Recent Release: Mr. August by Bailey Bradford

Pride Publishing
https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/mr-august

Blurb
Hector thought he’d escaped his past and had nothing to fear by posing for a charity calendar, but he was wrong.

Hector Torres is a self-made man. He came from the wrong side of the tracks and had a difficult childhood. Violence and crime flourished around him, but one particular event sent him running, and he’s been looking back over his shoulder for over a decade.

He thought he’d changed enough to take a chance and do something good, especially in light of his closest friend’s daughter being diagnosed with cancer.

But Hector is wrong, and the man suddenly appears in his life might be his saviour—or his executor.

Review
I had a bit of a rollercoaster experience. Watching this story in a fast pace, before I could let it sink in there was already something else to watch.
There were passages being kind and friendly… also hot and steamy… and even a bit stress.

Hector at the moment Mr. August calendar man, vanished more than a decade ago, because of his dads dirty business. Mat had always eyes for Hector and now he found him again.
What I always love is some shifters. Mat was a shifter, to protect Hector, only there is not much shifting in this story. Hector want to find out who his enemy is and with the help from Mat he has to face his past.

The story has a lot of everything and all not thoroughly worked out.
If you are not picky about developing and you love some fast and hot pages this is for you.

3 out of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Release Day Review: All For You by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/all-for-you-by-andrew-grey-9846-b

Blurb
The only path to happiness is freedom: the freedom to live—and love—as the heart wants. Claiming that freedom will take all the courage one young man has… but he won’t have to face it alone.
In small, conservative Sierra Pines, California, Reverend Gabriel is the law. His son, Willy, follows his dictates… until he meets a man in Sacramento, and then reunites with him in his hometown—right under his father’s nose.
Reggie is Sierra Pines’s newly appointed sheriff. His dedication to the job means not flaunting his sexuality, but when he sees Willy again, he can’t escape the feeling that they’re meant to be together. He’ll keep Willy’s secret until Willy is ready to let the world see who he really is. But if going up against the church and the townspeople isn’t enough, the perils of the work Reggie loves so much might mean the end of their romance before it even gets off the ground….

Review
This book left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. It has a lot of the elements needed to make a great story and is skillfully written, but it didn’t really work for me.

I believe the author wants to educate his readers and create awareness regarding the troubles still faced today by people from the LGBTQ community. Though well-intentioned, he gets a bit heavy-handed in his execution, which is especially noticeable in Reggie, who does a lot of talking at Willy rather than to him, as if he’s standing in front of a classroom explaining the do’s and don’ts of coming out & relationships.
He does this at the most inopportune moments, and has a hard time letting go and enjoying the now.
He isn’t that much older than Willy, but acts as if he is decades further in life experience and wisdom. Willy, on the other hand, does sometimes behave a bit immature for his age. They don’t seem to be on an equal footing in that respect, so that makes it hard to understand how they would work as a couple.

Reggie is supposed to be a rising star in local law enforcement, but he shows little people management skills in the sheriff’s office when he threatens and baits one of his deputies. Admittedly the man turns out to be a crook, but Reggie has no evidence of that at that time. Bullying people, especially another bully, hardly seems the way to create a good work environment or to get people on your team to carry out their job the way you want them to.

Willy’s decision to confront his father about certain changes in their family life and to come out to him all at once, felt too sudden to me. He also really gets up in his father’s face, laying it all down in a very confrontational manner and not even trying to ease into the subject, which to me feels very out of character for him.

Willy’s father is a really ambivalent figure. I don’t feel as if grief for the loss of one child could make a loving dad turn into an abusive one to his other remaining children. And then just change back again, almost at the drop of a hat.
Other secondary characters bring more of a positive vibe to the story though, especially Willy’s mom (if a bit late in the game), Mr. Webster and Jamie.

Willy and Reggie’s relationship moves very fast, they hardly have the time to get to know and like each other or even gradually acknowledge their mutual attraction, before racing straight into a committed relationship. As a reader, I just didn’t feel it.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Get Paranormal: Midnight In Berlin by JL Merrow

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/midnight-in-berlin-by-jl-merrow-9827-b

Blurb

One bad decision can change your life forever.
It’s midnight in Berlin, and drifter Leon is hitchhiking home in the rain, covered in feathers after a wild festival in the city park. He can’t believe his luck when he’s picked up by a hot guy in a Porsche. That is, until he learns his driver is a creature from his worst nightmares—and plans to turn him into one too. He runs, but he can’t escape the werewolf’s bite.
Christoph made one mistake, but he’s paying for it plenty. He took Leon for a rogue werewolf on his way home from a hunt, and by the time he realizes the truth, it’s too late to do anything but make Leon a monster to save his life. That doesn’t save Christoph from the pack leader’s harsh punishment.
As Leon struggles to cope with his horrifying new reality—and his mixed feelings for the man who bit him—he’s desperate to discover not only what’s happened to Christoph, but the secrets their pack leader is hiding from them all.
Secrets the pack will kill to protect.

Review

Leon has been enjoying his time in Berlin but the latest guy that he had his eye on turns out to play for the other team. So, he decides to try his luck and hitch a ride home. Leon thinks that he has hit the jackpot when Christoph stops and gives him a ride, but things are not as they seem. Christopher is more than a man and thinks that Leon is the same. When he realizes his mistake, he tries to right it the only way he can think of. Hoping it will save Leon’s life and that somehow Leon will forgive him.

Leon and Christoph’s story is an interesting tale. The author intertwines romance and angst together as the men figure out just where their lives will go from here. The two make a nice couple and work well together. Each man has his own demons to work through but together they fight a common enemy. I did not feel a lot of depth with the characters and has a hard time immersing myself in their story. The story has some twists to it that kept me interested but the ending fell flat for me. I did enjoy the quiet times between Leon and Christoph as they continued on their journey. As each one learns about the other a bond begins to form between the men. They soon learn that life is what you make of it even if you have to fight for it.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Raising the Bar By Leigh Dillon

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/raising-the-bar-by-leigh-dillon-9845-

Blurb
Destin Bellingham has inherited a problem. Thanks to his late playboy father, Destin faces putting a For Sale sign on his family’s historic horse farm. Getting his talented stallion, Black Sambuca, into the Grand Prix show ring would put Bellmeade back on the map—if only someone could make “Sam” behave like a show horse.

Disgraced top rider Tonio Benedetto has his own problems, but he can work magic with difficult jumpers, so Destin hires him despite his bad-boy reputation. The street-smart, openly gay loudmouth from Miami and the closeted, buttoned-down son of Old Dominion Virginia make a rocky pairing, but time is running out to save Bellmeade from bankruptcy.

Opposites attract, sparks of tension grow into flames of passion. But if Tonio fails to tame Sam, will true love become a lost cause too?

Review
I had to think a lot about this book. The scene setting is good. The descriptions give a sense of how beautiful the area is. The romance side took a back seat to Destin’s struggle to keep the farm afloat. I didn’t have a problem with that but both Destin and Tonio seem to have problems that were only skated over. Destin has to come to terms with his feelings about his father and Tonio with his behaviour that triggered his bad boy reputation. Together they have a chance of making the farm viable again. On the romance side I didn’t really feel it. There was something missing for me and I can’t identify it. In my opinion the star of the story is Black Sambuca, Sam for short. This is one smart feisty horse. His stubbornness keeps Tonio guessing and almost proves too much of a challenge. In the end though it all comes together in a happy ending.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Retro Read: Criminals Books 1 and 2 by Erin M Leaf

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/series/223385

The Nullifier

Blurb

Contract killer Felix Zamaro isn’t looking for love—at his age, all he wants to do is retire. When he interrupts a robbery-in-progress, he stumbles into a mess: Nick Banner is in town to help his sister kick her loser boyfriend to the curb.

Nick never thought he’d meet a hot-as-hell assassin in the middle of a random coffee run, but watching Felix take down a couple of thieves in a crappy gas station has him questioning his rule against playing with straight guys.

When Felix’s next mark turns out to be none other than the boyfriend of Nick’s sister, all hell breaks loose. When Nick moves into the house next door to Felix, both men think fate is messing with them. However, it’s Nick’s unexpected career choice that really throws Felix off his game, and for a killer, that could be a fatal mistake.

Review

I admit that while I love Erin’s writing style and her characters, I love her paranormal story lines more than her contemporary. IMHO her paranormal plot lines and world building takes up more of the page time and while they all have loads of smexy times – the paranormal has less focus on it? I might be wrong but that’s what it feels like.

The other thing I find in a lot of Erin’s stories: evil women. While I can respect that in a world of men and women at least 50% of the time the bad guy will be a female, but I think a disproportionate number of her villains are women. Just sayin’.

I love a good “anti-hero” story and I think this fills the bill. Felix is not what you typically expect in a hero and he’s a kick in the pants. Matching him up with the naïve but yet almost equally “off color” Nick was genius and I love them as a couple.

The story line (non romance) was ok, interesting but not fascinating.

All in all I liked it and thought it was good.

3.75 rounded to 4 of 5 stars

The Fixer

Blurb

When Zero Graham wakes up in the hospital, he has only one thing on his mind: revenge on the mastermind who shot him and trashed his home. He’s the best fixer in the business, and that means he has a reputation to uphold.

Julian Amon doesn’t want to check up on his mother’s patient, but he can’t say no to her, and he finds the older man intriguingly hot. His decision to tag along when Zero checks himself out of the hospital borders on crazy, but the older man interests him, and Julian has always enjoyed a good mystery.

Zero doesn’t want or need a babysitter, but Julian’s physical competence and lack of fear push all of his buttons in exactly the right way. Violence is his kink, and the younger man doesn’t seem to mind the scent of blood, but will Julian be able to handle the pressure when Zero closes in on his enemy?

Review

I wanted more for Zero – he was such a neat character in book 1 and I thought this didn’t do him justice.

I don’t like the cutting and bleeding and there were times I wasn’t sure everyone was on the same page. Zero became more of a parody in this than he was in book 1.

This didn’t sit as well with me as book 1 but I still enjoyed Julian and Zero as a couple.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars

Copies purchased for review

Time to get Paranormal! Love and Payne (THIRDS Book 13) by Charlie Cochet

 

Dreamspinner Press Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-and-payne-by-charlie-cochet-9843-b

Blurb:

Austen Payne, THIRDS Squadron Specialist Agent (SSA) for Destructive Delta and TIN operative, has seen the worst the world has to offer, faced lethal killers, and helped bring down dangerous organizations. But nothing terrifies him more than falling in love. After years of undercover work, Austen is a master at defending himself and protecting his heart… until he meets Osmond Zachary.

THIRDS Defense Agent Osmond Zachary has a huge, doting family, yet something is missing in his life. After meeting grumpy, foul-mouthed, jittery cheetah Therian Austen Payne, Zach knows exactly what that something—or someone—is. Unfortunately Austen seems determined to avoid Zach at all costs.

When Zach foils an assassination attempt, he ends up in the killer’s crosshairs, and Austen is Zach’s best chance at staying alive. Zach hopes the crisis will bring them closer, but Austen has every intention of walking away as soon as the danger is over.

Happily ever after isn’t for guys like Austen, but Zach is determined to show him it can be….

Review:
I have to confess I only read the first THIRDS book, Hell & High Water, so I read this book almost as a stand-alone. In regards to that I did not feel like I was missing too much information and even though I am sure reading all the previous books would have given me more background I can definitely say reading it on its own is no issue.
I do have to say that despite the popularity of this book series I did not get into it when I read the first one and # 13 did not change my mind even though I am a big Paranormal/Fantasy/Shifter fan.

I would say the biggest issue I have is believability, mainly in the world of the book. I like the background and evolution of Therians, as explained at the beginning, but when it comes to the various government agencies I feel like they are more prop then substance. I also think the mystery of the assassination attempt, and the subsequent hiding Zach was just not detailed enough. You have skilled agents, and advanced technology and yet the discovery of the perp is delayed and only comes as an afterthought. It’s almost like they intentionally miss the clues so it can prolong the ending. I feel the plot writing is underdeveloped and unbalanced, in a way that does not let me fully get into the story.

I enjoyed Austen and Zach as characters, but I feel the growing attraction between them took too much of the story. Sure it was fun and sexy at times but I felt the story needed more action and more emotional depth. They have known each other for four years, and while Zach is very interested, Austen has been keeping his distance but could not seem to stope checking in on Zach and coming to his aid whenever something happened to him. You do get the feeling of an almost Friends-To-Lovers (my favorite trope) vibe though they are not truly friends as Austen repeatedly pushes Zach away. I just kept going back to thinking I wish I believed the plot itself, and not have it as some sort of stage setting for Zach and Austen to get together. Because when you have these elements in a story they must work together with everything else. I feel like had the action and thrill been better and the world more complex this would have been a 5 Strat book for me.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Coming Soon: Hiding in Plain Sight Series: Camp H.O.W.L.: Book 3 Author: Bru Baker

September 18

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hiding-in-plain-sight-by-bru-baker-9869-b

Blurb

Happily ever after is right under their noses.
Harris has been keeping a big secret for years—his unrequited mate bond with his best friend, Jackson. He’s convinced himself that having Jackson in his life is enough. That, and his work at Camp H.O.W.L., keeps him going.
Things get complicated when Jackson applies for a high-ranking Tribunal job in New York City—far from Camp H.O.W.L. The position requires he relinquish all Pack bonds… and that’s when his wolf decides to choose a mate. Suddenly Jackson sees his best friend in a sizzling new light.
Their chemistry is through the roof, but they’re setting themselves up for broken hearts—and broken bonds—if Jackson can’t figure out a way to balance his career and the love that’s just been waiting for him to take notice.

Review

This was super disappointing for me. I LOVED the idea of the love from afar and the finally finding out we’re mates as a concept. However, the end result was a really tepid anticlimactic love scene(s) and a lot of important couple events happened off page.

Though fans of the series will still want to read this, and you don’t have to start from the beginning to enjoy this, I think if you start with this you’ll be disappointed and won’t appreciate the others in this series which are more wonderful.

3 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Coming Soon: No Way Out by Julie Lynn Hayes

August 28!

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/no-way-out-by-julie-lynn-hayes-9831-b

Blurb
Scheduling for guest posts and reviews (including Release Day Reviews). Final copies available soon.

Wyatt Findley is an up-and-coming artist, attending a prestigious art institute in St. Louis. His mentor, Lukas Callahan, has snagged a sweet house-sitting job for him in a gorgeous home in a well-to-do part of town. Wyatt can’t help but notice two men who live just across the street.
They make an odd couple, since there must be a good twenty years difference between them. And yet there is something about the younger man that calls to Wyatt.

Shylor Lind has been living with Randy Grant for fifteen years, ever since Grant hired Shy’s mother as his live-in housekeeper. But five years ago, their relationship changed when Shy’s mother sold him to Grant and took the money and ran. Since then, Randy has been training Shy to be his submissive, dominating him in every way. There is nothing Shy can do about the situation, and he has nowhere to go, no one to turn to.

And then Wyatt enters his life… and nothing will ever be the same, as Wyatt engages in a battle for Shy’s very soul

Review
I’m so conflicted by this story. It is by no means BDSM but a story about modern slavery. It’s of a young man being systematically abused and controlled to a point where he has no free will. He too scared to do anything out of routine for fear of punishment. But what do you do when an adult of consenting age doesn’t ask for help or make any sign he needs help to get out of the situation he is in. This is the position Wyatt is in when he suspects Shylor is being abused. His instincts tell him something is not right. Others try to tell him that whilst they don’t like it, it’s the relationship between two consenting adults. And there is the crux, consent. Shylor starts to believe he deserves more, to be treated better once Wyatt shows him how it could be. I felt for Shylor, even more so when it became apparent other Dom’s did not intervene even when they suspected Shylor was, at the very least, being mistreated. The story finished too abruptly for me. I felt that there was more to tell. This may come in another book, I hope so especially as I don’t believe Randy has gone out of Shylor’s life yet. There are also some interesting secondary characters that I would like to know more about.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: 11 Seconds by John Charles

 

Blurb : In a world dominated by greed and political loyalties, the line between right and wrong is often completely blurred.

He wanted more than revenge. His was a vendetta, a vendetta that he was capable of carrying out. Tenodod was a cyber hacker who knew how to use the skills he developed while working for one of the most powerful systems developers in the world. Only now, he was using those talents to bring down Bertram Lynnworth, Chairman and CEO of ESTG, and would continue until his vendetta was fulfilled, no matter who got hurt in the process.

Mystery, romance, and intrigue in a suspense filled thriller that will leave you asking how to protect yourself and your family.

We Own You appeared on every monitor in every ESTG facility around the world. There Is No Escape voiced the laughing clown as Tenodod took over every system within the company.

Hackers can steal your identity, control your car, access your secret files. What if one had a grip on your beating heart? What if it only took 11 seconds?

Tenodod would make Bertram crawl for what he did to all those innocent people. Unfortunately, Marc Lynnworth, Bertram’s unsuspecting son, and hundreds of others, would become pawns in Tenodod’s evil plot. “I never wanted anyone to die; I only wanted your father to see the error of his ways.”

Review
I’ve not read anything by John Charles before and I’m always up for something new. I was surprised that at the beginning the author offers a free book which is I think a prequel to the series. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to read it before this book so I’m not sure how much information it gives. This is a well paced story which kept my interest. It’s set around cyber terrorism. An anonymous foe is creating havoc every 11 days. All the alphabet organisations are hunting him. one. Of the main characters, Marc, is a Robin Hood type hacker working with the authorities to bring him down. He is in college and deeply in love with Kylar. Asher is assigned to protect Marc. Another main Character is the NSA agent leading the investigation. She is a good strong female lead. I liked the way all the characters actions are believable, in that the pressures of being in the middle of in effectively being held to ransom by someone who has the ability to wreak havoc over the whole country, through controlling the network, would do. I was also surprised by how vilified Bertram was. He seemed more like someone in over his head and trapped working with the CIA rather than a deliberately crewel father or boss. But he is not given a chance of redemption at the end of the book.
Here’s the part that surprised me. Asher Redman was a background character. I’m so used to the characters series are named after taking centre stage that I kept waiting for it to happen but it didn’t. The story isn’t even from his POV. It’s from either Julie’s or Marc’s. Here I’m torn. I liked the story and the pace. It all takes place over about 6 weeks, from 11th November to just after Christmas. But something didn’t click for me and I was quite disappointed because from the blurb it sounded like my kind of book. Don’t let that put you off because n the whole it is an engaging story of young love and family in a very trying time.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Book Link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FZPKGSW

Audiobook: Sun and Shadow by Dirk Greyson Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/sun-and-shadow-by-dirk-greyson-1303-

Blurb
Dayton “Day” Ingram is recovering from an injury suffered in Mexico—and from his failed relationship with fellow Scorpion agent, Knight. While researching an old government document, Day realizes he might be holding the key to finding an artistic masterpiece lost since WWII.

But the Russians are looking for it too, and have a team in place in Eastern Europe hunting it down. Day and Knight are brought back together when they are charged with getting to the painting first.

Knight wants to leave Mexico and everything that happened there behind, and return to the life he had—except it wasn’t much of a life. When he’s partnered up with Day, keeping his distance proves to be challenging. But Day is as stubborn as Knight and isn’t willing to let him walk away.

Their assignment leads them through Germany and Austria with agents hot on their tail—agents willing to do whatever it takes to get to the masterpiece first. If Day and Knight can live long enough to find the painting, they might also discover something even more precious—each other

Review
Whilst this story does stand on its own there are some references to the first book. They are mainly to do with Day and Knight’s relationship and in my opinion you can get a sense of the issues even if you haven’t read or listened to it, although it’s a good story so I think it’s worth it. Just like the first book Knight and Day are reluctant partners, although this time round it’s for different reasons. It’s in this story that Knight comes to terms with his feelings for Day and wrestles with his feelings about his wife and son who were murdered. The story is still in the old classic cop/secret agent vibe, which I enjoy. They get themselves into scapes and life and death situations against the bad guys and come out victorious. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, car chases and putting the puzzle pieces together to solve a 70 year old mystery If that isn’t enough there is a traitor passing information putting their lives in danger. Dirk Greyson (Andrew Grey) knows how to pack a lot of action in.
Andrew McFerrin does a fine job narrating the story. He keeps the action flowing at a good pace. Knight has a wonderfully grumpy persona and Day is up beat, suits them perfectly. Perfect pairing and he has portrayed extremely well, keeping true to the first book. The secondary characters all have distinctive traits and voices so it’s easy to follow who’s talking. Overall this book is very easy to listen to.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review