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


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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


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Friends to Lovers: Brokenhearted: Hope Cove Audiobook by Cate Ashwood; narrated by John Orr

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Brokenhearted-Audiobook/B00JUZSSDW?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_5&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=KC4S5EYY9VZR0TN45AYX&

Blurb:

Oliver Parrish has been alone in the world since he was born. So when Sheriff Owen “Mack” Macklin shows up on his doorstep to deliver the news that Oliver’s sister has died, he’s beyond surprised. Still, Oliver returns with Mack to Hope Cove, Maine, hoping to get to know the sister he never knew he had. As he tries to snap these new elements into his solitary life, he’s not sure how they might fit.
His life is shaken up further as he falls in love with the irresistible town of Hope Cove, and with Mack, its equally irresistible sheriff. But when he receives devastating news about his sister’s cause of death, Oliver doesn’t know whether to stay and fight for love and a good life, or cut his losses and run.

Review: When I started to read the book, I couldn’t get into it (personal things going on), it seemed interesting, so I decided to get the audiobook. I’m so glad I did!
The story is good – Oliver travels to meet the sister he never knew he had, only to find out that Maggie has died. He meets Mack, Maggie’s best friend, who helps him get to know what her life was like in the town. Oliver stays on to take over Maggie’s bakery, gets to know and fall in love with Mack. There are some ups and downs – Mack is not really out, Oliver finds out some devastating news and doesn’t handle it well.
John Orr was a pleasure to listen to – he really brought the characters to life, including the supporting characters (especially Hayden). His tone was even, with good, distinct characterisations. An enjoyable listen; I’m looking forward to listening to the other 2 books.

4 stars out of 5

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Audiobook: Love Wanted By: John Inman Narrated by: Ezekiel Robison

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-wanted-by-john-inman-8578-b

Blurb

When it rains, it pours. Not only has Larry Walls been evicted from his apartment, but his hours have also been cut at the department store where he works, leaving him facing homelessness.
Meanwhile, Bo Lansing, a total stranger to Larry, toils at a dead-end job as a fry cook while attending night classes to become a certified chef. When the school closes its doors without warning, leaving Bo in the lurch for thousands of dollars in tuition, his dream of becoming a chef is shattered and his financial troubles spiral.
Desperate for a new beginning, each man answers an ad for live-in help posted by a wealthy recluse, and wonder of wonders, they are both hired! Just as their lives begin to improve, a young Kumeyaay Indian named Jimmy Blackstone joins the workforce at the Stanhope mansion.
When Mr. Stanhope’s true reason for hiring the young men is discovered by one of the three, a fourth entity makes its presence known.
Greed.
With all these players vying for position in a game of intrigue orchestrated by one lonely old man and a mischievous ghost, can a simple thing like love ever hope to survive the fray?

Review

I admit I was leery of this when I read the blurb. I really don’t like love triangles and I was worried about 3 men involved but not in a ménage. Well… yeah. So it is a bit of a love triangle and I didn’t really like it… but…

There are many great things about this:
John Inman is a great descriptive and creative writer and if you like stories with a unique twist and a bit of humor and some quirky characters – this is for you!

Ezekiel Robison – the reason I chose this to review – is amazing! He’s near the top of my short list of favorite narrators. He’s great at giving everyone unique voices, he moves the story along with his ability to portray emotion and comedic timing and he’s easy on the ears!

If you’re in the mood for something a little – diferent – I’d read some reviews and consider this one. It’s not your typical love story!

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

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Safe and Sound (Tales from Rainbow Alley Book 6) by Jaime Samms

Pride Publishing

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/safe-and-sound

Blurb

Book six in the Tales from Rainbow Alley series
Overcoming past hurts and letting love back in sometimes means reinventing everything about yourself, and sometimes means loving who you already are despite the jagged edges.
Rikki’s past is ugly, painful and full of blood. Simon is getting over a lover who only saw him for his uses, but had no use for his heart. From the outside, they seem like a disaster waiting to happen.
From the moment Simon moves into the same house, they seem to be exactly what the other needs. Except for one small detail. Simon has never been—or wanted to be—the one in charge in the bedroom. And Rikki doesn’t trust himself to keep Simon safe. So when Simon demands independence in all other things, Rikki is sure he’ll have to accept a life of solitude and hold himself inside his cold shell.
Meanwhile, as Simon waits for Rikki to bring the heat, his old lover is still hoping to use him one more time. Rikki is going to have to trust his instincts—and all the deadly skills he’s grown to loathe and fear—to keep his Simon safe.

Review

I have not read any of the other books in this series but I didn’t feel lost as I read this book. Jamie Samms does a good job building the story around Rikki and Simon. Sure if you don’t know the overall story line there are questions about people and their reactions, but soon you get caught up in how Simon and Rikki are thinking and reacting to each other.

This is more of a story of learning to trust. Trust yourself, trust another person and trusting your true self and feelings to move forward to become the person you would have been if people hadn’t manipulated your life.

Simon is your typical submissive personality in many ways and because of the abuse he has been he second guesses himself to the point of freezing. I loved how as the story progresses he regains his self worth and grows into a more confident man.

Rikki is much more complicated and has confined himself to the house because he doesn’t trust himself out in the world. He has his kitchen and routines and thinks that is all he deserves. His past has truly f*cked with his head and how he views himself. But Simon needs someone to take care of him and Rikki evolves to fill that need.

As Simon and Rikki grow, the overall story continues and we see all the people from Rainbow Alley come and go.

Overall I liked this story and will go back and look for the rest of the series.

4 stars of 5

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Holidays: Wreck the Halls (Advent Collection) by Jessica Payseur

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

 Business has been good at Paul’s Café in Madison, Wisconsin—until a few months before Christmas. When Nick opens Nick’s Restaurant next door, Paul watches his customers leave for cheaper food and an owner who smiles more. With his livelihood at stake, Paul lashes out, trying to drive away Nick’s customers, but Nick won’t go easy, and escalating sabotage threatens to ruin the holidays for both of them. Paul thinks all he wants for Christmas is to see Nick’s Restaurant go under, but the more he tries to drive Nick away, the less he’s sure he wants him to go. Nick is everything Paul secretly craves, but by the time he realizes Nick is all he really wants for the holidays, he might have ruined any chance for them to get together. And there might not be a present in the world that can fix that.

Review: I’m torn on this story. On the one hand, I liked the rivalry between Paul and Nick (although Paul’s last prank was a little too mean); on the other, I wasn’t entirely sold on how the two men ‘kissed and made up’. Nick was a nice, likeable character; however I didn’t like Paul very much at the beginning, and liked him even less as the story progressed. It’s a short, fairly humourous story, wrapping up with both men admitting their attraction for each other and planning a future together (1 day after being mortal enemies!).

Overall, it’s a good story, just not for me.

2.75 stars out of 5

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Short Order (Foothills Pride #8) by Pat Henshaw

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/short-order-by-pat-henshaw-9143-b

Blurb

When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust.

While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him.

As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.

Review
This fell totally flat for me. I just didn’t feel the connection between John and Fen. Though I know some of that is John’s stoicism, the lack of sex and the off hand way their connection was worked into the mystery just made it seem like the romance was more afterthought than anything else.

I appreciated the quirkiness of the characters and the personal growth of all 3 men but I didn’t think this warmed my heart in a romantic sense.

The writing was fine so I’m giving this 2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars.

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Audiobook: A Chance for Moore by Alex Miska Narrated by Sean Lenhart

audiobookreview

Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/A-Chance-for-Moore-Audiobook/B07664SSVQ

Blurb:

“I need you to teach me how to be gay.”

Logan Moore is finally ready to come out of the closet. His days of playing football are far behind him, he has graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), and his bakery, Moore Delicious, is finally in the black. Although he spends more time talking to his cats than he does people, he technically has time for a social life now that he has hired two new employees. In short, Logan is completely out of excuses to stay in the closet, where it is warm and cozy and he never has to worry about how to dress, what to say, or who is watching. So he turns to his older brother’s friend for guidance. And if that friend just happens to be his longtime crush and if one thing might lead to another…well, that would just be icing on the cake.
Chance Blevins is a math geek through and through, who is more than happy to spend his nights curled up with his dog, Luna. With a few toxic relationships in his past, Chance contents himself with friends with benefits and fantasies involving his best friend’s very straight soon-to-be brother-in-law, Logan. Because of a verbal slip the day they met and a teasingly demanded vow of secrecy, he believes that Logan actually works for the CIA, making him even further out of his league. When Logan comes to him for help with what he can only assume is a cover identity, he is more than happy to oblige.
A Chance for Moore is a quirky friends-to-lovers, first-time gay romance between two sexy, pet-loving geeks. It has a happily ever after ending as well as a gratuitous car chase, obscene bachelorette party pastries, grown men dressing their “furbabies” in ridiculous hats, and truly terrible math-based innuendo.

Review

I enjoyed the story as whole – it’s fun, romantic with a bit of suspense woven in. I didn’t understand why Logan was closeted, not when he had such a cool family, but I guess everyone’s comfort level is different. I also didn’t care for how the relationship between Chance and Logan devolved three-quarters through. Chance was a bit of prat and Logan had to grovel for relatively trivial reasons.
The narration was OK, I got used to it after a while. Sean Lenhart did a good job with conveying the emotions of the characters, but to be honest, I didn’t get into the voices for the female characters.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to the audiobook.

2.5 stars out of 5

 

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Intertwined Hearts (Snowcroft Men #3) by Christi Snow

release day review

Amazon link

https://www.amazon.com/Intertwined-Hearts-Snowcroft-Men-Book-ebook/dp/B075TJXSFD/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507828909&sr=1-2&keywords=intertwined+hearts

Blurb

Three people who’ve given up on love…

Hudson:
After a brutal, late-night attack in his restaurant left Chef Hudson Richmond too traumatized to even enter his restaurant again, he escaped to Snowcroft. Now he’s trying to find a new normal when the reality of his world is a man’s touch makes him sick and his dream has become his nightmare.

Leigh:
Leigh Vaughn lives in a man’s world running Vaughn Construction with her brother, Jamie. She’s tried to be feminine and failed over and over again. Growing up with only her brother, father, and construction crews to guide her, Leigh has no idea what a feminine wile is, much less how to deploy them. But when Jamie and Trevor begin to research finding a surrogate to carry their baby, she knows this is something she can do. Hell, it’s not like those parts are getting used for anything else.

David:
When this small town came looking for a new police chief, David Warner jumped at the chance. After a traumatic betrayal by his partner on the police force, he’s burnt out and jaded. And his love life has been even more depressing than his work life. He’s made one true connection in the last five years, but she disappeared without a trace the next morning.

Three people who have given up on love, may just find a new beginning where they least expect it…in Snowcroft. But love is only supposed to happen in twos. How can they make it work with three intertwined hearts?

Trigger warning: This book features story-lines that involve past assaults and betrayals, but has a guaranteed HEA for three people who couldn’t deserve it more. male/male/female.

Review

I’m typically not reading m/f romances and I’ve never been a big m/m/f fan because the dynamics always feel … off to me… but there are some good ones out there and I know it’s mostly just my own prejudices. In any case, I would have avoided this as well, except I really love books 1 and 2 in this series and was really curious to see how this was handled.

There were many things I loved and a few (big) things I didn’t care for.

Loved:
I thought Leigh’s character was great! I was attracted to the idea of an m/m/f with a tom boy and was curious to see how that played out sexually. It was hysterical at times and really hot at others. There was also some sweet in there (some of which you’ll see in the Disliked portion of the review.)

I really loved the chemistry between Leigh and David and Leigh and Hudson and Hudson and David. I thought the author did a very good job of convincing me that Hudson could “go straight” and how his attraction to Leigh made sense given his recent and past histories.

David’s character was consistent all the way through and he absolutely made up the glue in this story. He was well-developed and really helped to make the ménage possible.

I found the realistic portrayal of post partum and surrogacy really great and was so glad to see the negative side of pregnancy/surrogacy shown. (More on this later.)

In the end, I believe in this triad’s HEA and though I have some issues with parts of their story, I was really glad to have read it and think that the author did a great job with a unique situation. I loved the epilogue and thought it was really cute and sweet!

Disliked:

The beginning of the book is so well done with the slow burn and the sizzle between all the characters as we learn everyone’s back stories that it was such a shock when we get to the 75% mark and the story seemed to jump the tracks and go off-roading.

(Some of this might be spoilery ….)

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

I also really wanted to see how the dynamic worked with Leigh NOT pregnant because there was so much made about her “lush, curvaceous, womanly body” as she was pregnant that I wanted to see and believe that she held that same appeal without being pregnant. This was especially important for Hudson who seemed to really get off on her pregnant self.

So, for the majority of the book I was loving this – but the last 25% just wrapped things up too quickly and left some pretty big plot holes that I’d have liked to seen filled.

All in all, I really liked this, and found it to be a nice addition to the series.

4 of 5 stars

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Tender with a Twist (Rainbow Cove #2) by Annabeth Albert

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tender-Twist-Rainbow-Cove-Book-ebook/dp/B075R5KN3H/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506886595&sr=1-1&keywords=Tender+with+a+Twis

Blurb
One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.

Review
What’s not to like about a baby Dom and a recalcitrant Sub. Loved the push and pull between Curtis and Logan from the start. Logan knows what he wants he just hasn’t been able to find anyone who will play with him. Curtis on the other hand had been in a long term relationship and is very reluctant to get involved again, despite needing the release kink gives him. I really got invested into Logan finding his style and Curtis learning that he doesn’t need to push everyone away. He is just beginning to think of Logan as more than a convenient play date when guilt over Troy holds him back. There is no time frame for grief but other people keep voicing their judgement on their new relationship. I liked how the initial connection between Logan and Curtis built into something more solid. Even in the first few D/S scenes I could believe in them as a couple. Curtis for all his cantankerous ways needs someone to be there for him although he would never admit that. I think it’s the same with Logan, he needs someone in his life but never realised it. To many people want to smother him. His over protective parents can’t see any other way but their way for their only child. His friends also seem to think he needs looking after. Even Curtis was judgmental towards him in the beginning. The D/S side of their relationship is portrayed very well. It is just in the bedroom and doesn’t impact upon the rest of their lives. If you can accept some pain kink I urge you to consider reading this book. There is much more to the story. It is wonderful tale of finding yourself and coming to terms with loss. They deserved their Happy Ever After ending.

I haven’t read the first book in the series, Trust with a Chaser, and I didn’t feel I was missing anything vital to this story. The characters from the first book are mentioned but don’t play a significant role in this storyline.

5 of stars out of 5

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Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove #1) by Annabeth Albert

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/Trust-Chaser-Rainbow-Cove-Book-ebook/dp/B073VPJX56/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501734893&sr=8-1&keywords=trust+with+a+chaser

Free on KU!

Blurb

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Review

First, do not be fooled by the cover – this is a GREAT book and the cover makes it seem way cheesier than it is.

Second, if you’ve read anything by the author before, you know she’s amazing at giving us really flawless writing and superb characters. Normally I have no patience for the slow burn but it was expertly done here.

We get a lovely slow reveal of how poor, lonely Nash secretly wishes for rebellion in the form of “bad boy” Mason – who isn’t bad at all- and underneath all the grumpy lies the heart of true romantic! (See specifically one adorable picnic and fishing trip!)

There is very little angst and a bunch of really sweet build up to a super romantic finish with some hot, yet tender sex thrown in for good measure.

I couldn’t put this down and it literally made my week!

Highly Recommended!
(PS I loved the accuracy of the Portlandisms!)

5 of 5 stars

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