Claiming Their Mate (Two is Never Enough Book 2) by BA Tortuga

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He’s here on vacation. They’re here for him.
Samson and Dane are werewolves who act as guardians of their pack. They’re also lovers, but they both long for the third person they know will make their home whole. Their Chosen.

Ryan has no idea he’s even a werewolf. He’s visiting rural New Mexico and Colorado to write horror novels, not get it on with the two hottest men he’s ever met. So why can’t he keep his hands off them, and why is biting suddenly so hot? Can Samson and Dane convince Ryan that he’s like them, and that he needs to leave his city life behind?

 

Review

I liked this a lot! Samson and Dane are hysterical and sexy as hell. I love the gradual way the two of them introduce Ryan to his new “side” and how he slowly begins to emulate them.

I thought the “wolfy” stuff was wonderful and I’m always so appreciative when a writer takes time to make shifters into creatures who share their spirit with an animal and BA does this very well.

I thought there was WAY TOO MUCH SEX in this (gasp! I know, right?!) But there was. I didn’t like the DP or the talk of fisting – not my things, but the rest was okay if too plentiful.

I deducted a point for too much sex but found the story rich and engaging beyond that.

 

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased For Review

 

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Claiming-Their-Mate-Never-Enough-ebook/dp/B01JUTP36M/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1474563789&sr=1-2&keywords=two+is+never+enough+book+2

Beyond the Grill by Tracey Michael

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/beyond-the-grill-by-tracey-michael-7596-b

 

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Justin Walker is used to being the hookup but never the boyfriend, and that’s okay. Justin has goals—he might sling burgers by night and work on his car by day, but he has plans to go to school and make a life for himself. He also has a few friends and loving parents.

What more could a guy ask for?

Hot, muscular, manly Shane Steel is a walking wet dream. Justin fantasizes about having Shane as more than a casual acquaintance, and one night he works up the courage to flirt with Shane. To his surprise—and terror—Shane is interested. Very interested.

As they bond over their love of cars and drag racing, Justin begins to believe he can be more to Shane than a side guy. Too bad Shane’s manipulative and dangerous ex is dead set against letting that happen.

 

Review

I was really, really enjoying the beginning of this short story. I loved the age – early twenties – two average guys – a little (normal) insecurities, some friends to lovers action, maybe a little geek/jock action. Nice. I loved these guys and thought they were great MCs and looked to be a really cute couple.

The first red flag came when Shane bought a guy he’s trying to impress a new car stereo before even asking him on a date. Whoa. That would freak me out. Those are expensive and even if you put aside Justin’s ego and desire to “do it on his own”, who buys that expensive of a gift for a “friend”? Nobody. So Justin should have at least asked – “WTF?” No way is that a “normal” gift.

But… then the two start to ease over the line between friends into lovers and it was really cute. Nice and slow. Very sweet. I was kinda missin’ the sex, but willing to see where this is headed. When Shane meets Lukas again at the bar – everything (for me and Justin) went way down hill.

I didn’t like how Shane ignored Justin, I didn’t like how Shane never quizzed Lukas about what happened the night at the bar (no spoilers but WHAT???). I didn’t like how uber crazy Lukas was and how unrealistically he acted. I really didn’t like the “apology” section of the story nor the huge time jump we get for the epilogue.

The first half of this story was on target for me at 4 or 5 stars but the end brought it down to a 2 or 2.5… maybe.

I see that the author co-wrote Beast with Allison Cassatta – a story I really, really liked and has written other m/m stories. I’d definitely give her another shot, but this story did not work for me.

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Collide (Blackcreek Book 1) Audiobook by Riley Hart narrated by Luke Itzvic

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At 10 years old, Noah Jameson and Cooper Bradshaw collided midair when they dove for the same football. For three years they were inseparable…until one day when Noah and his parents disappeared in the middle of the night.

Noah and Cooper never knew what happened to each other. Now, 17 years later, after finding his boyfriend in bed with another man, Noah returns to Blackcreek looking for a fresh start. And damned if he doesn’t find his old friend grew up to be as sexy as sin.

Coop can’t believe Noah – the only person he trusted with the guilt over his parents’ death – is back. And gay. Or that Cooper himself suddenly wants another man in his bed for the first time. There’s no denying the attraction and emotion between them, but can they overcome the ghosts of their pasts to have a future together?

Review

This is another book I was shocked to find I’d never formally reviewed. This was my first “exposure” to the wonderfulness that is Riley Hart. This showcases her expertise at writing “gay first time lovers” so well.

First, she gives us two really well developed MCs with compelling back stories and then puts these guys back in each other’s orbit. That sets us up with not only an interesting, but a believable story.

Second, she excels at the emotion behind the sex. Sure, the smexy times are off the charts hot, but even more, they work so well because of all the FEELS. Coop and Noah work slowly toward one another. Each subtly noticing their feelings and then when they act upon them it’s an explosion because we’ve been working up to it right along with these guys.

Third, once they’ve begun acting on their feelings, things are magically “fixed”. There are still a lot of questions, regrets and worries. But… it’s not like they vacillate, just appropriately ruminate and contemplate and proceed cautiously forward. It feels really organic and natural.

I think the flashbacks did a great job of showing us the longevity of their relationship and help us to see some of Noah’s issues as well as Coop’s – beyond the new feelings toward each other.

I really loved this and was so glad to see it come to audio!

 

Audio

Luke Itzvic really impressed me with his work on the # Gearshark series (reviews to come) and he did an amazing job with this! He’s really good at the emotion, timing and grittiness of this story. There’s not much to distinguish Coop from Noah, but it was always easy to know who was talking. He’s got an easy voice to listen to and the sound quality is excellent. This is definitely the best way to enjoy this story and highly recommended.

 

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audible Link

 

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Collide-Audiobook/B01LFD1CQG/ref=a_search_c4_1_6_srTtl?qid=1475030520&sr=1-6

Making Waves (Wrench Wars Story) by Marie Sexton

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/making-waves-by-marie-sexton-7569-b

 

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A Wrench Wars Story

Best friends since they were teenagers, Ward Kent and Dean Zimmerman work together at Reggie’s garage, where the reality show Wrench Wars is filmed. Outside of work, Dean is a notorious player, and as far as he’s concerned, Ward’s the best wingman ever. Little does he know, Ward is much more interested in the gentlemen than the ladies.

Then Dean’s younger brother, Ash, comes to work at the garage. Ash may be seven years younger, but he’s had a crush on Ward for years, and he’s not shy about going after what he wants.

Admitting his best friend and his brother are gay is one thing. Seeing them together? That’s a bit more than Dean can take, and he’s about to force Ward to make a decision: lose his best friend and his job, or give up Ash forever.

 

Review

This was a sweet friends to lovers story with very little angst and lots of slow burn and sizzle.

I liked that there was very little hemming and hawing between the two men, and that the resolution with Dean was over fairly quickly.

I’d have liked to see the lovers as a couple more – maybe seen some of their time in Vegas – but for a novella it was pretty low key and sweet.

Recommended for fans of the series.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Wrenches, Regrets and Reality Checks (Wrench Wars Book 3) by LA Witt

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/wrenches-regrets-reality-checks-by-la-witt-7394-b

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2nd Edition 

When Reggie’s garage became part of a popular reality show, business went through the roof. And he supposes having his shop in the black is a fair trade for jumping through the network’s hoops.

As the show’s lowest-ranking producer, Wes is tasked with proposing a new spin-off show to Reggie. The sexy mechanic makes him sweat on a normal day, but this time, Wes is holding cards he can’t show. With execs breathing down his neck, he’s expected to pitch a show Reggie will never agree to do, even if his rejection puts his existing show on the line.

The network is counting on Reggie refusing to sign. But they’re not counting on their messenger falling for the man they’re trying to fire.

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press, 2015.

Review

I haven’t read book one in this series, but I did read book two and I’m a big LA Witt fan. I love blue collar MCs and mechanics especially turn my key. (Look what I did there!) The cover is really hot and while I was a bit leery of the reality TV thing, I was really hoping that the mechanic part of this story would negate the Hollywood drama. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

I admit to a definite bias against reality TV and Hollywood storylines. The fakeness of Hollywood and actors and the BS they do for their work make them unappealing as characters, so I avoid those storylines.   If those are things you like, then please take my review with a big grain of salt, because it might just be up your alley. The takeaway feeling I got by the end, was a temporary fix to the central problem and a tepid HFN. I don’t want to give away any plot points, but even at the end of the story I was still worried about the garage and it’s future, I was uncertain what sort of career Wes was going to have, and most importantly, I was worried that our MCs weren’t really going to go the distance– both in terms of geography and personal life plans. Perhaps if the story had been longer I might have been convinced, but given the story’s brevity – where we’re left is still on pretty shaky ground.

The writing was good, the smexy times were smokin’ hot, but the feels just weren’t there for me. I was left kind of anxious at the end of this story and I don’t like that feeling! I admit to wanting it all wrapped up in a pretty package (or at least looking like it’s pretty certain to be all wrapped up in a pretty package) and this just didn’t convince me. If you’re a fan of the series (I think there’s a lot of book one referenced in this), a fan of reality TV/Hollywood angst, if you don’t mind a romance with less “feels” in it but plenty of “sweaty, hot, blue collar meets white collar man on man” sex – this is the book for you!

2.75 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Prickly by Nature (Portland Pack Chronicles book 2) Audiobook by Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade Narrated by Iggy Toma

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/prickly-by-nature-by-piper-vaughn-and-kenzie-cade-7521-b

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In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.

Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.

Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.

Review

(Book One Review: https://openskyebookreviews.com/prickly-business-audiobook-by-piper-vaughn-and-kenzie-cade-narrated-by-iggy-toma/)

We met Dylan and Avery in book one, they’d finally admitted they were mates and are willing to make a go of it. Meanwhile, Avery is hot on the case of a missing wolf shifter and it’s turning into a career. Dylan supports Avery, but hates the time he’s away from home and the danger he’s in.

Meanwhile, people involved in the shifter case keep ending up dead and this makes Dylan all the more worried. But… the tension from the case and the unexpected reception they receive at Avery’s brother’s wedding, force them both to finally admit their love for one another.

So… on the one hand, things between them are getting better and better, but all the more dangerous, nonetheless.

**
So many times the sequel is never as good as the original… not so here! I loved this sequel so much!

These shifters are regular guys who also shift into animals, so pack dynamics play a role but it’s not as overarching as it is with some other shifter stories. The authors do a great job building this universe and putting in in beautiful (rainy!) PDX is great! (I loved all the local references!)

We finally get our smoin’ hot smexy times with Dylan and Avery, but we – more importantly – get their intimate moments as well.

The secondary characters are well developed and add to the story (Lucas and Miss Georgie are fab!). This is an amazing writing team and I hope we see more from them on other projects as well.

All in all I loved this and highly recommend it to fans of book one and shifter fans.

Audio:

Iggy Toma did the audio for book one and he continues to do a great job with book two. He does such a nice job with Avery’s accent and those of his family as well as giving a good voice to the females in this story. In addition handles the emotions really well and is great with the pacing. He’s another one of the narrators that really knows how to give a good performance with his work rather than simply reading the story.

I highly enjoyed this narration and give it 5 of 5 stars for both the book and the audio.

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Running Hot by Yoalande Kelinn

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/running-hot-by-yolande-kleinn-7349-b

running-hotBlurb

Kurt Trench loves running a successful auto repair shop with his twin sister Lena. Lately loyal customer Shane Dolan has been coming around more often, and Kurt assumes it’s because of his sister. While Kurt wouldn’t dream of coming between them, he can’t help being drawn to Shane himself…. Or thinking about him in ways he definitely shouldn’t.

One night everything changes. Kurt doesn’t reciprocate Shane’s kiss—he’s got no intention of stealing his sister’s man—but when he tells Lena what happened, she can’t believe how thick her brother is. She’s not the reason Shane’s been coming around the garage, and Kurt and Shane have more in common than a love of classic muscle cars. Now it’s on Kurt to make the next move, assuming he hasn’t blown his chance for good.

Review

From the blurb, you can see the (almost) entirety of this short story. What it doesn’t say is that Shane comes around the garage for months and that at no point does Kurt ever ask Lena if the two are going out (she and Shane) even though they are twins who work together every day.

So… you have to have a big block of salt to accept the fact that Kurt lusts after Shane but only suspects that he’s his sister’s boyfriend.

The writing – otherwise- is good. It’s 50 pages and reads very quickly. The dialog is funny and when the smexy times come- oooo la la!

I wish this had been a bit more angsty. Some more significant reason for the two MC to be dancing around one another, it would have taken this from a good read to a great one.

I did enjoy it, and if you’re in the mood for a low angst, quick (yet hot!) read, give this one a go. It ends on a HFN (it’s short!) but it seems very promising. I’d absolutely read something by this author in the future.

4 of 5 stars

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A Restored Man (The Men of Halfway House Book #3) by Jaime Reese

audiobookreviewAudible Link
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/A-Restored-Man-Audiobook/B01JH0DPAA/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1470415240&sr=1-1

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Cole Renzo thinks his greatest challenge is to behave for the remainder of his term at Halfway House. Until he meets his new boss, Ty Calloway, a man who ticks off every box on Cole’s list of interests.

A sought-after restorer and customizer of exotic and collectible cars, Ty had enough confidence to command what he wanted in life, until one fateful night changed everything. Almost two years later, he’s slowly rebuilding his life with great control. He’s defied the odds and works tirelessly to be the man he once was—but he still feels broken.

Cole’s candor and unfiltered personality awaken Ty’s barely-remembered desire to greet each new day with a smile, while Ty’s unwavering acceptance of Cole’s quirks and brash humor makes Cole feel as if he fits in for the first time in far too long. When a nemesis threatens Ty’s personal restoration and the things he holds dear, Cole is determined to protect their relationship, even if that means sacrificing everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ty will have to let his guard down, surrender control, and admit he needs Cole first, even if that puts himself at risk of breaking beyond repair.

Review
(Reviewed here previously: http://kimichanexperience.com/restored-man-men-halfway-house-book-3-jaime-reese/)
(abridged)

This is book three in The Men of Halfway House series. I think, technically you could read this as a standalone with no problem, but why the heck would ya? The other two books are amazing and really give you the background for this book. So… I’m going to assume you’ve read books one and two…

We met Cole in book two. He’s loud, impetuous, impractical, mouthy and in a word – Trouble. He’s also an (ex) car thief who is at the HH after spending 2 years in prison for stealing a car and refusing to “rat out” his co-conspirators.

Ty is Aidan’s brother. He’s in the family business (Aidan is the black sheep!) of car restoration but he’s still recovering from a serious car accident that took the lives of his parents and put him in a coma for 6 months. Ty is the opposite of Aidan. He’s shy, reserved, blushes at the drop of a hat and has a dark cloud hanging above his head.

When Ty meets Cole there is instant attraction on both sides. So much so that Cole puts his foot in his mouth – again – and Aidan puts his fist in Cole’s face for it! Though Ty makes Aidan apologize for it later, Aidan makes it clear that if Cole hurts Ty in any way losing the car will be the least of his worries.

Well, as it turns out, Cole fits in at the shop like a fish to water. He’s found his groove at last and things look great from that perspective. His only glitch: Ty. Ty turns Cole on like nothing else and makes him crazy.

There is more than just the romance going on in this story, and that’s one of the things that take this from a great book to an amazing book! Both Cole and Ty (and even Aidan) do a lot of growing. Sometimes this makes me jones to get back to the love story but Jaime’s writing is so smooth and elegant that I just wanted to keep reading. The 6000 locations in this story (nearly 12 hours of listening) fly by.

The romance between Ty and Cole is both a slow burn and an instant wildfire. They flirt and tease and touch and torment each other endlessly, but the final coming together takes weeks and when it does happen it is really moving and powerful.

I love seeing J and Matt again (wish we could here about Cam and Hunter too, but seeing as they’ve disappeared…). I love the “hint” that maybe J and Matt might one day expand their little family! (Wouldn’t that be amazing!)

Cole has to be my most favorite character so far. Man! He’s funny, honest, charming, adorkable, can do ANYTHING (and he knows it), cocky, insecure, sweet, raunchy… just a perfect mixture of everything. Ty is his perfect foil because he’s so shy, yet subtly aggressive, confident but tentative… another delightful mix.

I really feel that Jaime’s writing has gotten even better as the series has progressed and her world building and characterizations are top notch. I had to stop and slow down several times when I was reading this because I just wanted to savor how good it was.

Overall a truly amazing book that I know I’ll read again and again

6 of 5 stars

Audio:

Greg Tremblay. (That’s almost all I need to say.) I fangirl him so hard that y’all know I just adored him here too. He does all the subtle accents so well, gives the mechanics a unique voice even though most only speak once or twice in the entire story and he handles the emotion and smexy times sooooo well. I feel like I repeat this on every review of his narrations but… well he ROCKS!

Now we need the others!

6 of 5 stars

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