Audiobook: Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony Narrated by Peter B Brooke

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/swanns-revenge-by-shira-anthony-9268-b

Blurb

Can a swan make peace with his ugly duckling past?
Chubby geek Jimmy Zebulon’s heart broke the day his high school crush, Danny Parker, looked on as his teammates tormented Jimmy. Fifteen years later, Jimmy is long gone, and from his ashes has risen Graham Swann, a movie-star-handsome law firm owner. Graham thinks Jimmy and his past are long forgotten—until attorney Dan Parker shows up for his first day of work.
Getting injured playing college ball was the best thing that ever happened to Dan. It turned his future in a better direction and allowed him to emerge from the closet that trapped him.
Graham wants to believe his childhood dream can come true, but he can’t bring himself to tell Dan who he really is—and their pasts might ruin any chance for a happily ever after….

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

We have a big case of “if these two guys would talk to each other all their problems could be fixed”. This is one of my huge pet peeves as a writing tool and it made me kinda crazy here.

I loved the components – geeky guy goes chic, boss/employee dynamics, fighting for the underdogs in the real world, single fatherhood, sizzling chemistry… but the main drive for the story was a Big Misunderstanding and those aren’t my favorite. At all.

Shira Anthony is a great writer, so her characters are well-developed, the style is fluid and easily engaging and the sexy times are really hot. But… why wouldn’t the two just talk?!

So… if you don’t mind that hurdle, you’ll love this!

Audio

Peter B Brooke does a nice job with his narration. He attempts to give everyone a unique voice and does a fair job with the non-dialog parts.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39711956-robby-riverton?from_search=true

Blurb

Being a fugitive in the old west shouldn’t be this much fun.

The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run–all the way to Santa Fe. When he still hasn’t ditched his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters that want to kill him, and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is — and can’t resist him.

Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up. Disguised as a woman. And betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complication enough, Trace had to find the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch, and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.

Damn, what a kerfuffle. If only Trace can get rid of the fugitive while hanging on to his own stupid heart.

Review

First, let me tell you how psyched I was for this. So psyched! Because Eli is one of my favs, this looks hysterical and one of my fav f/m tropes is the “mail order bride/forced marriage” scenarios.

Second, this surpassed my expectations by also being ridiculously touching – more on this in a bit.

I was wondering how the heck Eli could pull this off. Who would be fooled for long enough for this to work out and what would the long term game be. Well – she came up with a great plot and it totally made sense and kept me rooting for Robby. (If I have any complaints is that there is maybe too much lead in to the story and not enough post time with our couple as a couple… however that is a lot on taste.)

Trace is also another perfect MC for his role and plays it well. His family and their “secret” kept me laughing out loud! I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that Robby likes to control things and has no problem brining Pa to hand – and it was one of my favorite parts of this story!

(All in all this was a wonderful “period” story from the old west that felt authentic and plausible in what should have been totally implausible. While I am eternally grateful for not living during those times, I believe she portrayed them accurately.)

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Laugh: How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24843427-how-to-howl-at-the-moon?from_search=true

Blurb

Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.

Review

This is a book I think everyone will love, or at least all of the dog lovers out there. When a dog is loved and bonded to a human, they can develop the “spark” and become a quickened. What they call the ability to become human.

Eli Easton has taken a great idea and woven a love story, some laughter, and some suspense together to create a story that keeps you turning the pages to see what happens. Characters have their dog personalities, so happy friendly dogs are happy friendly people. Working dogs are intense and somewhat controlling people, etc. And Mothers are nosey and try to be controlling.

The suspense hinges on keeping the town obscure, while pot growers are trying to set up new locations. The new guy in town has rented a cabin just outside of town and stops at the diner to eat before heading there and of course he smells like pot. It just gets more complicatedly funny from there…..

Overall a happy and sweet story that gives you a “come cuddle with me” feeling.

5 of 5 stars

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Recent Release: Bad Seed by Gareth Vaughn

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38901778-bad-seed?from_search=true

Blurb
Dane’s a Decrypter down on his luck — after accidentally dispatching the wrong creature, he’s sent to a small town where the cryptids he hunts are sparse. Crypt Coffee becomes his business front, but instead of a thrilling new mission on the side, he’s stuck sending ghosts back to where they came from. Dane can annoy customers, at least, and tries to scare off Professor Sean Sanderson when he starts poking around too much. But Sean isn’t about to stay away. Not when he hears about the murder of a former student, and definitely not if young, exciting Dane has information about it. But the more he allows himself to get dragged into this supernatural world of monsters and ghosts, the more the danger escalates. And if Sean and Dane aren’t careful, tracking down a murderer who can use magic might just get them killed

Review
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this book. I love the idea of a kind of supernatural enforcer keeping rogue elements in line. But this book just didn’t settle with me. Both Dane and Sean start with an antagonist type relationship and it pretty much stays that way. Dane is very prickly, bitchy and short tempered. I’m not sure if that’s because he doesn’t want to be in bleu falls (he was sent there as a Decrypter) or he is always that way. Sean keeps coming back. If this is a start of a series featuring them that might explain it, they’ll have time to grow. There were also a few loose ends. Sean was initially looking into a student death by what he thought was a werewolf. This is never mentioned again. The investigation diverted on to another who it turns out was poisoned. Another is the all powerful Order Dane works for. We are left wondering if they do come to wipe Sean’s mind because he’s seen to much or not. Is this the start of an investigative/ supernatural peacekeeping partnership? I don’t know but this book hasn’t gripped me enough to want to know.

2.5 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: Bone to Pick by TA Moore narrated by Michael Fell

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bone-to-pick-by-ta-moore-9486-b

Blurb:
Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days, he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother – find the missing and bring them home.

He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.
This time, the missing person is a 10-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI Agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks less and less likely that Drew will be found alive.

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/bone-to-pick-by-ta-moore/

:
TA Moore has crafted a great suspense story with enough simmering sexual tension to keep me very interested indeed. To quote Cloister Witte’s opinion of Javi Merlo he’s a prick. Nothing really endearing about Javi whereas Cloister is a driven soul. How these two can meld together was as much a suspense to me as finding missing Drew Hartley. The investigation into missing Drew is quite good, kept me guessing. The storyline in that respect is somewhat complex but I didn’t find it to hard to follow. The main focus is the investigation with the relationship as a side element. I loved the K9 part of the story, Bourneville stole the show.

 

If ever a book would benefit from a sequel it would be this one. Not from the crime drama viewpoint that is resolved but the relationship between Javi and Cloister needs to be explored further. It is the classic case of the two of them disliking each other but also being unable to keep their hands off each other. Made good reading but I would like to know how their non relationship develops, if it does. They are left in a sort of happy for now status.

 

If you like crime stories I would recommend this one.

 

Audio:

Michael Fell is the second new (to me) narrator that I’ve listened to in 2 weeks. In both cases, the narration has complemented the story.
This is a really good story, unfortunately I kept getting interrupted while trying to read it, so I had to put it aside. I was thrilled to be able to listen to the audio version, crossing my fingers that the narrator would not muck it up. I am happy to report that Michael Fell did not ‘muck it up’, in fact his narration made the suspense of finding the missing kid feel real. His narration was well paced, and the characterisations of Cloister and Javi, were distinct and very well done.

Between the story and the narration, I found myself very disappointed when the story ended – not because of the HFN – that was perfect for both men. No, I was disappointed because I wanted more – more story (that’s a hint TA Moore) and more Michael Fell!
Definitely recommend!

4.5 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Release Day Review: The Architech and the Castle of Glass By Jade Mere

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-architect-and-the-castle-of-glass-by-jade-mere-9478-b

Blurb

Chasing his dream will send him into a dark and twisted nightmare.
Tahki’s only goal is to become a world-famous architect, even if that means betraying his father’s wishes by abandoning his comfortable life for one of unpredictable danger.
After Tahki blindly accepts what he thinks will be a dream job, his skills as an architect are put to the test as he is given the bizarre—and slightly unethical—task of turning a remote castle into a new-age machine for Prince Dyraien. The castle provides a challenge unlike any he’s had before, and Tahki finds the only way he’ll be able to succeed is to swallow his pride and work alongside Rye, a guarded young man who is quick to see the flaws in both Tahki and his work.
Yet the looming deadline proves to be the least of Tahki’s troubles. When a horrifying creature begins to haunt him, Tahki turns to Rye for help. The more he learns about the history of the castle, the more terrifying the hauntings become. Even with Rye by his side, Tahki realizes achieving his dream might send him down a dark path from which he can’t return.

Review

 One of the things I love about being a reviewer is being able to explore new authors or themes or styles without fear! I was attracted to the mystery in the blurb – what’s the challenge? – what is the creature? – how horrifying is it?

From that I probably should have guessed that the romance would take a back seat and it definitely does.

This is a story about Tahki learning about his past and only as a side note does he fall in love.

I’m not a big fan of fantasy (in this sense) and I wasn’t that compelled by the story – but that is 100% personal taste.

If you like fantasy, don’t want a lot of sex, aren’t too worried about the romance, like a bit of a mystery and totally unique world building – this is for you!

No rating as it just isn’t my flavor 😉

 

 

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Coming Soon! Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall

Riptide Presents on April 9th 2018

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/magic-runs-deep

Blurb

For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.

Elrid, the invading king’s brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.

However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given—and the man he loves.

Review

This is more of a fantasy with a bit of romance. There is no steam, and the physical nature of their relationship is hinted at only.

The writing was wonderful and the world-building well-done, however, this isn’t my thing. While I could appreciate the skill in the author’s ability, I probably wouldn’t have chosen this if I’d known that the romance was a secondary issue rather than the main pursuit.

I think fans of high fantasy and people looking for LGTBQ MCs without romance as the central theme will really enjoy this. If you’re like me and you crave the romance, you might be disappointed.

No rating.

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Friends to Lovers: Blood Moon Book 1 Audiobook by MJ O’Shea Narrated by Michael Stellman

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Blood-Moon-Audiobook/B00KLGCPYW?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=2T00KJCB0EEKC1CAWWSG&

 

Blurb

Zack met his best friend, Noah, at Harper Lake when they were five years old. Summer after summer, his feelings grew, but he assumed Noah didn’t feel the same. But one night when they were 17, Zack kissed Noah…and Noah kissed him back. Zack was sure he did. But the next morning, Noah put an end to their friendship and walked away, leaving Zack with a broken heart.
A year has passed, and Zack goes back to the lake – where every leaf, rock, and turn in the road remind him of the biggest mistake he ever made. He hates thinking about what he lost, and more than anything he wants his best friend back. He figures it’ll be the longest summer ever. But then Noah shows up out of the blue, apologetic and more gorgeous than ever. Noah is sweet and attentive, and Zack can almost believe nothing had ever gone wrong. But there’s something different about his old friend, something not quite right. Zack doesn’t want to ruin the fragile new bond between them, but he has to know…what secret is Noah hiding?

Review

This is a great YA/NA friends to lovers story with a paranormal twist.

 

There is some good action and this books sets up the series nicely.

 

While it’s a bit predictable, it hits all the things I love in a paranormal romance and leaves us wanting more. There is a surprising amount of heat and not as much angst as I worry about seeing in YA/NA stories. The action/adventure is good, too.

 

Michael Stellman does a nice job with the narration.

 

 

Overall 3.5 of 5 stars

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Release Day Review: Rome and Jules by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rome-and-jules-by-tara-lain-9339-b

Blurb

Two werewolf households, both alike in dignity….
Rome Siracusa, youngest son of the alpha of the nouveau-riche Siracusa pack, wants to be a faithful son and pack member, but he’s got two big secrets. One, he’s blessed with enhanced hearing, vision, strength, and the ability to shift at will. Second, he’s gay, a fact he can’t admit to his deadly homophobic father.
Rome crashes a party at the mansion of his pack’s greatest enemy, the ancient, pure-blooded Havillands. Jules, the gay son of the drunkard alpha, is being married off to a rich entrepreneur. Smitten and moved by the beautiful male’s plight, Rome tries to find a way to save Jules—while digging himself deeper into pack politics and navigating his own arranged marriage. Secrets climb out of the caves as the werewolf gods speak through the mouths of their children, and the two great families clash, suffocating the hopes of star-crossed lovers.

Review

It took a little bit of reading to get into this book for me. But once I got into the second chapter I felt I was getting a better understanding of the flow of the story. We are presented more with shifter society and hierarchy, than shifters, shifting. Although we see more of that as things heat up between Rome and Jules.

The story seems more like 2 gangs trying to control the majority instead of 2 packs. Needless to say one alpha and most of his pack is homophobic, the other pack is strong but broke and is being lead by an alcoholic. Both are looking for a way to take control over all and using their sons as pawns.

I had a hard time believing that just a kiss would alter perceptions of the 2 MC’s. The Story eludes to fated mates, yet never comes out and says it. Also the ending of the major conflict was confusing to me.

I got caught up in the story as the story progresses but in the end it just didn’t work for me

2.5 stars of 5

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Enemies to Lovers: The Vampire’s Werewolf Bodyguard by Liv Rider

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33156639-the-vampire-s-werewolf-bodyguard?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Free on KU!

Blurb

What happens when an out-of-control werewolf is hired to guard his immortal enemy?

Simon Caley barely survived an assassin’s strike. The reclusive vampire trusts no one, but he’s still in danger, and the attack left him too weak to defend himself. He needs protection while he hunts for the mastermind behind the attack.

Cody Weston’s werewolf instincts make him a good bodyguard—but only if he can control his wolf. After an accidental shift on the job, he’s on probation, until his boss calls about a very unusual client.

Instincts and tempers flare when they meet, along with something unexpected: desire. Simon’s not just Cody’s fated enemy, he’s his fated mate too. Can the vampire and his werewolf bodyguard work past their differences and save each other, or will Cody lose control—and hurt the man he’s sworn to protect?

The Vampire’s Werewolf Bodyguard is a standalone M/M paranormal vampire/wolf shifter romance with no cliffhangers.(less)

Review

I thought this was really good! We get animosity, super-charged sexual chemistry, a mysterious and powerful “ex”, great villains, and some interesting world building.

These vampires are “old school” and are both powerful but have some exploitable weaknesses. The juxtaposition with modern “bodyguards” and security was well done. Mix in the age old enemy of werewolf vs vampire and mix in some fated mate and – viola! Great story.

I’d have given it perfect marks but I wanted to see more of the “mate/mine” dynamic.

Highly recommended to fans of shifter/vampire romance. I’ll be looking for more from this author.

4.25 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review