Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous

I have been following Duchess Goldblatt on Twitter for a long time and I have always enjoyed Her Grace’s stories about life in Crooked Path. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to receive the news that my “wish” for an ARC had been granted.

I thought that this memoir would be a delightful romp through life in Crooked Path.

Reader, I was most mistaken.

What I received instead was the story behind the creation of the Duchess Goldblatt Twitter account, and the very real pain behind one woman’s life changing suddenly, followed by the necessity to navigate through unfamiliar surroundings.  

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The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

I loved The Royal We, so I was very excited to find out there was going to be a sequel and even more excited to receive an ARC of The Heir Affair.

NB: If Royal Family alt-history interests you, but you have not read The Royal We, I suggest you proceed with caution because it’s almost impossible to properly discuss The Heir Affair without mentioning key details from The Royal We.

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Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Here’s the TLDR version of my review: I liked Boyfriend Material so much that as soon as I finished, I pre-ordered a paperback copy, and I intend to get the Audible edition too. In the interest of full disclosure, I pre-ordered the Kindle edition back in December, but buying all three versions of a book is a rarity for me and something I only do for my most favorite books.

If you want an actual review, here you go:

Luc O’Donnell is a bit of a hot mess. He’s always been vaguely famous because his parents are famous, but now that his estranged rock star dad is back in the spotlight, that means there’s more of an interest in what Luc is doing.

And that’s a problem because, as I said, Luc is a bit of a hot mess. He needs a boyfriend to help give him the appearance of normalcy. His friend sets him up with Oliver, who is super super normal and the complete opposite of a hot mess.

Fortunately for Luc, Oliver also needs a boyfriend to take to a big event, so they agree to be fake boyfriends until both of their big events are over, and then they’ll “break up” and go their separate ways.

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Camp by L.C. Rosen

I want to begin this review by saying that I have been looking forward to this book since it was announced because I’ve spent seven summers at camp as a camper/counselor and now my oldest goes away to camp too. With summer camp being cancelled for the year, I was looking forward to a camp story even more.

Randy has been going to Camp Outland for queer teens for years, but he wants things to be different: Randy wants to catch the attention of Hudson, a fellow camper, but Hudson only likes straight-acting guys, and that’s not Randy. But it could be, right? Randy spent the entire school year formulating a plan, and he shows up at camp as “Del”, who is totally not into nail polish and musicals and all the things that Randy likes.

And the plan works! Hudson notices Del right away and he doesn’t even realize that Del is the same kid he’s been going to camp with for four years, but as the summer progresses, Randy is spending all his time playing sports and doing ropes course challenges instead of being in the musical with his friends, and he begins to wonder if all the sacrifices he’s making are worth it.

As a veteran camper, I remember the intensity of summer romances, so I can empathize with Randy’s pining for Hudson, but he’s changing his entire personality for another boy and missing out on all the things that he loves—and more importantly, by doing this, he’s not being true to himself. That said, I truly understand why he would want to do something that drastic.

Camp provides an interesting retrospective on masc4masc culture, and how the attitude is already evident among 16-year-old kids. The campers might all have a place on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but there’s already a division among the returning campers; they choose to live in separate bunks, they sit at different dining tables, and they don’t even interact at group activities. However, Randy chooses to live in the “drama cabin” with this theatre friends, so some of the sporty kids end up sitting with the drama kids, and this leads to new friendships.

In Rosen’s book Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts), he used the advice column medium to impart a lot of useful sex-ed information to the readers. In Camp, he uses a weekly camp program to share queer history with the readers. I love the way that both of these devices were blended seamlessly into the narrative.

I would absolutely recommend Camp. It captures the magic of camp perfectly. Randy is such a sweetheart, and he certainly learns a lot over the course of the book. I am already looking forward to Rosen’s next book.

To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman

Alex and Emmy first met at a masquerade ball several years prior to the main events of the book, and Alex has been thinking about the mysterious young woman with the unique scent ever since that night.

Now, Alex is working as a Bow Street Runner, along with his friends, and Emmy is the elusive jewel thief that he’s trying to catch, so a romance between these two personalities seems impossible.  

The irony of the situation is that Alex and Emmy encounter each other socially in addition to the cat-and-mouse game they’ve been playing. Naturally, the lines between these two worlds begins to blur as the stakes increase.

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Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera

Dominican-American Desta Walker has finally returned to Ethiopia, where his family lived for a few years when he was a small boy, and later, where his father died.

He meets Elias through his job, and the two hit it off right away. But being gay is still criminalized, so any sort of relationship has to be clandestine.

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Just Like That by Cole McCade

Book Info:

Title: Just Like That

Author: Cole McCade

Series: Albin Academy, #1

Length: 320 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)

On-Sale: June 30, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback *ebook and audio formats also available!

Price: $14.99 U.S. 

ISBN: 9781335146458

Book Description: Summer Hemlock never meant to come back to Omen, Massachusetts.

But with his mother in need of help, Summer has no choice but to return to his hometown, take up a teaching residency at the Albin Academy boarding school—and work directly under the man who made his teenage years miserable.

Professor Fox Iseya

Forbidding, aloof, commanding: psychology instructor Iseya is a cipher who’s always fascinated and intimidated shy, anxious Summer. But that fascination turns into something more when the older man challenges Summer to be brave. What starts as a daily game to reward Summer with a kiss for every obstacle overcome turns passionate, and a professional relationship turns quickly personal.

Yet Iseya’s walls of grief may be too high for someone like Summer to climb…until Summer’s infectious warmth shows Fox everything he’s been missing in life.

Now both men must be brave enough to trust each other, to take that leap.

To find the love they’ve always needed…

Just like that.

In Just Like That, critically acclaimed author Cole McCade introduces us to Albin Academy: a private boys’ school where some of the world’s richest families send their problem children to learn discipline and maturity, out of the public eye.

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Axel’s Pup by Kim Dare

I first heard about Axel’s Pup when my Twitter friend Holly mentioned it, rather fittingly, in a tweet about Best Books No One Knows About. I looked it up, saw that it was available via Audible Escape, and downloaded it immediately.

Almost as soon as I finished listening to all 20 hours and 40 minutes, I went back and purchased the Kindle edition of Axel’s Pup and my own copy of the audiobook.

Axel is the leader of the Black Dragons Motorcycle Club and he also owns the Dragon’s Lair pub where he and his friends spend most of their time. The Dragon’s Lair also serves as a BDSM for the queer community.

Needless to say, Axel is surprised when clean-cut young Bayden shows up on an expensive motorcycle. He dismisses the boy as a rich kid. But of course, appearances are deceiving.

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The Tutor by Bonnie Dee

I’ve had The Tutor on my list for a long time, and I finally listened to the Audible edition a couple of months ago. Once again, I am woefully behind with my non-ARC reviews, so I only now getting around to writing down my thoughts.

Graham has scammed his way into a tutoring job at a manor house, and he can tell that something is “off” from the moment he arrives. His two pupils, twin boys, run wild, and one of them doesn’t speak anymore.

Graham certainly has his work cut out for himself, and then there’s the issue of the enigmatic Sir Richard, the boy’s father, who is haunted by the past and reluctant to let anyone get close to him, especially not another man.

And what would a good gothic romance be without a ghost?

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Seven Summer Nights by Harper Fox

A couple of months ago, I ended doing a joint reading of Seven Summer Nights with my Twitter friend Vicky because the book was on both of our TBR lists.

Rufus was once a promising archaeologist, but he has returned to England in relative disgrace, and is obligated to take a commission examining a church in Droyton Parva, a small village in Sussex.

Archie is the local vicar, and he’s surprised to see such a prominent archaeologist assigned to his little project, but he’s even more surprised by Rufus.

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