Time to get scared: Rhapsody for Piano and Ghost Audiobook by Z.A. Maxfield Narrated by Douglas Berger

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11444405-rhapsody-for-piano-and-ghost?from_search=true

Blurb

Fitz Gaffney finally has some breathing room. His mother’s out of town, his piano teachers have backed off, and he gets to spend time at a school where he only has to be adequate for an entire year before all his responsibilities comes crashing back in again. With this freedom comes the realization that he’s lonely, but his first attempt at dating goes horribly awry.

Fitz’s new — but possibly imaginary — friends, Julian and Serge, want to help him find happiness. His used-to-be-stepbrother Ari Scheffield wants to help him gain confidence and a little much-needed cool. His housekeeper Marguerite wants to keep fowl in the back yard for butchering because duck confit is expensive and she has pillows to re-stuff. And his possible new boyfriend Garrett wants to prove he didn’t mean for their first date to end with Fitz lying unconscious in a dumpster.

All Fitz wants is someone who cares about him, and suddenly there seems to be a glut. How’s a shy guy to know what’s real when he’s confronted by crazy ghosts, a less than truthful boyfriend, and relatives with hidden motives? It’s a Rhapsody For Piano And Ghost.

Review

I had a hard getting into this book at first so I switched from reading it to listening to it and I became enthralled. I love how the chapter titles give a little foreshadowing but are also quite humorous. Fitz starts off as a gullible, naïve, absent minded piano prodigy. He’s used to being in the background but then something miraculous happens…he’s approached by a guy, and not any guy, an extremely attractive guy. Throughout the story we have to wonder at Garrett’s motives and while its never really said outright what his plans are they become pretty obvious to everyone except Fitz. After a disastrous date, Fitz finds himself being taken care of by Julian and Serge, two dapper men who rescue him from a garbage bin. Eventually Fitz realized that they are ghosts. We also get introduced to Ari, who comes to Fitz’s rescue. Ari, who is Fitz’s older ex-stepbrother, is a handsome, sophisticated ex-boyband member. I really enjoyed Fitz’s journey from blinding lust with Garrett, to discovering what true love is with Ari. The ghost’s Serge and Julian are a great comic relief but their backstory is absolutely heartbreaking. There are a few sexy scenes and the last few chapters have a good bit of action. This is a very well romance with a paranormal aspect.

The narrator, Douglas Berger is a complete unknown to me, but overall he did a good job with this book. He had distinctive accents for the ghost’s, but at times Fitz, Garret and Ari all sound the same and towards the end when Ari is saying sexy dialog he slips into some blend of Julian and Serge. It was confusing because I thought it was the ghosts talking. I had to go back to the book and read the section to clear it up. He has a good voice and kept the flow of the story moving so I will most likely get another book narrated by him in the future.

Book 5 stars
Audio 3.5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

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


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: Love You so Madly by Tara Lain Narrated by Ry Forest

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-madly-by-tara-lain-9634-b

Blurb
A Love You So story.
Ben Shane has it all…and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.
Though Dusty is odd for a 23-year-old – no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive – the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus?
He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work. After all, Ben’s perfect…and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only mad in love.

Review

Story-Love You So Madly is the second book in the Love You So Stories but can easily be read as a standalone. This is a pretty short read/listen about a guy, Ben who works hard for a charitable foundation. He seems to have the perfect life. Rich, attentive fiancée Alan, who wants to give him the world. A job, that even though it requires long hours, he gets to help people, which he loves. But underneath the surface Ben isn’t as happy as he seems. He doesn’t want to be a trophy husband to his rich boyfriend, he wants to make a difference in the world. Ben has noticed the office handyman, the stunningly attractive Dusty for a while but has hardly ever talked to him. Eventually that all changed and Dusty starts to help Ben out with some renovation problems he’s been having. Ben starts to notice some weird quirks about Dusty as the two get to know each other. As the two men grow closer to each other Ben struggles with his attraction to Dusty and his failing relationship Alan. After Dusty has a health scare Ben finally realizes what he wants and goes about making the changes in his life.

I found this to be a very light, fast paced book. The two main characters were sweet and funny. I did at some points find Dusty’s mother to be a bit over bearing but after finding out about past issues I could kind of get why she was like that. The one thing I didn’t like was towards the end, when Dusty and Ben finally get together, they had sex after their “first” date. I don’t think it needed to be in the story. It felt rather rushed and out of place. I would have been just as happy not to have it there. Other than that I found this to be a delightful book and series so far.

Story-4 stars

Narration-Ry Forest seems to be a fairly new narrator. I have only listened to one other book he has narrated, and I have the same issue with both books. Ry has a very attractive voice that kept me enthralled. He puts a lot of enthusiasm in his narrations but at times this can be very over the top (like when he “voices” a moan or laugh). He keeps the story going and I didn’t have any other issues, except the moaning/laughing parts, but I will most like still pick up an audio narrated by him in the future.

Narration-4 stars

Overall 4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to get scared: My Dark Knight by KA Merikan

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34536195-my-dark-knight?from_search=true

Blurb
Love or hate. Life or death. No inbetween. No compromise. No rules in love and war.

Knight. Party monster. Handsome Savage. Doesn’t do monogamy.
Elliot. Obsessive. Intense. Uncompromising.

Newly single, Knight is done with relationships. All he’s interested in is bringing down The Count, an Internet personality who is tarnishing his family name. An opportunity to crush him comes when the audacious clown shows up at the Kings of Hell MC clubhouse to film for his YouTube channel. But when Knight meets Elliot, the man behind The Count, he no longer knows what to do with him.

Knight has never seen a more pathetic creature than Elliot. He’s also never met anyone who needed him more. Skinny, messed up, and a bucket of trouble as thick as tar, everything Elliot does seems to be a wordless death wish. No matter how much Knight hates Elliot’s alter ego, under the makeup and theatrics hides a fragile young guy with a passion for history, and Knight can’t help but catch Elliot every time he falls.

Elliot has bad taste in men. Always hopelessly attracted to violent brutes, his favorite is a long dead serial killer. But he gets more than he’s bargained for when he seizes an opportunity to meet the man of his dreams. The ghost is manipulative and dangerous, offering Elliot all he’s always wanted, for a price he can’t possibly pay.

Elliot is faced with an impossible choice between two men.
One alive, one dead.
One carnal and honest, one drizzling sweet, poisoned promises into his ear.
One unwilling to commit, the other promising an eternity together.
And Elliot doesn’t settle for half-measures. He craves a love that is all or nothing, passion that will consume him, and desire to burn him alive.
Elliot is ready to either get that, or die trying

 

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
Themes: enemies to lovers, protector, cruelty, motorcycle club, alternative lifestyles, demons, tattoos, impossible choices, deception, crime, self-discovery, healing, black magic, gothic, commitment, ghosts, possession

Genre: Dark, paranormal romance 
Erotic content: Scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes

Length: ~145,000 words (Book 2 in the series, can be read as a standalone, but it’s recommended to read book 1 first)

WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, offensive language, and morally ambiguous characters.

Review
This is one terrific ghost story that pulls in murder, lies and obsession but not I would say a love story as such. It’s a very dark story that made me feel uncomfortable at times. Elliott is an unsettling character. From early on I had the impression he had mental health issues with the level of obsession and his desperation to be wanted. Maybe this is unfair I will leave you to make up your own mind. What he desperately wants is some to love and focus on him. When Elliott feels hurt or insecure he makes questionable choices, which leads Knight to rescue him. At the heart of the story is a triangle between Knight, Elliott and the ghost of William Fane. Knight saves Elliott who’s obsessed with the ghost of William Fane, a serial killer from early 19 Century.
Elliott has a kink for humiliation, he wants his partner to use and control him in the bedroom but equally to take care and protect him. Knight got his nickname by being the White Knight out to save the damsel in distress. Only problem is Elliott gets jealous and reckless when he sees philandering Knight with someone else. Cue one manipulative ghost who entices Elliott to do his bidding. Fane is cruel and Elliott suffers once he lets him get a hold. This is where the pace picks up. Beast and Laurent, the main characters from book 1, come more into the story from this point. You are given a synopsis of book 1 so this can be read stand-alone. Personally I think to get the most out of it read book 1. Stick with the slower ground setting first part it’s worth it to get to the dark twisted second half with ghosts and demon. KA Merikan are terrific descriptive writers a this works so well for both the sex scenes and the dark scenes.

4 of stars out of 5

Purchased by reviewer

Time to get Scared: Abercrombie Zombie by KZ Snow

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11719825-abercrombie-zombie?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Dead folks are the best friends of Quinn McConnell and Hunter Janz. Dead folks pay the bills for this team of psychic mediums . . . but just barely. To make it into the financial comfort zone, they need to outshine their competition.

Quinn needs even more than that. He’s been infatuated with his partner for the nearly three years they’ve been together, and if he can’t either get over his crush or make something happen with Hunter, they’ll have to split up. Sexual tension and unrequited love can wreak havoc with a psychic’s reception.

Salvation comes hobbling along in the form of a well-dressed but ravaged-looking man who can clearly see and converse with the dearly departed. Why? Because, he claims, he has something in common with them: He’s also been dead. The zombie who calls himself Dustin DeWind needs the psychics’ help in finding the man who made him what he is. In return, he promises to steer them toward the often elusive spirits that are their stock in trade.
But something more goes on when Quinn and Hunter forge an uneasy alliance with Dustin DeWind. It seems he’s also nudging them toward each other.

Review:

A totally different take on zombies – well, this zombie anyway.
The blurb gives the bones of the story, but it doesn’t prepare you for the murder/mystery, subtle humour, some pop culture references or the life lessons you get out of the story.
The humour and some of the pop culture are intertwined; the zombie is called Dustin DeWind – I didn’t know it was the name of a song, instead I thought it a tongue-in-cheek reference to zombies being dead (dust to dust …). Still thought it was amusing☺.
The way Dustin became a zombie is different, which makes him a different type of zombie – one that doesn’t eat brains – for starters ☺
When Dustin meets up with Quinn and Hunter, Dustin inadvertently stirs up a mini drama between the 2 psychics, especially with Quinn who’s been in love with Hunter for some time. Quinn has managed to keep it to himself until circumstances change to bring those feelings up front. The way the unrequited love angle is handled really well – hardly any angst, but you feel Quinn’s hurt.

When all 3 men get better acquainted, it turns out they all need each other – and this is the meat of the story. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the story evolved, and because the story is so unique, it’s best you read it to see how it progresses and ends.

I really enjoyed it.

4 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

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

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

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

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review by Mary 

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

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: The Cat that Snared the Tom (Shifter’s Regime #2) by Charlie Richards

Extasy Presents

http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2229-5-the-cat-that-snared-the-tom/

Blurb

For over a century, Lachlan Addair worked for the Shifter Council as an enforcer. When the ruling body decided to open a new investigative branch, Lachlan was the first to volunteer. Infiltrating and exploring a shifter unit without detection is right up his curious cat’s alley. When Lachlan’s duty to report the causes of strife within a lynx pride has him slipping into Councilman Goldstein’s estate undetected—just for fun, of course—Lachlan stumbles across Thad—his mate. Unfortunately, the wild turkey shifter is standoffish and brusque. He doesn’t trust Lachlan and makes no secret that he thinks the mate-pull is nothing but a trick of the pheromones—something he’s determined to ignore. Lachlan loves a good puzzle and is undeterred. He admires Thad’s loyalty and uses his extensive wiles to cultivate a little of that for himself. When Lachlan is injured wrapping up a case, will it be the catalyst his mate uses to reject Lachlan—his job could bring so much danger to his flock, after all—and send him on his way?

Review

Charlie Richards is a comforting read for me. I like seeing familiar faces, I know what’s going to happen in the story and there’s usually something sweet or fun that surprises me and keeps thing interesting.

I think you’re ok reading this as a standalone but book 1 would help and knowing the entire story – like a million books long by now! – makes it even better.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Mr. September by Bailey Bradford

Pride Publishing:

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/mr-september

Blurb
Summer fades into fall, but the heat isn’t letting up for this calendar man.
Enzo Mueller was glad to help out with the calendar shoot. His little sister, Nat, has been in remission for years and he’d do anything to help find a cure for childhood cancer—even if all he can do is pose for a charity event. That, and work three jobs so he can take care of her since their parents split a long time ago.
But raising a teenager and having a personal life are two things he doesn’t think can coexist. He’s resigned himself to being alone, aside from Nat, until he gets her through college. After all, no man in his right mind would want to deal with Enzo’s crazy work schedule.
Tony met Enzo when he waited on their table. Ever since then, Tony’s had Enzo on his mind, and when he runs into him again, something clicks between them. Tony’s daughter, Ina, finished her last cancer treatments weeks ago and she’s in remission. He’s been focused on her since before she was born, but now, one man is making him wonder if it isn’t possible to have more in life than he’d expected.

Review

This was a great little story about two men who have spent the last few years of their lives taking care of someone they dearly love. Tony is a single father, who’s young daughter finally beat her fight with leukemia. He has been secretly pinning over Mr. September, Enzo. He seems to be running into him a lot, at his daughter’s favorite restaurant and the gas station. Enzo has also noticed Tony and his young daughter Ina, but between his three jobs and looking after his 17 year old sister, he doesn’t really have time for dating. Things finally come to a head when Tony shows up at the restaurant alone, and both men admit to the attraction burning between them.
I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series and it is fine as a stand alone. I was a little shocked that this ended up being a shifter book. Maybe shifters play a bigger role in the previous books but here it seemed out of place. Its only mentioned a few times and even then its almost like an after though. Aside from that I enjoyed this book overall. The chemistry between the two men is off the charts. I will definitely be going back and reading the previous books in the Calender Men series.

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get scared: Unchained by Ainsley Gray

Good reads link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41318018-unchained?from_search=true

Blurb

If he takes their life, they can never truly leave.

That’s the mantra Noah Wilmington has lived by for years. He picks up whores and deviants from the local taverns, enjoys their company for an evening…and then hides their bodies in the woods.

Edward Yorke has approached the same man in the same public house time and again, never deterred by the cool dismissal he receives. There’s something about Noah that calls to him. A shared pain, a shared sadness…

But Noah doesn’t trust himself. It’s too risky to permit someone too close, and Edward is the one person in the world whose life Noah wants to spare. So, every time Edward has asked to buy him a drink, Noah declines.

Then one night, out of sheer loneliness, that “no” becomes a “yes.”

When Edward’s night with him sheds light on some of Noah’s dark secrets, Noah cannot simply let him walk out the door. But if he doesn’t want Edward dead, and he can’t let him leave, only one option really remains…

(Unchained is a gay Victorian-era romance novella with a HEA.)

Review
This was a truly thrilling read! Loved it!!
I don’t make a habit of reading stories with criminal or murderous MC’s, because I find them difficult to like or relate too, but this one came so highly recommended (Riley Hart, Christina Lee) that I felt I needed to take a chance. And wow… I’m so glad I did!

It’s an odd & slightly uncomfortable feeling to be rooting for a serial killer, a rather unrepentant one at that, and not even one who tries to stick to killing “other monsters” like, say, Dexter. The places our mind can go to in a fictional world… If nothing else, this is a great testament to the incredible skill of this author.

There’s such a scary and unsettling atmosphere permeating this book. Danger lurking behind every corner. You’re never at ease, because even when things seem to be going alright and you’re tempted to let down your guard…you’re really just waiting for that axe to fall.
And for all that I knew something was coming, must be coming…I was still completely taken aback when it did. On more than one occasion.

The writing is beautiful and evocative. Words flowing smoothly along, setting the mood perfectly and drawing us a wonderfully clear picture of enigmatic Noah and Edward and the world they live in. The late nineteenth century serves as an ideal background for their story.
Both Noah and Edward are very compelling MC’s, flaws and all. And though at first glance they seem really different, because duh “serial-killer”, they also have something important in common. They have both known great sadness and pain in their youth, and as a result are very much alone, and lonely, in their own way.

In a wonderful twist, we also have the prey actually stalking the predator. Unknowingly, of course.
I also loved that Noah, though the most dangerous one of the two men, is physically the least imposing, being smaller and less muscled than Edward. Brilliantly done!

This book put me in mind of the fable of the Scorpion and the Turtle, with the Scorpion staying true to his nature, no matter the consequences, even for himself. What would be the stronger force here? Nature or…?

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 

 

 

 

Copy Purchased for Review