Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Cop/Crime Enemies to Lovers Gay Ghost Heat Index m/m Mild level angst Mild/low level heat NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Samhain Publishing

Secrets and High Spirits (Secrets book 4) By Lou Harper

secrets high spiritsBlurb

Their love is an explosive cocktail—stirred, shaken, and served with a twist.

Secrets, Book 4

Teag and Bruce dream of opening their own bars, but that’s where the similarities end.

Teag, a popular bartender at West Hollywood’s hottest club, is willful, opinionated, and likes to take charge. He envisions his future bar as a boozy oasis for craft cocktails. Unfortunately, while he’s big on ideas, he’s short on funds.

Bruce, on the other hand, is a tower of pirate-tattooed muscle with a laid-back attitude. While he’s good with people, he’s a walking paradox—a wannabe boss with a weakness for bossy men.

Their partnership is a natural fit, but every time they meet, sparks fly as they rub each other the wrong way. Or is it the right way? In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to tell.

Between renovation pitfalls, meddling friends, and miles of police tape, Teag and Bruce struggle to keep their venture—and their budding relationship—from going up in flames. And not the good kind. More like the one on the top of a B52 shot.

Warning: Contains a whipcord-lean and whip-smart bartender who knows what he wants—and how hard he wants it—and a go-with-the-flow bar manager who secretly likes to be told how hard to give it.

 

Review

Teag used to be roomies with Dylan (from book 3), now he’s on his own. He’s a bartender who you could call a “purist”, he knows the “real” way to make every drink and is really into the mixing of being a bartender.

Bruce is a beefy bartender who likes to go to renaissance festivals and dress up like a pirate and though he’s big he likes to be told what to do.

At first there is a misunderstanding between the two and they fight, then they show up later at the same empty building thinking the same thoughts about opening their own bar.

The first half is both guys deciding what they want from life, the next half is them dealing with the bar and renovations and the mystery.

What I liked:

Harper is a great writer. She makes really great characters. Uses an economy of words to make her point. Creates interesting and fun mysteries. Describes LA perfectly.

I loved that Teag was the top to Bruce’s bottom. I loved that Bruce only had sleeves because he didn’t want to wax. I loved that Teag was fussy about every little thing. I loved the “ghost”.

What I didn’t love: the romance was a small blip in this book. Easily 90% of the book was simply about the bar and the mystery and the romance felt like it almost fell out of the running. I couldn’t really buy their success as a couple because I never saw the romance between them develop. I hope it will work, they complement one another well, but I needed more page time with them “working it out”.

So… if you love a romantic mystery with a teeny tiny paranormal aspect to it – this is for you! If you want a romance with a mystery attached, you might want to keep looking.

(I do love these covers! We do see a lot of Dylan and Simon in this one – fun!)

3 of 5 stars

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Copy provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Samhain Publishing Presents

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5613/secrets-and-high-spirits

 

 

 

Categories
Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Cop/Crime Cowboys Fantasy Gay Ghost Halloween Heat Index m/m Magic Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Riptide Publishing Shifter vampire

My Haunted Blender’s Gay Love Affair and Other Twisted Tales by Abigail Roux, Andrea Speed, and Anne Tenino

MyHauntedBlender_500x750_0Die Laughing.

A collection of not-so-chilling tales of love and laughter from three of the genre’s masters of pulp.

Blurb for The Bone Orchard:

In The Bone Orchard, by Abigail Roux, Pinkerton investigator Ezra Johns and US Marshal Ambrose Shaw have a lot to learn about life—and the afterlife—in their quest to bring a vicious murderer to justice. Fortunately, they’ve got all the time in the world to figure it out.

Review:

Ambrose Shaw is after a serial killer in the old west when he gets shot and ends up haunting the spot where he died, trying to bring the killer to justice.

Ezra Johns follows Shaw to bring the killer to the gallows but then falls victim to the killer’s ghost.

In the time between the trial and his death, Ezra falls in love with Ambrose and then joins him in the afterlife, eternally fighting the ghost of the killer.

With a nice cross-over twist, we see some familiar faces as the relatives of Ezra facing danger and it’s up to Ezra and Ambrose to save them.

**
I loved this story. It was sweet and sentimental, funny and exciting, somewhat historical, a lot fantastical, and just a joy to read.

If you’re a fan of Abigail Roux you won’t want to miss this, nor will you if you love westerns and ghosts.

I give it a 4.5 of 5 dinging it a little only because I wanted a different ending for our boys. Was it still happy? Probably…depends on your way of thinking. ☺

Blurb for Horny

In Horny, by Anne Tenino, a group of supernatural law enforcers enlist the help of a human, Ryan Caulfield, to catch Zeus: the god voted Least Likely to Keep It in His Pants. But there’s more to Ryan than even he knows, and the satyr searching for Zeus is tempting him with far more than simple justice.

Review:

Ryan owns a bar in the middle of nowhere. One night a bunch of demigods shows up looking for Zeus. They set up a trap to catch him and stop him from selling erectile dysfunction potions. In the meantime a mysterious Oracular guides Ryan and Leander to become more than just a one-night stand and in fact shows Ryan that he may be more than just a barkeep.

**
Let me start by saying that in general I love Anne Tenino, have read most of her books and loved them. I started this story super psyched as a result. When I finished, I was left scratching my head.

The imagination is there. The characters are there. The plot is there. The execution… isn’t. I got confused by a lot and this is a short story.

I understood why Ryan was guarded and didn’t want to get involved with Leander, he was looking for permanence not a one-night-stand– but then when more of his history is revealed, it didn’t make sense, and his whole “too sensitive” thing never made sense.

Leander, who should have wanted that fast commitment and instant love, didn’t, and that didn’t make sense, given what we learn about his god house.

The other demigods’ characters were also a little confusing and I wasn’t sure there role in the story. They just muddied the water for me.

I think that this story would have come across better if the author had either edited it down more tightly, focusing on the main characters more, or elongated it to a full-length novel or long novella.

I give a 3.5 of 5 stars because it was funny and sweet and I really liked the idea, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations of what this author can do.

Blurb for: In City of Monsters, by Andrea Speed

An ex-investigator turned some-kind-of-shifter (he doesn’t know, but with his luck, it’s probably nothing cool) is hired to find a missing reverse tooth fairy in the hellish dimension of Dev. But even simple things aren’t easy for a guy with more vices than virtues, and his situation gets even more complex when a hot newcomer to Dev with a taste for danger joins him on the case.

Review:

Hunter is an unknown were who meets up with a newbie unknown were (humans who are infected with magic by an animal, sent to another dimension, Dev, and live out there lives as the wereanimal they were infected by.) Neither Sakari nor Hunter know what they are, but they find out and it’s hysterical.

Hunter’s job is to find things, right now he’s finding a reverse tooth-fairy’s twin brother to pay off gambling debts to a werehippo mob boss.

**

This is a hysterical short story, mostly about the city itself and a teeny tiny bit about Hunter and Sakari. There is like, one sentence of romance, and the rest is just hilarious world-building and nonsense.

Though I enjoyed the unique and funny nature of this story, I wasn’t exactly sure why it was included in this anthology, unless it’s meant to be a pre-cursor to a new series or something.

I liked it for what it was and give it a 3 of 5 stars.

**
Overall, the anthology was pretty dang funny, there were some ridiculously sweet parts (Bone Orchard), interesting worlds (City and Horny) and very creative uses of appliances (City).

I give it a 3.5 of 5 stars and I would definitely recommend it.

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Copy provided by Riptide Publishing

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/collections/my-haunted-blender