Holidays: Merry Gentlemen by Josephine Myles

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18278816-merry-gentlemen?from_search=true

Blurb
’Tis the season of goodwill to all men… even the one who dumped you.

Riley MacDermott is going places. Managing the annual Bath Christmas Market—which involves long hours in the cold and a whole lot of hassle—will secure the promotion he needs to afford to move out of his noisy, top-floor flat. Where not even his balcony is safe from an aggressive seagull.

The last stallholder he expects to see is his ex. Riley never recovered from their break up, and five years on the old chemistry still sparkles. Shame they can’t seem to manage a simple chat without arguing.

Stan never wanted to leave the love of his life, but the pull of the woods was too strong—and Riley wouldn’t hear of leaving the city. Reconnecting is painful, but Stan still jumps at the chance to stay with his old flame during the Market. And damn the consequences.

As the weeks pass, the two grow closer than ever. But despite scorching sex and cozy intimacy, they both know they face a cold and lonely future. Unless they can figure out a compromise.

Warning: Contains sex in a shed, a seagull with a grudge, glamping, awful Secret Santa underwear, misuse of an ABBA song, and as many wood-related puns as the author thought she could get away with.

Review
This Christmas story is certain to raise a laugh or at least raise a smile. Oh Riley, the extent of his broken heart comes through the page. I felt for him. Stan and Riley broke up five years ago. They both wanted different things. Stan needed to be out of the City but Riley could think of nothing worse than being stuck in the countryside. Riley has been put in charge of managing the annual Christmas market in Bath (UK) this year. (Made me want to go back, I haven’t been there for years.) Riley is such a fun character. His run in with the seagull had me chortling. I can absolutely see it happening, they can be aggressive birds around the English coast. By chance Stan has a stall at the market and they can’t avoid each other. I liked Stan a lot. He’s a strong character who knows what he needs to be happy. My word the posturing and misconceptions these two go through. Both as stubborn as each other. However there is still a chemistry between them and it doesn’t take long for things to get steamy. They are so good for each other I wanted to bang their heads together so they would sort out their differences. The secondary characters are solid. Riley’s has a very good friend in Janine. She talks sense to him and doesn’t take any nonsense. I loved the ending so very Riley.
I really like Josephine Myles style of writing and her sense of humour. This is my kind of Christmas story, such fun.

5 stars out of 5

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Holidays: Hell takes a Holiday by Kiernan Kelly

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hell-takes-a-holiday-by-kiernan-kelly-7852-

Blurb

Despite a major setback, Lucifer has no time to feel sorry for himself. Running Hell is a monumental task, even though he’s taken steps to modernize it with technology like closed-circuit cameras and security systems.

As he struggles with his infernal issues, an unannounced visitor threatens to break his black heart. Lucifer hasn’t seen Uriel since his Fall, but he remembers how much he loved Uriel and how betrayed he felt when Uriel didn’t stand with him during the War.

Uriel has been sent to inspect the changes Lucifer has made and report back to Heaven. Lucifer has no choice but to give Uriel a guided tour of the Nine Circles, and all the feelings come rushing back.

Uriel hasn’t forgotten Lucifer either, and they pick up where they left off—with enough sizzle to rival the hottest of hell’s fires. But their reunion will be short-lived, unless Uriel relinquishes his halo—which Lucifer is unwilling to let him do.

Review
Quite a nice little story for this time of year. I thought it was a nice take on sin and sinners. Although I never thought I’d feel sorry for Lucifer having too many souls to deal with! Uriel is sent to hell on a fact finding mission but what he finds is so much more. Lucifer takes Uriel on a tour and I loved the way the author describes the circles of hell. Trouble is they can’t deny their love for each other. It’ll be a new kind of torture when they have to part. What has the ‘Boss’ got in store for them after all he knows everything, so why send Uriel down to hell? I liked the humour of this story. It is a nice short read with a bit of Christmas spirit thrown in.

3.5 stars out of 5

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

 

 

Late in the Day by Mary Calmes

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/late-in-the-day-by-mary-calmes-8993-b

Blurb

Second from The Vault
Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne. The Vault. Juggling all these names would bother some, but for Darius, it’s business as usual. When he closes a chapter in his life, he leaves a name—and the people associated with it—behind. He’s managed to keep a few colleagues, even fewer friends, and no companionship through his forty-plus years… but that’s now changing.
The newest chapter of his life is bringing serious change: a stable home, a recovered identity, an unlikely family, and now a chance encounter with the one man Darius ever loved: Efrem Lahm. The reasons they parted are still valid, and there’s no way they can trust each other. But Efrem has already decided he won’t let Darius go… and Darius will have to decide if he wants to take a chance with his heart this late in the day.

Review

This is a difficult review for me because I really wanted to love this book. Note: this is all on me. For one, I have not read ‘A Day Makes’ and so was unaware that this book was in the same universe (hitmen, vaults). And, to make matters worse, I have not yet read ‘Mine’. While this book could be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading either (or both) of the other books mentioned.

Darius is chosen to be the new Vault.

The story continues with Darius helping to get someone out of danger and relocate to a new life in Boston. As he is working on this, he is suddenly face to face with his old love, Efrem Lahm.

The story didn’t work for me – it started at some time in the present (?) with Darius dealing with closing down mob ties. Then it jumped to the past where Darius recalls how he became the Vault. Then fast forward some months later; he is suddenly in the custody of Homeland Security, where he reconnects with Efrem.

Also, Darius and Efrem do not get a lot of time together – the book seemed to revolve around all the other characters. Both MC’s do not get together again until two-thirds of the book.

Again, if I had read the other books, especially ‘A Day Makes’, the writing style would have made more sense.

It’s a good book, one that I’ll re-read once I’ve read the other books.

 

3 stars out of 5
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A Dom and His Writer by Xenia Melzer

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-dom-and-his-writer-by-xenia-melzer-8973-

Blurb

Life is perfect for Richard and Dean. Richard is a wealthy and successful businessman who also owns a BDSM club, and Dean is a best-selling author and sub to Richard. They’re young, happy, and in love. The future is bright….

Until tragedy strikes and an accident claims Dean’s beloved sister. Dean finds himself the guardian of a three-month-old infant, and soon he’s trading in his leather fetish gear for diapers and drool bibs. But little Emily is all that remains of his family, so how can he abandon her?

It’s not what Richard signed up for. As much as he tries to be supportive, he never wanted kids and misses having his partner to himself. Suddenly the life he imagined for them is gone, and he’s not sure their relationship can survive the upheaval. But fate isn’t through with Dean, and when misfortune strikes again, will he be able to turn to the man he loves? A final crisis will determine if they can pull together as a family or must face facts and part ways

Review
It’s been a long time since I’ve stayed up until the early hours of the morning reading a book, but this one had me hooked. I must stress that if BDSM books are not your thing do not read this book. The Master/Sub relationship between Richard and Dean is made very clear from page one. Richard is a very strong character and is particularly self centred. He is a hardcore business man who stands for no nonsense. Not very likeable in the beginning but as the story progresses my opinion of him changes. Which I suppose shows skilful writing. I was taken on a journey with this family through a very turbulent time in their lives. Now this is the part where my feelings about the book are a bit muddled. I loved the building of tension as the very realistic issues hit this couple. I could relate to Richard’s resentment of baby Emily, in as much as the way an only child resents a new sibling. He is used to being Dean’s sole focus. Dean on the other hand seemed too willing to forgive. He doesn’t cope well with conflict but I can’t decide if he’s a pushover or not. He is a Sub that needs his Master’s protection and guidance. Which makes it even more reprehensible when Richard puts him in the position where he has to choose between his Master or his Niece.
I liked the way the story evolves. But here is my quandary. I mutter about stories that go around the houses to solve a situation that just takes straight talking and here I am when a story does just that thinking, well that was too easy!
The Master/Sub scenes are well written and quite evocative.
They clearly set the tone of their relationship and this comes across not only in the playroom scenes but also the 24/7 routines aspect of the relationship.
The story covers just over a year in Richard and Dean’s relationship and they do have a rollercoaster of a year but they do get a happy ever after. I will definitely be looking out for the next book in the series.

5 of stars out of 5

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Audiobook: Best New Artist by BA Tortuga Narrated by Brian Hutchison

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/best-new-artist-by-ba-tortuga-8924-b

Blurb

Kasey “Tuff” Tuffman just told Nashville to kiss his you know what. After winning Best New Artist at an award show, he knows it’s time to head back home to Texas. So after a very public meltdown, Tuff makes his way to Austin, where the Red Dirt music lives large.

Jonah Littlejohn once loved KT more than anything in the world. When KT loses it on national TV, Jonah knows he has to reach out and offer his home studio as a place to heal and make music. A bad relationship has left Jonah broken and wary of romance, but he wants to help his old lover out.

Seeing Jonah again proves to Tuff that he’s made the right decision. Now all he has to do is convince Jonah that they’re the most perfect duet there’s ever been

Review

I liked the premise of this story. Kasey Tuffman has already made it big in Nashville but it all comes crashing down but rather going home to lick his wounds he goes back to what he knows. I must admit I have never heard of Red Dirt music before and was so intrigued I looked it up. I thought this was going to be a story with a lot of angst but it isn’t. Best New Artist is about starting over and second chances, in love and in life.
Jonah has been through a lot. He was in an abusive relationship which left him reluctant to be in another relationship again. I got quite involved in KT and JoJo reconnecting. KT didn’t want to push anything knowing how hesitant JoJo was so they bond over music. There is a great cast of secondary characters, KT’s family and Jonah’s best friends Brian and Christian.
I hold my hand up that I don’t know anything about Texas so I can’t comment on whether Brian Hutchinson’s accent was good or not but it suited me. I got a good feel for atmosphere surrounding the story. He adds depth to the story and is very pleasant to listen to. There were some occasions when I wasn’t sure whether KT or JoJo was speaking but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of it. The dialogue helped build the atmosphere, there are quite a few colloquialisms which I enjoyed hearing. Brian Hutchinson’s smooth voice certainly had me paying attention and I will definitely look out for him.

4 of 5 stars

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Remember When by S.J.D. Peterson

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/remember-when-by-sjd-peterson-8788-b

Blurb

Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.

Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.

Impossibly fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.

Review

I was drawn to the idea of not just a second chance but a third chance at love with the special someone. I liked the way this story was told in three parts. Luke and Nelson are best friends. We meet first them when they are thirteen years old and world is just opening up to them. Family circumstances pull them apart and they loose touch.

Ten years later they meet again accidentally or fate who knows but it’s now that they admit and act on their attraction to each other. I loved reading about them as young boys it set the tone of their relationship up perfectly. Meeting them again as young virile men just starting out in life and how they connect after 10 years apart was superb.

I got the shape of their character how Luke used his charm and Nelson was more introspective. Once again a situation out of their control drove them apart and they did not see each other until seventeen years later. You can’t build a life setting for second best certainly came true for both of them. They are both single when they meet again.

This time they get their chance of a happy ever after. To be honest I thought part three was a bit short. I had just got into their life in the present day when the next chapter was the epilogue. Overall I did enjoy the story and the idea that if it’s meant to be love will find a way. But I have a feeling that this book might divide opinion between those who love it and those who don’t.

 4 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: Artistic Pursuits by Andrew Grey Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/artistic-pursuits-by-andrew-grey-8793-b

Blurb

Frank Jennings is an FBI agent looking for redemption. Leslie Carlton is an Interpol agent looking for a thief. Attraction flares from the moment they meet on a case searching for a stolen triptych of unique Tiffany windows, but after a single night of stunning passion, Leslie is called back to London to continue his search there. When the case heats up again, Leslie returns to the States-and to Frank-but their investigation is complicated by their tumultuous feelings. Is it possible for two dedicated detectives to pursue each other while they’re tracking down stolen art and the unscrupulous man who steals it?

Review:

This story takes a different turn from the first two and in my opinion stands alone. Brian, Nicolai and Zoe from book two only make a small cameo appearance in the story. Artistic Pursuits is a crime drama with romance added. I liked the suspense of whether they were going to find the Tiffany windows and the way Frank and Leslie worked together. On the romance side Frank and Leslie were hot. They took what they thought was a chance to be together just one time but they couldn’t forget each other. They get a second chance both for love and to solve the crime. I also like liked the way Frank had to come to terms with being gay in the FBI. His colleague Karl is a great character and really came into his own.

John Solo’s narration is good. The only problem I have is with the characterisation for Leslie. I’m not sure if it was the dialogue combined with the upper class British accent or the quality of the accent but it didn’t sit right with me. I’m not saying it detracted from my enjoyment though. I liked the way Frank was portrayed, the angry FBI agent who mellows. Overall an enjoyable story.

4 of 5 stars

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Kink Month: Saving Sebastian (Custos Securities #3) by Luna David

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Saving-Sebastian-Catharsis-Custos-Securities-ebook/dp/B073S99K3H/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501509300&sr=8-1&keywords=saving+sebastian

Blurb:

Gideon McCade—weighed down by memories of his previous life as a Navy SEAL and a CIA agent—has blood on his hands. He turns to his BDSM club, Catharsis, and Dominating submissives to get him through the daily grind of civilian life. Knowing his past is too much to inflict on a life partner, he keeps his connections brief and superficial. When his former life comes back to haunt him, his desire for revenge pulls him back into the shadows, darkening his hopes for a future in the light.

Temporarily sidelining his career as a tattoo artist, Sebastian Phillips works as a composite artist for the local police department. To alleviate the inescapable burden of a congenital medical condition, he immerses himself in his art and seeks the catharsis of submission. But with life weighing heavily on his shoulders and darkness encroaching, he yearns for a contract with a Dominant that sees past the protective barriers he’s erected to the vulnerable submissive within.

When happenstance brings Gideon and Sebastian together, their connection is undeniable. The knowledge that they are both too damaged to form permanent bonds of love causes them to rely on an impersonal contract to fulfil their physical needs. But staying emotionally detached becomes impossible, and breaking their contract seems the only option. Will Gideon’s need for vengeance and Sebastian’s declining health destroy what’s grown between them, or will they help each other find their way back into the light

Review:

Saving Sebastian can be read as a standalone book. I had not read the previous two books before starting this one and I didn’t feel like I had missed out on any dynamics between the main characters and other characters.

So hot. I’m a sucker for a strong caring Alpha Dom and Gideon hits the spot. Sebastian is strong and fragile at the same time you just want to hug and protect him, though he’d hate that! Great combination of a suspense drama where Gideon is out to catch the guy who killed his platoon and the evolving BDSM relationship with Sebastian. The story told in the two different points of view, Sebastian’s and Gideon’s worked really well for me. It gave me a better depth of understanding of Gideon and Sebastian.

Gideon believes that his former life makes him unsuitable for a relationship and holds back. Sebastian has health issues and similarly does not feel he could have a full relationship. They agree to enter into a temporary without knowing about each other’s past. The secrets they carry from their past and present miscommunications pulls their relationship apart and it makes compelling reading. The D/S scenes between them are sublimely erotic. Luna David has created such detailed scenes of tenderness, control and seductive beauty that it was hard to put down. Through both Gideon and Sebastian’s personal and D/S the journey together we see them grow, facing their demons both apart and together. Sebastian’s health makes Gideon re-evaluate his feelings for Sebastian. I found this part particularly well written with such insight and understanding. Usually in a story I find myself drawn to one main character over the other but in this book I found both Gideon and Sebastian equally compelling.

There is a lot of details in this book and I have the feeling that it will still feel fresh each time I read it. One of the best BDSM books I’ve read. Books one and two are now on my reading list.
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Copy Purchased for Review

 

The Sound of the Sea by Wayne Mansfield

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Sound-Sea-Wayne-Mansfield-ebook/dp/B0721SVLQ1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500226434&sr=8-1&keywords=sound+of+the+sea+wayne

Blurb:

Liam’s life could be better. He’s recovering from a divorce and a bitter custody battle, which he loses. He dearly loves his six-year-old son, Lucas, but seeing him every second weekend is never enough. His one salvation is the sea. When he’s sitting on the sand, watching the waves rolling in, he feels at peace, calmed and restored.

One day, the waves are particularly high, and the sea particularly rough. He’s surprised to see someone swimming in such choppy seas. When Liam calls out to the man, asking if he needs help, the man simply waves back. Liam thinks he must be an idiot. Little does he know the person he sees is no man, which he discovers two days later.

When they meet, Liam is both horrified and fascinated. His curiosity produces a strange attraction that changes their lives irreversibly forever

Review:
I’ve not read anything by Wayne Mansfield before and this was a good story. Not what I was looking expecting but good. There is a twist in it that I wasn’t expecting. It is the main part of the story and I can’t go into details without giving it away. Just to say there is a fantasy element to the story.

Liam meets Ezra at the beach and over the summer they become very close. However Liam being a Father is not free to do whatever he wants and has to make a decision, Ezra or his Son(Lucas). As I said I found the story on the whole a nice quick read but, as with a lot of novellas, the story lacked some detail that would have rounded it off perfectly for me. The attraction and romance between Liam and Ezra was good. But the it was the ending that got to me. It was abrupt. All meet at the beach and then they all live happy ever after. See spoiler for my issue with the ending. I would have given the story a higher rating if it wasn’t for the ending. In my opinion there were other options for the ending that wouldn’t have expanded the story too much.

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

2.5 of 5 stars

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You Never Know by Mary Calmes

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/you-never-know-by-mary-calmes-8692-b

Blurb

Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head.

Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since.

If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.

Review

Well, hell. You all know I’m a giant Mary Calmes fan and it pains me deeply to say – this book wasn’t for me. It can happen, I know, and I’m sure others will still love this to pieces because it’s Mary and she is fabulous after all, but this wasn’t one of my favorites.

Mary’s books are strongly character driven (for the most part) and as such you really have to love the characters to love the story. She’s done an excellent job of creating two unique characters and I really feel like I have a pretty good grasp of Hagen and where he’s at. I didn’t feel like I understood or knew Mitch as well, and that is part of my problem.

Hagen and his involvement with Ash gets a lot of page time and this relationship and how Hagen handles it didn’t sit well with me. I was kind of rooting for them to be the couple that “makes it” more than Mitch and Hagen. Ash seems infinitely redeemable and I felt like I knew him better than I knew Mitch so I was rooting for him 😉

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Mitch hurt so many people and didn’t do nearly enough groveling to earn his way back into Hagen’s life – IMHO.

I worried for Mitch’s kids and wanted to know more about their mother and what was going on there. It made my heart hurt to think of them uprooted every 6 months.

The fact that Ash and Hagen have more on page times of intimacy (if not the full act) also felt wrong. I needed more time with Hagen and Mitch working things out to really pull for them as a couple.

So… all in all – this just didn’t fit my tastes in romance. It’s a blip and I’m sure others will love this – but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

(The cover is amazing though!!!)

2.75 (rounded to 3) of 5 stars

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