Time to get scared: Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk (Spirits book 1)

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23569031-restless-spirits?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
Henry Strauss knows all about being the victim of a charismatic fraud, having lost his family fortune to a man claiming to be in touch with his deceased father.
He is determined control the spirit world through the application of science with his Electro-Séance. He just needs a haunting to prove it actually works. When a wealthy man offers a contest between Henry’s new scientific methods and the old, unreliable spiritualism, it seems like his wish has come true, not to mention the money prize offered.

Henry and his niece Joe travel to Reyhome Castle, were gruesome murders took place and a vicious ghost hunts the premises. He is confident he can outmatch every quack medium he meets, including the alluring Vincent Night, the opponent in this match of exorcism prowess. Vincent is smooth, handsome and exotic, and very appealing indeed. But, Henry swore never to let his heart near a medium again, and there is his and Joe’s future to consider. He can’t lose, no matter how much Vincent’s empathy and friendliness seem genuine.

However, Reyhome Castle, which looked like an easy case of hunting, turns out to be anything but, with secrets upon secrets and a deadly force out to claim their very souls. Henry must trust the one thing he swore he never will, and work together with Vincent if they ever wish to leave Reyhome Castle alive.

Review
If you enjoyed her Hexworld books or Widdershins, you will LOVE this one!!!

This book was my first M/M, almost two years ago, and it also introduced me to Jordan L. Hawk who has become one of my favorite authors. Jordan has a fantastic writing style and is one of the best world builders I have read to date. All three of her 19th century book series are fantastically written and have an ingenious way of being both realistic and raw while still having supernatural and magical elements. I love the level of research and feel of scientific accuracy this book has, the exorcism feels logical and feasible, and to be able to write it in such a way is a true gift indeed. The other thing I love about Jordan’s writing are her inclusive, diverse characters. There are characters from every color, ethnicity, gender and gender identity in her stories and she fits each character and story to the time period with such accuracy it’s astounding. She writes real people with genuine struggles in and other-worldly setting, not an easy feat, yet she makes it seem so.
This book is a mystery both scary and intriguing, the plot twisting and unexpected.
I love the struggle between Vincent and Henry, both striving for the same goal but from opposing sides. The “hate-turned-to-lust-turned-to-friendship” between them is wonderful, with just the right amount of snark and fluster. They each bring something to the table and if they can only work together they might survive this hunted mansion. Lizzy and Joe, the wonderful and funny partners and co-workers are each a formidable female character and show a strength and wisdom much greater than their sometimes dens male counterparts. This is the start of a wonderful series that puts a twist on Ghost Busters and combines science and spirit to save the day.

Number of stars out of 5
5



Copy Purchased for Review

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Like a Gentleman: a Regency romance (Love in Portsmouth Book 1) by Eliot Grayson

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/Like-Gentleman-Regency-romance-Portsmouth-ebook/dp/B0776F4GX7/ref=pd_sim_351_66?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=FCFHKWN1ZTXSZPG3ERKW

 

Free on KU!

Blurb: James Rowley, penniless younger brother of an earl, discovers his rejected sensational story has been stolen and printed under another name — and he’s certain his editor is the guilty party. Determined to get his due, he sets out for London to take revenge on the perfidious L. Wells. He means to have satisfaction, even if he needs to pose as a simpering fop in a pink waistcoat to get it.
Two years before, intrigued by his favorite writer’s talent and wit, Leo Wells had visited the Rowley estate incognito, seen James’s portrait — and promptly lost what was left of his heart. Ever since, Leo has fought his obsession with his favorite writer. Unaware of the manuscript’s theft, he’s bewildered and heartbroken when James, acting the part of a sneering dandy, visits him in person only to use his obvious attraction against him.

From Gloucestershire to London to Portsmouth, can two men with society and secrets dividing them find happiness?

Review: This is a well written novella, but don’t let the brevity fool you, it reads like a novel. As a fan of historical novels, I found the description of the period (Regency) pretty accurate, down to the terms used, societal norms and class distinctions.
James is a poor younger brother to an Earl, who supplements his income by writing. His latest works have been plagiarised and he sets out to confront the editor, Leo. Sparks ensue – both smexy and unpleasant. James soon finds out that he’s wronged an innocent man and sets off to find Leo to apologise.
An interesting story, one I really liked. My only gripe is that the author used American spelling –this is a personal thing and in no way detracts from the story.

3.5 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook Month: The Innocent Auction by Victoria Sue Narrated by Joel Leslie

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/The-Innocent-Auction-Audiobook/B0721V3PKS?qid=1498405726&sr=1-1k

Blurb:

London 1810.

Their love was a death sentence.

Deacon, Viscount Carlisle, was aware of the slums and gin-lanes of London. Just as he was aware of the underground traffic that furnished the brothels and bath houses with human innocents. He was also aware that the so-called justice system would hang the accused without much of an attempt at a defense, unless the unfortunate had deep pockets to pay for it.

He just hadn’t expected to be directly involved in any of it.

It started with a plea for help and ended with forbidden love, the love between a Viscount and a stable-boy. An impossible love and a guarantee of the hangman’s noose.

Will Deacon fight for Tom? Will he risk the death sentence and take that fight from the stately halls of his English mansion to the horrors of Newgate Prison and the slums of London?

Or will he realize that if he doesn’t, death will be a welcome end to the loneliness of the sentence he is already living?

Review

Sweet regency story about two men from opposite sides of society.

There was a lot to like about this story, and I really liked the premise of it. Both characters were likable and sympathetic and very sweet. However, I never really felt the chemistry between them or the love. They fell on each other almost instantly and I would have enjoyed that a lot more if there had been some tension building up to it. The same with the love part of the relationship, I never really saw it coming…

However, this was still an almost 4 star read most of the way. The writing flowed easily, it was engaging and kept my interest and I wanted to know what happened next… up until 90% in, where an annoying little subplot reared it’s ugly head, which was completely unnecessary and unbelievable, so it made it drop down to about 3 stars. I also had a hard time accepting Lady Harriet’s proposal, I must say… even if it was what was needed for a happy ending for our two main characters.

Joel Leslie did a very credible job narrating this, but I would still have liked a British accent for the narration, the story takes place in regency London after all and many of the characters are aristocrats.

All in all though, it was well written and easily read and I enjoyed it enough that I would probably pick up the next book in the series.

Overall Impression: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Masterpiece-Bonnie-Dee-ebook/dp/B071VP8384/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497453555&sr=8-1&keywords=the+masterpiece+by+bonnie+dee

Blurb

Built from the bottom up: one perfect gentleman.

Man about town Arthur Lawton spends his days pursuing entertainment while shoeshine Joe Sprat labors to better his family’s lives. When an argument about nature versus nurture sparks a wager, Arthur swears to a friend he can turn this working man into a gentleman who will pass at a society function.

Joe is happy to participate in the experiment for a fee but receives more than he bargained for after moving into Lawton’s house. Arthur is determined Joe won’t merely wear a veneer of sophistication but educates him in every way. As he creates his new and improved man, Arthur grows more deeply infatuated with him, while Joe falls equally hard for his charismatic mentor.

Underneath a growing friendship, desire simmers and one day explodes. After their relationship escalates, the pair exists in a dream bubble until the threat of exposure sharply reminds them they belong in different worlds. When the ball is over, each must resume his own life, changed by their encounter but destined for different courses.

Find out if love is strong enough to bridge the gap between peer and pauper in this twist on the tale of My Fair Lady.

Review

Let me say that the play My Fair Lady is one of my all time favorite stories. So I approached this story with a few preconceived ideas on how it should unfold. Bonnie Dee took the basic idea and in my opinion improved it.

Like so many of the privileged in the regency period life existed to either indulge yourself or make the connections to improve your status. Arthur had the first. So when presented with a challenge to improve a commoner he jumps at the chance. Joe is no fool and he to accepts the challenge to have himself remade.

Where the author excelled was in having Arthur not only polish the exterior but educate the mind on current topics, art, and politics. Believing that he must be able to hold his own in both looks and manners, as well as conversing on any topic that may come up in conversation Joe and Arthur end up realizing that they are very well matched in intelligence and opinions, as well as in bed.

I like that the story continues on after the big reveal. There is definitely a HEA that we all want to see.

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

The Duke in Denial: Scandal in Sussex Audiobook by Alexandra Answorth Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Duke-in-Denial-Audiobook/B01CIJ39V2/ref=a_listener__c1_2_2_i

Blurb

Sebastian Lewis never expected to become a duke. But with the sudden deaths of his cousin and uncle, Sebastian’s position changes. He is determined to fulfill his new responsibilities with grace, even if it means remarrying, and even if the attractions of women, so often lauded by poets, fail to interest him.
Captain William Carlisle, newly returned from India, is elated when he meets Sebastian. Nobody knows of his inclinations, but his harrowing experiences in battle have prompted him to reach for the type of companionship he longs for. He thinks Sebastian might feel an attraction as well, but to his dismay, he discovers that Sebastian is courting his sister, Dorothea.
After a semi-arranged engagement and a disconcerting romantic tangle with William, Sebastian escapes London to look after his manor, only to face mysterious thefts, a headless ghost, and the arrival of his fiancée, her brother, and his family. Sebastian’s new estate sits on the south coast, England’s most vulnerable location, and Napoleon has set his sights on conquering the area. Amid this growing turmoil, Sebastian must sort out his feelings for his fiancée’s brother and keep his home safe…and determine if he has the courage to reach for his own happiness in the process.
This is a gay regency historical romance.

Review

This is a regency gay romance, the period is well drawn, with a really
likable cast of characters and a romance I was rooting for very quickly.
Within a short time the lead characters had won me over to really liking
them and I listened intently to find out what would happen next. There’s
another book in the series focusing on another couple coming out soon, and
I look forward to returning to the beautiful world in this story.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Provided by Author For Honest Review

Return of the Earl by Sandra Schwab

release day review 

Blurb:

On the Continent they call him the Ice Prince, icy of manner, icy of heart. Now, after thirteen years of exile, Con returns home to England and to Harrowcot Hall, a place haunted by memories of a long-lost friendship and past betrayals, a place where all of his dreams shattered and died.

But the past is over and done with, and can no longer touch him — or so Con thinks. He certainly does not expect to come face to face with Bryn Ellison again, the man whom he once loved beyond everything and who repudiated their bond in the cruelest way imaginable.

As snow and frost close in on Harrowcot Hall, Con’s icy demeanour starts to melt while he grapples with old hurts and newly awakened passions. Will he give in to the lure of the past against his better judgement?

Review
When your father is a manipulative, vengeful man and you are still a young man, your views of your reality can be easily mislead.

Con comes back to his estate thinking the worst. He has no desire to be there and cannot wait to leave. Weather keeps him there temporarily but life and interactions he doesn’t expect slowly change his view and understandings.

He is called the Ice Prince but you see him thaw as the story continues. You see him grow up and Bryn though he doesn’t know the whole story is steady and supportive through it all.
The age old he said, they said and gosh “how can I face him after all that happened?” is told in a way that has you hoping it all works out.
I love Regency era books. So many taboo’s and so many more chances to get caught. Servants are everywhere. So when an author finds a way to give the MC’s that ease of getting together you relax and enjoy the story.

 

3.5 of 5 stars

 
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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest review