Categories
2.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Author Provided Book co-workers to lovers Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Heat Index Hidden Lovers long distance love m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Misunderstanding Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Secret Identity

Morning My Angel (Angel Enterprises, Book 1) Audiobook by Sue Brown Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Morning-My-Angel-Audiobook/B071XDB17D?qid=1500501208&sr=1-1

Blurb

Josh Cooper, top US security field agent, is sent on an inter-agency assignment to London, when a partner in his firm goes missing in suspicious circumstances. Used to working in sole charge of his well-honed team, he clashes heads with the handsome, but pompous Cal, his UK cooperator and superior. Josh’s gut tells him something is wrong. He’s being kept out of the loop and Cal’s agenda is running on a different path.
He also has a personal issue to deal with. He’s involved in a cyber-relationship with “Charlie”, an unknown man who connected with Josh by accident. Their banter has led to deeper respect and a sexual interest, but now Josh is faced with a growing attraction to Cal. Between this conflict and the tension of the mission, Josh’s heart and head are overworked and confused. Things can’t get much worse.
Then Josh discovers the enemies he’s seeking have a new target: him.

Review

If it had not been for the excellent narration, I would probably have not finished this story – and if I had – I’d have been more mad than I am now.

First, this is NOT romantic. Our MCs get a barely there HFN and it is TOTALLY unsatisfying. I get that this is the beginning to the series, but I was not invested enough in these guys to continue and was SO frustrated by Charlie and how he treats Josh that I’m hoping Josh moves on!

In the beginning it looked like it was going to be this clever “I’m cyber in love with someone” and then “I meet a real guy but what about the cyber guy”… but that all ends after a brief encounter between Josh and Cal and the mystery is revealed early that Cal is Charlie. (Sorry, not really a spoiler though.)

Our MCs are barely on page together and when the ILYs come, they don’t feel authentic. Josh seems like an interesting guy but he lets Cal totally run over him and I can’t believe the ultimatum Cal gives Josh!

I also didn’t care for the “action/mystery” part of the story – it didn’t really make a lot of sense and seemed unrealistic.

Joel Leslie did a great job with his narration – I love his British accents! – but he wasn’t enough to make me recommend this story.

2.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Audiobook Month Book Boss/employee class difference Closeted Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hurt/comfort long distance love m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Monthly Theme Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series Rowing/Boating second chance at love Single Parent

Audiobook Month: Setting the Hook by Andrew Grey Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/setting-the-hook-by-andrew-grey-8741-b

Blurb

It could be the catch of a lifetime.
William Westmoreland escapes his unfulfilling Rhode Island existence by traveling to Florida twice a year and chartering Mike Jansen’s fishing boat to take him out on the Gulf. The crystal-blue water and tropical scenery isn’t the only view William enjoys, but he’s never made his move. A vacation romance just isn’t on his horizon.
Mike started his Apalachicola charter fishing service as a way to care for his daughter and mother, putting their safety and security ahead of the needs of his own heart. Denying his attraction becomes harder with each of William’s visits.
William and Mike’s latest fishing excursion starts with a beautiful day, but a hurricane’s erratic course changes everything, stranding William. As the wind and rain rage outside, the passion the two men have been trying to resist for years crashes over them. In the storm’s wake, it leaves both men yearning to prolong what they have found. But real life pulls William back to his obligations. Can they find a way to reduce the distance between them and discover a place where their souls can meet? The journey will require rough sailing, but the bright future at the end might be worth the choppy seas.

Review

This is one of those rare treats for me: a book I’ve not read, only listened to. I really love Greg Tremblay and am a fan of Andrew Grey’s as well.

We start with Mike and William, who by now are already friends, but neither is sure the other is gay, and they live several states apart. Add to that the fact that Mike lives in the conservative South and William isn’t sure he can commit and you’ve got a recipe for disaster!

But… these guys click – and when opportunity meets attraction there’s combustion. It takes awhile (maybe too long?) for our guys to figure this stuff out – but the story is low on angst and there are no artificial obstructions in their path. They’ve simply got to work through their issues until the right answer comes along.

I appreciated the fact that there was no “magic bullet” – simply compromise and change and sometimes some hard work.

While I wish the ending hadn’t felt so rushed – our guys aren’t together long before the end – the Epilogue felt lovely and hopeful.

I loved Mike’s family as well as all the boat talk.

Greg did a nice job with the accents – none over the top, but a subtle twang here and there, a bit of snobbishness once in awhile and – as always – an excellent use of timing and cadence to portray emotion and humor.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and recommend it!

4 of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Audiobook Month Book Christmas class difference Closeted coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner farmer Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Holiday Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort Length long distance love m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Morgan New Year's Eve Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Opposites attract Rating second chance at love Single Parent Thanksgiving Virgin Widower

Audiobook Month: A Second Harvest by Eli Easton Narrated by Will Tulin

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-second-harvest-by-eli-easton-7193-b

Blurb

David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.

Review
(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

David is a Mennonite (a conservative Christian religion) farmer in rural Pennsylvania who has recently lost his wife of almost 2 decades to cancer. He has 2 grown children in college and a farm to run. He’s lonely. He’s lonely and worried about how he’s going to convince himself that life is worth living.

Christie is an again party-boy in Manhattan. When he nearly loses his BFF to an overdose he decides to take a good hard look at his life and re-evaluate things. When his aunt leaves him a house in rural Pennsylvania in her will, he decides to live there for 6 months to clear his head while he clears out the house.

On the surface, David and Christie are as opposite as you can imagine. But something in the two of them are attracted to one another like magnets.

Once Christie begins the cooking/sharing meal process, the two find any excuse to spend time together. The only thing that keeps this from being a “relationship” is David’s denial, and Christie’s belief that David doesn’t see him that way.

When David’s will finally collapses and allows Christie in – the passion is beautiful – but can it last?

**

As you know Eli is one of my “Hall of Fame Writers”. If she writes it I will automatically buy it and I’m NEVER disappointed. Sure, some I like more than others, but she ALWAYS delivers a love story that warms your heart. Every. Time.

This story is particularly satisfying. It’s longer than some of her other stories and as such we are given more time with our characters and that makes the bonding more special.

Because this is a very, very, slow burn – most of the story is the two becoming friends. It felt very authentic and plausible. When David finally does give in to his passions, it makes sense, and the readers understand just why he’s able to do so.

Christie is authentic and proud and “FIERCE” all the way through the story. His character stays true to form from start to finish and I really appreciated his lack of wavering.

The other thing I really appreciated was Eli’s consistency with David’s children. They too didn’t waver and behaved as I think they would have/could have in this situation.

I thought the level of steam was appropriate for the story – enough to entice but not so much as to over take the storyline. I don’t think anyone with religious issues (either fears or passions) will be upset by this – she handles the religious aspect with a delicate hand.

My only niggling complaint with the story is the ending. We got a very long and drawn out courtship, and then the ending was POW right there and the story was over. This is one of the issues I’ve had with a few of the author’s stories. I feel like giving us a bit more – especially given that Epilogue!!! – would have felt more balanced. I do appreciate the epilogue but I would have wanted to see a bit more of what decisions drew the couple to that ending.

In any case, it’s a truly wonderful story that kept me reading into late in the night and I couldn’t put it down.

Highly Recommended!

Audio

Will Tulin is a new to me narrator. He does a fine job with this, he’s easy to listen to and definitely has a great grasp of timing and emotion. He doesn’t do much with accents or making the characters unique, which was a little disappointing given the potential, but this is a good way to experience this story regardless. Each character was easy to distinguish as they were speaking and the females were voiced well, too.

Recommended

4.5 of 5 stars overall
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3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book coming of age Contemporary Finding Family Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index long distance love m/m Mid level angst Misunderstanding Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Reconcilliation Scorching/high heat Standalone

Moving Maverick: A Made Marian Novel (Made Marian Book 5) Audiobook by Lucy Lennox Narrated by: Michael Pauley

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Moving-Maverick-Audiobook/B06Y273LHF?qid=1497811532&sr=1-3

Blurb

“Do you remember what you promised?”
Maverick: I haven’t been back to Rabbit Island, South Carolina, since my parents died and my grandmother, Mimi, rejected me. I’m only returning now to attend her funeral and sell an estate I never wanted. But the moment I step foot on the island and fall into Beau’s arms, I realize it might not be so easy to say goodbye after all.

Beau Talmadge was always the boy next door, but now he’s no longer a kid. The man is hot as hell and pushes all my buttons in the very best way. I’m supposed to leave in a week. Sell everything, close the door on my past, and walk away forever. So why am I letting myself fall for someone who lives thousands of miles away? And how the hell am I going to break it off when it’s time to go?

“That I’d come back.”

Beau: It took one short summer to fall in love with Maverick Mitchell and fifteen long years to forget him when he left. I’d never expected to see him again, but when he shows up at Mimi’s funeral looking lost and lonely I can’t resist doing anything I can to comfort him. Falling into bed with Maverick is easy and the nights we spend together are as hot and steamy as a South Carolina thunderstorm.

I know it’s not smart. I know it’s not what he planned. But dammit, Mav belongs in my arms, in my bed, and in my life. So how the hell do I get him to stay?

“Took you long enough.”

Fair warning: Moving Maverick is a 73k word gay romance novel featuring sweet tea vodka, fancy salt and pepper shakers, guys catching crabs (not that kind), Aunt Tilly with a knife, and multiple detailed instances of man parts touching.

Moving Maverick is the fifth book in the best-selling Made Marian series. It can be read on its own but is much more fun read as part of the series. The series begins with Borrowing Blue and each book follows a Marian brother’s se

Review

This is one of those stories that I have to divide into two parts. There were the parts I loved and the parts I really hated.

Loved: The outer banks! Man! There’s so much flavor and charm and the whole “Rabbit Island” and the carvings and … so much! I loved that!

Beau: He’s just perfect. Sweet, hot, funny, fun, smart – the whole package.

The HEA: Happy and lovely and a great solution for everyone!

Hated: Maverick’s grandmother’s “reason” for why Maverick was put into foster care. It’s just ridiculous. I guess you can say that grief will make people do stupid things but this was just above and beyond and it definitely affected my willingness to enjoy this story.

Maverick’s inability to see the answer to all their problems when it was hitting him in the face. He has the love of his life in his arms and he can’t see what needs to be done? Soooooo frustrating.

Maverick himself sort of falls into an in between category – I wanted him to appreciate Beau more than he did.

Michael Pauley did his perfectly wonderful job narrating as he does the others, but I’d wished he’d done more with the accents.

All in all I was enthralled enough to listen all the way through and I was definitely pleased with the end results but I had moments where I wanted to punch someone too.

As a result I’m giving this a 3 of 5 stars because it really was a split decision.

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Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Closeted Contemporary Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort long distance love m/m Military Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Rating Scorching/high heat Standalone

Chief’s Mess (Anchor Point #3) by L.A. Witt

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/chiefs-mess

Blurb

Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.

When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.

But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.

Review

I guess I never realized what a “button” alcoholism is for me. The MC Noah spends literally 98% of this in denial that he even has a problem. That was really, really hard to read. After reading how strongly Anthony feels about alcoholics, watching him – also in denial – was hard.

Most of this book is divided into either our MCs having really hot sex or angst about the alcohol issue.

I never warmed up to Noah, found his “conversion” to be laughably easy and not at all reliable, and in the end he never really won me over. Anthony was set up as a jerk in the first book, continued that in the first part of this book and though I warmed to him by the end I can’t really say that I liked either of these guys much even at the end of the book.

For me, this was a total miss. I’ve really enjoyed the other books in the series, with the first being my favorite – but I can’t say that I recommend this one at all.

There are some positive reviews out there, so I’d recommend reading those if the blurb/cover catches your eye. To be sure there is plenty of sex and that can be enough – depending on what you’re after.

The writing was good, but I do think there was an awful lot of words that didn’t do much to further the story.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars

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2.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book class difference Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Exploration Gay Heat Index Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort Insta Love Little to no angst long distance love m/m/m May/December May/December Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Reconcilliation second chance at love Sports Sports Standalone Widower

Gnarly (World of Love) by Mickie B. Ashling 

release day review 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/gnarly-by-mickie-b-ashling-8583-b

 

Blurb

Dr. Ed Hollingsworth, widowed for five years, returns to San Sebastián, Spain, after a thirty-year absence. He seeks out his first and only male lover, pro surfer Javi Elizalde. 

After surviving a near-fatal shark attack, Javi turned his back on the sport he loves and became a recluse. 

Iker Lizaso, professional jai alai player, finds himself at loose ends now that his contract has expired. Forced to retire at thirty-eight, he returned to his home in the Basque Country to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. 

Three different men, encumbered by their past, converge in a city famous for its food, summer festivals, and romantic promenades. Can they find happiness together? It’ll be difficult, maybe even improbable, considering their backgrounds, but Cupid’s arrow usually hits the mark, and this particular strike might be epic.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

 

Review

This just didn’t work for me.

Things I liked/loved: learning about the Basque, the language, the culture, the geography. The references to surfing. The information about Jai Alai. This country and the people sound amazing and so, so colorful. I could definitely feel the heat and passion and spiciness – it seems very rich and flavorful! I enjoyed learning about the advances in prosthesis technology.

Things that didn’t work: The ménage. I never felt like Iker was integral to this relationship and I really wasn’t sure why he was even part of this story. He felt like a third wheel. He’s so sweet and enthusiastic and I didn’t understand his willingness to be part of this couple or his attraction to the somber and rigid Ed. Which brings me to my second point. Ed. He was a total dick to Javi and seemed to completely forget him for 30 years! Then he suddenly shows up and expects that time to have just disappeared. Javi gave him a lecture – ONE – and that was completely insufficient. He’s bossy and manipulative and condescending at the best and cold and uncaring at the worst. I did not understand Javi’s attraction, nor Iker’s and I was always rooting for Iker and Javi to kick Ed to the curb.

This story was all over the map. It wanted to be a reunion story, a story of opposites attract, a May/December story, a bi-sexual discovery story, a PTSD/hurt/comfort/recovery story, a ménage…it was too much. As a reader I needed to understand how Ed could act like he did so that I could forgive him and I really received no other explanation other than – school kept me busy where I met my wife. And apparently left all of Javi and his life in the dust.   I ached for poor Javi and though I applaud his willingness to let Ed help him I couldn’t help but feel like he seems like a doormat almost as much as poor Iker.

Another thing that really bugged me was how the ménage worked. I felt like Iker was on the outside. Though it was sweet that Javi and Ed shared some firsts, Ed’s holding that over Iker’s head like a prize seemed unkind and definitely made me feel like the group was seriously out of balance.  We get a HFN instead of an HEA and that, too, left me a little disappointed.

I did not feel a strong connection between these characters and as a result the “romance” in this did not pass muster. The cultural information was interesting and for that I’ll give this a 2.5 of 5 stars.

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4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book co-workers to lovers Contemporary Dee Gay Heat Index Length Little to no angst long distance love m/m May/December May/December Men In Uniform Mid level steam/heat Military Monthly Theme Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Standalone

Men In Uniform: One Giant Leap by Kay Simone

Amazon Link

 

Free on KU!

Blurb

Houston we have so many problems…
Curtis “Launchpad” Larkin’s career as an astronaut has had its share of ups and downs.
Alternately lauded as the single-handed savior of NASA and condemned as a reckless, hot-headed bully, Curt has been through the wringer of public opinion and come out on top. When he embarks on his final mission with NASA, Curt figures there’s no curveball that life has left to throw him.
But when the role of spacecraft communicator is passed to a young engineer back in Houston who he’s never met, Curt’s mission takes on a new trajectory.

“CAPCOM to commander. Do you read?”
Patrick Harte’s life is turned upside down when he’s called to fill in at mission control, working directly under his hero, Curtis Larkin.
Falling for Curt is just a small step for Patrick — but it’s one giant leap to think that the astronaut could ever return his feelings.
“The more I talk to you, the more I know that we understand each other.”

After Curt connects with Patrick from worlds away, he can’t imagine life on earth without the other man… Despite the fact that he’s never laid eyes on Patrick. And their problems won’t stop once he’s cleared for landing.
The bad-boy astronaut is no stranger to controversy — but will the genuine and soft-spoken man of his dreams be able to keep up with the trouble Curt seems to stir everywhere he goes?

Review

This is a delightful older/younger m/m romance (there’s only a 5 or 6 year age difference). The premise was unusual – 2 men who are literally separated by space, fall in love. The story style was also interesting, switching between recent past (Curt’s interview prior to this space mission) and present, interacting with his crew and Patrick, his ground navigator (CAPCOM).
The story is unique, and for those interested in space travel (and even those who aren’t), the descriptions of the space station, the crew and the issues that can occur were woven seamlessly into the story. I won’t try to summarise the book- I wouldn’t be able to do it justice – but believe me when I say it’s a brilliant book.
There is a lot of humour and heart in this story, especially the way Curt comes to rely on Patrick and they both realise that they are falling slowly falling in love. The scene when Curtis finally lands on Earth and finally sees Patrick is funny and touching. This was one of the best books that I’ve read and I would recommend to anyone.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay Heat Index Insta Love long distance love m/m Mary D Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Misunderstanding Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Standalone

Sunset at Pencarrow
 by Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell


release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/sunset-at-pencarrow-by-lou-sylvre-and-anne-barwell-8532-b

Blurb

A World of Love
Book

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

Review by Mary

There is a lot packed into 129 pages. Nate and Rusty are pushed together by circumstances. The airport is at standstill and over a short space of time their paths kept crossing. They get talking and Nate feels guilty for the way he behaved inviting Rusty to stay with him while waiting for the fog to clear. This starts a good story showing the pull of attraction against the knowledge this could only be a very short affair. A battle between the head and the heart if you will.
Nate takes Rusty to visit sights around Wellington, I’m not going to go into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil the story. While traveling together they start to fall for each other but don’t talk about their feelings. But if they did there wouldn’t be such a good story. I’m still not sure if I liked Nate, he seemed too self centred. By the end he was winning me over. I did get a good flavour of parts of New Zealand that are off the beaten track and the settings suited the moods between Nate and Rusty. It was fun learning a few of the terms used in New Zealand.
I liked this book and was content with the happy for now ending.

3 of 5 stars

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Review by Dee

This is a well written story. One man is moving on from a bad relationship and attempting to make a new start in a new city and the other man is still dealing with loss and a bit of post combat anxiety. Unfortunately, (and this is a personal thing), I didn’t really warm up to the two main characters, especially Nate who seemed to have two speeds: angry or grumpy – so much so that it was hard for me to warm to him when he was being nice. Rusty, on the other hand, was just OK, likeable.

The internal-monologues from both men, particularly Rusty, were a bit like verbal hand-wringing. This made the story less light-hearted than I expected, even when there were humorous moments. (From the blurb, I had expected a somewhat lighter read.)

Despite my personal preferences, the story is interesting, including the trips to different places in near Wellington, NZ (made notes to visit) and Nate’s ex showing up to cause problems. The scene at the airport, when Rusty is leaving, is particularly touching.

Funnily enough, by the last chapter and epilogue I found that I had warmed up to Nate and Rusty after all!

3.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
2 stars 4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Dee Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Gay Heat Index Hurt/comfort Little to no angst long distance love m/m Mary D Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Standalone writer

The Sun Still Rises
 By Laura Bailo


release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-sun-still-rises-by-laura-bailo-8474-b

Blurb

Erik’s father lived for Pamplona’s yearly festival and the running of the bulls. Now he’s gone, and Erik flies to Pamplona on a whim to see the festival his father loved—without booking a room first. He’s looking at sleeping on the ground until friendly David from the tourism office offers to share his home.

When Erik realizes he trusts David, that he might even be willing to face his anxiety to get to know David better, he begins to understand what this trip could mean. Pamplona is even more beautiful when seen through David’s eyes, and Erik might have traveled around the world just to find himself. But can he hold on to his newfound confidence—and to David—when it’s time to go home

Review by Mary 


Sweet love story!

I got swept away in the atmosphere of Pamplona, it felt like I was there with Erik. Erik is coming to terms with losing his Father and I applaud the way Laura Bailo expresses this without it being too heavy. David is just what Erik needs to show him how to appreciate life again. Steph, Erik’s agent, is the voice of reason and helps reassure Erik about his decisions. I really liked this story. I could relate to the characters and found it enchanting. Left me with a smile on my face.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Review by Dee

This is a part of the ‘World of Love series, set in Spain (Pamplona to be exact), but I felt I was in Anywhere, USA (a bit ironic, since I didn’t even get a sense of where Erik lived in the US).

Erik has recently lost his dad, (he used to visit Pamplona for the running of the bulls festival), and has decided to make the same trip in honour of him. Erik gets to Spain, eventually finds his way to Pamplona and meets David, who works at the local tourism office. Up to this point there is not much to indicate that Erik has left the States- yes, there are some Spanish words, but even my local mercardo more has Spanish on its front door (I live in Northern Virginia). There was no mention of the flight over, what it was like when Erik finally lands in Spain or even a description of what he might of seen on the drive over. Another thing that made this feel less than authentic was how David was portrayed- he was nice, but he read as an American. There was no hint of a local accent, (even though he’s never left Pamplona) he sounded American.

Anyway, Erik realizes he’s ill-prepared for the trip and needs a place to stay and David offers his place. They get to know one another and eventually get their HEA.

What I liked: If this was just a simple ‘boy meets boy’ story it reads as a nice story. David and Erik had a good rapport – I enjoyed their conversations.

What I didn’t like: I did not get a feel for where the story is set, even though it’s stated. Another thing that bothered me was that they ordered pizza for their first meal together!!! You’re in Spain, where there is so much good food, I expected at list one Spanish dish.. Last, the MC’s read younger that they were supposed to be; I honestly was not sure how old they were supposed to be.

I really tried to like it, but, (as an avid traveler, and a transplanted Brit), it fell flat for me.

 

2 of 5 stars

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Categories
6 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Author Provided Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Fated Mates Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index High but not hopeless High School Homophobia long distance love m/m Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Race/Species Difference Scorching/high heat Shifter Virgin

Author Spotlight: Cardeno C Wake Me Up Inside (Mates Book 1) Book and Audiobook narrated by Charlie David

Blurb

A powerful Alpha wolf shifter and a strong-willed human overcome traditions ingrained over generations and uncover long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny as true mates.

Regarded as the strongest wolf shifter in generations, Alpha Zev Hassick is surprised and confused by his attraction to his best friend. His very human, very male best friend. A male shifter has to mate with a female shifter to keep his humanity, so shifters can’t be gay. Yet, everything inside Zev tells him Jonah is his true mate.

Maintaining a relationship with the man he has loved since childhood isn’t easy for Jonah Marvel, but he won’t let distance or Zev’s odd family get in their way. When unexplained ailments begin to plague Jonah, he needs to save his own life and sanity in order to have a future with Zev.

Zev and Jonah know they’re destined for each other, but they must overcome traditions ingrained over generations and long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny.

Audiobook Review by Morgan

This is such an amazing beginning to a series!

Mates aren’t supposed to meet as children!  But Zev and Jonah do.  It takes until they’re graduating from high school for Zev to figure it out – and once he does he knows he can’t keep Jonah from his future.  The problem is Mates aren’t supposed to be separated and Jonah can’t know about being mated to a shifter so and two males can’t be mated and wolves don’t mate humans so… How is Zev going to figure all this out?

**

Though this isn’t my favorite in the series, this series is one of my all time favorite shifter series EVER!  There is a lot of actual shifting – which I love – and humor – which I adore – and sweet and sexy and MINE.  All leading to perfection!

While I loved the emotions shared between Zev and Jonah as they grow together, the sexual tension is almost exhausting. By the time they finally do get together all you can do is release a huge sigh of relief! Though it was hard to see them separate, together they are scorching hot and they never lose faith with one another.

The way Zev has to navigate the new definitions of “mate” and how it relates to shifter politics is great and I loved how he and Jonah do not have the traditional Alpha/weaker-mate relationship but one that is truly equal.

Though you can read them in any order, I recommend reading this series in order.

Audio

Charlie David narrates this entire series – YAY – and I hope he does book 4 – too.  He is tremendously gifted at giving us unique characters, fantastic emotions, great timing and smoldering smexy times.  I love the warmth he creates between Zev and Jonah as they play together, then later the emotion he portrays when Jonah is so sick and confused about why he’s sick and finally the culmination in passion when our two MCs FINALLY come together.  Absolutely the best way to enjoy this story!

5 of 5 stars for book and audio

 
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Book Review by Mary

I can be a bit particular about shifter stories but this one got me right in the heart.

I loved the whole yin yang concept of the human side needing to connect with another shifter in order for their wolves to settle or they’d go crazy. It was so sweet where Zev knew Jonah was important to him from when they were babies and later in their friendship identified they were true mates. The story is set in a flashback style and at first I struggled with what was then and now but about a quarter of the way through I settled into the story. There is a slow build up and when they get together it’s such a hot and sweet love.

This is a perfect Cardeno C love story. I could feel their pain at being apart and the joy when they were together, leading to their happy ever after. I can’t wait to read (or listen) to book 2, Until Forever Comes. Miguel and Ethan sound intriguing.

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review