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

 

 

 

Release Day review: Bigger Love (Big Love #2) by Rick R. Reed

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bigger-love-by-rick-r-reed-9967-b

Blurb

Truman Reid is Summitville High’s most out-and-proud senior. He can’t wait to take his fierce, uncompromising self away from his small Ohio River hometown, where he’s suffered more than his share of bullying. He’s looking forward to bright lights and a big city. Maybe he’ll be the first gender-fluid star to ever win an Academy Award. But all that changes on the first day of school when he locks eyes with the most gorgeous hunk he’s ever seen. Mike Stewart, big, dark-haired, and with the most amazing blue eyes, is new to town. He’s quiet, manly, and has the sexy air of a lost soul. It’s almost love at first sight for Truman. He thinks that love could deepen when Mike becomes part of the stage crew for Harvey, the senior class play Truman’s directing. But is Mike even gay? And how will it work when Truman’s mother is falling for Mike’s dad? Plus Truman, never the norm, makes a daring and controversial choice for the production that has the whole town up in arms. See how it all plays out on a stage of love, laughter, tears, and sticking up for one’s essential self.

Review

So I really liked Big Love and fell in love with Truman in that story. I was psyched to see his story fleshed out! But….

First, most of the story – like 67% or more is really about Truman and other people including a pregnancy scare that takes up way too many pages for not a lot of return (that we see in this book).

Second, though I love Truman, I wanted to see his romance not read about him and though I loved seeing him triumph I wanted more with Mike… except Mike was 100% an asshole and I didn’t like him – ever.

Third, so since I didn’t get to really meet him and what I saw was crappy – I didn’t get invested in these guys as a couple AT ALL and I really felt like I didn’t want them together so when the ILYs jump out I didn’t buy them.

Fourth, there is a VERY creepy scene involving Mike and a citizen that is super gross – and when we find out who he is I was like???? How is that guy thinking he’s being a secretive closeted gay boy when he goes around in a vintage mustang that everyone identifies as his??? It didn’t make any sense and was very uncomfortable.

So… while I applaud Truman and still love him – this story was not up to his personal wonderfulness and I can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Coming Back (Belladonna Arms Book 3) by John Inman Narrated by:

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6751

Blurb

A Belladonna Arms Novel

Barney Teegarden knows what it’s like to be alone. He knows what it’s like to have a romantic heart, yet no love in his life to unleash the romance on. With the help of a friend, he acquires a lease in a seedy apartment building perched high on a hill in downtown San Diego. The Belladonna Arms is not only filled with the quirkiest cast of characters imaginable, it is also famous for sprinkling love dust on even the loneliest of the lovelorn.

At the Arms, Barney finds friendship, acceptance, and an adopted family that lightens his lonely life. Hell, he even finds a cat. But still true love eludes him.

When his drag queen landlord, Arthur, takes it into his head to rescue a homeless former tenant, he enlists Barney’s help. It is Barney who shows this lost soul how to trust again—and in return Barney discovers love for the first time in his life.

It’s funny how even the hardest battles can be fought and won with laughter, hugs, friends, plus a little faith in the goodness of others. All it takes to begin the healing is the simple act of coming back.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

God I love this series!

We met Ramon in earlier books. He was the lover of the misbegotten ChiChi and since ChiChi’s death, he’s been living on the streets. When Barney, Pete’s friend, moves into the Arms, Arthur knows just who to recruit to bring Ramon back to the family, back to Belladonna Arms.

Barney falls in love easily, but know one loves him back the way he needs. Ramon thinks he can never love again, not after what happened with ChiChi. Will the Love Pollen work it’s magic or will Ramon and Barney be the first to fail?

**

This series is so damn cute! It’s fun, sweet, a little bit sexy and wonderful!

It’s great seeing the entire gang and though this might be okay as a standalone, I don’t recommend it, because you really benefit by reading the others in order.

John Inman is a master of making wonderful characters who are absolutely imperfect but so easy to love. He doesn’t shy away from giving them “difficulties” or making them less than perfect physically or even mentally.

Barney is so shy and sweet and it was wonderful to watch him come in to his own while being “strong” for Ramon.

Ramon started out so broken, but with the daily doses of love coming from Arthur, Barney and the rest of the crew, he finally began to heal.

I love Sylvia and Pete so much! I was so happy for them!

I can’t say enough about this series and I highly recommend it!

6 of 5 stars

Previous Reviews :

Book 1 http://kimichanexperience.com/serenading-stanley-audiobook-john-inman-narrated-tyler-stevens/

Book 2 http://kimichanexperience.com/work-in-progress-audiobook-belladonna-arms-2-by-john-inman-narrated-by-caleb-dickinson/

Audio

How delightful! We’ve got a new (to me) narrator here who seems wonderful! I really enjoyed his take on the Beladonna Arms. He handled all the drama, sexiness and humor equally well. He manages to give everyone unique voices and not go OTT.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Not Just Friends by Jay Northcote

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42181544-not-just-friends

Blurb
Is it worth risking a friendship for a chance at love?

Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. One that’s full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis isn’t prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max, because Lewis had always assumed he was straight.

Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis’s jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction. When Max’s relationship goes awry, Lewis is the one to comfort him and one thing leads to another. After a night together, Lewis is devastated that Max wants to go back to being just friends.

Lewis tries his best to move on and their friendship survives, but the feelings he has for Max don’t go away. He faces other challenges as he deals with coming out to his parents, and needs Max’s support more than ever. But Lewis isn’t the only one who’s conflicted. When Max finally admits he cares for Lewis too, Lewis must decide whether he dares risk his heart again on being more than just friends.

Please note that although this edition has been re-edited for publication, there is no new or additional content.

Review
This book is has been re-edited from its original release but included no new content.
I am a big fan of Jay’s books. Being from the South West UK, it’s really great getting to read about places close to me and speech that I can easily hear in my head in the correct accent!
We follow Lewis as he starts at university, sharing student accommodation with four others guys but feeling an instant attraction towards Max. It’s not a new experience for him but the first time he’s contemplating it and making decisions about himself.
It’s a fun read with the five men meeting for the first time and getting to know each other, several nights out especially in Fresher’s week which is well known for the drunken shenanigans of new students!
Lewis’ inner turmoil regarding his sexuality and attraction to Max is our main focus and you’re easily pulled along for the ride with him. He doesn’t really have anyone to turn to which makes it harder for him to sort through his thoughts. We do get to meet some good characters. The other guys in the accommodation all have individual personalities that shine through, and then there are couple of people that are met on courses and societies that we get to read more of . They offer friendship and support at important times.
One thing I loved was when Lewis and Max go running and get to go along Avon Gorge and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was wonderfully written and described. Jay is a great writer at drawing you into the story and keeping you engaged throughout. The characters come across as very “real” to me and are people that I enjoy reading about. These students are mostly just starting out with independent living and first, big relationships. They’re fun to read and leave me wanting more.

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Clutch (Forbidden Desires #1) by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42208487-clutch

Blurb

Bookish, snarky, and fiercely independent Nate Boudreaux leads a solitary life. Between teaching classes at the university and working toward his PhD, he doesn’t need a partner to occupy his time, and he certainly doesn’t need a man like Alistair Drake complicating his future.

Alistair Drake, black sheep of the tremendously wealthy Drake family, is more interested in adding another notch to his bedpost than another zero to his bank account. When a Grindr message brings him to Nate’s doorstep, then straight to his bed, he has no reason to believe that what they share will be more than a simple hookup, until, three months later, a tug on his soul informs him otherwise.

For the Drake family has a secret—one that will force Nate and Alistair together as much as it will demand that they be torn apart. One that Alistair and his brothers have carried all their lives… and one that Alistair and Nate’s future children will carry, too.

Bound to each other by the three precious impossibilities, Nate and Alistair have no choice—no matter the consequence, they will fight for their forbidden clutch.

Review

This book gives a different quirky twist to the usual mpreg alpha/omega story.
Both Nate and Alistair are likable characters who fit together well. The relationship between them moves along at a fast pace, with both snark and vulnerability balancing out the romance.
The comedy elements had me laughing out loud more than once through the story and the way Alistair takes off hand comments literally adds to the charm of the book.
The cast of secondary characters were a great addition, with an obvious set up for a following story that I look forward to reading.

4 stars out of 5

 

Purchased by the reviewer

 

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

Release Day: Trex or Treat by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/trex-or-treat-by-tara-lain-9979-b

Blurb

Josh Harris is all dad all the time. A busy college professor and devoted single father, Josh tries to be happy with only his son for company. But then Bradley “Trex” Trexler moves in across the street with his stepbrother, Bogo, and takes advantage of their empty home, making it into a haunted house for Halloween.

 

 

Review
This is a short, cute Halloween story and it’s really entertaining.
Tara Lain is great giving us interesting characters that you can get involved with really quickly, which is obviously a bonus in a short story.
Josh reads as a great parent in need of some companionship and Ernie is the most adorable and energised boy. The attraction between Josh and Trex shines through and it’s an enjoyable read. I love how involved both men are with their boys but also take the time to be with each other. I found this to be an enjoyable little story that was quick to consume but also touched the heart.
I definitely recommend this quick, Halloween romance. Always a winner with a Tara Lain story!

Number of stars out of 5
4


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