A Mended Man (The Men of Halfway House #4) by Jaime Reese (5 Stars)

Aidan and Jesse have not lived easy lives, especially after they both suffered significantly at the hand of kidnappers. They have become extremely close after working together for several years, but they haven’t moved past the friendship stage. Jesse is hospitalized after being attacked by his kidnapper, and Aidan realizes just how much he depends on Jesse for his own emotional stability. These two have a lot to overcome, but they both know it will be worth it in the end.

It was heartbreaking hearing what these two people went through during their lives, and I was brought to tears several times during the story. I loved the slow pacing and the length of time that it covered. It made every moment, every kiss, between these two more believable and emotional.

Quite a bit of the story revolves around the task force that Aidan serves on and the crimes that they are working on. I’m not a big fan of crime stories, but I liked the way the task members interacted with each. I could easily see several stories letting us get to know more about these guys.

The only reason I can see this book as part of the Men of Halfway House series is that some of the characters are related. Although it can be read as a stand-alone, every book in this series is amazing and well worth reading.

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Book Blurb

Planting His Dream by Andrew Grey (4 Stars)

They were each other’s first best friend and first love. Can they overcome life’s obstacles to find happiness together?

Foster has worked hard on the family farm his entire life, but he dreams of finding a different path. Those dreams come to an end after his father passes away suddenly. At first, he feels an obligation to take care of the farm for the benefit of his Mom and Grandmother. But as time goes by, he realizes how much he belongs there. Javi and his family travel from farm to farm working for barely enough to survive. His alcoholic father makes the entire situation worse, forcing Javi to stay with his family to protect his younger siblings. His only real joy comes from working with Foster on the farm, but that only lasts a few weeks before he has to move on to the next place.

Foster and Javi both felt locked into their situations due to family obligations. As time went by, they discovered that they actually enjoyed working on the farm, especially when they did it together. It was nice watching these two sweet people become friends, fall in love, and look for a way to find a future with each other.

The amount of time spent on the ins and outs of farming was a bit much for my tastes, but for the most part it was quite a learning experience. Although I really enjoyed the business side of the farm, it was hard to watch Javi struggle to make ends meet.

A sweet romance about first loves and finding joy in making a living on a farm.

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Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
Book Blurb

Red River (Pack #2) by Cardeno C. (5 Stars)

Wesley Stone is done waiting to become Alpha for the Purple Sky pack. Although a bit gruff, Wesley cares more about the pack than anything else in his life. If necessary, he’ll force his uncle to battle for the position. The strange scar on his abdomen shouldn’t be enough of a reason for the pack to dismiss him.  Once he finally confronts his uncle, he’s dealt the final blow. He’s being sent away to become the Alpha of the Red River pack. As if that’s not bad enough, he also has to mate with the Jobe Root, the wolf that’s next in line at Red River.

Fortunately, Jobe knows that Wesley is his mate. Jobe is one of the most easy-going people Wesley’s ever met. Jobe must patiently wait until Wesley realizes that they were truly meant for each other. Together, as they connect the pack back to nature, they will make the Red River pack as strong as it’s ever been. Watching these two beautiful characters fall in love and develop a happy, fulfilling life together was very touching.

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Originally reviewed for Swept Away By Romance. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
Book Blurb

Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs #1) by Santino Hassell (4.5 Stars)

Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been best friends forever, but things are about to change. Unfortunately, Michael has a lot of personal demons to address before he can find happiness with Nunzio. Watching Michael’s life fall apart, complicated by alcohol and drugs, was not pleasant, but somehow the author kept the story from becoming extremely depressing.

Michael and Nunzio were so good together in more ways than one. I liked that they were both teachers and found the school stories interesting. I enjoyed their interactions, both as best friends, and as two people just starting to understand how much they loved each other.

Solid writing clinched this as a page-turner which had me immediately buying the next one in the series.

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Book Blurb