11/2016 Release

Blank Spaces by Cass Lennox

blank-spacesRating: 4 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publication day:
 November 14, 2016
Length: 
330 pages  
Publisher: 
Riptide Publishing

Absence is as crucial as presence.

The decision to stop dating has made Vaughn Hargrave’s life infinitely simpler: he has friends, an excellent wardrobe, and a job in the industry he loves. That’s all he really needs, especially since sex isn’t his forte anyway and no one else seems interested in a purely romantic connection. But when a piece is stolen from his art gallery and insurance investigator Jonah Sondern shows up, Vaughn finds himself struggling with that decision.

Jonah wants his men like his coffee: hot, intense, and daily. But Vaughn seems to be the one gay guy in Toronto who doesn’t do hookups, which is all Jonah can offer. No way can Jonah give Vaughn what he really wants, not when Jonah barely understands what love is.

When another painting goes missing, tension ramps up both on and off the clock. Vaughn and Jonah find themselves grappling not just with stolen art, but with their own differences. Because a guy who wants nothing but romance and a guy who wants nothing but sex will never work—right? Not unless they find a way to fill in the spaces between them.

My View: I have read several books with asexual characters and I think this one does the best establishing a loving relationship in which one of the partners is asexual. But the best part is how the author shows the character self-discovery and how it changes him.

Vaughn is perfect. He has all he needs at the moment and meeting Jonah just opens the door for him to fulfill a piece of his life he didn’t know was missing. Not because someone’s expectations, but because it makes sense to him.

Jonah is young and a contradiction. He loves the life he has, but is working hard to do better. His constant hook ups work for him and give him the release he needs to focus in his work. He uses sex as a coping mechanism but he’s not jaded about it.

I love Vaughn’s and Jonah’s friendship. It’s fun, interesting, and refreshing; just like the main characters. They are the book and we see them grow as we discover more about their lives.

Only the last part felt out of place for me. I understand how they work as a couple, but the easy talk about it, in public, seems out of place for such a lovely moment they were enjoying as a couple.

The mystery element is interesting, and keeps bringing the main characters together. The rest of the cast complemented the main story and set some strings for future stories.

What I liked the most: How well the asexuality topic is weaved in the story.

I wanted more/less: More time with Vaughn and Jonah as a couple, out with their friends; everyday activities like waking up together, catching up breakfast, etc.

Who should read it: Fans of a diverse cast of characters.

ARC provided by Riptide Publishing, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Just Drive by L.A. Witt

just-driveRating: 3.5 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary; Military
Publication day:
 November 21, 2016
Length: 
300 pages  
Publisher: 
Riptide Publishing

For Sean Wright, driving a cab in the tiny Navy town of Anchor Point isn’t an exciting job . . . until he picks up just-dumped Paul Richards. A drive turns into a walk on the pier, which turns into the hottest hookup Sean’s had in ages.

After a long overdue breakup, Paul can’t believe his luck. Of all the drivers, he’s picked up by the gorgeous, gay, and very willing Sean. Younger guys aren’t usually his thing, but Paul can’t resist.

One taste and neither man can get enough . . . right up until they realize that Paul is Sean’s father’s commanding officer and the last man Sean should be involved with.

With two careers on the line, their only option is to back off. It’s not easy, though; the sex and the emotional connection are exactly what both men have been craving for a long time. But Paul has devoted twenty-four years to his career and his dream of making admiral. If he’s caught with Sean, that’s all over. He has to choose—stay the course, or trade it all for the man who drove off with his heart.

My View: Just Drive is a classic L.A. Witt military story. It’s the type of book I’d have rated five stars a couple of years ago. It has a simple plot arc, nice characters, basic military references, and lots of in page sex scenes. If you are in the mood for a low angst, steamy book this is it.

I do love Paul and Sean individually. They were perfect for the story and it was easy to see how good they became as a couple. Even with the age gap, Paul treated Sean as an equal and didn’t try to play games with him. It was good to see a balanced relationship with a mature young adult.

The military details were right on point, down to the aggressive seagulls all bases seem to have. As a military spouse, I appreciate the accurate rendition of life in the service, not only for the sailor but for the dependants.

I wasn’t too fond of the ending, and the HEA perfect wrap-up, but it did work for the story. I’m glad Travis gets his chance in the next book, and I’m looking forward to more from this series.

What I liked the most: The little everyday military details.

I wanted more/less: I wanted more of Paul as CO.

Who should read it: Fans of L.A. Witt’s military stories.

ARC provided by Riptide Publishing, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.