face him, and that means collecting power as only a sylph can. Joining the Raven Knights means committing more than her life to defeating the True Kingdom. She’s committing her soul…and her body.

There’s a cute little intro for Knave of Blades that gives readers a time frame reference. This book starts not long after Genesis – an apocalyptic event in the Decentverse that changed everything. As with all series in this immense world created by S.M. Reine, Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga can be read as a stand alone series, but I’m pretty sure, once you start, you’re going to want more. Trust me, I’ve been delving into this world for years and I still get excited when I find out there’s going to be a new release. Each series in this world is just a little bit different and gives you a totally different perspective. Not all of them are quite as full of “smexiness” as any of the books that deal with the Tarot Witches, but what do you expect from Sidhe? 😉

Allene’s life changed, just like everyone else who survived, after Genesis. That was nothing compared to how it changed after finding the tarot card, the Knave of Blades. Once she finds Leander and Keane, things get even crazier… or sexier… and a little dangerous and… Well, let’s just say a lot happens in a lot of really interesting ways.

Readers learned a lot in Knave of Blades, but there’s still a lot of questions, especially after that ending… Cliff hanger isn’t a strong enough term for how things were left on that final page… especially after… well, you’ll just have to read Knave of Blades to find out.

There was so much to love about Knave of Blades. The supporting characters were what I’ve come to expect from this author… witty, strong, well developed and with just enough mystery surrounding them to keep things interesting. I loved the little connections that were woven into this one – those are the things that make me itch to re-read previous books in this series to see what I missed or other little hints I can pick up.

So… start here or visit S.M. Reine’s website to see if anything else catches your fancy, but please do yourself a favor and give one of this author’s books a try. You’re welcome 😉

All Boy by Mia Kerick (Bout-of-Books 25 Review)

Seventeen-year-old Callie Canter knows all about screwing up—and being screwed over. After her so-called boyfriend publicly humiliated her senior year, taking a fifth year of high school at Beaufort Hills Academy is her second chance to leave behind a painful past. But her need for social acceptance follows, and going along with the in-crowd is the difference between survival and becoming a target. Staying off the radar is top priority. So, falling for an outsider is the last thing on Callie’s “to-do” list. Too bad her heart didn’t get the memo.
With his strict, religious upbringing and former identity far away in Florida, Jayden Morrissey can finally be true to himself at Beaufort Hills Academy. But life as a trans man means keeping secrets, and keeping secrets means not getting too close to anyone. If he can just get through his fifth year unnoticed, maybe a future living as the person he was born to be is possible. Yet love is love, and when you fall hard enough, intentions crumble, plans detour, and secrets are revealed.

The first thing I need to say is that All Boy was not an easy book to read. Sometimes, those are the best books though. That’s one of the reasons why my reading is so eclectic. I love learning about people from all walks of life and “seeing” and “feeling” things from a totally different perspective.

My heart broke for both of these kids, but mostly for Jayden. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Callie for a while in All Boy. Given what she went through in her previous school I really expected her to be a little bit more sympathetic. She still made some of the same bad decisions that she made in high school, which is kind of a normal teenage thing, but again, I still felt like she should have known better. She eventually came around, but it was almost too late.

The biggest difference between Callie and Jayden was the fact that Callie had lots of support and Jayden had no one. Jayden was getting there. He knew that keeping his biggest secret was probably going to back fire and getting closer to people that he was trying to keep it from was going to end up hurting someone, he just had no idea exactly how bad it could be…

There were some great supporting characters in All Boy and there were some characters who I really didn’t like. Jayden did have a couple of family members he could rely on, but the others weren’t just unsupportive, they were borderline cruel. This is definitely a book that makes you feel to the point that I wanted to jump in and protect Jayden from the world he felt trapped in. I wasn’t as drawn into All Boy as I was with The Princess of Baker Street, but I can tell you that as far as both stories go, this author seems to be doing an amazing job of enlightening readers to at least some of the struggles kids who just want to be true to themselves have to go through.

Running on Empty (Havoc #3) by S.E. Jakes

After a brutal capture at the hands of the Heathens Motorcycle Club, Linc is just trying to heal, mentally and physically. But he’s got men in his life who are complicating everything. There’s Mercy—a Havoc MC biker and the man he is falling fast for—plus an undercover ATF agent and a rogue Havoc member.
But Mercy’s keeping him at arm’s length, and Linc is spinning. In an attempt to regain his equilibrium, he heads to the bar where he first met Mercy. Night after night, he escapes Havoc bonds and continues down his merry path of mayhem . . . mainly in the hopes that Mercy will give chase.
Since Linc’s capture by his old MC, Mercy’s been dealing with the fallout of his guilt. He’s trying to give Linc space and still watch over him—all without Linc’s knowledge. But with Linc’s old job calling and a threat to Havoc MC heating up, can they make their way back together?

I liked Running on Empty, but to honest, this one was my least favorite in the Havoc series so far. I think it’s a “me” thing though and I blame it totally on my feelings toward Mercy. I’m not the only one who was less than impressed with the way Mercy was acting though and I’m not talking about fellow readers. His brothers in Havoc and even others weren’t real happy with him either.

I understand his hesitance, but he almost gave Linc too much time. After everything that Linc endured in Running Blind, he needed Mercy, even though he was trying to push him away. He had other people to be there for him. He was broken and it took him a while to start feeling anything close to normal. When Mercy finally made his move, Linc knew in his heart that it was only out of guilt, it couldn’t be because he actually cared. Mercy wasn’t ready to let Linc know how he really felt, mostly because he didn’t think he deserved Linc’s love. *sigh*

Things get even messier when Linc has to face letting people he’s closest to know that there’s a huge part of his life he’s kept hidden. Mercy isn’t the only one with secrets that have the potential to harm those around him. Needless to say, there was a lot happening in Running on Empty. Some of the danger is taken care of by the end, but it’s obvious that things are far from over. I have no idea what’s next for Havoc, but I can’t wait to find out.

Reverb (Twisted Wishes #3) by Anna Zabo

The tougher they are, the harder they fall.
Twisted Wishes bass player Mish Sullivan is a rock goddess—gorgeous, sexy and comfortable in the spotlight. With fame comes unwanted attention, though: a stalker is desperate to get close. Mish can fend for herself, just as she always has. But after an attack lands her in the hospital, the band reacts, sticking her with a bodyguard she doesn’t need or want.
David Altet has an instant connection with Mish. A certified badass, this ex-army martial arts expert can take down a man twice his size. But nothing—not living as a trans man, not his intensive military training—prepared him for the challenge of Mish. Sex with her is a distraction neither of them can afford, yet the hot, kink-filled nights keep coming.
When Mish’s stalker ups his game, David must make a choice—lover or bodyguard. He’d rather have Mish alive than in his bed. But Mish wants David, and no one, especially not a stalker, will force her to give him up.

Oh Mish, she considered herself the protector of the members of Twisted Wishes – her family. When the tables were turned and she was the one in need of protecting, she didn’t take it very well. She would have put up more of a fight if not for her almost instant attraction to David.

I know that at least a couple of readers are going to get immediately thrown off by the fact that Reverb isn’t a M/M romance like Syncopation and Counterpoint. What Reverb is, is a queer romance that totally fits with this series and my advice to anyone who is on the fence is to give it a chance.

I think what I loved most about this book is that David’s sexual orientation never comes into question with anyone around Mish. There’s never any shock or hesitance or anything like that at all. Mish cares about David and as long as David treats her right, who cares? The fact that he’s a trans man is a total non-issue. The whole time I was reading Reverb I was thinking to myself… why can’t it be like this for everyone? I also loved the quiet, support that David gave to more than one fan along with way.

The stalker issue was just another layer to this story. I enjoyed the suspense, but to me it was just a catalyst to get David and Mish together. The “who” wasn’t quite as important as the drama he caused, but that’s not a complaint, just an opinion…

I have to admit, as much as I loved and respected David, I got pretty aggravated with him more than once. As much as he cared about Mish, he ended up hurting them both. Thank goodness for the supporting characters who were, unsurprisingly, there for both of them – whether they wanted them to be or not. In the end, Twisted Wishes did as much to support David as he was hired to protect them.

I know that this is slated to be the last book in the Twisted Wishes series and if so, it ended on a pretty good note. There are a couple of loose ends that I’d love to learn more about and a couple of characters I wouldn’t mind getting to know better, so I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to a little bit more 😉

You, Me, and the Voodoo Queen (A Malveaux Curse Mystery #2) by G.A. Chase

Things get complicated when you don’t know what you’re voodooing.
Kendell Summer just can’t catch a break. All she wants is one good passionate kiss from her paranormal partner, Myles, but in the midst of their embrace, she hears a distress message coming from a passing paddle wheeler. Her band, Polly Urethane and the Strippers, is in trouble. Once again, she must drop everything and rush to the rescue while relying on Myles to have her back.
Unfortunately, the events that unfold while she’s saving her friends only plunge her deeper into the dreaded Malveaux curse and threaten Myles with a fate worse than death. Kendell will need everyone she trusts, including her loyal dog, Cheesecake, to help her save his soul.

Not sure why, but this one started out kind of slow for me, well, maybe not started out slow? It hit a point where it kind of dragged along, but trust me, that didn’t last long. You, Me, and the Voodoo Queen picked up pretty much where Dog Days of Voodoo left off. Kendell and Myles are still in the “getting to know you” stage of their relationship, but both of them are ready to move on to the next phase. The only problem is, trouble seems to follow – and sometimes even beckon them at every turn.

Myles wants to protect Kendell, Kendell wants to protect Myles and Cheesecake wants to protect them all… Yeah, things get kind of crazy… uh… crazier? in You, Me, and the Voodoo Queen. They end up putting their trust in someone Myles doesn’t trust at all and he hates what he sees it doing to Kendell. Before  they realize what’s happening… well, it’s all par for the course when it comes to Myles and Kendell. They even reach out to some very unlikely allies while trying to… well, you’ll have to read You, Me, and the Voodoo Queen to see who exactly is being saved from what.

I loved the twists, turns and even the bad guys – well, at least some of them. I’m also loving this trip into the background characters from The Devil’s Daughter. One of the best parts is getting to know the characters that play such and important role in Serephine’s life and seeing exactly how they got there. I can’t wait to see where each series goes from here. 😉

Keeping a Warrior (Loving a Warrior #2) by Melanie Hansen

Sometimes the only hope for the walking wounded is in each other’s arms.
Devon Lowe is a survivor.
A survivor of war. Of combat. And of a betrayal by men she considered her brothers-in-arms. But her trailblazing work as a Cultural Support Team member working alongside the navy SEALs is too important for her to back down now.
Fresh off a painful breakup, air force pararescueman Rhys Halloran recognizes Devon’s trauma for what it is—something that’s left her isolated but far from irreparably damaged.
With Devon’s trust still lying shattered back in Afghanistan, putting her faith in a man who’s nursing a broken heart isn’t easy. But she’s tired of people making her feel weak, and Rhys makes her feel anything but, sparking a heated attraction that was never part of the plan.
With all eyes on Devon to prove herself in a brutal man’s world, having it all will mean putting her heart on the line like never before. But when it comes to Rhys, it’s an uphill battle she’s ready to fight.

I know that some readers are going to be thrown by the fact that Keeping a Warrior is not a M/M romance, especially since the first book in the series was. I really hope that even so, readers give this one a chance. There was a lot to love about Keeping a Warrior and for the record, both Shane and Matt from Loving a Warrior, play a big role in this one – along with their drama. The support they receive from both Rhys and Devon is amazing to see. I personally love it when an author branches out and doesn’t stick to one genre for everything they write.

Devon and Rhys were both broken and neither one of them were looking for romance. It was actually the furtherest thing from either of their minds. Devon had been hurt, both physically and mentally, by people she should have been able to trust. She loved her job and she had learned from previous experience how to be vigilant to protect herself. She knew in her heart though that Rhys was different. She felt close to him… safe… from the beginning. Rhys had baggage though and getting attached would be a mistake, especially since he was on the rebound.

Rhys had his own fears about getting attached, but the pull was too strong to ignore. He was happy being Devon’s friend, but that wasn’t going to make their inevitable parting any easier to take. Pieces of his heart were going to go with her and the closer they got the more dangerous that became.

I loved these two together, but I also loved the friendships that developed between them and the rest of the characters. They were a tight knit group and they ALL had each others’ backs. It was the way it was supposed to be and that did as much for Devon as the support she was getting from Rhys.

I’m loving the Loving a Warrior series and I’m kind of hoping that there’s more to come. Regardless, I need to go back and read Loving a Warrior. Seeing them in Keeping a Warrior made me want to go back and see if there’s anything I missed. Any excuse for a re-read, right? 😉

Sons of Darkness (Night Vigil #1) by Gail Z. Martin

We are the Night Vigil.
The run-down convenience store, the all-night diner, the last-ditch shelter, or seedy motel, the redneck bar and the emergency room, and all the other places open on the graveyard shift—they’re Hell’s hunting grounds, full of easy marks and desperate souls, prey for evil things out there in the dark.
We keep the Vigil, looking for the ones who can still be saved, the ones who aren’t too far gone. We’re the misfits and the muck-ups, unwanted by Heaven or Hell, given one last chance to atone for all the mistakes and missed chances, the pain we’ve caused others and ourselves, the good things we were afraid to do, and the bad things we embraced with open arms. We work the night shift because that’s when evil walks. We’re the clerk in the all-night liquor store, the server in the 24-hour diner, the long-haul trucker who only drives at night, the counter person in the convenience store, the dog shift nurse. We recognize the evil when we see it, and we use the skills we honed with blood and fire to stop it, whatever it takes.
Unfinished business ties us to the mortal world, to make atonement, find absolution, satisfy retribution, get things right. You won’t find a sorrier group of halfway house heroes. No illusions left—about ourselves, humanity, or what’s really out there in the darkness. Just a purpose, to go down fighting the good fight. Because this is our last chance.
One final chance to make it right, the thin red line of humanity against the evil that goes bump in the night, your best hope to make it through the hour of the wolf
When a series of disappearances, suicides, and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, demon-hunting ex-priest Travis Dominick teams up with former special ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.

So, I mentioned when I finished Sons of Darkness that it was a pleasant surprise. What I didn’t mention is that when I started this book I suffered from a serious case of Déjà Vu. You see, I went into this book totally in the dark (no pun intended.) I had just finished Dark Rivers and within the first few chapters I realized that a lot of these characters and places sounded awfully familiar. So familiar that I couldn’t ignore it so I did a little bit of research. Turns out I wasn’t going nuts. I knew that there was a connection between Morgan Brice’s Witchbane and Badlands series. What I didn’t know was that Morgan Brice and Gail Z. Martin are one in the same and Travis and Brent make an appearance in Dark Rivers. What is even better is that Gail Z. Martin and her husband, Larry N. Martin have another series that ties into all these series, Spells, Salt, & Steel – which BTW, I’m currently reading. Lots and lots of books! I’m one happy reader 😉

As for Sons of Darkness? Wow… a lot happened in this story. At first glance it seemed like a lot of random coincidences, but the scary part was that they were all tied together. Travis and Brent didn’t meet under the best of circumstances. It was actually pretty lucky that Travis found Brent when he did, although Brent didn’t appreciate it at the time. They were both a little “prickly” but I loved getting to know them. They both had their trusted contacts and the longer they worked together, the more they realized that they might actually need each other. They also both had pasts with groups that were trying to reel them back in. Groups that neither one of them wanted to have anything to do with, for good reason.

The danger was real in Sons of Darkness and although Travis and Brent were used to relying on their friends, neither one of them were really anxious to work with each other. That changed quickly with a little supernatural shove from Brent’s past. To end the terror that was threatening the area they had to rely on more than each other and risk more than they expected.

There were a lot of interesting twists and turns and the supporting characters, some that readers had met before, were just another thing to love about Sons of Darkness. I personally love it when one series run parallel to another series – in this case, more than one series. The connections are fun and the possibilities are endless, which is great. Through my “research” I found out that there’s lots more to come for Brent and Travis. I’ve quite literally found a literary gold mine and I can’t wait to see what Gail Z. Martin, Larry Martin and Larry N. Martin have in store for readers next. 😉

 

Play it Again by Aidan Wayne

When Seattle-based blind YouTuber Dovid Rosenstein finds Sam Doyle’s Let’s Play channel, playitagainsam, he’s instantly captivated by the Irish gamer. Everything about Sam is adorable, from his accent to his personality, and Dovid can’t get enough of his content.
Dovid’s glowing shout-out on Don’t Look Now, his own successful channel, sends Sam’s subscriber numbers skyrocketing overnight. He has more comments than he can read. And while the sudden surge in popularity is anxiety inducing, Sam decides it’s only right to dedicate his next episode to Dovid…which soon leads to a heart-pounding exchange of DMs.
They may have never met in person, but Dovid’s never felt this close to anyone before. What they have feels worth exploring—no matter the distance. But is it possible to already be in love with someone who’s half a world away?

Honestly, this one was too cute not to like. I loved Dovid from the time he and his sister explained to the YouTube world how to pronounce his name. Which, by the way, was a very clever intro, because even with the assistance, I still found myself stumbling over the pronunciation more than a quarter of the way through the book. It also made me smile when Sam was nervous about making sure he got it right, so he wouldn’t insult Dovid. 🙂

Sam was the kind of guy you just wanted to hug. He lacked self-confidence, which wasn’t entirely his fault. When everything you lack is drummed into you from a very early age by people who should always build you up, it’s hard to see the good in yourself.

Fair warning, there’s an awful lot of info about YouTube-ing in Play it Again. There’s also like zero sexual romance. That doesn’t stop this story from being a sweet romance though, just not heated. Which is okay, but kind of left me wondering, or maybe hoping that things really work out for these two… you’ll understand why once you read Play it Again. Love has a way of working things out though, so I do have hope for Sam and Dovid.

On a side note, I’m really not a fan of YouTube “play” videos. That’s probably because I’m not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination and my grandkids could literally watch them for hours… and I just don’t get it. Maybe if I could find someone like Sam to watch…?

This isn’t my first Aidan Wayne book and I’ve got to say, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I pick up one of their books. I always walk away learning something… (Loud and Clear, Counter Balance) and that’s a good thing 😉