Life, Some Assembly Required (The Rebuilding Year #2) by Kaje Harper

Penny’s Rating: A ~I have had this review on my to-do list for far too long. First of all, let me say that this is a great series. The Rebuilding Year was one of the books I read within my first year of discovering gay fiction. I loved it then and have reread it several times over the past few years. So when Kaje Harper announced that she was releasing a sequel, I knew that reviewing it was inevitable. Let me preface this by saying that if you have not read The Rebuilding Year, go do that first. It really is fantastic. Book two picks up exactly where book one ends. There is no passage of time between The Rebuilding Year and Life, Some Assembly Required, which was something that I wasn’t expecting. So there is still angst (so much angst!) as the two MC’s continue to build their lives together. There is also baby mama drama (Kaje is probable wincing as she reads that sentence sorry Kaje!), but really what else can I call it without giving away huge pieces of TRY2? If you are like me, the baby mama drama will drive you crazy. You will talk back to this book. It will not…

Love Lessons

By Heidi Cullinan ~Penny’s Rating: A~ Whenever I really love an author’s work, I get a little angsty before I read their latest and greatest, because I really want to love their new book as much as I love their other works. Heidi Cullinan tends to be pretty hardcore, and I usually freaking LOVE her work, but, when I heard she was coming out with a new “new adult” novel, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. The good news is that Cullinan, even when conquering a new genre, does not disappoint. Love Lessons is adorable. This is Cullinan’s version of a slow burn love story, with the angst turned up to eleven. It is sweet, and cute, and a little fluffy. Everyone’s in college, and yes, the sex is vanilla, (awesome vanilla, in fact). Not only that, but the MC’s Kelly and Walter are real, genuine, awesome human beings, that you fall in love with and root for every step of the way. Blurb: Love doesn’t come with a syllabus. Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose…

Who We Are (Bear, Otter, and the Kid #2)

Penny’s Rating: A+ Note: If you have not read TJ Klune’s Bear, Otter, and the Kid (BOATK), go do that first. This is the sequel, and it is as amazing as BOATK, so if you haven’t already read Bear, Otter, and the Kid , go do that, then come back for this utter awesomeness. Publisher description: “Sequel to Bear, Otter, and the Kid Bear, Otter, and the Kid survived last summer with their hearts and souls intact. They’ve moved into the Green Monstrosity, and Bear is finally able to admit his love for the man who saved him from himself. But that’s not the end of their story. How could it be? The boys find that life doesn’t stop just because they got their happily ever after. There’s still the custody battle for the Kid. The return of Otter’s parents. A first trip to a gay bar. The Kid goes to therapy, and Mrs. Paquinn decides that Bigfoot is real. Anna and Creed do? well, whatever it is Anna and Creed do. There are newfound jealousies, the return of old enemies, bad poetry, and misanthropic seagulls. And through it all, Bear struggles to understand his mother’s abandonment of him and his brother, only…

Trial, Tribulation, Triumph (Appearances Trilogy)

Penny’s Rating: B If the ghost of Ayn Rand ever decided to write gay romance novels, they might go something like this. Welcome to the elite society of Atlanta. Where problems of oppression are solved by money and some kick-ass lawyering. Not only that, but insta-love exists, bad people get punished, and capitalism really works, even for kids who just want summer jobs mowing the lawn. Libertarians everywhere will rejoice, and closeted doomsday preppers will squeal with glee. So….this series (The Appearances Trilogy by Etienne), probably doesn’t sound like your typical HEA gay romance. And it’s not. Most of us are not so fortunate as to live in a world where money is not an issue,  I know I certainly don’t, but like everyone, I wouldn’t mind living there someday either. TRIAL, TRIBULATION, and TRIUMPH were absolutely fascinating to me not only thanks to the compelling plot, but also as an anthropological study of a slice of our wealthier American society that really does exist, but is completely different from the America that I inhabit. Note: I am reviewing all 3 books in this post, so if you’re worried about spoilers for the book you have not read…don’t look down…

Gambling Men

Penny’s Rating: B+ This is classic “Happy” Amy Lane. It is cuteness and light, and sunshine and puppy dogs, and steamy sex and mushy romance. It is a great read for a day when you need a well written happy read. On a side note: if you like m/m romance, and have yet to read any Amy Lane novels, I highly recommend you do so. I really love her Talker Series, and her Johnnies Series, if you are looking for suggestions. Publisher Description: Quent Jackson has followed Jason Spade’s every move in business and in poker since their first day as college freshmen. Eight years later, when Jace finally decides Quent is the one man he can’t live without, he sees no reason for that to change. But as much as Jace believes that poker is life, no one gave Quent the same playbook. After their first passionate night, the real game of love and trust begins, and Jace has been playing alone too long to make teaching the rules easy. Jace only speaks two languages: one of them is sex, and the other one is poker. Between the two, he needs to find a way to convince himself to…

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2)

Penny’s Rating: C This is my first time reading anything in author Shannon Hale’s Austenland series, but it totally appeals to the Jane Austen obsessed nerd in me. The people in this book go on vacation to a historic estate in the English countryside, and proceed to dress up and act like people from… well, a Jane Austen novel, of course! All I could think when I started this book, was how much I would freaking LOVE to actually do that. This is the second book in the series, but this book can be read as a stand alone without any confusion. Publisher Description: “When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests’ Austen fantasies. Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn’t sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs…