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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Time to Laugh: The Trouble With Tony (Sex in Seattle #1) Audiobook by Eli Easton Narrated by Tommy O’Brien

Dreamspinner Presents:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6109

Blurb

As part of the investigation into the murder of a young woman, Seattle P.I. Tony DeMarco poses as a patient of Dr. Jack Halloran, the therapist who treated the victim at a Seattle sex clinic. This isn’t the first time Tony has gone undercover, but it’s the first time he’s wanted to go under covers with one of his suspects. He can’t help it –Jack Halloran is just the kind of steely eyed hero Tony likes. But he’ll have to prove Halloran’s innocence and keep the doctor from finding out about his ruse before he can play Romeo.
Dr. Halloran has his own issues, including a damaged right arm sustained in the line of duty as a combat surgeon in Iraq and the PTSD that followed. He’s confused to find himself attracted to a new patient, the big, funny Italian with the puppy-dog eyes, and Tony’s humor slips right past Jack’s defenses, making him feel things he thought long buried. But can the doctor and the P.I. find a path to romance despite the secrets between them?

Review

Jack is a Doctor and a war hero who had to re-train from surgeon to sex therapist due to debilitating injuries.

Tony is an ex-cop, PI on the case of a murder of one of Jack’s former patients. Tony “pretends” to have a sex addiction and comes to Jack for “help” so that he can assess Jack as a suspect. Jack sees through the ruse and calls Tony’s bluff. Tony admits, finally, to having “a picky dick”. Meaning, that he has trouble getting erections except with a very small pool of men who manage to stimulate his “picky dick”.

Jack agrees to take Tony on as a patient, though he is concerned because he is not sure Tony is still being honest and Jack is already too attracted to Tony for professional purposes.

Together Jack and Tony research possibilities for Tony’s “problem” and at the same time build a smoldering sexual tension.

Tony essentially rules Jack out fairly early as a suspect, but still must investigate the clinic and it’s employees as well as following other leads.

Finally, when Tony thinks he knows whodunit, he now faces the task of convincing Jack to give their relationship a try.

**

I love Eli Easton! I am a huge fan. This was one of the first books I read of hers after falling in love with Blame it on the Mistletoe. There are several things I loved about this book (especially listening to it again after having read it several times). I love the characters. They seem so real and down to earth. I love that I get to learn something about sex therapy and yet it was still a bit kinky at times too. Totally professional and not at all demeaning to the profession, but still acknowledging the sexual edge that is involved in such an intimate form of therapy.

I also loved the gradual exploration of the feelings between Tony and Jack. It felt real and natural. My only complaint was that after Jack and Tony got together we didn’t get to see much of them as a couple. There was definitely enough to believe in a HEA (and we see them in future novels as an established couple) but I wanted to see more of them here.

Audio:

I had listened to Tommy O’Brien narrate before and thought he did a fine job. I was so disappointed with this. There was little emotion and the very slight difference between Tony and Jack’s voices was not satisfactory. Tony is this great East Coast Italian guy and it would have been so fun to hear that come out in Tommy’s narration. There is some inflection and in fact Tony’s voice is the only emotion I felt in the story.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Release Day Review: Love You So Hard (Love You So Stories #1) by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-hard-by-tara-lain-9492-b

Blurb

Third Edition

Craig Elson’s life has hit rock bottom. Even though he’s one of the best strategic planners around, a more confident guy takes credit for his work, and despite being a good-looking man, he suffers insults from the slimiest creep at the bar. Taking care of his beloved mom, who has Alzheimer’s, uses all his funds, leaving him in a plain, depressing car… and a plain, depressing life.

Until he sees gorgeous grad student Jesse Randall and his T-shirt that reads “I Would Bottom You So Hard.” The message seeps into Craig’s soul, and he asks Jesse to teach him to top.

Jesse’s had his eye on the quiet hottie who comes into the coffee shop, and he’s more than eager to perfect his tutoring. He sets out to get Craig a new job, a new apartment, and a new life so far outside plain and depressing that it’s unrecognizable.The problem is, Craig loves his lessons—and his teacher—too much to want to graduate. How can Craig reach the top without losing his sassy bottom?

First Edition published by Love Has No Boundaries, June 2013.

Second Edition published by Tara Lain, October 2013.

Review
First I want to say how lovely it is that Dreamspinner and Tara Lain are working together to get her older titles re-issued. They are such nice stories and I’d hate for them to disappear!

I like the new cover but kinda loved the original…. But that might just be sentiment.

I remember loving this when I first read it and thinking it was so sweet and quirky! I still love it and think it’s sweet and quirky but on this re-read I found myself a little put off by some of the dialog and how it didn’t seem to fit the characters … it seemed a little older than the guys ages in the story.

In any case, it’s still a sweet and funny and lovely story and I can’t wait for the sequel!

(As far as I could tell there was nothing new added to this version.)

3.75 of 5 stars

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Release Day Review: Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/mage-of-inconvenience-by-parker-foye-9390-b

Blurb
Can they find the magic in a practical union?

West is on the run from his werewolf pack, but if he cannot renew his magical defenses, he won’t get far. What he needs is a mage….

Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family, and one day, his legacy will include his mother’s vast library of spell books—and the knowledge he needs to correct his past mistakes. But his inheritance comes with a stipulation: he has to be married before he can collect. What he needs is a husband….

West and Julian can help each other, and at first they don’t want anything further. But as they dodge meddling cousins, jealous rivals, and an insidious drug, it becomes clear that their lives are entwined in ways they never imagined—and they’re in greater danger than they thought possible

Review
I’m a sucker for this kind of trope where they make a bargain then fall in love. This one is a little different. They are a Mage and a Werewolf for one. There is a lot more than just a will, dare I say motherly interference after she has passed away (I don’t mean as a ghost just spells left behind). Julian puts up a front of ampretentious young man to all those who meet him. Only those close know how insecure he can be. West was on the run from his father that’s why he’s hiding. As the story progressed and I got to know both characters I found myself drawn more towards West than Julian. Julian needs not only to marry but to form a bond, which he doesn’t really believe in. West does believe in bonds but needs Julian’s skills. The majority of the story is dealing with interference and the bond growing between them. Julian’s two cousins and West’s family cause trouble for them in different ways. The problem I have is that it seemed like the bond just appeared. There is no sex in the story so either the bond grows out of affection or it’s a subtle fated mate situation. Also considering that West is hiding from his family, apart from his brother there is no mention of them at the end. Overall not one of my favourite stories but good enough.

3 of stars out of 5

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Enemies to Lovers: The Easy Way by May Archer

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36196307-the-easy-way?from_search=true

Free on KU!

Blurb

Camden Seaver had it easy – a loving family, plenty of money, and the freedom to follow his dreams while his older brother, Sebastian, took charge of the family business. But when a tragic plane crash killed his parents, all the responsibilities he never wanted landed firmly on his shoulders. Now saddled with his crazy, grief-stricken brother and his dad’s multimillion dollar company, Cam doesn’t trust in dreams anymore. He’s forgotten what “easy” feels like.

FBI Agent Kendrick “Cort” Cortland learned the hard way that he couldn’t depend on anyone but himself. Before joining the FBI, the one constant in his life was his foster brother, Damon – and then Damon disappeared. Now, Cort is determined to find his brother and to bring down the man responsible for ruining Damon’s life, Sebastian Seaver. He’s got nothing left to lose.

When Cort’s investigation leads him to Seaver Tech…and Camden Seaver…what started as a quest for revenge and a one-night deception quickly turns into far more than either man bargained for. But how can either man trust in something that seems so easy? As long-held secrets are revealed, the attraction between Cam and Cort becomes combustible – an undeniable love that will either make or destroy them. Will Cam and Cort let their conflicting loyalties drive them apart? Or will they decide that sometimes love is the easy way?

Review
An enemies to lovers story with a mystery thrown in.

When you know your brother is one of the best at his job, you just can’t believe that it was pilot error that caused the crash and death of everyone on board the plane. Cort is willing to risk his job to clear his brother’s name.

Cam is just trying to survive the day to day existence of running a multimillion dollar company. Showing up when required and covering for his brother who has checked out.

I love how well Cam and Cort interact the first night they meet. All of the woulda, shoulda, coulda going on in their heads while physically they just seem to click with each other. The back and forth keeps you turning the page. With each piece of information revealed the 2 back away from each other and then work back together. I could see where the secondary characters were coming from in the trust issues and I liked how the 2 MC’s didn’t back away from each other. The secondary hero was a surprise and I look forward to seeing his story.

A good read that will have me looking for the next book in the series

Rating
4.5 stars of 5 

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook: Cocky By: Sean Ashcroft Narrated by: Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Cocky-Audiobook/B076B74FBH/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1510273469&sr=1-1
Blurb

“I’m having a little trouble coming up with the right words here, so I’ll be blunt. I want you to pretend to date me.” 

Faking a relationship with an injured hockey player had never been on Eliot’s to-do list, but when he’s sent by his editor to interview the newly-out hockey legend Danny Harper, he gets a little more than he bargained for. 

Eliot has been stuck writing a fashion and grooming column that no one reads since he started at Cocky—a men’s lifestyle magazine—a year ago. Desperate to prove himself, he takes the assignment to interview Harper, even though he couldn’t hold a hockey stick the right way up in an emergency. 

Danny turns out to be nothing like he expected—a lonely man who’s missed out on a lot by being in the closet, rather than the overconfident jock Eliot expects him to be. As much as he resists it, Eliot finds himself drawn to the other man. 

When Danny proposes they fake a relationship to improve his image, Eliot jumps at the chance—not only does he need the money, but his curiosity about Danny demands to be satisfied. 

With Danny struggling to get through the season on a busted knee and Eliot digging up the story that could make his own career, can the two of them bring themselves to admit their real feelings and find their happy ending? 

Cocky is a standalone gay romance with a HEA and no cliffhanger. It does, however, contain peppermint lip balm, platonic(ish) bed-sharing, explicit sex scenes, hockey-related injuries, and several five a.m. starts. 

Review

This was a very low angst, fairly high steam love story that followed a predictable story arc. Once you’ve given up the disbelief and accepted that the fake relationship is necessary, our two MCs fall in love over the span of the story in a reliable manner.

There wasn’t anything inspiring, but it was a nice story with some lovely feelz.
I don’t think I would have stuck with this book had it not been for the narration of Joel Leslie. He gave Elliot a fun accent and kept me giggling and wanting to see what he’d come up with next!

3 of 5 for the story

5 of 5 for the narration

4 of 5 overall

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Hell is Where the Heart Is by Eden Winters

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36630639-hell-is-where-the-heart-is?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Demon Prince Noorvik Metlakatla Hoonah Emmonak (“call me Vik”) likes his lack of responsibilities just fine. His mother, the Big Fucking Deal of the Sixth Level of Hell, longs for the tippity tap of tiny hooves and gives him two choices: find a mate within the next twenty-four human hours or settle for the demoness of her choice. Where can he find the ideal man on short notice, who’ll meet the mother-in-law from Hell’s approval?
Especially when he can’t have the only mate he wants.

 

Review
Loved this!
A funny, cute story.
Vik is a crown prince of Hell, and as such, is expected to marry and sire hell spawn. The wrinkle in this plan is that Vik is gay and has not come out to his mum.
Vik manages to convince his mum that he has someone in mind and he sets off to bring home the perfect mate. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that the person he chooses, Dillon, is perfect for him.
The story is funny, heartwarming with a bit of a twist towards the end.
Highly recommend for a quick, fun angst-free read.

4 stars out of 5

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Copy provided by author for honest review

 

Holidays: Snow Balls By Tara Lain

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/snow-balls-by-tara-lain-9124-b

Blurb
A Balls to the Wall Romance
JJ LaRousse looks like a quarterback but acts like a queen. He’s trying to be proud of who he is—until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan.
Ryan Star may be tough, but he keeps his sexuality to himself at work. He learned in New York that being a gay cop can be deadly. His attraction to JJ threatens his secret, but he’s finding it hard to back away from a guy who’s so totally his type. Then, during a ski trip and a confrontation with JJ’s biggest nemesis, all the façades come crashing down. In the aftermath, can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More importantly, can JJ?

Review

I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this! This is a really nice look at how we perceive ourselves and societal expectations without being heavy or preachy.

Poor JJ suffers the fate of his insides not matching his outsides and when he tries to “fake it” he learns – again – you have to be true to yourself.

In typical Tara Lain style this was sexy and fun and a really nice holiday read to boot!

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Christmas Bonus by EM Lynley

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Bonus-EM-Lynley-ebook/dp/B00R5TKM2U/ref=la_B002BO7UT2_1_19?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509316332&sr=1-19&refinements=p_82%3AB002BO7UT2

Blurb

 What happens when business turns to pleasure?

Alec Compton’s dream job at a Wall Street investment firm is on the line if he can’t close a make-or-break takeover deal by the end of the year.
The buyer is none other than world-renowned billionaire and corporate raider Brant Linton, recently named one of the hottest and most eligible gay businessmen. Electricity crackles at their first meeting, and Alec’s thoughts drift far from business, despite his distaste for Brant’s business practices.

When Brant takes off early to spend Christmas with his sister’s family on the exclusive French Polynesian island of Taha’a, Alec has no choice but to follow if he wants to get Brant to sign on the dotted line. But Brant’s sister has forbidden him from conducting business during the holidays and Alec must masquerade as Brant’s boyfriend lest she find out what they’re really up to.
Then business turns into pleasure, but neither Brant nor Alec know whether the other is there for the deal, or for something more personal.

Review

 A cute Christmas story, even though a good deal of it was spent on a tropical island ☺ (yes, I am jealous).
Poor Alec, he has to broker a deal to get ahead in his career. He meets with Brant, a businessman, but before Alec can start the ball rolling, Brant leaves for his holiday on a Polynesian island. Alec follows and when he gets there, ends up having to pretend to be Brant’s boyfriend. The attraction that both men feel for each blossoms into something more.
The story is well written, the characters are fun, especially the kids. Both men discover each other and more about themselves, enough for them to rethink their priorities.

3.75 stars out of 5

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

PS by Caraway Carter

Beaten Track Presents
https://www.amazon.com/PS-Caraway-Carter-ebook/dp/B0754CPGZQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1509474658&sr=1-1&keywords=ps+caraway+carter

Blurb
Looking back, it was kind of crazy to put a down payment on a fallen-down train depot I’d never actually seen, in a state I’d never actually been to, and use it to build a life with a guy I’d never actually met, but love makes people do crazy things. If you’ve ever been in love, you know what I mean.

But before the plane had landed, I found out that Sam – the guy I’d met online and had been talking to for four years – wasn’t really Sam. He wasn’t even a guy.

I already own the little train depot, and I can’t go back to my old life. And Fairville is such a lovely welcoming town. Did I mention James? He’s made sure that I’ve had a really warm welcome.

All I want is to build a great little bookstore, and have a relationship based on humor, honesty, and hardbacks. I see some tough choices ahead of me.

Or maybe I don’t have to choose..

Review
I haven’t read anything by Caraway Carter before and my first impression of this book is that it is a very positive story. In the beginning we find out that Gus was a victim of catfishing and I wondered where the story was heading. It’s certainly not a theme I have read before. Caraway Carter handles this emotive situation quite well by not letting Gus dwell on what might’ve been. The line that struck me the most was from chapter one “she didn’t believe a guy could be so lonely as to sell everything he owned”. With these few words the Author helped me understand Gus and the whole premise for this story. Gus is a sweetheart. He chooses to see the silver lining rather than bemoaning about the situation he finds himself in. To be honest I was a bit torn over this story. I liked it a lot but in a fairytale kinda way where everything works out fine and the people are friendly and lovely. Part of me wanted some drama and angst over the catfishing angle, but that would be an entirely different book. This book is about the bright side of life and finding love at the same time. An absolute feel good book. I will be looking out for other work by this author.

What helped me quite a lot with visualising the building was Caraway Carter posting a link to the inspiration for the Train depot on his Goodreads page and Facebook page. If you do read this story I recommend checking it out
https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/15904050-inspiration-for-ps-the-train-depo

4 of stars out of 5

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