Time to Comfort: Rend (Riven #2) by Roan Parrish

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38944629-rend?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

After a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.

Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

Review

This was not what I was expecting.

I’d really loved Riven – it had angst and pain – sure – but the overall feeling was lighter and definitely had a brighter outlook to it.

I’d thought this would have a similar vibe. Well – it didn’t. It was very, very, very, very angsty – drama at every turn and full of sadness and emotional upheaval.

If this is your bag- you will be psyched because Roan Parrish is a great writer. However, if you’re looking for something lighter in line with Riven – don’t read this.

I thought it was interesting that our MCs are already married in chapter 1 and the book is not our guys getting together but Matt getting over his low self esteem.

I really didn’t like the fact that Matt was a mental health professional with apparently no ability to manage himself – at all.

I think that was definitely part of the problem I had with this. I appreciated the idea of it, but I didn’t necessarily like that our guys were already together.

In any case – it was nice seeing the MCs from book 1 and – as I mentioned – Roan is a great writer – I was just over Matt and his self doubt pretty much from sentence one so this just didn’t tick any boxes for me.

3 of 5 stars


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Recently Released: Push (Music in Motion #1) by B.L. Morticia

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/push-by-blmorticia-9916-b

Blurb

Music In Motion: Book One

Malakei Oakley, aka rapper M. Prophet, is at the top of his game—but deep in the closet. Handsome, wealthy, and successful as the head of 315East Entertainment, Malakei should be on cloud nine. Despite his awards and a Midas touch that has every musician clamoring to work with him, something is missing.

Seth “Reaper” Davies is ready for stardom. His band High Stakes plays to small, packed houses all over Birmingham and London but has yet to get their big break. But Seth isn’t giving up on his dream—no matter what it takes.

A viral video prompts a message from a person he doesn’t expect—the talented M. Prophet. Their musical styles are worlds apart, and Seth has no desire to change his style to sell records. But his curiosity—and his attraction to Malakei—wins out.

Malakei can’t get Seth out of his mind. He also can’t come out without ruining his reputation. No matter how much he wants the sexy singer, his only option is to push Seth away. But he’s about to find out Seth isn’t one to give up on what he wants—and he might be just what Malakei needs.

Review

Ok – there’s a lot about this I want to say – and I want to be as fair as possible.

1) I thought there were parts that were very compelling – the bias against LGBTQ in hip hop, the reluctance to lose face, the authenticity of the lives led by both MCs and their people
2) I didn’t buy the language used by either MC – it felt too over the top and didn’t feel at all what actual people would say – either to themselves or their families/friends
3) I never liked Seth. Malakei was a sweetie and Seth seemed like an asshole over and over so I never got invested in their relationship.
4) The making out with the ex thing never sat well with me and I didn’t think it needed to be on page
5) I didn’t understand why Seth would have a secret crush on someone everyone thinks is straight and whom he doesn’t really even like musically
In the end – though there was a lot about this that had potential I never bought in and as a result I can say I just didn’t like and can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


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Recent Release: Riven (Riven #1) by Roan Parrish

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36135552-riven?from_search=true

Blurb

Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

Review

I’m a sucker for rock stars and music and I really “felt” this. Theo and Caleb are so obviously perfect for one another and though there is some angst and separation – it’s mild (in comparison to some of the author’s other works).

I really loved the explanation/musical process we get to glimpse in addition to the look at addiction and recovery we see with Caleb.

Theo is a very lovable character and I was glad to see him find his own stride. The chemistry he has with Caleb is both heart warming and HOT.

This was amazing and I heartily recommend it! I hope someone awesome does the audio book! (Joel Leslie- ahem.)

5 of 5 stars

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Valentine’s Day Review: Audiobook- The Devil’s Brew by Rhys Ford Narrated by Tristan James

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-devils-brew-by-rhys-ford-2741-b

Blurb:
Miki St. John’s life has been turned upside down, but it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
His best friend, Damien Mitchell, is back from the dead. He has a dog named Dude. And more importantly, he and his lover SFPD Inspector Kane Morgan now share Miki’s converted warehouse.
For the first time ever, Miki’s living a happy and normal-ish life, but when Valentine’s Day rolls around, Miki realizes he knows next to nothing about being domestic or domesticated. Nothing about the traditional lover’s holiday makes sense to him, but Miki wants to give Kane a Valentine’s Day the man will never forget.
Can he pull off a day of wine and roses? Or will his screwed-up childhood come back and bite Miki in the ass?
Again.

Review:

If you have not read the Sinner’s Gin series ries and especially if you have not listened to it you should! It is an amazing series read by one of the most dreamy narrators in the genre. It involves a bunch a very broken people who find happiness with one another, all the while making amazing music.

Devils brew is a novella that takes place over Valentine’s Day when Miki, who has never had any “normal” relationships, tries to navigate through this made up holiday with his boyfriend for the first time ever. It’s funny, sweet and tender all at the same time.

I love Miki’s relationship with the Morgans and am always touched by Donal’s contributions to Miki’s healing process.
Without giving anything away, I did a happy dance when Miki gave Sionn his second gift… yippee!!

Tristan James’ narration is the icing on this delicious cake – his Irish accents are swoonworthy! He is the vocal equivalent of crack for me. I have every one of his narrations (luckily they are great stories, too) simply because I adore his voice. His cadence is superb and his intonation is like butter. I love his accents (even when they wobble a bit) and the bit of “acting” he does as he reads the emotional parts is just right.
I can’t say enough positive things about this narration, highly recommended to fans of the series and again a plug to start from the beginning if you haven’t already.

https://www.goodreads.com/series/103855-sinners

5 of 5 stars

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Enemies to Lovers Audiobook: Locked in Silence (Pelican Bay, Book 1) By: Sloane Kennedy Narrated by: Michael Pauley

Audible link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Locked-in-Silence-Audiobook/B077T655L9?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4FET26ZB2TWP5QS87FGH&

Blurb

I’ve spent years hoping someone would finally hear me. It’s easier not to try anymore….
10 years after leaving his small Minnesota hometown in his rear view mirror for what Nolan Grainger was sure would be the last time, life has decided to throw the talented musician a curveball and send him back to the town he lived in but was never really home.
At 28, Nolan has traveled the world as a successful concert violinist with some of the best symphonies in the country. But success breeds envy, and when Nolan’s benefactor and lover decides Nolan has flown high enough, he cruelly clips Nolan’s wings. The betrayal and ensuing scandal leaves the violinist’s career in shambles and with barely enough money to start fresh somewhere beyond his vindictive ex’s powerful reach. But just as he’s ready to get his life back on track, Nolan gets the call he’s been dreading.
After a stroke leaves his father a partial invalid, duty-bound Nolan returns to Pelican Bay and a life he’s spent years trying to forget. When he’s forced to use the last of his own money to keep from losing the family home, desperation has him turning to the one man he’d hoped never to see again….
Even if I could speak, there wouldn’t be anyone there to listen….

Review

Sloane Kennedy is hit or miss for me. Not because she is a bad writer or because she doesn’t have great ideas – but because I’m only good for so much angst before I throw my hands up in resignation and that seems to be what she excels at.

I was recommended to listen to this story because it was less angsty and it had a DA MC – which I love!- and I’d say it was a pretty good rec.

On the one hand I do find the deep, dark “moments” to be a bit much for my taste – I’m more a humor and hijinks type reader than deep and contemplative. On the other hand I think the two MCs moved on fairly quickly from their back stories to embrace one another.

I really enjoyed Michael Pauley’s narration and think he matched the tone for this story perfectly. He doesn’t do a lot to change the voices of the MCs and I wish he’d attempted to alter the voice a little of Dallas but he’s easy to listen to and great with emotion.

If you’re a fan of the author you’ll adore this, if you’re new to the author I’d read some reviews and see if she fits. This would be a great “first book” of hers to start with.

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: A Kind of Home (A Kind of Stories #4) by Lane Hayes Narrated by Seth Clayton

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-kind-of-home-by-lane-hayes-8585-b

Blurb

A Kind Of Story

Isaac Dalton is the guitarist for Spiral, arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The band’s meteoric rise to superstardom has its perks, but fame and fortune aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Nonstop touring and performing exhaust him, and when an overzealous fan makes it imperative that Isaac travel with a clingy bodyguard, he is ready for a break from the madness. More so when his newly single first crush shows up on his doorstep. The man is strictly off-limits. He’s a memory from a place Isaac would rather leave behind. And he’s straight.

Fun-loving former athlete slash construction worker Adam McBride desperately needs a new beginning. And New York City is the perfect place to start over and think about how to rebuild his life. A short stint as roommates with his brother’s best friend from high school seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement. However, when friendship gives way to fierce attraction, both men find themselves in unchartered and possibly dangerous territory. Isaac has to decide if he’s willing to take the ultimate risk for a kind of love and a kind of home he never dreamed possible.

Review
(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

This is another amazing addition to Lane Hayes’ “A Kind of” series. It follows a rock band from their origins playing gigs in bars to being on the top of the charts. None of the other books are required reading to understand/enjoy this book, but having read them will give you a more thorough understanding of the characters’ development and their history.

In this case we have Isaac, the lead guitarist, who finds music an easier language than words at times. He breathes easier through his music and roots himself in it’s notes.

Though he’s had a crush on his BFF’s straight brother for years, he’s never acted on it. When the two are forced into close company some secrets are revealed that push them into the other’s arms.

When I think of Lane Hayes’ work, I think always of emotional connections, really hot sex scenes, New York, and in this case- music. That’s what pervades this story. Lane is a really talented writer and she knows how to give the reader well-developed characters and while her stories are fairy-tales in the sense of wonderful things happening to good people, there’s a healthy dose of reality in the mix to make it seem plausible.

For fans of the author and the series this is a must, but you don’t have to fall into those categories to enjoy this. I think fans of musicians, coming-out stories, small towns, and friends to lovers will also love this, too.

Highly recommended!

Audio

Seth Clayton narrates this entire series, and as I’ve said before I think he’s a really great narrator. He handles the story well – all the emotions and action and the music really capably. He doesn’t do much with accents and he does mispronounce words now and again (ie Perrier!) but I think this is a really great way to experience this story and is highly recommended.

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Banded Together by K.C. Burn

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/banded-together-by-kc-burn-9193-b

Blurb

Punk’s not dead, but it’s time to redefine life.

Devlin Waters thought he’d have music forever. But the tragic death of his best friend ended the twenty-year run of his punk band, Negative Impression. Unable to process the loss, Devlin distances himself from everyone and everything that reminds him of the band. But forty-one is too young to curl up and wait for the end. In a search for a second career, he finds himself at university with a bunch of kids young enough to be… his kids. His sexy archeology professor, however, makes Devlin think about life beyond his grief….

Dr. Jack Johnson does not appreciate Devlin’s lack of respect, his inability to be serious, or his chronic lateness. Worse, he hates that he’s attracted to a student. When he realizes Devlin is the rock star he crushed on in his youth, he drops his guard—against his better judgment.

Before they can move forward together, Jack must admit to Devlin that he’s not only an admirer, but he also sings in a cover band. How will Devlin react to his ultimate fanboy when his own music has died?

Review

There was a lot of potential in this story. I loved the idea of an old rocker going back to school. The fact that his professor is a fan is awesome. The juxtaposition of rocker and professor – also awesome.

What didn’t work for me was the fact that I never liked Devlin. He was a bit too whiny and though he had a lot to be upset about, I just never warmed to him. As a result I found it hard to care about his relationship.

There was a bit too much drama and the ending didn’t nearly satisfy.

Though the writing was nice and the story idea intriguing, I wasn’t bowled over by this story.

3.25 (rounded to 3.5) of 5 stars

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Color of You by C.S. Poe

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/color-of-you-by-cs-poe-9173-

Blurb
Bowen Merlin— yes, that’s his real name—accepts a position in the quaint town of Lancaster, New Hampshire as the high school band director. He leaves New York City for the snowy countryside of New England just in time for the holidays. With class, homework, after school activities, and a surprise Christmas concert to plan and rehearse, Bowen is plenty busy. And since he’s never had much luck with romance, factoring in time to find Mr. Right isn’t a priority….

Until he meets the proprietor of Snowy Ridge Apple Orchard, Felix Hansen. Suddenly, true love seems like a possibility for the first time in Bowen’s life. The two are a perfect match and fill the skipped beats of each other’s hearts. But as wonderful as Felix seems, he’s harboring scars that could end their budding relationship when someone in town goes to great lengths to sabotage their careers.

If Bowen is to survive the holidays, he’ll need to lean on old friends and new, convince Felix he’s worth any hardship, and prove they can come out of the catastrophe stronger if they do so together.

Review
Wonderful, just a wonderful story of love friendship and family. I loved Bowen Merlin such a fun quirky character and Felix Hansen lovely deep shy character. In the story Bowen described Felix voice as rich amber and my thoughts immediately went to the way Derrick McClain sounds when he narrates the Snow and Winter series. The excellent descriptions of both characters helped me get a good picture of Bowen and Felix in my head. The chemistry between them was very well developed in the story. They are soulmates, each the perfect half of the partnership building a solid relationship. It’s a Love story that turns into mystery.
I did think it odd that as this story is about family their parents were not mentioned, not even just a passing reference. It didn’t affect my love of the story in any way it just raised a point of curiosity. There is a wonderfully strong cast of secondary characters, Alan, Scarlet and Steven all support both Felix and Bowen. In fact I would love Steven to have his own story. The second part of the story where their new insta love relationship is tested was in some way a surprise, in who was the perpetrator, and in others not, when homophobia was the driving force. What I did find uplifting was the way everyone pulled together to help Bowen and Felix. I wholeheartedly recommend this warming Christmas story.

5 of stars out of 5

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Spark by HJ Welch

release day review
Good Reads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36554882-spar

Blurb

Homecoming Hearts #2

Joey’s dreams are over. His band, Below Zero, is dead and gone. He knows he’s destined for stardom, but showbiz is tough and he has nowhere to go but the last place on Earth he ever wanted to be: home. His homophobic family have spent their lives trying to tear him down. Now all they will do is gloat over his fall from grace.

Gabe loves his town. He thought he had it all: a man he loved, purpose as a volunteer firefighter, and a home to call his own. Except now he’s alone, forced to try and rebuild from scratch. But how can he start over when his heart is already broken?

An unexpected road trip brings Joey and Gabe together and the sparks fly between them, but it can’t last. Their worlds are too different. Joey plans to get as far away from home as soon as he can, yet Gabe can’t imagine any other life. But when Joey hits rock bottom, Gabe is the only one who can save him. Protect him. Keep him warm.

Gabe’s saved lives before. But can he rescue hearts?

Review
The way Joey has been treated all his life colours his perspective on his current situation. He has reached a low point and as much as he wants to pull himself back up life seems to be holding him down. Gabe on the other hand is all about seeing the good and the potential in a situation. Even his previous relationship seemed to have been held together more by hope than love. HJ Welch certainly knows how to tug on your heartstrings. Such a rollercoaster of emotions. Joey is determined to be self sufficient and not seeing things clearly just leads to more heartache. Poor Gabe, people can be so cruel. He is also caught up in slander and misconceptions. Their relationship seems to be about miscommunications and misunderstanding each other. Joey needs to learn he can trust Gabe. They can be so good together. I enjoyed the first book Scorch and in my view this one is just as good, if not better. (Although this is the second book it does stand on its own.) There is a lot more angst and tension and on occasion I wanted to shake some sense into them.The kind of story I can get caught up in. They came to their senses in the end and all ended the way it should. I was glad to see cameos from Blake and Elion (book 1) and from another former bandmate Raiden. I’m looking forward to seeing where the next book takes us.

5 of stars out of 5

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Audiobook: Moment of Fate (Moments of Time Book 5) by Karen Stivali Narrated by PC

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/moment-of-fate-by-karen-stivali-9039-b

Blurb

Bryan Dane’s been living the dream—photography student by day, up-and-coming rocker by night. His summer goals are to earn his last few credits, graduate from NYU, spend as much time in the recording studio as possible, and survive the next few months without sex so he can complete his yearlong goal of self-imposed celibacy. Everything is on track, until he meets Oliver Newcastle.

For years Oliver planned a marriage of convenience with his high school BFF, but now that she’s fallen in love for real, with someone else, it’s no longer convenient. So Oliver came out to his family, quit his job, and left small-town New England for NYC, an intensive summer study program, and a chance to find his own happiness.

From the moment they meet the sexual tension between Bryan and Oliver sizzles. But Bryan wants no part of a relationship, and Oliver wants to sew his wild oats—he just isn’t sure how. Oliver seeks Bryan’s help navigating the NYC gay scene, which throws them together in increasingly more sexual situations until they can no longer deny they’re hot for each other. Bryan is desperate to keep things simple, but fate might have other plans.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

This is definitely a stand alone book, though it is part of the series, you don’t need to read all the books or in order.

Bryan is a musician and photographer whose life got too hectic. He had a scare that forced him to reevaluate his life choices and random sex got the ax. Oliver is a suburban boy who had resigned himself to a sexless marriage. When his intended ends up marrying someone she really loves, he decides a radical break from his old life is called for. When Bryan and Oliver meet the instant attraction simmers a long time before being acted upon and in the mean time a deep relationship based on friendship emerges.

What I loved about this book was the lovely slow burn romance, the wonderful characters, Oliver’s funny and sweet blog posts, the scorching hot smexy times, and the well crafted love story. Karen Stivali is an excellent writer and her writing flows so smoothly that the story just evolves effortlessly. I think her writing just keeps improving with each new story!

I think the way the author showed us the motivation behind Bryan’s decision was excellent – though I would have loved to see more follow up – maybe a future book? Using the blog as an entrée into Oliver’s life was also a fantastic tool and a great way for us to interact with him and his thoughts.

One thing I enjoy about Karen’s writing is the secondary characters – whether they get their own stories or not – they’re always fleshed out and feel integral to the story without overwhelming it. (We get to see Tanner and Collin, too!)

If I have any complaints about this story, it’s the predictable “we’re never going to work out so I’m leaving” before the final reunion that seems to haunt so many romances. I think these two characters were so in tune with one another and so open that it felt a little out of the blue for them to part as they did right near the end.

All in all this was one of my favorite stories from this author and I highly recommend it!

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

The narrator PC is new to me. I listened to the sample and I thought it was OK, so while I wasn’t overwhelmed by the sample, I thought it was good enough to try.

Well… after listening to the book, I can say that PC does an okay job overall. His non-dialog is rather flat and he doesn’t do much to differentiate the characters. This is a pretty emotional book and it felt a bit uninspired to me. It was a fine way to listen to the book if you can’t read it, but I can’t say it added a lot.

3 of 5 stars

Overall

3.5 of 5 stars

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