Body Art Audiobook by Jordan Castillo Price Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Happy Halloween!!!

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audiobookreview

 

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Does everyone have a certain “type” they end up with, whether they want to or not? If Ray Carlucci’s ex is anything to go by, Ray likes his men gorgeous, rebellious, and chock-full of issues. But now that Ray is single again, he has a shot at a fresh start – a very fresh start, since his tattoo shop was gutted by repo men and he can fit all his belongings in the trunk of a taxi.

Ray’s shiny new chauffeur’s license lands him a job as a driver for an elderly couple on Red Wing Island. It’s a cold fall, and since the Michigan island is the summer home to snowbirds who fly south for the winter, it’s practically deserted – save for Ray’s new household and a sculptor named Anton Kopec, who works day and night twisting brambles and twine into the distorted shapes of macabre creatures. Compelling, bizarre, and somewhat disturbing…not just the sculptures, but the artist, too. Ray has a feeling Anton is just his “type”.

When a dead body is unearthed by some workers and a freak ice storm traps them all on the island, Ray can’t say for certain that his new flame isn’t capable of murder – despite their scorching chemistry.

 

Review

Because this is a short story, we don’t get nearly the attachment to any of the characters that we’re used to in a Jordan Castillo Price book. However, we do meet Ray and he’s a great character. He’s a little down on his luck and looking to make a new life for himself.

He ends up in a house with a lot of story and mystery and a very compelling neighbor. Unfortunately, due to the short nature of the story, we really only get a glimpse into the uniqueness that is Anton.

The “thriller” is more a mystery than really scary and it’s over almost as soon as we’re about to be afraid, but the writing is solid, the smexy times are pretty hot and the setting is absolutely perfect.

3.75 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Gomez Pugh does another amazing job with this. He gives us not only women, but elderly women, a tough sounding Ray and an airy sounding Anton. Even his mad man is awesome!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audible Link
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Body-Art-Audiobook/B00XK7A794/ref=a_search_c4_1_11_srTtl?qid=1474522461&sr=1-11

 

Spell Cat (The Aloysius Tales #1) by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/spell-cat-by-tara-lain-7676-b

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When Killian Barth, history professor, meets Blaine Genneau, quantum physicist, they ignite their own big bang. But Killian can’t pursue a physics professor—or a human. As the most powerful male witch in ten generations, Killian must bolster his dying race by reproducing—despite the fact that he’s gay.

Even a fling with Blaine is out of the question, because Killian has been told sex with humans drains his power. But if that’s true, why can young human Jimmy Janx dissolve spoons with the power of his mind? If Killian can sort through the lies he’s been fed, he’ll still face his biggest obstacle—convincing rational scientist Blaine to believe in magic.

With his ancient and powerful cat familiar, Aloysius, on his shoulder, Killian brings the lightning against deceit and greed to save Blaine from danger and prove love is the greatest power of them all.

 

Review

This was not at all what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting a more “wiccan” witch and a more Alpha type? I dunno. What we have is a very powerful – with magic magic – witch – who really needs a spine.

Killian just blindly follows his mother’s dictates about marrying the right witch in order to strengthen his powers until he meets Blaine. Blaine forces him to reconsider his options, but it’s almost really more that the “bride” in this equation is adamant at not marrying Killian than Killian works at not having to follow through.

While I thought there was a lot to this story that brought a smile to my face: Jimmy, Lavendar, Al – the cat and the magic, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the main couple. They had a lot of chemistry and it was exciting when Killian finally found his depth of power, but before that I was kind of annoyed with his lack of questioning and his default “hide my head under the covers when things go bad” state of being.

The story itself was fun – evil family members, newly discovered magic, Matrix references and – again – Al being devious. I thought the dialog between Killian and Blaine got a little too syrupy a little too fast, but that could be forgiven given the over all “fairy tale” feel this story has.

It’s not my favorite Tara Lain story but it was still good. I’m compelled enough to be excited to read the other books in the series – the third looks really good – Al’s the main character! (Probably one of my favorite Tara Lain stories is any or all of the Harker Pack books:  https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/searchresults?q=harker+pack)

If you love a good “magic” story and want a smile and don’t mind some OTT moments, give this a try.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First and First (Five Boroughs Book 3) Audiobook by Santino Hassell Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/first-and-first-by-santino-hassell-7665-b

 

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Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reign and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how, until he meets Oliver Buckley.

Oli is everything Caleb isn’t – risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.

As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.

Review

By now, if you’ve been following along in the series, which is definitely not required but is always recommended, you’ll know that Caleb was David’s ex and he was kinda douchey in book two. He’s a bit tightly wound and has a bit of a self-esteem problem, some of which David contributed to.

This is his story and Santino manages to not only help us to understand why he acts the way he does, but for us to really feel for him and (at least for me) to see David in a dramatically different light. (I kinda didn’t like him in this story * gasp!)

Oli is probably the exact opposite of Caleb and a bit of a dick, too. He doesn’t believe in monogamy and fights his feelings for Caleb til literally the 92% point of the story. So be prepared for that.

This is a long-ish book and while I thought it was really good, the last third sort of dragged for me (relationship wise). I was psyched to see Caleb standing up for himself and finding his rightful place with his family and becoming the man he wanted to be (or at least admitting the man he was was pretty alright!), but, I was OVER Oli being so standoffish about things and wanted them to just cut to the chase.

I think, had I been reading this, I’d have skimmed a bit here and there in the places things seemed to drag, but listening it was harder to do that. (The narration is stellar so it wasn’t a hardship or anything, merely noteworthy.)

There is a lot of dirty talk, ménage situations, Oli has sex with other people even after they’ve hooked up, so if those are triggers for you – be aware. In the end, they end up HEA and I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say it’s not a ménage or even an open relationship – so for romantics like me – I was very satisfied.

I think the thing that would have made this a 5 star book for me, would have been to see more into Oli’s brain. It’s told from Caleb’s POV and he is pretty depressing in the beginning, but does a lot of growing in the story. I wanted to know more about Oli’s feelings, because, honestly, he has to do some pretty significant growing too, and I wasn’t always sure how far along he came. Since the couple is only admitting to being a couple in the last few pages, we don’t have time to see how he manages to actually be in a relationship with only one person, after professing that it’s not his thing for the entire rest of the book.

We get to see a little of the other couples, but not much, and – like I said earlier – they aren’t painted in a rosy light – which I appreciated. Caleb had his reasons as did David for what they did and it was good to see the other side of the coin.

In the end I thought this was a great addition to the series and much better than I had thought it was going to be. Caleb is an interesting character and it was great watching him unfurl.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

I love Michael Ferraiuolo’s take on the various “accents”. He doesn’t go over the top, but does add some subtle changes here and there. He does a nice Raymond and I loved Aiden as well. Caleb’s voice fit him as did Oli’s. He is great with pacing and emotions and was easy to listen to and absolutely added to my overall enjoyment.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Hotline by Quinn Anderson

 

Riptide Presents Tomorrow!
http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/hotline

 

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Zack never intended to become a phone sex operator, but with half a college degree and a smart mouth, his options were limited. It helps that he has a knack for thinking on his feet and a willingness to roll with whatever his clients throw at him. Sure, he gets his fair share of creeps and unconventional requests, but it pays the bills, and he’s in no danger of breaking his one rule: never fall for a client.

Until a man named “John” starts calling, and Zack finds himself interested in more than a paycheck. It’s not just that John has money, or that his rumbling baritone drives Zack wild. He’s everything Zack isn’t: educated, poised, and in total control of his life.

A twist of fate brings them face-to-face, and now that they’ve seen each other—and spent an unforgettable night together—they can’t go back to the way things were. A sex worker and a trust fund brat . . . It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but with less stabbing and slightly fewer dick jokes. Hopefully they can pull off a more successful ending.

 

Review

(Spoilers included, sorry – but fair warning. I don’t recommend this and I need to explain why – thus, spoilers.)

 

 

 

 

Let me start out by saying I hate writing negative reviews. Hate it. I think authors are amazing people who put their souls on the line each time they publish. So, in general I try to request books to review that have a likely chance I’ll enjoy them so I can write a good review. I read plenty of “not great books” but I don’t spend a lot of time reviewing them because that’s just not my thing. However, I requested this and spent the time reading it and I think I need to be honest. Therefore…

Based on the blurb I was expecting something like a rent-boy/cinderfella story. Some rich guy (bored) ends up on a phone sex line with a desperate (but good hearted) phone sex operator – and then the two fall in love. With some comedy. It says it’s like Romeo and Juliet without the stabbing – suggesting the families know one another? So, maybe some hidden pasts, too? Anyhow, that’s what I was expecting.

 

Well.

I was wrong.

First, there is no hidden family connection that I found. So, I really didn’t see the Romeo and Juliet comparison.

Two, John is pretty much the bored rich guy and does sort of match up to that image, but Zack isn’t exactly the desperate but great-hearted rent boy. He’s confused, stubborn, and kinda lazy. (You’ll see what I mean.) They do come from different walks in life, but Zack is there by choice, not because he has no where to turn.

Three, at no point in this scenario did I expect for John to STALK his newfound love (even Zack’s friend is telling Zack – Dude, he just stalked you – that’s scary!). I never expected for John to CHEAT on Zack. And I also never expected Zack to PUNCH John. I know the author treated all of these as sort of light hearted, more comedically over the top actions rather than give them the rightful social weight they deserve, but it was incredibly uncomfortable and if I hadn’t already not liked this story, these actions would have pushed me over the top.

Four, there is a lot of sex and the book is long so that means A LOT – which is ok. The author uses this as a tool for our MCs to get to know one another, but that is the ONLY way they relate to each other. When they meet in real life, it’s more sex and then “I love you”. I NEVER saw a real connection between these guys. They have some MAJOR hurdles to overcome – both with their own life differences and the fact that neither is in a good place on their own so neither is in a good place to “be there” for the other one. They are both still pretty “broken” in my opinion. No magic sex button to fix that.

Five, I didn’t like Zack’s entire treatment of his job. On the one hand I really appreciated it when he was defending sex work as an authentic employment that offered a service people needed. But, in reality, as his boss tells him, he doesn’t really feel that way. He feels “above” his callers and thus wasn’t great at his job. So it’s kind of a slap in the face. He didn’t know what else to do, but justified his employment to his friends as a needed service, but that’s never how it felt. It always felt a bit “dirty” – like he didn’t want to be doing it – so I never quite reconciled his and John’s relationship via that meeting – without making John “dirty” by direct contact.

 

So- while I thought the writing was good and found some humor here and there and really loved some of the secondary characters, I couldn’t help but be a little offended by some of the actions in this book pawned off as casual comedy nor did I feel a great connection between the two MCs that would last more than a short period of time.

I can’t recommend this and give it 1.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

Absinthe of Malice (Sinner’s Book 5) Audiobook by Rhys Ford Narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/absinthe-of-malice-by-rhys-ford-7752-b

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We’re getting the band back together.

Those five words send a chill down Miki St. John’s spine, especially when they’re spoken with a nearly religious fervor by his brother-in-all-but-blood, Damien Mitchell. However, those words were nothing compared to what Damien says next.

And we’re going on tour.

When Crossroads Gin hits the road, Damien hopes it will draw them closer together. There’s something magical about being on tour, especially when traveling in a van with no roadies, managers, or lovers to act as a buffer. The band is already close, but Damien knows they can be more—brothers of sorts, bound not only by familial ties but by their intense love for music.

As they travel from gig to gig, the band is haunted by past mistakes and personal demons, but they forge on. For Miki, Damie, Forest, and Rafe, the stage is where they all truly come alive, and the music they play is as important to them as the air they breathe.

But those demons and troubles won’t leave them alone, and with every mile under their belts, the band faces its greatest challenge—overcoming their deepest flaws and not killing one another along the way.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

This is the 5th in the series and must be read in order to appreciate it.

By now all four band members are in a serious relationship with a Morgan or affiliate cousin (Sionn). Damien has decided to take the band (Crossroads Gin) on the road to dive bars to give the guys a taste of touring again and to let them gel as a band.

Each guy has a mixed bag of emotions when it comes to this trip.

Damien NEEDS the band to work and NEEDS the road and all it’s emotions to feed his soul. He knows the band can do this and he loves being on stage. Yes, he misses Sionn, but with his brother Sinjun on board, he’s fulfilled.

Rafe is fighting the battle of addiction. Quinn helps him immensely, but being on the road forces him to confront demons in a much more threatening way. He knows if he fails this tour, his life as a band-member is over.

Forest is just happy as a pig in dirt to be part of the band. He’s found a home when he never thought to have one and the fact that they get to play music is icing on the cake. Connor’s support only helps and reminds him of the riches in his life.

Miki is another story all together. He loves singing and being on stage. He DESPISES the travel. He has unresolved issues that burble to the surface and nearly paralyze him with their intensity. It’s hard to be away from his cop and his cop isn’t exactly 100% behind the tour. When things go wrong along the way, Miki seems – as usual – to be the center of it. Will the band be able to stick together? Will the Morgans let their boyfriends do this? Is Miki ready for this?

**

As usual, Rhys has blown me away with her poetry and prose. She’s given us an intense look at the relationship between Miki and Damien and the music that drives them.

This isn’t at all what I was expecting. Yes, there’s a mystery here that continues from the first book and apparently to the last – but most of this is the band and what motivates them.

I don’t want to give anything away – but I was surprised at where this went and where it left us. (And a little frustrated! Rhys you better get the last book out fast!)

In any case, fans of the series won’t want to miss this intimate look at the band as an entity and the close-up on Miki and Damien.

Audio

God I love Tristan James’ accents! He does all those wonderful accents we’ve come to love for the Morgans and Sionn. He knows all these guys and has become part of my appreciation for this series. In my head I now hear Tristan when I think of Miki or any of the boys. I think he does an amazing job and that this is absolutely the BEST way to enjoy this amazing series.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

Contact Blog Tour with Kim Fielding

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OS: Welcome to Kim Fielding one of the authors in the amazing anthology, Contact.  Tell us about this year’s collection!

KF:

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding, one of the four authors in the new anthology, Contact. This is the fifth in the Gothika series, and this volume includes extraterrestrial-themed novellas by F.E. Feeley, Jamie Fessenden, B.G. Thomas, and me.
I want to talk to you today about comfort food.
The main character in my story, “Refugee,” is a WWII vet named Walter Clark. He served as a medic on D-Day and came back from the war with his body whole but his psyche damaged. Walter suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), although the syndrome wasn’t recognized in 1950, when the story takes place. Unable to reconnect emotionally with his family in Chicago, he’s been gradually wandering westward. Now he’s gone as far west as he can, and he finds himself in the Oregon coastal community of Kiteeshaa.
Walter gradually comes to realize that there’s something… unusual about Kiteeshaa. And about Martin Wright, the handsome manager of the Kitee Motor Court Inn. One of the first clues appears when Walter sits down at the Kitee Café, orders the special, and ends up with a meal exactly like his beloved Polish grandmother used to make. Barley soup. Pierogi. Beet salad. Rye bread. Walter cherishes childhood memories of time with his grandmother, and these are comfort foods he hasn’t tasted in years.
Do you have dishes like that? Foods that, with a single taste, evoke warm remembrances of people or places long gone?
Personally, I remember the rugelach (cookies) my grandparents in New York used to send to us in Oregon. Always in a pink box tied with a red-and-white string, they’d arrive a little crumbled and not quite fresh from the oven, but we still enjoyed them. My other grandparents lived near us. I loved it when my grandmother made stuffed cabbage in sweet-and-sour sauce, a holdover from her parents’ Ukrainian Jewish roots.
My grandparents are gone now. I’ve made rugelach myself, and sometimes when I’m lucky my mom makes them and sends them to us. We gobble them up. I haven’t had stuffed cabbage in many years, in part because I no longer eat red meat. But I still remember the delicious scent.
As for Walter, he enjoys his dinner and the sweet memories it brings—a respite from the struggle in his head and heart, and an introduction to the mysteries of the little hamlet of Kiteeshaa.

OS: Thanks – it was a great story!
***
contactfs_v1Blurb: Since ancient times, humankind has looked into the night sky and wondered: Are we alone? Are there other civilizations beyond the stars? Will we ever encounter these beings? Who are they, what are they like, and what might they want with us?
These questions are about to be answered, but those who discover the truth might wish they had never asked. On the other hand, some might find salvation in visitors from other planets. For while some aliens are hostile, others are benevolent. Some have little in common with humans, but for others, the need for love and acceptance is universal. Lives will intersect and otherworldly passions will ignite as four acclaimed authors of gay romance explore first contact—and where it can lead.

Buy link:
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/contact-7680-b

Kim Fielding:
Kfieldingwrites.com
@KfieldingWrites
Facebook.com/Kfieldingwrites

Author bio:
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

 

My Reviewhttps://openskyebookreviews.com/contact-gothika-5-by-kim-fielding-fe-feeley-jr-jamie-fessenden-bg-thomas/

Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary Audiobook by Jordan Castillo Price Narrated by Gomez Pugh

audiobookreview

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Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got the hots for Michael and will stop at nothing to go home with him. Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America’s heartland.

Review

Originally these were a series of short stories, with some novellas thrown in along the way. This is the first 5 main stories told back to back as one “story”. Each chapter was originally it’s own story and was told by one or the other MC. As a result each chapter has a distinct feel as the POV shifts. (Luckily, in audio format, the master narrator, Gomez Pugh, has given us two entirely different voices so that POV shift is patently obvious and allows the reader/listener to become easily immersed in the new mind set.)

First, I want to comment on the gorgeous covers – I believe Jordan does all her own art and WHAT A TALENT! The dark, mysterious, highly sexual images of these covers really set the scene.

Next, I want to comment on the vast difference between Psycop and this series. Yes, both are dark and deal with sort of anti-heroes, but both Vic and Jacob are obviously good guys. They fight on the right side of the law. They might be depressed at times or be willing to bend the law, but they are always on the side of “good”. Now, these two, Michael and Wild Bill, are not necessarily “bad”. But their version of “good” isn’t as readily apparent to an outsider. Especially Wild Bill. I highly recommend, to those of you who find this as fascinating as I did, that you look at the post scripts from the author. Jordan has added her own thoughts about these men and it really helps to understand them more. (Plus it’s super interesting!)

Payback

This series starts with Michael seeking revenge for the death of his friend., Scary Mary who he KNOWS was killed by a vampire. No, the world doesn’t know about Vampires, but Mary did and Michael believed her. Specifically, he’s hunting a vampire who kills indiscriminately. While waiting for his “prey” he meets Wild Bill, but doesn’t realize Bill, too, is a vamp.

The three of them end up in a clench and the night does not end how anyone thought it would, but that isn’t the end of this story, only the beginning.

**

Amazing. Jordan Castillo Price writes amazing characters. Dark. Brooding. Broken. Fascinating. What I love about this series/book (and her work in general) is how much she portrays with a minimum of words. Each phrase, word, thought adds to the story and in such an economically but erotically beautiful way.

No doubt about it, the eroticism of this series is off the charts, but not eclipsed by the character development and the emotional attachments that develop.

I was surprised when I read on GoodReads that originally JCP had intended Payback to be a short story one-off with no intent for more. It’s popularity convinced her to re-visit it and make it into a series. When she went back to look at the series, she decided she had to do at least some of it from Bill’s perspective. As she states it, “I’m not sure if I sensed that Michael wasn’t really a leading man, or if I just wanted to see if being in Wild Bill’s head was as do-able as having Michael hear him talk…In the end, though, I decided that whether it was cheating or not to dip into Bill’s perspective, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could write like he thought.”

Which brings us to book/Chapter two in the series Vertigo, where we see Bill’s side of the story, from where Payback leaves off.

Vertigo

Now we see Wild Bill’s perspective. He acknowledges that he can’t get Michael off his mind and is excited when he finally runs into him again. But Michael has been planning this meeting and he isn’t about to let Bill get away this time, not without hearing him out.

**

Wowza. This was a very sexy, creepy, book/chapter two of the series. There are some questionable acts that somehow seem to just work for these two dark figures. You can tell, right from the start, that this relationship is not ever, ever going to be smooth sailing, but it will be hot as hell.

As JCP said in her review about this book on GoodReads: “I think that dynamic carried through the rest of the series beautifully, that they’re both so needy for each other, and both so full of broken places inside that no one can really heal, that there’s no way it’s going to end up with them picking out curtains. “ And that is really an understatement.

Later on in the series, we see more about Michael and his attachment to Vampires in general and also, I think, about the cutting – how both are symbolic for something more than just simple fascination or a means to an end. This is where those seeds get laid.

Manikin

This is from Michael’s perspective. He’s on the hunt again and in a lot of trouble. Fortunately Bill took the hint and finds him, in the “nick of time”. He’s also bought Michael a van, and thus starts their relationship with Big Red.

Bill is now, more of less committed, at least in the short term, to seeing where things go with Michael. Michael is both ecstatic and trepidatious about getting involved with a vampire, and specifically Wild Bill.

**

Again, JCP blows us away with another super-erotic scene between our two “heroes” and their budding relationship is both needy and fulfilling in the way that only two such amazingly flawed characters can possibly share.

I loved the examples of his enchantment for Michael that Bill lets slip through. He lets Michael have his “Harlequin” fantasies, and tolerates his jealousy over getting blood from others, and “bites” Michael on the neck, just to make him happy. Michael, in turn, is both determined to persevere and virginally seductive (the shaved bits showcase this so metaphorically) and ever questioning of Bill’s experiences.

Tainted

Ever exploring, Michael uses his newly acquired (and pink!) smart-phone-type device to continue his research into vampirism and discovers Dr. Jim, a vamp who is researching it from a DNA perspective. Bill has been “protecting” Michael from turning by using condoms, but Michael is looking more and more frail and less and less human. Bill wants answers, too.

Well, they get them, and it’s not what you would think. In a way Michael is devastated by the news, but also relieved. As is Bill. This new development opens doors for the couple and closes others.

**

This is definitely a turning point in their relationship and I found it fascinating how this played out. On the one hand, both are both sort of resigned to the importance the other now plays in their lives. They both clearly – dare I say it – LOVE one another, but neither is really completely happy about it. There is still too much uncertainty about the future for it to feel entirely good, but there is still an element of extreme hopefulness in their lovemaking that lets us think it may all just work out.

JCP wrote a review on GoodReads about this book (in 2011) and I thought this tidbit was too hysterical to leave out:

“Written three years ago and the PDA is already out of date, ha ha! I’m sure [Dr.Jim] has a nice smartphone now, maybe an Android, because he’d think an iPhone was too frivolous.”

Rebirth

Michael goes home but finds out that is not his place anymore. He and Bill find a commune where they hope they fit in, but no such luck.

From a story perspective, both Michael and Bill’s back-story gets filled in a bit. We learn more about the roots that shaped them and see those effects in how they interact today.

**

JCP excels at making her characters real. Really real. Michael isn’t all sweetness and devotion. He kills and he was the one who started the killing spree. Bill clearly loves Michael, but he has his own selfish agenda and it sometimes enables Michael in a way that isn’t the healthiest. In JCP’s own words on GoodReads: “Wild Bill and Michael form a sort of feedback loop, where Michael’s depression feeds Bill’s lust, and then Bill’s remorse lets the flames burn down a bit, until their need for connection draws them into a new conflagration, and everything begins again.”

But they are still clearly moving forward in the relationship and it has its own elements of sweetness and tenderness that satisfy the romantic in me.

The audiobook ends here L But… if you’re hooked you can still read the individual stories or the collection : https://www.amazon.com/Oblivion-Paranormal-Romance-Channeling-Morpheus-ebook/dp/B00VYV85RO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1477109414&sr=1-1&keywords=jordan+castillo+price+oblivion

There’s a lot more to their story and this is kind of a crappy place to leave them, but… they’ve got their own tentative HFN here but I think we’re left with far more questions than answers.

Audiobook

Well, you know by now, that I just ADORE Gomez Pugh, so it’s no surprise that I found his narration here to be DIVINE. God, he gives Wild Bill just the right voice, and Michael, too for that matter. (I did have to consciously tell me that it wasn’t Vic or Crash in the story, but the characters are so different that after listening for awhile it was easy to picture the new MCs over the old.) Of course he does a lovely job with all the myriad secondary characters as well, and I just can’t recommend this narrator enough.

I love this author, narrator and series. Be forewarned, it’s very dark and you’re gonna want to keep going once this narration end – I’m hoping the sequel is coming soon!

5 of 5 stars

5-stars-small

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Copy Purchased for Review

The Secrets of my Scowl by AE Via

release day review

32072126Blurb

 

Sparks ignite and tempers flare when a sexy, optimistic wedding planner, moves his business in across the hall from a jilted, divorce lawyer’s practice.

“Look smart ass. This is the last time I’m going to remind you about breaking sections of the lease. If there’s a next time, I won’t stop until you and your frilly, white wedding shit is thrown out of here. Do you got it?!”

Wylde looked in Jacob’s pained eyes and answered in his deep voice. “Yeah, counselor. I got it.”

From high school, up until he became a successful attorney Jacob Snowden was convinced that love had it out for him. “Everyone left,” were the words he lived by. His mother, his high school sweetheart, his father, and his fiancé, all left Jacob just when he felt it was safe to let down his guard. Not any longer. Jacob was a determined man, set at keeping people at a distance. If his six foot one, military-made body didn’t scare people off, his permanent scowl surely did. At almost forty, Jacob’s social life was non-existent, but he told himself his work fulfilled him. He helped people get out of their loveless marriages. Jacob Snowden was one of the best divorce lawyers on the east coast and was damn proud of it. So, imagine his disdain when a wedding planner moves into the suite directly adjacent to his… an insanely masculine, male wedding planner.

Wylde Sterling had made quite a name for himself in his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, working for a wedding planner that catered to the elite. He was known for his charm and impeccable taste. Yep, he was incredible at giving couples the wedding of their dreams. But he wanted nothing more than to plan his own. After striking out in love more times than he cared to admit, Wylde decided to start his own business in a new city, hoping Richmond would give him a fresh start. Things started out wonderfully – until he started to piss off the angry divorce attorney next door.

Wylde could see past Jacob’s mean scowl, knowing there was a reason for it. It was the man’s defense mechanism, his means of keeping people away. Everything in Wylde told him to stay away, but he believed Jacob just needed to meet a man who had been hurt as badly as he had.

Standalone gay romance that ends in an HEA and no cliffhanger.

 Review

What a lovely and fun story this was!

AE Via does a great job of showing us how Jacob got to be so scowly. She introduces us to the first few “failures” in his life which helps us to understand why he is the way he is, then she introduces us to his complete opposite, Wylde. Wylde has a few of his own demons, but by in large, he’s just a very easy-going, well-balanced guy. The perfect foil for Mr. Grumpy.

Once our two MCs meet it isn’t long before they realize how immensely attracted they are to each other. But… we don’t immediately find them falling into bed. They have to work some stuff out first. That helps to give it a very authentic and organic feel that doesn’t feel rushed.

The hurt/comfort is real here. Jacob just needs Wylde so much but Wylde needs what Jacob can offer too, so it’s a lovely balance.

The chemistry between these guys is hot and when they do finally make it into bed it’s scorching!

I just loved this. It had virtually no angst, a little bit of emotional growth, lots of lovey dovey feelings without being cheesy or feeling over the top.

Highly recommended for fans of two “equals” falling in love and a highly sentimental love story.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-My-Scowl-E-Via-ebook/dp/B01LXVVADA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477446659&sr=8-1&keywords=secret+of+my+scowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Time to Vote on September’s Best Audio 2016

rainbow-voteIt’s Time to Vote on the Best Audiobook Released in September 2016.  Comment BELOW about what makes a good narrator and win a chance at a free audiobook from Audible*

Vote for the Best Audiobook Released in September and Comment to Win a Free Audiobook from Audible!
  • The Distance by Alexa Land Narr Greg Tremblay 27%, 70 votes
    70 votes 27%
    70 votes - 27% of all votes
  • By The Light of The Moon by Sandrine Gasq-Dion Narr Greg Boudreaux 24%, 60 votes
    60 votes 24%
    60 votes - 24% of all votes
  • Smoke and Mirrors by Charlie Cochet Narr Mark Westfield 9%, 22 votes
    22 votes 9%
    22 votes - 9% of all votes
  • Chevalier by Mary Calmes Narr Greg Tremblay 6%, 16 votes
    16 votes 6%
    16 votes - 6% of all votes
  • Corey by Toni Griffin Narr Nick Flint 5%, 12 votes
    12 votes 5%
    12 votes - 5% of all votes
  • First and First (Five Boroughs, #3)  by Santino Hassell  Narr Michael Ferraiuolo 4%, 10 votes
    10 votes 4%
    10 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins Narr Cooper North 3%, 8 votes
    8 votes 3%
    8 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Opposites by TM Smith Narr Greg Boudreaux 3%, 7 votes
    7 votes 3%
    7 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Collide by Riley Hart Narr Luke Itzvic 2%, 6 votes
    6 votes 2%
    6 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Connection Error by Annabeth Albert Narr Sean Crisden 2%, 5 votes
    5 votes 2%
    5 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Professional Distance by Silvia Violet Narr Greg Boudreaux 2%, 5 votes
    5 votes 2%
    5 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Whiskers of A Chance by Tempeste O'Riley Narr Craig Beck 2%, 4 votes
    4 votes 2%
    4 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Pretend by Riley Hart Narr Luke Itzvic 2%, 4 votes
    4 votes 2%
    4 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell Narr by Guy Locke and Eric London 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Safe in His Arms by Renae Kaye Narr Randy Fuller 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Broken Pieces by Riley Hart Narr Jack DuPont 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • A Kind of Romance by Lane Hays Narr Seth Clayton 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Say It Right by AM Arthur Narr Tyler Stevens 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Stay by Riley Hart Narr Luke Itzvic 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Running Wild by SE Jakes Narr Dorian Bane 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Lights, Camera, Cupid by Various Authors Narr by Nick J Russo and Dorian Bane 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Love on Location by Lucy Felthouse Narr by Joel Leslie 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Return to Black Creek by Riley Hart Narr Luke Itzvic 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • Marriage of Inconvenience by MJ O'Shea Narr John Solo 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • Save of the Game by Avon Gale Narr by Scott Smith 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • The New Bad ass In Town by Mark Roeder Narr Joe DiNozzi 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • The Senator's Secret by KC Wells Narr John Solo 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • Ace in the hole by Ava Drake Narr John Solo 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Groomzilla by Tere Michaels Narr Nick J Russo 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Lovers, Losers and You by Skylar M Cates Narr Hugh Bradley 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Standed with Desire by Rick Reed Narr Johnny Mack 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • The Downs by Kim Fielding Narr KC Kelly 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Polar Reaction by Clare London Narr Josh Walker 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Commitment Ranch by BA Tortuga Narr John Solo 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Counterpoint by Rachel Haimowitz Narr Craig Beck 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 255
October 19, 2016 - October 31, 2016
Voting is closed

Comment Below about what makes a good narrator (in general) and win a chance to be drawn for a free book from audible! *must be able to win via email and have an audible account

Stygian Audiobook by Santino Hassell Narrated by Geoffrey Allen

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/stygian-by-santino-hassell-7736-b

51o4vg8jbdl-_sl300_Blurb

Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.

Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.

Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroway’s secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

Jeremy lost his brother to suicide. Since then he hasn’t been the same. The guys in the band, Stygian, are his lifeline. But they are a thin thread. Watts, his brother’s friend, is mostly an asshole, totally self absorbed and hateful. He’s screwing around with Quinn, a trusting, open soul who knows he’s being used but can’t help himself. Then there’s Kennedy. Kennedy has entranced Jeremy since they first met.

The band takes a hiatus to Louisiana to work on their next album. Watts decides the atmosphere to be found in a haunted ante-bellum mansion in the swamps. Nothing about the house feels “right”, especially not the brother and sister, Hunter and Laurel who live nearby and who are the house’s owners.

When emotions run high, Jeremy flees into the woods. There he meets Hunter, a stranger who somehow feels more connected than he should. He wants to run to Kennedy, but Kennedy fights their attraction.

A girl dies, Quinn starts acting strangely and Watts continues to spiral downward. Kennedy and Jeremy connect, but is it going to last? Will Hunter drive them apart? What is the deal with the locked rooms in the house?

**

This is a dark, dark story. Gritty and dirty. The emotions aren’t sugar coated and there are a lot of deep, dark, angsty moments between all the guys in the band.

At times this felt more like a horror story than a romance, but the emotional connection between Jeremy and Kennedy is real and strong.

I can’t tell you what it is, but there’s a (somewhat predictable) twist having to do with Hunter and Laurel. They aren’t who they seem to be. When the climactic moment hits it’s somewhat shocking in its brutality but countered by the love that gets shown in the end between Kennedy and Jeremy.

We leave on a tenuous HFN and I believe there’s more to this story…

If you are a fan of dark, haunted love stories this will be right up your alley. Angst? New Adult drama? This has it in spades. Emotional musicians and a mystery in the swamp? You betcha!

4 of 5 stars

Audio

Geoffrey Allen is a new to me narrator but he was an excellent choice for this book. His tone and pacing was dark and perfectly matched the tenor of this creepy story. He added the right inflections and subtly voiced each character differently and appropriately and I think this is a great way to enjoy this story!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review