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

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

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: Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/calculated-magic-by-sjd-peterson-9910-b

Blurb
Never too late for love.
Three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old warlock Tikron must find his true love or forfeit his immortality. But if he hasn’t found his ideal mate in all these centuries, the prospects don’t look too bright.
That is, until he sees mathematician Richard Beaumont. It’s love at first sight and Tikron’s future just go a whole lot brighter.
Except Richard doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He doesn’t believe in love at all. He certainly doesn’t believe in magic. His life is ruled by statistics and logic, and they tell him a relationship with Tikron has only a 10 percent chance of success. That’s unacceptable—even if the attraction between them is off the charts.
With his powers waning and the clock ticking down, Tikron’s last hope is showing Richard the true meaning of magic.
Review by Aerielle
Tikron is a warlock just shy of his 350th birthday. This is a deadline for his immortality due to a curse placed upon him by his coven’s head warlock. The only way to break it is to find love. Tikron comes off as a sort of playboy in the beginning of the story but then he sees Richard and all that screeches to a halt. Richard is a man all about routine. He believes that love is a frivolous, baseless, pointless emotion. He avoids all human companionship. The only companion he allows in his life is his little dog Albert. Richard doesn’t understand why Tikron has targeted him and this starts to destroy his carefully constructed world. The first two thirds of the book is all about Tikron trying to woo and convince Richard that magic is real. Only after a tragic accident does Richard finally see that Tikron is for real. After that he seems to accept magic pretty easily. He comes to realize that love is the most powerful magic in the world.

I enjoyed this story for the most part. It is definitely a slow burn love story. I found myself actually liking the secondary character Ry more that Tikron but that may be because he was written more as the comic relief. Richard is definitely frustrating at times but he is a mathmetician. Once his walls finally start to come down he is a very amusing character. Tikron comes off a little shallow in the beginning but eventually once he shares his backstory he become a more relatable character. All in all this is a story about one man finally believing in the magic of love.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review by Mary 

I liked this fun story. The magic of love has the power to change a logic driven mathematician into a freethinker. Tikron assisted by his best friend Ry are looking for a way to break the curse on Tikron. Tikron must find true love before his 350th Birthday or he will die. Tikron and Ry are such fun loving characters. Their joking around is a great balance to the very serious logic and purpose driven Richard. Richard is driven by routine. Everything in his life is at a set time with a specific purpose but there are glimpses of another side of Richard as he starts to question the way he is living. Tikron starts wooing Richard with small feats of magic but it’s not until tragedy strikes that Richard allows himself to believe in magic and that opens his eyes to a wonderful new world.
Lovely light fun read that I hope the author continues with either this couple or with Ry’s story.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Retro Review: Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) by Shira Anthony

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/blood-and-ghosts-by-shira-anthony-3739-b

Blurb

Sequel to Blood and Rain

With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

Review

I’ll be honest. I’d be super mad if I didn’t already have book 3 in my hands. This was a really long, frustrating book 2 in a 3 book series.

Book one caught me up. I thought the world building was good, the characters unique and interesting and the romance epic.

In book 2 I wanted to throw my kindle across the room!

This felt like soap opera’ey type “now he’s here” “Now he isn’t” “now he doesn’t remember” “Now the demon is controlling him” “Now he remembers again”…
It made me crazy.

Now, I’ll admit I have a VERY LOW tolerance for this type of stuff so I was worried about it to begin with – but I’m a Shira Anthony fan and I trust her. I read the reviews and they all led me to believe this would be worth it in the end… I’m hoping so.

If it wasn’t for that third book I’d have stopped half way through this and declared it a DNF due to too much drama and back and forth BS. But… I persevered and while I was happy for the interim HFN we got…. I had to quickly put this down so I can start up book 3 and get this bad taste from my mouth.

This was definitely not for me.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get Paranormal: A Time To Rise by Tal Bauer

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40526865-a-time-to-rise

Blurb

History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.

Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand against the darkness. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and the evils that exist beyond the Veil.

But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenburg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago, and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.

Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Cristoph struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cristoph collides with Alain as both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican… and of the world.

Review

A Time To Rise is Bauer’s first steps into the paranormal world, but don’t expect romantic “vegetarian” vampires with a bit of sparkle, because that isn’t how he writes. The vampires in this story are ugly, evil and they smell. Really, really bad.

As with everything he writes, Bauer’s level of research and attention to the small detail is second to none and sets him far above, in my opinion, most other authors out there.

As always, this book is character led, but with the romance taking a backseat to the drama and mystery of the story.
Both Alain and Cristoph are interesting personalities, who help drive the story along at its fast pace. They are helped by a whole host of great secondary characters not least of which is Father Lotario, a cigarette smoking, vodka drinking priest who I would love to sit and chat with in a bar one evening.

The twists and turns of this book will leave you gasping for breath and worried what you will find at the next turn of the page. Its a lot darker than most paranormal romances out there, but worth every bitten nail.

5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Time to Get Paranormal: The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles

 

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34715150-the-magpie-lord?from_search=true

Blurb:
Lucien Vaudrey returns to England after two decades of exile in China following the mysterious deaths of his brother and father. With the infamous title of Lord Crane and an Earldom Lucian also inherited his family’s enemies. Seeking help of the magical variety after a string of self-harm episodes he did not expect it to come from on such enemy.
Magician Stephen Day had his share of reasons to hate the Cranes but cannot ignore the supernatural threat handing over Lucian’s head.

Despite the multitude of reasons to hate Crane, Stephan finds himself quickly falling for the unusual lord, with his colorful tattoos and disregard of social rules. But, danger to his heart is not the only thing Stephan needs to fear, there is Evil in Carnes house and a plot so thick you can drown in it slowly reveals itself the deeper they dig into the sordid history of Lucians ancestors. If Stephan can’t find a way to stop it, they would never leave the house again- alive or dead.

Review:

The richness of language and twisting plot is done beautifully, this book is just the kind of historical I like to read and when it’s a KJ Charles book you know it’s guaranteed to be amazing! KJ weaves intricate mysteries and unique characters into works of fiction that are just mind blowing. Her Sins of the Cities is one such perfection and this book is a promising start to another series. The setting is just the right amount of raw and gut punching with the flair and sophistication of the upper class and the magical supernatural elements were fascinating and seemed completely natural in this world- something I find many paranormal books lack.

Lucien is probably the wittiest, most charming, rakish, wonderfully horrible man I have had the pleasure of reading about. I absolutely adored him, he is seductive and controlling yet vulnerable at the same time. Stephen is as much a contradiction as Lucien is, and TO Lucian as well. He is such a fiery, compassionate little man and I loved his level of control and knowledge in his respective field. He is so competent and never backs down even when all hope is lost.

The way the plot unfolded and slowly revealed more of the sordid history of the Crane household and family was suspenseful and I found myself wishing for more time to keep reading when I inevitably had to put it , and once I was done reading I was anxious to get the next one and keep reading. I am so excited for the next books and how the story will continue for this couple.

Number of stars out of 5
5 stars.

Purchased for Review

 

 

 

Time to get paranormal: Equilibrium (Superpowered Love #1) by Katey Hawthorne

 

Less than three press

https://lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=123&products_id=1640

Blurb

Hansen has been hot for Sam since they first bonded over their secret superpowers—literally hot, since Hansen can produce fire from thin air. But Sam is always covered in girls, so Hansen keeps his feelings deeply buried and settles for being Sam’s best friend.

Then Sam’s electrical powers go haywire in public, and in the fallout a mutual attraction is forced to the surface—but bisexuality is new to Sam, and Hansen is afraid to admit he’s in love. And in the midst of trying to figure out themselves and each other, they have to face—and survive—the unfriendly witness to Sam’s explosion.

 

Review

This was really good! There is some amazing world building with really cool powers- the meet cute is absolutely wonderful! Our two MCs are at school when clueless Sam meets in the know Hansen but it’s Sam who is the jock and the popular kid – so Hansen having the upper hand is a lovely switch. This follows them throughout their lives and into exploring things sexually when it’s decided that they are more than friends.

There’s some frustrating “misunderstandings” that should go away with just some talking – but since these are two college-age-ish guys – it makes a bit of sense that they aren’t great at communication. (It’s still frustrating tho…)

I wasn’t super comfortable with Sam and the girlfriend and her family and all that transpired there. It kind of made things less authentic and more soap opera-y and I could have done without that.

Thus 4 of 5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed it but it did have some areas that made it a bit less than perfect.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Any Given Lifetime by Leta Blake

 

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41733251-any-given-lifetime?from_search=true

 

Blurb

Neil isn’t a ghost, but he feels like one. Reincarnated with all his memories from his prior life, he spent twenty years trapped in a child’s body, wanting nothing more than to grow up and reclaim the love of his life.
As an adult, Neil finds there’s more than lost time separating them. Joshua has built a beautiful life since Neil’s death, and how exactly is Neil supposed to introduce himself? As Joshua’s long-dead lover in a new body? Heartbroken and hopeless, Neil takes refuge in his work, developing microscopic robots called nanites that can produce medical miracles.
When Joshua meets a young scientist working on a medical project, his soul senses something his rational mind can’t believe. Has Neil truly come back to him after twenty years? And if the impossible is real, can they be together at long last?

 

Review by Karen

One of the most original love stories I’ve ever read! A great twist on the popular May/December trope and an incredibly unique second chance at love story. It nearly broke my heart, but luckily the author stitched it back together!

 

Leta Blake has an incredible gift with words and shows true excellence in weaving together Neil and Joshua’s almost epic tale. The emotions in this story soar to great heights, but there is also a lot of sadness and loss to overcome. And it’s all written in such a beautiful and moving way, as if she’s writing on our hearts instead of on the pages of the book.

I don’t think anyone could read this story and not feel touched by it.  

I love the way she uses dreams and their symbolism to help the characters deal with everything that happens, and also gives them a way to connect with each other when that doesn’t seem possible in real life.

Neil is a strange and complex character, in both his lifetimes. He doesn’t make friends easily, so I was glad to see him form a friendship with Derek. Neil’s so intense and focused, so dedicated to his research, and to Joshua’s happiness. Absolutely amazing guy. I was so impatient for him to grow up so he could finally reconnect with Joshua. But the author knew better than to rush that, and she builds up the tension and emotion very skillfully.

Joshua has built a life for himself, though he never really stopped loving Neil or grieving for him.

I loved how the author gave him a way to be (mostly) happy during the years it takes Neil to grow up, again. A bittersweet interlude, that afterwards connects with Neil in the most wonderful way. Can’t say more about that, but absolutely loved it.

Alice, Neil’s “second” mother, is amazing. She loves her little boy with all her heart, knowing and accepting who he truly is, however far-fetched it must have seemed. She struck me as really special and precious, and I was glad to be given a glimpse of her HEA as well. I simply adored that we got scenes from her perspective too.

This is a truly extraordinary love story.

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta

I was ready for some heart ache reading when I started this book, but like any other Leta Novel I read to date I was grossly unprepared for the emotional weight of it.
Neil and Joshua’s story is a heart wrenching tale of humanity and love, and I was overcome with emotions about life in general while reading.
First, you start out with Joshua in pain after losing Neil, missing out so many things they never did together because of fear. And the way he slowly built his life, picked himself up and met Lee a few years after that was awe-inspiring. I loved how Leta wrote his emotions, his love for both men, how their lives were interwoven and connected through Neil and because of his death, or should I say his life. This book really got me thinking ABOUT life and what the near future might hold for me and my loved ones, because it dealt with all that in Joshua’s life. Also, through the advancement of the nanite technology in the years 2019-2032 (the future of our present-day the book takes place in) Leta also talks about how technology evolved in our lives. Some of it is amazing and saves lives, other parts of it are too rushed and end up doing more bad then good, or changing how we live irrevocably. It is a very relevant topic in our time today, I think, and I liked that this book, despite it being a Romance, managed to enfold so many real emotions and feeling/fears readers face now or might face in the future.

The non-linear timelines are interesting, and really emphasized the convoluted nature of their lives, of Neil’s very existence. They show glimpses into the past and expose the nature of the characters, not just details from their past.

Second, the reincarnation theme has been written about, and the concept of finding yourself stuck in a too-young body is often referred in a humoristic way in books and film. Not here, Leta brought the truest- most painful depiction of a reincarnated reality in Neil. Having been born with the full knowledge and most of his memories he is in a constant state of loss and longing for the Joshua. And his mother, god bless her soul, is such a wonderful character, a true image of motherhood and limitless love. Neither one asked to be in this situation, her expecting her dead boyfriend’s baby, and Neil to simply die and not be stuck in a child’s body, desperate to grow and meet Joshua again. It was such a twisted way to live, and you can’t help but want them to be together while liking Lee and Joshua as a couple too. And they are also surrounded by mazing friends, Derek and Chris who are accepting and supporting through thick and thin.

When Neil, now aged 20 again, and Joshua meet for the first time in this lifetime, it is an explosive, erotic expression of love and longing. They ARE meant to be together, and the strength of their love is incredible. Especially as Joshua keeps talking about Neil’s faults when he remembers him, Neil is not an ideal, a sweetened memory made better by time. He is as much alive in Joshua’s heart as he is in the future Neil’s soul.

This book is about life, in all its forms, and love, of the purest kind. It deals with humanity, is about setting up your goals in life, about the journey as much as the ending. About taking chances, knowing what you need and want, and I found myself grateful for friends and family, thinking about the years to come while reading. Only Leta can take you through such a journey while you read about two men in love longing to be together. I kinda wanted to re-read it straight away, but my heart needs some room to expand before I can do that again. An amazing book by an author I admire, go read it if you like May/December, Second Chance and are just plain looking for a book unlike any other. You won’t be disappointed.

 

5 magnificent stars.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review