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


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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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Release Day Review: Embracing Fate (A Series of Fates #2) by C.C. Dado

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/embracing-fate-by-cc-dado-9927-b

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book Two

Sometimes you just have to embrace your fate.

Seth has a secret: he has a crush on the human next door. His brilliant plan to meet Jack, the man of his dreams who happens to be an animal trainer? Take wolf form and ask his best friend, Max, to take him next door for training. Seth is the only one surprised when things go horribly awry.

Still, can this shy wolf and a human meet their fate as mates?

Review

This book felt a lot more authentic to me than book one, which is unusual – usually the sequel in any series is the lesser – but not this time!

I thought it was hysterical – really funny at times – and pretty smexy as well. There is a lot of unresolved sexual tension and then some resolved chemistry as well!

The “misunderstanding” is resolved fairly quickly and all in all I really thought this fixed a lot of the “errors” I saw in book 1.

Recommended!

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
I have to say, I enjoyed this second book in the series more than the first. Whether we’ve settled in more with the characters or just with a slightly more cutesy story line, I found it easier to connect with the MC’s and fall into their tale.
Seth’s social anxiety leads him to think it’s a good idea to have some interaction with his human mate whilst in wolf form so he can become more at ease. But of course, with a best friend like Max, from book 1, hilarity ensues.
The attraction between Seth and Jack is clear from the outset and both men are really sweet and adorable, you can’t help but want it all to work out for them.
I loved getting to hear from Max and Christian, our MC’s of book 1, as well as Zeus, the pack’s beta. Hopefully he’ll be getting his HEA soon.
Something else this book had in its favour was the settings of some of the scenes, especially down at the lake. Both on a busy, sunny day and a quiet starlit night, it sounds like a wonderful place to be.
This series has gotten better for me and I’m looking forward to book 3. This book can be read as a stand-alone but for full enjoyment I’d recommend reading the series in order. It gives more insight into past events and relationships that are talked about.

Number of stars out of 5
4


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Release Day Review: Gateway to Love by Sarah Hadley Brook

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/gateway-to-love-by-sarah-hadley-brook-9915-b

Blurb:

Ten days to finally make the leap from friends to lovers…. Craig and Mitchell have been friends for years, but each of them reached a point where that camaraderie became… more. Mitchell’s kept his feelings close to his chest. So has Craig, but now that they’ve graduated from UMKC, he knows it’s his last chance to show Mitchell they’re meant to be before their careers take them to opposite sides of the country. He insists they can’t leave Missouri behind without one last adventure. Mitchell agrees to a road trip to visit all the touristy spots and say goodbye to their home state. As they spend their days and nights together, buried feelings rise to the surface and hope blossoms. When their journey ends with a dance beneath the Branson stars, will they find love and a future together at the end of the road? States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Review:
Another road trip story, this time it’s about two young men who want to see if they can define their feelings for one another, while taking in the sights of Missouri. All, before they go their separate ways after graduation.
Craig and Mitchell are best friends, recent college graduates. Unbeknownst to each other, each man is secretly in love with the other.
From the beginning you can see that these 2 have a great affection for one another – Craig only calls Mitch ‘Mitchell’; likewise Mitch only lets Craig get away with calling him ‘Mitchell’ (and he secretly loves it!).
As they travel together, layers of feelings are peeled away, slowly exposing how they feel about each other. And as the story develops, one also gets to sightsee with them.
When they finally figure out how they feel about each other, they still have to figure their future – they both have accepted jobs on opposite coasts. Hint: This is handled sweetly at the end and with the epilogue.
Overall, this a nice story with an undercurrent of humour and charm throughout, making it an easy, pleasant read with minimal angst.

3.5 stars out of 5


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Recent Release: Blood and Eternity (Book 3) by Shira Anthony

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/blood-and-eternity-by-shira-anthony-9785-b

Blurb

Sequel to Blood and Ghosts
Blood: Book Three

Vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert never dreamed he’d fall for his prey or that his love, Nicolas Lambert, would give him the gift of immortality. But when a hunter bent on destroying the truce between vampires and hunters throws the gauntlet at Adrien’s feet, Adrien must travel through time to save Nicolas, and with him, the entire vampire race.
The time has come to make a choice—one they will live with for eternity.
In this final installment in the Blood Trilogy, Adrien and Nicolas must face their greatest enemy in a deadly last confrontation. But to prevail, they’ll need to master the enemies within.
When Adrien awakens to a future he doesn’t recognize, he faces an impossible decision: live a perfect life with Nicolas in a shattered world, or risk everything to repair a broken past. But before he can challenge vampire hunter Verel Pelletier, he must master the demon who lives in his own mind—and learn to control his ability to travel through time. With Nicolas by his side, he prepares for a final battle against a powerful adversary who likes to play games with the past and future.
But the price of ensuring a future for their loved ones may be an eternity spent alone.

Review

This is – at long last – the ending we’ve been waiting for.

Can I say it was worth it? I’m not sure. I love Shira’s world building, her characters and I usually love her plot devices as well as story lines but in this case there was so much WORK involved. I felt like book two put me through the wringer and though we get put back together again in book 3 it was maybe not quite as “rewarding” as I’d have wanted it to be.

So – in summary – I guess if you’re a lover of action and adventure – with some time travel and a lot of angst – very well written angst mind you – I’d give this a go.

If you want a lot of togetherness in a couple then this is not for you.

All in all I’d give this book a 3.5 and the whole series a 3 of 5 stars.


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Time to get scared:Blood Veil (Mission book 2) by Megan Erickson

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34741287-blood-veil?from_search=true

Blurb
When Celia is attacked at her apartment by one vampire, and rescued by another, her life turns upside down. Idris, Athan’s brother and the one who was supposed to be the king until their father’s cruel lies were exposed is Celia’s unlikely rescuer, dark and brooding he scares her as much as he intrigues her.

Idris is surprised by the seemingly human female he has been following for a while at his brother’s, the new king, command. After the events of book one and the fall of their father, their clan is at potential war with the Valarian clan. Celia, the Valarian king’s daughter, is taken as ransom in exchange for peace between the clans. Unaware of her bloodline or family, having grown up as an orphan, Celia faces the discovery of a family she always craved, only to have that dream shatter in blood and violence. Stuck in a web of lies and on the run, Idris must protect her at all costs despite his hate for her father.

Review:
Another great book in the Mission universe!
This book has all the clichés of vampire books you can think of plot wise, and it works so well anyway! Just like her Werewolf shifter novels: ‘The Silver Tip Pack’ series, Megan combines wit, humor and geekiness in her writing for an action packed, smoldering hot read you can’t put down!
Ever since I read the first book in the series I was anxious to see what happens to Idris, Athans’s brother. And like all her heroes, Megan wrote so much emotion and tenderness into his big strong body you can’t NOT fall for him. Celia is sweet, sassy and feisty, just like Tendra from book 1, and her compassion for others shines through every action she makes.
Megan created a believable, working vampirical world, and I like her ability to combine fantasy and supernatural into everyday life. She always brings a small twist to the story that truly makes it unique.
Enjoyed it very much and am hoping to hear more about the vampire shenanigans in Mission City.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5

Release Day Review: Prophet’s Pass by Chapman Brown

release day review

 Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/prophets-pass-by-chapman-brown-9877-b

Blurb
Political journalist Aiden McCabe is used to interviewing presidents and world leaders. On a night out with friends, Aiden has a chance encounter with a handsome, enigmatic young man who leaves a lasting impression. Soon after, Aiden is assigned to travel to Utah, where he’ll interview Orson Jensen, a prominent Mormon politician and Republican presidential hopeful. While the Jensens’ faith and values couldn’t be more opposite to Aiden’s urbane, Manhattan disposition, he can’t help but be charmed by the friendly clan… until the stranger Aiden met in the club reappears, and this time with a startling revelation—one that could tear the Jensen family apart, destroy Orson’s political career, and change Aiden’s world forever.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Review
This was an interesting read that delved into religion, specifically Mormonism and how being gay is or isn’t accepted. Aiden is sent to Utah to write up a profile on a prominent Mormon politician. He admittedly knows very little about the Mormon religion and at one point thinks that the family will go all Kathy Bates on him. He is surprised to find that religion aside the family appears very loving and accepting. He then meets their middle child Hunter, who he had a run in with at a gay bar a few months prior. Hunter, at first does not admit that he is gay. He tells Aiden how much his family and his status in the church means to him. During a snow storm, one of Hunter’s sisters goes into labor and this leaves him and Aiden home alone for a few days. Its during this time that Hunter accepts that he is gay and that coming out will most likely cause him to loose his family and his position with the LDS church. There is a blow when the family comes back unexpectedly and Aiden is forced to take the brunt of the blame. He leaves Utah and goes back to New York and Hunter is forced to make a choice.
I really enjoyed this book for the most part. I am not Mormon but I do have a few close friends who are and from what I know the author did a good job of relaying the basis of their beliefs. Through Aiden, he also voiced a lot of the doubts non Mormons have about this religion. There is a sex scene between Aiden and Hunter that I really don’t believe should have been included. I think it happened really fast and may have been included because the author thought it was needed to make it a romance. The ending was a little lackluster but I prefer happily ever after endings versus the happily for now, which this is. This novella is a part of Dreamspinner Press’ States of Love series, there is no need to read any of the other books as each one is a standalone.

3.5 of stars out of 5


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Recent Release: Safe Place- Rainbow Place book 2

Good Reads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41049130-safe-place?from_search=true

Blurb:
Almost 18, Alex is firmly in the closet and desperate to get out. Working hard to get the grades he needs to go to university, were he will be finally able to live out and proud away from his bigoted, homophobic father is his only hope. When Rainbow Place, the new café in town and LGBTQ+ safe heaven, is vandalized Alex can’t help but join the cleaning efforts. And there he meets Cam.

23 year old Cam can’t help but be attracted to the young, beautiful guy he meets at the café, and when Alex shows up on opening day he seizes the chance to talk to him, and maybe a bit more. He soon realizes Alex’s home situation is more complicated, and despite wanting him romantically, backs away in favor of being friends. When Alex fails to get the grades he needs he is devastated, and when he is outed by his father Alex finds himself homeless AND jobless. Cam steps in and offers his couch until Alex is back on his feet, but will they be able to keep their friendship without crossing the lines they drew? With so much sexual and emotional between them, how can they not cross them?

Review
The magic of Jay Northcote’s writing to me is the sense of community he creates. He has a wonderful touch for creating a group on friends were each is interesting and unique in his/her/their way. In this series, much like his Housemates books, you get the feeling of an ongoing story and enjoy all the side characters popping in again with an update. The other part of his writing I absolutely adore is how he describes sexuality and sexual acts. Jay brings a realness to every scene, both physically and emotionally, he shows situations that are not pure romantic idealism, and for that I admire his writing and storytelling.
I have to admit it took me a bit of time to get into the story of Cam and Alex, I was a bit put off by the fact Alex is not 18 yet even though it was just a few months and 6 years apart is not such a big age difference. I eventually learned to like them, when Alex grew and matured so did his story and it was an amazing transition to read. They go from casual almost hook-up to friends, to eventual lovers and it took the time it took because Alex needed to understand who he is first, stand up for himself and figure out how he want to live his life. Cam’s refusal to be more than a friend to him is frustrating but in the end it gave them the safe place to be themselves so they can find to courage to be a couple. It was a VERY satisfying ending to an emotional journey of self-discovery and growing up.

As always, Jay’s writing is funny, witty and sexy, with a bit of angst and a lot of self-restraint to make the fire burn that much hotter when they let lose.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5 stars


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Time to Get Paranormal: Grabbed (Team A.L.P.H.A. #1) by Susi Hawke and Crista Crown

 

Good reads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39857782-grabbed?from_search=true

Blurb

Team: A.L.P.H.A.:Six battle-hardened alphas with one goal—to save any omega in peril

Preston Tierney, the omega son of a prominent senator, has been taken by a secret group with an ax to grind. Party boy Preston was just out looking for a good time until he was grabbed—plucked right from a party in the middle of a crowd. When he wakes up, he finds himself caged like an animal in a remote cabin far from home.

Noah Perkins is a strong alpha who leads his unit with a strong hand—and a great sense of humor. The last thing he expected when he went to free the sassy little thing in the cage was to scent his own fated mate.

Noah and his crazy crew must free Preston from captivity—from his kidnappers, and again from a source much closer to home than they would’ve imagined—while Noah tries to figure out how to tame his bristly omega and truly embrace the team’s motto: Accept, Love, Protect, Honor—Always.

This is the first in a new series, but can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel. You can expect to find naughty, knotty scenes of steamy passion, along with a lot of potty-mouth language and some violence. No jackals were harmed in the writing of this book—unless they kinda deserved it. HEA definitely included, intended for 18+ readers only. Seriously, would you expect anything less from Susi Hawke and Crista Crown?

An MM Mpreg Romance

Review: I really enjoyed reading the book – the story line was interesting, unique even. Party boy omega, Preston, is kidnapped and rescued by Noah, an alpha and his team, also called Team A.L.P.H.A. The team consists of 5 members of closely knit alphas. The insta-love and misunderstanding tropes are well represented, but not long drawn out.
Even though it’s a fated mate, mpreg trope, it’s a unique story. The banter between the characters is fun and the supporting cast well fleshed out. Definitely will be reading the rest of the series.?

I don’t think I’ve listened to Peter B. Brooke before, but I’d likely listen to him if he narrates the rest of the series (hoping for more audio :)) I’d rate the narration a 3.5/5.
He does a really good job distinguishing the characters, but his cadence was a little ‘off’, (to me), on the non-narrative parts. I got used to it, helped along by an interesting story. There were some points where I thought the narration didn’t convey the emotion of the characters – when one MC was surprised, the narration tone didn’t reflect that.
Overall, I really liked the book and the narration was OK.

Story 4; Narration: 3.5 stars out of 5

Copy provided for honest review

 

Audiobook: Courageous Ride By Andrew Grey Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-courageous-ride-by-andrew-grey-9907-b

Blurb

The Bullriders: Book Three
Aspiring orchestra conductor Marshall is exhausted after months of auditions without a single job offer. Marshall’s friend, Terry, recommends a change of scenery and points Marshall in the direction of a dude ranch run by former bull rider Indigo Santana. Marshall is understandably skeptical, but his friend is convincing, and Marshall needs a break, so he agrees to go.
Indigo captures Marshall’s attention but leaves him confused. Indigo’s confidence is shot after an injury ended his rodeo career, and he walks with a slight limp. He hasn’t been anywhere near a bull since he was hurt, and he’s not the most accommodating host. After all, the only reason he keeps guests is because his family ranch is all but bankrupt.
Marshall’s attraction doesn’t go unanswered, which leaves him with a huge dilemma. He’s torn between the possibility of love, something he’s searched for all his life, and the career he’s worked toward for as long as he can remember, which is miles away. From his side of the fence, Indigo doesn’t see how the ranch could ever be enough.

Review

This is another solidly written, romantic and sweet story from Andrew Grey paired with the equally solid and always reliably good narration of John Solo.

What I love about these books/this author/this narrator is that I totally know what I’m going to get when I pick it up to read/listen. I know the characters are going to be sweet and loveable despite whatever their background/troubles may have in store for them. I know I’ll get some steamy sex (but not too much!) and some really tender moments.

John Solo is a reliable narrator who gives everyone unique voices and does well with the overall emotional scenes as well as the smexy times.

In this case we are introduced to two opposite people (conductor, bull rider) who shouldn’t have anything in common but are both facing the daunting task of rebuilding their lives and – together – they find the strength to do that.

Recommended for: fans of the author/narrator or anyone wanting a guaranteed win and an uplifting story.

(I didn’t read any of the other books and I wasn’t lost.)

3,5 of 5 stars


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