Recent Release: Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42960918-old-acquaintance?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Blurb

 

There are two sides to every story, even those buried in the past.

 

When Sam spots the hot guy moving in next door, he’s all for going round to introduce himself. That soon changes when it turns out his new neighbour is Charles Whitmore, an old school acquaintance. Sam didn’t like him back then, for good reason, and fifteen years haven’t altered that.

 

Splitting up from his long-term boyfriend means a move across the city for Charlie. As luck would have it, his immediate neighbour is a guy he went to school with, Sam Gellar. While Sam is less than welcoming, his best mate is more than happy to invite Charlie into their social circle. Whatever problem Sam has with him, Charlie resolves to get to the bottom of it because, frosty beginnings aside, Charlie likes him.

 

With Christmas just around the corner, fate pushes them together, and they get on much better than they ever did at school. Despite his efforts not to, Sam develops feelings for Charlie, and they appear to be reciprocated. If Sam wants to take things further, he needs to either confront Charlie about their past—a past Charlie seems to have forgotten entirely—or let it go and move on. Sam knows deep down that he can’t let it go, but can’t find the right time to bring it up either.

 

Review

 

Old Acquaintance is a short and sweet novella about two former schoolmates who end up neighbors. Sam has despised Charlie since high school after Charlie attacked a good friend of his. Charlie ends up moving in next to Sam after his long-time relationship dissolves. Sam and Charlie grow close while Sam does construction on Charlie’s sister’s house. Sam fights his attraction towards Charlie due to what happened in high school. When Sam finally confronts Charlie there is the inevitable fall out. No need to fear the guys make up and live happily ever after.

 

This book has a good cast of characters. I liked Charlie and his sister and Sam’s friends but for a good part of the book I didn’t really like Sam. He just irked me, but his reluctant acceptance of Charlie’s cat Storm redeemed him in my eyes.

 

4 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Prince (The Christmas Angel #7) by R.J. Scott

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42645523-christmas-prince

Blurb
‘Prince Raphael, the youngest son of the Montaunoit royal family, is the custodian of his country’s history. At a Sotheby’s auction, he outbids Marc on an item he doesn’t even want. Just because he can.

Meeting the museum curator turns Raphael’s world upside down, and when lust turns to love he knows he has to change.

Can Marc be the one to show Raphael that he doesn’t have to stay the lonely prince forever, and that love is always an option?

*******

This story is one of seven stories which can all be read and enjoyed in any order.

* * * * *

In 1750, a master woodcarver poured all his unrequited love, passion, and longing into his masterpiece—a gorgeous Christmas angel for his beloved’s tree. When the man he loved tossed the angel away without a second thought, a miracle happened. The angel was found by another who brought the woodcarver True Love.

Since then, the angel has been passed down, sold, lost and found, but its magic remains. Read the romances inspired by (and perhaps nudged along by) the Christmas Angel through the years. Whether it’s the 1880’s New York (Kim Fielding), the turn-of-the-century (Jordan L. Hawk), post World War II (L.A. Witt), Vietnam-era (N.R. Walker), the 1990’s (Anyta Sunday), 2018 Europe (RJ Scott), the Christmas Angel has a way of landing on the trees of lonely men who need it’s blessing for a very Merry Christmas and forever HEA.

Review

I wanted to love this – I’m a fan of the author and the blurb totally had me hooked! Prince, snobby museum guy, small country – sounded really cute.

However, it was really confusing and there wasn’t a lot of story here. We got a bit of cute flirting but I wasn’t sure where the conflict was which made for a rather tepid romance.

I enjoyed the fake new country but wasn’t as impressed by the rest of the story – especially as compared to the others in this series. This was my very least favorite and I don’t recommend it much – the others were so strong that this one looks quite faded next to them.

Others have loved this more than I did, so please look at their reviews – it might just be a case of “it’s not you – it’s me.”

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Fearing Fate By C.C. Dado

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fearing-fate-by-cc-dado-10033-b

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book Three
He is a fearless protector by nature and in his heart. But nothing’s ever simple with love… or fate.
At nearly seven feet tall, Zeus’s role had always been to protect the pack—but his newest charges need him more than most. Kimber and Kron are transplants from another pack, and they have a dangerous stranger on their tails. Zeus is determined to do his duty and drive the human out of town. But when he confronts Toren, his wolf has other ideas….
Something isn’t right, but should a huge, tattooed wolf with a secret soft heart fear his fate—to love a man with secrets of his own?

Review

This was my favorite book of the three in this series. It’s plot was less meandering and since all the world building had already occurred it felt more like a story should be with more showing and less telling.

The romance was super cute and at the same time touching and full of warmth and humor.

I really enjoyed this and I think you can definitely read this on it’s own – no need to read the others necessarily.

Highly recommended for fans of shifter romance.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Guess Who’s Coming to Karamu by Cy Blanca

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Grant Cary, a twenty-eight-year-old grad student, has let his Kwanzaa shopping go to the very last minute. In his rush to get home, he quite literally bumps into Will Sheritan, a fortysomething software developer, in the elevator. But luck favors (or curses) the adventurous, because their elevator shuts down due to a blackout. Grant and Will learn about each other’s pasts and find more than just a casual interest.
Will has never celebrated Kwanzaa, and he’s reluctant to enter into a relationship, but exploring a new tradition—with a new friend—might brighten his lonely holiday. And if Will accepts Grant’s invitation to join his family for the Karamu feast, Grant might get his Imani gift early.
Review

Waiting until the last minute to buy his gifts has always gotten Grant in trouble, this time it gets him stuck in an elevator with a stranger during a store blackout. Could this be a blessing in disguise? Grant finds a new friend in Will but will with this friendship last past the elevator?

This story is a cute read. We have all wondered what we would do if stuck in an elevator and Grant gets to find out first hand. Grant is an interesting character with a painful background who finds something with Will. It was nice to watch the two men begin to connect as they wait for the elevator to begin working again. Grant has some interesting inner dialogue and keeps readers engaged to the story. Their adventure is open-ended and makes you wonder just what will happen next. It is a light and fun read with a touch of angst to it. Grant and Will begin to learn that life is what you make of it and for life to get better you have to try again.

Number of stars out of 5: 3

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Audiobook: Under a Blue Moon (CAMP H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker Narrated by Dorian Bane

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/under-a-blue-moon-by-bru-baker-9642-b

Blurb

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?

Review

Story:

When Nick and Drew meet at the airport, they hit it off immediately and sparks fly, but they both have planes to catch and places to be… Nick is unaware that human Drew knows about the existence of werewolves and pegged him for a wolf almost from the get go. Imagine his surprise when he finds out Drew is one of his new co-workers at Camp H.O.W.L.!
FYI, he doesn’t handle surprises well. It wasn’t his finest hour.

Nick doesn’t think a relationship with a human and a were can work, so he keeps Drew at a distance. His concerns are valid, I think, and I liked that he didn’t just put them aside because of his attraction to Drew. That being said, he does test Drew’s patience, and the reader’s, when he starts sending out mixed signals and refuses to let go off his prejudices. Even when Drew proves him wrong, again and again.

Drew’s a great guy, competent, understanding and patient, which he needs to be to deal with headstrong Nick. I also loved his playful side and competitive streak when he goes all out to show Nick a thing or two about what he’s capable of.

Emotions start running high and when disaster strikes, Nick finally understands how much Drew has come to mean to him. But is he too late? I loved the tension and emotional highs and lows that we get near the end of the story, which contrasts nicely with the almost mellow storyline that went before. There’s a lot of humor too, which I liked, and the secondary characters are well-written and help create a warm sense of pack & family around the MC’s. Always a big part of the charm of shifter romances for me.

I very much enjoyed this story. A lot of shifter romances focus on the fated mate connection and are far more insta-lust/insta-love than this one, but I actually really liked that the author took her time to get Nick & Drew there and the real life worries that snuck in.

Narration:
I very much enjoyed Dorian Bane’s performance, his warm voice and the emotions he brought to the story. He makes Nick sound a bit more gruff than Drew, and I loved how Nick’s inner turmoil came out in the narration. Drew’s buoyancy and zest for life shine through as well and I also liked the voices the narrator came up with for the secondary characters.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story That Turtle Story by CS Poe

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Nor O’Brien spends his days in sunny Key West caring for and rehabilitating sea turtles. He doesn’t need anything else in life, expect maybe a significant other to cuddle with after a long day. But recent heartbreak has left Nor salty, and he’s not in the mood for anything, Christmas included. Then Eugene Montgomery walks into Turtle R&R, claiming to have found a clutch of eggs in distress. Nor is smitten with the tourist at first sight, and at the suggestion of his screwball colleagues, indulges in some no-strings-attached fun. Nor and Eugene are quick to get along, happily enjoy each other’s company, and take in the island’s unique holiday pleasures together. But Nor would never leave his turtles, not for any man. So when his rebound fling turns into strong romantic feelings for Eugene, it’ll take a Christmas miracle to keep the two together forever in Key West.

Review

This is an adorably cute story! It’s short, sweet and fits just right.
The blurb describes the story, so I won’t restate it; just know that it has everything – humour, attraction, some learning (turtles☺ ), colorful characters (Gus), a mini angst/misunderstanding and the promise of an HEA. I loved it!

4 stars out of 5

Copy generously provided by publisher

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Shrewd Angel (The Christmas Angel #6) by Anyta Sunday

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/series/242950

Blurb

Pax Polo is the swashbuckling guitarist for Serenity Free.

Correction: Was the swashbuckling guitarist for Serenity Free.

Now he sports a black eye and his bros have kicked him out of their band—three weeks before Christmas. It’s an unfamiliar kick to his over-inflated ego, but . . . whatever.

No problem.

Thanks to some stellar eavesdropping, an unexpected angel ornament, and a bribe to open for his favorite band ever, Pax will weasel his way back into his mates’ good graces.

All he has to do is friend Clifford, the neighborhood man-shrew, for the summer. Distract him a bit so Clifford’s younger sister can sneak around.

It sounds like a piece of beginners Beethoven. Jolly good fun.

Easy.

Because, Pax totally knows how to friend people. He has heaps of friends. This shrew’s no match for his shrewd ways. Or is he?

Review by Neta

I’m madly in love with this story, Anyta Sunday created a wonderful cast of characters that are all intertwined with friendship and complex strings of love.
As always with her books, this one is also a slow burn but the wait it so very delicious and full of banter that is both hilarious and promising of an explosive ending to this dance of wills. This was one of the best Slow burns I read so far, every word and action was precise, in both seducing and befriending. And although Pax started this with the purpose of befriending a ‘shrew’ for personal gain he has no idea what the shrew has in store for him.

I enjoyed the friendships between Luca and Pax, and the rivalry between Luca and Henry over Bianca’s heart. You end up liking all of them and rooting for all of them to have the outcome they desire (kind of hard when two of them are after the same girl) and each character is so well rounded and delicately composed of small quirks and unique personality. The story is so tangible and the slow burn allows all the characters to shine so much more. Each has a chance to grow from this summer of love and rivalry, mixed with wonderful music.

Pax is such a lovable vain man, and you can instantly see the weaknesses he tries to hide beneath the facade of a vain rock star. Cliff is a hard nut to crack, and so very dreamy (gosh I swooned so hard over them) but hides all his emotions under a sharp wit. They are the perfect match, and my god when they got to the burn part of their ‘slow burn’ I was on fire!!! This book is one of the most erotic reads I had in a while.

I also enjoyed the general theme of this anthology and how the element of the carved angel came to play subtly yet consistently throughout the book. It was just the right touch without taking over the story.

Number of stars out of 5
5 magnificent stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

Ahhh – so very clever. This is a twist on The Taming of the Shrew and it was pretty darn funny. Anyta Sunday is darn good at this enemies to lovers bit and she brings in all her talents again for this short-ish Christmas story.

We get some 90s refrences and a lot of clever dialog with some pithy secondary characters as well.

I was underwhelmed by the romance but found it enjoyable overall.

3.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Colina de Lavanada by August Li

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb
Lord protector of whores, thieves, sorcerers, and deviants.

Owning a parcel of land the railroad needs to cross means Edward gets to run the border town around the station as he sees fit. What starts as a place to indulge his varied appetites becomes a haven to society’s castoffs, and if Edward encourages legends about its founder to flourish, well, he’s not so much a liar as a man who wants to protect all the cultures living in peace. Being mayor means folks might ignore his vices, but they also expect him to fix what goes wrong.

When a crushing heat wave and drought threaten not only the town’s diverse holiday celebrations but its very existence, Edward must turn to the one man he’d rather french kiss a timber rattler than face—the icily elegant Cantonese mage Edward walked out on but never stopped loving.

Review
Mages, addiction, drought and second chances.
Four words to describe this little magical tale.

Stunning mage Shu holds Edward, the founder of Colina de Lavanda, at distance… his heart can’t handle him.
Edward couldn’t stay with just one guy so Shu put him aside.
With the ongoing drought Edward has to ask Shu for help…

Amazing description of a wonderful scenery. The main characters were well put down, a flawed mayor and a graceful, elegant mage. An undeniable love and attraction. A nice solution to solve the drought and a sweet reuniting. This all woven together with some magic and here you got it: Colina de Lavanda. I did like this tale.

Number of stars out 4 of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

Release Day Review: New Tricks by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/new-tricks-by-andrew-grey-10029-

Blurb
In matters of the heart, there’s no such thing as business as usual.

Thomas Stepford spent years building a very successful business and now at thirty-nine, he wants a quieter life. With his parents needing help, he decides to return home. He can’t get away from business completely and needs an assistant—but the man who is hired isn’t quite what he had in mind.

Brandon Wilson, the ink on his degree barely dry, needs a job, and his mother helps him get one as Mr. Stepford’s assistant. Thomas doesn’t seem to remember, but Brandon worked mowing the stunningly attractive older man’s lawn years ago. Thomas was Brandon’s teenage fantasy, and now he’s Brandon’s boss.

Thomas and Brandon are both determined to keep their relationship strictly business, but the old attraction is still there. They learn to work together even as the tension between them reaches the boiling point. But just as they start to surrender, Thomas’s old life in New York calls him. Even if he resists that pull, can their newfound relationship survive when Brandon receives the call of his dreams… from Hollywood

Review by Mary
Another simply lovely heartwarming story by Andrew Grey. Thomas has given up on love. He’s had some bad experiences which left him wary. Although he has built up a very successful business, this has also come at a cost to his health. Now approaching 40 Thomas is questioning his lifestyle and whether it’s worth it. Thomas comes across as such a war and caring person but the story gives glimpses of his toughness in business. His drive and determination to build has got him this far but he needs to slow down and pay attention to his health and to his family. Going home to a quieter way of living. Into the story comes Brandon an intelligent young man who has known hardship but gets by with the love and s of his grandmother. He’s intelligent with a good degree but can’t get a job. Opportunity brings Thomas and Brandon together and from there they recognise what true love can be like. Such a beautiful low angst romance. Perfect for that Christmas spirit feeling without it actually being a Christmas story. I do hope Blaze, Thomas’s best friend and business partner gets his own story and also finds true love.

4.5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Review by Aerielle

 

Andrew Grey is the master of sweet, low-angst romances. New Tricks is about Thomas, a man on the verge of burn out, leaving New York City and moving to a small town in Colorado to take care of his aging parents. There he meets his new assistant Brandon, a recent college graduate and finds himself very attracted to the young man. Thomas has been hurt by a past relationship with a coworker and vows not to act upon his feelings.

Brandon has known and lusted after Thomas since he used to mow Thomas’ yard back in high school. Brandon easily brings order to Thomas’ chaotic life. The pair enjoy spending time with each other and eventually act upon their attraction.

Thomas knows that he won’t be able to keep Brandon with him forever. Brandon is destined for better things. When Brandon gets a job offer that he can’t turn down, Thomas is determined to let him go live his life.

New Tricks has a full cast of enjoyable characters. Thomas’ New York assistant Marjorie is brassy and snarky and doesn’t take any of Thomas’ crap. I absolutely loved Brandon’s grandmother Thelma who is the only family member who is accepting of Brandon’s sexuality. She is so fierce and protective of her grandson.

You can not go wrong with this book!!

 

 5 stars

 

 

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Strength of His Heart by Victoria Sue

release day review

 

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-strength-of-his-heart-by-victoria-sue-10045-b

Blurb
To protect and serve…. All Vance Connelly ever wanted to do was continue his family’s tradition and join the Tampa Police Department, but his dreams were crushed the day he woke with the enhanced mark on his face. After years of struggling to adjust to life as an enhanced human, by a stroke of luck, he met Talon Valdez and became a proud member of the FBI’s Human Enhanced Rescue Organization.
Samuel “Angel” Piper is eager to leave his DEA undercover work behind as he joins the HERO team as Vance’s regular human partner. But Sam’s painful past is ever present, just below the surface of the life he has built for himself as an ambitious young agent. When the team investigates rumors of a new drug using enhanced blood, the case’s mysterious connection to Sam threatens not just his life but Vance’s.
Trust doesn’t come easy for Sam, but Vance is willing to fight to convince his partner that the strength of his heart might be the salvation they both need.

Review

Sigh.  There is so much I love about this world and this series – but there is so much that I get frustrated with as well.

In this case – I was really unimpressed with Vance and Angel’s romance – which was a drag because I really thought Angel would be one of my favorite characters’stories based on his presence in other books.

I find myself skimming a lot these days and I think the author could use a strong hand with an editor to really make these stories leaner and more powerful.  There was just so much thrown in here that I found myself confused a lot which led to frustration and finally to indifference.  Frankly, it was too much work to figure out who, what and where with this – even though I’d read all the books leading up to this book.

There is an awful lot of telling and not nearly as much showing as I’d like and the end result is more of a luke warm romance than something that really sets the heart/pages on fire.  When I read the next to last sex scene I was ready to be done with the entire series – it’s really awful – and if it hadn’t happened just near the end I would have DNF’d the book – it felt almost like non-consensual contact- though it wasn’t – and it happened almost at the end when our MCs are already supposedly in love and happy… it felt really uncomfortable and we didn’t get nearly enough Happy to make up for it.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars
 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review