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

 

 

Time to Laugh: Beauty and the Bookworm by Nick Pagent

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22052456-beauty-and-the-bookworm?from_search=true

Blurb

Mason Leery is a bookworm and he thinks he might just be able to get through life simply by reading about it instead of living it.

Until he meets Shane Beaumont. Shane is the opposite of Mason in every way, he’s beautiful, athletic, and lives his life to the fullest.

Sparks fly when the polar opposites come together, but it will be up to the bookworm to shut down his e-reader and go after the beauty if he wants to love someone outside the pages of a book.

 

 

Review

The author set this story up for laughs. Mason the stereotypical gay librarian, Twyla the flashy, slutty best friend, Gran a lesbian, motorcycle riding, foul mouthed grandmother and Shane the hunky, athletic, twin, boyfriend. And he does this all with Mason telling the story in a snarky, “can you just see this?” voice.

The first time Mason and Shane meet, you can’t help but laughing out loud! And the laughs just move on from there. Being from Portland myself I can see many of the locations highlighted and picture both the location and the events that happen.

The ending gives you a feel good feeling after a long string of laugh out loud moments.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Purchased for Review

 

 

Friends to Lovers: Trusting Tanner by Nicky James

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32071080-trusting-tanner?from_search=true

Blurb
Maybe tomorrow it will be better…

Zander Baker has spent years forcing a smile onto his face to make the world believe he is a happy man. In reality, it’s a façade for the battered person he truly is. Living a life imprisoned in an abusive relationship, Zander doesn’t know how to break free. Ordinary enjoyments are not within his reach. Not only has he lost all his friends, but over the last seven years, he’s lost himself as well.
Tanner Mathews has recently returned to the city and needs to start life all over again. New job, new friends and a new relationship are top of his list. When he meets his niece’s new preschool teacher he is drawn in by his good looks and shy personality. Sadly, Zander is involved with someone else. Settling for friendship, Tanner soon realizes there is a lot more to Zander than what he shows the world. As their friendship struggles to grow, and details about Zander’s life come to the surface, Tanner finds himself unexpectedly falling in love. His heart aches for Zander and all he wants to do is help the man break free.
Can Tanner help Zander reclaim his life?
Will his feelings for his friend interfere with his intentions?
What happens if it all goes wrong?
Will love conquer all in the end?

Review

Trusting Tanner is an emotional roller coaster in several ways. We are shown Tanner’s point of view, not wanting to break up an established couple, yet he slowly falls in love with the man. Zander’s point of view of knowing the relationship he’s in is toxic yet he wants Tanner’s friendship even with Tanner pushing to show him what’s wrong with his life.

The author does a fabulous job of laying out the story, showing the partner abuse, the ability to use escapism to cope, the frustration of close friends who can blatantly see what’s going on and do nothing but support him. All while building this love story between Tanner and Zander.

Although this could be a hard story for some to read, it ends in a HEA. And in the end we are shown how strong Zander really is.

5 of 5 stars

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Purchased for review

 

Friends to lovers: Road Trip With Conrad by Candice Blake

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38609213-a-road-trip-with-conrad?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

ELIJAH: You saved me and we quickly became friends…

Needing a change of scene from his life, twenty-five-year-old Elijah Collins dreams of living off the grid and traveling across the country. He leaves everything behind and embarks on the trip of a lifetime in a 1973 Volkswagen Westfalia. But halfway through his journey to Los Angeles, the van breaks down on a rural road in Nebraska. With nobody in sight, Elijah is stranded…until a handsome and strapping alpha gives him a hand.

CONRAD: I’ve been straight my whole life until you came along…

Thirty-five-year-old Conrad Westbrook lives a simple life on a farm where he runs his dad’s honey business. When he finds Elijah on the side of the road, Conrad welcomes the young traveler into his home until the van gets repaired. Wanting to return the favor, Elijah invites Conrad to join him on the road trip. Forced together in the small camper van, while exploring the breathtaking sites of western America, neither men know how to handle their growing attraction towards each other.

Our lives are worlds apart, but can we make it work?

Conrad finds it harder to resist his attraction to another man for the first time. While Elijah, who’s so focused on the destination, doesn’t realize that the man he’s sharing his journey with is all he needs. They started the road trip as nothing more than friends, but unexpectedly become much more. What happens at the end of the road when both men have to head their separate ways and return back to their own lives?

Review

Friends to lovers can always be a rocky road. And it’s on a road trip that these 2 discover what opening that door can lead to.

The story has a great open feel to it. Elijah is half way across the country when he meets Conrad. After the kindness shown, Elijah invites Conrad to join him on the rest of his trip. What starts as an easygoing trip turns hot and heavy quickly. Each stop has the 2 men exploring more of each other till they get to the down and dirty.

The story jumps to an almost insta love genre, but with the story it just leads the 2 MC’s to realize that they are so much better together than apart.

The ending seems a little too easy. Things that seemed like big obstacles were suddenly resolved which lead to Elijah and Conrad being able to be together. All in all a sweet story.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Enemies to Lovers: A Different Light by Morningstar Ashley

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37553326-a-different-light?from_search=true

Blurb
Bennett Cole had lived next door to Mitchell “Mac” Campbell, III for eighteen years of his life, in the small town of White Acre. They’d never gotten along, never seen eye to eye, and never understood one another…not that they’d ever cared to try.

But when Bennett’s so-called buddies ditched him at a party in the woods where he was assaulted and left for dead, Bennett pulled through. The emotional scars rendered him too terrified to go back to school and face his “friends” or his attackers. With little choice, his family packed up and left town.

Ten years later—at the request of his mother—Bennett returned to the place he’d grown up and the home he’d once felt safe, to oversee the repairs before his childhood house was sold. The contractor? None other than Mac, the once annoying boy next door, who still lives there in the home his parents gifted him.

Being in such close proximity—working together every day, to repair the Coles’ family home—Bennett and Mac’s contentious relationship goes from bad to worse as their personalities continue to clash. But their heated exchanges may not be as antagonistic as they seem. And when new information is revealed, can the men begin to see each other in a different light?

Review
We were asked to pick 4 or 5 books in the enemies to lovers genre for the month of February in honor of Valentine’s Day. This is not a genre I actively search for so I browsed several sights and this was the first story I found that caught my interest. All I can say is it drew me in and held my interest all the way through.

This book has MC’s falling into the rut of judging a person on how they look and the job they hold. Morningstar Ashley has incorporated this whole concept into the whole storyline. Bennett is the geek, Mac is the “bad” boy. Misconceptions start as kids, and continue into their adult life. Add in parents who also compare and push their son to be more like the neighbor boy and you can see why these to MC’s grate on each other.

Morningstar Ashley has created multi dimensional characters. While Bennett is truly a geek he is also survivor. As well as brave for returning to the town where he was so viciously attacked. Mac is a tattooed, motorcycling owner of a construction company and a good friend to those closest to him.

Morningstar Ashley takes us through Bennett and Mac meeting after 10 years. The two of them butting heads with their misconceptions, to them suddenly realizing the there are 2 sides to every story. Many of the secondary characters of this book play big parts in this story and make for a well rounded storyline.

Truly a sweet boy next door story, which is well written.

5 of 5 stars
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Purchased for Review

 

Mr. January (Calendar Men #1) by Bailey Bradford

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37541479-mr-january

Blurb

There’s no sense in pussy-footing around when it comes to love.

Albert E. Washington is a nerd and proud of it. He’s a cool cat when he shifts, but for the most part, he’s just a guy who sometimes tapes his glasses together and enjoys quality clothing like bowties and suspenders. When his boss has him acting as an errand boy, Albert finds himself in the middle of a sexy calendar photo shoot. It’s a little too much for him to process and he ends up embarrassing himself.

Gregg is Mr. January—or he will be if the photo shoot ever gets going. Injuring his back when he trips on the set isn’t going to speed things up. The appearance of a seriously hot guy who flips the switch on Gregg’s geeky-man button makes a bad day great. Now, if Gregg can just get Albert to agree to a date, if he doesn’t scare Albert off, if Albert will just pick up on the flirtatious things Gregg says…

That’s a lot of ifs, but Gregg isn’t intimidated by them. He knows his dream man when he meets him. Now all Gregg has to do is survive the photo shoot and convince Albert to give him, and love, a chance.

Review

I’m a big fan of this author’s paranormal stories. One of my favorite shifter series is her Southwestern Shifter series https://www.goodreads.com/series/48347-southwestern-shifters, so I was excited to read this based on that.

Well… though there are shifters in this story I’m not really sure why. There was little if any shifting or use of those characteristics. There wasn’t any “mate” type stuff which I adore, either. Instead this was more about a nerd and a hot guy and a mystery which only involved these guys peripherally.

I skimmed most of it and will not likely pick up more from this series.

If you’re in the mood for some slightly funny nerd/hot guy romance with a lot of smexy times – this might be for you.

2.5 of 5 stars
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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

The Hockey Player’s Heart (Hockey Hearts #1) by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-hockey-players-heart-by-jeff-adams-and-will-knauss-9211-b

Blurb

When hockey star Caleb Carter returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, the only thing he’s interested in is a little R & R. He never expects to run into his onetime crush at a grade school fund-raiser . Seeing Aaron Price hits him hard, like being checked into the boards. The attraction is still there, even after all these years, and Caleb decides to make a play for the schoolteacher. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, right?

Aaron has been burned by love before and can’t imagine what a celebrity like Caleb could possibly see in a guy like him. Their differences are just too great. But as Aaron spends more time with Caleb, he begins to wonder if he might have what it takes to win the hockey player’s heart.

Review

This was a nice friends to lovers romance. I wasn’t ever really capitivated by their chemistry and I wish we’d gotten more of a glimpse of the angst from childhood.

I felt that Aaron wasn’t reliably making sense given how obvious Caleb seems to be pursuing him.

It was easy to read and the writing was good.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Pricks and Pragmatism by JL Merrow narrated by Mark Steadman

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Pricks-and-Pragmatism-Audiobook/B078RQWVP6?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_18&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=WRA3W1J65912GT8NPR0M&

Blurb

Kicked out by his father at age 16, English student Luke Corbin’s used to trading on his looks and charm to keep a roof over his head until he can make it big as a journalist. He goes for men with money, power, and looks, in that order, and he doesn’t let emotions get in the way. But when his lover tells him it’s over, Luke finds himself homeless – just as his final exams are looming.
Moving in with geeky chemical engineer Russell may be a step down for him, but Luke can’t afford to be choosy. Fully prepared to put out as usual, Luke’s confused and frustrated when Russell refuses to take advantage of him – and even more so when he finds out Russell’s saving himself for someone special.
The more time he spends with the shy, honorable man, the more Luke finds himself bowled over by Russell’s sweetness and integrity. But just as he’s coming to terms with his own wish to be that special guy for Russell, Luke has to face facts: he’s fallen for the one man he can’t seem to charm.

Review
This was a book I’d originally read early on in my “new to m/m” days. I absolutely fell in love with JL Merrow’s sense of humor and her ability to make unique and quirky characters.

Luke is a tough cookie to love. He’s brash, bold, callous about sex and not afraid to use people to make his way in life. Russell is his polar opposite. Russell is quiet, unassuming, a virgin!, kind and wouldn’t dream of hurting a fly. When the two meet neither really knows what to do with the other.

What makes this book wonderful is Russell’s steadfast devotion and the absolute turnaround Luke makes.

Seeing Luke with different guys was hard and kept this from being one of my “favorite” books. I think it was important to know about from a character development perspective but I’m not sure we needed to read about it… IMHO.

Having Mark Steadman do the narration just adds that layer of authenticity you can only get by listening to a British actor perform such a British story. He does a lovely job with the emotions and comedy as well.

I give the story a 4 of 5 stars and the narration a 5 of 5 stars for an overall 4.5 of 5 stars.

If you’re a fan of nerdy virgins, british humor and quirky characters – give this a go!

Highly recommended!

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Copy Purchased for Review

Dominate by Bailey Bradford

release day review

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

Blurb
Forest is absent-minded, oblivious and so adorable, Dominant Quarry Light can’t help but to fall for him.

Quarry Light grew up tough—with a name like his, he didn’t have any other choice. Being a Dom came naturally to him, so when he got the chance to co-own a BDSM club with his friends, he leaped on the opportunity. If he thought he’d be able to find his soulmate sub easier, well, that was a side benefit.

The only problem is, that benefit had never appeared, and after having his heart and hopes crushed twice, Quar has decided he’ll stick to just scening with a sub now and then.

Fate has other things in mind, namely in the form of one Forest Tilden.

Forest is absent-minded, oblivious and so adorable, Quar can’t help but ask for his number after he stops to help the poor guy. Forest’s car picked the right day to bite it. He’s going to get more than a little mechanical advice from Quar. Together, they might get the future they both long for

Review
Dominate is the third book in a series of short stories set in a BDSM club. In my view it can be read alone as any reference to characters from the other stories are fleeting. This is a snapshot story covering about two weeks and I would’ve liked more. I felt I had just got invested in where Quarry and Forest’s relationship was going when the story ended. Having said that I loved the story. Forest is a virgin but knows what he wants and is drawn to BDSM. To satisfy his curiosity he visits a club where he meets Quar. Quar takes Forest under his wing and rest as they say is history. I do like Bailey Bradford’s characters. They are always likeable, well the main characters are. The BDSM scenes in this book are not heavy mainly discussions about what both of them want, some spanking and exhibitionism. If you are unsure about BDSM this would be a good story to start with.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Holidays: New Game, Start (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by CS Poe

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb
Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.
He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.

Review
I just loved Edgar and Walter. Edgar is so insecure about himself that he can’t believe someone famous and wonderful like Walter would even know he existed. Sometimes you’ve just get to take a chance and go for what you want. And that’s what Edgar did and it won him the man of his dreams. They seem so suited to each other. Both of them paying attention to how the other one liked to be wooed. Part of me wants to know more and part of me is content with this little snapshot into their budding relationship. Lovely feel good story that fits any time of year not just Christmas.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review