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

Release Day review: Bigger Love (Big Love #2) by Rick R. Reed

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bigger-love-by-rick-r-reed-9967-b

Blurb

Truman Reid is Summitville High’s most out-and-proud senior. He can’t wait to take his fierce, uncompromising self away from his small Ohio River hometown, where he’s suffered more than his share of bullying. He’s looking forward to bright lights and a big city. Maybe he’ll be the first gender-fluid star to ever win an Academy Award. But all that changes on the first day of school when he locks eyes with the most gorgeous hunk he’s ever seen. Mike Stewart, big, dark-haired, and with the most amazing blue eyes, is new to town. He’s quiet, manly, and has the sexy air of a lost soul. It’s almost love at first sight for Truman. He thinks that love could deepen when Mike becomes part of the stage crew for Harvey, the senior class play Truman’s directing. But is Mike even gay? And how will it work when Truman’s mother is falling for Mike’s dad? Plus Truman, never the norm, makes a daring and controversial choice for the production that has the whole town up in arms. See how it all plays out on a stage of love, laughter, tears, and sticking up for one’s essential self.

Review

So I really liked Big Love and fell in love with Truman in that story. I was psyched to see his story fleshed out! But….

First, most of the story – like 67% or more is really about Truman and other people including a pregnancy scare that takes up way too many pages for not a lot of return (that we see in this book).

Second, though I love Truman, I wanted to see his romance not read about him and though I loved seeing him triumph I wanted more with Mike… except Mike was 100% an asshole and I didn’t like him – ever.

Third, so since I didn’t get to really meet him and what I saw was crappy – I didn’t get invested in these guys as a couple AT ALL and I really felt like I didn’t want them together so when the ILYs jump out I didn’t buy them.

Fourth, there is a VERY creepy scene involving Mike and a citizen that is super gross – and when we find out who he is I was like???? How is that guy thinking he’s being a secretive closeted gay boy when he goes around in a vintage mustang that everyone identifies as his??? It didn’t make any sense and was very uncomfortable.

So… while I applaud Truman and still love him – this story was not up to his personal wonderfulness and I can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Review : Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41823691-honeymoon-for-one?from_search=true

Blurb

The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.

Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.

Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.

Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.

Honeymoon for One is a gay romance by Keira Andrews featuring a May-December age difference, a slow burn of newfound friends to lovers, first-time m/m sex, and of course a happy ending.

Review

When I read the blurb I thought – ugh – I really don’t like jilted stories or rebound stories or holiday romances… but I love Keira Andrews and so I had to give it a go. Well, as always, she does not disappoint!

The emphasis on this is not the rebound but the realization of feelings that Clay has been hiding from himself for years. Sure, he’s a little older, they’re from different CONTINENTS and he’s on the rebound – but of course – it’s all gonna work out in the end! (LOL)

These guys do find a way to make it work that seems plausible – but really – in the end – it’s their journey that is so ooey gooey delectable. They talk, they aren’t afraid to emote and they have some pretty steamy smexy times!

Luckily the family thing isn’t an issue and beyond all the major hurdles we already know about, the author didn’t throw in more to be OTT.

This was a really lovely story that I recommend to fans of the author, fans of Australia, fans of May/December romance and fans of OFY/GFY romance.

5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Retro Read: See The Light Audiobook by Cassandra Carr Narrated by Jason Hilton

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17366214-see-the-light

Blurb:
Hockey player Jason Monroe lives a double life—star defenseman and soon-to-be Olympian on the ice and closeted gay man outside the rink. A serious relationship is out of the question, and Jason makes do with anonymous sex in barroom bathrooms, not willing to take the chance on coming out as gay in a decidedly macho sport.

Advisor to the US Olympic hockey team Patrick Parker knows a thing or two about being a professional hockey player who’s not out. He’s fifteen years older than Jason, and when he senses the sexy younger man is interested, he knows he shouldn’t give in to the attraction.

The two men can’t keep their hands off each other, though, and with each heated encounter it gets harder to hide their relationship. When their world blows up around them, forcing them into the limelight, though, will their love survive or be put on ice?

Review:

Wowee was this a sexy read. Jason “knows” he’s gay but has done very little to act upon this knowledge. He’s visited some clubs but never had a relationship and never really had the “full sexual experience” as he defines it (penetrative) and doesn’t know that he wants it. He’s a hockey player first and foremost and though he accepts that he likes men more than women, he’s not quite sure he’s comfortable identifying as a “gay man”, and he isn’t out to anyone.

Patrick is the opposite. He’s older. He’s had relationships. Though he still isn’t out professionally, he’s out to his friends and family. His interest in Jason at first is strictly professional, but when Jason begins acting peculiarly around him, he begins to have his suspicions. When he bravely acts on these suspicions he’s richly rewarded and the couple begins a deeply closeted affair, consisting of stolen moments over the course of months. They don’t even live in the same state, they have busy schedules and it is hard for them to be together.

The benefit of this is that Patrick can’t rush Jason or push him to doing anything that makes Jason uncomfortable and this helps ease Jason into accepting his sexuality more.
I thought the dialog between the guys felt very natural and masculine. Neither guy was overly “in touch with his feelings” much and so the natural hurdles that would exist between two recalcitrant males felt organic.

When the couple is in close contact during the Olympics things really begin to heat up. There is an uncomfortable moment when a homophobic slur is made that stops play during a game and Jason has a crisis of conscience about continuing his “straight” charade when others have to face discrimination without support. Patrick leaves the decision up to Jason on how much to reveal, advising that times might be changing, but there are never any guarantees.

Finally, an accident forces the couple to show their hands and they have to face the media, their team, and their family, and (especially hard for Jason) – themselves.
**
All in all, the story was really very well written. The slow movements toward couple-hood felt natural and well-paced. The sex was super hot and the emotions were real and fulfilling. I thought the hurdles were realistic and tackled in a way that seemed authentic.
The narrator did an excellent job. He has a very deep voice that really seemed to fit both Alpha Males and I really enjoyed his narration of their bantering dialog especially.
I hadn’t read the author or listened to the narrator before, but I will now be on the lookout! I highly recommend both the story and the audiobook and give both 4.5 of 5 stars.
Overall Impression:

4.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: Lover (Survivor #2) by T.M. Smith Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Lover-Audiobook/B07GZC4KV9?qid=1536329926&sr=sr_1_10&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_10&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=GX4Q07035T3SV4TE7PHD&

Blurb

Lover – A Survivor story

Life has not always been kind to Shannon Dupree. On the outside he’s carefree and fun loving, but when it comes to his past he’s evasive and secretive. Running away from emotionally bereft parents at just fifteen, Shannon escapes life with them but steps into the waiting arms of the devil.

Rory Landers is a rising star at the Bureau. His personal life, however, is nothing to write home about. He hopes to take his limited relationship with Frank Moore to the next level when they finally solve the Langford murder case, but that doesn’t turn out as planned. On the plus side, he meets free-spirited college senior Shannon Dupree.

Rand Davis finds himself fortysomething and single when his partner of more than a decade is unfaithful. Taking over the Cold Case Squad frees up some of his time, and Rand welcomes newfound friendships within the Langford-Moore family circle. He thinks relationships are not in the cards for him until he meets an agent with an attitude and a vivacious blond that make him want so much more.

Past, present, pain, and suffering collide, ushering in the possibility of a life and love worth fighting for. Although their personalities couldn’t be more different, their three hearts beat the same. Shannon, Rory, and Rand learn the definition of love, commitment, and strength and if they allow themselves, the trio will find all that and more—in each other.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I definitely enjoy this series. I thought book 1 was amazing and really heart wrenching at times. This had some of that same emotional pull but didn’t feel as tightly presented as book 1.

I’m not always a big fan of ménage and it has to be done right for me to enjoy it versus think it’s ok as far as the romance goes. For me – the chemistry and the hurt/comfort was right on target for this throuple – however, I didn’t always feel they were equal partners and that Rand sort of felt like a addition rather than integral to the overall success.

Perhaps if the story had gone on longer or the throuple had developed sooner I might feel differently – but we get to see these guys acting as a unit for only a very short time and while it has huge potential – I can’t say it’s more than HFN for me.

The writing/editing/pacing seemed up to the author’s usual standards and I think fans of her work will be pleased.

Recommended.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

Nick is awesome as always. He manages to keep each of the distinct voices in the throuple separate as well as unique and fitted to their character. He handles the emotions and drama well and makes their smexy times absolutely smolder!

I absolutely adore listening to this narrator and I always know he will not only do a writer’s words justice but that he will – in many cases – add to the overall experience and make it better!

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Get Paranormal: Angel’s Honor by Erin M Leaf

 

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/series/117290-angel-shifters

Blurb
Raphael had no idea what he was getting into when he went to Castle Archangel to study the People’s oral history. He didn’t expect his wings to suddenly change from brown to the purest white—the mark of an Omega, the destined mate of the Alpha. There has never been a male Omega before, not in all the millennia angels have flown the skies of Earth. However, when Raphael meets ebony-winged Gabriel, the true leader of the People, he knows he wants this man more than anything. Change is not always bad.

When Gabriel’s wings suddenly turn to startling ebony, he must deal with the knowledge that he is an Alpha, a leader of the angels. When he discovers that his destined mate is a man, he must accept that being Alpha of the People means accepting more than he’d expected. When their current leader challenges him, accusing Gabriel of committing one of the People’s most dishonorable crimes, Gabriel must fight: for his honor, for his mate, and for the survival of the angels.

Be Warned: m/m sex

Review

As you can see, I’ve been on an Erin kick! I’m not typically a fan of angel stories but I liked this one quite a bit.

I LOVED the change in form our MCs undergo and the GFY aspect of this was really well done. The flying and having sex – super hot!

The story was a bit too short for me to feel invested in, but for a short story it did well.

I skimmed the second book – it’s M/F and it didn’t work for me at all.

I’m interested in book 3 so I might pick that up.

I’ll definitely be skipping book 4 as it is m/m/f which I generally don’t like much at all and especially given how much I disliked book 2 I’ll be giving that a hard NO.

Recommended for angel fans.

3.5 of 5 stars

 


Copy Purchased for Review

Recently Released: Something About Us (Saint and Lucky #2) by Riley Hart

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41136356-something-about-us

Blurb

Falling in love was the easy part.

Lucky and Saint are head-over-heels for each other. It doesn’t matter that they met only a few months ago. It also doesn’t matter that this is Saint’s first real relationship and Lucky’s first with a man. They’re infatuated, happy, and excited to start their life together in LA.

It isn’t as easy as they thought.

Away from home for the first time and feeling like he has to compete with Saint’s experienced and cultured friends, Lucky is a fish out of water. Saint is still coming to grips with his recent loss while doing everything he can to keep Lucky happy. The only time things feel right is when they lock themselves away from the world—when they’re alone, everything is perfect.

But reality comes crashing back in to challenge them at every turn. Lucky and Saint need to learn how to stand together, as well as apart, if they’re to have any hope of making this last. They’re learning the hard way that “I love you” is when the real work begins.

Review

I’m not super big on sequels but I have to say that book 1 really begged for more and Riley delivered!

When we left Lucky and Saint we knew they had big hurdles facing them if they were going to make it work and this book shows us those hurdles.

There’s lots of hot smexy times and some great feels along the way.

For fans of book 1, this is a must!

(Not a standalone!)

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: The Drive (Close Proximity Book 3) by Erin M. Leaf

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41137628-the-drive?from_search=true

Blurb

Liam is done with love, but his daughter Portia has other plans. When he arrives to pick her up from college, she sets him up with her friend Charlie, and merrily heads off to her internship without them. Liam is left with an uncomfortable hard-on for Portia’s bestie, and a long drive to Vegas with a guy too young to know what to do with a guy Liam’s age.

Charlie thought he liked girls. More specifically, he thought he liked Portia, but when her dad offers him a ride home after graduation, he suddenly, shockingly realizes that he doesn’t like women at all. He likes Liam, and he wants to hook up as soon as possible, and maybe not ever let go. So, when Liam makes an offer he can’t refuse, what’s he supposed to do? Say no to the hottest person he’s ever met?

Review

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I wish this were longer! Erin really had me hooked with these two and their romance just moved so fast that was pretty unsatisfying.

I really wanted to see this May/December relationship roll out slowly and/or at least watch these two mesh their lives once it exploded into coupledom so quickly.

Liam was HOT and Charlie sounded perfect for him and I was even proud to see a positive female character portrayed in this story – woot!

In my perfect world we’d have gotten to either take more time getting to know these guys as individuals or spent more time with them as a couple – however –

For what it is – an erotic story about a car ride – it’s way hot!

4.25 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Relase: Handy Harry by Erin M. Leaf

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26850546-handy-harry?from_search=true

Blurb

Reclusive artist Rufus Ward’s house needs repair, but he hates demolition and dust. However, when handyman Harry Hande rings his doorbell, Rufus lets him in. He’s everything the famous painter likes in a man: young, sexy, and somewhat confused about his sexuality. Rufus thought he was done with dating, but Harry is hot enough to push him from loneliness into love.

Harry’s sensible demeanor disguises desperation. His brother is a jerk and he needs to move out, but his fledgling business isn’t quite ready to support him. Rufus is supposed to be just another client, but when they meet, all of Harry’s preconceived notions of attraction are demolished. Lust launches him into the dare of a lifetime. Will letting Rufus draw him nude destroy him, or will his true nature come out?

Review

This would totally have gotten all the stars had it been longer. I LOVED the GFY thing and the reclusive artist meets hot handy man thing but everything moved so fast L

I know this is erotica but there was enough there to make it more substantial – Erin Leaf is really good at character development – so I was hoping for more.

However, as far as fantasy “quickies” go – this is a winner! We get a bit of hot smexy times, some gay virgin sex and a lot of self discovery.

If you’re in the mood for something hot and fast – this is for you!

4.25 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Honest Review

Coming Soon! Q*Pid by Xavier Mayne

August 28!

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/qpid-by-xavier-mayne-9833-b

Blurb

Can a computer program understand love better than the human heart?

Archer, the AI at the dating service Q*pid, realizes humans don’t always make the best choices, so it begins making some unconventional choices for them.

Fox Kincade is the last of his group of friends to be single, so he’s delighted when he discovers a new match in his Q*pid app—one that, according to the new AI wizardry, should be the love of his life. Instead of the woman he’s expecting, he’s paired with Drew Larsen, a shy, somewhat nerdy PhD student who has also grown discouraged with romance.

Drew and Fox have little in common—aside from the fact that they’re both straight. Or so they thought. But as the guys get to know each other, they realize Archer might have the right idea. Their path isn’t smooth, because both need to overcome every idea they have about themselves and what true love might look like. But with the help of Archer—and some friends who have stuck with Fox and Drew through the thick and thin of their relationship trials—they might find their way into each other’s hearts.

Review by Morgan

 

This is a fun trope – the GFY trope and a double GFY – YES – sign me up! I absolutely loved this. It was sweet, romantic and my only (small) complaint was that I wish we’d had more smexy times.

What I love about this story is what I fell in love with in Frat House Troopers: great character development and a (mostly) believable way for two “straight” guys to fall in love! Where FHT had a little more pull for me was there was more “exploration” in the bedroom that I missed with this couple.

However – the upside is we definitely get a lot of emotional bonding and the end result is a really romantic story with a touch of heat.

If you’re a fan of the author or the trope – this is recommended for you!

5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Review by Karen

Cute and enjoyable read! Very well-paced story with a lot of funny moments and teasing banter between the MC’s.

I was pleasantly surprised by this original take on the Gay/Out For You trope, focusing very much on emotional compatibility and building a friendship first. Love and attraction come after, or at least, are only acknowledged after.

At first glance, the MC’s, Drew and Fox, couldn’t be more different. Not exactly “match made in heaven” material. Even worse, they both identify as straight, so it throws them for a loop when Archer, the Q*Pid AI, matches them. A 99.5 percent match no less!! In spite of all that, they each take a chance and start dating each other anyway – I mean casually meeting up – as friends do… in a friendly manner.

Drew and Fox are so genuine when they are together, falling into friendship/love almost seamlessly.
I loved that! If only Fox wouldn’t stay so willfully blind to his feelings! How many interventions from his bestie Chad does that man need?

I adored the secondary characters in this story, especially the two most important ones, Chad and Mrs. Schwartzmann. They are quirky, loyal and a lot of fun, as well as excellent friends to Drew and Fox, giving them a piece of their mind when they need it. Which is often.
Though I don’t know if Mrs. Schwartzmann needed to sound quite so much like a yenta channeling her inner Yoda.

I’d have liked it better if the author would have left the question of Archer’s independence, or the possibility of him going rogue, a bit more open. I think it a pity that his “acting up” was so neatly explained away.

A lot of attention was given to Veera and Archer, explaining the AI and the Q*pid app, to make it sound plausible and the risks more real.
I hope that means the author has other Q*Pid books planned!

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Review by Sorel

 

This is an interesting book in that the story is told from three points of view. Drew, Fox and Veera, the woman who designed and programed Archer, the AI matchmaker.

 

When Veera programed Archer it wasn’t just to match dating profiles based on what the clients said, it was also to learn from how they used the internet, their reactions to memes and social media, but all within the parameters of the original profiles. Then one day, because of a communication error, Archer ignores the sexual orientation parameter and matches two straight men. Drew and Fox.

 

What follows is the story of these guys, both serial daters, who meet to laugh over the mismatch, then become friends and finally find the love they had been looking for.

 

I found both the main characters likeable, although Fox’s attitude to dating women seemed calculated and clinical, which was slightly off putting. But overall this a good fun story.

The cast of side characters were a great addition to the tale, especially Mrs. Schwartzmann, Drew’s elderly neighbor and best friend. Also dropping in on Veera and her chats with Archer added an interesting element to the story.

 

Overall, this was a fun book to read.

 

 

4 out of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review