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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Release: The Wilderness (Lavender Shores book 8) by Rosalind Abel

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41500273-the-wilderness?from_search=true

Blurb
Will Epstein had it all—playboy good looks, wealth and prestige, and a gorgeous fiancé to costar with him on a reality television show. But that was years ago, before he was abandoned at the altar on national television. In the aftermath, Will’s world crumbled, leaving him humiliated and lost.
Andre Rivera married his first love and lived a dream life until tragedy stepped in. His wife’s sudden death left him devastated and struggling to build a life for his young daughter. Being a pilot offers Andre a sense of freedom from Lavender Shores, but he feels trapped and unable to move forward.
A shared sense of loss fosters a surprising friendship between Will and Andre, giving them both the salvation they need. But when feelings cross the lines of friendship and secrets are revealed, Will and Andre have to confront their own fears.
Amid the gold of a Lavender Shores autumn, Will and Andre must grasp their chance at love… before it slips away.

Review
I always love stories where both the MC’s are a bit older and have already lived and loved… and lost, before finding each other. The emotions seem more deeply felt somehow. This book took that to a whole new level.

Will and Andre have both known way too much sadness in their lives. Seeing them finally find love and happiness (again) was wonderful, but not easy. I might have shed a few tears along the way.

These two men were not meant to be friends, and they certainly weren’t meant to be lovers.
After a disastrous first meeting, they become fast friends, finding comfort and acceptance with each other. I love the strength of their friendship and how it slowly turns into far more, though only Will has caught on about that at first. Andre is blind to his true feelings quite a bit longer, because he still struggles with the guilt of moving on after his wife’s death.

Will outwardly has it all, but he’s so unsure of his own worth, constantly searching for approval from others. I love how he was able to work through all that after all, and became his own man.
Andre is a great father, and it’s always clear that he and his daughter, Katniss, are a package deal.
The author makes it a point to show that Will gets this and loves Katniss as well, which I find very important. And super endearing!

As always the subtle literary references and the beautiful descriptions and imagery used by this author make this book, like all the others in the Lavender Shores series, an absolute joy to read.

Number of stars: 6 of 5 stars!

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: Fire and Flint by Andrew Grey Narrated by: Greg Tremblay

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fire-and-flint-by-andrew-grey-9126-

Blurb
Jordan Erichsohn suspects something is rotten about his boss, Judge Crawford. Unfortunately, he has nowhere to turn and doubts anyone will believe his claims – least of all the handsome deputy, Pierre Ravelle, who has been assigned to protect the judge after he received threatening letters. The judge has a long reach, and if he finds out Jordan’s turned on him, he might impede Jordan adopting his son, Jeremiah.

When Jordan can no longer stay silent, he gathers his courage and tells Pierre what he knows. To his surprise and relief, Pierre believes him, and Jordan finds an ally…and maybe more.

Pierre vows to do what it takes to protect Jordan and Jeremiah and see justice done. He’s willing to fight for the man he’s growing to love and the family he’s starting to think of as his own. But Crawford is a powerful and dangerous enemy, and he’s not above ripping apart everything Jordan and Pierre are trying to build in order to save himself…

Review
I liked this story when I read it but having Greg Tremblay read it to me was great. Fire and Flint is a stand-alone story and an off shoot of the Carlise cops series. I do like how Andrew Grey has carried on with t world building and set several stories in this area. The book mentions the club from Broncos Boys as well as including a few characters from the Carlise cops. It gives me a greater sense of the community. As with many Andre Grey books this is a gentle romance. Pierre is winning over not just Jordan but also his son Jeremiah. He also protects them when Judge Crawford tries to ruin Jeremiah’s adoption. I liked the pace of the story slow and sweet enough but with an element of how are they going to beat this self centred cruel judge and get justice.
Greg Tremblay builds on the story giving the characters vitality and emphasising their determination. He gives them such distinct voices and personalities it’s a pleasure to listen to. I recommend this easy listening audiobook.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Coming Soon! Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert

 


April 16 by Carina Press

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37544729-squared-away

Blurb

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

Review

I don’t think this is too much of a spoiler and I think people would want to know and I think you should read this regardless – but… Mark is Gray Asexual.

Definition: From AVENwiki. Sexuality is not black and white; some people identify in the gray(spelled “grey” in some countries) area between asexual and sexual. People who identify as gray-A can include, but are not limited to those who: do not normally experience sexual attraction, but do experience it sometimes.

This story was very touching, emotional and sexy despite it’s non-traditional characters. I was really rooting for the two of them and it made every physical encounter that much more resonant for what it meant to each man.

The family stuff gets in the way – and that too felt really “real”.

There were times when the story lagged and there were times when I wanted the guys to just “figure it out “ already – but for the most part this was a well-paced, very well-developed love story. (I have only a limited tolerance for angst and there is a fair amount in this.)

Highly recommended- esp for the HEA!

(I don’t think you need to have read the others in the series to appreciate this book.)

4.5 of 5 stars

4.5-stars-small

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Storm by HJ Welch

release day review

Good Reads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39671696-storm#other_review

Blurb
*I can’t do this without you*

Chase Williamson was never meant to be a dad. Like it or not, though, he’s now the sole guardian of five-year-old Lyla and terrified of messing it up. He needs help, but who wants to rescue a high school dropout? Certainly not the gorgeous newcomer in town, even if he is an ex-Marine.

Hunter Duke is looking forward to a small-town life to drive away his demons. Maybe meet a nice girl? Adopting a puppy begins to fill the hole in his heart, but it’s an unlikely friendship with Chase and his daughter that really starts to make Hidden Creek feel like home.

When social services threaten to take Lyla away, Hunter knows he’ll do anything to prove that this town is wrong about Chase. Could it be that this is the family he was searching for all along?

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains a three-legged puppy with attitude, a long-awaited comeuppance, and enough kisses to mend any broken heart

Review
I like the way HJ Welch’s stories make you feel good about life and that no matter how bad things seem there is hope. Chase has been belittled all his life by his Father and expects it from everyone he meets. His lack of self confidence meant he never spent much time with his daughter Lyla. Until that unfortunate day Lyla’s mother died and he has to become a real dad. Hunter is looking for a new start and Hidden Creek is just the place to do it. Both of them need support from someone special in their lives and they find each other a just the right time. This is a wonderful feel good book and I loved it.
Storm is part of a group of books written by different authors all centred around the town of Hidden Creek. Each book can be read as a stand-alone but the characters pop up in the different books. I’m quite intrigued and will be following them.

5 of stars out of 5

5-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends to Lovers: Faith & Fidelity (Faith, Love & Devotion #1) by Tere Michaels

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4801582-faith-fidelity

Blurb

New York City Vice Detective Evan Cerelli has lost his wife, the only person he ever loved and slept with. He’s trying to get on with his life, build a life for his children. Former Homicide Detective Matt Haight is a ladies’ man, all sex/no commitment. He’s depressed, having a midlife crisis, and not sure where his life is headed.

The two find friendship in the bottom of a shared bottle. When the friendship turns to love, it shakes two straight men to the core and flips their lives inside out. Kids, families, careers that are not gay-friendly — can all the love in the world overcome the obstacles to faith and fidelity?

 

Review

This is one of my all time favorite friends to lovers books because it’s two “straight” guys who really just fall for one another, regardless their sex. They need one another and besides the obvious sexual tension, they really make a deep, emotional and lasting connection.

It’s one of the most tender love stories I’ve read.

Of course, book one is really the tip of the ice berg but it’s a great start!

My only complaint is that the audio for this series is so bad. I’d have loved to listened to this over and over, but I really can’t recommend the audio at all.

Oh well. It’s a wonderful book to read!

5 of 5 stars

5-stars-small

Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review

Friends to Lovers: Baby Love by Harper Logan

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38825117-baby-love?from_search=true

Blurb
When Rafe arrives in Rosebridge, he has three goals: escape from the darkness of his past, make a stable home for his two-year-old daughter, and maybe explore his longstanding – and nerve-wracking – attraction to men. The 911 operator decides to check out the local gay bar to see how the whole thing works.

Marshall wants Rafe the moment he spots him at the bar. That is, he wants to set him up with a friend. He’s taking a year-long break from dating due to his habit of falling head-over-heels, and plans to play matchmaker instead – but Rafe pushes him to the brink of his willpower. And then the sexy stranger enrolls his daughter in the preschool where Marshall teaches.

Despite their growing friendship, Marshall’s determined to keep his vow not to date. Can he really set his crush up with someone else? Or will Rafe convince him they belong together?

(Baby Love is a is a 55,000-word steamy M/M friends-to-lovers romance with low angst, no cliffhangers, no cheating, and a guaranteed happily ever after!)

Review
The start of this book is a hoot! The scene where Marshall and Charly meet Rafe in the local bar had me laughing out loud. Follow that up with the next morning at the preschool and Harper Logan sets the tone for most of the story. The story moves on from there and Rafe shows that he is kind and mature and respectful of someone’s choices. Then all of the sudden, after an eye opening situation, he does a 180 and it’s all downhill from there.

Marshall is a character that has decided he is going to improve himself for himself, not anyone else. I love that although he starts this to put himself in a better place to find the right man and keep him, by the end of the story it truly is to make himself happy.

A few things in the story don’t sit right for me as a reader, or at least I wish there had been more said about it, but overall a sweet story.

4 of 5 stars

4-stars-small

Purchased for review

 

Audiobook: Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z. Narrated by Jack Wesley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/off-the-beaten-path-by-cari-z-9368-b

Blurb: 
When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely

Review:
(Book reviewed here previously by Mary)

I’m always looking for a new twist on a shifter story and this did not disappoint.
With the way the world is is could see werewolves being treated in manner described in this story. Used when it suited the Government but kept isolated out of fear. The world building is superb. The treatment of the werewolves is so unjust they gained my sympathy immediately and I was so pulled in that I was sorry when I came to the end of the book. I felt connected with Wade and Henry. To have the Government take your child and never to see her again would be heartbreaking. He is strong in his determination to get her back. Henry is pulled in so many directions. He has his duty to his pack as Alpha and to his role as an elite black ops soldier. I liked the way both Wade’s and Henry’s situations were explained without taking too much time away from the crux of the story, the burgeoning relationship between Henry and Wade and Ava not being able to shift back. I hope Cari Z has plans for a sequel or a series.

The only problem I had was that it is written from both Henry and Wade’s points of view in alternating chapters. This did throw me a bit and I kept checking who’s POV I was reading. However I was so captivated by the story it didn’t affect my enjoyment. If you are a fan of shifter stories I wholeheartedly recommend Off the Beaten Path.

(Review by Morgan)

I agree with Mary, but I want to add that sometimes this was really hard. I’m sure there are some allegories between this story and “real life” camps that strike home.

I think, depending on your frame of mind, the hate and distrust and the making people feel isolated and different can really strike a nerve given our political times.

Audio

I thought Jack Wesley (new to me) did a great job. He was easy to listen to, did a nice job with the emotion, and helped differentiate the characters.

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

4.5-stars-small

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day Review: The Pick Up (Up Red Creek #1) by Allison Temple

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-pick-up

Blurb

Kyle’s life is going backwards. He wanted to build a bigger life for himself than Red Creek could give him, but a family crisis has forced him to return to his hometown with his six-year-old daughter. Now he’s standing in the rain at his old elementary school, and his daughter’s teacher, Mr. Hathaway, is lecturing him about punctuality.

Adam Hathaway is not looking for love. He’s learned the hard way to keep his personal and professional life separate. But Kyle is struggling and needs a friend, and Adam wants to be that friend. He just needs to ignore his growing attraction to Kyle’s goofy charm, because acting on it would mean breaking all the rules that protect his heart.

Putting down roots in this town again is not Kyle’s plan. As soon as he can, he’s taking his daughter and her princess costumes and moving on. The more time he spends with Adam, though, the more he thinks the quiet teacher might give him a reason to stay. Now he just has to convince Adam to take a chance on a bigger future than either of them could have planned.

Review

There was a lot about this that had potential. I liked the idea of Kyle revisiting his hometown and reconnecting there. I liked the idea of a nerdy teacher giving him a run for his money and I thought his daughter was adorable. (Later in the story I also really liked Kyle’s father, too.)

For me, unfortunately, I never really liked Kyle all that much. I didn’t connect strongly with him, or understand his background fully. While I thought it was cute at first, his calling Adam “Mr Hathaway” all the time got under my skin. Since our guys spend so much time struggling, I really wanted them to have a decisive HEA and it’s only tepid.

I won’t say that I’m looking forward to book 2 in this series, but if the blurb is intriguing I wouldn’t turn it down based on this experience.

This might be a case of “it’s not the book, it’s me” but this just didn’t work for me that well.

3 of 5 stars
3-stars-small

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Friends to Lovers: Happily Ever Alfie by K. Sterling

 

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38214356-happily-ever-alfie?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Happily Ever After can seem so far away. Especially when life kicks you every time you’re down. Alfie Stanford was a master of fairytales and happy endings but his own story was one sad twist after another. He didn’t have time for true love and he was too tired to dance at midnight, he had four younger siblings to raise.

Happily Ever After doesn’t happen for everyone. Sometimes, you miss your chance while you’re serving your country. Jack Church gave more than thirty years of his life to the Army and believed it was too late for him to be some man’s Prince Charming.

Sometimes, a little girl and a very special quilt are all it takes for something very magical to happen… Sometimes, there’s robots.

Review: I wish I had a way to describe how much I really enjoyed this story! It’s funny, heartwarming with a few hot scenes! What makes this such good story is how well the different tropes/themes are blended together; the May to December trope, hurt/comfort trope, (a past tragedy leaves MC to raise siblings), precocious (but funny) kids, humour and steamy scenes.
I had a great time reading this – definitely in my re-read pile ☺

4.5 stars out of 5

4.5-stars-small

 

Copy purchased for honest review