Holidays: Eugene and the Box of Nails (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Jaime Samms

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Every time it seems like things are looking up for Eugene Kraft, disaster hits. Bankruptcy, a bigoted sibling, and a back-breaking accident have all left him with little money and less faith in the universe. His last-ditch effort at peace is the small lakeside property where he is building a tiny house from recycled materials. If he can get it livable before the cold sets in, maybe he’ll be okay. Hopefully Cullen, the foreman on the construction site next door, won’t notice Eugene pilfering discarded materials from his dumpster. When Cullen stops by to talk to Eugene, he’s sure the gig is up—but all Cullen wants is a date. Can two things go right in Eugene’s life? At first it seems possible. Projects on Eugene’s house are getting completed by what he dubs “construction elves” while he’s off site. But like Eugene predicted, his good fortune can’t last, and soon he has a tough choice to make: give up his home… or the man of his dreams.

Review

I think we have all been at a time in our lives where we want to accomplish something all by ourselves, with no help from anyone else.
Eugene has let himself depend on others only to have that support suddenly yanked out from under him. Now all he wants to do is build himself a house, by himself, as inexpensively as possible. Of course the good looking foreman from the build site next door is a nice distraction.

Things start appearing on Eugene’s building site, and then things are getting done while he is gone. It’s not like Eugene isn’t grateful, it’s just he wants to do it by himself. Cullen couldn’t have done it because he was with Eugene when it happens.

Eugene and Cullen start off slow and easy, and then hit a brick wall. See what happens when a stubborn man finally lets people help him.

4 of 5 stars

4-stars-small

 


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Audiobook: A Kind of Home (A Kind of Stories #4) by Lane Hayes Narrated by Seth Clayton

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-kind-of-home-by-lane-hayes-8585-b

Blurb

A Kind Of Story

Isaac Dalton is the guitarist for Spiral, arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The band’s meteoric rise to superstardom has its perks, but fame and fortune aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Nonstop touring and performing exhaust him, and when an overzealous fan makes it imperative that Isaac travel with a clingy bodyguard, he is ready for a break from the madness. More so when his newly single first crush shows up on his doorstep. The man is strictly off-limits. He’s a memory from a place Isaac would rather leave behind. And he’s straight.

Fun-loving former athlete slash construction worker Adam McBride desperately needs a new beginning. And New York City is the perfect place to start over and think about how to rebuild his life. A short stint as roommates with his brother’s best friend from high school seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement. However, when friendship gives way to fierce attraction, both men find themselves in unchartered and possibly dangerous territory. Isaac has to decide if he’s willing to take the ultimate risk for a kind of love and a kind of home he never dreamed possible.

Review
(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

This is another amazing addition to Lane Hayes’ “A Kind of” series. It follows a rock band from their origins playing gigs in bars to being on the top of the charts. None of the other books are required reading to understand/enjoy this book, but having read them will give you a more thorough understanding of the characters’ development and their history.

In this case we have Isaac, the lead guitarist, who finds music an easier language than words at times. He breathes easier through his music and roots himself in it’s notes.

Though he’s had a crush on his BFF’s straight brother for years, he’s never acted on it. When the two are forced into close company some secrets are revealed that push them into the other’s arms.

When I think of Lane Hayes’ work, I think always of emotional connections, really hot sex scenes, New York, and in this case- music. That’s what pervades this story. Lane is a really talented writer and she knows how to give the reader well-developed characters and while her stories are fairy-tales in the sense of wonderful things happening to good people, there’s a healthy dose of reality in the mix to make it seem plausible.

For fans of the author and the series this is a must, but you don’t have to fall into those categories to enjoy this. I think fans of musicians, coming-out stories, small towns, and friends to lovers will also love this, too.

Highly recommended!

Audio

Seth Clayton narrates this entire series, and as I’ve said before I think he’s a really great narrator. He handles the story well – all the emotions and action and the music really capably. He doesn’t do much with accents and he does mispronounce words now and again (ie Perrier!) but I think this is a really great way to experience this story and is highly recommended.

4.5-stars-small

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Holidays: The Werewolf Before Christmas (Advent 2017) by Charles Payseur

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar collection Stocking Stuffers.

Ray seems like the perfect boyfriend—he’s gorgeous, incredibly romantic, and has a mechanical suit he invented to become the dastardly MantaRay. For Alec, who also spends his nights making life difficult for do-gooders everywhere, it’s a match made in supervillain heaven. Except that Ray is a bit too into the hit soap opera All My Werewolves. When tempers flare during what’s supposed to be a quiet night out, Alec nearly ruins everything over a stupid bet with an alien gorilla.

Desperate to prove his feelings to Ray, and with Christmas fast approaching, Alec decides the fastest way to Ray’s heart is to embrace the thing that threatens to divide them—a certain werewolf show with a certain actor who Ray admires. A simple kidnapping promises to do the trick, only fur (and fandom) fly when Alec’s romantic gesture leads to a very hairy situation. Can Alec prove to Ray how much their relationship means to him, or will his plans be ruined by the werewolf before Christmas?

Review

Review

This story took me a while to get into. I haven’t read anything by Charles Payseur and had not read the blurb. So it took some time before things started to make sense. Once they did it turned into a man wanting to get the ultimate gift for his boyfriend because he didn’t think he was good enough for him. There was also a bet made in the bar after a few drinks involved.

Throw in a couple of twists and turns and the story slides nicely into a romantic gesture and a super villain fangirling over an actor who is in return fangirling over a fan. We’ve all been there.

3.5 of 5 stars

3.5-stars-small

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Banded Together by K.C. Burn

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/banded-together-by-kc-burn-9193-b

Blurb

Punk’s not dead, but it’s time to redefine life.

Devlin Waters thought he’d have music forever. But the tragic death of his best friend ended the twenty-year run of his punk band, Negative Impression. Unable to process the loss, Devlin distances himself from everyone and everything that reminds him of the band. But forty-one is too young to curl up and wait for the end. In a search for a second career, he finds himself at university with a bunch of kids young enough to be… his kids. His sexy archeology professor, however, makes Devlin think about life beyond his grief….

Dr. Jack Johnson does not appreciate Devlin’s lack of respect, his inability to be serious, or his chronic lateness. Worse, he hates that he’s attracted to a student. When he realizes Devlin is the rock star he crushed on in his youth, he drops his guard—against his better judgment.

Before they can move forward together, Jack must admit to Devlin that he’s not only an admirer, but he also sings in a cover band. How will Devlin react to his ultimate fanboy when his own music has died?

Review

There was a lot of potential in this story. I loved the idea of an old rocker going back to school. The fact that his professor is a fan is awesome. The juxtaposition of rocker and professor – also awesome.

What didn’t work for me was the fact that I never liked Devlin. He was a bit too whiny and though he had a lot to be upset about, I just never warmed to him. As a result I found it hard to care about his relationship.

There was a bit too much drama and the ending didn’t nearly satisfy.

Though the writing was nice and the story idea intriguing, I wasn’t bowled over by this story.

3.25 (rounded to 3.5) of 5 stars

3.5-stars-small

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Rebel (415 Ink #1) by Rhys Ford

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rebel-by-rhys-ford-9200-b

Blurb: The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something—it’s standing up for himself.

Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After Gus spends years running from his past, present, and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on: a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating breakup a few years ago.
Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.

For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold on to. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt, but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.
When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.

Review: I am a big Rhys Ford fan; she has a way with words and she can make a murder scene seem like a work of art. However, I initially struggled with this book because it started off somewhat dark. As the brothers are introduced in the story, one gets a sense of the horrible childhood they all suffered through. This is a story about forging a brotherhood, giving/taking second chances and making a family, no matter how one is (or not) related.
After 3 years, Gus has returned to his brothers, after finding out that he is the father of a 3 year old boy. There are flashbacks to events happened to Gus as a child, while with his mum and in foster care; not for the faint of heart. The horrid childhood Gus suffered through is partly the reason that he couldn’t commit to his then boyfriend, Rey. As Gus and Rey dance around their strained relationship, (realising they never stopped loving each other), they have to navigate past histories, custody hearings for the child, a vengeful child protective service officer and family, to get their HEA.
I thoroughly enjoyed their journey.

It took me 2 tries to read this. I had been expecting something along the lines of the Dirty series – tongue-in-cheek humour, a bit of drama, some hurt/comfort. Instead, I got a story that took me apart emotionally, but put me back together in a cocoon of family, warmth and love. As an added bonus, there are little gems in the form of references to characters from other books, (hers and others).
Now to patiently wait for the next brother’s story.

4.5 stars out of 5

4.5-stars-small


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Holidays: New Game, Start (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by CS Poe

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.
He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.

Review
I just loved Edgar and Walter. Edgar is so insecure about himself that he can’t believe someone famous and wonderful like Walter would even know he existed. Sometimes you’ve just get to take a chance and go for what you want. And that’s what Edgar did and it won him the man of his dreams. They seem so suited to each other. Both of them paying attention to how the other one liked to be wooed. Part of me wants to know more and part of me is content with this little snapshot into their budding relationship. Lovely feel good story that fits any time of year not just Christmas.

4 of stars out of 5

4-stars-small


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Time to Vote for the Best Audiobooks released in 2017 – and a chance to win $20 from Amazon!

Time to Vote for The Best Audiobooks Released in 2017! Enter to win $20 from Amazon!*
  • Audiobook: The Weight of it all by NR Walker narr Joel Leslie 11%, 57 votes
    57 votes 11%
    57 votes - 11% of all votes
  • Audio: Dyeing to be Loved by Aimee Nicole Walker narr Joel Leslie 8%, 43 votes
    43 votes 8%
    43 votes - 8% of all votes
  • Audio: Destiny of Dragons by TJ Klune narr Michael Lesley 7%, 36 votes
    36 votes 7%
    36 votes - 7% of all votes
  • Audio: The Necromancer’s Dance by SJ Himes narr Joel Leslie 6%, 34 votes
    34 votes 6%
    34 votes - 6% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Tate by Ella Frank narr Shannon Gunn 5%, 29 votes
    29 votes 5%
    29 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Audio: Cronin’s Key by NR Walker narr Joel Leslie 5%, 27 votes
    27 votes 5%
    27 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Tease by Ella Frank Narr by Shannon Gunn 4%, 24 votes
    24 votes 4%
    24 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Audio: Salvation by Sloane Kennedy narr Joel Leslie 4%, 24 votes
    24 votes 4%
    24 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Audiobook : Lost and Found by Lucy Lennox and Sloane Kennedy Narr Michael Pauley 4%, 24 votes
    24 votes 4%
    24 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Darkest Hour Before The Dawn by Charlie Cochet Narrated by Mark Westfield 4%, 23 votes
    23 votes 4%
    23 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Tramps and thieves by Rhys Ford narr Greg Tremblay 4%, 20 votes
    20 votes 4%
    20 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford Narr Greg Tremblay 4%, 20 votes
    20 votes 4%
    20 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Audio Moving Maverick Audiobook by Lucy Lennox narrated by Michael Pauley 4%, 19 votes
    19 votes 4%
    19 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Retribution by Sloane Kennedy narr Joel Leslie 4%, 19 votes
    19 votes 4%
    19 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Audio Red Dirt Heart 2 by NR Walker narrated by Joel Leslie 3%, 18 votes
    18 votes 3%
    18 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Audio: Until You by TJ Klune narr Michael Lesley 2%, 13 votes
    13 votes 2%
    13 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Audio There’s This Guy Audiobook by Rhys Ford Narrated by Greg Tremblay 2%, 13 votes
    13 votes 2%
    13 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price Narrated by Joel Leslie 2%, 10 votes
    10 votes 2%
    10 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Red Dirt Heart 3 by NR Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie 2%, 9 votes
    9 votes 2%
    9 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Audio: Gummy Bears and Grenades by Charlie Chochet narr Mark Westfield 1%, 8 votes
    8 votes 1%
    8 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audiobook: For the Love of Caden by Sandrine Gasq-Dion Narr Greg Boudreaux 1%, 8 votes
    8 votes 1%
    8 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Bonfires by Amy Lane narr Nick J Russo 1%, 6 votes
    6 votes 1%
    6 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audiobooks: Femme by Marshall Thornton narr Joel Leslie 1%, 6 votes
    6 votes 1%
    6 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Fair Chance by Josh Lanyon narr JF Harding 1%, 6 votes
    6 votes 1%
    6 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio Psycops Briefs by Jordan Castillo Price narr by Gomez Pugh 1%, 6 votes
    6 votes 1%
    6 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio Dom of the Ages by KC Wells and Parker Williams narr by Joel Leslie 1%, 5 votes
    5 votes 1%
    5 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles narrated by Matthew Lloyd Davies 1%, 5 votes
    5 votes 1%
    5 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Broken by Nicola Haken narr Joel Leslie 1%, 5 votes
    5 votes 1%
    5 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain narr KC Kelly 1%, 4 votes
    4 votes 1%
    4 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish narr Spencer Goss 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio:Winter Ball by Amy Lane narrated by Nick J Russo 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio Losing Control by Riley Hart Narrated by Jack Du Pont 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audiobook: One Giant Leap by Kay Simone Narr Greg Tremblay 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio Crime Wave by Adam Carpenter Narrated by Joel Leslie 0%, 2 votes
    2 votes
    2 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Audiobook: Smitty’s Sheriff by Cardeno C Narr Ezekiel Robison 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • Audio: The Curse of the Blue Scarab by Josh Lanyon Narrated by Alexander Masters 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • Audio Crazy Like a Foxe by Haley Walsh narrated by Joel Leslie 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 538
Voters: 260
December 28, 2017 - January 7, 2018
Voting is closed

*The top 3 winners from the years polls, including December of 2016 and not December 2017 will be included to be equal. Comment on where you like to get information on new audiobooks and you'll be entered to win a $20 gift card from Amazon!

 

Comment on where you like to learn about new audiobooks and you’ll be entered to win $20 gift card from Amazon – must be able to win via email.

 

Vote for the Best Books from 2017 – chance to win $40 from Dreamspinner!

 

Time to Vote for Best Books of 2017! Enter to win $40 from Dreamspinner Press!*
  • Tried and True by Charlie Cochet 7%, 18 votes
    18 votes 7%
    18 votes - 7% of all votes
  • Gummy Bears and Grenades by Charlie Cochet 5%, 13 votes
    13 votes 5%
    13 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Imago by NR Walker 5%, 13 votes
    13 votes 5%
    13 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford 5%, 13 votes
    13 votes 5%
    13 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Tate by Ella Frank 5%, 12 votes
    12 votes 5%
    12 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Darkest Hour Before Dawn by Charlie Cochet 5%, 12 votes
    12 votes 5%
    12 votes - 5% of all votes
  • A Destiny of Dragons by TJ Klune 5%, 11 votes
    11 votes 5%
    11 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Tease by Ella Frank 5%, 11 votes
    11 votes 5%
    11 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Hexslayer by Jordan L Hawk 4%, 9 votes
    9 votes 4%
    9 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Locked in Silence by Sloane Kennedy 4%, 9 votes
    9 votes 4%
    9 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Tramps and Thieves by Rhys Ford 4%, 9 votes
    9 votes 4%
    9 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Lost and Found by Lucy Lennox and Sloane Kennedy 3%, 8 votes
    8 votes 3%
    8 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Red Fish, Dead Fish by Amy Lane 3%, 8 votes
    8 votes 3%
    8 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Tender with a twist by Annabeth Albert 3%, 8 votes
    8 votes 3%
    8 votes - 3% of all votes
  • On Davis Row by NR Walker 3%, 8 votes
    8 votes 3%
    8 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Draakenwood by Jordan L. Hawk 3%, 8 votes
    8 votes 3%
    8 votes - 3% of all votes
  • The Consumption of Magic by TJ Klune 3%, 8 votes
    8 votes 3%
    8 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Switched by NR Walker 3%, 8 votes
    8 votes 3%
    8 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Wedlocked by Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine 2%, 6 votes
    6 votes 2%
    6 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Fool on Main Beach by Tara Lain 2%, 5 votes
    5 votes 2%
    5 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Nothing Special Book 5 by AE Via 2%, 4 votes
    4 votes 2%
    4 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Until You by TJ Klune 2%, 4 votes
    4 votes 2%
    4 votes - 2% of all votes
  • An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles 2%, 4 votes
    4 votes 2%
    4 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Yanni’s Story by NR Walker 2%, 4 votes
    4 votes 2%
    4 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Unexpected by Sloane Kennedy 2%, 4 votes
    4 votes 2%
    4 votes - 2% of all votes
  • So This Is Christmas by Josh Lanyon 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Dyed and Gone To Heaven by Aimee Nicole Walker 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Hush by Tal Bauer 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Painted on My Heart by Kindle Alexander 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • The Long Winding Road by TJ Klune 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • I Do, or Dye Trying by Aimee Nicole Walker 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Skin after Skin by Jordan Castillo Price 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Redemption by Sloane Kennedy 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Atonement by Sloane Kennedy 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • Finding Hope by Sloane Kennedy 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • Reservations by Kindle Alexander 0%, 1 vote
    1 vote
    1 vote - 0% of all votes
  • Defiance by Sloane Kennedy 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Revelation By Sloane Kennedy 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Undisputed by Aimee Nicole Smith 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 242
Voters: 97
December 28, 2017 - January 7, 2018
Voting is closed

*These are the top three winners chosen in our poll over the year - including December of 2016 and not December of 2017 to keep things equal. There will be another chance to vote for Audiobooks separately.* Comment on where you like to learn about new books and be entered to win $40 from Dreamspinner!

 

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Audiobook: Nachos & Hash (Mary’s Boys #1) by Brandon Witt Narrated by Dominic Carlos

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/nachos-hash-by-brandon-witt-8047-b

Blurb

Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… will Cody accept what is offered?

Review
(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

Both Darwin and Cody come from small towns in the mid-west and have come to Denver looking for a life “bigger” than what they’ve known. Darwin feels his life is nearly complete, he just needs someone to share it with. Cody is far from comfortable, he’s happy but expecting danger and disappointment around every corner.

When Cody and Darwin meet, Cody can’t believe Darwin would be interested in someone like him (this theme dominates most of their relationship in the story) and it takes them many dates to move forward from “hookup” to something more serious. I loved that Darwin is persistent – it’d be easy to be put off by Cody’s constant low self-esteem issues, but Darwin not only sees someone in need of help, but a compatriot with similar background issues as well as someone – inside- who he can see has a lot of potential.

There are times in this story that we get some very “real” moments: the two exploring sex together (there are awkward moments and fits and starts), some really tough times when Cody’s family responds to something they’ve seen on FaceBook, awkward dates, and more. What we end up with is a lovely mélange of funny, sweet, tender, heart-warming, emotional, sad and touching. It ends on a very happy upswing, probably more HFN than HEA, but with decided leanings toward forever.

Cody, luckily, upon finding himself in Denver, found a new family in his co-workers at Hamburger Mary’s. They end up being very important to him, now and by the end of the story. I loved that the author shows us how family is more than who you were born with and that, sometimes, the family you choose, is the more important family in your life.

I highly recommend this book to fans of the author, sweet and funny romances, as well as fans of “coming of age” romances.

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

Dominic Carlos is a new narrator to me and I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed. He did a fine job but there are SO MANY ways this could have been exceptional. Brandon gave us so many great characters that could have had wonderful voices with hysterical personas but that wasn’t really demonstrated here.

The narration is solid, but not amazing. A fair way to experience this but not as much as it could have been.

3 of 5 stars

Overall 3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

4-stars-small

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Holidays: Ghostwriter of Christmas Past (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by T.A. Moore

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Ever since ghostwriter Jason Burke ended up in loco parentis for his orphaned niece, Mallory, he’s been trying. He goes to parent/teacher events, and he makes packed lunches, so he definitely didn’t mean to forget about Christmas. He just hasn’t celebrated it since he left home under a cloud years ago.
Put on the spot, Jason makes the snap decision to take Mallory to see where he and her father spent their Christmases as kids. The last thing he expects is to run into Tommy, his ex—ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend—who is still living in town… and working as a sheriff’s deputy.
It’s hard to avoid someone in a small town—and maybe Jason doesn’t want to. He got Mallory a Christmas, and maybe now it’s time to get himself a Christmas boyfriend. But first, he owes Tommy some explanations.

Review
When I finished reading this story my immediate thought was that this could make a good novel. Don’t get me wrong it is a solid short story with just enough background to keep me happy but it could easily be a lot more. I’m not certain if I felt any sympathy or empathy for Jason. I certainly did for his Niece Mallory. It’s very clear Jason is out of his depth caring for Mallory when both of them are still grieving. And that might be why he decided to take her back to where he and her dad grew up. I liked Tommy, he’s the strong dependable one, just what Jason and Mallory need to give them some stability. The only thing is that we as the reader get an idea of why Jason had to leave home at eighteen but I don’t think he ever really explained it to Tommy. I loved the ending, gave me a contented sigh. This is a good short story full of homecoming forgiveness and new starts. Personally I would like more.

4 of stars out of 5

4-stars-small

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