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

Audiobook: The Spencer Cohen Series Book 2 by NR Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

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Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Spencer-Cohen-Series-Book-Two-Audiobook/B07BQDJL1Q?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=E72JXFKVFQGFPZN93SX1&

Blurb

Finally going from fake-boyfriends to the real thing, Spencer Cohen and Andrew Landon are trying to take things slow. They know what they have could be something special and despite the flammable sexual tension, they don’t want to crash and burn.

Spencer is learning to open up, sharing the secrets of his past with Andrew. Afraid to put his heart on the line, yet seemingly unable to stop it, Spencer knows he’s falling in love with him. Andrew is petrified of leaping in blindly, yet it seems the slower they go, the faster they fall.

As they navigate their new relationship, Spencer worries Andrew will freak out when he takes on a new client. But it’s not a normal case and Spencer soon realises things are not what they seem. When things take a downward turn and they work together to help the client, Spencer and Andrew need to decide if they’re ready for the next step.

Review

This picks up literally where book one stops. Spencer has just confessed his true feelings for Andrew and is recovering from the bender he took thinking he’d lost Andrew forever.

The two agree to “date for real” and thus begins their dance around intimacy and relationship protocols and sex.

Luckily, NR Walker is an amazing writer and what should have felt ridiculously long and drawn out – doesn’t! It’s fun to watch these guys navigate their relationship and all the sudden Andrew has the upper hand, simply because he’s been in a relationship before, where Spencer hasn’t.

There is a side drama with a new client of Spencer’s and some red flags get raised that threaten everyone’s happiness – but even that seems to resolve in a way that will either end happily in book three or lend itself to it’s own new series.

I’m really enjoying this series and loving these guys as a couple and I can’t wait for their big happy moment in book three to arrive!

Audio

Joel does another amazing job. He just gets better and better! I loved the voices he chose for all the secondary characters and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 3( releasing on May8) !

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39711956-robby-riverton?from_search=true

Blurb

Being a fugitive in the old west shouldn’t be this much fun.

The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run–all the way to Santa Fe. When he still hasn’t ditched his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters that want to kill him, and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is — and can’t resist him.

Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up. Disguised as a woman. And betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complication enough, Trace had to find the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch, and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.

Damn, what a kerfuffle. If only Trace can get rid of the fugitive while hanging on to his own stupid heart.

Review

First, let me tell you how psyched I was for this. So psyched! Because Eli is one of my favs, this looks hysterical and one of my fav f/m tropes is the “mail order bride/forced marriage” scenarios.

Second, this surpassed my expectations by also being ridiculously touching – more on this in a bit.

I was wondering how the heck Eli could pull this off. Who would be fooled for long enough for this to work out and what would the long term game be. Well – she came up with a great plot and it totally made sense and kept me rooting for Robby. (If I have any complaints is that there is maybe too much lead in to the story and not enough post time with our couple as a couple… however that is a lot on taste.)

Trace is also another perfect MC for his role and plays it well. His family and their “secret” kept me laughing out loud! I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that Robby likes to control things and has no problem brining Pa to hand – and it was one of my favorite parts of this story!

(All in all this was a wonderful “period” story from the old west that felt authentic and plausible in what should have been totally implausible. While I am eternally grateful for not living during those times, I believe she portrayed them accurately.)

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Laugh: Behind the Curtain Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Hugh Bradley

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/behind-the-curtain-by-amy-lane-6070-b

Blurb

Dawson Barnes recognizes his world is very small and very charmed. Running his community college theater like a petty god, he and his best friend, Benji know they’ll succeed as stage techs after graduation. His father adores him, Benji would die for him, and Dawson never doubted the safety net of his family, even when life hit him below the belt.

But nothing prepared him for falling on Jared Emory’s head.

Aloof dance superstar Jared is a sweet, vulnerable man and Dawson’s life suits him like a fitted ballet slipper. They forge a long-distance romance from their love of the theater and the magic of Denny’s. At first it’s perfect: Dawson gets periodic visits and nookie from a gorgeous man who “gets” him—and Jared gets respite from the ultra-competitive world of dancing that almost consumed him.

That is until Jared shows up sick and desperate and Dawson finally sees the distance between them concealed painful things Jared kept inside. If he doesn’t grow up—and fast—his “superstar” might not survive his own weaknesses. That would be a shame, because the real, fragile Jared that Dawson sees behind the curtain is the person he can see spending his life with.

Review:

This is a sweet story of two people, seemingly in opposite phases of life, coming together and finding love.  Dawson is totally adorkable and Jared is too cool for school.  They are utterly perfect for each other!

Amy is so good at giving us these bony limbed-kersplang-awkward characters that you can’t help but absolutely adore and then pairing them with a masterful, solid, yet somehow broken-needing-to-be-fixed character.  Dawson says all these ridiculous things and it just works.  Just when you think Dawson is the one who needs to grow up, you realize that, no, he is the rock in this relationship and poor Jared is the one who needs to be rescued.

Amy also excels at “friends” and Dawson’s friends (and family) are so wonderful and though they may try to steal the story, they only add to its richness and texture, by giving it greater depth.

The dialog in this book is funny, sweet, touching and wonderful, just like Jared and Dawson’s love for each other. I really enjoyed these guys and I hope we get to see them in future books, I didn’t want this one to end! 

Audio:

The narrator, Hugh Bradley, is new to me, but I will definitely look for him in the future. He did an amazing job, really brining the characters to life with his voices and inflection. He seemed to really “get” Dawson and Jared and their story. Sometimes a narrator can mess up a story for you, if you have already read it and already have a feel for the characters in your head. But Hugh seemed to be reading the same story as me, and I really enjoyed listening to his version. I highly recommend this audible as a companion to the book or all on its own.

6 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: The Ghost Slept Over by M. Thornton narrated by Jason Frazier

audiobookreview

Audible Link: https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/The-Ghost-Slept-Over-Audiobook/B079H35TVJ?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=M4AEX5HFFF1CJP6D62DM&

Blurb:
When failed actor Cal Parsons travels to rural New York to claim the estate of his famous and estranged ex-partner, he discovers something he wasn’t expecting – the ghost of his ex! And, worse, his ex invites Cal to join him for all eternity. Now.

As Cal attempts to rid himself of the ghost by any means, he begins to fall for the attractive attorney representing the estate. Will Cal be able to begin a new relationship, or will he be seduced into the ever after?

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/spooky-the-ghost-slept-over-by-marshall-thornton/

I had really enjoyed the story, so I jumped at the chance to listen to the audiobook. I really liked the narration.
Jason Frazier did a good job, especially with the range of voices from Cal, Dewey and the females in the story. He made an already humourous story very entertaining. I’ll be looking for more of his narrations.

4 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

An Actor’s Guide to Romance by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead

release day review

Pride Publishing Presents

 

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/an-actors-guide-to-romance

Blurb

When long-time theatrical enemies are cast as lovers, their late-night rehearsal brings a whole new meaning to method acting. For twenty years, Adam Fisher and Thomas Fox have been the best of enemies. From their first meeting at drama school to shared stages, shared bills and a competition to amass the most illustrious awards, they have been the names on every theatregoers’ lips. Separately they can sell out an entire run in an hour, so when they’re cast as lovers in London’s hottest new play, the tickets are gone in minutes. But for rakish Adam and gentlemanly Thomas, the small matter of their first on-stage kiss is causing a headache for everyone. Over a bottle of wine on one rainy night in the city, these two acting legends will do whatever it takes to banish their first-night nerves. After all, as everyone knows, the show must go on!

Review

 This is a fun, short story! I love the enemies-to-lovers trope and this one is very well done, especially for a short story.
Thomas, (do not call me Tom), and Adam are rival actors, both popular in their own right. Someone had the bright idea to pair them together in a play, a romantic play – one where they have to share a kiss!
The story is humourous and sweet. The way the 2 men get together was delightful; I especially liked the way they let it happen naturally, without doubt or angst. I loved it!

4 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Buried Passions by Andrew Grey

release day review 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/buried-passions-by-andrew-grey-9243-b

Blurb

When Broadway actor Jonah receives word that his uncle has passed away and named him the heir to a property in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Jonah’s plan is to settle the estate as quickly as possible and return to his life in New York City. Much to Jonah’s surprise, the inheritance includes the Ashford Cemetery—and its hunky groundskeeper, recent Bosnian immigrant Luka Pavelka.

Jonah soon discovers Luka is more than easy on the eyes. He sees into Jonah’s heart like no man ever before, and his job at the cemetery is all he has. If Jonah sells, Luka is left with nothing. Luka is there for Jonah when Jonah needs someone most, and there’s no denying the chemistry and connection between them. But Jonah has a successful career back in New York. Now he must decide if it’s still the life he wants….

Review

This is not one of my favourite Andrew Grey books. I just didn’t connect with it but it might have been because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind after the Christmas break. Having said that this is a well written low angst love story. Jonah is certain of his path in life. He is an actor and loves the stage. An Uncle Jonah hasn’t seen for a long time leaves him some property and since the last play has finished he goes to investigate. Jonah expects to sell the property and get back as soon as possible. What he doesn’t expect is to lust after Luca. When I read this scene I imagined Jonah’s eyes bugging out and jaw dropping when he first saw Luca, just like a cartoon character. Let’s just say they got hot and heavy very quickly. There is certainly chemistry between them. Luca is not looking for love exactly but being a recent immigrant he is longing for somewhere to belong. With Jonah he finds both love and a sense of finding a home. This is a story of choices and re-evaluation. Jonah thought his life was going in the right direction but after his Uncles bequest he questions this and has to make the choice between Love and career. I did like the story but as I said earlier for some reason it didn’t grip me.

 

3 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Deal Maker by Lily Morton

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36801370-deal-maker?from_search=true

Blurb

Sometimes your mouth makes deals that your heart can’t honour.

Jude is a highly successful model, but a very reluctant one. His life is full of casual hook-ups with pretty men in glamorous locations, but it’s still empty. However, circumstances decreed a long time ago that this was his path, so he’s resolutely stayed on it and accepted his fate with good grace. He made a deal with himself and his hook-ups. Get in, get out and no ties with anyone.

However, an accident at home one night leads to him making a new deal and accepting the offer of help from an unlikely source. It leads to an unexpected summer of falling in love with a larger than life man and his child.

But by the end of the summer his reasons for not staying are still valid. Will he turn away? Can he?

Asa is a talented actor who has spent time away from the scene to look after his son. But now he’s back, and the last thing he needs are complications from the gorgeous man who is staying with him. Scarred from too many betrayals, he has no intention of forming a lasting tie with anyone. However, he can’t resist the beautiful man with secrets, and to his horror he develops feelings.

But a deal’s a deal and they said it was just for the summer. What can Asa do with a man who has forever in his eyes and goodbye on his lips?

Review

This book had me smiling, chuckling or ‘aww’ing throughout! There are some sober moments, but even those have a thread of humour.
The story starts with Jude, Dean and a neighbour’s bathtub – Dean is funny, but a few cells short of a working brain! Jude needs a place to stay, so Dean, his current hookup offers up his half-brother, Asa’s, place to stay. There is just one small detail Dean forgot to mention: Asa is not aware of the offer ….
We meet Billy, (Asa’s son), who won’t let Jude into the house without the password -that scene had me chuckling. Then Asa and Jude meet. They start off okay, but eventually end up on the wrong foot, with hilarious consequences!

The writing is very good, engaging and entertaining. I particularly love Billy – out of the mouth of babes (he has some gems) and Amos, who is brilliant as the voice of doom, (he reminds me of Alan Rickman).
There is so much to say about this book; it’s fun, heartwarming, touching, but I won’t be able to do it justice. All I can say is that I highly recommend this story.

I loved it.

5 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Holidays: Trading Tridents (Advent 2017) by CM Taylor

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

DecemberCon 2017. John Perlan, aka YouTuber “SmileyNibor,” has come to the con for one reason and one reason only: to see his idol, actor Derek Kitow. And since Derek has announced he’ll be dressed as the original Aquaman, Perlan decides to come as the Aquaman reboot. It helps that he already has the beard and the bod to make a convincing Momoaman.

But when Derek Kitow makes his entrance, he recognizes Perlan from his tiny YouTube channel and wants him onstage! Has Kitow been following him online? Could SmileyNibor’s hero also be a fan? And what exactly does Kitow have in mind by inviting Perlan to meet him after the panel?

Review

Cosplay is a way to emulate a character or actor you idolize or fan girl over, so when John learns that his idol Derek Kitow is coming to the Decembercon dressed as the original Aquaman he creates a costume that is the rebooted version. He also put out a YouTube video of him making his Trident.

What is it like to come face to face with your idol? What is it like that your idol knows who you are and wants you. Of course there are a few more surprises in the story that you just don’t see coming. Still you end with a smile as they end their evening.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Holidays: Pining for Perfect (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Ki Brightly

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

Stokely leads a solitary life, trying to do all the right things. He has a solid, respectable job, a properly decorated, respectable apartment, and goes to work every single day, no matter what. But it’s Christmas, and he hates Christmas, especially since his one guilty pleasure, listening to Asher Banks on the radio, is ruined with upbeat, holiday garbage.

Asher is the polar opposite—he loves Christmas to a fault and schedules himself into the ground with fundraisers to help the local community. When Asher and Stokely meet during one of the holiday spectacles Asher has thrown together, sparks fly, but neither one of them has ever had a real Christmas—or a real home. Will they be able to make one with each other?

Review:

A slow burn romance done well in fewer than 70 pages. The men bond over being foster kids. Stokley is the more stoic of the 2 men, so it was interesting seeing Asher wear him down with his cheery attitude. I liked how the story flowed, especially as Stokely warmed up, but his warmth and love was reserved for Asher only. Stokely still doesn’t like Christmas … ☺

3.5 stars out of 5

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