Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Tit for tat By JS Harker

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tit-for-tat-by-js-harker-10043-b

Blurb

Cold has never been so hot.
College sophomore Derek is busy working over his holiday break—but his shifts at the toy store are no hardship if they mean more opportunity to dream about the sexy new guy working as an elf in Santa’s Workshop. When his mother gifts him a bag of cookies, Derek regifts them to Flynn as an excuse to get to know him. Flynn has presents to offer as well, and soon they’re dating, with Derek finding out his comfort zone is bigger than he imagined.
But Flynn is hiding a secret—he’s really a winter fairy whose magic is bound to the season. He can’t stay in the mortal realm, and Derek doesn’t want to lose contact with his family. Can they find a way to hold on to each other when the snow and sugar plums melt away?

Review by Morgan

This was sweet if kind of all over the place. I loved the first time/virgin thing, didn’t quite understand why Flynn was on Earth, thought the sugar fiending was hysterical and thought the workaround clever.

It was odd that everyone besides Flynn and Derek were assholes – including the fairy side kick, both families, and Derek’s co-workers. The only nice guy is the roommate.

All in all a fun holiday read.

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Review by Mary

 

I wasn’t sure what to make of this story at the start but as the story  progressed I grew to love it. Derek is not a confident young man. He is slightly overweight and a virgin. Flynn is strange but also alluring. Once Derek gets his courage up to ask Flynn out they realise they are made for each other. So self centred. The whole story is light and has the feeling of a winter fairy tale. Derek’s ex boyfriend, Gregory, is a great villain of the story, a pantomime villain, And there is even a pixie and fairy dust! What more could you want than love and magic at Christmas.

 

 

3.5of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Lover Behind Enemy Lines By Liv Olteano

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lover-behind-enemy-lines-by-liv-olteano-9940-b

Blurb

A Dreamcatchers Tale
True mates, together at last.
Claw—fearless leader of Seattle’s Team 32—has faced many dangers during more than a century and a half as a dreamcatcher. Yet nothing has ever scared him more than his obsession with Nathan Gallagher. Tormented by visions and dreams about the man ever since he first laid eyes on him, Claw now has to deal with living under the same roof with the object of his most ardent desires. And Nathan is so much more than a simple crush.
Brother of the caster who’s been plaguing Team 32’s area and less-than-willing houseguest of the team after a strange break-in attempt, Nathan may hold the key to finally apprehending his sister and putting a stop to the havoc she’s wreaking on Queen Anne…. Meanwhile, Nathan’s wreaking some havoc of his own on Claw’s heart.

Review

These stories in this series are just so…. Almost there for me – LOL. I love the blurb. I love the premise. I love the magic/paranormal stuff – but the romance always leaves me a little empty.

Claw has SUCH potential – he’s old, powerful, pining for a lost love… he meets a guy who shares an incarnation with his previous lover – this should be a slam dunk! But… he waffles and wavers and honestly Nathan is braver than Claw and far less ridiculous.

I didn’t find Nathan’s motivations to be always logical given his family history and I found Claw to be tedious in his reluctance to explore what is obviously there with Nathan.

The Spaga continue to be a mystery – both easy and hard to defeat – and the big boss at the end – way too easy… but still enjoyable as side stories go.

I give this a solid 3.5 stars – more than average but not terrific.

Recommended for fans of the author/series. I’d not read these as standalones – I think you need to read them all in order.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Comfort the Hurts: Edge of Living by H.L. Day

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42102036-edge-of-living?from_search=true

Blurb
Sometimes, death can feel like the only escape.

It’s been a year since Alex stopped living. He exists. He breathes. He pretends to be like everyone else. But, he doesn’t live. Burdened by memories, he dreams of the day when he can finally be free. Until that time comes, he keeps everybody at bay. It’s been easy so far. But he never factored in, meeting a man like Austin.

Hard-working mechanic, Austin, has always gone for men as muscular as himself. So, it’s a mystery why he’s so bewitched by the slim, quiet man with the soulful brown eyes who works in the library. The magnetic attraction is one thing, but the protective instincts are harder to fathom. Austin’s sure though, that if he can only earn Alex’s trust then the two of them could be perfect together.

A tentative relationship begins. But Alex’s secrets run deep. Far deeper than Austin could ever envisage. Time is ticking. Events are coming to a head, and love is never a magic cure. Oblivious to the extent of Alex’s pain, can Austin discover the truth? Or is he destined to be left alone, only able to piece together the fragments of his boyfriend’s history, once its already too late?

Trigger warning: Please be aware that this story deals with suicidal ideation. If this is a subject you find uncomfortable, then this book is not recommended.

Review
Okeeehh.. rubbing my hands over my face… that was a….harsh, devastating, heartbreaking, breath stopping story.

I was on the edge of quitting, but of course not really because I just couldn’t stop.. Alexander deserved it to be heard… and to finished his story…

We get to know Austin and how he is intrigued by Alexander.
Alexander decided to let Austin into his life… but also hold him and the whole world at bay.
Austin was very protective but oblivious to the extent of Alexander pain.
It was an almost unbearable journey to go through. Really really hard.
Alexander’s life is difficult … more than difficult… he exists only.
He deceived everyone around him… e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. to let them think he had sort of a normal life.
He has one goal… o.n.e.

This story was more than overwhelming. At times I had to remind myself to breath… I was just holding it in because it was all so devastating.
Amazingly written in a tentative but also almost unbearable realistic way. Very well done.
The heavyweight topic was palpable throughout the whole story.

This story has some serious triggers so be aware of the content and read the blurb.

Read and reviewed for Open Skye Book Review

stars 5 out of 5


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

Recently Released: Fae on a Roll (Kontra’s Menagerie #25) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42092323-fae-on-a-roll?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

On the Road: When a serious fae warrior stumbles across his soul-mate in a fun-loving, paralyzed human, he discovers the hardest task in his life is learning how to connect.

Prudhoe Rison is a specially trained fae enforcer and had been sent to the human realm to search for a missing prince. After completing that task, he should have returned home, but feeling a pull to stay, he’s remained for several weeks. Wandering the town to discover the source of the sensation has proven fruitless…until he drives past the library. The pull he’s been feeling intensifies, and he follows it into the building. There he meets Korvyn Peruke—his paramour—the other half of his soul. Prudhoe is drawn to Korvyn’s friendly disposition and outgoing personality. Even though the human is wheelchair-bound, it doesn’t stop Korvyn from enjoying life.

At first, Korvyn doesn’t understand why the serious and handsome Prudhoe is taking an interest in him—until he puts two and two together. A visit from a fae enforcer alerts Prudhoe that people in his own realm are talking about him. It also tells Korvyn—who already knows about paranormals—that Prudhoe is something other. Can Prudhoe keep Korvyn safe when trouble from the fae realm comes calling, or will he have to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep Korvyn safe?

Review

While helping rescue a fae prince, enforcer Prudhoe senses his paramour (mate) in the area. After completing his mission he stays in the area searching for him. He eventually finds Korvyn working in the local library. Korvyn can tell that there is something different about Prudhoe and having grown up knowing about shifters and paranormals he is more open to the concept of fated mates.

Sadly, this story didn’t have much of a storyline. There was promise of a good action or confrontation scene when Prudhoe’s brother shows up to make trouble, but it ended up being a pretty lackluster scene. The ending was very abrupt and unsatisfying. I’ve been a big fan of this whole series therefore I am used to the quick ending stories Charlie usually writes but sadly this one falls really short.

2.5 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

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

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

Time to get scared: Rhapsody for Piano and Ghost Audiobook by Z.A. Maxfield Narrated by Douglas Berger

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11444405-rhapsody-for-piano-and-ghost?from_search=true

Blurb

Fitz Gaffney finally has some breathing room. His mother’s out of town, his piano teachers have backed off, and he gets to spend time at a school where he only has to be adequate for an entire year before all his responsibilities comes crashing back in again. With this freedom comes the realization that he’s lonely, but his first attempt at dating goes horribly awry.

Fitz’s new — but possibly imaginary — friends, Julian and Serge, want to help him find happiness. His used-to-be-stepbrother Ari Scheffield wants to help him gain confidence and a little much-needed cool. His housekeeper Marguerite wants to keep fowl in the back yard for butchering because duck confit is expensive and she has pillows to re-stuff. And his possible new boyfriend Garrett wants to prove he didn’t mean for their first date to end with Fitz lying unconscious in a dumpster.

All Fitz wants is someone who cares about him, and suddenly there seems to be a glut. How’s a shy guy to know what’s real when he’s confronted by crazy ghosts, a less than truthful boyfriend, and relatives with hidden motives? It’s a Rhapsody For Piano And Ghost.

Review

I had a hard getting into this book at first so I switched from reading it to listening to it and I became enthralled. I love how the chapter titles give a little foreshadowing but are also quite humorous. Fitz starts off as a gullible, naïve, absent minded piano prodigy. He’s used to being in the background but then something miraculous happens…he’s approached by a guy, and not any guy, an extremely attractive guy. Throughout the story we have to wonder at Garrett’s motives and while its never really said outright what his plans are they become pretty obvious to everyone except Fitz. After a disastrous date, Fitz finds himself being taken care of by Julian and Serge, two dapper men who rescue him from a garbage bin. Eventually Fitz realized that they are ghosts. We also get introduced to Ari, who comes to Fitz’s rescue. Ari, who is Fitz’s older ex-stepbrother, is a handsome, sophisticated ex-boyband member. I really enjoyed Fitz’s journey from blinding lust with Garrett, to discovering what true love is with Ari. The ghost’s Serge and Julian are a great comic relief but their backstory is absolutely heartbreaking. There are a few sexy scenes and the last few chapters have a good bit of action. This is a very well romance with a paranormal aspect.

The narrator, Douglas Berger is a complete unknown to me, but overall he did a good job with this book. He had distinctive accents for the ghost’s, but at times Fitz, Garret and Ari all sound the same and towards the end when Ari is saying sexy dialog he slips into some blend of Julian and Serge. It was confusing because I thought it was the ghosts talking. I had to go back to the book and read the section to clear it up. He has a good voice and kept the flow of the story moving so I will most likely get another book narrated by him in the future.

Book 5 stars
Audio 3.5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

Copy Purchased for Review