Recent Release: Mr. September by Bailey Bradford

Pride Publishing:

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/mr-september

Blurb
Summer fades into fall, but the heat isn’t letting up for this calendar man.
Enzo Mueller was glad to help out with the calendar shoot. His little sister, Nat, has been in remission for years and he’d do anything to help find a cure for childhood cancer—even if all he can do is pose for a charity event. That, and work three jobs so he can take care of her since their parents split a long time ago.
But raising a teenager and having a personal life are two things he doesn’t think can coexist. He’s resigned himself to being alone, aside from Nat, until he gets her through college. After all, no man in his right mind would want to deal with Enzo’s crazy work schedule.
Tony met Enzo when he waited on their table. Ever since then, Tony’s had Enzo on his mind, and when he runs into him again, something clicks between them. Tony’s daughter, Ina, finished her last cancer treatments weeks ago and she’s in remission. He’s been focused on her since before she was born, but now, one man is making him wonder if it isn’t possible to have more in life than he’d expected.

Review

This was a great little story about two men who have spent the last few years of their lives taking care of someone they dearly love. Tony is a single father, who’s young daughter finally beat her fight with leukemia. He has been secretly pinning over Mr. September, Enzo. He seems to be running into him a lot, at his daughter’s favorite restaurant and the gas station. Enzo has also noticed Tony and his young daughter Ina, but between his three jobs and looking after his 17 year old sister, he doesn’t really have time for dating. Things finally come to a head when Tony shows up at the restaurant alone, and both men admit to the attraction burning between them.
I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series and it is fine as a stand alone. I was a little shocked that this ended up being a shifter book. Maybe shifters play a bigger role in the previous books but here it seemed out of place. Its only mentioned a few times and even then its almost like an after though. Aside from that I enjoyed this book overall. The chemistry between the two men is off the charts. I will definitely be going back and reading the previous books in the Calender Men series.

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane Narrated by Gomez Pugh

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/familiar-angel-by-amy-lane-8950-b

Blurb

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.
Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven him to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.
In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and he didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I’m having a tough time reviewing this.

On the one hand, I enjoyed it – as I do nearly every Amy book I’ve ever read, and like those of hers I’ve read a million times.

Amy is very good at giving us clear, crisp writing with just the right amount of show versus tell. The back story for our boys is delivered in a bits and pieces with only small amounts of flash backs to fill in the gaps.

We’re shown the budding relationships between all 3 boys with telling glimpses rather than overt smacks to the face. Sometimes, however, the subtlety got a bit too murky.

It’s obvious that Suriel and Harry are falling/have fallen for one another, but I really missed that moment when it happened … and the reasons why they have to be apart are a little vague and I wasn’t always sure why the things that happened … did.

I loved the cat-ness in this story! The back and forth and the human manifestations of the feline persona were priceless!

The chemistry between Harry and Suriel isn’t as “warm” as some of her other couples, and – in fact – if we get to see the other brother’s stories – I’m sensing a lot more heat between them and their partners already than I did between Suriel and Harry. Instead, theirs felt more like a blanket than a fire – if you know what I mean. They wanted one another, and the passion was talked about – but I don’t know that I felt it much.

I absolutely loved the world building and the “moral of the story” with big Cass and all the “powers” and magic.

I’m really looking forward to the next books in the series!

4 of 5 stars

Audio

I Loved Gomez’ interpretation of this!  He was easy to listen to and made me love the story even more than I had when reading it.  I definitely think our mood influence our opinions of things and I must have been feeling better this time around because I loved this – full stop!  Highly recommended with no reservations!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Laugh: Shawn’s Law Audiobook by Renae Kaye Narrated by Casey Hunter

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Shawns-Law-Audiobook/B010TUDVP6?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_3&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=C3FAVFC5KAEHVHS26Y2G&

Blurb
Shawn is single, twenty-nine, the full-time carer of his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, and a frequent victim of Murphy’s Law—although his family calls it Shawn’s Law. Other than caring for mum, his day consists of painting nude men and spying on the guy who walks his dogs along the street every day at four o’clock. When Shawn takes a spectacular fall on his front steps, who is there to witness it other than the man of his dreams?

Harley doesn’t believe in Shawn’s Law—but he soon changes his mind.

The two men make it through a memorable first date and Shawn’s sexual insecurities to begin a relationship stumbling toward love. But when Shawn’s Law causes Harley to be injured, Shawn is determined to save Harley’s life the only way he knows how—by breaking up with him. Not once, but twice. Throw in a serial killer ex-boyfriend, several deadly Australian animals, two dogs called Bennie, a mother who forgets to wear clothes, an unforgiving Town Council, and a strawberry-flavored condom dolly, and Shawn’s Law is one for the books

Review
The slapstick comedy never stops in this story. Shawn should come with a health warning. The majority is Shawn attracting bad luck, but there were a few when I thought come on Shawn where’s your common sense. It was funny though. Being such a frequent visitor he knows paramedics and emergency room nurses by name! Hippie Hotpants aka Harley doesn’t think Shawn’s Law is real, he soon learns. However his doubts do cause a few bumps in his relationship with Shawn. Shawn is one in a million. I was impressed with the way Renae Kaye portrayed Eileen’s dementia, very sensitively done in the context of the humour in the book.
I feel quite mean saying the narration was good enough. Casey Hunter has a pleasant voice to listen to but didn’t take the time to verify the pronunciation of Australian animals or other typical Australian words. It was on these occasions that the narration fell flat for me. There was not a great deal of characterisation but it was clear enough which character was speaking.

3 of stars out of 5

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Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Release Day Review: Forgiveness (Forbes Mates #4) by Grace R. Duncan

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/forgiveness-by-grace-r-duncan-9470-b

Blurb
Ben’s love can help Eric find the forgiveness he needs… if Eric can accept it.

Nine years ago Eric Joyce went wolf when his chosen mate broke the bond, and he hasn’t walked on two legs since. Convinced he lost his friends when he ran out on them, he cut himself off from the pack. But a surprising visitor prods him back down the mountain, and he finds himself welcomed warmly.

Ben Arellano grew up in Texas with a human Catholic mother who didn’t understand a thing about wolves—and didn’t try to learn. He spent his whole life being told his wolf was a demon that needed to be exorcised, surrounded by a wolf pack made up of good ole boys who had no tolerance for his Mexican ancestry or his bisexuality. When he’s given the opportunity to relocate to an accepting pack in Pittsburgh, he jumps at the chance.

When Eric and Ben meet for the first time, neither is ready for it. Where Ben expects rejection, Eric is convinced yet another mate will leave, break the bond, and put him through the same hell all over again. Can they get past their reservations and have a happily mated life?

Review

This is such a great series!

 

I adore this “world”. It follows the classic shifter “rules” but has this element of “real” to it that makes it feel a bit more authentic without removing the shine of the magic that comes with being able to shift.

 

The characters are very well developed and I really appreciate seeing the same characters interact with one another as the series proceeds.

 

In this case I thought Eric was a little annoying in his insistence to resist Ben when clearly everything in his vicinity is showing him that Ben is nothing like his first “mate” – but…. I was glad to see Ben and Eric together for the story rather than fighting their attraction apart.

 

The chemistry and tenderness these two share was really great and I loved them as a couple.

 

Highly recommended to fans of the author and the series and though I think you could easily read this as a standalone I think it is MUCH better as part of the series in order.

 

4.25 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker

Chasing Rainbows Press LLC:
https://www.amazon.com/Second-Wind-Aimee-Nicole-Walker-ebook/dp/B079QKNW5L/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1519412275&sr=1-2&keywords=second+wind+aimee+walker&dpID=51dMu2nORZL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=src

Blurb
Second wind: a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort. After an amicable divorce, Lincoln Huxley is ready to embrace the sexuality he repressed for more than two decades. Rush Holden is no longer willing to settle for closeted men or those who don’t share his dreams of marriage and fatherhood. A chance encounter on a lakeside pier is the second wind they both need. Or will it just be a painful reminder of all they had lost?

Second chance: an opportunity to try something again that failed one time. Rush and Lincoln have shared a lot of firsts—friendship, young love, and heartbreak. Cruel reality forced the two men to choose paths that took their lives in different directions. Twenty-six years later, they get a second chance to fall in love with each all over again. Can it really be that simple, or will the same issues ruin their happiness a second time?

Happily ever after: to live happily for the rest of one’s life. Rush and Lincoln know that love and life can’t be defined by words alone. Patience, commitment, and the determination to do whatever it takes will be the only way the two men achieve their happily ever after.

Review
We meet Rush and Lincoln when they are going through difficult times in their current relationships. During this time both of them recall events during their childhood when they were friends and were each other’s first love. This sets the scene perfectly for me. I understood the struggles and longings both of them were going through. So when they actually do meet again falling in love and lust felt so natural in the story. Such a beautiful twist of fate and timing. Lincoln has finally accepted who he is and Rush has learned from past mistakes. They both needed to be at this point in their lives for their second chance to be their forever. This is the kind of story that made me wonder where it was going whilst reading and sigh with content at the end. Aimee Nicole Walker I applaud you for such a wonderfully written story.

4.5 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enemies to Lovers: Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35907068-poke-check

Blurb

One scorching summer in each other’s arms could never be enough.

Stanislav “Stan” Lyamin is happy playing for the Railers. The towering goalie is well-loved, respected, and making a home for himself even though that home only contains him, his cat, and his growing Pokemon trading card collection. Stan prefers it that way. He’d given his heart to a man in a secret affair, and that man walked away, leaving Stan shattered. Now Erik is back in his life, and he has the same tumultuous effect he had on Stan’s heart as before. This time it’s not just a kissable mouth and sweet blond curls that Erik has brought to Harrisburg, there’s a soon-to-be ex-wife and a precious baby. Despite the vow Stan made to hate Erik forever, he’s now finding it harder and harder to turn away.

Erik Gunnarsson’s dream had always been to play in the NHL, he just never imagined he’d land a contract with the Railers. Who would have thought that fate would put him on the same team as Stanislav Lyamin; the man whose heart he’d callously broken?

Secrets and lies had defined their summer relationship, and the choice that Erik made to end it all haunts him still. In the middle of a messy divorce and with a baby in tow, Erik finds himself back in Stan’s life. Now all he has to do is be the best dad he can be, prove to the team that he deserves the chance to stay on the roster and try his hardest to get Stan to forgive him. Is it possible to persuade a man who hates you to give love a second chance?

 

Review

 I thought this was adorable!

Stan is one of my favorite characters – not just in this series – but in general! He’s so sweet, and funny, and sincere!

I kinda wanted Erik to have to work harder for Stan’s forgiveness but I think that’s just Stan, too.

There is a lot of internal dithering in this that probably doesn’t need to be there, but I appreciated the insight into Stan’s mind.

This was really funny as well as super sweet and the smexy times were great, too!

I wanted a bit more hockey and a bit less angst, but it was still a great addition to the series and is probably tied with first for me as my favorite so far!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: From Ashes (Heathens Ink #3) by K.M. Neuhold Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview
Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/From-Ashes-Audiobook/B0792C9T3B?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=V2875FPC8CXA3G8PRQD2&

Blurb

“When the broken man with scarred skin walked into Heathens, asked for a job, and showed me a sketch of a phoenix, it felt like fate.”~ Adam

It started with an anonymous post by someone who didn’t want to live anymore. I read it over and over again, unable to get it out of my mind. What if my brother Johnny had posted something like this before he’d taken his own life? Would someone have been able to save him?

I’ve been living a lie for 16 long years and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to keep it up. And when a beautiful, broken man walks into my tattoo shop asking for a second chance at life, I know I’ll never be able to turn him away.

“When I was so far down I couldn’t even see the light, a stranger reached in to save me”~ Nox
I didn’t have anything to live for, until a kind stranger pulled me back from the brink. With physical and emotional scars I have nowhere to turn now but to that same stranger who saved my life without realizing it. But as my feelings for Adam grow, will I ever be anything other than a surrogate for the brother he couldn’t save? Am I even worthy of his love?

**From Ashes is the third book in the Heathens Ink series, each book in the series CAN be read as a standalone.

CAUTION: this book contains graphic descriptions of domestic violence and drug use that may be disturbing to some readers.

Review
(Book Reviewed here Previously)

Though the author stresses that this can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the other books in the series first. I agree that you can figure things out without having read them, but I do think they give a bit of background that is helpful.

Continuing the theme of hurt/comfort – we have another set of people who come together with a tragic past to find love. I was pleased that we didn’t spend pages and pages before everyone’s true identities are revealed. That can get tedious. I was also pleased by the response Adam had when Nox revealed his secret. That was actually one of my favorite parts of the story.

Unfortunately, for a lot of the story Adam really, really made me mad. I didn’t understand his need for secrecy and I couldn’t believe that he’d ask Nox – with his past – to go into hiding like he did. That INFURIATED me and made me want to quit reading.

Nox is soooo sweet and has such an amazing strength to him. Adam not only asked him to hide but was so dismissive of his VERY VALID fears. I couldn’t believe how he brushed aside all Nox’s worries and was so self-involved.

I didn’t care for Adam’s ex and it spoke poorly of him that he’d be willing to spend so many years with her just because the sex was good.

Speaking of the ex – she seemed a bit “too” psychotic – she felt like more of a caricature than an actual person – and she was difficult to take seriously.

I’m very intrigued by the next story – hinted at in this and glimpsed at in the end – but this wasn’t my favorite book in the series by a long shot.

I still recommend the author and series, but I wasn’t a big fan of this installment.

2.75 (rounded to 3) of 5 stars

Audio

Kenneth Obi is a relatively new to me narrator. He is easy to listen to and does a really nice job with the pacing and emotions. He does a valiant job of giving all the characters unique voices and even the females were pretty good.

I miss the dual narration we had from the previous two books in this series but this wasn’t bad. While I wasn’t bowled over with his talent, he was definitely good.

I’d give him a solid B+ – or 4 of 5 stars

Overall 3.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Enemies to Lovers: Alex: An M/M Romance (Striking Back Book 4) by S.M. Shade

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28810875-alex?from_search=true

Blurb

Ninety- two days. Thirteen weeks. That’s how long it’s been since I lost my love, my best friend. It’s been everything I can do to drag myself out of bed and get back to work, but I know Cooper would want me to move on. I think he’d even be happy if he knew who I want to move on with. The target of my affection, though, may not be so thrilled about my choice.
He’s straight. Or he thinks he is.
A womanizer of the worst kind with a face and body that keeps a steady stream of willing women at his door, he seems happy to work his way through the entire female population. But there’s no mistaking the way he looks at me when he thinks I’m not paying attention.
One way or another, I’ll show him what he really wants.

Review

This is the last of the Striking Back series (which I have not read), but can be read as a standalone.
I really liked this GFY story ☺
Alex is one of 3 brothers (whose HEA are the subjects of the previous books). He loses his boyfriend and is in a sad space. Ian is a good friend of the family, and a self-proclaimed man-whore. As Alex is grieving, Ian offers him a space get himself together. The 2 men become good friends, although Alex is becoming attracted to Ian. When Ian faces a crisis, it’s Alex that helps him through it, during which Ian starts to see Alex in another light. Ian struggles to come to terms with his attraction to Alex, but in the end they work things out and they get their HEA.
There are ups and downs, fun banter and hot times. Definitely a good story, one of my favourites.

4 stars out of 5

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Copy purchased for my enjoyment

 

Audiobook: Garrett by Shaw Montgomery Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Erotica-Sexuality/Garrett-Audiobook/B078WGKYL6?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=829BTZTR2YBDE5STX0VF&

Blurb
Garrett was at his breaking point.

There were only so many times in a week you should have to see someone you were…attracted to…infatuated with…but certainly didn’t have a crush on. Doms didn’t have those. Especially on a customer who probably wasn’t even gay, much less a sub. Business 101—do not flirt with a client.

Wyatt was losing his mind.

Hiding his obsession was getting harder and harder. All he wanted to do was kneel in front of Garrett and call him Master. But the sexy insurance agent never seemed to see him. He only noticed the nervous, awkward insured who came in way too often.
When the two men are missing what’s right in front of their faces, it might take family stepping in to point out the obvious. That they were meant for each other.

Review
Oh I just love a growly Dom and Kenneth Obi gives us the perfect growly gentleman Dom. Garrett’s instinct is to help calm and sooth his fidgety client Wyatt. The problem is Wyatt is a client and mixing business and pleasure is a no no. Little does he know that Wyatt has a crush on him and the two of them have been set up. I loved the dance they do around each other until realising they have what each other wants. From there on it just gets hotter. Garrett and Wyatt’s story is the perfect start to the series, introducing the other brothers and the club. This is a lovely sweet BDSM story.
Kenneth Obi is a new narrator to me and I think he portrayed both Garrett and Wyatt perfectly. His characterisation of them and Shaw Montgomery’s narrative helped me create a wonderful picture of Garrett and Wyatt. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

Boy Next Store by HJ Welch

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37531804-boy-next-store?from_search=true

Blurb

The only thing that’s got Jamie through working retail this holiday season has been staring at the gorgeous guy running the gingerbread stall across from his store at the mall. He’s never worked up the courage to talk to him though, so little does he know that Max has been eyeing him up too.

When a chance encounter with a stray puppy brings Jamie and Max together on Christmas Eve, the two of them have more in common than they thought, and the sparks fly immediately. Could it be that these three lost souls have each found a home just in time for Christmas?

Boy Next Store is a short, steamy standalone gay romance with a guaranteed HEA and absolutely no cliffhanger.

Review

This is a cute, short holiday story!
Jamie and Max meet when they rescue an abandoned puppy. Each man has had a crush on the other but were too shy to do anything about it.
When they finally get to talk and bond over the puppy, their crush blossoms into a sweet bedroom scene.
As a short holiday book, it is well a done and pretty much compact story, complete with an epilogue and HEA. It’s a story that can be read again, and not just during the holidays 🙂

3.5 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review