Release Day: His Consort by Mary Calmes

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-consort-by-mary-calmes-9995-b

Blurb

A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: his quaint little store attracts a devoted staff and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He’s perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying… and utterly mesmerizing.

The prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, is visiting New Orleans when he finds out the man who once helped his counselor is there in the Quarter. He thinks to simply meet and thank Jason—until he lays eyes on him. Varic’s devoted himself to protect the honor of his race, and he’s never wanted a mate before… but he immediately knows he must have this man, and no one else will do.

Varic may want to bring Jason safely into his world, but someone who doesn’t like the human’s soothing influence on vampyrs has deadly plans that would disrupt Varic’s dreams. Now, unable to tell friend from foe, Jason finds himself wondering how to hold on to the prince’s heart when he’s fighting for his life.

 

Review by Karen

I don’t think anyone can bring the soulmate/fated mate vibe to a story as well as Mary Calmes can. There’s no doubting the all-encompassing, blissful feelings that well up between Jason and Varic. I loved that they are so drawn to each other from the first, but even more that it’s not just about chemistry or power, but true love and appreciation of the other person that makes them so strong together.

 

I’m impressed by the amount of detail that went into the world-building and the setting of this story, bringing into it such history and a great cast of secondary characters. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in a follow-up story! We get to know Jason really well from the first, whereas our prince remains far more enigmatic. It takes a while for him to make an appearance “on page”. The author sure understands how to build up anticipation!

 

Jason is an incredibly endearing hero, strong and capable, but with a soft heart underneath. Varic, he who has it all and has had it for what seems like an eternity, needs to swiftly adjust to what it means to have a modern-day man for a mate, and how vulnerable that makes him feel. It’s not as easy as he might have expected, but his devotion to Jason never wavers.

 

The story is excellently paced with various vampyr political intrigues to muddy the waters for our heroes. Danger lurks in unexpected places and it’s hard to know who to trust. I didn’t see the threat coming at all! It was brilliant! Though less so for our MC’s, of course…

 

This was such an enjoyable read, I was totally swept away by it. It was all so intense! Loved it!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

I’ll start out by re-iterating that I’ve been a huge fan girl of Mary for a long time… I was stoked to find out she’s writing paranormal again because I LOVE that part of her writing – more? – than her contemporary – it’s a toss up because Marshal’s really has my heart … But this story was all over the place.

There is a TON of world building so I hope we get a series out of this – there are certainly a lot of characters to play with – legions of them – but I couldn’t really tell you a lot about the prince because he does not play a big role in this romance about the prince of the vampyr.

Fans of the author will find her quintessential “aw shucks” MC in our human. He’s ex special forces so he can take care of himself, but he’s got a heart as big as the sun. He literally wants to save everyone and he charms his enemies along the way.

There are so many new words and rules and people and a new conflict between the made vamps and the royal vamps – a lot of it went over my head and once the story shifted from Washington state to New Orleans I admit to finding it hard to keep track of who and what and where and definitely why.

Our couple spends very little time together. I’m totally on board with the “mine” but I there was a lot of time that I was wishing they’d spend some time not having sex and get to know one another. The way the story is laid out I almost thought Hadrian or Tiago was going to be the other MC – we spend more time with them than the prince.

In any case, it was a fun story and definitely had all the Mary charm – but it felt a bit scattered and not as cohesive as some of her other stories.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Quenched in Blood By Ari McKay

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/quenched-in-blood-by-ari-mckay-9984-b

Blurb

Asheville Arcana
Will love mean rebirth… or death?
In the course of his work with the Asheville Paranormal Council, reclusive three-hundred-year-old vampire Julian Schaden discovers young Thomas Carter, the heir to a long line of demon hunters—a legacy Thomas knows nothing about.
He also knows nothing about the supernatural world or the danger he’s in. As Julian convinces him and later agrees to train Thomas to use his abilities, he struggles against unexpected feelings. Thomas is too young and innocent to become involved with Julian, but opposites attract, and this is one battle Julian is fated to lose….
Julian and Thomas grow closer as the demonic menace advances. A prophecy from a dying mage comes with a bleak warning: to save Thomas’s life, Julian might have to give up the only man he’s ever loved.

Review

This is an amazing series. It’s really rich and full of tremendous world building with lively and engaging characters and a bad guy really worth going after.

I loved the relationship building here – I felt like it went at a great pace and kept me interested without rushing it.

Of course the virgin aspect mixed with the “slut” as partner was really hot! But it was also really tender and Julian did a lot of growing along side Thomas.

The action/adventure was just enough without overwhelming the romance.

Overall I think this was excellent and I highly recommend it to any fan of the author, the series, paranormal romance and fantasy. I do think this is best read in order but you could muddle though if you really don’t want to.

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Femme Faux Fatale By Susan Laine

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/femme-faux-fatale-by-susan-laine-9982-b

Blurb

Mystery. Murder. Men in silk stockings. Hollywood nights are heating up.
Hardboiled Los Angeles PI Cain Noble is hired by wealthy and gorgeous Camille Astor to find her husband and a priceless work of art, both of which have disappeared.
At the nightclub owned by Mr. Astor, Cain encounters the mesmerizing Lily Lavender, who has the body of a goddess and the sultry voice of an angel—but is really a young man named Riley who attracts trouble like a magnet.
What’s a private dick in the vein of LA’s bygone era and a cross-dressing burlesque starlet to do when faced with the hidden decadence and lethal dangers of the Hollywood Hills? They have their work cut out for them because they haven’t even scratched the surface of an elaborate scheme more twisted than anyone could ever have imagined.

 

Review
The start of this story put me in mind of film noir, with the jaded PI meeting his dubious client for the first time. My initial reaction was that the characters were a bit caricaturist. This impression was strengthened the first time Camille Astor came into the picture. I think it’s intentional given that there are movie references included in the story. Once Cain met Riley that impression was less important and I put it to one side. Fireworks and good ole fashioned lust came into the story, yum. This is a tale that twists and turns. There are the obvious bad guys and the not so obvious worse guys which gave the story a pleasant edge. Some things I didn’t see coming and this kept me hooked. Overall good fast burn romance with murder-crime drama.

3 of stars out of 5


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Time to Comfort: Rend (Riven #2) by Roan Parrish

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38944629-rend?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

After a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.

Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

Review

This was not what I was expecting.

I’d really loved Riven – it had angst and pain – sure – but the overall feeling was lighter and definitely had a brighter outlook to it.

I’d thought this would have a similar vibe. Well – it didn’t. It was very, very, very, very angsty – drama at every turn and full of sadness and emotional upheaval.

If this is your bag- you will be psyched because Roan Parrish is a great writer. However, if you’re looking for something lighter in line with Riven – don’t read this.

I thought it was interesting that our MCs are already married in chapter 1 and the book is not our guys getting together but Matt getting over his low self esteem.

I really didn’t like the fact that Matt was a mental health professional with apparently no ability to manage himself – at all.

I think that was definitely part of the problem I had with this. I appreciated the idea of it, but I didn’t necessarily like that our guys were already together.

In any case – it was nice seeing the MCs from book 1 and – as I mentioned – Roan is a great writer – I was just over Matt and his self doubt pretty much from sentence one so this just didn’t tick any boxes for me.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Fair isn’t life By Kaje Harper

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fair-isnt-life-by-kaje-harper-9973-b

Blurb

 

Luke Lafontaine survived the past year by not thinking about the father he lost, the dairy farm he couldn’t save from bankruptcy, or his way of life that vanished with the rap of an auctioneer’s hammer. Cleaning up city folks’ trash at the Minnesota State Fair is just another dead-end job. But at the Fair, surrounded by a celebration of farm life,  ambitions he’d given up on and buried deep start to revive. And seeing Mason Bell in the parade—gorgeous, gay, out-of-his-league Mason—stirs other buried dreams.

Mason left his hometown for college in Minneapolis without looking back. Student life is fun, classes are great, gay guys are easy to find, but it’s all a bit superficial. He’s at the State Fair parade route with his band when he realizes a scruffy maintenance worker is Luke, his secret high school crush. Luke should be safely home working on his dad’s farm, not picking up litter. Mason wishes he hadn’t fallen out of touch. He’s an optimist, though, and it’s never too late for second chances. Now he just has to convince Luke.

 

Review
Luke has gone through a lot, losing his father, his farm and home, and only narrowly escaping a life on the streets. He’s lost hope and I felt quite sad for him. All that loss really impacted him and continues to define him throughout the story. It’s more than a simple background story for the cliché “tormented hero”.
Luckily this is fiction, and Kaje Harper managed to give Luke a way to turn his life around with a little help from his former high school crush, Mason. Although reality intrudes when we are shown that Luke’s farm was no exception and that other dairy farms also struggle to survive, with no miracle to fix their issues.

Luke is physically more imposing than the smaller and more studious Mason, but their relationship doesn’t conform to stereotypes, which I loved! Luke looks to Mason for guidance and help to discover new things, like say make-up. The issue of what it means to be a real “man” is touched upon and handled in the best way. I really liked Luke and Mason as a couple, they are a great fit.

This story has an very realistic feel to it, with a “true story” kind of vibe running through it thanks to the incredibly authentic (not always likable) secondary characters and real life issues that crop up. Even the happy for now ending adds to that feeling.

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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Time to Comfort: Audiobook: Sin and Tonic by Rhys Ford narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/sin-and-tonic-by-rhys-ford-9595-b

Blurb: Sinners Series: Book Six

Miki St. John believed happy endings only existed in fairy tales until his life took a few unexpected turns… and now he’s found his own.
His best friend, Damien, is back from the dead, and their new band, Crossroads Gin, is soaring up the charts. Miki’s got a solid, loving partner named Kane Morgan—an Inspector with SFPD whose enormous Irish family has embraced him as one of their own—and his dog, Dude, at his side.

It’s a pity someone’s trying to kill him.

Old loyalties and even older grudges emerge from Chinatown’s murky, mysterious past, and Miki struggles to deal with his dead mother’s abandonment, her secrets, and her brutal murder while he’s hunted by an enigmatic killer who may have ties to her.
The case lands in Kane’s lap, and he and Miki are caught in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. When Miki is forced to face his personal demons and the horrors of his childhood, only one thing is certain: the rock star and his cop are determined to fight for their future and survive the evils lurking in Miki’s past.

Review:

(Previously reviewed by Dee on this site)

Miki gets his happy ever after! I have had a fantastic time following the series. This last book is just as good, (if not better), than the first.
Miki still has ghosts from his past haunting him. When a stranger who claims to know his mum wants to meet him, he’s understandably skeptical, but curious. Well, the meeting doesn’t go as planned, as someone shoots up the meeting place and the stranger is killed, leaving Edie severely wounded. The murder investigation lands in Kane’s lap and the unraveling of Miki’s past begins.

Although this is the last of the Sinners series, it didn’t feel like a final end, you know? Instead, I felt like I was saying goodbye to my extended family, imagining that I’d see them again in another settings or gathering.
I thought I would be sad reading the last installment – and I was for a bit – but the joy I felt knowing that Miki had finally gotten his happy ending, overrode any sadness. By the end of the book we leave him continuing to heal from all the horrors he’s endured. He is more comfortable with the knowledge that he has a family to call his own, that he can rely on to be there for him. And now, he also knows where he’s from.
It was also lovely to see the others – Dude, Damie and Sionn; Quinn and Rafe; Con and Forest; and of course, Donal and Brigid.
There are a few surprises, heaps of suspense and humour sprinkled throughout the story (indeed, the entire series). But most of all, there is love – romantic and familial within the story; and the love that Rhys has poured into her work.

Absolutely recommend this book and the entire series.

6 stars out of 5

Audio

I will have to agree with Dee for my evaluation of the story. I think – for the most part – that Rhys is a wonderful writer but that you do have to want a certain type of drama to enjoy her stories. She excels at bringing us characters in pain and giving them some sort of resolution. In this series everybody has their back story filled with pain and some with anguish. We couple it with a current bout of violence and luckily the wall of Morgans are there to help keep the tide at bay. I think – though I’ve loved this series so much – that it has come to it’s natural conclusion and aside from some cute side stories – this is a needed/warranted ending.

 

As for the narration- Tristan James is amazing. He’s got this sexy as hell voice and he’s also pretty good at setting the mood for a story with his pacing and energy. For some reason, however, this time around, the voice he chose for Miki is a bit off from what he’d chosen before and it bugged me. Miki didn’t sound like himself – he sounded … softer? I don’t know – but it didn’t match previous narrations. It’s a small thing and definitely doesn’t detract from the rest of the story and all the lovely accents – but it did bug me a little.

 

In any case – fans of the series will be sad to see this one but love it at the same time. It’s not a standalone so don’t start with this one!

 

Recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Recent Release: You’ll be the Death of Us (A Loving Nip #17) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42092262-you-ll-be-the-death-of-us?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Just a Little Love Bite: A long-awaited-for vacation ends in disaster, forcing one man to make the ultimate life and death choice.

Eric Young and Daren Creston met when both attended a pride parade in Denver with friends. They’d immediately hit it off. Three months later, city-dwelling Eric moved in with small-town living Daren, and they made their home in Colin City. Seven years later, they are still very much in love. After years of saving, Eric and Daren head to a dude ranch for a little sun, fun, and sexy cowboy roleplay in the bedroom. The place has amazing reviews, is run by vampires, and was recommended by their wolf shifter buddies. After a tragic riding accident leaves Daren’s life hanging perilously by a thread, Eric is willing to do anything to save his lover. Death, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, hears Eric’s cries. His interest is piqued. When Death makes the pretty human an offer–the price, Eric and Daren’s souls–will Eric take it? And if he does, will Daren ever be able to forgive him?
Reader Advisory: This is a M/M/M menage.

Review

Daren and Eric are a human couple who have appeared sporadically throughout the Wolves of Stoneridge series. They decide to vacation at a vampire ranch based on the recommendations of their paranormal friends. Sadly, while there tragedy befalls Daren and Eric not willing to his love begs for help stating he will do anything. Death, one of the Four Horsemen, over hears Eric’s pleading and decides to intervene and offer his assistance, but both men will need to tie themselves to Death for eternity.

Anybody familiar with this series knows that these books are easy, light reads. So far there are over 100 books in the connecting series and each story has managed to be unique (granted there are still a few I haven’t read). The one thing I don’t like about most of the newer books is that they tend to have very rushed endings. The same happened in this one. After searching for one of Death’s missing demons, they find him with the help of alpha’s Declan and Kontra and the warlocks Draven and Tim. The ensuing “battle” is over in a page or two but then so is the book. We still don’t really know who or what was behind the capture, but it looks like it will be resolved in future books. This series is still a favorite of mine. Death and his two human mates made for a great, steamy little story.

4 Stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent review: Course Correction (Rogue Rescue #1) by Mia West

Good reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42377594-course-correction?from_search=true

Blurb

Playing it safe has gotten him everything – except the one guy he’s always wanted.

As leader of a covert unit of rescue swimmers, following the mission plan is a matter of professional survival for seal shifter Nate Landry.

But recent closure on a colleague’s death has Nate recalculating his own trajectory.

It could use a little nudge and a whole lotta juice, and he only has to glance across the cockpit for just the right source of turbulence.

Following orders has kept him sane – until the guy giving them goes full throttle.

Chopper pilot Gil Espinoza has successfully kept his thing for Landry on cruise control for eight long years.

That the guy once chose a fellow shifter over Gil stung like hell but kept him on course.

Problem is: the good lieutenant just laid down new coordinates, a radical turn into uncharted waters.

And if there’s one thing Gil can’t do, it’s ignore an order from Nate Landry.

Review

I LOVE the series from which this is a spin off. https://www.goodreads.com/series/156186-grizzly-rim

I mostly adored this book as well and cannot wait for more! However, there were times when I was a bit lost as to why these two waited 8 years and until the end of the book to hook up… I was never convinced of a good reason and their actions didn’t match their thoughts and that kinda made me frustrated.

There is lots of dirty talk. Lots of feelz some cool shifting and lots of UST.

This can be a standalone but I don’t recommend it.

There is a fair bit of “action” but most of this is about the relationship which I love!

4.5 of 5 stars


Purchased for Review

Time to Comfort: Score (Men of Hidden Creek) by A.E. Wasp

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39680434-score?from_search=true

Blurb
Home is where you make it.
Beau Hopper is good at goodbyes. A minor-league hockey player, he goes where the league tells him. Single and estranged from his family, Beau drifts without connections or commitments. He makes a living, not a life.

Former Marine Connor Casey’s life revolves around his siblings. After Hurricane Harvey took their home and a car-crash claimed their parents, Connor is determined to rebuild their house and their lives.

When Beau learns Connor might lose custody of his siblings if he can’t finish the rebuild in time, he volunteers to help in exchange for a place to stay, and it isn’t long before he finds himself in Connor’s bed. It takes more than passion and plywood to build a home, so when the league comes calling after Beau, Connor can’t ask him to stay… but how can he ever let him go?

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains eye-rolling teenagers, stolen kisses, and fewer noogies than you’d expect.

Review
This was an incredibly moving romance, it really got to me. The MC’s were lovable to the extreme, the kids were absolutely wonderful, and the other, more minor, characters were also really great (okay, most of them, not the dreaded Walrus of course! And I hope Youngblood will get a chance to redeem himself).

Connor is a former marine who has given up his career in the military to take care of his siblings, after their parents died in a car crash. He is self-sacrificing and hard-working, always giving to his loved ones, never asking anything for himself.
Beau is a hockey player, who has never been in a real relationship and spends his living running away from big emotions like love and commitment. Until Connor…

I love how their relationship developed. Starting with an instant reaction, and with very little opportunity to act on it, they almost naturally become an item and Beau fits into Connor’s family seamlessly.
Beau falls in love with Connor, but at the same time gets to know and love Connor’s four siblings as well. Which is so beautiful and touching to see happen.

We get to know Sean, Fiona, Micah and Benji really well. They are an important part of Connor’s life, and as such, also of this story. They are not just props in the background. I loved that! Reading about the dynamics of this little family was very touching and heart-warming.
There was one scene in particular that stood out for me. It revolved around Sean, Beau and Connor, where Connor had a PTSD-related “episode” that was very emotional and gripping.

The epilogue was wonderful!! Both romantically sweet and funny. How could anyone not fall in love with Prince Connorette and his knight in shining armor, Beaumeo? Impossible!

This book really drew me in. My heart ached for Connor and Beau, especially near the end, because of course, it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way through to their HEA.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Provided by Author

Release Day Review: Heart of a Redneck by Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/heart-of-a-redneck-by-jodi-payne-and-ba-tortuga-9971-b

Blurb: Colby McBride is a blue-collar cowboy trying to make ends meet laying tile in Colorado. A loner by choice, Colby works hard with his hands and finds his peace camping in the mountains outside Boulder. Gordon James is a white-collar restaurateur who owns not one, but two successful establishments in downtown Boulder. He’s a sophisticated urbanite who is devoted to his work and is accustomed to getting what he wants.
The men are friends, but sparks fly when Colby falls in love and decides to show Gordon how much fun a good old boy can be. They’re just beginning to explore their relationship when Gordon’s sister’s suicide leaves him with custody of his five-year-old niece.
Colby comes from a huge family and is eager to help with the girl and to prove his worth to Gordon. But neither of them is ready for the tremendous changes to their already busy lives, or for how this new relationship with Olivia challenges them, complicating the way they interact with each other.

They say opposites attract, but can these two very different men work together to join their disparate lives and form a strong, if highly unlikely, family?

Review:

I was expecting another nice, low angst read with lots of humour and heart from BA Tortuga. And yes, I got that and a bit more from this collaboration with Jodi Payne.
I really liked the 2 MCs: Gordon (Gordy), a well to do, somewhat cultured restauranteur, and Colby, a blue collar, born and bred Texan that just happens to live in Colorado. The pairing of the 2 men should not have worked (and it didn’t always work between them), but they suited each other just fine.
Both men have been mutually attracted for a bit, and once they decide to act on the attraction they go hot and heavy. It’s all fun and games for them until Gordy becomes the guardian to his niece, Olivia. He automatically shuts Colby out, at first thinking that his thing with Colby might be a short term thing. Colby proves him wrong by helping Olivia settle in and Gordy, by being his backup, friend and partner.

So, as I mentioned there is the low angst and humour, but there was a lot of realistic feelings – Gordy being wary of Colby’s role in his (and his niece’s) life; the jealousy when Colby seems to connect with Olivia better than he does; all the while tring to run to very successful businesses. Colby is unsure of his part in ‘co-parenting’ Olivia – he doesn’t want to step on toes, but he’s a born nurturer and loves caring for both Gordy and Olivia. He’s also unsure of his budding relationship with Gordy – are they going to be serious, a family or is he just a casual thing.
Happily, they work things out – not perfectly, but with the understanding that they need to talk things out – they tend to get their wires crossed a lot.

As usual, the secondary characters are memorable. I found it to be a warm, fun story.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review