Release Day Review: Words by John Inman

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/words-by-john-inman-9662-

Blurb
The world of writers, readers, and reviewers is a close-knit family of friends, fans, and fiction fanatics. That’s the world Milo Cook and Logan Hunter reside in—thriving on the give and take of creativity, the sharing of stories and ideas, and forever glorying in their boundless love of books and the words that make them breathe.

But sometimes words can cut too deep. And when they do, there is inevitably a price to pay.

What begins for Milo and Logan as a time of new love and gentle romantic discoveries, becomes before it’s over a race for their lives and for the lives of everyone they know.

Who would ever suspect than an entity as beautiful as the written word could become a catalyst for revenge? And ultimately—murder

Review
This story is set in the world of writers and reviewers. It’s a story of finding love and companionship and at the same time of someone, as the saying goes ‘losing the plot’ and becoming a killer. They see themselves as righting a wrong by getting rid of the trolls in the reviewing world. Those who denigrate an author’s work with little justification. I thoroughly enjoyed this well crafted story. One of John Inman’s characters said “After all, in a really good book, the killer would be the last person you’d ever expect.” and he absolutely lived up to this. The murderer was the very last person I thought it would be. Every time I suspected someone a turn of events proved me wrong.
Milo and Logan have both been hurt by relationships in the past, Logan through the untimely death of his husband and Milo through a bad breakup. Both examine their hearts to decide if they are ready to start again and take it slow. Such a sweet loving relationship. The murders don’t really touch them until near the end when they realise who it is. The two threads run parallel until the last few characters. The pace of the story is slow and that absolutely suits the mood of the blossoming relationship and building the tension as the number of murders increase. For me this was not a story that kept me up reading eager to know what happened next but I was keen to come back as soon as I was able.

4 of stars out of 5


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Dark Romance: Creature (Bureau #3) by Kim Fielding

 

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39779972-creature?from_search=true

Blurb

Alone in a cell and lacking memories of his past, John has no idea who—or what—he is.

Alone on the streets of 1950s Los Angeles, Harry has far too many memories of his painful past and feels simply resignation in facing his empty future.

When Harry is given a chance to achieve his only dream—to become an agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs—all he has to do is prove his worth. Yet nothing has ever come easy for him. Now he must offer himself and John as bait, enticing a man who wants to conquer death. But first he and John must learn what distinguishes a monster from a man—and what a monster truly wants.

Review: This is a total departure from what I usually read, in a good way. The atmosphere is decidedly 1950’s noir which is fit the theme of the story.
John is a being that has been held in a cell for an unspecified length of time. He thinks he is a man, but knows he is not quite human. He also knows that people – the few that he has met – are scared of him.
Harry is a man down on his luck, unable to be the one thing he wants, a member of the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs. He is made an offer of a trial assignment with the organization – bait a criminal into custody – and he would be considered for a permanent job. Harry finds out that John is the bait and has to overcome his initial revulsion. As he interacts with John, his initial revulsion turns to pity and then to a sort of friendship. Al the while, we see John become more human and eventually, lovable.
It is an interesting story. I liked the setting, especially like the lack of technology (no mobile phones, GPS, internet), I felt I was watching a black and white film. Even though it’s part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. I’ll likely check out the rest of the series.

3.75 stars out of 5


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Recent Release: Mason and the Dog Wrangler by CL Etta

Publisher Pride Publishing
https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/mason-and-the-dog-wrangle

Blurb
Sorrow’s grip is relentless until a rambunctious ball of fur and a handsome dog wrangler break its hold.

Four years after his partner died, leaving him to raise their daughter alone, Mason Ford still grieves his loss. Resigned to devoting his life to their little Nik, Mason goes through his days exhausted by the nightmares that keep him from sleeping. When he and Nik meet Jeremy Coulter, dog wrangler extraordinaire, their cozy world is upended. Mason’s attraction to the exuberant man with the teasing smile is unfamiliar and frightening, while Nik’s easy camaraderie with Jeremy is instantaneous.

When Jeremy saves Nik’s life, Mason wonders if he has fallen for the much younger man or are his feelings nothing more than obligation? Is it possible that love at first sight is real

Review
I’m not really sure how I feel about this story. It all seemed so convenient. There is only 39 pages for the author to convey the depth of Mason’s grief and how meeting Jeremy impacts on his and his daughter’s life. It’s been four years since his partner’s death but it reads as though Mason has depression rather than grief. Jeremy is quite a character. He seems to be able to relate well with children and animals, especially dogs. He is immediately attracted to Mason and pursues him. Everything from this point moves at quite a pace and I think the story would have benefited from being a little longer. I’m not convinced by how quick the relationship between them develops and changes. Nice short story though.

3 of stars out of 5


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Time to Laugh: Overtime Audiobook (ficlet) by Avon Gale narrated by Scott Smith

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31218096-overtime?from_search=true

Blurb

This short story (approximately 4000 words) takes place after the events of Power Play and before Empty Net. It features Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie Isaac Drake — as well as a few other familiar faces — and is available as a bonus for Avon’s newsletter subscribers.

 

 

 

 

 

Review

I can’t do a month about laughing and NOT include Avon Gale.  She cracks me up!  This is a little ficlet she has available for free on her blog – including the audio!

I don’t love Scott Smith but he has become the voices for the characters in this series to me and so by extension I now love him.

This is an adorable look at Misha and Max and the goalie before he meets Saint.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Release Day Review: The Architech and the Castle of Glass By Jade Mere

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-architect-and-the-castle-of-glass-by-jade-mere-9478-b

Blurb

Chasing his dream will send him into a dark and twisted nightmare.
Tahki’s only goal is to become a world-famous architect, even if that means betraying his father’s wishes by abandoning his comfortable life for one of unpredictable danger.
After Tahki blindly accepts what he thinks will be a dream job, his skills as an architect are put to the test as he is given the bizarre—and slightly unethical—task of turning a remote castle into a new-age machine for Prince Dyraien. The castle provides a challenge unlike any he’s had before, and Tahki finds the only way he’ll be able to succeed is to swallow his pride and work alongside Rye, a guarded young man who is quick to see the flaws in both Tahki and his work.
Yet the looming deadline proves to be the least of Tahki’s troubles. When a horrifying creature begins to haunt him, Tahki turns to Rye for help. The more he learns about the history of the castle, the more terrifying the hauntings become. Even with Rye by his side, Tahki realizes achieving his dream might send him down a dark path from which he can’t return.

Review

 One of the things I love about being a reviewer is being able to explore new authors or themes or styles without fear! I was attracted to the mystery in the blurb – what’s the challenge? – what is the creature? – how horrifying is it?

From that I probably should have guessed that the romance would take a back seat and it definitely does.

This is a story about Tahki learning about his past and only as a side note does he fall in love.

I’m not a big fan of fantasy (in this sense) and I wasn’t that compelled by the story – but that is 100% personal taste.

If you like fantasy, don’t want a lot of sex, aren’t too worried about the romance, like a bit of a mystery and totally unique world building – this is for you!

No rating as it just isn’t my flavor 😉

 

 

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Release Day Review: Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/mage-of-inconvenience-by-parker-foye-9390-b

Blurb
Can they find the magic in a practical union?

West is on the run from his werewolf pack, but if he cannot renew his magical defenses, he won’t get far. What he needs is a mage….

Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family, and one day, his legacy will include his mother’s vast library of spell books—and the knowledge he needs to correct his past mistakes. But his inheritance comes with a stipulation: he has to be married before he can collect. What he needs is a husband….

West and Julian can help each other, and at first they don’t want anything further. But as they dodge meddling cousins, jealous rivals, and an insidious drug, it becomes clear that their lives are entwined in ways they never imagined—and they’re in greater danger than they thought possible

Review
I’m a sucker for this kind of trope where they make a bargain then fall in love. This one is a little different. They are a Mage and a Werewolf for one. There is a lot more than just a will, dare I say motherly interference after she has passed away (I don’t mean as a ghost just spells left behind). Julian puts up a front of ampretentious young man to all those who meet him. Only those close know how insecure he can be. West was on the run from his father that’s why he’s hiding. As the story progressed and I got to know both characters I found myself drawn more towards West than Julian. Julian needs not only to marry but to form a bond, which he doesn’t really believe in. West does believe in bonds but needs Julian’s skills. The majority of the story is dealing with interference and the bond growing between them. Julian’s two cousins and West’s family cause trouble for them in different ways. The problem I have is that it seemed like the bond just appeared. There is no sex in the story so either the bond grows out of affection or it’s a subtle fated mate situation. Also considering that West is hiding from his family, apart from his brother there is no mention of them at the end. Overall not one of my favourite stories but good enough.

3 of stars out of 5

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Coming Soon! Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall

Riptide Presents on April 9th 2018

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/magic-runs-deep

Blurb

For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.

Elrid, the invading king’s brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.

However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given—and the man he loves.

Review

This is more of a fantasy with a bit of romance. There is no steam, and the physical nature of their relationship is hinted at only.

The writing was wonderful and the world-building well-done, however, this isn’t my thing. While I could appreciate the skill in the author’s ability, I probably wouldn’t have chosen this if I’d known that the romance was a secondary issue rather than the main pursuit.

I think fans of high fantasy and people looking for LGTBQ MCs without romance as the central theme will really enjoy this. If you’re like me and you crave the romance, you might be disappointed.

No rating.

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Audiobook: Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Jack-of-Thorns-Audiobook/B078TJHCXF?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=2FQBBXGDKNKKY1EPWDJJ

Blurb

Florist. Psychic. Addict.
Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.

Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor.
Quentin d’Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing but Quentin’s wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.

When opposites attract, they collide.
Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it’s one Laurence just can’t pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn’t want any.

If they’re to survive Jack’s wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then the cost of Laurence’s mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?

Review
This is a book I have been meaning to read for a long time so I jumped at the chance to review the audiobook (especially since it was narrated by Joel Leslie). The story centres around gods and powers from folklore and pagan beliefs. Both main characters Lawrence and Quentin have had troubled lives. Lawrence is a recovering drug addict and Quentin has distanced himself from everyone. I found Quentin a puzzle. He seemed to be behaving like a caricature of English nobility. It wasn’t until later in the book that I realised this was his armour against his ability in the same way Lawrence was using drugs. Their relationship is very slow burn. Don’t read this expecting hot scenes, that may come later in the series but this book is all about setting the very important foundation for the series. They have to learn to trust each other and work together in order to defeat Jack.

I once read that Joel Leslie has said something about narrating an audiobook was like creating a film with just once person creating all the voices. Well he certainly fired up my imagination and created a movie just for me. Amelia’s superb imagery was brought into Technicolor by Joel’s performance. I suppose that’s the difference between hearing the emotions, Lawrence’s desperation, Quentin’s aloofness and the bile spouted by Jack were so vivid.

I’m so intrigued by what happens next book two is calling to me in Joel’s voice!

4 of stars out of 5 for the story
5 of stars out of 5 for the narration
Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Holidays: Homemade from the Heart (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

Craft store owner Grant has always been a sucker for a pretty face, and that goes double for a pretty face with an adorable sidekick. When seven-year-old Aubrey has her heart set on taking Grant’s already-full holiday craft series, he caves and gives up his one day off a week so she (and her hot guardian, Josh) can take private lessons. Their flirting ramps up week after week, and even though Josh isn’t with Aubrey’s mother, Grant can’t be sure the man isn’t straight. Maybe he’s just being friendly. And Josh, who most definitely is not straight, is afraid of being the creepy guy hitting on the teacher.

Frustrated by their stubbornness and cluelessness, Aubrey takes matters into her own hands. She decides the best gift to give Josh is something homemade and from the heart—a boyfriend they’ll both love.

Review

Fun, funny, sweet, low heat, sweet and “crafty” kid – what’s not to love?!

Ok, I would have liked a little heat but… it was really sweet and I LOVED the crafts – gonna have to do some of those myself! (I maybe thought the kid might not be able to do all those crafts so easily but HEY it’s fiction right?)

I really wanted to see these guys after the big confession of feelings but it’s a short story so … maybe we can see them again in some future story – with the roommate?

In any case, this was really fun and highly recommended!

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Sometimes the Best Presents Can’t Be Wrapped by B.G. Thomas

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/sometimes-the-best-presents-cant-be-wrapped-by-bg-thomas-9198-

Blurb
Ned Balding used to be a decent man—until the stress of seemingly countless responsibilities changes him, and he becomes cold and driven—the kind of man who considers firing an employee days before Christmas. The kind of man who kicks a dog…. But Ned’s transgressions haven’t gone unseen. A Salvation Army Santa witnesses his misdeeds and decides Ned needs to be taught a lesson.

When Ned wakes up the next morning, he’s stunned to discover he’s been transformed into a dog.

In the past year, Jake Carrara has lost his mother, a lover… even his dog. His boss came close to firing him just before the holidays. He isn’t sure he’s ready for another pet when he’s asked to foster a dog, but Jake’s good heart won’t let him refuse. Little does he know, this isn’t just any dog.

Through a twist of fate, two people with little reason to be friends might teach each other to rediscover the good—and the love—in life

Review
It was the Blurb that attracted me to this story, I really liked the sound of a twist on the redemption of a Scrooge type character. Ned is a very angry man and he takes his anger out on everyone he meets by snarling at them. But when Ned was turned into a dog the depth of his despair and Jake’s sadness made me quite tearful. Jake is so good with dog Ned. He cares for him a great deal. It gives Ned a chance to reflect on his life and panic that he might remain a dog. Whilst Jake can be open with dog Ned about his feelings and worries. This is very well written. I can’t think of a better way for a character to hear so candidly what other people thought about him and be in a situation that gives him no choice but to reflect. Ned had changed for the worse over the last few years. Consequently his husband was now filing for divorce. I did wonder though with the growing feeling Ned has for Jake that surely he should have been thinking of ways to make up with his husband. But this was eventually addressed satisfactorily for me. I suppose it’s a kind of paranormal friends to lovers story. Jake is Neds friend when he is a dog. He looks out for him and cares for him. Ned does the same for Jake. It’s when Ned changes back that their friendship develops into a romance. Dog Ned’s attempts at communicating are sweet and his predicament is amusing at times. The time Ned changes back to a man is handled excellently.
I think this is going to be a book you’ll either love or hate. For me I loved it. It has that Christmas miracle angle that makes me smile. The Christmas message I’m taking from this story is do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

4 of stars out of 5

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