Release Day review: Bigger Love (Big Love #2) by Rick R. Reed

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bigger-love-by-rick-r-reed-9967-b

Blurb

Truman Reid is Summitville High’s most out-and-proud senior. He can’t wait to take his fierce, uncompromising self away from his small Ohio River hometown, where he’s suffered more than his share of bullying. He’s looking forward to bright lights and a big city. Maybe he’ll be the first gender-fluid star to ever win an Academy Award. But all that changes on the first day of school when he locks eyes with the most gorgeous hunk he’s ever seen. Mike Stewart, big, dark-haired, and with the most amazing blue eyes, is new to town. He’s quiet, manly, and has the sexy air of a lost soul. It’s almost love at first sight for Truman. He thinks that love could deepen when Mike becomes part of the stage crew for Harvey, the senior class play Truman’s directing. But is Mike even gay? And how will it work when Truman’s mother is falling for Mike’s dad? Plus Truman, never the norm, makes a daring and controversial choice for the production that has the whole town up in arms. See how it all plays out on a stage of love, laughter, tears, and sticking up for one’s essential self.

Review

So I really liked Big Love and fell in love with Truman in that story. I was psyched to see his story fleshed out! But….

First, most of the story – like 67% or more is really about Truman and other people including a pregnancy scare that takes up way too many pages for not a lot of return (that we see in this book).

Second, though I love Truman, I wanted to see his romance not read about him and though I loved seeing him triumph I wanted more with Mike… except Mike was 100% an asshole and I didn’t like him – ever.

Third, so since I didn’t get to really meet him and what I saw was crappy – I didn’t get invested in these guys as a couple AT ALL and I really felt like I didn’t want them together so when the ILYs jump out I didn’t buy them.

Fourth, there is a VERY creepy scene involving Mike and a citizen that is super gross – and when we find out who he is I was like???? How is that guy thinking he’s being a secretive closeted gay boy when he goes around in a vintage mustang that everyone identifies as his??? It didn’t make any sense and was very uncomfortable.

So… while I applaud Truman and still love him – this story was not up to his personal wonderfulness and I can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Coming Back (Belladonna Arms Book 3) by John Inman Narrated by:

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6751

Blurb

A Belladonna Arms Novel

Barney Teegarden knows what it’s like to be alone. He knows what it’s like to have a romantic heart, yet no love in his life to unleash the romance on. With the help of a friend, he acquires a lease in a seedy apartment building perched high on a hill in downtown San Diego. The Belladonna Arms is not only filled with the quirkiest cast of characters imaginable, it is also famous for sprinkling love dust on even the loneliest of the lovelorn.

At the Arms, Barney finds friendship, acceptance, and an adopted family that lightens his lonely life. Hell, he even finds a cat. But still true love eludes him.

When his drag queen landlord, Arthur, takes it into his head to rescue a homeless former tenant, he enlists Barney’s help. It is Barney who shows this lost soul how to trust again—and in return Barney discovers love for the first time in his life.

It’s funny how even the hardest battles can be fought and won with laughter, hugs, friends, plus a little faith in the goodness of others. All it takes to begin the healing is the simple act of coming back.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

God I love this series!

We met Ramon in earlier books. He was the lover of the misbegotten ChiChi and since ChiChi’s death, he’s been living on the streets. When Barney, Pete’s friend, moves into the Arms, Arthur knows just who to recruit to bring Ramon back to the family, back to Belladonna Arms.

Barney falls in love easily, but know one loves him back the way he needs. Ramon thinks he can never love again, not after what happened with ChiChi. Will the Love Pollen work it’s magic or will Ramon and Barney be the first to fail?

**

This series is so damn cute! It’s fun, sweet, a little bit sexy and wonderful!

It’s great seeing the entire gang and though this might be okay as a standalone, I don’t recommend it, because you really benefit by reading the others in order.

John Inman is a master of making wonderful characters who are absolutely imperfect but so easy to love. He doesn’t shy away from giving them “difficulties” or making them less than perfect physically or even mentally.

Barney is so shy and sweet and it was wonderful to watch him come in to his own while being “strong” for Ramon.

Ramon started out so broken, but with the daily doses of love coming from Arthur, Barney and the rest of the crew, he finally began to heal.

I love Sylvia and Pete so much! I was so happy for them!

I can’t say enough about this series and I highly recommend it!

6 of 5 stars

Previous Reviews :

Book 1 http://kimichanexperience.com/serenading-stanley-audiobook-john-inman-narrated-tyler-stevens/

Book 2 http://kimichanexperience.com/work-in-progress-audiobook-belladonna-arms-2-by-john-inman-narrated-by-caleb-dickinson/

Audio

How delightful! We’ve got a new (to me) narrator here who seems wonderful! I really enjoyed his take on the Beladonna Arms. He handled all the drama, sexiness and humor equally well. He manages to give everyone unique voices and not go OTT.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recently Released: Push (Music in Motion #1) by B.L. Morticia

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/push-by-blmorticia-9916-b

Blurb

Music In Motion: Book One

Malakei Oakley, aka rapper M. Prophet, is at the top of his game—but deep in the closet. Handsome, wealthy, and successful as the head of 315East Entertainment, Malakei should be on cloud nine. Despite his awards and a Midas touch that has every musician clamoring to work with him, something is missing.

Seth “Reaper” Davies is ready for stardom. His band High Stakes plays to small, packed houses all over Birmingham and London but has yet to get their big break. But Seth isn’t giving up on his dream—no matter what it takes.

A viral video prompts a message from a person he doesn’t expect—the talented M. Prophet. Their musical styles are worlds apart, and Seth has no desire to change his style to sell records. But his curiosity—and his attraction to Malakei—wins out.

Malakei can’t get Seth out of his mind. He also can’t come out without ruining his reputation. No matter how much he wants the sexy singer, his only option is to push Seth away. But he’s about to find out Seth isn’t one to give up on what he wants—and he might be just what Malakei needs.

Review

Ok – there’s a lot about this I want to say – and I want to be as fair as possible.

1) I thought there were parts that were very compelling – the bias against LGBTQ in hip hop, the reluctance to lose face, the authenticity of the lives led by both MCs and their people
2) I didn’t buy the language used by either MC – it felt too over the top and didn’t feel at all what actual people would say – either to themselves or their families/friends
3) I never liked Seth. Malakei was a sweetie and Seth seemed like an asshole over and over so I never got invested in their relationship.
4) The making out with the ex thing never sat well with me and I didn’t think it needed to be on page
5) I didn’t understand why Seth would have a secret crush on someone everyone thinks is straight and whom he doesn’t really even like musically
In the end – though there was a lot about this that had potential I never bought in and as a result I can say I just didn’t like and can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Embracing Fate (A Series of Fates #2) by C.C. Dado

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/embracing-fate-by-cc-dado-9927-b

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book Two

Sometimes you just have to embrace your fate.

Seth has a secret: he has a crush on the human next door. His brilliant plan to meet Jack, the man of his dreams who happens to be an animal trainer? Take wolf form and ask his best friend, Max, to take him next door for training. Seth is the only one surprised when things go horribly awry.

Still, can this shy wolf and a human meet their fate as mates?

Review

This book felt a lot more authentic to me than book one, which is unusual – usually the sequel in any series is the lesser – but not this time!

I thought it was hysterical – really funny at times – and pretty smexy as well. There is a lot of unresolved sexual tension and then some resolved chemistry as well!

The “misunderstanding” is resolved fairly quickly and all in all I really thought this fixed a lot of the “errors” I saw in book 1.

Recommended!

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
I have to say, I enjoyed this second book in the series more than the first. Whether we’ve settled in more with the characters or just with a slightly more cutesy story line, I found it easier to connect with the MC’s and fall into their tale.
Seth’s social anxiety leads him to think it’s a good idea to have some interaction with his human mate whilst in wolf form so he can become more at ease. But of course, with a best friend like Max, from book 1, hilarity ensues.
The attraction between Seth and Jack is clear from the outset and both men are really sweet and adorable, you can’t help but want it all to work out for them.
I loved getting to hear from Max and Christian, our MC’s of book 1, as well as Zeus, the pack’s beta. Hopefully he’ll be getting his HEA soon.
Something else this book had in its favour was the settings of some of the scenes, especially down at the lake. Both on a busy, sunny day and a quiet starlit night, it sounds like a wonderful place to be.
This series has gotten better for me and I’m looking forward to book 3. This book can be read as a stand-alone but for full enjoyment I’d recommend reading the series in order. It gives more insight into past events and relationships that are talked about.

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get scared: Ascendent by Tal Bauer

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41452339-ascendent?from_search=true

Blurb

Sasha Andreyev grew up on the wrong side of nowhere, dreaming of starlight as he strangled a secret. He fled, enlisting in the Russian Army, and worked his way up the ranks. Years later, after surviving a beating and being left for dead, he found a new life in Moscow, working with President Sergey Puchkov.

And then, he fell in love.

Desperate to avoid his runaway heart, crippled with a shame that infected his soul, and ravaged by demons haunting his memories, Sasha ran.

But he could never escape Sergey, or the gravitational pull of their love.

Nightmares trail behind his every step and weary ghosts live in the hollow chambers of his soul. He’s spent a lifetime brutally eviscerating the parts of himself he despises, and he’s an empty, shattered shell, struggling to be the man worthy of Sergey’s love.

The pieces of his soul he cut out are the very ones he needs in order to become the man he yearns to be. He’ll need to face himself, and his past, on a journey into the frozen heart of Russia, and into the midnight depths of the dead lands.

Only then can he ascend from the darkness, and be the man Sergey needs at his side.

Review

I will admit that Tal Bauer is my favourite author out there writing at this time. His books have the research and attention to detail that, in my opinion, put them above most other offerings. It is standard practice for me to have my Kindle in one hand and Google fired up and ready in the other, so I can look for myself at the places he describes.

With Ascendent, it was no different. Following straight on from where we left them at the end of Enemies Within, this story follows Sasha and Sergey and how they start to build a life together in Russia.

We spend most of our time in this book with Sasha as he battles his ingrown demons and self-loathing at being gay and how this feeling is slowly killing him. But we also get spend time with Sergey as he fights for his country as well as his love. With a horror twist that had me peering at the words from between my fingers, this is once again a superb offering by Tal Bauer.

These were the characters I took the least amount of interest in during the Executive Office series, so I was unsure how I would take to this book, but I needn’t have worried. Tal, once again with his clever, descriptive use of language drew me into the story and back into the Executive world. Possibly even out doing even himself with his beautiful phrasing and painful emotion.

I would not recommend this as a stand-alone book, as it references events in the Executive Office series more than once, but it is a wonderful look into the world of Sasha and Sergey and a fabulous gateway to what I am sure are more nail biting adventures to come.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Hiding the Moon (Fish Out of Water #4) by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hiding-the-moon-by-amy-lane-9921-b

Blurb

A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover

Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose?

The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command.

Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well.

But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?

Review by Mary
As this is a crossover story I would recommend reading (or listening to) the A Fish out of Water series and Racing for Sun before starting this book. Having said that I feel I should confess that my preference is listening to them. I was waiting for A Few Good Fish (book 3) to be released before starting it and did not realise this book overlapped it. Now that I’ve finished it I can see how they tie together. A Few Good Fish is as usual from Jackson Rivers and Ellery Cramer’s view point with Ernie, Lee, Ace, Sonny etc as secondary characters. This book is Ernie and Lee’s story (including Ace and Sonny playing a big part) and their side of the events of chasing down the mercenaries out to get them. Psychic Ernie finds his soulmate, his home and sanctuary when Lee Burton realised the kill order he received on Ernie was wrong. I liked the good v evil premise. And that the book reads like an action film, where realism is sacrificed for great action and adventure. This is a beautiful story of damaged souls finding a place and people where they can heal. Problem is they have to literally fight cruel, hateful and vindictive men to reach it.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Review: Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection) by E.J. Russell

Good Reads Link

Single White Incubus (Supernatural Selection, #1)

Blurb

Does a bear shift in the woods?

Well, partially. That was what got grizzly shifter Ted Farnsworth into trouble. He wasn’t trying to break the Secrecy Pact. He just wants people to see the real him. So he signs up with the mate-matching service Supernatural Selection — which guarantees marriage to a perfect partner. Not only will Ted never be lonely again, but once his new beaver shifter husband arrives, they’ll build Ted’s dream wilderness retreat together. Win-win.

Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, scion of an incubus dynasty, has abstained from sex since nearly killing his last lover. When his family declares it’s time for him to marry, Quentin decides the only way not to murder his partner is to pick someone who’s already dead. Supernatural Selection finds him the ideal vampire, and Quentin signs the marriage agreement sight unseen.

But a mix-up at Supernatural Selection contracts Quentin with Ted. What’s Ted supposed to do with an art historian who knows more about salad forks than screwdrivers? And how can Quentin resist Ted’s mouthwatering life force? Yet as they work together to untangle their inconvenient union, they begin to wonder if their unexpected match might be perfect after all.

Review

(Ignore the cover…)
Sooo much fun! The “misunderstanding” mostly works in this story. Our incubus Q-bert – LOL – thinks he’s going to kill any living lover so he agrees to marry a dead one – a vampire.

Our Teddy Bear thinks he needs to settle for the first guy who’ll have him because he keeps getting into trouble.

We get to see some of the MCs from earlier books, have some pretty sweet smexy times, lots and lots of giggles and some pretty sweet feelz, too.

All in all another great one from this author and this series!

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get scared: Rhapsody for Piano and Ghost Audiobook by Z.A. Maxfield Narrated by Douglas Berger

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11444405-rhapsody-for-piano-and-ghost?from_search=true

Blurb

Fitz Gaffney finally has some breathing room. His mother’s out of town, his piano teachers have backed off, and he gets to spend time at a school where he only has to be adequate for an entire year before all his responsibilities comes crashing back in again. With this freedom comes the realization that he’s lonely, but his first attempt at dating goes horribly awry.

Fitz’s new — but possibly imaginary — friends, Julian and Serge, want to help him find happiness. His used-to-be-stepbrother Ari Scheffield wants to help him gain confidence and a little much-needed cool. His housekeeper Marguerite wants to keep fowl in the back yard for butchering because duck confit is expensive and she has pillows to re-stuff. And his possible new boyfriend Garrett wants to prove he didn’t mean for their first date to end with Fitz lying unconscious in a dumpster.

All Fitz wants is someone who cares about him, and suddenly there seems to be a glut. How’s a shy guy to know what’s real when he’s confronted by crazy ghosts, a less than truthful boyfriend, and relatives with hidden motives? It’s a Rhapsody For Piano And Ghost.

Review

I had a hard getting into this book at first so I switched from reading it to listening to it and I became enthralled. I love how the chapter titles give a little foreshadowing but are also quite humorous. Fitz starts off as a gullible, naïve, absent minded piano prodigy. He’s used to being in the background but then something miraculous happens…he’s approached by a guy, and not any guy, an extremely attractive guy. Throughout the story we have to wonder at Garrett’s motives and while its never really said outright what his plans are they become pretty obvious to everyone except Fitz. After a disastrous date, Fitz finds himself being taken care of by Julian and Serge, two dapper men who rescue him from a garbage bin. Eventually Fitz realized that they are ghosts. We also get introduced to Ari, who comes to Fitz’s rescue. Ari, who is Fitz’s older ex-stepbrother, is a handsome, sophisticated ex-boyband member. I really enjoyed Fitz’s journey from blinding lust with Garrett, to discovering what true love is with Ari. The ghost’s Serge and Julian are a great comic relief but their backstory is absolutely heartbreaking. There are a few sexy scenes and the last few chapters have a good bit of action. This is a very well romance with a paranormal aspect.

The narrator, Douglas Berger is a complete unknown to me, but overall he did a good job with this book. He had distinctive accents for the ghost’s, but at times Fitz, Garret and Ari all sound the same and towards the end when Ari is saying sexy dialog he slips into some blend of Julian and Serge. It was confusing because I thought it was the ghosts talking. I had to go back to the book and read the section to clear it up. He has a good voice and kept the flow of the story moving so I will most likely get another book narrated by him in the future.

Book 5 stars
Audio 3.5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Release Day: Lincoln’s Park by Parker Williams

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lincolns-park-by-parker-williams-9912-b

Blurb
A Links In the Chain Story
Lincoln Merriweather was born an entitled brat with a silver spoon lodged so deep, it might never have come out. At the BDSM club or in business, Lincoln was a storm, blowing in and disrupting the lives of everyone he touched, until the day he met a man who peeled away the tarnished layers to expose a decent person.
Lincoln found—then lost—love.
Since then, he’s tried to atone for his past, including walking away from his family’s wealth. He opened a diner, hiring people to work for him that he would have spit on before his epiphany. He’s found peace, which he’s about to lose to a hazel-eyed man.
Noel Simmons wound up on the street when his parents discovered he was gay. His path leads him to Lincoln’s diner, where he asks for a job. He’s thrilled when Lincoln agrees to hire him, but finds his new boss perplexing. Can anyone be this kind and decent?
What starts out as business becomes something more. Noel discovers he needs Lincoln in order to feel safe. Lincoln needs Noel to complete him. But when Lincoln’s past gets in the way of his present, will the two have a future?

Review by Aerielle

First off I have to say that there are some slight BDSM elements in this story. It’s very mild though. I really enjoyed all the character’s in this story. Lincoln is a man on a mission of redemption and Noel is a young man in search of acceptance. Lincoln walks away from his former life and tries to help as many people as he can. Noel gets kicked out after coming out to his parents and ends up in a shelter. He goes to Lincolns diner and asks for a job. Lincoln is immediately attracted to Noel and doesn’t hesitate to help him. Noel, who is not used to kindness is suspicious at first, but with the help of the other workers he sees that Lincoln is genuine. Even though both men are attracted to each other neither one acts on their feelings. Noel ends up getting really sick which causes Lincoln to finally act on his feelings. Noel does come off as a soft and meek character but towards the end he shows how far he will go to protect Lincoln. I really enjoy redemption and finding family stories and this one does not disappoint.
4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Mary

For me this is a book about love and redemption, about finding and making a family, starting new and having faith in the goodness of humanity. That sounds a lot to live up to now I’ve written it down. Lincoln changes his life. He didn’t like who he had become. This realisation came after he lost someone he loved dearly. However, the story starts after he has made this change and when we meet Noel. It’s like Noel awakens Lincoln and allows him to see the beauty in life again. The slow burn of their building love is encouraged along by a friend of theirs playing Cupid. Now this is where the BDSM element comes in. I have long ago accepted that BDSM is as varied and vast as can possibly be and that the only right way is what works for the couples in the story (as with life). As long as it’s safe and consenting. In the past Lincoln played in clubs and only realised later how empty it was for him. Now he craves the connection with someone else. He teaches Noel about his preferences and leaves him to make the decision. They compliment and complete each other. At the end after interference from Lincoln’s family his faith and love in Noel is proven to be strong. Made me smile. I loved the little side romance that blossoms during the story between Katy and Meg, it was a lovely touch reinforcing the second chance of love.
Definitely looking forward to the next story in the series, just wondering who it’ll be.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

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