Eric has been the goalie for the New York Admirals for his entire professional hockey career. Now that he’s turning 41, he knows that this is his last season, but he’s not ready to tell his teammates. He’s also finally acknowledging his bisexuality, and now that he’s been divorced for a year, he’s ready to explore this new facet of himself.
Enter Kyle, a grad student who he knows through mutual friends. Kyle offers to help Eric learn how to date guys, which includes low-pressure introduction to the physical aspect of dating.
I want to begin this review by saying that I have followed Adam Sass on Twitter for quite awhile and when I saw Surrender Your Sons pop up on NetGalley, I immediately “wished” for it. When my wish was granted a couple of months, I literally shrieked out loud.
Connor Major trusted his boyfriend when he suggested that Connor come out to his family, but it turns out to be an utter disaster. Connor’s religious mother strongly objects to the revelation, confiscates his phone, and ultimately has him shipped off to a conversion camp on a secluded island near Costa Rica.
In theory, if Connor follows all the directions, he can leave after a week.
But no one ever leaves after only a week. Read more
Julia hasn’t been living in Dallas very long, but she’s getting used to it. She loves her job, and she has a whole crew of NYC-to-Dallas exiles to hang out with.
And then Rocco shows up. He’s also from NYC, and he’s been hired as a consultant to advise on Julia’s job going from a privately owned corporation to publicly traded. Julia wants to hate him, since his opinion might mean her position (and the entire charitable foundation) being eliminated, but as they start hanging out, it gets harder for her to resist his charming ways.
Given that I love everything that Adriana Herrera writes, it’s no surprise that I loved this book. The banter between Julia and Rocco is top-notch, and there’s a lot of banter because it takes them a long time to finally hook up. So, attention all fans of the slow burn trope: we’ve got a winner here. But yeah, the banter is hilarious, and I was grinning throughout the entire book.
Shoshana loves working at Once Upon, an independent bookstore at her local mall. She’s always loved reading, but lately, it’s become a place of refuge for her because her two moms are fighting a lot and her car needs expensive repairs that she can’t afford. But when Jake Kaplan starts working at Once Upon, Shoshana’s beloved bookstore becomes full of tension, and not because Jake is a total hottie.
Okay, maybe because he’s a total hottie, but he’s also a bit of a jerk who doesn’t even read, and when the owner announces a holiday sales competition, Shoshana is determined to win.
In 1928, Joachim Cockburn travels to Scotland to meet Ainsley Graham, his colleague’s younger brother. Ainsley Graham was laughed out of academia when he insisted that ghosts were real; Joachim studies delusional thinking, and intends to prove that ghosts are most certainly not real.
The effervescent Ainsley offers to drive Joachim around Scotland to various haunted places, and while I don’t want to give too much away, I will say that Joachim’s hypothesis is wrong and that he finds it difficult to resist Ainsley’s charms.
This is the second book in the Will Darling series of 1920s queer pulp action/adventure novels. It is absolutely imperative that readers begin with Slippery Creatures, the first book in the series. There won’t be any spoilers for The Sugared Game, but I’ll be discussing some of the events of Slippery Creatures over the course of this review, so please proceed with caution.
Format: Trade Paperback (ebook & audio also available!)
Price: $14.99 U.S.
Book Description: It’s not long before their pet-centric arrangement sparks a person-centric desire…
Simon Burke has always preferred animals to people. When the countdown to adopting his own dog is unexpectedly put on hold, Simon turns to the PetShare app to find the fluffy TLC he’s been missing. Meeting a grumpy children’s book illustrator who needs a dog walker isn’t easy for the man whose persistent anxiety has colored his whole life, but Jack Matheson’s menagerie is just what Simon needs.
Four dogs, three cats and counting. Jack’s pack of rescue pets is the only company he needs. But when a bad fall leaves him with a broken leg, Jack is forced to admit he needs help. That the help comes in the form of the most beautiful man he’s ever seen is a complicated, glorious surprise.
Being with Jack—talking, walking, making out—is a game changer for Simon. And Simon’s company certainly…eases the pain of recovery for Jack. But making a real relationship work once Jack’s cast comes off will mean compromise, understanding and lots of love.
Neither Jack nor Simon are in a good place when they first meet. They don’t even meet on a dating site; they meet on a site that matches pet owners with caregivers, and it’s not even love at first sight, although there is definitely mutual curiosity.
What I especially enjoyed about the development of Jack and Simon’s relationship was how patient Jack was with Simon without ever venturing into the realm of condescension. Sometimes it’s difficult for Simon to talk because of his anxiety, but Jack never rushed Simon or tried to talk for him and they communicated so well together.
And the chemistry—good grief! The chemistry was off the charts! Jack was much more experienced than Simon, but he made a concerted effort to take things at Simon’s pace.
And okay, I suppose I should mention the pets. There were a lot of them, so looking back, I can’t really think of any standouts, with the exception of Pirate the cat who liked going on walks with the dog pack. When there’s only one or two pets in a book, it’s easy for the animals to steal the show. That’s definitely the case here, but moreso because Jack livs with a veritable menagerie.
I would absolutely recommend Better Than People. We’re living in some pretty tense times, and this book proved to be the perfect antidote for a bit of escapism. Jack and Simon were just perfect for each other, and I know that I’ll be going back to this book when I need a bit of a pick-me-up. I’ve read a couple of Parrish’s other books, and I’m looking forward to reading more of the back catalog in the future.
I received a copy of this book from Carina Press/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A few days later, a storm blew in while Simon was out walking the pack. It started as a shower that sent Mayonnaise and Pickles scampering inside, but within twenty minutes was a gusting squall that darkened the sky and drove rain sideways against the windows.
Jack paced. Well. Jack swung himself back and forth in front of the living room window on his crutches until he had to stop because it was too tiring. It hadn’t had the same effect, anyway.
After another ten minutes, he lowered himself to the floor gingerly and built up a fire, wanting the animals to be able to warm up when they got home.
Yeah, the animals. It’s definitely them that you want to warm up.
After another ten, he brought armloads of towels from the bathroom to the couch so he could dry the pack off when they got home.
After another ten, he was able to admit he was worried. Puddles hated the rain. Rat was so small, and…and… He huffed out a breath.
Simon. He was worried about Simon.
Simon felt like part of the pack.
As if conjured by the thought, Simon burst through the door, a sodden, dripping mess. Pirate, seeming unperturbed, made a beeline for the fire and began to clean herself, and Rat followed, shaking off her skinny legs as she went; Dandelion ran right to the kitchen in hopes of a snack.
If Jack had been in fighting form, he would’ve had the towels on Bernard faster, but as it was, just as he turned to grab them, the huge dog shook himself, and Jack watched as if in slow motion as Simon got sprayed with another round of rain.
“Oh Jesus,” Jack said, as Simon slumped resignedly, but he couldn’t help but chuckle at the picture it made. Bernard, satisfied he’d wrung himself out, flopped in front of the fire to toast, which left only Puddles and Simon, leaning against each other, soaked and miserable.
“Aw, buddy,” Jack said. He was talking to Puddles, whom he approached with the towels he hadn’t been quick enough with for Bernard, but he included Simon in his sentiment, if only to himself.
He rubbed Puddles as dry as he could and then the dog slunk off to the bedroom, no doubt to soak a dog-shaped damp spot into his blanket and sheets. Making a mental note to change them later—fine, to ask Charlie to change them—Jack turned to Simon.
“Simon,” he said, and the man’s eyes met his. “Come inside, man, let me get you some dry clothes.”
Simon eyed his soaked boots, jeans, and sweater currently dripping onto the doormat. Jack wanted to tell him he’d already have to clean everything to get rid of the wet dog smell so a little more rain wasn’t a big deal. But for some reason, instead, he picked up the remaining towel from the couch and swung over to stand in front of Simon.
“Here,” he said, and he wrapped the towel around Simon’s shoulders and drew him close enough to rub his arms through it.
He heard Simon’s intake of breath and had the brief wild wonder if Simon’s mouth would taste of rain if he kissed him.
Then Simon let the breath out and leaned ever so slightly into Jack.
“Get your boots off and you can take a hot shower, okay? I’ll get you some clothes.”
Simon blinked up at him.
Simon nodded and gave a ghost of a smile.
Since the first time they’d really talked the week before, they’d lingered over pickups and drop-offs, sometimes talking; sometimes Jack talking and Simon texting. Jack still couldn’t tell what made the difference in the times when Simon could speak and when he couldn’t. He appreciated the gift of Simon’s words when he managed them. But Simon via text was smart and honest and a little bit snarky, and he liked that too.
Now, standing so close, he felt like he should be able to tell whether words were forthcoming or not, as if the fanfare that announced their appearance would stir the very air between them.
But, no. He still couldn’t tell. What he could tell was that Simon was shaking with cold and his wool sweater was so sodden that it might as well have been dumping water down his back.
“C’mere, let me take this,” Jack said, tugging at the sweater. Simon’s eyelashes, spiked with rain, fluttered and he lifted his arms to help take the sweater off. It was plastered to his shirt beneath, so when the sweater came off so did it.
Jack couldn’t help but notice that Simon was lovely beneath his clothes. Angular and smoothly put together, though he was shivering. Jack dropped the sweater to the floor with a thlump and slung the towel back around Simon’s shoulders.
“Come on,” he said softly, and led the way to the bathroom.
He left Simon to his shower and fetched sweats for him to wear from his bedroom, where he did, indeed, find a sheepish Puddles on the bed.
He stroked Puddles’ damp nose and Puddles licked his hand. Worried Puddles might be chilly, Jack slung the blanket over him and gave him a rub.
“You like Simon?” he whispered. Puddles yipped. “Yeah. Yeah, me too.”
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
Caro Cassidy helped Team USA win Olympic medals when she was younger, but now she’s content to manage a hockey training center outside of Chicago for girls’ hockey.
Amy Schwarzbach never made it to the Olympics, but she’s a hotshot player for a professional women’s hockey team. She’s very excited about the opportunity to work at Caro’s facility because Caro has always been one of her idols.
At first, Caro doesn’t know what to do with Amy’s exuberant personality because it’s such a stark contrast to her more reserved nature, but opposites attract.
Perrin and Henri are on opposite sides of the Reign of Terror. Perrin is an aristo and a member of a secret organization working against the government. Henri works for the government, and his reasons for hating aristos are more than political.
They have every reason to hate each other, and at first, that’s exactly what happens. But Henri is convinced that Perrin is up to no good (true) and follows him at every opportunity. As the narrative progresses, their lives become more intertwined and the line between the dual games of cat-and-mouse and seduction blurs.
Daniel Bellamy, who plays for the Atlanta Venom (the NHL team featured in the first two Hat Trick books) has been given the opportunity to play for the Miami Thunder. They aren’t the best team in the league (they’re closer to the bottom in terms of stats), but the Thunder is his hometown team.
As much as moving back to Miami is a dream come true, Daniel never thought he would reconnect with Micah Kelly, his childhood best friend AND his first kiss. Micah is all grown up and he works at the aquarium, and Daniel is still totally attracted to him.
This book is super cute. First of all, it was low-angst. The biggest stressor in the narrative is Daniel’s adjustment to playing for a new team. It’s clearly not what he was expecting, but he’s determined to make the most of it.