Categories
adult - 18+ Audiobook Gay Mid level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Scorching/high heat

Audiobook: Before You Break by KC Wells and Parker Williams Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/before-you-break-by-kc-wells-and-parker-williams-9384-b

Blurb

Six years ago Ellis walked into his first briefing as the newest member of London’s Specialist Firearms unit. He was partnered with Wayne and they became fast friends. When Wayne begins to notice changes—Ellis’s erratic temper, the effects of sleep deprivation—he knows he has to act before Ellis reaches his breaking point. He invites Ellis to the opening of the new BDSM club, Secrets, where Wayne has a membership. His purpose? He wants Ellis to glimpse the lifestyle before Wayne approaches him with a proposition. He wants to take Ellis in hand, to control his life because he wants his friend back, and he figures this is the only way to do it.

There are a few issues, however. Ellis is straight. Stubborn. And sexy. Wayne knows he has to put his own feelings aside to be what Ellis needs. What surprises the hell out of him is finding out what Ellis actually requires.

Review

Previously reviewed here.

I loved this book!
This is a spin off or continuation of the Collars and Cuffs series and we get to see many of our favorite characters. Eli and Jarrod have moved to London and bought, updated and reopened the local BDSM club. Wayne introduces Ellis to the club on opening night and from there our story develops.
Wayne is the perfect person/Dom to Ellis. I liked how he was firm but not controlling. So much of Wayne’s Dom personality was integrated into his everyday life and everyone looked to him to guide them through their work situations. When he approached Ellis about starting a dom/sub relationship, he wasn’t heavy handed, he was reassuring and low key about it.
Ellis was a mess. He just wants to keep everyone happy and it was now affecting both his personal and work life, as well as him not taking care of himself. As Wayne and Ellis continue to explore and learn each other, it is probably one of the most caring exploration into BDSM I’ve ever seen.

Audio 

Whatever training Joel had before he got into narration has only helped solidify his place as one of the outstanding narrators in this genre. His ability to do many different accents make the story realistic and his timing and inflection help build the high and low points of the story!
There is never any hesitation to purchasing a book narrated by Joel, as I always know I will get a quality product!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Book DA Dreamspinner Gay Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Standalone Time to Laugh

Time to Laugh: The Blinding Light Audiobook by Renae Kaye Narrated by Jonathan Young

Dreamspinner Press
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5211

Blurb

Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it’s prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.

Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.

Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore.

Review

Renae Kaye has that amazing ability to make you laugh while she tugs at your heart strings.
She’s very “australian” and I love that aspect of her writing, you definitely feel immersed.

I’ve read/listened to this several times by now and I’m always touched by the ending. It’s so perfect. I think Jake’s mom is both OTT and absolutely a real person. We all have those family members who are … atypical… and who march to their own drum. That’s her. While Jake might be a bit too perfect for words – in the end – he gets a Cinderella type reward worthy of his goodness.

Patrick is fantastic. Curmudgeonly and surly at first, only to be completely turned around when his sh*t is thrown back in his face by the mouthy Jake.

Jake’s friends and family are funny and well rounded as characters who add to the story without really detracting from the main thread – and whom later get their own stories! – most of them.

There was an appropriate amount of smexy scenes, not overwhelming and those that were there were definitely hot.

I also liked how the two resolved the issue of money between the two of them. It might not be the most romantic way to do it, but it’s a realistic approach to a sensitive, relationship-breaking subject.

Overall just a really touching, sweet and funny romance.

Audio

On the one hand I think Jonathan Young did a great job with this. I’m not sure what his background is but if I had to guess I’d say he’s American doing an Australian accent? This is based on listening to some of his other audiobooks as well as this one. I wish he’d stuck with the accent throughout instead of going back and forth – but it worked and I bought his accent as used in dialog.

This is a fantastic way to enjoy this story.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
3.5 stars adult - 18+ Bullying Dee Dreamspinner Gay Gay Little to no angst m/m Mild/low level heat Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Standalone

Release Day Review: Life’s a Beach By Poppy Dennison

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lifes-a-beach-by-poppy-dennison-9528-b

Blurb:

Coconut Cove: Book One
Life’s a beach… and then you meet the guy of your dreams.
Flynn Wright’s role on the upcoming teen drama Coconut Cove means a fresh start in the land of crystal water, palm trees, and gorgeous people. The move to the beautiful beaches of Key West, Florida—and away from LA and his conniving ex—is just what Flynn needs.
Meeting sexy bartender Seth is the cherry on top of Flynn’s colorful frozen drink, and he can’t wait to take a taste. But Seth isn’t impressed by Flynn’s Hollywood good looks, nor is he interested in the complications of dating an actor, no matter how hot.
Can Flynn dodge his scheming ex and the eager paparazzi while showing Seth that he is more than a pretty package?

Review

A fun, light start to a new series.

Flynn, an actor who dated his former co-star on a tv series, gets written out of the show when Flynn breaks up with him. Flynn gets a chance to be on another show and while celebrating with his new cast mates, he meets Seth, a bartender. They hit it off quickly, but trouble ensues when Flynn’s ex decides to make trouble.

The story is interspersed with scenes from the tv series and snippets from gossip rags – a little confusing, at first, but a fun way to add to the story.

Flynn is a nice guy, not stuck up and realises the value of being available to fans. Seth is a protective sort, nice and stable. They make a good couple. The story is simple, sweet a nice way to pass a couple of hours. I liked the story and will look for the next book in the series.

 

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars 6 stars adult - 18+ Author Provided Beth Jumper Gay m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Speculative Fiction Standalone

Coming Soon! Evolved by NR Walker

April 23

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39680421-evolved?from_search=true

Blurb
In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise, mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, Lloyd thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN.

Shaun is compatible with Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe.

No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.

Review by Morgan

I am literally blown away by this story.

When I saw the blurb I pretty much said to myself – yeah – NO – and wanted to pass it on. I was a bit intrigued but mostly really put off by the robot in the future part of the story. That’s just not me.

Wellll…. Let me tell you. This story gripped me right from the start and I couldn’t put it down. NR Walker managed to do it AGAIN. She keeps coming out of left field with these books that are so DIFFERENT from what I’ve seen from her and she keeps hitting home runs! (See all the Spring Baseball references…. And I don’t like baseball! But they fit 😉 )

First, let’s look at this story. It has a fairly timely subject matter – we are probably on the cusp of artificial intelligence and as this story suggests we are in no way ready for it.

Despite the robot nature of Shaun, I loved his existential crisis and that whole “why am I here” thing is something all of us experience and the author was able to really capture this in simple ways that can be felt in us all.

The “Big Brother” aspect of this story is so accurate it’s frightening. We know “they” are listening – but what can you do that doesn’t involve living off grid in Montana?

And the romance. Ahhhhhh. So good. I totally cried at the end even though I knew it would be a HEA – NR doesn’t let us down. It’s a very touching ending and I was really pleased with her result.

Second, can we talk about NR Walker’s amazing brain? If you look at her title list we have things all over the map: from the outback, to Africa, to contemporary Australia, body image, butterflies, switched at birth, blindness, ménage, cops, vampires, architecture… and she’s like an expert on ALL these things! I totally want to have access to her time and resources – she must spend 50% of her time researching and the rest writing! I love it! (And am jealous of her beautiful brain 😉 ) Now we can add this futuristic techno drama to her list. Truly awe inspiring and wonderful.

So… from one non-sci-fi person to another – this is a sci-fi book you’ll want to read. It’s wonderful and touching and it will absolutely inspire all your neurotransmitters to fire!

6 of 5 stars

 

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Beth
This story kept me on edge all the way through as I wondered how it would resolve itself. To the point I needed to reread it to catch the subtle dialogue that really shows us the growth Shaun makes as he learns to become a self thinking being. The actual relationship between Lloyd and Shaun is your typical get to know each other. That give and take as a couple learns each other’s likes and dislikes.

There is humor spread throughout this story, as man and android learn each other and themselves. I loved the scene where Lloyd needed to rush home and rescue Shaun after Shaun discovers the porn channels on the television.

This story gives us exploration of a relationship, suspense of what is going to happen next, an exploration of what might be the future. We also have the sub story of “big brother is watching,” and of course a HEA.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Dee Dreamspinner Gay Gay Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

Audiobook: Buried Passions by Andrew Grey narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents:
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/buried-passions-by-andrew-grey-9537-b

Blurb:
When Broadway actor Jonah receives word that his uncle has passed away and named him the heir to a property in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Jonah’s plan is to settle the estate as quickly as possible and return to his life in New York City. Much to Jonah’s surprise, the inheritance includes the Ashford Cemetery—and its hunky groundskeeper, recent Bosnian immigrant Luka Pavelka.

Jonah soon discovers Luka is more than easy on the eyes. He sees into Jonah’s heart like no man ever before, and his job at the cemetery is all he has. If Jonah sells, Luka is left with nothing. Luka is there for Jonah when Jonah needs someone most, and there’s no denying the chemistry and connection between them. But Jonah has a successful career back in New York. Now he must decide if it’s still the life he wants….

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/buried-passions-by-andrew-grey/

I jumped at the chance to listen to Joel Leslie narrate and I was not disappointed.
I was not a great fan of the story – for some reason it didn’t engage me as much as Andrew Grey’s other stories – but the narration made me enjoy the story a lot more.
Joel Leslie does a really good job of infusing emotion, humour and heat into the story. He’s a master of accents, so I had no trouble with believing that Luka was Eastern European. His portrayal of Jonah had the right amount of snark, compassion and ultimately, happiness.
Joel Leslie’s narration is always great way to enjoy a book. I ended up liking the story a lot more because of his performance.

3.5 stars out of 5 for the story
5 stars out of 5 for the narration

Overall 4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
3 stars Audiobook Billionaire Cinderella/Cinderfella class difference College/University Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay Gay Little to no angst m/m Mary D May/December May/December Mechanic/Car/Racing Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series Race/Species Difference Standalone young adult

Audiobook: High Test by Elizabeth Noble Narrated by Colin Darcy

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/high-test-by-elizabeth-noble-9033-b

Blurb
The coffee is rich. Hayden isn’t. But Neal doesn’t need to know that—yet.

Hayden Owens is just your typical graduate student working his way through school as a barista for the Owens Coffee Company—no relation. But he keeps the “no relation” part to himself when he meets dashing architect, Neal Kirchner, a successful older man from an old-money family. Hayden doesn’t exactly lie, but he figures it can’t hurt for Neal to believe he’s a rich kid. After all, Hayden doesn’t want Neal thinking he’s a gold digger.

The closer they become, the harder it gets for Hayden to come clean. Something always seems to get in the way. When a company bankruptcy and a jilted, vindictive woman threaten to expose his charade, Hayden thinks it’s all gone down the drain. Luckily Neal is ready with some innocent trickery of his own

Review

This is a sweet Cinderfella May-December romance. Both Neal and Hayden are lovable genuine characters. The story is told from Hayden’s point of view. Hayden is coming to the end of his studies when he meets Neal at a college function. He enjoyed Neal’s company so much he nearly missed his bus. Neal never gets Hayden’s number. I really enjoyed this take on the fairytale. A slow building romance where they learn more about each other. Hayden never wants Neal’s money, just him. However there was a misunderstanding and Hayden never quite managed to correct Neal and feels guilty about it. I liked the way the age gap works between them, they are well suited in interests and outlook. I’m not sure that the vindictive woman was needed but I suppose there has to be some bumps in the road. Such a charming low angst story.
Colin Darcy is a new to me. I think he does very well portraying Neal’s Indian background without it sounding like a caricature. He also captures Hayden’s youth without making him sound too young. He has a pleasant voice making it very easy listening.

For the second time. This is where the misunderstanding begins

3 of stars out of 5


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Categories
4.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Audiobook Book Bullying Dreamspinner Gay Gay Hurt/Abuse Little to no angst m/m Mary D Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

Audiobook: Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey Narrated by Jack Wesley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/taming-the-beast-by-andrew-grey-8936-

Blurb

The suspicious death of Dante Bartholomew’s wife changed him, especially in the eyes of the residents of St. Giles. They no longer see a successful businessman… only a monster they believe was involved. Dante’s horrific reputation eclipses the truth to the point that he sees no choice but to isolate himself and his heart.

The plan backfires when he meets counselor Beau Clarity and the children he works with. Beau and the kids see beyond the beastly reputation to the beautiful soul inside Dante, and Dante’s cold heart begins to thaw as they slip past his defenses. The warmth and hope Beau brings to Dante’s life help him see his entire existence—his trials and sorrows—in a brighter light.

But Dante’s secrets could rip happiness from their grasp… especially since someone isn’t above hurting those Dante has grown to love in order to bring him down

Review by Mary
(Book Reviewed here Previously)

The nature of this beast is in his beastly behaviour rather than appearance. Does such a handsome man hide a hideous nature? I liked that Beau was not ready to accept everyone else’s verdict that Dante was a beast. Both of them have their secrets but Beau has learned that sharing them can make them less scary. After all his name is Clarity it’s only appropriate he can see things clearly. Where as Dante has put himself in his own hell. He has withdrawn from any social contact. The only people who know him are the staff at the house.
I have always liked the way Andrew Grey writes. He has a way of writing a gentle story that has a powerful message. In this story we see a man who by trying to do the right thing is vilified. He believes he doesn’t deserve to be happy. Like all of Andrew Grey’s characters both Dante and Beau are believable everyday people. With secrets and faults that cloud the way they live. You just can’t help but get pulled into their lives rooting for the happy ever after ending. If you are looking for a feel good story I recommend this one.

5 of 5 stars

Review by Morgan

I’m definitely in agreement with most of Mary’s review. I think Andrew Grey is a very straight forward writer and that appeals to a lot of people. I think the allegory and metaphor in this was a little over the top, but it was still very fun and the message absolutely clear.

If you’re a fan of the re-done fairy tale this is for you! If you want a subtle romance – this isn’t it.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

Jack Wesley is a relatively new narrator and I think he does a great job with differentiating voices, expressing emotion and his voice quality is good and easy to listen to.

Highly Recommended.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Book Dee Gay Gay m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Standalone Time to Laugh

Time to Laugh: A Temporary Situation by H.L. Day

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36270848-a-temporary-situation?from_search=true

Blurb

Personal assistant Dominic is a consummate professional. Funny then, that he harbors such unprofessional feelings toward Tristan Maxwell, the CEO of the company. No, not in that way. The man may be the walking epitome of gorgeousness dressed up in a designer suit. But, Dominic’s immune. Unlike most of the workforce, he can see through the pretty facade to the arrogant, self-entitled asshole below. It’s lucky then, that the man’s easy enough to avoid.

Disaster strikes when Dominic finds himself having to work in close proximity as Tristan’s P.A. The man is infuriatingly unflappable, infuriatingly good-humored, and infuriatingly unorthodox. In short, just infuriating. A late-night rescue leading to a drunken pass only complicates matters further, especially with the discovery that Tristan is both straight and engaged.

Hatred turns to tolerance, tolerance to friendship, and friendship to mutual passion. One thing’s for sure, if Tristan sets his sights on Dominic, there’s no way Dominic has the necessary armor or willpower to keep a force of nature like Tristan at bay for long, no matter how unprofessional a relationship with the boss might be. He may just have to revise everything he previously thought and believed in a chance at love.

Review

This is a funny, sweet, low angst story. Tristan is a little too nice to be true, but such a darling. Dominic is snarky, clever and funny.
Dominic made a snap decision to dislike his boss based on an interview given by Tristan. He does his best to be obnoxious to Tristan, but finds that Tristan is genuinely a nice guy. Once the confusion is cleared up, it’s still not smooth sailing to a relationship – Tristan still has a girlfriend to get rid of and Dominic doesn’t believe he and Tristan can be in a relationship. There some great secondary characters- Paul and Martin.
The story is great fun; I’d love to see a story about Paul and the bartender- I’m sure it would be fun ☺

4 stars out of 5


Copy purchased for review

Categories
adult - 18+

Release day Review: Crocus by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/crocus-by-amy-lane-9524-b

Blurb

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart

Review
In my opinion you really do need to read or listen to book 1, Bonfires, before starting Crocus. Bonfires is the story of how Aaron and Larx meet and fall in love with all the complications of joining two families. It ends when Larx’s eldest daughter Olivia comes home from college and tells them she is pregnant. This book takes off from that point. We learn that not only is she pregnant she also has Depression. Amy Lane handles this very difficult subject very well. There is no miraculous recovery just because it suited the storyline. We go through Olivia’s struggles to move out of the dark place she is in and Larx’s struggles as a parent to help her. At the same time his rock, Aaron is injured whilst on duty, one of his students is suffering from domestic abuse and is missing in a snowstorm. In amongst this two brothers need his support. There is so much to keep you on edge desperate to know more and wanting everything to work out. I love the dose of reality and practically Amy Lane has in these stories. By the way the book ended I am certain there will be a third book, can’t wait.

5 of stars out of 5

5-stars-small


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Categories
4 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Gay Ghost High but not hopeless Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series

Release Day Review: Lost Souls Found (Requiem Inc. #2) by Kris T. Bethke

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lost-souls-found-by-kris-t-bethke-9484-b

Blurb

Dying is all in a day’s work. Love is more dangerous.

Ghostwalker Sam Jones has been half in love with Michael King since he started working at Requiem Inc. But Michael is his boss and a Guardian, to boot. Sam thinks they could make it work anyway, but Michael uses his position and his age to keep Sam at arm’s length.

When Sam continues to volunteer for the most dangerous cases, Michael has to intervene. He tells himself he’s just doing his job, but he’s always seen Sam as more than another operative, and he can’t bear the thought of not taking his chance. The connection between them has been strong from the beginning, and Michael’s telepathy adds unexpected depth and an edge to their new romance, but working together while they try to build their relationship might be the hardest part of their job if they don’t make some sacrifices.

Review

It’s hard to be a sequel. I know this. I absolutely ADORED book 1 in this series and I had SUPER high hopes for this because Michael (and Sam) seemed like really intriguing characters with awesome powers and a lot of sexual chemistry.

Most of that proved true. However…. I was so frustrated with Michael and his (abuse, neglect) avoidance of Sam that he definitely lost some of his luster. Ditto with Sam and his willingness to bend so much without standing up for himself.

The paranormal stuff wasn’t as captivating as it was in book 1 but it’s still great!

I think you need to have read book 1 to really like this – so I’m not going to call it a standalone – but it might be ok.

If you loved book 1 you’ll really enjoy this.

Recommended!

4 of 5 stars

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