Recent Release: The Necromancer’s Smile by Lisa Oliver

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38892197-the-necromancer-s-smile?from_search=true

Blurb

Detective Dakar Rhodes is an alpha wolf shifter who’s short on sleep and patience. Called to yet another crime scene, definitely the work of a serial killer, he’s shocked to learn the Pedace Police Department has a Necromancer as a consultant. Considering he’d moved to Pedace because of the lack of a coven in the area, he wasn’t pleased with the new development. His previous dealings with magic users never ended well. But when ordered to show the consultant the respect befitting his position, Dakar bites his tongue and longs for a swift conclusion to the case.

Necromancer Prince Sebastian York, or Sy to his friends, has a real issue with people. He doesn’t like or trust them, but because of his position, he has to deal with them. Dead people are so much easier – at least they don’t want anything from him. But Sy has been raised to do his duty and when he’s called to a crime scene, he doesn’t expect anything much to happen beyond talking to a few spirits. The last thing he thought he’d find is a wolf shifter claiming to be his mate.

One short meeting has a wealth of repercussions. Finding a serial killer is easy; coping with relationships is anything but. Demons, journalists, long held grudges and a familiar with loyalty issues all combine to make for a hectic time. It’s a case of one step forward, two steps back for Dakar and Sy, but when evil comes calling will they be able to rely on each other for a chance at an HEA?

This story is the first in a planned trilogy based on the two main characters. A complete story, the epilogue does set the scene for book two, but this can be read as a standalone. This book contains intimate situations suitable for adults only and is M/M. Trigger warnings: Violence, foul language.

Review

I loved all the awesome powers in this! I thought Sy was awesome and I hope we hear more from the butler, too.

I wish there’d been a little bit more time spent with our MCs as a couple, I really wanted to see them bond emotionally a bit more than we did see.

Lisa is great at world-building and I really hope we see more from this world.

If you’re a fan of “underdogs” who are really bad-ass – this is for you!

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: Flight or Fight by Dirk Greyson Narrated by Mark Westfield

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/flight-or-fight-by-dirk-greyson-9316-b

Blurb

Life in the big city wasn’t what Mackenzie “Mack” Redford expected, and now he’s come home to Hartwick County, South Dakota, to serve as sheriff.
Brantley Calderone is looking for a new life. After leaving New York and buying a ranch, he’s settling in and getting used to living at a different pace—until he finds a dead woman on his porch and himself the prime suspect in her murder.
Mack and Brantley quickly realize several things: someone is trying to frame Brantley; he is no longer safe alone on his ranch; and there’s a definite attraction developing between them, one that only increases when Mack offers to let Brantley stay in his home. But as their romance escalates, so does the killer. They’ll have to stay one step ahead and figure out who wants Brantley dead before it’s too late. Only then can they start the life they’re both seeking—together.

Review

A love story and a mystery all rolled up into one story! 

Let’s start your new life with a murdered woman on your front porch. Brantley just wanted a fresh start.  Mack doesn’t know this new guy in town, but everything points to Brantley at first.

The two men start looking for clues and then after Brantley needs a place to stay he ends up at Sheriff Mack’s house. The attraction between the two men builds to where of course they end up in bed. So between trying to solve the mystery and realizing that the attraction between then is past the mild heat stage we are lead through carefully placed clues. Just don’t assume you know all the answers right away.

 

I really liked Mack’s dad! Throughout the story his soft humor and acceptance moved the story along nicely. 

Story 3.5 of 5 stars
Narration 

Mark Westfield 

I wasn’t impressed with Mark’s narration. It seemed to me to be more monotonous than anything. I always keep going enough to get immersed into the story so that I can ignore what I don’t like about a narrator. So even though I enjoyed the story, Mark didn’t put it over the top for me.

Narration 2.5 of 5 stars

Overall 3 of 5 stars

 

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day: Cowboy in the Crosshairs by BA Tortuga

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cowboy-in-the-crosshairs-by-ba-tortuga-9336-b

Blurb: Once upon a time, a prince lived in a magical kingdom called Turquoise, New Mexico.
Well, really, TJ is a small-town police chief. Every Friday he holds court in the diner with the local holy roller, the art colonists, and the horsey people. But the Benes, who own the rodeo company, keep to themselves. TJ knows, because he was once hot and heavy with the oldest Bene son.
When Wacey Bene gets trampled by a remuda and comes home to heal, he’s none too happy to run into TJ, or his two little boys and their momma. The story might end there—if it wasn’t for some pesky bastard trying to kill Wacey.
The law steps in, and the townsfolk are cross about somebody messing with one of their own.
But once the bad guy is put away, can TJ and Wacey make their place in this wild and eccentric town a permanent one?
Review: I’ve come to expect a nice, low angst read with lots of humour and heart from BA Tortuga – and this did not disappoint. The mystery of who’s trying to harm Wacey is icing on the cake ☺
One of the things I like about Ms. Tortuga’s MC’s is that when they decide that they’re in to each other, they go for it – no misunderstandings – they just try to work out the details to make it work. This story is no different. TJ and Wacey were an item years ago, but TJ decided he couldn’t live openly as a gay man and broke it off with Wacey. Fast forward several years; their initial reunion is not friendly, but as the 2 men have to deal with who is trying to harm Wacey, they rekindle their love affair slowly, but surely.
As usual, the secondary characters are fun, especially Wacey’s siblings Lacey, Kacey and Macey.
I really enjoyed it.

4 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Enemies to Lovers: Pressure Head, Plumbers Mate #1 by JK Merrow

Riptide
https://www.amazon.com/Pressure-Head-Plumbers-Mate-Book-ebook/dp/B078TPW1QY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr

Blurb
Tom Paretski’s not just a plumber with a dodgy hip courtesy of a schoolboy accident. He also has a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Called in by the police to help locate a body near Brock’s Hollow, he’s staggered to encounter Phil Morrison, his old school crush—and the closeted bully whose actions contributed to Tom’s accident.

Phil’s all grown up now, and Tom’s unwilling attraction to him is back with a vengeance. Phil’s now openly gay—and what’s more, he’s interested in Tom’s personal charms as well as his psychic talents. As a private investigator called in by the dead woman’s parents, Phil is sceptical about Tom’s unusual gift, but nevertheless quick to spot its potential to aid him in his work.

The further they go with the investigation, the less they can ignore their shared past, and the more the pressure and the heat build between them. But Tom isn’t certain he wants to know the secrets he’s helping to uncover, while there’s a murderer on the loose who won’t hesitate to kill again—and this uneasy couple is moving right into his sights

Review
I absolutely loved this story. It reminded me of a modern day Miss Marple, but could have been more to do with the quaint English country village setting (rather than any similarity Tom Paretski has to her). Just like the good old murder mysteries there are red herrings to mislead you from the clues but still kept a good pace leading you to the conclusion. All done with humour. This story certainly kept me smiling.
Tom has a unique gift of finding things. Mostly it’s things people want to keep hidden, which is useful to some and an annoyance to others. One person who finds it useful is Tom’s old school bully who turns up again back home. Phil is now a private detective. Tom is still attracted to Phil but is wary of getting too close especially as Phil had made Tom’s life hell. The way these two circle each other, work together and eventually get intimately acquainted is very well written. Phil is so prickly and Tom is a bit too trusting for his own good.
This book is a great start to the series and I look forward re-reading the remaining ones and the new one coming out next month.

4 of stars out of 5

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Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Audiobook: Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Jack-of-Thorns-Audiobook/B078TJHCXF?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=2FQBBXGDKNKKY1EPWDJJ

Blurb

Florist. Psychic. Addict.
Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.

Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor.
Quentin d’Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing but Quentin’s wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.

When opposites attract, they collide.
Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it’s one Laurence just can’t pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn’t want any.

If they’re to survive Jack’s wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then the cost of Laurence’s mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?

Review
This is a book I have been meaning to read for a long time so I jumped at the chance to review the audiobook (especially since it was narrated by Joel Leslie). The story centres around gods and powers from folklore and pagan beliefs. Both main characters Lawrence and Quentin have had troubled lives. Lawrence is a recovering drug addict and Quentin has distanced himself from everyone. I found Quentin a puzzle. He seemed to be behaving like a caricature of English nobility. It wasn’t until later in the book that I realised this was his armour against his ability in the same way Lawrence was using drugs. Their relationship is very slow burn. Don’t read this expecting hot scenes, that may come later in the series but this book is all about setting the very important foundation for the series. They have to learn to trust each other and work together in order to defeat Jack.

I once read that Joel Leslie has said something about narrating an audiobook was like creating a film with just once person creating all the voices. Well he certainly fired up my imagination and created a movie just for me. Amelia’s superb imagery was brought into Technicolor by Joel’s performance. I suppose that’s the difference between hearing the emotions, Lawrence’s desperation, Quentin’s aloofness and the bile spouted by Jack were so vivid.

I’m so intrigued by what happens next book two is calling to me in Joel’s voice!

4 of stars out of 5 for the story
5 of stars out of 5 for the narration
Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day Read: Lessons in Love: A sparkling tale of mystery, murder and romance (Cambridge Fellows Book 1) by Charlie Cochrane

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5942455-lessons-in-love?from_search=true

Blurb: A dangerous crime and a thrilling romance

It’s the turn of the century, Queen Victoria’s reign is over, it’s time for a new beginning. In Cambridge, Jonty Stewart takes up a teaching post, acting as a catalyst for change within the archaic institution. But he also has a catalytic effect on Orlando Coppersmith.
Orlando is a brilliant, introverted mathematician with very little experience of life outside the college walls. He strikes up an alliance with the outgoing Jonty, and soon finds himself having feelings he’s never experienced before. Before long their friendship blossoms into more than either man had hoped and they enter into a clandestine relationship.
Yet their romance is complicated when a series of murders is discovered within St. Brides. And all of the victims have one thing in common: a penchant for men. A fact that only puts Orlando and Jonty in greater danger, when they are enlisted to act as the eyes and ears for the police…

Review: This is a good murder/mystery with a gentle romance woven throughout the story.
Jonty and Orlando are almost polar opposites, one upbeat and the other, somewhat staid, but they work well together. The story is set in Victorian times, at Cambridge University and the prose reflects this. In other words, perfect.
I liked that the romance between the 2 men was a slow build up, totally fitting given that homosexuality could result in being jailed and ruined.
The mystery was interesting – definitely kept me engaged. I’ve already got the next book in my library ☺

4 stars out of 5

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Copy purchased for review

 

Enemies to Lovers: The Easy Way by May Archer

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36196307-the-easy-way?from_search=true

Free on KU!

Blurb

Camden Seaver had it easy – a loving family, plenty of money, and the freedom to follow his dreams while his older brother, Sebastian, took charge of the family business. But when a tragic plane crash killed his parents, all the responsibilities he never wanted landed firmly on his shoulders. Now saddled with his crazy, grief-stricken brother and his dad’s multimillion dollar company, Cam doesn’t trust in dreams anymore. He’s forgotten what “easy” feels like.

FBI Agent Kendrick “Cort” Cortland learned the hard way that he couldn’t depend on anyone but himself. Before joining the FBI, the one constant in his life was his foster brother, Damon – and then Damon disappeared. Now, Cort is determined to find his brother and to bring down the man responsible for ruining Damon’s life, Sebastian Seaver. He’s got nothing left to lose.

When Cort’s investigation leads him to Seaver Tech…and Camden Seaver…what started as a quest for revenge and a one-night deception quickly turns into far more than either man bargained for. But how can either man trust in something that seems so easy? As long-held secrets are revealed, the attraction between Cam and Cort becomes combustible – an undeniable love that will either make or destroy them. Will Cam and Cort let their conflicting loyalties drive them apart? Or will they decide that sometimes love is the easy way?

Review
An enemies to lovers story with a mystery thrown in.

When you know your brother is one of the best at his job, you just can’t believe that it was pilot error that caused the crash and death of everyone on board the plane. Cort is willing to risk his job to clear his brother’s name.

Cam is just trying to survive the day to day existence of running a multimillion dollar company. Showing up when required and covering for his brother who has checked out.

I love how well Cam and Cort interact the first night they meet. All of the woulda, shoulda, coulda going on in their heads while physically they just seem to click with each other. The back and forth keeps you turning the page. With each piece of information revealed the 2 back away from each other and then work back together. I could see where the secondary characters were coming from in the trust issues and I liked how the 2 MC’s didn’t back away from each other. The secondary hero was a surprise and I look forward to seeing his story.

A good read that will have me looking for the next book in the series

Rating
4.5 stars of 5 

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook: Finding Mr. Wrong by C. Cochet narrated by Andrew McFerrin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/finding-mr-wrong-by-charlie-cochet-9292-b

Blurb:

He’s nobody’s definition of Mr. Right—but that might make him perfect.

Matthew Hart is heir to the family fortune and owner of Hart & Home. When a near-death experience has him fretting over the future, he decides he needs a husband, and not just any husband—an appropriate man to protect the Hart legacy. The last thing Matthew expects is to cross paths with Jax Foster, his first love and the boy who crushed his heart when he disappeared.

Jax is unlikely to make Matthew’s list of suitable candidates. Bad boy, vagabond, deep in debt, with a father who can’t keep out of trouble, Jax has nothing to offer—except his heart and a second chance at the romance they never got to explore.

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/finding-mr-wrong-by-charlie-cochet/

The narrator, Andrew McFerrin, is new to me. He was engaging – providing distinct voices for the characters. He was good with projecting the emotion and humour of the story as well. Overall, the narration was comfortable; I’d listen to the narrator again.
The story was ok, but the narration made me enjoy it more.

3.5 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

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

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

Blurb

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

2.5 of 5 stars
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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Flash and Bang (Death and Destruction Audiobook 2) by Patricia Logan Narrated by Michael Pauley

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Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Flash-and-Bang-Audiobook/B07664ZGDT?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_6&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=T012PDFWE5WP091CCMF8&

Blurb:

If running from a hit man wasn’t scary enough, ATF Agent Thayne Wolfe has a new challenge in his life, and this one may be even more dangerous than the last. He has to figure out how to work with his reckless new partner, a handsome former Marine who seems to have a death wish.

Jarrett Evans never stays in one place very long, and being chained to a desk doing paperwork is not his idea of entertainment. His lover and new partner at the ATF seems to find ways to throw a monkey wrench into all his fun, especially when Thayne wants to curtail his need to jump off 10 story buildings.

When their boss sends them to San Diego to investigate a fireworks accident, he figures Jarrett can’t hurt anyone playing with sparkers, not even himself. The fact is, danger, intrigue, and Jarrett’s dubious past seem to follow the men wherever they go.

From a Marine base at the Mexican border to an explosion in LA’s Chinatown, they aren’t prepared for a seriously pissed off militia, a smoking hot ex-lover, and more guys who want them dead.

The sparks will fly in and out of the bedroom in Flash and Bang.

Review:

This is book 2 of a really good series. I loved the ebook and was fortunate to get a copy of the audiobook.
I love this series! I was looking forward to the narration for this book and it did not disappoint! Michael Pauley is really good for the series; he’s made me fall in love with both Jarrett and Thayne, so much so, that I can’t choose between either of them! (Though, Jarrett may have a slight edge with his smooth West Va/southern? Drawl ☺)
Patricia Logan has penned a brilliant series – I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the books on audio!
4.5 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review