Categories
4 stars Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Misunderstanding Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) second chance at love

Between Loathing and Love Audiobook by Andrew Grey Narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/between-loathing-and-love-by-andrew-grey-7567-b

51yENWQkdnL._SL300_Blurb

Theatrical agent Payton Gowan meets with former classmate – and prospective client – Beckett Huntington, with every intention of brushing him off. Beckett not only made high school a living hell for Payton, but he was also responsible for dashing Payton’s dreams of becoming a Broadway star.

Aspiring actor Beckett Huntington arrives in New York City on a wing and a prayer, struggling to land his first gig. He knows scoring Payton Gowan as an agent would be a great way to get his foot in the door, but with their history, getting the chance is going to be a tough sell.

Against Payton’s better judgment, he agrees to give Beckett a chance, only to discover – to his amazement – that Beckett actually does have talent.

Payton signs Beckett but can’t trust him – until Payton’s best friend, Val, is attacked. When Beckett is there for him, Payton begins to see another side to his former bully. Amidst attempts by a jealous agent to sabotage Beckett’s career and tear apart their blossoming love, Payton and Beckett must learn to let go of the past if they have any chance at playing out a future together.

 

Review

This is an enemies to lovers story about two guys who “hated” each other in high school and now are forced to work with one another as adults.  There’s also a bit about self-esteem/self-worth as Payton has made some changes to his appearance as well.

I enjoyed Val, Payton’s BFF – he was funny and interesting and hopefully will have his own story one day! I think his “issues” could be very powerful.

I didn’t really feel that I got a good understanding of what drove Beckett. He seemed such a contradiction. Really muscular/jockish but acting and being on Broadway didn’t seem to be two things that blended well. I’d have enjoyed learning more about that juxtaposition.

Payton was another mixed bag. On one hand he was so confident and knew what he wanted from life, but on the other he was so insecure. I was a bit bothered by the fact that all his problems seemed to “go away” once he lost weight. This seems to indicate that physical appearance is the most important thing in life. I also didn’t like the fact that Beckett didn’t seem to be interested in Payton before the weight loss (before the “incident”) and that feels a bit superficial to me.

Payton and Beckett definitely have a lot in common and I could see them being together long term. Beckett seems pretty superficial to me, but so does Payton, so that might work for them both.

I really liked Val and hope we see more of him in the future.

In total, this story didn’t move me much and I found it far less moving than Andrew Grey’s other works. I really like his senses series https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=andrew+grey+senses or his supernatural stories written as Dirk Greyson https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=dirk+greyson+yellowstone) much better, but this was a low angst read, with nice writing and an interesting set of careers for our MCs.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Tristan James is one of my favorite narrators! He has a lovely voice and I can just listen to him for hours! He has a great grasp of emotion and really does a lot to bring a story to life. He absolutely increased my enjoyment of this story – I likely wouldn’t have continued reading if I hadn’t been “listening” instead.

4.5 of 5 stars for the audio

Overall 3.75 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Gender Fluid Heat Index Insta Love Less Than Three Press Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Mystery NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Paranormal Shifter

Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr

30141326Blurb

Lynn is a kraken shifter in every way: detailed, tenacious, resilient, and hard-working. Also possessive, vain, arrogant, and demanding. It makes him an excellent agent for the Federal Bureau of Paranormal Security and Investigation—and impossible to work with, as the long list of partners who have transferred away from him will attest.

His newest partner is a unicorn, possibly the worst type of paranormal for work that often turns ugly and violent. Everyone knows unicorns are too delicate for such things. Then Anderson proves to be a unicorn like no other, the kind of partner Lynn has always wanted—the kind of partner he wishes was more. But if there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s that the only thing harder to keep than a partner is a lover.

Warning: Contains tentacle porn

Publisher’s note: This was originally published as a serial at Yaoifix. It has been edited and revised for release with LT3, but nothing significant has changed

 

Review

WOW.

This was absolutely the most unique shifter story I’ve ever read. Ever.

When I first saw the blurb for this on NetGalley, I said – Nope. Tentacle Porn. Not . For. Me. I’ve seen of tentacle porn on websites similar to sexfreehd before, but I never thought I’d see myself reading an entire novel about it. But… I really like the author and so I read some reviews and was really surprised by their take on this “collection of stories”. (It’s mostly one long story but since our MCs hook up and stay together throughout it’s more like a collection of short stories than one true long story.)

I was intrigued by the gender fluidity and the unique shifters. What got me hooked, however, was the snarky humor and the contrast of a kracken and unicorn together.

What a payout!

This was sweet, funny and so, so interesting! I’m still not sure how I feel about the tentacles. It’s not my thing. But it didn’t skeeve me out like I thought it would. Instead, the author made me appreciate what they could do for both partners and I sort of got their appeal. (The closest I’ve come to “liking” this is tail porn with Charlie Richard’s Gargoyle shifters… and this is that, x 10!)

(I looked up kracken on the internet and I’m not sure how the author did it – considering that I found no “sexy kracken” pictures – At. All – but she did make me think they were infinitely HOT! Kudos!)

(this was the closest I could find – heh heh )843e100a747b44a3ec9a3c517f387e10

The story/writing is fast paced. We don’t have to wait to see our MCs together, they begin their relationship almost right away. Instead of artificially created angst, their natural relationship progresses with the MCs natural insecurities and the story’s inherent “dangers” providing the conflict.

The danger/mystery/action didn’t detract from the romance but served as a background for moving the relationship/story forward in a way that is just right.

My two favorite parts of this book were the world building and the ending. I love, love, love a book where the shifters integrate themselves into their human selves. At all times, the author reminds us with clothing choices, food choices, nick names, sterotypes, half shifts, full shifts, accessories, thoughts, etcetera, etcetera, that these guys share their human halves with another being. They shift fairly often and their shifted form defines their human selves. So many times shifter books use the shifting to jump start a relationship (mating) or the occasional bite during sex (mating) and occasionally enhanced senses/strength etcetera as the only link to the fact that they are more than human. So when an author actually takes the time to make a truly different being – someone who shares their body with another – and integrates them fully – I find myself way more compelled and interested and appreciative.

The ending is wonderful! I don’t want to say too much about it because it is it’s own reward – but it was great and totally surprised me with it’s greatness!

So… I find myself pleased to say that I really recommend this book to fans of shifter romances, humorous romances, unique shifters, tentacles, gender fluidity and sweet HEAs.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

 

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Wriggle-Sparkle-Collected-Kraken-Unicorn-ebook/dp/B01K2IBTEK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1472933903&sr=1-1&keywords=wriggle+%26+sparkle+by+megan+derr#nav-subnav

Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Hockey Homophobia Little to no angst m/m May/December May/December Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Sports Virgin

Breakaway (Scoring Chances Book 1) Audiobook by Avon Gale Narrated by Scott R Smith

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/breakaway-by-avon-gale-7527-b

51i4Ij4KT3L._SL300_Blurb

Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He’s put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.

Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.

Review

How do you review something you just love so dang much?!

This is one of my all time favorite books. Not just for this year but for all time. It hits all the right notes for me and I can’t say enough good about it.

First, the humor. Avon Gale just tickles my funny bone and I laugh out loud over and over with this story. Lane is ADORKABLE and he says all the (right)wrong things. Humor is tough and it takes someone with good timing as well as a good sense of the absurd to make humor work in writing. Avon has it in spades. Her writing is witty and sparkling and Lane is the perfect example of this.

Zoe, is Lane’s BFF and she’s MAGNIFICENT. God I loved this character. She’s sweet, and funny, and bi-sexual, and tatted up and tender… she helps Lane navigate all those “feelings” that people keep having and it’s both really sweet and super funny.

As someone who knows next to nothing about hockey, I can tell you that Avon managed to engage me enough with the sport that I felt like a “fan” for a minute but I never felt lost or overwhelmed.

There’s some great stuff in here: Good hockey, some Canada humor, a bit of parental angst and some hot, hot, HOT virgin sex with an absolute boatload of feels mixed in with tons of laughter.

But – and this is the most important aspect – the romance is soooo sweet. Jared and Lane together are exactly what romances are made of. They’re guys, but they’re sweet and sexy and sometimes they wrestle – so – you know – awesome!

I literally either bookmarked or highlighted something on nearly every dang page. It’s ridiculous how good this book is!

Some examples:

“…The thing is…. Lane, it’s hard to explain this, but it’s not easy being bisexual. I imagine Jared would get it, maybe? He seems not to be too concerned about that kind of thing, which is maybe because he lives in your world of macho boys with amazing abs and endless references to sucking cock.”
“It’s a nice world, when you put it that way,” Lane said dreamily. “No wonder I wanted to be a hockey player.”

**
“Does anybody have a problem with [Lane] here sucking dick? Like, a real problem? No one’s stupid enough to think he’s gonna make you gay or something. Right? Homophobic people piss me the fuck off, but I can’t fucking play hockey and not say cocksucker. You might as well ask people in NASA not to talk about space.”

**

So… I’m recommending this book to fans of gay virgins, geeks, hockey, Canadians, humor, May/December romances and sweet love stories.

I’d seriously give this a 7 of 5 stars if I could… it was really, really amazing.

Audio

So the problem with being in love with a book and having read it several, several times is that you have the MCs sort of already voiced out in your head. To me Lane has a distinct voice as does Zoe. The others not nearly as much, except for maybe Riley… When I saw this was in audio format I FLIPPED OUT because now I can listen to one of my favs over and over and over right? Welllllllll – it seriously pains me to say this, but I am disappointed. The narrator simply did not get Lane the same way that I interpreted him. He didn’t get his blabbering or his cluelessness or his ability to put his foot in his mouth over and over… and it shows in how he’s voiced. He did a great job with Jared and I LOVED Ryan. They were just right. But Lane … he’s my guy and I had high hopes for him. Then there’s Zoe. To me the narrator absolutely missed the mark with Zoe. He made her a Southern Belle while I think of her more as a Southern Red Neck with an Education and Attitude. It’s hard to explain, but her accent sounded off to me as well.

Now – don’t get me wrong – I listened to and really enjoyed this for the most part and if you’re new to the story, it’ll probably be great – but I was hoping for something a little different. It’s still a wonderful story and well worth listening to.

4 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars because the book is so dang good.

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars Angst Level Audiobook Book Boss/employee College/University coming of age Contemporary Heat Index Humor Insta Love Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Misunderstanding Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Purchased Virgin

Relativistic Phenomena Audiobook by Kate Pavelle Narrated by Kevin Chandler

audiobookreview

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Relativistic-Phenomena-Audiobook/B01ITNJTHO/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1472518434&sr=1-1

61I-ByUn6IL._SL300_Blurb

Mistaken identities bring two fated souls together in this gay romance. Grounded by a hurricane, Tony passes time playing chess and flirting with “Ken”, a pierced punk kid. Restless, he needs to make the quantum physics symposium in New York, where making an impression on the reclusive Dr. Ikeda could mean a post-doc research position. What are the odds? The 19-year-old physics prodigy, Dr. Kenichi Ikeda, alone out of Japan for the first time and stranded at the airport, gets hustled in a game of chess by the ingenious and handsome Tony. Coincidence and fate brings them together – but the reclusive genius is torn: Should he hire the sweet and brilliant Tony because of their undeniable mutual attraction, or despite it?

Review

This is a very cute, short story about two men who have a “fling” in an airport, but later end up working together. It’s not at all realistic, but I had a lot of fun listening to it once I just accepted it as “fiction”. I wish it’d been longer, in fact, because I got a kick out of Kenichi’s character and I would have loved to see him and Tony interact more as equals – longer.

Kevin Chandler is a new-to-me narrator and for the most part I enjoyed his narration. He tries very hard to give unique voices to the various characters and it was always easy to tell who was speaking. I wanted Kenichi to have a more accented voice given his background, but the tenor and pacing of his speech felt accurate.

This was a sweet story with a good narration and I recommend it for a light, low- angst listen.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased For Review

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Insta Love Little to no angst m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Politics

The Senator’s Secret by KC Wells

release day review

 

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-senators-secret-by-kc-wells-7436-b

31143698Blurb

Politics, puppy dogs, and passion, oh my!

When his Republican opponent outs him with a photo in a Facebook post, Senator Samuel Dalton doesn’t have many options open to him. It doesn’t matter that the photo is totally innocent. He has no choice but to come clean… until his staff suggest putting a spin on it that leaves Sam reeling.

Sure, he’ll end up with a lot of sympathy, not to mention the possibility of more voters from the LGBT community, but it still seems a pretty drastic solution.

Now all they have to do is persuade Gary, the other man in the photo, to play along. It sounds so easy: convince the constituents of North Carolina that he and Sam are engaged.

No big deal, except for the fact that they’ve only just met….

 

Review

You have to remember that this entire line of books is designed to be like the old Harlequin romances where reality is something the readers is escaping and fairy tale endings are the expected outcome. There is nothing about this that is remotely “believable” and there are many plot holes and just plain silly plot devices, but the story is really sweet, very sappy, and a lot of fun!

I loved the fact that our senator is a 33 year old virgin! Loved it! I loved how sweet and slow and step by slow-burning step Sam (the senator) is introduced to “making love”. From chaste kisses to over the pants petting – our guy isn’t rushed into any part of the physical relationship he shares with Gary.

The story even has two guys who still smoke! That should tell you something right there! (It does take place in North Carolina – tobacco central! – so I guess that’s just a little authenticity.) Sam’s staff is fun, as is his mother. The evil opposition is suitably devious and slimy and the “we fell in love for real” story line is as predictable as it is adorable.

KC Wells is a good writer and I got hooked right from the beginning. I didn’t have high expectations, so I wasn’t disappointed, but I also found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit at some of the plot twists and turns. This was a fun little story that had me remembering those old romances I used to read and smiling fondly. (Plus a super cute dog!)

If you’re in the mood for something ridiculously fun and frivolous, this is the story for you!

 

4 of 5 stars

 

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Gay Heat Index Humor Little to no angst m/m Mild/low level heat Misunderstanding Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

The Queen and the Homo Jock King (Tell Me It’s Real Book 2) Audiobook by TJ Klune Narrated by Michael Lesley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-queen-the-homo-jock-king-by-tj-klune-7494-b

51LljK38LrL._SL300_Blurb

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Sanford Stewart sure doesn’t. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy’s perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind.

Or so he tells himself.

It’s not until the owner of Jack It—the club where Sandy performs as drag queen Helena Handbasket—comes to him with a desperate proposition that Sandy realizes he might have to put his feelings about Darren aside. Because Jack It will close unless someone can convince Andrew Taylor, the mayor of Tucson, to keep it open.

Someone like Darren, the mayor’s illegitimate son.

The foolproof plan is this: seduce Darren and push him to convince his father to renew Jack It’s contract with the city.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

Katie and I did a buddy read/review for this because Katie is a HUGE TJ fan and both of us absolutely ADORED Tell Me It’s Real. (MS – Morgan, KS – Katie)

Sandy: “You know when you have a dream about doing something you shouldn’t and then it turns incestuous and you think, well, that wasn’t so bad and then there are marching bands?”

MS: OMG I was so psyched to see a follow up to Tell Me It’s Real (TMIR)! To me this is TJ at his finest. This book has all the fun and only a little of the angst. There are even moments when TJ makes fun of his own angst love when Kori/Corey describes her time with Tyson at school. What did you think Katie?

KS: Sandy had a very distinct voice in Tell Me.. and Art/Breathing, in this book he sounded a lot like Bear and Paul. Which don’t get me wrong, love them both, but Sandy lost some individuality for me. Helena didn’t take over as much as she does in other stories.

MS: I agree, Sandy did go on a lot of “Bear-like” rants in this. Hysterical, but different from the Sandy in TMIR.

MS: So… I think anyone could read this as a standalone but… they’d miss a hellovalot! Sandy is Paul’s BFF and a SUPER FABULOUS drag queen – Helena Handbasket. Sandy is the mild mannered counter to Helena’s outlandish and sometimes snarky side. Sandy/Helena have had a run in years ago with Darren – the Homo Jock King and Vince’s half-brother. Since then Darren has attended almost all of Helena’s shows but always leaves with some twink. Sandy – who hates Darren with the fire of a thousand suns – leaves with some piece of frat/jock/anybody else not Darren.

Paul: “Because you’d fight him for the right to my nipples?” Paul asked.
Vince: “Sure,” Vince said. “I’d fight anyone for your nipples. And also because Darren wants to bone Sandy and not you.”

KS: I now love Darren, but again he’s sounding very similar to Otter, who is one of my book boyfriends – so not a bad thing. But… I didn’t need to be constantly reminded that they were the Queen and Homo Jock King, it was brought up a lot.

MS: Darren did get more of a personality here, but the firm delineation of Queen v Homo Jock King did get a bit overused. I think that one of my biggest “issues” with TJ’s work lately has been a distinct lack of editing. He is SO funny but the rants are getting longer and longer.

MS: When Sandy’s friends get involved there is a suddenly a need for Darren and Sandy to act as boyfriends to get Darren’s dad to help them save the gay bar… and well… it was confusing and it’s supposed to be. While “acting as boyfriends” – their deepest desires (who everyone else already knew) come to the surface and some of the old hurts dividing them get explained and fixed.

(One of the rules to their fake dating.)
Sandy: Ugh. That sounded terrible. “Only in public where people can see us,” I amended. “No inviting me to your house where I assume the bedroom smells like twink jizz and sadness.”
Darren: He shrugged. “It also smells like vanilla.”

(Darren and Sandy fake having sex.) Sandy: “There we go,” I managed to say. “I’m going to stick my dick in you now. You feel that? You feel me opening you up with my fat dick?”
Darren: “Yeah,” he moaned. “Oh, it’s slightly bigger than average and feels so good.”
“Slightly bigger?” I hissed at him.
“We have to be realistic,” he whispered back. “Not everyone has got a monster cock.”

MS: There is SO much to love about this book, besides the humor there is a lot of love. We see more of Paul, Vince, Corey/Kori and a different side of Sandy.

KS: I never thought of Sandy as slutty, but he kind of came off that way in this book, but still totally lovable.

Sandy: There comes a time in every gay man’s life where he’s asked if he got rimmed in an alley behind a Mexican restaurant. It’s almost a rite of passage.

MS: Paul and Vince are crazy as ever.

Sandy: “No one has ever had anything good to say when starting a sentence here’s the thing,” I told him.
Paul: “You don’t know that,” he said. “Gandhi could have been all, like, ‘Here’s the thing: love everyone and junk.’”

Vince: “And I know I’m right, because you can’t spell convinced without Vince.”

MS: So is Paul’s gran and Johnny Depp the parrot that hates Paul.

Darren: And then Johnny Depp started screaming that Paul was raping him
Darren: And that someone needed to save him from Paul’s pencil dick

MS: Paul’s parents are there being their weird/kinky/strange/loving selves, too.

“So they’re just sex friends?” Larry asked.
“It would seem so,” Matty said. “Should we get a sex friend?”
Larry shook his head. “I would get too jealous over something like that. Maybe we could borrow Vince’s riding crop.”

MS: We get the help from Mike the boss, and Charlie and a back-story about Vaguyna – Helena’s mentor.

Sandy: “A queen is never late,” I told Charlie. “As my dear mentor and savior Vaguyna Muffman used to say, ‘A queen always arrives precisely the moment she’s meant to and not a minute sooner, so fuck off, you cockmongers.’”

MS: My hope is that our dear Kori/Corey and maybe…. a certain bartender??? – will get a story next… Corey is too great a character to not have a book to himself.

KS: Yes! We need more Izaac! I’m hoping he’s mentioned so much for a reason. I love Corey/Kori and would have liked to see some conflict there, a continuance of Art/Breathing. Maybe them together?

Corey: “Take a shower. You smell like what sad dreams are made of.”

Izaac: “Would it make you feel better if you saw my nipples?” he asked, reaching for the hem of his shirt.
Sandy: I sighed as I shook my head. “Thanks, baby doll, but I don’t think even your nipples will help me out today. I best get in there and get this over with.”
He nodded. “That’s what my girlfriend said when we decided to try anal.”

MS: Fans of Tell Me It’s Real will LOVE this and if you haven’t read that – GO DO IT – then read this FFS.

Sandy: “And also please find out a way to send me back in time so I never have to hear you describe the term slow-bone to me ever again. If I had to list the top five traumatizing things that have ever happened to me that would be number 4. At least”

MS: The story winds and wiggles and giggles and meanders and twists and turns for 350 pages – but it’s so damn funny the time flies. 5 of 5 stars

Audio

Katie and I collaborated again on the audio review.

MS:: Katie, what was your favorite part of the narration to Homo Jock King?

KS: I love that Tj got the same narrator back. It was so nice to hear Paul, Vince and Sandy as I’ve heard them so many times before. Michael Lesley is great at going between the characters and making them each unique. I love the layering when they all shriek about something or stepping away from the mic when they’re yelling from other rooms. All nice touches.

MS: I thought Michael Lesley did a fantastic job with keeping all the voices unique and separate. Who was your favorite character based on the voices?

KS: Not necessarily because of his voice but Paul is always my favorite. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the author so when I read Paul I hear Tj’s voice. So it was really hard for me to hear another voice on Paul, but I’ve been won over (for the most part).

 

MS: I loved how the narrator used pacing and inflection to add to the humor in this story. When he does the very many monologues he slows down, then speeds up in a way that had me laughing at loud and giggling in public! What was the funniest scene you listened to?

 

KS: Tj is the master of awkward dinners, so the brunch was great. I mean Tj does them often, but they are always hilarious. Nana and Paul bidding on Darren was pretty great, as well as Sandy on the phone with Paul in the bathroom while at lunch with Darren and his father.

 

MS: Is there anything you wish were done differently? Anything else that caught your attention you wanted to talk about?

 

KS: Name pronunciations bothered me more than I’d like. I know different narrators but I didn’t like the different pronunciations of Corey/Kori. I didn’t like the Izaac pronunciation either. Overall so fun, and had me struggling to not laugh out loud at work. Love these characters so much.

 

 

5 of 5 stars – absolutely recommended!

 

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
2 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Gay Hurt/comfort Insta Love Little to no angst m/m Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series

Relative Best (Foothills Pride #5) by Pat Henshaw

release day review

 

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/relative-best-by-pat-henshaw-7364-b

 

patBlurb

A Foothills Pride Story

Sometimes love sneaks up when you’re least looking for it….

Zeke Bandy, owner of Bandy’s Finest Hotel in Old Town Stone Acres, California, is too busy for love. Not only does he oversee the operations of the historic hotel and uphold his family’s tradition of offering refuge to strays and runaways, Zeke also sings and plays down-home music two nights a week at the Stonewall Saloon and for occasional celebrations. Then Zeke meets Victor Longbow, the man of his dreams.

Vic isn’t looking for love either. In fact, because of his upbringing in a strict, white foster family, Vic’s not sure he believes in love. He’s in Stone Acres to open a branch office of a national brokerage firm. He’s also hoping to find a vintage photo of what might be his Native American ancestor.

After their paths cross, they become friends, then more. Connected by their experiences as orphans raised by flawed fathers, Zeke and Vic realize that some men must find love, hone it, and create families for themselves.

 

Review

This is part of a series, but it definitely can be read as a standalone. In each of the books in this series, we meet an older guy with an interesting past and all these guys live in the same town and know one another, but knowing their story doesn’t necessarily affect the current book.

In this case we’re introduced to Zeke who runs the hotel that sits next to Stone’s bar so we get to see him and Jimmy a lot – which is probably the only thing I really liked about this story.

Zeke’s history was strange and his hotel is a little weird. He runs a sort of shelter but it’s not funded as a non-profit and when he ends up rescuing a minor, Calvin, the fact that it’s a minor doesn’t concern him or the Sheriff. Then, we find out his uncles, Vic and Hayden, are there at the same hotel, and they don’t act overly concerned or even really talk to him or about him to his rescuer, Zeke.  Vic, in fact, makes a strange comment about Calvin’s dad beating all his sons, some nearly to death, but that comment is left just hanging there. When Calvin’s mom comes to talk to him she has a random and abrupt about face concerning letting her sons get beaten for years that felt really artificial and insincere. I didn’t know what to make of Calvin’s part in this story and it kept jolting me out of the story’s natural rhythm.

As for the love story between Vic and Zeke – it happened almost instantaneously and with very little chemistry. They had no “romance” to speak of. They met, they hooked up (off page – no on page sex at all) and then they were boyfriends – forever. In fact, when, – a few days later – Vic goes to collect his stuff to move in with Zeke, Zeke acts so sad that people comment it’s like a lover has died. That was probably the most emotion we see between these guys and it felt really out of place.

I’ve enjoyed the other stories in this series very much, but this one felt very disconnected and disjointed. There were several potential “topics” – personal histories, bullying/abuse, Native Americans, children of alcoholics, music, families… so many things!, but none were really followed up on and it just felt like a big mélange of story without one continuous thread.

I definitely didn’t feel a good connection between Zeke and Vic, and I thought the other “side stories” detracted from their main story and the overall feeling the story left was fairly muddy. I can’t recommend this – sadly – but I do recommend the rest of the series and encourage readers to look at those stories instead.

2 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Categories
4 stars Angst Level Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay Heat Index Humor Little to no angst Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat

Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry

coming-soon

 

Riptide Presents August 15

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/adulting-101

 

30244714Blurb

The struggle is real.

Nick Stahlnecker is eighteen and not ready to grow up yet. He has a summer job, a case of existential panic, and a hopeless crush on the unattainable Jai Hazenbrook. Except how do you know that your coworker’s unattainable unless you ask to blow him in the porta-potty?

That’s probably not what Dad meant when he said Nick should act more like an adult.

Twenty-five-year-old Jai is back in his hometown of Franklin, Ohio, just long enough to earn the money to get the hell out again. His long-term goal of seeing more of the world is worth the short-term pain of living in his mother’s basement, but only barely.

Meeting Nick doesn’t fit in with Jai’s plans at all, but, as Jai soon learns, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to have the adventure of a lifetime.

This is not a summer romance. This is a summer friendship-with-benefits. It’s got pizza with disgusting toppings, Netflix and chill, and accidental exhibitionism. That’s all. There are no feelings here. None. Shut up.

Review

This is a story full of fun and laughter, some touching moments and weirdness – in a good way!

If you’re in the mood for something light hearted with a HFN and you’re a fan of the author I think this is a must read.

Personally, I was a little disappointed with the ending… I like my endings to be a bit more Happily Ever After – this certainly hints that things continue and we can hope – but there aren’t any “I love yous” to make things feel really solid.

The characters do a lot of growing and it’s a huge step that they end up taking together in the end… so I’m sure most people will be really happy with where they end up.

Their journey is hysterical and the smexy times are hot.  The blurb sets things up very well.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay Heat Index Little to no angst m/m Mechanic/Car/Racing Misunderstanding Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Scorching/high heat

Running Hot by Yoalande Kelinn

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/running-hot-by-yolande-kleinn-7349-b

running-hotBlurb

Kurt Trench loves running a successful auto repair shop with his twin sister Lena. Lately loyal customer Shane Dolan has been coming around more often, and Kurt assumes it’s because of his sister. While Kurt wouldn’t dream of coming between them, he can’t help being drawn to Shane himself…. Or thinking about him in ways he definitely shouldn’t.

One night everything changes. Kurt doesn’t reciprocate Shane’s kiss—he’s got no intention of stealing his sister’s man—but when he tells Lena what happened, she can’t believe how thick her brother is. She’s not the reason Shane’s been coming around the garage, and Kurt and Shane have more in common than a love of classic muscle cars. Now it’s on Kurt to make the next move, assuming he hasn’t blown his chance for good.

Review

From the blurb, you can see the (almost) entirety of this short story. What it doesn’t say is that Shane comes around the garage for months and that at no point does Kurt ever ask Lena if the two are going out (she and Shane) even though they are twins who work together every day.

So… you have to have a big block of salt to accept the fact that Kurt lusts after Shane but only suspects that he’s his sister’s boyfriend.

The writing – otherwise- is good. It’s 50 pages and reads very quickly. The dialog is funny and when the smexy times come- oooo la la!

I wish this had been a bit more angsty. Some more significant reason for the two MC to be dancing around one another, it would have taken this from a good read to a great one.

I did enjoy it, and if you’re in the mood for a low angst, quick (yet hot!) read, give this one a go. It ends on a HFN (it’s short!) but it seems very promising. I’d absolutely read something by this author in the future.

4 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Christmas Contemporary Fade to black/No Steam Gay Heat Index Holiday Insta Love Little to no angst m/m Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Opposites attract Purchased

Joys R Us Audiobook by Kim Fielding Narrated by Alex Freeman

audiobookreview

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Joys-R-Us-Audiobook/B01J6LB82W/ref=a_search_c4_1_12_srTtl?qid=1469981370&sr=1-12

51nvgBzSMrL._SL300_Blurb

Reece is a practical, orderly man; a financial analyst who considers most holiday events wasteful. But his sister coerces him into standing in line overnight for this year’s must-have toy. Supplies prove smaller than expected, and Reece gets trampled in the resulting stampede. Toy store manager Angel tends to Reece’s wounds. When Angel discovers Reece’s cynical attitude, he invites Reece to spend Christmas Eve with him. Over the course of the day, Angel shows Reece what Christmas means to him. With Angel’s guidance, maybe Reece can finally understand the joy of the holiday – and maybe even find love as well.

Review

Reece gets manipulated into waiting in line overnight at a big box toy store to get the “must have” toy of the season for his nephew. Normally Reece wouldn’t be caught dead doing something so impractical, but his nephew has had a rough year and he owes his sister a favor so…

When the store opens and he’s granted access to buy the toy he gets trampled and ends up not only injured but he’s still without the toy! Luckily he meets a super cute toy store manager who helps him out, Angel.

Angel is shocked at how cynical Reece is about Christmas and sets out to show Reece just what the holidays SHOULD be about.

**

This is super sweet, no steam, HFN but really fun. It’s an obvious take on Scrooge but it doesn’t take itself nearly so seriously.

The narration is good in terms of emotion and pacing but the sound quality isn’t very good and it got to be distracting. It sounds like it was recorded in a tin can at times, very echo-y and not as polished as some other audiobooks I’ve heard.

I still enjoyed it but I have to deduct a star for sound quality.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review