Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Recent Release: Across the Pond (Arizona Raptors #2) by R.J. Scott , V.L. Locey

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48637692-across-the-pond?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

The greatest journey isn’t from England to the States, it’s the one that two men take on the way to find each other.

Sebastian Brown is on a mission to rescue the Arizona Raptors and a vow he made to a friend in college. Either that or he’s on vacation. He’s not entirely sure that he’s made up his mind yet. Either way, traveling from England, to the arid desert of Arizona isn’t exactly a picnic, particularly with the doubts and worries he takes with him. He’s turned even the worst of companies around, but faced with the challenge of improving the reputation of a hockey team that everyone seems to hate, he knows his work is cut out for him.

Focus is key, but that is easier said than done when Seb is sent into a tailspin by the intriguing Alejandro. Seb’s entire marketing plan hinges on making Alex a poster boy for equality and fair play. But with Alex’s utter dedication to the game, and his dark secretive eyes, the gorgeous Alex is stubborn, opinionated, doesn’t want any part of being the team focus, and worst of all, doesn’t appear to like Seb at all. It takes everything that Seb has to keep his hands off of Alex, but things get out of hand and Seb’s life might never be the same again.

Alejandro Garcia has had to work hard to get where he’s at. Born to Mexican immigrants, his siblings and himself have never had it easy in this new country their parents dreamed of calling home. A native son of Arizona, Alex has always been the odd man out on the ice but he’s not going to let a stupid thing like his heritage get in the way of his dreams. He’s now a Raptor and he plans to put all that training and collegiate hockey experience to good use. Working hard comes naturally to him. It’s something his parents have instilled in him from the time he was a toddler. Being one of a handful of Latino hockey players makes him strive for success with even more determination. His first pro season has had some ups but a lot more downs, but Alex is one stubborn young man and failure is not an option.

As the Raptors struggle to rebuild not only their team but their core values, Alex finds himself drawn to one of the owner’s friends, a tall, lanky Brit with the face of an angel and an accent and attitude that bewitches and befuddles him. Sebastian is everything he thought he would never be attracted to but he can’t push the sexy, older, fun-loving man out of his thoughts. If ever there were a man he would not be able to take home to his parents – not that he can bring a man home since he is deeply closeted – it’s Sebastian, but desire knows no socioeconomic, age, or international borders. The heart wants what the heart wants and Alejandro’s wants Sebastian.

Review

(Contains mild spoilers)

 

 

 

 

I am soooo disappointed in this. I’ve been (mostly) loving this series and the original and I was really anticipating Alex’s story, but this did not deliver.

First, Sebastian is so bland and not fleshed-out, as to be almost non-existant. There is next to no real romance building between him and Alex and what there is goes by waaaayyy to fast to feel good.

Second, Alex is so all over the map, he gave me whiplash.  On one hand I know some of that is his character, but on the other hand he goes from being so deep in the closet to out and proud at his sisters party!  It just didn’t feel right.  I didn’t get the sense that the two really spent quality time together to build a relationship worthy of his spectacular coming out.

 

I think there are just too many plot points so none got well developed.  One that really deserved attention was the age gap and it was really skimmed over – at best.  Then they have to deal with either a long distance relationship or moving permanently?    We also had Alex’s virginity and his religion to contend with. Nope.  We just didn’t get enough of that for me to buy this romance as settled or even well thought out.

 

I’ll give the story a 2.5 stars for the characters and the continuation of other story lines, but their romance in particular did not shine as I’d hoped.

 

2.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Love you so Sweetly by Tara Lain

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-sweetly-by-tara-lain-10756-b

Blurb:
Reading his future in a glass of sweet tea.

The youngest son of one of America’s richest families, Remy Merced is so busy trying to save his family company from collapse, he’s never taken time to figure out if he’s gay, much less if he’s happy. Then his meddling mama hires him an assistant who’s everything Remy thinks he doesn’t want. Cute Harper Treadwell, from rural Arkansas, is a brilliant business prodigy… and openly gay. His wit and charm could confirm Remy’s suspicions about his own sexuality almost instantly—if they weren’t both already partnered.

When Remy’s girlfriend and Harper’s boyfriend get a little too friendly, Remy finds that the path to happiness requires a long drive in an old Prius, a growing appreciation for small towns, and a whole lot of sweet tea. But before they can forge a future—they have to let go of the past.

Review:
As Remy is dealing with the problems of his company and his life Harper is thrown into the mix and turns Remy’s world upside down. Remy has many questions running through his mind, and it looks like Harper could answer more than a few of them. While the two work together to find a way to fix the problems at work their emotions begin to take over. There is a strong attraction between them that neither man can deny. I enjoyed the way their relationship takes shape. Both men are dealing with their own identities and must find themselves before looking towards a future with each other but when misunderstandings pull them apart Remy must make a hard choice and decide if he will follow his heart or be miserable for the rest of his life. Both Remy and Harper are strong men and with the support of their family and friends they begin to fight for a happy ever after that they deserve.
This is a fast paced and captivating story that pulls you in right from the start and has you believing in love. The author has written another enjoyable story with great characters for this series.

Number of stars out of 5: 4



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid Narrated by Tor Thom

audiobookreview

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Heated-Rivalry-Audiobook/1541431634?qid=1572134542&sr=1-2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=7TJ5WG0S76CGPFKH47C1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2

Blurb

Nothing interferes with Shane Hollander’s game—definitely not the sexy rival he loves to hate.

Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.

Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.

As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. If the truth comes out, it could ruin them both. But when their need for each other rivals their ambition on the ice, secrecy is no longer an option…

Review
This blew me away!

I loved this so much!

I gotta tell you – I was leery. This is a new author to me and though I’m a huge hockey fan – I’m wary of people who don’t know their stuff. I also don’t really love books where the romance has already started before you start reading. But…
First, the author knows her stuff! From World Juniors, to the Olympics, to the NHL and the major rivalries – she’s got it down! It took me a long time to figure out the nuances of the NHL system – it’s not a straightforward thing – and it’s definitely hard to explain – but she does it!

Second, as I said yesterday, the fact that she re-names our current NHL teams just lets us fall into the already understood world of team rivalries and playoff pictures and beards! Well done!

I will say that I’m not super in love with the fact that our MCs have off page sex with other people, but given the 8 year (?) time span, it’s rational and it’s not done in a way that is really all that bothersome to the romantic in me. But I do warn those of you who will hate that aspect.

Ilya is bi-sexual and Shane isn’t (I think he’s actually demisexual but he doesn’t label himself that way.). In any case the two of them are hysterical as rivals and it carries to the bedroom for some very hot smexy times.

I thought the way Shane handles his attraction to Ilya was one of the most “realistic” ways I’ve seen enemies to lovers handled. I’ve always thought that if a guy is struggling with his own sexuality to fall into bed with a guy (especially if he’s not drunk or has some other excuse) would be hard to do without some recriminations/shame etcetera.

Ilya, too, did a fantastic job with his own feelings and in the end I just melted at the way these guys found a way to be together.

I highly recommend this to fans of sports romance, hockey, enemies to lovers, Russian MCs (yum!), sweet HEAs and hot smexy times.

Audio

Tor Thom did such a great job with this! I loved how he depicted Ilya and his contrast with Shane was spot on!

Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

 


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: From Brussels, With Love by Amy Calirel

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/from-brussels-with-love-by-emy-calirel-10834-b

Blurb

Dispirited after a recent breakup, Irish project manager Trevor is guilted into a trip to Brussels with his best friend. A chance meeting with cute and funny tour guide Jerome turns into a weekend of sex and friendship. Forgetting his phone at Jerome’s apartment shifts their fling into a long-distance relationship held together by postcards, texts, and stolen weekends. But distance isn’t the only thing keeping them apart—Trevor is a workaholic who values his success, while artistic Jerome is carefree but insecure.

Starting a life together means facing major challenges, but the loving words they’ve shared build a bridge across the sea—one that might let them meet in the middle.

Review

This was an okay read, but I think both the characters and the plot could have been a little better developed. I didn’t feel the magic between the MC’s and their romance fell a bit flat for me. A couple of weekends don’t a relationship make. Their annoyances and differences are glossed over, allowed to fester and throw a wrench into things at far too late a stage in the story. Some of the writing also felt too over the top, with overly dramatic, cliché plots and reactions from the MC’s and even sometimes from the secondary characters.

I’m from Belgium so I was curious to see how the author would incorporate Brussels/Belgium into the story, but unfortunately I didn’t get much of a Belgian feel from either the setting or the Belgian characters, apart from a little name-dropping of touristy places and a little bit of French thrown in. The setting didn’t feel authentic to me.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Game Changer (Game Changers #1) by Rachel Reid Narrated by Tor Thom

audiobookreview

Audible:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Game-Changer-Audiobook/1541431626?qid=1572134542&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=7TJ5WG0S76CGPFKH47C1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb

New York Admirals captain Scott Hunter takes his pregame rituals very seriously. In this case, it’s not just a lucky smoothie he’s craving—it’s the man who made it.

Pro hockey star Scott Hunter knows a good thing when he sees it. So, when a smoothie made by juice bar barista Kip Grady precedes Scott breaking his on-ice slump, he’s desperate to recreate the magic…and to get to know the sexy, funny guy behind the counter.

Kip knew there was more to Scott’s frequent visits than blended fruit, but he never let himself imagine being invited back to Scott’s penthouse. Or kissed with reckless abandon, never mind touched everywhere all at once. When it happens it’s red-hot, incredible and frequent, but also only on Scott’s terms and always behind his closed apartment doors.

Scott needs Kip in his life, but with playoff season approaching, the spotlight on him is suddenly brighter than ever. He can’t afford to do anything that might derail his career…like introducing the world to his boyfriend. Kip is ready to go all-in with Scott—but how much longer will he have to remain a secret?

Review

First I want to say “How did I miss this when it first came out????”
I’m a huge hockey fan and I’ll tell you I get really annoyed when authors don’t know the sport or do a crummy job integrating the sport with the romance.

Rachel Reid does neither.

I read book 2 first, because that’s what I’d requested but I immediately turned around and read this because it was that good!

I can’t say if this one or that one is better because they are so different.

In this we have a “good boy” but closeted and another pretty “good boy” but out who meet. Kip has no real knowledge of hockey and doesn’t even recognize Scott as the star he is.

The author does a terrific job of giving us the regular NHL cities with probable NHL teams with different names. It allows her to lean on our own knowledge of the city and the fan base and the experience without having to infringe on rights or create an alternate world.

I was very impressed by this and her knowledge of the sport.

The romance is really sweet with some smokin’ hot smexy times and the sweetest HEA ever!

I really can’t say enough about this!

If you like Cinderfella stories, hockey, sports romances, coming out stories and sweet love stories – this is for you!

 

Audio

 

Tor Thom did a fantastic job with this.  He has a lovely deep voice and really tries hard to give all the characters a unique voice to match their persona.  He’s a relatively new narrator (to me) but I’ll definitely keep him on my radar for the future!  Recommended!

5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: First Impressions by Jay Hogan

Dreamspinner

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/first-impressions-by-jay-hogan-10864-b

Blurb:
Auckland Med.: Book One
Michael:

Two years ago I made a mistake—a big one. Then I added a couple more just for good measure. I screwed up my life, but I survived. Now I have the opportunity for a fresh start. Two years in NZ. Away from the LA gossip, a chance to breathe, to rebuild my life. But I’m taking my new set of rules with me.

I don’t do relationships.
I don’t do commitment.
I don’t do white picket fences.

And I especially don’t do arrogant, holier-than-thou, smoking-hot K9 officers who walk into my ER and rock my world.

Josh:

One thing’s for certain: Dr. Michael Oliver is an arrogant, untrustworthy player, and I barely survived the last one of those. He might be gorgeous, but my daughter takes number-one priority. I won’t risk her being hurt again. I’m a solo dad, a K9 cop, and a son to pain-in-the-arse parents.

I don’t have time for games.

I don’t have time for taking chances. I don’t have time for more complications in my life.
And I sure as hell don’t have time for the infuriating Dr. Michael Oliver, however damn sexy he is

Review

Enjoyable enemies-to-lovers story with a bit of suspense.
Josh is a policeman with a young daughter. He’s estranged from his family except for his sister. Michael is a trauma doctor who seems to be under a bit of stress.
Both men are polar opposites – Josh is the relationship type, Michael, not so much. The first few times they meet, they are definitely not impressed with each other. Josh comes off as an arrogant, somewhat judgy person, Michael decides he’s going to needle Josh any way he can.
Their relationship evolves from antagonistic to a more passionate relationship, especially when each man decides to accept the other as is. There is a bit of a separation (which I didn’t like – hate the non-communication plot).
The other supporting characters, including Josh’s daughter are also well written.
The crime/mystery sub-plot is interesting – we get to see another side to New Zealand that’s not shown on travel shows ☺ Throw in Josh’s homophobic family and there is more than enough to keep one engaged in the story.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Savage Bite (Shifter Kings #2) by Aja Foxx

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48137460-savage-bite?from_search=true

 

Blurb

Greyson Bailey had followed Shifter King Montgomery Beck for years. He stood by his side through thick and thin, fought numerous battles with him, and was even there when the man eventually claimed his omega after twenty-five years of waiting for him. Greyson just wished he could find a bit of that happiness of his own.

When he’s sent to oversee the omegas at the monastery where Fagan grew up, he finds more trouble than a simple shifter, even a warrior like himself, can handle. He wakes up wounded in an alley with no idea how he got there, who had shot him, or why the omega kneeling next to him smells so damn alluring.

Davan has spent his entire life in a monastery being trained to serve whatever master he was given to. He learned every fighting skill he could, not to protect his master, but to protect himself. He had no intention of spending his life serving someone he didn’t know.

The man he saved and dragged to the alley is a different story. Davan desperately wants to get to know him better, but the people who hurt Greyson have other ideas. Chased through the streets of the city, Davan and Greyson have to fight for their future. Together they just might have a chance at happiness.

Review

I enjoyed this. It was a good sequel.
If you enjoyed book 1 you’ll enjoy following up on Greyson whom we met in book 1.

There wasn’t a whole lot different from the first book , but I did appreciate learning a bit more about this world and seeing the slightly different aspects Davan brought to the omega theme.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased For Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Slow Birth by Leta Blake (Heat of Love book 2.5)

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47898759-slow-birth?from_search=true

Blurb

Jason and Vale are back in this side story set in the Heat of Love universe!

A romantic getaway turns dramatic when an unexpected heat descends on Vale, leaving Jason with no choice but to act. The resulting pregnancy is dangerous for Vale and terrifying for Jason, but with the help of friends and family, they choose to embrace their uncertain future. Together they find all the love, joy, and heat they need to guide them through!

While this story follows the characters from Slow Heat, it will be most enjoyable if read directly after Alpha Heat, as it takes place contemporaneously with that book.

Review
It was great reading Vale and Jason’s pregnancy story from their prospective, as in book #2 in the series they are already pregnant. This brings new light to the events that take place in Alpha Heat and has just the right amount of angst we are used to from Leta with the smoking hotness of Vale and Jason who will not be deterred by a growing belly.
Having gone through pregnancy and birth (almost 5 months ago) this novella struck a chord with me. It deals with very deep emotional changes brought on by pregnancy, and the physical ones too. I was moved at times and found myself echoing Vale and Jason’s fears and hopes. Birth is such a shock to the body, soul and relationship. Leta, while still keeping this an erotic romance full of heat, managed to capture some of the real-life essence of motherhood (or should I say Paterhood?) in their tale. I have always admired Leta’s writing, and if you like this series you will love this tale of hope, love and humanity in its most basic form.

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Surrender the Chase (Grizzly Rim #2) by Mia West

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47169173-surrender-the-chase?from_search=true

Blurb

Coming Oct 7, 2019: Expanded Novel Edition!

For wolf shifter Dmitri Sernov, life bites.

His late-night hunts leave him winded, the twelfth rewrite of his novel is crap, and his last good lay was five drafts ago. He’s staring down forty with a creative well as empty as his bed.

The last thing he needs is a beautiful, intimidating, obnoxious pup bent on exposing Dmitri’s underbelly…

…and everything else that’s gone soft.

Thierry Marrou has burned every bridge from Montréal to Juneau.

Once a prospect for Canada’s Olympic hockey team, he’s just been kicked off a piddling local squad in Nowhere, Alaska.

But one whiff of the silver wolf on the opposing bench was enough to confirm that the dreams drawing Thierry across a continent have a very real source.

Now all he has to do is convince Dmitri Sernov to be his alpha. Très simple, non?

SURRENDER THE CHASE is the 2nd standalone novel in the GRIZZLY RIM m/m shifter series. Lace up for pheromone-charged hockey, dirty French lessons, a grumpy hero who thinks he’s past his prime, and a pushy young hothead determined to prove him wrong.

 

Originally published in 2015 & 2016 as novellas, the GRIZZLY RIM novel editions have been extensively revised and expanded for republication in 2019.

Review
(Previous novella)

In book one we met this amazing little town in Alaska where some unique shifters and a few humans live. Dmitri is a wolf shifter with a reputation as a slut, but conversely he’s a bit of a lone-wolf, too. He’s older, a bit gruff, and if you get to know him, a lot insecure.

Thierry is a flighty, flirty, fast-playing hockey player who finds himself “compelled” by dreams to find a man, Dmitri. He trusts his gut above all else and his gut tells him he needs to meet Dmitri, but it doesn’t tell him what to do next.
At first, beyond the initial attraction, there is doubt on both sides. Dmitri can’t trust that this beautiful, young, stranger has been having dreams about him. Thierry is also not sure what to make of these dreams and though he finds Dmitri fascinating and sexy he doesn’t know if he can make himself stay put when clearly Dmitri is a stay-put kind of guy.

**

Mia is an amazing author! I absolutely adore this series! I reviewed the first book, Launch the Hunt here: http://kimichanexperience.com/launch-the-hunt-grizzly-rim-1-by-mia-west/

I couldn’t wait for book two and it was worth the wait!

Mia’s writing is so fluid and effortless (though I’m sure she’d say it takes work, if Dmitri is any example!) that the reading of this story is so easy. I was expecting a story similar to book one and got none of that, but it was not a disappointment at all. Dmitri and Thierry have a very different story to tell. They still have that element of magic that connects them, but at their core they have this very human relationship story first.

Dmitri is getting older and doubting his attractiveness and purpose in the world. Thierry is still young, but also has questions about his purpose and future. I LOVED that both Dmitri and Thierry called Thierry’s mom for advice! So. Funny! Her little side story is interesting in it’s own right and I’m wondering/hoping she becomes a continual secondary character.

The use of French and Thierry’s adamant, “I’m not French I’m Quebecois!” was wonderful. So beautiful and touching then funny and heart-warming at the same time.

My heart absolutely ached for both of these guys and I’m always impressed with shifter stories who use the animal part as much as the human part to create their characters and their motivations. It was hysterical that Thierry’s mom asked him about his fur and skin and was he hunting enough! So cute!

The smexy times are very sensuous but also REAL feeling and authentic. Dmitri is older and nervous and that shows!

I can’t wait for book 3, I loved this as much as book 1 and can’t recommend it enough.

(re-read and 2nd edition)

I can see that there were some additional scenes – more hockey, more parental involvement- maybe some more romance building?

All in all I think both the longer story and the novella are good and I couldn’t really say I appreciated a lot of difference.

I still enjoyed these two characters a lot and I guess I felt a little bit more of their HEA with the novel than the novella.

Recommended!

(I liked the original cover better 🙂   )

4.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: The Prince and His Bedeviled Bodyguard (Paranormal Princes #1) by Charlie Cochet

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48122504-the-prince-and-his-bedeviled-bodyguard?from_search=true

Blurb

Prince Owin

Being a fierce predator—not at all adorable, despite my graceful stature—the last thing I needed was a bodyguard. Especially a wolf shifter, whose presence alone was an insult to my princely principles. As Prince of the Ocelot Shifters, I prided myself on my infallible feline instincts, uncompromisable dignity, and flawless fashion sense. If having a canine follow me around at all times wasn’t bad enough, I now faced the most important moment of my entire life. The time had come to prove I was worthy of my crown. If only I could find a way to get rid of the pesky bodyguard.

Grimmwolf

When the King of All Shifters asked me to guard Prince Owin, I admit I had no idea what to expect. Cat shifters tend to be a little intense, not to mention kinda cranky. Owin was no exception, though he seemed crankier than most. Being his bodyguard was proving to be one of the greatest challenges of my life—but not nearly as great as convincing him there was something special between us. When Owin is faced with a perilous quest to prove his worth, I was determined to keep him safe, even if the same couldn’t be said of my heart.

Review

OMG I loved this so much! This reminded me so much of Charlie’s Soldati Prince (which I adored!)
It had that same humor, otherworldly flavor, adorkable characters, mild adventure and loads of magic!

The smexy times were hot and the romance developed at a lovely, sweet, pace.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review