Audiobook: Going Commando (Heathens Ink #2) by K.M. Neuhold Narrated by Cooper North

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Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Going-Commando-Audiobook/B077J6B6GK?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=EX3V2EX6F2FT4KDR9Q7E&

Blurb: “I never thought I could want anyone as much as I wanted Nash, then I met you”~Royal
When I was sixteen I was afflicted with a terrible curse…I fell in love with my straight best friend. I never thought I’d move past my feelings for Nash and find someone who could love me in return, until the day a gorgeous marine plopped himself down in my chair and asked me to ink him. I’m falling fast for Zade, but my feelings for Nash are still very real. When life starts getting complicated and Nash speaks the words I never thought I’d hear, the only thing I want is for us to find a way to make this work…together.

“What if I told you, you’d never have to choose?”~Zade
I thought I’d stay in the marines for life, that was the plan. But after a traumatic event I couldn’t make myself re-enlist when my contract was up. Confused and unsure what to do next I called up my best friend for a place to stay. What I didn’t count on was my best friend’s boyfriend practically throwing a sexy tattoo artist at me to keep me busy. Royal is everything I’ve ever wanted and his roommate, Nash, is starting to grow on me, too.

“A few weeks ago I thought I was straight. Now I’m sandwiched between two sweaty men. Can’t say I do anything half-assed.” ~Nash
Of course I’ve noticed that my best friend, Royal is crazy good looking. I have eyes, that doesn’t mean I’m into guys. Although, when I start to notice that his new boyfriend, Zade, is pretty hot too, that makes me start to question things a little. Not to mention the dreams I keep having of the three of us together. I’m willing to try if they are.

**This is NOT a love triangle, just good old fashioned man-on-man-on-man love

**Every book in the Heathens Ink series can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s way more fun to read them in order.

Book Review by Anna:
(Book reviewed here previously)
K.M. Neuhold was a new to me author, but I will be looking at her back catalogue after reading this very enjoyable installment in her Heathens Ink series.

Royal is in love with his best friend since childhood, Nash. Unfortunately Nash is straight, so Royal needs to move on, instead of having threesomes with him and women, just in order to get a chance to suck Nash’s dick.
When he meets Zade the attraction is instantaneous and the two hit it off, both in and out of the bedroom and for the first time in his life, Royal actually sees himself getting serious with someone. And wouldn’t you know it, the first time Royal finds himself in love with someone who can actually return his feelings, is also the time Nash realises he may not be as straight as he thought!
The guys are hot and heavy together and the sex is steamy as all get out **fanning myself**. The transition from two to three is enjoyably smooth and problem free with out any angsting and hardly any outside conflicts about the arrangement either.
Personally I would have preferred the societal biasses against such a set up being explored and more on Zade’s past instead of the Liam side plot, but the author’s choice still made for an enjoyable read. The writing flows nicely and the prose is easily read and very engaging. It’s a lovely little story, with very little angst, which is quite impressive as some very heavy topics are touched upon.

My only other niggle was the character names. All of the Heathen Ink employees and partners have maddeningly similar ‘stereotypical alpha male’ names: Nash, Zade, Gage, Thane, Madden… But that is just me, and I got over it pretty quickly.

All in all I would recommend this book and I will be looking up the first one in the series too and will definitely want to read Adams story when that is released.

Overall Impression: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Book Review by Morgan

I’m going to have to agree with Anna here on almost every point!

I thought the lack of angst was both a blessing and a curse. I think Nash’s “conversion” felt natural and didn’t need a lot of fanfare, however – I think the link between Nash and Zane could have used some fleshing out to be a bit more “believable”.
While I absolutely LOVED the addition of Liam to the story, there was way too much brushed under the carpet in a way that made things look way too easy. With such weighty subjects like youth and transgender and runaways or even bisexual bias and issues of being in a thouple– I felt more time spent on any or all of these as issues would have made for a more complete story. Definitely would have added to my “heart strings” moments.
I also wasn’t as pulled into the “throuple” as a success by the end of the book. Part of me wished that this was either about Nash and Royal or Royal and Zane first…. Then a more involved book that showed them opening up the relationship to the other. It was just a bit too easy and fast to be anything but superficial and while I still enjoyed it – I didn’t “believe” it as much as I could have.
Another thing that bothered me was the total wishy washy way in which Nash’s mother addressed Liam and Nash in her kitchen. One moment she’s preaching about women’s influence and being responsible and then it’s dropped to never be an issue again.
What absolutely MADE this book for me was Royal and his inner dialog – he’s hysterical! One thing he does with regularity is thank God for things like “making beautiful men like Zane. Love Royal. Amen” Or when he sees Nash and Zane kissing “Dear God… Seriously, good job. Love, Royal. Amen.” Royal is a fabulous character and he made this book easily go from a 3 to a 4+ star book.
I was glad to see there are more books on the way and I hope Owen’s story is soon!

Highly recommended to fans of the author and this series, definitely for fans of ménage, this can be read as a standalone easily.

4.25 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

Audio

It’s hard to juggle a ménage when it comes to narration and I think Cooper North does an admirable job keeping everyone separate. His voice is really husky and suits the overall theme of this series and I like listening to it. Though he could do more to add differentiation to all the MANY characters, I think it’s easy enough to know which person is speaking.
I like his pacing and the emotions he infuses into the narration and think this is a great way to enjoy this story!

Recommended!

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: Tea or Consequences by KC Burn Narrated by Darcy Stark

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Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tea-or-consequences-by-kc-burn-8882-

Blurb
Riley Parker: temp, twink, geek… sleuth?

Maybe Riley isn’t living up to his full potential, but being a temp executive assistant suits him. He’s never bored at work, he’s got friends who let him geek out, and he’s got a carefully crafted twink exterior… which might be getting constrictive now that he’s on the other side of thirty. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s comfortable.

It all unravels when he takes a job working for a tea-obsessed cosmetics queen, the owner of Gautier Cosmetics. During the launch party for a new product, Riley finds his boss dead under suspicious circumstances, and the homicide detective is none other than Tadeo Martin, Riley’s high school obsession who never knew he was alive.

Tad drafts Riley to get the scoop on the inner workings of Gautier, and for Riley, it’s like a drug. His natural inquisitiveness is rewarded with more and more Tad. Unfortunately, his snooping puts him in the running for two other roles: suspect and victim. The killer doesn’t care which

Review
In my opinion this is a murder mystery with a touch of romance. The story is told from Riley’s point of view and we get an idea of his mild dissatisfaction with his life. Not with his work but in that he would like a partner. The mystery is fairly good. I never guessed who the culprit was or how the deed was actually done. So in that respect I absolutely enjoyed the story. The romance between Riley and Tad was a little more frustrating. It felt like Tad was using Riley. Not only for his information about Gautier but for a bit of relief. Although the way Tad romanced Riley was sweet. Meeting for breakfast or dinner and conversation. There is plenty of kissing and a bit of heat. Riley’s dream come true after crushing on Tad during high school.There was a side story of Riley’s relationship with his brother which I found distracting. I wanted more from it but it didn’t really have any bearing on either the murder mystery or the romance. This is a nice low angst story with a good mystery aspect.

I’ve not listened to anything narrated by Darcy Star before. He has a good smooth voice and I liked his characterisation of Riley and the slightly more gruff sounding Tad. I also liked the way he portrayed Riley’s friend Alisha and Madam Gautier. He gave the book the right atmosphere. Overall I enjoyed this audiobook and the way it was narrated by Darcy Star.

4 of stars out of 5

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Relay (Changing Lanes #1) by Layla Reyne

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/relay

Blurb

Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.

Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.

Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.

Review

There were things I loved and some things I didn’t care for with this story.

Loved:

The Ginger.

Alex.
The Olympics.
Swimming.
The team.
The chemistry between Alex and Dane.
Alex’s family.
How Dane handled his family in the end.

Not so much:
I’m not a fan of “second chance” stories because I miss that initial “spark.” I thought Dane was very immature and I’m not sure Alex was wise in getting back together with him. (Of course it pays out later in the story – but Dane didn’t do enough to regain his trust at first -IMHO.)

I can’t wait for the audio – I’m really hoping it’s someone who can do all the accents!

I’m really looking forward to the next installment!

4 of 5 stars

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Retro Review: Timber Pack Chronicles (Timber Pack Chronicles #1) by Rob Colton

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20937536-timber-pack-chronicles?ac=1&from_search=true
Blurb

The object of Parker Montgomery’s crush is big man on campus Colton Butler, who is much more than he appears to be.

Colton has been watching Parker from a distance, patiently waiting for the day when he will finally be able to claim his destined mate.

When Parker is threatened by a rogue wolf, Colton’s instincts take over and he finds that his actions have consequences that threaten to tear his pack apart.

 

 

 

Review

This is one of my “oft re-visited” stories. I love how sweet Colton is to Parker and how loyal his pack is to him as well.

I love the instant connection between the two and the total immersion Parker gets into shifter life.

I could do with a little less sex. These are 18 year old boys and the writing matches that – lots and lots and lots of sex and descriptions of jizz and boners and ….lots of it.

The pack dynamics are interesting and I love the secondary characters too.

If you’re a shifter romance fan and you haven’t run across this series – check it out!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: A Kind of Home (A Kind of Stories #4) by Lane Hayes Narrated by Seth Clayton

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-kind-of-home-by-lane-hayes-8585-b

Blurb

A Kind Of Story

Isaac Dalton is the guitarist for Spiral, arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The band’s meteoric rise to superstardom has its perks, but fame and fortune aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Nonstop touring and performing exhaust him, and when an overzealous fan makes it imperative that Isaac travel with a clingy bodyguard, he is ready for a break from the madness. More so when his newly single first crush shows up on his doorstep. The man is strictly off-limits. He’s a memory from a place Isaac would rather leave behind. And he’s straight.

Fun-loving former athlete slash construction worker Adam McBride desperately needs a new beginning. And New York City is the perfect place to start over and think about how to rebuild his life. A short stint as roommates with his brother’s best friend from high school seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement. However, when friendship gives way to fierce attraction, both men find themselves in unchartered and possibly dangerous territory. Isaac has to decide if he’s willing to take the ultimate risk for a kind of love and a kind of home he never dreamed possible.

Review
(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

This is another amazing addition to Lane Hayes’ “A Kind of” series. It follows a rock band from their origins playing gigs in bars to being on the top of the charts. None of the other books are required reading to understand/enjoy this book, but having read them will give you a more thorough understanding of the characters’ development and their history.

In this case we have Isaac, the lead guitarist, who finds music an easier language than words at times. He breathes easier through his music and roots himself in it’s notes.

Though he’s had a crush on his BFF’s straight brother for years, he’s never acted on it. When the two are forced into close company some secrets are revealed that push them into the other’s arms.

When I think of Lane Hayes’ work, I think always of emotional connections, really hot sex scenes, New York, and in this case- music. That’s what pervades this story. Lane is a really talented writer and she knows how to give the reader well-developed characters and while her stories are fairy-tales in the sense of wonderful things happening to good people, there’s a healthy dose of reality in the mix to make it seem plausible.

For fans of the author and the series this is a must, but you don’t have to fall into those categories to enjoy this. I think fans of musicians, coming-out stories, small towns, and friends to lovers will also love this, too.

Highly recommended!

Audio

Seth Clayton narrates this entire series, and as I’ve said before I think he’s a really great narrator. He handles the story well – all the emotions and action and the music really capably. He doesn’t do much with accents and he does mispronounce words now and again (ie Perrier!) but I think this is a really great way to experience this story and is highly recommended.

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Holidays: A Holiday Crush (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by CJane Elliott

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

San Francisco lawyer Brad Halberstam is in a rut. At forty-one, he’s successful but alone. Even his holidays are predictable—he spends every Christmas golfing in Napa with his ex-boyfriend. Then attractive but oh-so-young filmmaker Michael Blair invites him out. Brad joins Michael and his housemates in their holiday celebrations and learns that life can be joyful. He hesitates to saddle Michael with a much-older boyfriend but as their attraction ignites, Brad’s tempted to let Michael sweep him into a bright new future.

Michael lives in a group house in Berkeley. He loves making life into a celebration, especially during the holidays. Michael longs for a partner, and he hopes serious but sweet Brad Halberstam is the one. Michael’s infatuation grows over caroling and cookies, but his housemate reminds him that Michael always latches on to someone during the holidays, so he won’t be alone. After a misunderstanding, Michael loses heart, no longer sure if his relationship with Brad is real or just another Christmas crush.

Review

This definitely stands out as one of my favorites in this bunch! I loved it!!! It was sweet, sentimental, and really hit all the right notes – even though it was short.

The (very mild) political statement is well-received and I appreciated how little angst was spent on Brad’s career change.

All in all highly recommended – if only it were a full length story!

5 of 5 stars

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Holidays: The Last Gift (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Chrissy Munder

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

College student Nick Reed works late shift at a convenience store and dreams of graduation, a job he can be proud of, and finding the man of his dreams.

But the man of his dreams is about to find him.

A change in his lab hours forces Nick to swap shifts with a coworker. But no one prepared Nick for Mr. 5:25—Aaron Hampton—a beefy blond who’s Nick’s perfect guy, but professionally and socially out of Nick’s reach. Soon Aaron becomes the highlight of Nick’s workday, and when the overly focused lawyer needs Nick’s help with holiday gifts, Nick is eager to spend time with Aaron.

They become friends, share book recommendations, and are surprised to find themselves at the same charity run. But is that all? When Aaron learns Nick is heading back to his old shift, will he find the courage to ask for one last, very special gift?

 

Review

This is hard for me to evaluate. On one hand, I loved the internal monologue and found Nick to be a really fun character. On the other hand, I wasn’t really sure why the story ended like it did as I felt our MCs didn’t get a lot of quality time together to really establish anything.

 

If you accept this as an HFN and maybe just the start of a relationship and a partially completed story – it’s a good start. However, it didn’t have that solid feel of completion to me.

 

3 of 5 stars

 

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The King’s Courage (North Pole City Tales #6) by Charlie Cochet

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-kings-courage-by-charlie-cochet-9168-b

Blurb

With the wedding of Jack Frost and Rudy Rein Dear only three weeks away, everyone travels to Jack’s palace in Svalbard, Norway, where the happy couple will exchange vows beneath the northern lights. Festivities have been planned leading up to the wedding, and Dasher eagerly anticipates not just the fun, but staying under the same roof as the blustering winter spirit who’s caught his eye—the King of Frost, Jack’s father.

A long-ago tragedy has left Eirik fearing to ever love again. As the King of Frost, Eirik maintains his distance from everyone, especially the young Christmas elf who insists on intruding on Eirik’s solitude. But Dasher is determined to find a way to show the lonely king that his heart still beats and he shouldn’t fear allowing it to beat for another.

Review

I have such a soft spot for this series! I absolutely adore the holiday themed curses and the totally unique take on all the old holiday figures and of course Charlie Cochet is the master at giving us romantic stories with humor, excitement and heat!

While you don’t have to read this series in order to fully understand each book, they do absolutely build on one another so those of us who have read them all are re-visiting old friends and finding out how they’re doing in the future, as well as having a bit more background on some of the secondary characters.

I think Eirik (I have no idea how that’s pronounced!) is adorably grumpy and while I get frustrated at his pining for millennia, he doesn’t spend much on page time pining. YAY! I think Dasher was a bit naïve and amazingly brave to approach mr. grumpypants, he was also sweet and the perfect match!

This particular book in the series was a bit more steamy than the others and it was awesome! 😉

I can’t recommend this series (and this book) enough!

5 of 5 stars

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Holidays: Trading Tridents (Advent 2017) by CM Taylor

 

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

DecemberCon 2017. John Perlan, aka YouTuber “SmileyNibor,” has come to the con for one reason and one reason only: to see his idol, actor Derek Kitow. And since Derek has announced he’ll be dressed as the original Aquaman, Perlan decides to come as the Aquaman reboot. It helps that he already has the beard and the bod to make a convincing Momoaman.

But when Derek Kitow makes his entrance, he recognizes Perlan from his tiny YouTube channel and wants him onstage! Has Kitow been following him online? Could SmileyNibor’s hero also be a fan? And what exactly does Kitow have in mind by inviting Perlan to meet him after the panel?

Review

Cosplay is a way to emulate a character or actor you idolize or fan girl over, so when John learns that his idol Derek Kitow is coming to the Decembercon dressed as the original Aquaman he creates a costume that is the rebooted version. He also put out a YouTube video of him making his Trident.

What is it like to come face to face with your idol? What is it like that your idol knows who you are and wants you. Of course there are a few more surprises in the story that you just don’t see coming. Still you end with a smile as they end their evening.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Holidays: Welcome Home Soldier (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Deanna Wadsworth

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

Clay and Daniel fell in love as enlisted men during Desert Shield, but Don’t Ask Don’t Tell meant they had to keep it secret. After Clay’s convoy was ambushed, PTSD changed him, and their relationship ended in a horrible fight on Christmas Eve.

Twenty-five years later, they’ve reconnected on Facebook, and Clay finds out Daniel will be alone on Christmas Eve. Impulsively, he sets out for Daniel’s hometown of Gilead, Ohio—where Daniel is now the mayor—to surprise him with a visit. But a blizzard strikes and Clay wrecks his car. All hope of seeing Daniel is lost—until a mysterious old man named Nick offers Clay a ride. The weight of past wounds and the scars of war might make their reunion awkward, but Clay is willing to take the risk to win back his lost love. Despite a lifetime of disappointing holidays, Clay hopes that this soldier is finally coming home for Christmas.

Review

This was a story about older men finding their first loves again many years later. It’s filled with a lot of angst and recriminations and – to me – it was kind of a downer.

Of course they find their HEA but it was after a lot of sadness.

The writing was nice, but it just wasn’t as uplifting as I’d want it to be.

3 of 5 stars

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