Recent Review : Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41823691-honeymoon-for-one?from_search=true

Blurb

The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.

Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.

Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.

Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.

Honeymoon for One is a gay romance by Keira Andrews featuring a May-December age difference, a slow burn of newfound friends to lovers, first-time m/m sex, and of course a happy ending.

Review

When I read the blurb I thought – ugh – I really don’t like jilted stories or rebound stories or holiday romances… but I love Keira Andrews and so I had to give it a go. Well, as always, she does not disappoint!

The emphasis on this is not the rebound but the realization of feelings that Clay has been hiding from himself for years. Sure, he’s a little older, they’re from different CONTINENTS and he’s on the rebound – but of course – it’s all gonna work out in the end! (LOL)

These guys do find a way to make it work that seems plausible – but really – in the end – it’s their journey that is so ooey gooey delectable. They talk, they aren’t afraid to emote and they have some pretty steamy smexy times!

Luckily the family thing isn’t an issue and beyond all the major hurdles we already know about, the author didn’t throw in more to be OTT.

This was a really lovely story that I recommend to fans of the author, fans of Australia, fans of May/December romance and fans of OFY/GFY romance.

5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recently Released: Push (Music in Motion #1) by B.L. Morticia

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/push-by-blmorticia-9916-b

Blurb

Music In Motion: Book One

Malakei Oakley, aka rapper M. Prophet, is at the top of his game—but deep in the closet. Handsome, wealthy, and successful as the head of 315East Entertainment, Malakei should be on cloud nine. Despite his awards and a Midas touch that has every musician clamoring to work with him, something is missing.

Seth “Reaper” Davies is ready for stardom. His band High Stakes plays to small, packed houses all over Birmingham and London but has yet to get their big break. But Seth isn’t giving up on his dream—no matter what it takes.

A viral video prompts a message from a person he doesn’t expect—the talented M. Prophet. Their musical styles are worlds apart, and Seth has no desire to change his style to sell records. But his curiosity—and his attraction to Malakei—wins out.

Malakei can’t get Seth out of his mind. He also can’t come out without ruining his reputation. No matter how much he wants the sexy singer, his only option is to push Seth away. But he’s about to find out Seth isn’t one to give up on what he wants—and he might be just what Malakei needs.

Review

Ok – there’s a lot about this I want to say – and I want to be as fair as possible.

1) I thought there were parts that were very compelling – the bias against LGBTQ in hip hop, the reluctance to lose face, the authenticity of the lives led by both MCs and their people
2) I didn’t buy the language used by either MC – it felt too over the top and didn’t feel at all what actual people would say – either to themselves or their families/friends
3) I never liked Seth. Malakei was a sweetie and Seth seemed like an asshole over and over so I never got invested in their relationship.
4) The making out with the ex thing never sat well with me and I didn’t think it needed to be on page
5) I didn’t understand why Seth would have a secret crush on someone everyone thinks is straight and whom he doesn’t really even like musically
In the end – though there was a lot about this that had potential I never bought in and as a result I can say I just didn’t like and can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Review: The Enchanter’s Flame (The Ellwood Chronicles #1) by Michele Notaro

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41252355-the-enchanter-s-flame?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Strange things are happening all around Brinnswick. Things that remind me of a piece of my past I’d rather forget. Girls are being killed, drained of blood, and left with strange markings on their bodies. When I finally connect the cases together, a specialist is called in—though, what he’s a specialist of is beyond me.

When the chief assigns him as my new partner for the case, I can’t help but groan on the inside. Why of all people would I be assigned to Ailin Ellwood? The man is a disaster waiting to happen and a jerk to boot. A sexy jerk, but a jerk nonetheless.

What will Sebastian think when he discovers Ailin’s specialty? Will he make a run for it or will he stick around and discover a world of magic hidden beneath the city’s surface?

***The Enchanter’s Flame is the first book in the Ellwood Chronicles. It’s a paranormal romance that contains explicit material and is intended for mature adults 18 and over.***

Review

First, let me say I LOVE this cover – it’s so nice not to see the typical half -naked torso!

Second, I wanted to say that I really want to recommend this book. ( I can’t say the series because the first/prequel isn’t my type of book – but that’s maybe just me).  Ailin is a great character and this book is full of magic and humor and some UST!  I really enjoyed it!  The entourage of animals really cracked me up!

I’m looking forward to the next book and hopefullly more laughs and spells!

4 of 5 stars


Purchased for Review

Recent Release: A Deeper Blue (The Game #2) by S.E. Harmon

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-deeper-blue-by-se-harmon-9928-b

Blurb

A year ago, Kelly Cannon couldn’t imagine he’d end up with his formerly straight best friend. It’s hard to believe he can finally kiss Blue any time he wants… as long as they’re in private. And there’s the rub. Despite Kelly’s promise to wait until Blue is ready to come out, he’s tired of sneaking around. The cracks in their relationship are starting to show, and there might not be enough spackle in the world to fix them.

Britton “Blue” Montgomery may not be the physics brainiac his boyfriend is, but he’s not stupid. He knows Kelly isn’t completely happy. But he’s not ready to be the poster boy for bisexuals and gays in the NFL. He just wants to keep his head down, play the game he loves, and go home to the man he adores. Is that too much to ask?

With the truth slowly coming to the surface, Blue must make a choice. If it means losing Kelly, there’s no decision to make…. He has to find enough courage to face the music and hope they’ll survive the fallout.

Man. Happily-ever-afters may not be just for Disney princesses, but they sure are a lot of work.

Review

So here’s the thing. If you loved book one, if you love this author and their style of writing, you will love this sequel.

It’s full of SE Harmon’s sense of humor, flair with sexual chemistry and attention to minutia (I mean detail- ahem.)

One thing I’ve felt about each SE Harmon title was that it was good but too long and needed a fierce hand with an editor and it’d be tight and wonderful. As it is, though there is a lot of interesting stuff happening, it isn’t needed IMHO. I felt like I understood the importance of Kelly’s career without having to go step by step with him through his teaching process. I get that the foot ball guys are jerks without having to sit through each moment of practice.

So, for me, I found myself wanting to skim a lot and though I found the sex hot – it got skimmed as well.

I definitely needed this book to close up what we started in book 1 and so – to that extent – I was happy to have read this – but I’m still left with that feeling of wishing it’d been shorter and more to the point.

I think fans of the author will disagree but I give this 3.5 stars.

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Nova Praetorian by N.R. Walker

release day review

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42271990-nova-praetorian?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Quintus Furius Varus is one of the best lanistas in Rome. Tall and strong in build, fearsome in manner, and sharp of wit, he trains the best gladiators bound for the arenas of Rome. When Senator Servius Augendus seeks personal guards, he attends the Ludus Varus for purchase of the very best. He puts to Quintus an offer he cannot refuse, and Quintus finds himself in Neapolis, contracted as a trainer of guards instead of gladiators.

Kaeso Agorix was taken from his homelands of Iberia and delivered to Rome as a slave. Bought by a senator to be trained as a guard, his fate is handed to the man who would train him. Absent free will, Kaeso knows his life is no longer his own, though he soon realises the gods have favoured him when he learns his new master has a kind heart.

Quintus and Kaeso forge a bond that far exceeds the collar at Kaeso’s neck, and together they discover the senator’s move for promotion has an ulterior motive. Thrown into a world of politics and conspiracy, of keeping enemies close, they move against time to save Rome before traitors and the gods themselves see to their end.

And in doing so, see the dawn of the nova praetorian—the new guard—rise.

Review

Wow!!! What a read!!! I have always been drawn to ancient times, add in romance and its absolutely perfect. The language is the most difficult part of this book but luckily N.R. has a glossary at the beginning of the story that really helps.

Quintus is a kind yet stern man who ends up getting sort of blackmailed by Senator Severius into becoming his personal guard against an unnamed threat. Kaeso is a newly captured slave who has trouble accepting his new circumstances. The Senator gives Kaeso to Quintus to train and keep under control. Quintus is a man who prides himself on his control yet with Kaeso he struggles to reign in that control. Kaeso can tell that while a hard task master, Quintus is also a kind man who treats the slaves like people.

The attraction between the two men grow strong but Quintus refuses to make any unwanted advances toward Kaeso, due to his circumstances of being a slave. Eventually the two men figure out that the attraction they feel towards each other is mutual.

This book really kept me wondering what the Senator was up to. Is he up to no good?? Or is he really just that much of a jerk. I loved how the story all came together in the end. I believe that Nova Praetorian is one of those books that each time you reread it you will pick up on something you missed the first time. This isn’t an easy read by any means, the language is pretty confusing but stick with it because it is an amazing story!!!

5 Stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta

 
I really enjoyed this epic action packed new book by N.R Walker, if you liked watching Gladiator and Spartacus you will LOVE Nova Praetorian. This book has everything a history romance lover will enjoy, with well researched and well-rounded world building, writing style fitting the time period and a thrilling story of lovers facing impossible odds. Kaeso is owned by the slippery senator Servius, a man that Quintus despises and knows better than trust. Placing him temporarily in Quintuse’s care as his slave while he guards the senator is a move meant to weaken him, and he must stay alert if he wants a future with Kaeso by his side.

Kaeso and Quintus banter and quip at each other, they are a great couple and fun to read even if danger lurks at every turn. Quintus also has a group of 20 men and women trained at his Ludus, and they are almost like family. Their connection is lovely to read and some of them are so well rounded as they take center roles in the story I enjoyed reading about them immensely. As the plot twists in unexpected ways, it is both thrilling and intriguing, and keeps you at the edge of your seat as it SLOWLY unfolds and reveals its depths.

If I have to say anything I would change in this story is a slight dragging in the halfway mark, the days seem endless and similar, and considering the amount of times Quintus and Kaeso have sex (nothing wrong with that on its own) I felt like maybe that part of the story could have moved faster. Yes, there is A LOT of sex in this book as passion burns and scorch these men to the bone! Again, no issue with it on its own, but at some point it was slightly repetitive, and I applaud their stamina and ability to train a full day after each night, but maybe we could have gotten to the excitement at the end a bit sooner.

Once you get to the ending though, you are not going to put it down! The odds are against Quintus and his men (and women) yet they manage to save the day with honor and skill. The ending was very satisfying, providing the epicness you crave and a HEA that will leave you smiling.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Embracing Fate (A Series of Fates #2) by C.C. Dado

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/embracing-fate-by-cc-dado-9927-b

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book Two

Sometimes you just have to embrace your fate.

Seth has a secret: he has a crush on the human next door. His brilliant plan to meet Jack, the man of his dreams who happens to be an animal trainer? Take wolf form and ask his best friend, Max, to take him next door for training. Seth is the only one surprised when things go horribly awry.

Still, can this shy wolf and a human meet their fate as mates?

Review

This book felt a lot more authentic to me than book one, which is unusual – usually the sequel in any series is the lesser – but not this time!

I thought it was hysterical – really funny at times – and pretty smexy as well. There is a lot of unresolved sexual tension and then some resolved chemistry as well!

The “misunderstanding” is resolved fairly quickly and all in all I really thought this fixed a lot of the “errors” I saw in book 1.

Recommended!

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
I have to say, I enjoyed this second book in the series more than the first. Whether we’ve settled in more with the characters or just with a slightly more cutesy story line, I found it easier to connect with the MC’s and fall into their tale.
Seth’s social anxiety leads him to think it’s a good idea to have some interaction with his human mate whilst in wolf form so he can become more at ease. But of course, with a best friend like Max, from book 1, hilarity ensues.
The attraction between Seth and Jack is clear from the outset and both men are really sweet and adorable, you can’t help but want it all to work out for them.
I loved getting to hear from Max and Christian, our MC’s of book 1, as well as Zeus, the pack’s beta. Hopefully he’ll be getting his HEA soon.
Something else this book had in its favour was the settings of some of the scenes, especially down at the lake. Both on a busy, sunny day and a quiet starlit night, it sounds like a wonderful place to be.
This series has gotten better for me and I’m looking forward to book 3. This book can be read as a stand-alone but for full enjoyment I’d recommend reading the series in order. It gives more insight into past events and relationships that are talked about.

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get scared: Ascendent by Tal Bauer

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41452339-ascendent?from_search=true

Blurb

Sasha Andreyev grew up on the wrong side of nowhere, dreaming of starlight as he strangled a secret. He fled, enlisting in the Russian Army, and worked his way up the ranks. Years later, after surviving a beating and being left for dead, he found a new life in Moscow, working with President Sergey Puchkov.

And then, he fell in love.

Desperate to avoid his runaway heart, crippled with a shame that infected his soul, and ravaged by demons haunting his memories, Sasha ran.

But he could never escape Sergey, or the gravitational pull of their love.

Nightmares trail behind his every step and weary ghosts live in the hollow chambers of his soul. He’s spent a lifetime brutally eviscerating the parts of himself he despises, and he’s an empty, shattered shell, struggling to be the man worthy of Sergey’s love.

The pieces of his soul he cut out are the very ones he needs in order to become the man he yearns to be. He’ll need to face himself, and his past, on a journey into the frozen heart of Russia, and into the midnight depths of the dead lands.

Only then can he ascend from the darkness, and be the man Sergey needs at his side.

Review

I will admit that Tal Bauer is my favourite author out there writing at this time. His books have the research and attention to detail that, in my opinion, put them above most other offerings. It is standard practice for me to have my Kindle in one hand and Google fired up and ready in the other, so I can look for myself at the places he describes.

With Ascendent, it was no different. Following straight on from where we left them at the end of Enemies Within, this story follows Sasha and Sergey and how they start to build a life together in Russia.

We spend most of our time in this book with Sasha as he battles his ingrown demons and self-loathing at being gay and how this feeling is slowly killing him. But we also get spend time with Sergey as he fights for his country as well as his love. With a horror twist that had me peering at the words from between my fingers, this is once again a superb offering by Tal Bauer.

These were the characters I took the least amount of interest in during the Executive Office series, so I was unsure how I would take to this book, but I needn’t have worried. Tal, once again with his clever, descriptive use of language drew me into the story and back into the Executive world. Possibly even out doing even himself with his beautiful phrasing and painful emotion.

I would not recommend this as a stand-alone book, as it references events in the Executive Office series more than once, but it is a wonderful look into the world of Sasha and Sergey and a fabulous gateway to what I am sure are more nail biting adventures to come.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Hiding the Moon (Fish Out of Water #4) by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hiding-the-moon-by-amy-lane-9921-b

Blurb

A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover

Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose?

The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command.

Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well.

But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?

Review by Mary
As this is a crossover story I would recommend reading (or listening to) the A Fish out of Water series and Racing for Sun before starting this book. Having said that I feel I should confess that my preference is listening to them. I was waiting for A Few Good Fish (book 3) to be released before starting it and did not realise this book overlapped it. Now that I’ve finished it I can see how they tie together. A Few Good Fish is as usual from Jackson Rivers and Ellery Cramer’s view point with Ernie, Lee, Ace, Sonny etc as secondary characters. This book is Ernie and Lee’s story (including Ace and Sonny playing a big part) and their side of the events of chasing down the mercenaries out to get them. Psychic Ernie finds his soulmate, his home and sanctuary when Lee Burton realised the kill order he received on Ernie was wrong. I liked the good v evil premise. And that the book reads like an action film, where realism is sacrificed for great action and adventure. This is a beautiful story of damaged souls finding a place and people where they can heal. Problem is they have to literally fight cruel, hateful and vindictive men to reach it.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Review: Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection) by E.J. Russell

Good Reads Link

Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection, #1)

Blurb

Does a bear shift in the woods?

Well, partially. That was what got grizzly shifter Ted Farnsworth into trouble. He wasn’t trying to break the Secrecy Pact. He just wants people to see the real him. So he signs up with the mate-matching service Supernatural Selection — which guarantees marriage to a perfect partner. Not only will Ted never be lonely again, but once his new beaver shifter husband arrives, they’ll build Ted’s dream wilderness retreat together. Win-win.

Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, scion of an incubus dynasty, has abstained from sex since nearly killing his last lover. When his family declares it’s time for him to marry, Quentin decides the only way not to murder his partner is to pick someone who’s already dead. Supernatural Selection finds him the ideal vampire, and Quentin signs the marriage agreement sight unseen.

But a mix-up at Supernatural Selection contracts Quentin with Ted. What’s Ted supposed to do with an art historian who knows more about salad forks than screwdrivers? And how can Quentin resist Ted’s mouthwatering life force? Yet as they work together to untangle their inconvenient union, they begin to wonder if their unexpected match might be perfect after all.

Review

(Ignore the cover…)
Sooo much fun! The “misunderstanding” mostly works in this story. Our incubus Q-bert – LOL – thinks he’s going to kill any living lover so he agrees to marry a dead one – a vampire.

Our Teddy Bear thinks he needs to settle for the first guy who’ll have him because he keeps getting into trouble.

We get to see some of the MCs from earlier books, have some pretty sweet smexy times, lots and lots of giggles and some pretty sweet feelz, too.

All in all another great one from this author and this series!

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Redeeming the Stepbrother by Andrew Grey, narrated by Jack Wesley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/redeeming-the-stepbrother-by-andrew-grey-9507-b

 

Blurb

A Tale from St. Giles

Family can be a blessing and a curse, but for artist Florian, it’s a nightmare he longs to escape.

As chief designer for Bartholomew Artist Porcelain, Florian specializes in painting birds. He also watches them in the wild to distract himself from his short-tempered mother, at least temporarily. Florian’s heart is too soft to leave his stepsister, Ella, to suffer alone. Still, he can’t help dreaming about one day finding happiness and love.

When Count Dieter von Hollenbach arrives in town to visit a friend and present an award, he isn’t looking for romance. Then again, he doesn’t expect someone as perfect as Florian to come into his life. To make sure Florian is all he seems and that their connection is genuine, Dieter keeps his title to himself.

But he isn’t the only one with a secret.

At a masquerade ball to celebrate the award, some of the masks fall away, but those that remain in place could destroy the love beginning to grow between them.

Review

Story:
This was a sweet and mellow modern take on Cinderella, refreshingly focusing on one of the stepsiblings rather than the Cinderella character.

Florian, the stepbrother in need of redeeming, is not such a blackguard as the title or knowledge of the original fairytale might lead you to suppose. He is quite a pleasant young man, no bully or anything like that, but he keeps to himself and basically looks the other way for years any time his mom goes all evil stepmother on his younger stepsister, Isabella, and therein lies the rub.

Ella is a wonderful young girl, very loving and forgiving, and she really blossoms once Florian decides to help her and starts sticking up for her at home. I love that this particular Cinderella gets a magic night at the ball, but then goes off on an adventure and gets herself an education rather than focusing on getting a boyfriend. She’s only eighteen, after all.

We only have Florian’s point of view throughout the story, which I thought a bit of a pity. Dieter’s perspective from time to time would have been helpful. As it is, he remains very much the enigmatic Count. He appears to be the more interesting of the two men, but we know next to nothing of what he feels or thinks. We also get very little German endearments or quotes, though that could have really livened things up. Verdammt! Das ist wirklich schade.

Florian and Dieter gravitate towards each other very easily, but it all happens so mildly, almost tepidly, that I can’t say that I was very engrossed by their story.
It takes them a long time to realize and speak of their feelings for each other and when they finally do so, Florian seems resigned to an unhappy outcome, thinking that it’ll be over almost instantly, because Dieter is set to return to Germany soon. Florian, with all his insecurities, can be rather passive, and a bit of a damsel in distress at times. It doesn’t even seem to occur to him that he can fight to keep Dieter in his life, one way or another.

Of course, this is a romance and a fairytale, so Florian and Dieter are assured of their HEA. However, there is still a spot of bother to overcome, remember the evil stepmother and the other, even more evil, stepbrother?
This part of the plot ups the stakes for all involved and brings with it an element of danger and emotional distress that pushes the characters to evolve and grow. Nice twist!

This is the second book in the Tales from St. Giles series, but it can be read perfectly as a standalone.

Narration: The narrator had a warm and pleasant voice, but I felt a bit too much like he was just reading the story out loud instead of really bringing the characters to life. He made Florian’s mom sound really shrill, which was a bit unpleasant to listen to, but perfectly in keeping with her personality.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review