Release Day Review: Mystic Man by E J Russell

release day review

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/mystic-man-by-ej-russell-9676

 

Blurb

When a series of personal crises prompt risk-averse research librarian Aaron Templeton to apply for a job on the other side of the country, nobody is more surprised than he is. He nearly runs home before the final interview except for one little problem: he has no home anymore. He put his condo on the market before he left California and it’s already sold. Only an encounter with free-spirited Connecticut native Cody Brown at the Mystic Seaport Museum staves off Aaron’s incipient panic attack.
Cody loves nothing better than introducing newcomers to the great features of his beloved home state, and when the newbie in question is a rumpled professorial type with the saddest blue eyes on the planet? Score! The attraction between the two men deepens as they explore Cody’s favorite spots, but when difficulties arise and Aaron’s insecurities threaten to overwhelm him, will Cody’s love be enough to keep him in Mystic?

 

Review by Mary

Such a sweet story. It was a pleasure to read. Perfect for the times when you just want a bit of comfort. That hallmark effect. Aaron and Cody meet when Aaron is starting to panic about all the drastic changes he has made to his life on the spur of the moment. Aaron’s knight in shining armour. I loved Cody’s gentle wooing of Aaron. Taking into account all his insecurities. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the part just before the ending. It felt unnecessary to leave Cody missing Aaron, but then again it made their reunion so much sweeter. Be assured there is a happy ending. Mystic certainly seems like a magical place.

 

3.5 of stars out of 5

 
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Review by Beth
This is a sweet story about taking chances. When faced with an unpleasant situation Aaron leaps feet first into change. Chance of a New job and new coast has him jumping on a plane to check it out. but once he’s there he completely panics.

Cody is a restless spirit, always running off for an adventure somewhere in the world. When he sees Aaron standing on the sidewalk it’s like “wow I have to talk to this guy!”

There is great give and take between them. As Cody takes Aaron around to see the sights, Aaron gets to see how much Connecticut has to offer. It’s a slow boil as the 2 get to know each other and off page sex keeps it PG.

A fun and easy story for a summer afternoon.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook Month: Watching and Wanting by Jay Northcote Narrated by Lewis Carter

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Watching-and-Wanting-Audiobook/B07CNGM8N9?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=50BDYMC2WCRBWDJKGB8Z&

Blurb

Watching Jude’s cam show stirs desires Shawn’s always denied… Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth – going nowhere.
Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction. Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated – and kinky – fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.

Review

This story finds us in sympathy with Shawn, he is in a dead end job and just dumped by his girlfriend. Everything is rubbing him wrong and that leads to him lashing out to his flat mates. Barging into Julian’s room and interrupting his cam show leaves Shawn not quite shocked enough to notice the website playing. He goes back to his room , pulls up the sight and watches. This leaves him questioning his sexuality and approaching Julian.

Julian is comfortable in his skin, and looks at what he does online as just a job, a way to help him pay for school and his room at the house. He is also out and proud and definitely doesn’t want to go back into the closet, even for someone he feels a strong connection to.

I like how some of the scenes they play out are talked out before hand, but I also like how even with planning they expand into something neither of the guys expected. I also liked how Shawn finally decided what he wanted and acted on it. Overall this is a great story of exploration and discovery

Narration
This is the first time listening to Lewis Clark and his timing and inflection were good. I thought the voices tended to get a little to effeminate, but that is my only complaint. Voices were distinguishable and applied where needed with narration and thoughts had the distinction needed.

Overall I would be willing to listen to something else he narrates.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Time to go Dark: Dax’s Desire (Avanti Chronicles Book 5) by Hannah Walker

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29873466-dax-s-desire?from_search=true

Blurb
The Avanti have made their way to Berinias, the capital and heart of Landran society. Not only is it King Kastain’s home ground, but it’s the seat of the Conclave’s power.
Dax finally gets to see Kastain in all his glory— regal, confident, powerful and downright sexy. As events unfold, Dax and Kastain realize everything happening with the Derin, with Martellon, Nestor and Teriva, is linked. Their enemies draw closer and the plots and machinations of the Conclave deepen. They just need to work out who is behind it all and what they hope to gain.
Kastain finds himself turning to Dax, the one person he seems to be able to count on more than anything. The bond between the two leaders is stronger than they expected, and they long for rare times alone so they can explore it. Instead their time is taken up trying to work out which Chieftains they can count on and who is attempting to undermine them at every turn.
When plots and betrayals run deep within the heart of the capital, who will succeed and who will pay the ultimate price?

Review
And the storyline continues!

With each of the previous books we have seen the political posturing of all the groups and in this story it all centers around the King , the Capital and the Avanti. Some questions are answered and more are asked. And while all of this is going on another of the Avanti finds the love of his life.

King Kastain and Avanti leader Dax are both strong personalities yet when they get the chance to be alone they really are both soft and caring men. With all the political intrigue weaved through the story there is also comic relief and also truly hot sex scenes.

Many questions are answered but nothing is truly solved. The story does end in a HEA for the couple, but those of us who are following series are waiting impatiently for the next book and the next set of clues to the ongoing storyline.

5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Go Dark: Tate’s Torment (Avanti Chronicles Book 2) by Hannah Walker

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28165780-tate-s-torment?from_search=true

Blurb

When a rare day out goes disastrously wrong, the men have to fight for the survival of one of their own. Their actions spark an appearance by the Conclave, leaving the Avanti’s future in the hands of those who choose to destroy them.
Tate will give up everything to save his friends, even if it means losing Dariux and a love he never imagined he would find.
With half the conclave determined to punish the Offworlders, they have to rely on new found friendships. The question is, will it be enough to overcome the trouble that seems determined to take them down?

May your journey be swift and uneventful, may you all get one step closer to your truemates and may good triumph over evil. Remember love conquers all.

Review

This is the second book in the series and it focuses on Tate, the jokester of the group. But he is also the most deadly in his fighting skills. The scene where he is eventually captured shows off his fighting skills, and leaves the reader in awe of his skills

The jokester side of Tate plays out whenever there isn’t a life or death scene playing out. Mostly directed towards Dariux. They are True Mates, which is similar to Fated Mates. But Tate’s jokester side hides a man who is fighting the demons of his past, a man who doesn’t believe he is worthy of love. When they finally get together the words almost steam off the page.

There are subplots weaved throughput this story, with all 6 of the Avanti settling into living on the planet they crashed on. Local politics, adjusting to living with a low tech environment and animals that have as much personality as the humans. This series is an ongoing story overall and each book focusing on a member of the Avanti finding their True mate

5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Release Day Review: A Little Side of Geek by Marguerite Labbe

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-little-side-of-geek-by-marguerite-labbe-9611-b

Blurb

When opposite worlds collide, it’s anyone’s game.
Proud geek and comic book artist Morris Proctor wants nothing more than to live in semi-seclusion with his devil cat and gamer friends. Despite what his well-meaning family thinks, he’s perfectly content with his status quo. The last thing he needs is to date another non-geek hell-bent on changing him.
Then he meets his adorkable new neighbor, Theo Boarman, who doesn’t know Star Trek from Star Wars, but who tempts him like no other.
Theo has spent the last year recovering from the loss of his parents and trying to play both roles for his teenage brother, while working to keep the family restaurant afloat. Dating is the last thing on the menu, especially with a man who thinks the height of dining is shoving a packaged meal into the microwave.
But if Morris gives him one more shy smile or flaunts that kilt he wears so well, Theo will be forced to convince him that a hot summer fling is just the recipe to let off a little steam.
When that fling gets serious fast, Morris has to decide if he’s willing to give his heart to Theo on the chance that they’re a perfect mix.

Review by Beth
This is a story that slowly sucks you in. It is both a story of falling in love and healing from tragdy. A story about family both blood and found.

Marguerite does a wonderful job laying out the story to tease us into all of what life can throw at us and how we work our way through it. This is not a hot and heavy, all sexy times book. This is how life really does happen. An ebb and flow of side stories and romance as it happens over a summer. The author shows us that it’s not all fireworks and spotlights. I think she did a fabulous job.

The MC’s are well thought out and multidimensional, but I really liked the character of Lincoln. This is Theo’s younger brother and he really does carry a third of the story. Teenage angst, insecurities and dealing with loss at an early age, Lincoln is as well developed as Morris and Theo.

I liked this story, I liked how comfortable it felt, how realistic it was and I quietly got to root for things to work out between Morris and Theo.

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Review by Dee

I absolutely loved this story for its simplicity. That is not to say that there was no depth to the romance, no, just the opposite. All the characters were well developed, even the secondary ones. The story is also funny and heartwarming.

Morris, a simple soul who loves his geekiness, has been through relationships where the boyfriend has tried to ‘improve’ him. Needless to say, he’s a bit gun-shy about relationships. Theo, his new neighbour, has recently lost his parents, co-owns a restaurant (with his sister) and is the legal guardian of his younger brother. With all that’s going on, Theo is not in the market for a romance.

They decide to embark on a ‘fling’, but before they know it, they’ve wormed their way into each other’s lives and hearts.

What I really like about the story is that there was a realistic look at friendships, family, dealing with tragedy and finding what makes one happy. There was no real drama, no prolonged misunderstandings.

I honestly loved how the relationship between the 2 men just flowed and grew, with the addition of their families blending into the mix.

Highly recommend. This will definitely go on my re-read list!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Unlikely Hero By Sean Michael Narrated by Jeff Gelder

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/unlikely-hero-by-sean-michael-9501-b

Blurb

When his three-year-old daughter is kidnapped, Eric Wilson doesn’t have many options, and time is running out. With nowhere else to turn, he reaches out to his ex, influential businessman Brock Vencenza, whose money and contacts might be able to save Josie.

Brock never got over Eric’s loss, and he’s more than willing to help when Eric needs him most. Together with law enforcement and private security, they embark on a twisting investigation to find the little girl—and who wants to hurt her and destroy both men in the process. Under the circumstances, confessing he still has feelings for Eric would be inappropriate, but Brock can’t deny what’s in his heart. He doesn’t know if their love can be rekindled or if he can even protect Eric and Josie. But one thing is certain: Brock’s determined to be the hero in reality that he is in Eric’s eyes.

Review
While listening to this story, I got caught up in the tension and then life building between the 3 MC’s, yes there are 3, Eric, Brock and Eric’s daughter Josie. If you don’t like stories with a child prominent in a story give this a pass. The author has written a story where a love story builds while dealing with a crisis of a kidnapping.

While listening I followed along always wanting to know what happens next. The story moves along without a lot of angst, and definitely has you trying to figure out the who, what and why. Josie plays such a big part in the story, kidnapped, rescued and going to live in a new place. But for anyone who has been around a 3 year old you know they can bounce back quickly.

Brock and Eric’s story does leave me with more than a few questions. Or maybe more Eric’s motives. He seems to be convinced that something would happen to him and has incorporated Brock, Daddy B, into Josie’s upbringing, without Josie ever meeting him. Brock is a take charge type and takes it all in stride. And even though he had never considered a child in his life, Josie worms her way in.

So as I said I followed the story through, caught up in the action, but when all said and done had a feeling of it fitting too neatly into all the boxes, relationship, parenthood and HEA.

3.5 of 5 stars

Audio
This is the first book I’ve listened to that was narrated by Jeff Gelder and I can say that he did a good job in my opinion. Timing was good, voices were distinct and the fluctuation of emotions between characters were expressed well.

4 of 5 stars

Overall

3.75 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Coming Soon! Evolved by NR Walker

April 23

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39680421-evolved?from_search=true

Blurb
In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise, mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, Lloyd thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN.

Shaun is compatible with Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe.

No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.

Review by Morgan

I am literally blown away by this story.

When I saw the blurb I pretty much said to myself – yeah – NO – and wanted to pass it on. I was a bit intrigued but mostly really put off by the robot in the future part of the story. That’s just not me.

Wellll…. Let me tell you. This story gripped me right from the start and I couldn’t put it down. NR Walker managed to do it AGAIN. She keeps coming out of left field with these books that are so DIFFERENT from what I’ve seen from her and she keeps hitting home runs! (See all the Spring Baseball references…. And I don’t like baseball! But they fit 😉 )

First, let’s look at this story. It has a fairly timely subject matter – we are probably on the cusp of artificial intelligence and as this story suggests we are in no way ready for it.

Despite the robot nature of Shaun, I loved his existential crisis and that whole “why am I here” thing is something all of us experience and the author was able to really capture this in simple ways that can be felt in us all.

The “Big Brother” aspect of this story is so accurate it’s frightening. We know “they” are listening – but what can you do that doesn’t involve living off grid in Montana?

And the romance. Ahhhhhh. So good. I totally cried at the end even though I knew it would be a HEA – NR doesn’t let us down. It’s a very touching ending and I was really pleased with her result.

Second, can we talk about NR Walker’s amazing brain? If you look at her title list we have things all over the map: from the outback, to Africa, to contemporary Australia, body image, butterflies, switched at birth, blindness, ménage, cops, vampires, architecture… and she’s like an expert on ALL these things! I totally want to have access to her time and resources – she must spend 50% of her time researching and the rest writing! I love it! (And am jealous of her beautiful brain 😉 ) Now we can add this futuristic techno drama to her list. Truly awe inspiring and wonderful.

So… from one non-sci-fi person to another – this is a sci-fi book you’ll want to read. It’s wonderful and touching and it will absolutely inspire all your neurotransmitters to fire!

6 of 5 stars

 

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Beth
This story kept me on edge all the way through as I wondered how it would resolve itself. To the point I needed to reread it to catch the subtle dialogue that really shows us the growth Shaun makes as he learns to become a self thinking being. The actual relationship between Lloyd and Shaun is your typical get to know each other. That give and take as a couple learns each other’s likes and dislikes.

There is humor spread throughout this story, as man and android learn each other and themselves. I loved the scene where Lloyd needed to rush home and rescue Shaun after Shaun discovers the porn channels on the television.

This story gives us exploration of a relationship, suspense of what is going to happen next, an exploration of what might be the future. We also have the sub story of “big brother is watching,” and of course a HEA.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Spencer Cohen by NR Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Spencer-Cohen-Series-Book-One-Audiobook/B079YWN5G5?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=PNCF0KWC7M6PZ0ZKHDGK&

Blurb

Spencer Cohen is the guy who gets answers to relationship questions. Playing the role of the new lover, his job is to make his client’s ex realise one of two things: he doesn’t want to break up or he really does. Either way, his client gets answers.

The ex would either apologize and beg, or turn and walk. But in the end, Spencer’s client won. If he wanted his ex back and got him, it was great. If the guy walked away, then as hard it was for the client, he knew it was over. Regardless of the outcome, Spencer’s work was done.

Andrew Landon’s ex left him without so much as an explanation. But his sister can’t stand to see him miserable, so, much to Andrew’s dismay, they hire Spencer to be Andrew’s new boyfriend to get the ex back.

For Spencer, it is never personal. Merely a business transaction. No emotions, no strings, no complications.

Yeah right.

Even a blind man could see how this would end.

Review by Beth

NR Walker has given us a book that shows us that no matter how much you close off yourself to the thought of love, it can show up when you least expect it.

The job Spencer has created for himself let’s him turn himself into whoever his client needs. Pretending to be the new boyfriend, it will either make the old boyfriend come back or ignore the client altogether. Either way there is the answer to where the relationship stands.

Spencer’s new client Andrew just doesn’t understand why Eli just walked away so he is open to trying out Spencer’s services to find out why. In the process of getting to know Andrew, Spencer doesn’t realize he is falling for his client. Everything clicks between the 2. There are too many instances where they have the same tastes and interests. When it all comes to a head, all of Spencer’s issues drive him away. in the end there is a revelation to what drives Spencer and a HEA

Audio

I think Joel was made to do this book. His ability to do an accent is spot on and even his female voices are realistic. Add to that his timing, and delivery and you are swept away into the story like you are in a corner of the room observing it as it unfolds!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

(Book reviewed here previously)
Andrew got dumped – abruptly – by his ex, Eli. His sister just wants Andrew to be happy, so she arranges for Spencer to act as his boyfriend and stir up the ol’ green-eyed monster in Eli to push him back into Andrew’s arms.

If it works, it was meant to be – if it doesn’t, at least Andrew can have some closure.

Spencer moved to America from Australia after some family issues force his hand. He inadvertently helps a friend re-gain her boyfriend and a career is born! (He also does other things – it’s not that lucrative!)

When Andrew and Spencer meet there is instant attraction – they’re like two pieces of a puzzle who click together perfectly. But… Andrew wants Eli right?

**

Be forewarned – this is pretty classic NR Walker series protocol – so we get a slow, slow burn toward a finale of a … kiss. Granted the sexual tension is off the charts and the looks are seriously smoldering… but no sex.

But – YOU WON’T MISS IT! She is such an amazing writer that this slow burn feels right and the pages fly by.

Of course I can’t wait for the next installment – and you might want to wait for all three are published if that’s your thing – but… this is a wonderful story and well worth the wait.

Both MCs are so complex and fun. Neither is particularly needy or whiny and yet both have this amazing streak of vulnerability in them.

I am thoroughly captivated by this series and I cannot wait for the next book!

Because music is a theme in this book – NR Walker made a spotify list: https://open.spotify.com/…/…/playlist…
I highly recommend having it available while you are reading.

6 of 5 stars

Audio

So you know I’m a huge Joel Fan Girl but you gotta know – this book absolutely resonates with Joel’s narration – it’s just perfect! Joel moved me to tears with the closing chapters – the emotional tension is held beautifully by the pacing and his intonation. Though this is – by far – not the most angsty of NR’s stories – Joel infuses into the words all the tension we’re feeling by the end of this slow burn romance.

Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Laugh: How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24843427-how-to-howl-at-the-moon?from_search=true

Blurb

Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.

Review

This is a book I think everyone will love, or at least all of the dog lovers out there. When a dog is loved and bonded to a human, they can develop the “spark” and become a quickened. What they call the ability to become human.

Eli Easton has taken a great idea and woven a love story, some laughter, and some suspense together to create a story that keeps you turning the pages to see what happens. Characters have their dog personalities, so happy friendly dogs are happy friendly people. Working dogs are intense and somewhat controlling people, etc. And Mothers are nosey and try to be controlling.

The suspense hinges on keeping the town obscure, while pot growers are trying to set up new locations. The new guy in town has rented a cabin just outside of town and stops at the diner to eat before heading there and of course he smells like pot. It just gets more complicatedly funny from there…..

Overall a happy and sweet story that gives you a “come cuddle with me” feeling.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Laugh: Beauty and the Bookworm by Nick Pagent

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22052456-beauty-and-the-bookworm?from_search=true

Blurb

Mason Leery is a bookworm and he thinks he might just be able to get through life simply by reading about it instead of living it.

Until he meets Shane Beaumont. Shane is the opposite of Mason in every way, he’s beautiful, athletic, and lives his life to the fullest.

Sparks fly when the polar opposites come together, but it will be up to the bookworm to shut down his e-reader and go after the beauty if he wants to love someone outside the pages of a book.

 

 

Review

The author set this story up for laughs. Mason the stereotypical gay librarian, Twyla the flashy, slutty best friend, Gran a lesbian, motorcycle riding, foul mouthed grandmother and Shane the hunky, athletic, twin, boyfriend. And he does this all with Mason telling the story in a snarky, “can you just see this?” voice.

The first time Mason and Shane meet, you can’t help but laughing out loud! And the laughs just move on from there. Being from Portland myself I can see many of the locations highlighted and picture both the location and the events that happen.

The ending gives you a feel good feeling after a long string of laugh out loud moments.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Purchased for Review