Categories
4 stars Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Exploration Football Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mechanic/Car/Racing Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Unrequited Love Virgin

#Junkie: Gearshark Book 1 by Cambria Hebert Narrated by Luke Itzvic and Guy Locke

audiobookreview

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Junkie-Audiobook/B01GOZ5R70/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1482991808&sr=1-1

Blurb

Drew Forrester is a total adrenaline junkie. His high of choice? Cars. The faster, the better. He’s been making waves in Maryland’s underground racing circuit since he crossed the state line, and after speaking with him, we know he’s not hitting the brakes anytime soon.
So what exactly does it take to burn rubber and make a name for yourself in a world where the only rule is that there are no rules? You gotta be hungry. You gotta have balls. And you can never back down.
Contains mature themes.

Review

I’ve had this on my kindle FOREVER it seems. I loved the premise and it’s gotten some good reviews and the whole double GFY is totally my thing. But… it’s long and it’s NA with a large dose of college melodrama thrown in and the romance is slow burn and and and…

What I loved: the dual narration was excellent! I especially loved Guy Locke (who I think voiced Drew’s parts) in this dual POV narrative. I loved the dual POV. We really get to know just what each guy is thinking and that’s wonderful. I loved all the car facts at the beginning of each chapter. Some are interesting some are really funny but they were a nice touch. I loved the secondary characters and the way the entire “family” felt really fleshed out. (This is a spin off from a NA M/F series so the people who’ve read the entire series will see people they recognize. I haven’t read it, but I still felt connected to the characters.) The smexy times are appropriate for an NA novel. They’re in there, but they aren’t the main focus and the “new to being gay” guys don’t just dive in, they are appropriately cautious about expanding their physicality.

What didn’t work for me: The writing. It felt a little too “dramatic”. Too many descriptions were similes and each “moment” was drawn out and there was very little action to keep my attention. Lots of internal dialogs and navel gazing and not much “doing”. (spoiler) It takes up to 62% for our MCs to even kiss! I was desperate by the time they finally connect! (end spoiler) This ends on a “cliff hanger” as there is a Part 2 where in our MCs get their HEAs. So, I was psyched I hadn’t read this and been waiting for the next installment or I’d have been pretty frustrated.
Who I think will like this: If you like cars and racing, or football and fraternities, New Adult romances, double GFY/OFY (I think both these guys are gay and in denial, but they call themselves bi in this book), slow burn romances and stories with a lot of “pondering”.
I really enjoyed listening to this, though I think the fact that I was listening to it made me “like” the book less, simply because if I’d been reading I’d have skimmed a bunch and that’s harder to do with an audio book. The narrators voices are great! They do the kids and female characters very well and I liked the way they handled the emotion and the dialog. The sound quality was excellent as well.

Overall, this was good – but not great – as an NA book and fun as an audiobook.

4 of 5 stars
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(The audible is pretty affordable if you borrow the book on KU for free.)

Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary DA Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort Insta Love Length m/m Mild/low level heat Military Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Purchased second chance at love Teacher Unrequited Love

Don’t Leave Me Alone (Unlikely Heroes #1) by Jenny Wood

 

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Leave-Alone-Unlikely-Heroes-ebook/dp/B01DJAXWRA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1485110683&sr=8-3&keywords=jenny+wood+hero

(right now .99 cents!)

Blurb

Alvin is coming home to bury his family His whole family, all the family that he had left. His mom, dad and twin sisters. The military didn’t think he was stable enough to come back but really, he was just worried how he’d get through the days. The first one’s at his empty family home especially.

Carter is a school teacher going to the funeral of a very well respected family of his community. Not only does he see his crush from high-school, Alvin, but he also see’s him all alone trying to say goodbye to the only people he had left. Carter doesn’t see the fun-loving, carefree teen he crushed on; he’s long gone and the grieving, lost man is in his place.

What will happen when Carter steps in to help this grieving man?
What will Alvin do when his eyes finally open and see’s Carter?
Is leaning on someone in times of trouble the best way to start a relationship or do they realize it’s the best foundation for love?

This book contains strong language and adult situations. It can be read as a standalone. Has HEA, no cliffhanger!

Review

I love supporting new authors and this is a series that introduces us to a new author who I think is just wonderful!

Like many first works, there are some rough edges, specifically editing: grammar, punctuation, spelling, but the important piece, the story is fantastic!

This series is about a group of men who’ve been hurt and who find comfort in their true love. But first… they hurt. Jenny Wood has made me cry so many times now! In this book, reading about Alvin’s loss – tears out my heart! She did an amazing job of showing us the devastation and feelings of anger and guilt and loss that he felt.

When Alvin meets Carter he doesn’t remember him, though Carter had been crushing on Alvin for years. When Carter realizes Alvin doesn’t remember him, he’s crushed – but he doesn’t give up and I love that about this story. They communicate and work through their issues. There are no silly “Big Misunderstandings”.

The smexy times are appropriate and enough to feel good, but not overwhelm the story.

I am really enjoying this series and highly recommend it to fans of hurt/comfort, big/guy little guy, nerd/jock, military men, small towns and sweet romances.

(Aaaaaand the cover! Mmmmm!)

4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Fated Mates Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Hurt/comfort m/m Magic Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Reconcilliation second chance at love Shifter Unrequited Love Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate Audiobook by R Cooper Narrated by Robert Nieman

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-beginners-guide-to-wooing-your-mate-by-r-cooper-7824-b

Blurb

Zeki Janowitz has returned to his hometown of Wolf’s Paw to start his wizarding career. Unfortunately, Wolf’s Paw, a werewolf refuge, follows centuries of tradition and shuns human magic and a very human Zeki. He knows he’s in for a struggle, but a part of him has always belonged in the mountain town, or rather belonged to Theo Greenleaf. Years away at school haven’t lessened Zeki’s crush on the quiet werewolf. When town gossip informs him Theo still suffers from his mate’s rejection and does not date, it does little to ease Zeki’s embarrassing feelings. He decides now’s the time to get the man he’s always wanted.
Werewolves usually don’t recover from losing their mates, and Theo barely pulled through by focusing on his love of baking. It’s a daily struggle, and Zeki’s return to Wolf’s Paw shatters his peace. Theo doesn’t know what to think when Zeki attempts to woo him, talking about his wizarding business and settling in town for good. It’s like Zeki doesn’t have a clue how his words years before left Theo a shell of a werewolf.
Beginners in love, Theo and Zeki must seduce each other with a bit of heavenly baking and magic.

Review

This is book three in the series and it’s a bit different (to me) than than the first two. For one, though it is still written in a way that’s very rich, it doesn’t feel as convoluted as the first two.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I hate the fact that the MCs are separated until the 70% point by a simple MISUNDERSTANDING. Gah! I hate that. Everyone – literally – knows these guys are mates, but Zeki. I don’t understand why he wasn’t told and it made me crazy that this was the central “hurdle”.

I think there was enough between them, beyond that knowledge, that they could have worked through, without the big secret.

If you ignore that fact, you get a sweet story of two members of a different “race” trying to find a connection and bridge gaps of prejudice and ignorance, and that, is enough of a story to be compelling.

R. Cooper is a gifted writer, but sometimes I feel like the stories just drag a bit in the middle. Things that could be resolved quickly tend to take a long time.

I love the magical elements, and the emotions being poured into the baking, and sweetness of each of the characters. I don’t love how long everything drags out.

For fans of the author and this series, this is highly recommended. For fans of shifter novels, I’d read some reviews and decide if it’s for you based on a few of those. It’s not a “typical” shifter story, and though there is a mate pull it’s not the urgent “got to have it now” kind of thing you might be looking for.

3.5 of 5 stars

Audio

Robert Nieman is a narrator that I’ve always enjoyed. He doesn’t do a lot to give us unique voices or anything, but his voice is easy to listen to and he’s good with timing and emotions. I don’t know that the narration really adds a lot to this story but it definitely doesn’t detract.

4 of 5 stars

Overall 3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Unrequited Love

Food For Thought Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Philip Alces

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/food-for-thought-by-amy-lane-3994-b

Blurb

Emmett Gant was planning to tell his father something really important one Sunday morning—but his father passed away first. Now, nearly three years later, Emmett can’t seem to clear up who he should be with—the girl with the apple cheeks and the awesome family, or his snarky neighbor, Keegan, who never sees his family but who makes Emmett really happy just by coming over to chat.

Emmett needs clarity.

Fortunately for Emmett, his best friend’s mom has a cookbook that promises to give Emmett insight and good food, and Emmett is intrigued. After the cookbook follows him home, Emmett and Keegan decide to make the recipe “For Clarity,” and what ensues is both very clear—and a little surprising, especially to Emmett’s girlfriend. Emmett is going to have to think hard about his past and the really important thing he forgot to tell his father if he wants to get the recipe for love just right.

Review

Emmett is hiding his sexuality from his friends and families because he thinks if he finds the right girl, makes his own family, he won’t risk a broken heart – again.

Of course, Keegan is NOT down with that. He has feelings – big feelings – for Emmet, but thinks Emmett is straight… or is he?

Anyhow, when the truth is revealed and the closure … closed?… Keegan and Emmett get their HEA.

**

As usual Amy made me tear up when I read about the death of Emmett’s dad… God this was supposed to be a light sweet book! Damn you Amy (shaking fist!).

But… of course that helps us to buy into Emmett’s lies and betrayals.

I loved the cooking part and the paranormal aspect to the receiving of said book… In general I’m digging this series as a whole.

Another win for the Queen of Angst!

Audio

I don’t always love Philip Alces. Sometimes his voice fits more than others. To me, Keegan should have been more femme – I don’t know – but he was pretty gruff and to me he’s a bit more flamboyant than Bear. But… I liked Emmett and thought that the storytelling was good. Alces does a nice job with timing, emotion, and sound quality as well.

All in all 4.5 of 5 stars for both book and audiobook

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Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Humor Insta Love m/m/m Mild level angst Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Olympics Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Unrequited Love Virgin

Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 1) by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/volley-balls-by-tara-lain-8014-bBlurb

Blurb

2nd Edition

A Balls to the Wall Romance

A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.

Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

A “pumped up” version of the Volley Balls story, twice as long as the original.

First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2011.

Review

I read the original edition and though this says it’s twice as long as the original, I can’t say that I noticed a heck of a lot of difference.  However, I love this series and though this wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, it’s still a lot of fun!  (I’m not sure if the author is redoing the entire series, but I see that there’s at least a new cover for book two so…) In any case, FAST Balls is my favorite of the series, reviewed here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/fast-balls-balls-to-the-wall-5-by-tara-lain/ and I think that, though it’s not necessary, reading them in order helps to introduce the characters in a really nice way.

David is the owner of an art gallery who’s recently left an ex who abused him. He’s not really looking to date, but open minded when opportunity comes along. Edge and Gareth are Australian Volleyball players who are in town during a tournament. Gareth knows he’s gay but he’s deeply in the closet, Edge has some secrets of his own and some self-examination in his future.

To me, you have to just accept a lot on faith with this story. Don’t try to look at it too deeply- there are a lot of plot holes and amazing insta-love moments that aren’t terribly realistic. We don’t get a lot of relationship building here, as Gareth sees David once and is pretty smitten and makes some important life decisions with only a little bit of encouragement from David to go on.

The relationship between Edge and Gareth actually makes the most sense – given their history – and I guess the triad kinda makes sense – given that David is the only one with any real relationship experience at all. (This was the hardest for me to swallow. I could buy David and Gareth, Gareth and Edge and even David and Edge, but the three of them, coming together, and agreeing that this would work for them? I had a hard time seeing this given the brevity of their time together and the situation with Edge and… Well, it was a hard sell. The other thing that bothered me was the dialog – sometimes David and Gareth spoke in ways that didn’t always feel authentic. “Shall I …” etc. I just reminded myself this is fiction and kept reading. )

The sexy times are plentiful. Gareth’s mom is awesome. The art sounds fun. Seeing Edge switch gears and share with Gareth and David – super, scorching, hot and at times sweet, too. I didn’t really buy the triad, but found the guys fun to read about anyway, and I really enjoyed the other books in the series so…

3 of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary Demi Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Humor Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Single Parent Unrequited Love Virgin

Bear, Otter and The Kid (BOTK Book 1) Audiobook by TJ Klune Narrated by Sean Crisden

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bear-otter-and-the-kid-by-tj-klune-3212-b

 

Blurb

Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living. With a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that – until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world … something or someone. 

 

Review

This is a re-read/re-listen for me, as I originally read and listened to it in 2014. When I first read it, I was absolutely blown away by the humor, the angst, the feels and the quality of the representation Sean Crisden brought to the characters. In a world where not all narrators are the same, and some really don’t do much to ADD to a reading experience, I still hold Sean as one of the ones that shoot for excellence and shape the characters for the readers/listeners.

I’ve read/listened to this a few times, though never all the way from start to finish as I did this time – it’s too long for that! It’s 350 pages and that can take some serious commitment when you’re listening as that’s over 12 hours.

There are people who will always be “new” to the genre and stumbling across this title in their forays, but I’d say most of us who’ve been reading this genre have read (and loved) this or at least know of the series/author, etcetera – so, I’m not going to go into any sort of plot summaries – there are lots of reviews out there that cover that.

As I was listening to this again, I wanted to remember how it FELT to experience this story. I think TJ does an amazing job of getting into Bear’s head. One of the first things that I thought about this is how I FELT Bear’s tension/anxiety/stress. This book was published in 2011 (so probably written way before that) and it’s amazing how much has changed in those five/six years as far as gay acceptance in our world. Sure, there are still lots of hurdles to overcome, but we’ve made some big strides. In reading Bear’s anxiety about being “like Otter” – aka gay – I think TJ captures beautifully that original questioning of one’s sexuality and in Bear’s case, probably not even really having a proper label for his specific situation. (Maybe he’d be Demiromantic? I don’t know that it matters…)

In any case, Bear’s sexual identity is really just one piece of this story. He’s also dealing with his ex-girlfriend, his best friend and his brother – most importantly – his brother and how his role in their lives is how he defines himself. (In book two I think we see this even more – but that’s for later. J ) Back to how it made me feel – well I kept wanting to feel calm! Bear is so tightly wound that I kept wanting him to find some solace with Otter, with Creed, with Anna. Something so his monkey-brain would settle down and just BE.

I also really appreciated Anna and her role in this with this re-listen. She definitely got the short end of the stick in that her boyfriend who loves her really didn’t trust her enough to confide in her and that really had to hurt.

There are some other things I noticed this time around that made me eager to complete the series again – how Ty says “I’m going to still like girls” and how together Ty was in comparison to Bear and when does that change? I know he still has anxiety but – at least here- he seemed more together than Bear at times.

The love between Bear and Otter felt really poetic and if I have a complaint is that, even with 350 pages, I still don’t know that we got a lot of their relationship building.

For me, this is where TJ’s writing style really shines. He mixes in the angsty with the humor so well here. The smexy times aren’t so much hot as they are heart-felt and that’s well-suited to the book itself.

4.25 of 5 stars

Audio

As I said at the beginning, Sean does an amazing job with this. I LOVE his Otter and his Creed and think he does a great Anna, Ty and Bear as well. But mmmm Otter’s voice is Delish!

There is no doubt that listening to this is the way to enjoy this. Sean is wonderful and he makes the 12 hours fly by!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Christmas class difference College/University Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort lawyer m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Misunderstanding Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Rent Boy Unrequited Love

All I Want For Christmas Is No Christmas by Colton Aalto

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-no-christmas-by-colton-aalton-7971-b

Blurb

Alec Ryder’s arrest in Aspen, early on the morning of December twenty-fifth, is the latest disaster in his series of unhappy Christmases. He’s dreaded the holiday since being subjected to endless church services as a child. Being kicked out on Christmas Day after he came out to his parents, followed by an improbable series of yearly yuletide trips to the emergency room, haven’t made his Christmases any merrier. But getting busted for prostitution is the worst catastrophe; it means Alec’s dream of a college degree is gone, replaced by the specter of jail time.

Just when Alec thinks things can’t get worse, Hayden Adler shows up to interrogate him. Hayden is a glamorous attorney who also happens to be Alec’s college roommate’s cousin. Alec’s had a crush on Hayden for years, but whatever miniscule chance Alec might’ve had is now history—just like the life he’s been trying to build for himself.

But things aren’t quite what they seem. In a long line of miserable Christmases, Alec will never forget this one, although not for the reasons he suspects.

Review

Alec is about to finish college but is still having to pay for it by turning tricks and when he’s arrested coming out of a hotel room over Christmas he feels sure his future is all going to go down the drain.

Hayden is Alec’s roommate’s cousin and has been crushing on Alec for the last four years but Alec thinks the Harvard Law grad is way out of his league.

**

This was an odd short story that sort of zigged and zagged all over the place. It wanted to be about rent boys and class differences and secret crushes and yet was also about intrigue and the mob. I think it took on a few too many “issues” to be a cogent short story and ended up not really addressing anything very well.

It was cute with a nice HFN but it didn’t do much for me overall.

2.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
3.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book class difference Construction Worker Contemporary DA Enemies to Lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Race/Species Difference Riptide Publishing Unrequited Love

Clickbait by EJ Russell

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/clickbait

 

32319332Blurb

After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective — but fabulously shiny — outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project — as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.

Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.

Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content — not presentation — that matters.

Review

This is a story full of heart! Alex is a guy with a huge heart that just begs to be loved and wrapped up in a big fuzzy blanket!

He’s got his family – a dad with dementia, a mom on her last nerve, a sister who feels neglected – his job – he’s trying with all his might to keep things afloat and he has his crush – Gideon – his sister’s roomie who thinks he’s too good for Alex.

Gideon is a guy with a lot to learn, but he’s got the basics of what it takes to be good enough for Alex. He’s got his own father’s expectations to live up to and his own self- image to wrestle with and his own job issues.

There were parts of this story that really hurt to read. Alex’s father’s dementia is a hard disease and was sometimes hard to read about – there’s just so much sadness there, with no hope. I think the author really handled this part well and made the readers feel for the whole family.

I didn’t always like Gideon very much, but I wasn’t supposed to. He’s meant to be a foil for Alex and he definitely is. I maybe wanted to like him more than I did, but I could see his capacity for growth and what he has to balance Alex. One thing I did love about him was his snarky humor and his geek-speak.

I definitely loved seeing bits of pieces of Portland and am looking to seeing more from this author in the future.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
3.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Heat Index Holiday m/m Mid level angst Morgan Part of a Series second chance at love Short Story 1-20 pages (1-5k words) Unrequited Love

Matthew’s Present By Sarah Hadley Brook

14976042_10157666458050414_2062317784_o

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/matthews-present-by-sarah-hadley-brook-7935-b

33003473Blurb

Matthew Blick is almost thirty years old, and he hates the thought of another holiday alone. He has become a bit of a wet blanket when Christmas rolls around every year. So much so that even his five-year-old niece, Hannah, knows something needs to change. She asks the department store Santa to bring her uncle a man to love, and when Santa sees her uncle, he formulates a plan to set that possibility in motion.

Santa shows up at Matthew’s house and at first Matthew can’t place him, but then the memories of his first kiss flood his mind and he is shocked to find that Santa is the man he has carried a torch for since high school. Will this twist of fate help Matthew change his view on the holidays? Only a kiss can tell.

 

 

Review

This is a short story – takes place in one day – about a somewhat bitter, single man – Matthew – uncle to Hannah – who visits a department store Santa and is given a “present”.

The identity of the Santa is belabored for the entirety of the story and it’s the only “suspense/hurdle” in the story. Because a simple question or removal of the costume would answer the question it was a bit annoying that it persisted in being the “issue” for as long as it did.

Once the identity is discovered the story actually becomes interesting but then quickly comes to a resolution.

The writing was fine and the idea was sweet, but just as I got involved in the story it ended so I was left feeling a bit let-down. I think this would have worked better with a bit more length because the back story sounds intriguing and I’d love to see how these guys move forward with the new knowledge.

In any case, it was a nice story.

3.5 of 5 stars

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3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Fated Mates Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Humor Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mechanic/Car/Racing Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Shifter Unrequited Love

Wolfsong Audiobook by TJ Klune Narrated by Kirt Graves

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/wolfsong-by-tj-klune-7764-b

619-w64rrml-_sl300_Blurb

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road. The little boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the little boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the little boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the little boy’s secret and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

Ox lives in a small town with his mother. His father, the drunk, leaves him as a 12 year old and tells him “he’s a man now” and Ox does his best to do right by his mother.

Years later a boy named Joe shows up in town and instantly becomes Ox’s best friend.

There is a lot of drama and eventually Ox learns that the town is not what it seems.

**

I don’t want to give anything away so my summary is purposefully vague and non-committal.

I’m also going to keep my review fairly brief.

There are many 4 and 5 star reviews for this, so I’m clearly in the minority.

But… I calls em like I sees em… and I just didn’t care for this, at all.

It was full of angst, and lots and lots of words. Sometimes the words were in sentences – sometimes they were just words.

I know what effect the author was trying for but it was more confusing than anything else – to me.

I didn’t like it when Ox was with other people – I know that’s my own bias – but there it is.

I didn’t like the fact that there were repeated flash backs thrown in with the current story.

I didn’t like the angst.

I almost didn’t pick this up to review. I know that I love TJ when he’s funny and am not a fan of his more angsty stuff and this absolutely reeked of angst in the blurb alone – but I adore shifters and so I thought… let’s see what happens.

It was interesting and there was some really unique world-building going on, but I just didn’t care for the love story and that’s what I like most in the world – a good love story.

This was a story about Ox and his story more than anything and it involved the love he shared with Joe – to be sure – but they spent so much time apart that it didn’t meet my needs as far as a love story goes.

So there you have it. Not a bad story – I can’t say that at all. Just not to my taste.

I encourage you to read the other reviews and see if it matches your tastes more, it just wasn’t my thing.

Audio

I’ve had times when I read a book and thought one thing but changed my opinion after listening to it.  This is a book many, many people loved and when the audio came out, it got good reviews too. So I figured I’d give it a try.

I think I feel consistently about this book – including the audiobook. The narrator does a good job, but not a great job. There are times he’s as robotic as my computer-generated “text-to-speech” app. There are definitely folks out there who can murder a story dead and make your ears bleed or others who can make your heart sing. Kirt Graves does a fair job reading this and falls somewhere in the middle. He’s not hard to listen to and he tries to give everyone a unique voice, but he lacks the acting chops of some of his contemporaries. His female voices aren’t screechy and his accents aren’t over the top, but he doesn’t add a lot of emotion or do a lot with extra sound effects or timing.

All in all if you’ve got the time I think this is a fine way to experience this story.

If I have to give a rating to this: both audiobook and story: 3 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review