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


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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.


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Audiobook: Hidden in Darkness by Alice Winters; narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Hidden-in-Darkness-Audiobook/B07HJBJND9?qid=1541961109&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=C88ZHS34SJ9AVYKBKM4Z&

Blurb: When Felix lands a job taking care of a man recovering from severe injuries, he thinks his life may have just turned around. Anything has to be better than the place he’s leaving. There’s something about Lane that draws Felix to him and makes him question if this place could finally become a home for him. But when someone begins stalking Felix, he is left to question who Lane is and what actually happened to him. Together, Felix and Lane will be forced to see just how far they will go to protect each other. Being chased by cops, kidnapping a man, and breaking into a drug operation seems to be his normal since arriving in Lane’s life. Felix may be out of his element, but one thing he is sure about is that he doesn’t want to leave, even if it costs him his life.

Review by Dee:

Book previously reviewed here https://openskyebookreviews.com/time-to-laugh-hidden-in-darkness-by-alice-winters/

When I read the book the first (of many times), I was startled by the lack of ‘kid glove’ treatment Felix gave Lane. Don’t get me wrong, it was funny as hell, but wow!, it’s rare to read a story where the disabled MC is treated as they deserved; in this case, a bit meanly (Lane was a bit of a dick at first).
The sarcastic humour and banter is genuinely funny and the crime/suspense kept me engaged.
The audio, as performed by Joel Leslie, does not disappoint*. He continues to wow his listeners with his talent. In this case, he brought Felix to life, capturing his snark perfectly. Joel also captured Felix’s vulnerability and, at times (few), his sensitivity; especially when dealing with Lane. It goes without saying that the overall performance was great, but wow, did he nail the essence of Felix.
This will be an audiobook that I’ll re-listen to often. Loved it!

*(except that there were very slight pauses between sentences due to the ‘I said”s – an editing issue)

5.5 stars out of 5


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Review by Morgan

I agree with Dee that Joel Leslie did a wonderful job as always with his narration.  He manages to convey humor and romance as well as give us a variety of well developed characters.

His narration is definitely a 5 of 5 stars for me.

I’m not a fan of the story however.  I don’t like mysteries and I found Felix tedious rather than charming but I know others like Dee really found him hysterical.  He just grated on my nerves and detracted from my overall enjoyment.  (It could be a mood thing… but it just didn’t work for me.)

The humor here is just not my style of humor so I have to give the story a 2 of 5 stars.  Overall a 3 of 5 stars.

 


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Release Day Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://riptidepublishing.com/products/vampire-with-benefits

Blurb

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

Review

This is a fun series! Lots of humor, a fair amount of magic and set in the same world as the Fae series.

 

We met the intendeds for these MCs in book 1 – and you could tell from the predicament that their story would be hilarious and it is!

 

It’s also surprisingly sexy and there are a fair amount of feelz as well.

 

I loved the way each MC has their own dilemma to overcome and that together they can do most anything!

 

I wouldn’t read this on it’s own, but you probably could.

 

4 of 5 stars

 


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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


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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


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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


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Recent review: Course Correction (Rogue Rescue #1) by Mia West

Good reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42377594-course-correction?from_search=true

Blurb

Playing it safe has gotten him everything – except the one guy he’s always wanted.

As leader of a covert unit of rescue swimmers, following the mission plan is a matter of professional survival for seal shifter Nate Landry.

But recent closure on a colleague’s death has Nate recalculating his own trajectory.

It could use a little nudge and a whole lotta juice, and he only has to glance across the cockpit for just the right source of turbulence.

Following orders has kept him sane – until the guy giving them goes full throttle.

Chopper pilot Gil Espinoza has successfully kept his thing for Landry on cruise control for eight long years.

That the guy once chose a fellow shifter over Gil stung like hell but kept him on course.

Problem is: the good lieutenant just laid down new coordinates, a radical turn into uncharted waters.

And if there’s one thing Gil can’t do, it’s ignore an order from Nate Landry.

Review

I LOVE the series from which this is a spin off. https://www.goodreads.com/series/156186-grizzly-rim

I mostly adored this book as well and cannot wait for more! However, there were times when I was a bit lost as to why these two waited 8 years and until the end of the book to hook up… I was never convinced of a good reason and their actions didn’t match their thoughts and that kinda made me frustrated.

There is lots of dirty talk. Lots of feelz some cool shifting and lots of UST.

This can be a standalone but I don’t recommend it.

There is a fair bit of “action” but most of this is about the relationship which I love!

4.5 of 5 stars


Purchased for Review

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


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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


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