Release Day Review: Quenched in Blood By Ari McKay

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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

release day review

Good Reads Link

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

Blurb

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

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

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

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

Review

This was not what I was expecting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day review: 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 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

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

Introduction to November’s Theme: Time to Comfort the Hurts!

In November we honor those heart-warming stories that often bring tears to our eyes followed by smiles to our hearts. The stories that wring that extra emotional twist out of us, stories of overcoming adversity, disability, past pains and current struggles. Look for some of these titles and more:

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