Recently Released: Push (Music in Motion #1) by B.L. Morticia

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/push-by-blmorticia-9916-b

Blurb

Music In Motion: Book One

Malakei Oakley, aka rapper M. Prophet, is at the top of his game—but deep in the closet. Handsome, wealthy, and successful as the head of 315East Entertainment, Malakei should be on cloud nine. Despite his awards and a Midas touch that has every musician clamoring to work with him, something is missing.

Seth “Reaper” Davies is ready for stardom. His band High Stakes plays to small, packed houses all over Birmingham and London but has yet to get their big break. But Seth isn’t giving up on his dream—no matter what it takes.

A viral video prompts a message from a person he doesn’t expect—the talented M. Prophet. Their musical styles are worlds apart, and Seth has no desire to change his style to sell records. But his curiosity—and his attraction to Malakei—wins out.

Malakei can’t get Seth out of his mind. He also can’t come out without ruining his reputation. No matter how much he wants the sexy singer, his only option is to push Seth away. But he’s about to find out Seth isn’t one to give up on what he wants—and he might be just what Malakei needs.

Review

Ok – there’s a lot about this I want to say – and I want to be as fair as possible.

1) I thought there were parts that were very compelling – the bias against LGBTQ in hip hop, the reluctance to lose face, the authenticity of the lives led by both MCs and their people
2) I didn’t buy the language used by either MC – it felt too over the top and didn’t feel at all what actual people would say – either to themselves or their families/friends
3) I never liked Seth. Malakei was a sweetie and Seth seemed like an asshole over and over so I never got invested in their relationship.
4) The making out with the ex thing never sat well with me and I didn’t think it needed to be on page
5) I didn’t understand why Seth would have a secret crush on someone everyone thinks is straight and whom he doesn’t really even like musically
In the end – though there was a lot about this that had potential I never bought in and as a result I can say I just didn’t like and can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day: Lincoln’s Park by Parker Williams

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lincolns-park-by-parker-williams-9912-b

Blurb
A Links In the Chain Story
Lincoln Merriweather was born an entitled brat with a silver spoon lodged so deep, it might never have come out. At the BDSM club or in business, Lincoln was a storm, blowing in and disrupting the lives of everyone he touched, until the day he met a man who peeled away the tarnished layers to expose a decent person.
Lincoln found—then lost—love.
Since then, he’s tried to atone for his past, including walking away from his family’s wealth. He opened a diner, hiring people to work for him that he would have spit on before his epiphany. He’s found peace, which he’s about to lose to a hazel-eyed man.
Noel Simmons wound up on the street when his parents discovered he was gay. His path leads him to Lincoln’s diner, where he asks for a job. He’s thrilled when Lincoln agrees to hire him, but finds his new boss perplexing. Can anyone be this kind and decent?
What starts out as business becomes something more. Noel discovers he needs Lincoln in order to feel safe. Lincoln needs Noel to complete him. But when Lincoln’s past gets in the way of his present, will the two have a future?

Review by Aerielle

First off I have to say that there are some slight BDSM elements in this story. It’s very mild though. I really enjoyed all the character’s in this story. Lincoln is a man on a mission of redemption and Noel is a young man in search of acceptance. Lincoln walks away from his former life and tries to help as many people as he can. Noel gets kicked out after coming out to his parents and ends up in a shelter. He goes to Lincolns diner and asks for a job. Lincoln is immediately attracted to Noel and doesn’t hesitate to help him. Noel, who is not used to kindness is suspicious at first, but with the help of the other workers he sees that Lincoln is genuine. Even though both men are attracted to each other neither one acts on their feelings. Noel ends up getting really sick which causes Lincoln to finally act on his feelings. Noel does come off as a soft and meek character but towards the end he shows how far he will go to protect Lincoln. I really enjoy redemption and finding family stories and this one does not disappoint.
4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Mary

For me this is a book about love and redemption, about finding and making a family, starting new and having faith in the goodness of humanity. That sounds a lot to live up to now I’ve written it down. Lincoln changes his life. He didn’t like who he had become. This realisation came after he lost someone he loved dearly. However, the story starts after he has made this change and when we meet Noel. It’s like Noel awakens Lincoln and allows him to see the beauty in life again. The slow burn of their building love is encouraged along by a friend of theirs playing Cupid. Now this is where the BDSM element comes in. I have long ago accepted that BDSM is as varied and vast as can possibly be and that the only right way is what works for the couples in the story (as with life). As long as it’s safe and consenting. In the past Lincoln played in clubs and only realised later how empty it was for him. Now he craves the connection with someone else. He teaches Noel about his preferences and leaves him to make the decision. They compliment and complete each other. At the end after interference from Lincoln’s family his faith and love in Noel is proven to be strong. Made me smile. I loved the little side romance that blossoms during the story between Katy and Meg, it was a lovely touch reinforcing the second chance of love.
Definitely looking forward to the next story in the series, just wondering who it’ll be.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Recent Release: Serving Him (Series: The Retreat) by LM Somerton

Pride Publishing
https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/serving-him

Blurb
An escape from the real world can only ever be temporary.

Rowan Stanton knows he is submissive. He loves to look after people but the country hotel he works at can’t quite fulfil his need to serve. When he succeeds at getting a new role as houseboy at The Retreat, an exclusive BDSM hideaway in the New Forest, he believes it’s his dream job. Inexperienced in many ways, he soon realises he’s not as prepared as he thought for the demands placed upon him.

Lorcan Wilder is young, rich and successful. He’s also haunted by nightmares and has sacrificed a decade to his business. Selling it gives him the freedom to explore his dominant side and four weeks at The Retreat are the start of a new life. He doesn’t expect the young submissive employed to serve him will have such a profound effect on him. Exploring and pushing Rowan’s boundaries is exactly what he needs to separate himself from his past.

Lorcan makes full use of The Retreat’s facilities from the genuine dungeon to the secret toys concealed in every room. He rediscovers his energy for life and gradually reengages with the world. However, his efforts to compartmentalise the past ultimately fail and he comes to realise what he’s always known – that true submissives have an inner strength he can only envy.

By the end of his stay, Lorcan can’t let Rowan go, though he thinks he must. What will convince him that’s he’s allowed a happy ever after and will he find the courage to accept it

Review
Have you ever started a book devouring every page then slowing down because it’s near the end and you don’t want it finish? Well that’s what I did with Serving Him. Oh boy I thought I loved Olly, Aiden, Alistair and all the other Subs and Dom’s from the Edge series but sweet sweet Rowen has claimed a piece of my heart.
Lorcan has come to the Retreat to claim back his life and start anew. Rowen has done the same. Both are now ready to bring BDSM more fully into their lives. Rowen is exploring being a submissive by working for The Retreat. An exclusive English Country House set up to cater for a wealthy Dominant’s every whim, whilst providing the utmost safety for the Submissive. Over his stay Lorcan and Rowen’s relationship turns towards love. But Rowen having already made one big change is unsure about the future. LM Somerton writes breathtaking scenes between Lorcan and Rowen. I could visualise everything and connect with the emotions between them. As I said earlier I didn’t want the story to end and had such a pout when it did. I want more. What happens next? There is definitely more to to tell about these two like Lorcan meeting Rowen’s family and the two of them visiting the Underground Club. Patience is a virtue so they say, so I’ll have to be virtuous for a while, yeah right as if!

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Test of Valor (Valor #2) by Keira Andrews

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39818669-test-of-valor?from_search=true

Blurb

They’re free of the White House, but can their forbidden romance survive in the real world?

With his father no longer president, twenty-two-year-old Rafa Castillo can finally be with ex-Secret Service agent Shane Kendrick. Shane’s given up his career for Rafa, a move his fellow agents question the sanity and morality of. Eager to get away from the questions and judgement, Rafa and Shane are building a new life together in Australia. Though Shane struggles with nightmares and his over-protective instincts while Rafa fights his own insecurity, they love each other more than ever.

Now they just have to get through a visit from the former president and first lady.

Rafa’s parents certainly don’t approve of his romance with forty-year-old Shane, and they’re determined to make him see reason. They don’t see how their son could possibly be happy settling down with an older man, and they question Shane’s motives. Shane and Rafa just want a normal life together—but when they must suddenly battle for survival, they fight to prove their fierce love can withstand any threat.

This gay romance from Keira Andrews is the conclusion of the Valor duology. It features a May-December age difference, sex on the beach, and of course a happy ending.

Review

I fell in love with these guys in book one but I realized, once I’d gone back and re-read it, that they’d been left in a very HFN sort of situation and this book does a terrific job of sealing the deal.

Keira did a great job of showing us how Rafa’s insecurities are still running his life and demonstrating Shane’s issues as well. Rafa’s parents are not as “pretty” as they seem and though Rafa forgave them pretty easily, I’m not so sure either of them deserved it – just yet.

Australia was an interesting setting and appropriate given the new changes there!

I found the developing relationship to be wonderful and though the added “life or death drama” was a touch OTT – it served a nice purpose.

Overall I highly enjoyed this sequel and recommend it to fans of book 1 – but not as a standalone.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony Narrated by Peter B Brooke

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/swanns-revenge-by-shira-anthony-9268-b

Blurb

Can a swan make peace with his ugly duckling past?
Chubby geek Jimmy Zebulon’s heart broke the day his high school crush, Danny Parker, looked on as his teammates tormented Jimmy. Fifteen years later, Jimmy is long gone, and from his ashes has risen Graham Swann, a movie-star-handsome law firm owner. Graham thinks Jimmy and his past are long forgotten—until attorney Dan Parker shows up for his first day of work.
Getting injured playing college ball was the best thing that ever happened to Dan. It turned his future in a better direction and allowed him to emerge from the closet that trapped him.
Graham wants to believe his childhood dream can come true, but he can’t bring himself to tell Dan who he really is—and their pasts might ruin any chance for a happily ever after….

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

We have a big case of “if these two guys would talk to each other all their problems could be fixed”. This is one of my huge pet peeves as a writing tool and it made me kinda crazy here.

I loved the components – geeky guy goes chic, boss/employee dynamics, fighting for the underdogs in the real world, single fatherhood, sizzling chemistry… but the main drive for the story was a Big Misunderstanding and those aren’t my favorite. At all.

Shira Anthony is a great writer, so her characters are well-developed, the style is fluid and easily engaging and the sexy times are really hot. But… why wouldn’t the two just talk?!

So… if you don’t mind that hurdle, you’ll love this!

Audio

Peter B Brooke does a nice job with his narration. He attempts to give everyone a unique voice and does a fair job with the non-dialog parts.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Friends to Lovers: Step by Step Audiobook by KC Wells narrated by Connor Goff

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Step-by-Step-Audiobook/B074Z3JZCH?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_8&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=797B0C8X1J0PC9WTH9W3&

Blurb:

Jamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested…or so he thinks.

Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the young man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/step-by-step-by-k-c-wells/

I enjoyed the story and the narration.
Conner Goff is a new narrator to me. He has a ‘comfortable’ voice, cadence. His narration was well paced, and the characterisations of the older Guy and younger Jamie, nuanced. The narration is not dramatic, (the story is mostly drama free), just even keeled. It was right for the story – warm, fluid, and fun.
Overall, I liked the story a bit more – because Conner added warmth to a sweet, May/December romance.

3.75 stars out of 5

3.5-stars-small


Copy Purchased for Review

 

Recent Release: Blood Dance by Samantha Cayto

Pride Publishing
https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/blood-dance

Blurb
What lurks in the dark is not always a monster. Sometimes it’s your deepest desire.
A thousand years ago, Alex captained an alien ship that crashed on Earth. Stranded, he has tried to keep his men together while forging a new life. He’s locked into a never-ending war with mutinous crewmembers that makes unsuspecting humans collateral damage. That humans mistake them as vampires is all to the good. Humans are still not ready to learn aliens live among them. Alex has finally found some peace running a private club, but the memories of a human, loved and lost, keeps him alone.
Quinn Cooper was kicked out of his family when he came out as gay. Having travelled to Boston, he takes a job in Alex’s club. His boss and the men around him are large, scary and hard to ignore—as is his instant attraction to Alex. Becoming involved with the boss is always tricky. There’s something about Alex, however, that’s too sexy and compelling to ignore.
Knowing that seducing the vulnerable and virginal Quinn is a bad idea, Alex tries to keep his distance. He’s also trying to protect the boy and everyone else when the traitorous crew once more stirs up trouble. Alex’s and Quinn’s growing attraction leads Quinn closer to the frightening truth of whose bed he shares, while putting him in unfathomable harm’s way. Alex has to find a path forward to end the alien war for good or risk losing another love.

Review
Can many of our beliefs in the supernatural really be aliens who have infiltrated our world? Not as farfetched as belief in vampires. Quinn stumbles into a BDSM club in answer to an ad for go-go dancers. New in town, as well as homeless and hungry he immediately catches Alex’s attention. Unfortunately he shows up just as an opposing group of aliens are starting to pick at the life this group has made for themselves.

The world building goes on through the whole story. Bits and pieces revealed in the form of explaining the story and later informing Quinn. The romance between Quinn and Alex seems to happen quickly, I think the story only spans a few weeks, yet by the end there are declarations of love. The writing was good, the story kept my interest all the way through, and the sexy times were hot! There was mention of men being able to get pregnant, but it didn’t happen in this story.

This ended with a HFN, and left it for more stories to come, both with Quinn and Alex as well as the other alien members of the group. There will be an overall storyline so the books should be read in order as they come out.

Rating 4 of 5 stars

4-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Release Day Review: Waking Oisin by Grace Kilian Delaney

release day review

Releases Tomorrow: February 26, 2018

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38235138-waking-oisin?from_search=true

Blurb

Oisin Harrison blames his fiancée’s distrust for ruining their relationship. He blames his father for pushing him into law school. But more than all that, he blames himself for letting other people’s expectations stop him from going after his dream. But dressing in drag with his best friend is the one thing Oisin refuses to compromise.

As Sin, he meets handsome Trenton Fisher, a man who appreciates Oisin’s cross-dressing. Trent upends his world by doing things to his body no one ever has, making him want more than just one night together. That is, until Oisin discovers his hot hookup works at his father’s law firm and is angling for a promotion.

To complicate things, Trent doesn’t seem to recognize Oisin out of drag. Or does he?

Will Oisin and Trent’s magnetic attraction grow to something deeper, or will it threaten to jeopardize their careers and futures?

Waking Oisin contains characters from Seven Minutes but can be read as a standalone.

Review

I am not a fan of BDSM or other forms of power/control and though it is not a huge factor in this story it absolutely influenced my enjoyment of this.

I was thinking this would be about coming out of the closet and getting out from an oppressive family – and it sort of was – but it was also a bit disjointed and kind of all over the place.  Oisin is sometimes matures, sometimes a brat, his dad is sometimes supportive, sometimes a jerk, and Trenton is sometimes supportive and sometimes a user.

Oisin isn’t what his dad wants him to be and he rebels and ends up meeting one of his father’s lawyers. When it comes time for them to work together, Trenton is just kind of “blah” about it all and Oisin isn’t as freaked out as I’d have thought he’d be. He’s a bit whiny and petulant and that made the whole power dynamic even more distasteful to me.

I ended up skimming the rest of this because it just wasn’t my thing and had the blurb been more specific I’d have probably skipped it. This is one of those cases of personal preference so I won’t rate it.

Though it can be a standalone, I think it’s better having read book 1, first.

No rating.

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: From Ashes (Heathens Ink #3) by K.M. Neuhold Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview
Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/From-Ashes-Audiobook/B0792C9T3B?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=V2875FPC8CXA3G8PRQD2&

Blurb

“When the broken man with scarred skin walked into Heathens, asked for a job, and showed me a sketch of a phoenix, it felt like fate.”~ Adam

It started with an anonymous post by someone who didn’t want to live anymore. I read it over and over again, unable to get it out of my mind. What if my brother Johnny had posted something like this before he’d taken his own life? Would someone have been able to save him?

I’ve been living a lie for 16 long years and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to keep it up. And when a beautiful, broken man walks into my tattoo shop asking for a second chance at life, I know I’ll never be able to turn him away.

“When I was so far down I couldn’t even see the light, a stranger reached in to save me”~ Nox
I didn’t have anything to live for, until a kind stranger pulled me back from the brink. With physical and emotional scars I have nowhere to turn now but to that same stranger who saved my life without realizing it. But as my feelings for Adam grow, will I ever be anything other than a surrogate for the brother he couldn’t save? Am I even worthy of his love?

**From Ashes is the third book in the Heathens Ink series, each book in the series CAN be read as a standalone.

CAUTION: this book contains graphic descriptions of domestic violence and drug use that may be disturbing to some readers.

Review
(Book Reviewed here Previously)

Though the author stresses that this can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the other books in the series first. I agree that you can figure things out without having read them, but I do think they give a bit of background that is helpful.

Continuing the theme of hurt/comfort – we have another set of people who come together with a tragic past to find love. I was pleased that we didn’t spend pages and pages before everyone’s true identities are revealed. That can get tedious. I was also pleased by the response Adam had when Nox revealed his secret. That was actually one of my favorite parts of the story.

Unfortunately, for a lot of the story Adam really, really made me mad. I didn’t understand his need for secrecy and I couldn’t believe that he’d ask Nox – with his past – to go into hiding like he did. That INFURIATED me and made me want to quit reading.

Nox is soooo sweet and has such an amazing strength to him. Adam not only asked him to hide but was so dismissive of his VERY VALID fears. I couldn’t believe how he brushed aside all Nox’s worries and was so self-involved.

I didn’t care for Adam’s ex and it spoke poorly of him that he’d be willing to spend so many years with her just because the sex was good.

Speaking of the ex – she seemed a bit “too” psychotic – she felt like more of a caricature than an actual person – and she was difficult to take seriously.

I’m very intrigued by the next story – hinted at in this and glimpsed at in the end – but this wasn’t my favorite book in the series by a long shot.

I still recommend the author and series, but I wasn’t a big fan of this installment.

2.75 (rounded to 3) of 5 stars

Audio

Kenneth Obi is a relatively new to me narrator. He is easy to listen to and does a really nice job with the pacing and emotions. He does a valiant job of giving all the characters unique voices and even the females were pretty good.

I miss the dual narration we had from the previous two books in this series but this wasn’t bad. While I wasn’t bowled over with his talent, he was definitely good.

I’d give him a solid B+ – or 4 of 5 stars

Overall 3.5 of 5 stars

3.5-stars-small

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Enemies to Lovers Audiobook: Locked in Silence (Pelican Bay, Book 1) By: Sloane Kennedy Narrated by: Michael Pauley

Audible link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Locked-in-Silence-Audiobook/B077T655L9?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4FET26ZB2TWP5QS87FGH&

Blurb

I’ve spent years hoping someone would finally hear me. It’s easier not to try anymore….
10 years after leaving his small Minnesota hometown in his rear view mirror for what Nolan Grainger was sure would be the last time, life has decided to throw the talented musician a curveball and send him back to the town he lived in but was never really home.
At 28, Nolan has traveled the world as a successful concert violinist with some of the best symphonies in the country. But success breeds envy, and when Nolan’s benefactor and lover decides Nolan has flown high enough, he cruelly clips Nolan’s wings. The betrayal and ensuing scandal leaves the violinist’s career in shambles and with barely enough money to start fresh somewhere beyond his vindictive ex’s powerful reach. But just as he’s ready to get his life back on track, Nolan gets the call he’s been dreading.
After a stroke leaves his father a partial invalid, duty-bound Nolan returns to Pelican Bay and a life he’s spent years trying to forget. When he’s forced to use the last of his own money to keep from losing the family home, desperation has him turning to the one man he’d hoped never to see again….
Even if I could speak, there wouldn’t be anyone there to listen….

Review

Sloane Kennedy is hit or miss for me. Not because she is a bad writer or because she doesn’t have great ideas – but because I’m only good for so much angst before I throw my hands up in resignation and that seems to be what she excels at.

I was recommended to listen to this story because it was less angsty and it had a DA MC – which I love!- and I’d say it was a pretty good rec.

On the one hand I do find the deep, dark “moments” to be a bit much for my taste – I’m more a humor and hijinks type reader than deep and contemplative. On the other hand I think the two MCs moved on fairly quickly from their back stories to embrace one another.

I really enjoyed Michael Pauley’s narration and think he matched the tone for this story perfectly. He doesn’t do a lot to change the voices of the MCs and I wish he’d attempted to alter the voice a little of Dallas but he’s easy to listen to and great with emotion.

If you’re a fan of the author you’ll adore this, if you’re new to the author I’d read some reviews and see if she fits. This would be a great “first book” of hers to start with.

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Copy Purchased for Review