Audiobook: The Long and Winding Road (BOATK Book 4) by TJ Klune narrated by Sean Crisden

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-long-and-winding-road-by-tj-klune-9285-b

Blurb:

Sequel to The Art of Breathing.

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole – those who make us who we are.

And here, at the end, Bear and Otter will be tested like they’ve never been before.
There’s a knock at the door from a little girl who has nowhere else to go.

There’s a phone ringing, bringing news they do not expect.
There’s a brother returning home after learning how to stand on his own.
As these moments converge, all of their lives will change forever.

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/the-long-and-winding-road-bear-otter-and-the-kid-4-by-t-j-klune/

This is the last of the series and I’m glad Sean Crisden was the one to close the series out. For me, he is the voice of Bear and Otter. His pacing is impeccable and his ability to inject emotion and humour into the dialogue really good. As always, it is easy to distinguish between the characters. I really enjoyed the narration.
I’ve followed the story of Bear, Otter, Ty from the start and loved their journey. TJ Klune has written a beautiful series and each book enhanced has by very good to excellent narration.

4.5 stars out of 5

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Banded Together by K.C. Burn

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

3.25 (rounded to 3.5) of 5 stars

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Color of You by C.S. Poe

release day review

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

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

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

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

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

5 of stars out of 5

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A Shining Knight By Rebecca Locksley

eXtasy Books

http://www.extasybooks.com/a-shining-knight/

Blurb

Can a hard-bitten, horse-mounted fighting man adjust to the peaceful modern world? When nerdy medieval language scholar Gabriel Sussman finds himself responsible for two medieval crusaders stranded in the modern world, the whole question is complicated by his serious crush on the knight, Jordan De Courcy. Surely such a manly man could never be interested in someone like Gabriel. Or are Gabriel’s slim, pale-skinned good looks just the things to appeal to medieval tastes?

Review

I love time travel books, so when given the opportunity to review this book I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed. Rebecca Locksley has woven a story that is both believable and interesting at the same time.

We have a Knight and his Squire dropped into the 21st century from the time of The Crusades. Because of their superstitions and fairytales they are lead to believe they are in another realm. An Elfin realm, where magic is commonplace. So much of what they first see is explained away as magic. The stories timeline travels over many months so that the 2 misplaced travelers are slowly exposed to all the modern world.

Sodomy is a crime in the knight’s time, so that even though he uses his squire for physical relief he makes no move on his benefactor. In a comedy of errors the truth comes out and Lord Jordon and Gabriel finally get together.

This story blends the belief and values of 11th century with the opportunities and advancements of the 21st century. Of a man who wants to go home to his own time where he was a man with a purpose and a titled lord, with a man who has only left his hometown once in his life and always felt he would be alone.

The sexy times are hot and the implications of the off screen times are good too. If you want a play by play of the sex scenes this is not the book for you.

4 of 5 stars

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Holidays: The Puzzle Box (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by C.C. Bridges

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Elementary school art teacher Cole Peters is expecting a lonely Christmas this year while his longtime boyfriend, James Carducci, is on deployment with the Army. However, a box from James contains puzzles that lead Cole on a scavenger hunt through the greatest moments of their relationship. Together with his best friend Liz, Cole works his way through each clue.

The final puzzle could lead Cole to a gift beyond his wildest expectations.

 

Review
This is such a lovely concept for a short story. A series of puzzles that stir memories of moments spent together. Especially since Cole and James can’t be together at Christmas. There is one line in the story that sums it up perfectly for me “I feel like I’m on a tour of the greatest hits of Cole and James’s relationship.”
I finished reading with a contented sigh. Perfect feel good Christmas story. Excellently written giving me the feeling that I had been following their developing relationship for a lot more than just thirty pages. I absolutely recommend this one.

5 of stars out of 5

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Laugh Cry Repeat by John Inman

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/laugh-cry-repeat-by-john-inman-9122-b

Blurb

Wyeth Becker is a quiet man. Staid, serious, calm. A librarian. When he meets preschool teacher Deeze Long, he discovers joy for the first time in his life. With joy comes laughter, excitement, and a new way to look at the world through the eyes of the kindest, most loving man he has ever met.

When tragedy strikes and Deeze loses his joy, it is Wyeth who helps him find it again. It is Wyeth, the man who never truly understood happiness, who pays that gift back. Giving all he can of himself to the man who changed his life. Restoring in Deeze what he now so desperately needs.

But the road of their relationship doesn’t end there. The joys and sorrows of life are never-ending. As they set out to weather the highs and lows together, Wyeth and Deeze hang on to the one thing that makes all the tears and laughter worthwhile.

Love.

For only through love can life be truly savored at all.

Review

The first half of the book is a mixture of opposites attract and humour. Wyeth is reserved and has his set routines. Deeze on the other hand is much more quirky and free spirited. I enjoyed the unusual way they met and Deeze’s way of wooing a reluctant Wyeth. He takes not accepting no to a whole new level. Deeze knows it’s because Wyeth is hesitant rather than not interested. I do think Wyeth’s dog Chaucer is cute. Most of the time I didn’t quite get the humour of it, apart from when Chaucer the dog and Napoleon the cat met.

The push and pull of them reacting to each other keeps the momentum going. When they do get together there is such beautiful tenderness it was lovely to read. Wyeth’s self confidence grows along with their relationship. He is able to quell the fears he originally had about being with someone and not being dumped. As the relationship develops the humour lessens and the story becomes sweet and sensual. The tragedy happens at a high point in their relationship and tests it. After the happiness and joy of the previous part the tragedy did make me well up. It was so unexpected. Now Wyeth needed to help Deeze overcome his fears.

 

This story captivated me. I wanted to know what happens next, would Deeze win Wyeth (I kept wanting to call him Wyatt!) around? Would Chaucer and Napoleon ever get on? And then the sweet romance was lovely to read. Finally how would they cope after the tragedy? All these things kept me turning the page and improved my opinion of the book. Initially I couldn’t see what would hold my interest for another hundred or so pages. It was the very clever switch in tempo as the relationship reached the next level that kept it fresh for me. The ending made me smile. A perfect finish and happy ever after.

 

4 of stars out of 5
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Families: The Guy From Glamour by Skylar M Cates


GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19373304-the-guy-from-glamour?from_search=true

Blurb

Anthony Carrino loves his big, gregarious Italian-American family, even if his sisters are interfering, and his dad, the local sheriff, knows everything going on in town. He’s happy as a middle school guidance counselor. Despite helping kids and their parents fix their problems, Anthony can’t manage to get his own love life right. If only everyone would stop calling him the “nice” guy.

Dean Pierce doesn’t do relationships. A tough-minded military man, he is dedicated to his job as a Night Stalker, flying Chinook helicopters and not speaking much to anybody. He certainly doesn’t want to deal with a mess of emotions. But when tragedy strikes, Dean finds his hands full with his troubled niece, her irresistible guidance counselor, and a meddlesome family, which includes a rather large puppy.

Review
I love this kind of story where the big silent loner finds family and love. For a guy that doesn’t do relationships he now has to look after his teenage niece Nicki. His panic at being in this situation is palpable. Anthony is there for both of them. Although Anthony has just got out of a bad relationship and is not looking to get into another he is drawn to Dean. I liked the way both of them were conscious of Nicki’s feelings throughout the slow romance. There are a wonderful cast of secondary characters from the members of Anthony’s family who are loud and loving to friends of Anthony and Dean. This is a lovely family/ new single parent story. I especially like it is with a young teenager rather than a small child or a baby.
I don’t think I’ve listened to anything by Matt Baca before. I liked his voice. He gave Dean a nice rumbling sound although Anthony sounded a bit young. Anthony’s twin sisters Gina and Mia were performed quite well. There were times when it felt more like the story was being read to me rather than performed but overall he does a pretty good job.
A nice light family / opposites attract story I enjoyed listening to.

4 stars out of 5

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One Word by Anne Barwell

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/one-word-by-anne-barwell-9001-b

Blurb

A Hidden Places story

Ethan Leavitt arrives in the idyllic village of Oakwood to search for a missing friend. Having always prided himself on his ability to find rational explanations, Ethan’s trust in concrete evidence and logic is tested by the mystery of Oakwood and Tomas’s disappearance.
Donovan Campbell’s happy, sometimes flippant, exterior hides a past he’d rather forget. As he struggles with his memories and to hold on to the inn he owns with his best friend, the last thing Donovan needs is for some guy he’s only just met to start getting under his skin. When a bank robbery escalates into a dangerous situation, Donovan must embrace a part of himself he can no longer ignore in order to save a future that might never have the chance to exist.
Ethan learns that often the person you’re looking for is not the one you find. But have he and Donovan both realized that too late…?

 

Review

I have not read the first two books in this series. The main characters in the first two books are Tomas and Cathal. The author states at the beginning of this book that it takes place during the final six weeks of Cat’s Quill, book one. Helpfully the prologue set the scene so I didn’t feel lost in the story. However the story seemed to be slow moving. Ethan is looking for any clues as to where his friend Tomas has vanished to. He disappeared just after his new boyfriend Cathal vanishes. Tomas was staying at the inn run by best friends Donovan and Heidi so Ethan stays there as well. Ethan and Donovan are attracted to each other but past experiences hold them back. Also the priority is finding Tomas. Running in the background is a bank robbery. The local police are on alert checking new people to the village. I liked how realistic it is. The relationship between Donovan and Ethan is not the tumble straight into bed type but the slow almost reluctant slide into a friendship and relationship. It does take most of the book but it feels so real and I was willing them get over their doubts and give love a chance.There is no sex but in my view it really isn’t needed. The prologue and epilogue tidies this story up and sets its context within book 1 and 2. So whilst I wouldn’t say it was a standalone story, there was enough to peak my interest in book 1 & 2, I also wouldn’t say it was a must to have read the other two books to enjoy this book.

3 of stars out of 5

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Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/off-the-ice

Blurb

Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

Review

This was a pretty sweet, very low angst May/December/OFY story of opposites attract.  It had some of the trademark snark that Avon is known for and a bit of the hot smexy times that she and Piper are so good at. 

While it had some funny points, for me, it lacked that strong comedic thread that I adore from Avon.  It had a fair amount of hockey –  although I don’t think you can have too much hockey!  I think the relationship developed in a way that felt natural and the sexual tension was sizzling!  (I loved the first confrontation in the professor’s office – yowza!)  I’m not a big fan of the whole power dynamic, vaguely D/s thing – it was mild – but I think the age difference and Tristan’s low self esteem would have been enough without it.  However that wasn’t a huge aspect. 

I really enjoyed this and, as far as this writing team goes, I think I enjoyed this one the most and I’m looking forward to more from the series.

 

This is highly recommended to fans of the author, fans of May/December relationships, fans  of hockey romance and fans of opposites attract.  

4 of 5 stars

 

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Back to School Month: Temptation by Design by Andrea Dalling

 

 

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Temptation-Design-Andrea-Dalling-ebook/dp/B01MXVCHW1/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1505409187&sr=1-5&keywords=temptation+by+design

Free!

 

Blurb:

Forbidden attraction…
Shakespeare professor Ben Silver teaches in a small college town with few prospects for love. Most gay men he meets are students and off-limits. That’s never been a problem until architecture major Chase takes over set design for the college production of Macbeth. Older than most college juniors, his maturity and leadership skills—not to mention his smoking-hot body—capture Ben’s attention. But a tryst could ruin Ben’s career, and he can’t risk it.

Awakening desire…
Former petty officer Chase Coltrane understands fraternization rules. His years in the Navy taught him to keep his hands to himself, especially where people in authority are concerned. But when Ben ignites Chase’s attraction to men, Chase’s self-control heads out to sea. He wants to explore this newly discovered part of himself, and the sexy, charismatic professor has tied knots around his heart. Will his desperate attempt to win the man he loves destroy their future? Or will it lead them on a path to lasting love?

Review:
I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I loved how the two MC’s fit so well to each other. I loved that they just couldn’t keep away from each other and I loved how accepting and open minded Chase’s parents were.
I hated that it truly seemed like an insta love. I hated that there was really no second guessing by Chase on his sexuality. And I hated that they thought jumping into a marriage would solve their problem.
That said we have a story of a tenured professor and a 29 year old student who seem to get caught up in each other. They have to work closely in a school production and the looks between them get hotter and hotter until they kiss. From there it’s downhill. Fraternization is frowned on severely at this small east coast school. Add in a student who keeps quoting her ethics class and you have 2 guys trying hard not to show their attraction. The story moved along smoothly and evenly, keeping me engrossed until the end

This was a quick read and a HEA for the couple. Overall I enjoyed the story and would consider reading more from the author.

4 of 5 stars

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