Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review: Hard Line

Hard Line (Woodbury Boys - Book 2) by Sidney Bell

Publication Date: 04/01/2018
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Carina Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Pages: 480

(Received for an honest review from Carina Press via Netgalley)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, itunes

Sidney Bell on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

The Woodbury Boys

1. Loose Cannon
2. Hard Line

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Hard Line, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


“Bell writes a meaty romance that you can’t put down, and it’s a worthy addition to the M/M contemporary romance genre.” —RT Book Reviews on Loose Cannon (Woodbury Boys #1)

Premed student Tobias Benton is making amends for his past. He keeps his head down, mouth shut and colors within the lines. But when his close friend Ghost goes missing, Tobias will do whatever it takes to get answers—including using blackmail to enlist some help. The last thing he’s looking for is romance.

Private investigator Sullivan Tate isn’t above a little breaking and entering to solve a case, but when Tobias catches him in the act, it’s almost game over. Their uneasy alliance only gets more complicated when Sullivan learns that Tobias shares his interest in kink. Mixing sex and work could kill Sullivan’s career, but Tobias’s acceptance of Sullivan’s darkest urges is nearly impossible to resist.

Side by side, Tobias and Sullivan spend their days searching for the truth and their nights fulfilling their respective fantasies. But the answers they seek are far more dangerous than they realize, and soon they find themselves fighting for more than just each other.


Sidney Bell is a new author for me and quite a surprise. Her latest book, Hard Line, is the second book in the Woodbury Boys series. This book is a M/M contemporary romance that will leave readers feeling both excited and satisfied. Hard Line is equal parts steamy and suspenseful. One minute you're on the edge of your seat, the next minute you want to dive into your own inner inhibitions. I wasn't expecting the very emotional angle this book brings out. An exceptional foray into the lighter side of BDSM!

First let me say, sometimes I hesitate to review books that I know may make some of my readers squirm. This is an M/M romance. If you have an issue with that it's best not to read further. Also, if you have issues with BDSM or kink, time to go for the day.

What I liked:

I haven't read the first book in this series, but I probably will. It's not necessary to this book, but I can tell that I would enjoy Church's story. Tobias, Church and Ghost meet in a bit of an unorthodox way in a rehabilitation center, Woodbury and the series follows their journeys. Hard Line is Tobias' story. I didn't really know what to expect from Sidney Bell because she was new to me, but I will say I'm very impressed. From the first description of Tobias on the first page of the book, I was hooked. I was so drawn to this young man who seems to want nothing more than to please the people around him.

Bell's character development with Tobias and then Sullivan was amazing. I felt I knew these two characters intimately after reading their stories and that doesn't happen often. I read a lot of books and when characters stick with me after the fact they were very well drawn. I like characters that don't fit the mold. Tobias is a quiet, gentle sort but he really comes alive as he starts to explore his desires with Sullivan. And Sullivan is such a unique person. I loved getting to know them both and their chemistry was off the chart. It wasn't the BDSM aspect that made it that way either. They just worked.

BDSM is one of those topics that is generally a bit taboo. You might be interested but you don't want people to know you are. You might have some inner desires that you don't even know how to express that get brought out when you read books like this one. BDSM doesn't have to be this big scary thing. Bell shows that in this book. It is just something that works for some people. And it works for these characters in a big way. It brings so much out of them. I loved the way Bell portrays this part of the book and felt it was very realistic. 

The suspenseful part of the book was well written and engaging. I wanted desperately to know what in the world Ghost had gotten himself mixed up in. I loved the relationship that Bell brings out between Ghost and Tobias. I related to them so hard. I have a friendship that is exactly like this one. It's very intimate in a friend kinda way lol... I really enjoyed the fact that Bell choose to bring Sullivan into Tobias' life in this way. Sullivan needs to do well on this case and Tobias needs to find Ghost. The bad guys were bad and the good guys were good. But there were some actions and situations that made for a gray area or two. Ghost you little manipulator you!

What I didn't like:

This was a very good book. I wanted a little more out of Ghost. He was kind of jerk here and there, but that's just a personal preference thing. Bell's writing was spot on. Not a bad thing to say about it. 

Bottom Line:

At the risk of bothering some readers... Love is Love. This book will be too much for some because it's an LGBTQ romance. In my humble opinion you are really missing out if that's all that's holding you back from reading this one. Bell is an excellent writer. Her powers of description are simply put, amazing. I loved how she seemed to get to the heart of these characters and help me as reader to understand them. I want to get to know these guys for real, and that's big. The BDSM aspect of the book was not overwhelming or scary and I think might open the eyes of many readers. The suspense and action was well done, but I think the romance was what put it over the top. 

Hard Line is available NOW from your favorite e-book provider and in print on April 28th. 

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Sidney Bell lives in the drizzly Pacific Northwest with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. More realistic grown-ups eventually convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, though, which is how we ended up here. When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.

No comments: