Holidays: All Creatures Great and Small (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Kasper Quill

Dreamspinner Press

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

Blurb
Growing up an orphan meant Charlie never celebrated Christmas. He’s committed to making sure his newly adopted cat, Max, doesn’t miss out like he did. Unfortunately, he discovers that giving Max the perfect Christmas might be easier said than done—and not without risk.
Charlie’s landlord, successful and wealthy real estate developer Aemon Scotfield, is charmed by the gorgeous redhead and his shameless alley cat. He finds himself compelled to help orchestrate a memorable celebration for Max—and Charlie—despite the mishaps that seem to just keep coming. As difficult as it will be to pull off the perfect holiday, the real challenge might be walking away when it’s over.

Review
I absolutely loved this story. I was laughing one minute and had tears in my eyes next. Wonderful humour. I loved Charlie. Determined to get himself out of a rut he decided to give his cat Max the kind of Christmas he never had as a child. The way Charlie and Aemon kept meeting was wonderful. Aemon has a sort of loving exasperation towards Charlie and his antics. I can totally see the kind of chaos that could happen in their home. Not the usual Christmas story but that makes it so much more special. This is definitely one I will read again at any time of year. I’ve never read anything by Kasper Quill before but I will certainly look out for more by her.

6 of stars out of 5

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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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Audiobook: The Charlatan’s Conquest by Vivien Dean Narrated by Simon Ferra

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-charlatans-conquest-by-vivien-dean-8592-

Blurb
With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.

Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.

Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together

Review
From the title I wasn’t sure about this story but seriously I should not judge. This a lovely paranormal story. Cruz reluctantly agrees to stand in for his friend, who is a genuine ghost hunter, on a seemingly easy job. I liked how Brody whilst suspicious of Cruz as a ghost hunter was still willing, for his father’s sake, to see the eviction through. Especially as Brody’s relationship with his father is already tense. The flow of the story is really good and kept me interested. I wanted to know if Cruz would tell Brody he was not a real ghost hunter, if there really was a ghost and who was it. I do like a mystery and if it’s a real ghost story so much the better. This story took a great unexpected turn about halfway through which brought Cruz and Brody even closer together. As the story progresses I got more into it, it did feel a bit slow at the start. I really liked Etienne, the real ghost hunter and his sister. I liked the little surprises the story has. Overall an enjoyable story with a satisfying ending.
Simon Ferra is a new Narrator to me and I really liked his style. I loved Etienne’s southern accent with just the right a of snark. Cruz’s forthright and honest manner came through clearly as did Brody’s weariness. Very good characterisation and story telling.

4 of stars out of 5

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Holidays: The Probability of Mistletoe (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by E.J. Russell

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

Blurb

When software engineer Keith Trainor decides to start his own company, he knows exactly who he wants as his partner: Parker Mulvaney, his best friend from high school. But in the ten years since graduation, their contact has dwindled to nothing, and it’s all Keith’s fault. If he hadn’t tried to kiss Parker under the mistletoe at the winter formal their senior year, Parker wouldn’t have bolted. At their ten-year reunion, Keith intends to do everything in his geeky power to make amends.

Parker should have known that scheduling the reunion the day before Christmas Eve was a recipe for a headache of monster proportions. But when Keith sends a text that he’ll be attending, the evening doesn’t look so bleak. Can an unnecessary makeover, a nostalgic breakfast, an abortive shopping trip, and a whole lot of mistletoe culminate in a long-overdue first kiss?

Review

I didn’t want this to end! It was sooooo cute and sweet and funny and charming and…

It has an adorable geek, a sweet extrovert, a family of nuts and tons of mistletoe!

This was a very slow burn, no heat holiday story with lots of heart. These two boys were just meant to be and Parker’s grand gesture was treated really well (though I kinda wanted him to explain it more to Keith and have Keith appreciate it more…)

I wish we could have seen these guys at least through their “first time together”, but… it was still wonderful!

Highly Recommended and among my favorites of the bunch!

5 of 5 stars

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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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I’m Yours (Redwood Shifters, #6) by Lily Harlem

release day review

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36346631-i-m-yours?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Convincing the man of your dreams he’s the one, is easier said than done.

Bradley has spent years on the road, wandering from town to town and hunting out the hottest Californian guys to have fun with. So finding himself restless at the thought of continuing his nomadic lifestyle is somewhat of a mystery to him.

Luckily his friend Malec, a shifter like him, has extended the offer of a place to stay and Bradley soon finds himself immersed in life at the Redwood Shifters camp.

The trouble is, when he least expects it, Bradley’s life is turned upside down. His handsome face and model body have always worked in his favor, but not anymore. Convincing the shy guy with glasses and dreams of working in the local library that he’s his mate, his one true love, proves to be Bradley’s biggest challenge yet.

Review

This is a fun, very sweet and sentimental series that isn’t afraid to be sappy. I love that once Bradley recognizes who his Mate is he’s all in and not resistant to doing what it takes to make him his.

I’ve been really enjoying this series and look forward to the next one!

Highly recommended for shifter romance fans and fans of dogs and nerds!

3.5 of 5 stars

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A Shining Knight By Rebecca Locksley

eXtasy Books

http://www.extasybooks.com/a-shining-knight/

Blurb

Can a hard-bitten, horse-mounted fighting man adjust to the peaceful modern world? When nerdy medieval language scholar Gabriel Sussman finds himself responsible for two medieval crusaders stranded in the modern world, the whole question is complicated by his serious crush on the knight, Jordan De Courcy. Surely such a manly man could never be interested in someone like Gabriel. Or are Gabriel’s slim, pale-skinned good looks just the things to appeal to medieval tastes?

Review

I love time travel books, so when given the opportunity to review this book I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed. Rebecca Locksley has woven a story that is both believable and interesting at the same time.

We have a Knight and his Squire dropped into the 21st century from the time of The Crusades. Because of their superstitions and fairytales they are lead to believe they are in another realm. An Elfin realm, where magic is commonplace. So much of what they first see is explained away as magic. The stories timeline travels over many months so that the 2 misplaced travelers are slowly exposed to all the modern world.

Sodomy is a crime in the knight’s time, so that even though he uses his squire for physical relief he makes no move on his benefactor. In a comedy of errors the truth comes out and Lord Jordon and Gabriel finally get together.

This story blends the belief and values of 11th century with the opportunities and advancements of the 21st century. Of a man who wants to go home to his own time where he was a man with a purpose and a titled lord, with a man who has only left his hometown once in his life and always felt he would be alone.

The sexy times are hot and the implications of the off screen times are good too. If you want a play by play of the sex scenes this is not the book for you.

4 of 5 stars

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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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Holidays: Secret Santa by Jay Northcote

Blurb
Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.

Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognise Luke, and Luke realises he’s not the only one with a secret.

Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches their secrets pile up like colourful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all—each other

Review
Jay writes great stories and this Christmas one is no exception. Secrets and misunderstandings are no way to start a relationship but that’s the position Theo and Luke find themselves in. Both of them make decisions based on past experiences which could have sunk this new relationship before it has a chance to flourish. What I loved was that the two of them were open and honest about it and it was all sorted out quickly. No need for drama here. Another big tick for me is Archie, Theo’s four year old son. He was beautifully written as a child and not some mini adult. Jay also knows to write hot sex scenes. All I’m going to say is what a Christmas present! I’ve read a lot of really good Christmas stories so far this year and this one is right up the top. Perfect comfy Christmas read.

4.5 stars out of 5

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High Balls (Balls to the Wall #6) by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/high-balls-by-tara-lain-8904-b

Blurb

Though only twenty-six, single father Theodore Walters lives with his head in the clouds and his feet firmly planted in reality. At the center of his life is Andy, his seven-year-old son, with whom he shares no DNA, though nobody—including his religious-fanatic in-laws—knows that, and Theodore will do anything to keep them from finding out. Theodore works hard to get his PhD and the tenure and salary that might follow to make a better life for Andy—but the head of his department thinks his dissertation on Jane Austen and romance novels is frivolous.

Theodore’s carefully planned life goes off the rails when he walks into a popular Laguna Beach bar and meets the bartender, “Snake” Erasmo, a pierced and tattooed biker who sends Theodore’s imagination—and libido—soaring. Snake has even more secrets than Theodore and couldn’t be a less “appropriate” match, but he might be the only guy with the skills to show Theodore that happily-ever-after is for real.

Review

I was so glad to see a new addition to this series! I’d enjoyed the series in it’s original form and liked re-visiting it upon it’s re-release. To find out there was another NEW one, too – awesome!

I think this is probably my second favorite book in the series. I really loved the juxtaposition of Snake and “Teddy” – two opposites that weren’t so opposite.

Theodore’s son is adorable and I loved how he and Snake bonded so well.

While I thought some of the hiding and secrets were a bit far-fetched and unnecessarily angsty – I liked that things resolved with little fuss.

If you’ve been enjoying this series, you’ll want to add this to your list – but it can absolutely be read as a standalone. If you’re new to the series or just like nerdy meets biker type romances – or single father romances – this is for you!

Highly recommended!

4.25 (rounded to 4.5) of 5 stars

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