Coming soon! BFF by K.C. Wells

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bff-by-kc-wells-9646-b

Blurb

I’m about to do something huge, and it could change… everything.

I met Matt in second grade, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same schools, studied at the same college. When we both got jobs in the same town, we shared an apartment. And when my life took an unexpected turn, Matt was there for me. Every milestone in my life, he was there to share it. And what’s really amazing? After all these years, we’re still the best of friends.

Which brings me to this fragile, heart-stopping moment: I want to tell him I love him, really love him, but I’m scared to death of what he’ll say. If I’ve got this all wrong, I’ll lose him—forever.

Review

Though this had a lot of potential the format didn’t grab me and as a result I found myself skimming.

The narrative didn’t feel authentic and I lost the pacing in the series of flashbacks.

When I wanted the mushy and the romantic and the smexy it was more off page than I’d have liked and didn’t feel as engaging.

It was a sweet idea but it didn’t translate well.

3 of 5 stars

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Time to go Dark: Free Falling (Extreme Escapes, Ltd) By: SE Jakes Narrated by: Dorian Bane

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Free-Falling-Audiobook/B07BB5H9MK?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=QDFAQKBHRAS0BXVV8Y7X&

Blurb

Sometimes falling in love is the most dangerous thing of all.
Blue is a thief who lives for adrenaline and danger. And when he meets Mick, a mercenary, he’s hit with a buzz of attraction like the rush of a high-rise job without a safety rope. But after making plans to get together, Mick leaves him hanging, and Blue vows never again.
A year later, Mick watches helplessly as Blue stumbles into the middle of one of Mick’s jobs. Risking his cover and their lives, Mick saves Blue and cares for him as he recuperates, but neither man has any idea how to handle the intimacy this forces them into.
Once Blue is safe, Mick redoubles his efforts to take down the drug lord responsible – and disappears. Blue goes after him, determined to return the favor and rescue the man he loves, no matter the cost.

 

Review

IMHO this is not a standalone novel.  If I hadn’t been reading along in the Hell or High Water Series I think I would have been very confused.  As it stands, this is a very cute, super funny and sexy side story about some characters that Tom and Proph run with.

I wish I knew if this was a series that is over, because I have a hard time recommending it to people as it is.  The author literally left us all hanging and – I don’t know why – so I don’t want to be mad at her – but… I kinda am mad at her.

She’s an amazing writer with fantastic characters and plot devices but she’s lousy at keeping her readership happy.

 

Dorian Bane did a nice job with the narration – these guys are gritty and his voice fits that blue collar feel.  

 

Hard to give this a recommendation – but… it is really good so…

 

4 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: Kairos by Mary Calmes Narrated by Michael Fell

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/kairos-by-mary-calmes-9162-b

Blurb

Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming.

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.

Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for….

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

This is the Mary Calmes I’ve loved in the past. She’s given us another couple very much like Miro and Ian from the Marshals series and thrown in several “easter eggs” from her previous series like Aaron Sutter.

If you’re a fan of Miro and Ian you’ll love this one too. We’ve got two friends who live and work together but who haven’t yet realized that they’re in love. Mix in some really bad guys, some funny and quirky secondary characters and a family of odd-balls out in Napa and you’ve got yourself another low-angst, funny, sweet romance.

I loved seeing some familiar faces and thought reading this was like cuddling up in the perfect warm and cozy blanket. There wasn’t a lot new or exciting but it was familiar and wonderful just the same.

Audio

Michael Fell is relatively new to me but the previous stories I’ve heard by him as well as this one are all well done.

He’s got an easy voice to listen to and he does a nice job with the emotions and timing. He handles the non-dialog well and gives each character a unique voice.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Time to go Dark: Acrobat Audiobook by Mary Calmes Narrated by Sean Crisden

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/acrobat-by-mary-calmes-1725-b

 

Blurb:

Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.

Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been looking for. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.

Review:

Acrobat is not technically (according to Goodreads) part of the Matter of Time series, but it has characters that will show up in the series, so I included it there. Nathan Qells dates Duncan Stiel in Acrobat who later marries Aaron Sutter in Parting Shot and Aaron Sutter dated Jory in Matter of Time. We also meet Dr. Sean Cooper in Acrobat, who along with Duncan Stiel show up in All Kinds of Tied Down. (Later – we see Dreo playing a MAJOR role in the issues that our guys deal with in the Marshall’s series as well as the Vault series – so it’s definitely important…Six Degrees of Mary ; ) .)

I absolutely loved this book. We get some amazing characters and a sticky-sweet romance with big heart, a fantastic family story to go along with it and some exciting action and adventure.
First there is Nathan Qells. He is the Mary character that can do no wrong. He got his high school BFF pregnant, married her, had an amazing son, and now divorced, they are still BFFs. He teaches at a university where all the hot young things want him, but he doesn’t even know it! Though he is always involved in a relationship he is never really involved in the relationship. Until Andreo.

Andreo Fiore. Mmmm. Delicious. He is a sweet, sexy mobster – going straight (legit is maybe a better word ) so that he can have a full life and family. He’s our “maybe not quite a good guy” who is turning into the good guy.  Dreo is the guardian for his dead sister’s son, Michael, and it is through Michael that Nathan and Dreo connect.

Between the family and the love there is the mob. Mobsters don’t like gay men apparently and it causes some pretty big problems. Like a stab to the gut problems. But, in the end, true love wins and happy is ever after.

Audio:

Just two words on the audio version of Acrobat – BUY IT! It’s great. Sean Crisden does an amazing job with the narration, giving Dreo such a sultry voice and making Nate all the more “cute and clueless but wonderful”.

Overall: both the book and the audiobook were Amazing! 5 stars

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Audiobook: Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness #4) by Skylar M. Cates Narrated by Michael Stellman

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/secrets-of-you-by-skylar-m-cates-8221-b

Blurb

It’s never easy to find redemption.

Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love. It’s not something he will consider… until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.

Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?

While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.

Review
(Reviewed here previously)

What a great name for a character! (ha ha) Morgan is such a sweetheart! Despite all that’s happened to him, he remains open and refreshingly honest and optimistic.

River was a bit more of a sad-sack. His life has definitely been hard and he doesn’t really deal well with any sort of adversity. Morgan definitely has his work cut out for him with River.

Of course I wanted River and Morgan to work out – River needed someone like Morgan so badly! – but, I was a bit bemused by the change of heart in River. He’s so determined to be alone then – suddenly – he’s willing to give things a try. I guess everyone has a tipping point – and faced with Morgan’s constant optimism even the most dour of people have to reconsider – right?

I was glad that River’s secrets got revealed, but I wish we’d gotten a bit more closure for River and a bit more of a solid take on where the future was headed for him and Morgan.

The smexy times were definitely hot and the feels were very sweet. It was great seeing all the other characters and while I think having read all the books in the series will help you to understand River a bit better, I think this would be fine as a stand-alone as well.

There looks like there might be more in store for this series – I’m hoping Logan’s up next – and that will make all the fans of the author and the series really happy!

While I definitely enjoyed this, it wasn’t my favorite in the series, but that’s a tough comparison – the series is just so good!

4 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Michael Stellman narrates this story -all the narrators for the series are different. I think it’s best when one narrator does the entire series – especially if there are characters that overlap between books. Stellman does not do anything to change the different character’s voices, so in that case it doesn’t matter. He’s easy to listen to and he’s really good at handling the emotions, timing and overall tone – but I do wish there were more character differentiation.

4 of 5 stars

4-stars-small

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher For Honest Review

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: Set Ablaze By KC Burn

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/set-ablaze-by-kc-burn-9520-b

Blurb

California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”
Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.
The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.
Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.
Review

I’ve read several KC Burns stories that I’ve really loved.
Ie
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22294511-rainbow-blues
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12919441-cop-out

This wasn’t one of them.

To me it felt disconnected and uncertain and I didn’t feel the chemistry between the MCs like I’d wanted to.

I also strongly dislike (you might say hate) “Big Misunderstanding” as a trope and that’s a big theme here.

I’m not sure I understand why these “friends” are friends and why – since we aren’t really told why – they aren’t just dropped. I always support reading of many reviews before judging and this just might be me, but this wasn’t a great fit for me.

3 of 5 stars

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Release Day Review: Medley (Changing Lanes #2) by Layla Reyne

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37556674-medley?from_search=true

 

Blurb

Sebastian Stewart was never Mr. Dependable; he was more the good-time guy who only wanted to swim, party, and ink tattoos. Until he cost his team the Olympic gold four years ago. Bas is determined to do right this time around—by his medley relay team and his rookie mentee.

Jacob Burrows is in over his head. The Olympic experience—from the hazing, to the endless practices, to the unrelenting media—makes the shy nineteen-year-old’s head spin. He’s trying to be everything to everyone while trying not to fall for his gorgeous tattooed teammate who just gets him—gets his need to fix things, his dorky pirate quips, and his bisexuality.

When Jacob falters under the stress, threatening his individual races and the medley relay gold, he needs Bas’s help to escape from drowning. Bas, however, fearing a repeat of his mistakes four years ago, pushes Jacob away, sure he’ll only let Jacob down. But the only path to salvaging gold is for Jacob to finally ask for what he needs—the heart of the man he loves—and for Bas to become the dependable one.

Review

 There was a lot to like about this:
Jacob – super adorkable esp. with the pirate stuff
The Olympics
Swimming
Alex and Dane

There was a lot that was …. Less great:
Continual teenagey angst – even though most of the characters are older than that
A lack of communication
Lack of steam

This is more of a YA than a NA story. I think if you go into it like that – with those expectations – it’s feels better. As an NA story it felt lacking.

I really enjoyed book 1 a bit more, but I’d keep with the series.

3 of 5 stars

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Release Day Review: Lost Souls Found (Requiem Inc. #2) by Kris T. Bethke

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lost-souls-found-by-kris-t-bethke-9484-b

Blurb

Dying is all in a day’s work. Love is more dangerous.

Ghostwalker Sam Jones has been half in love with Michael King since he started working at Requiem Inc. But Michael is his boss and a Guardian, to boot. Sam thinks they could make it work anyway, but Michael uses his position and his age to keep Sam at arm’s length.

When Sam continues to volunteer for the most dangerous cases, Michael has to intervene. He tells himself he’s just doing his job, but he’s always seen Sam as more than another operative, and he can’t bear the thought of not taking his chance. The connection between them has been strong from the beginning, and Michael’s telepathy adds unexpected depth and an edge to their new romance, but working together while they try to build their relationship might be the hardest part of their job if they don’t make some sacrifices.

Review

It’s hard to be a sequel. I know this. I absolutely ADORED book 1 in this series and I had SUPER high hopes for this because Michael (and Sam) seemed like really intriguing characters with awesome powers and a lot of sexual chemistry.

Most of that proved true. However…. I was so frustrated with Michael and his (abuse, neglect) avoidance of Sam that he definitely lost some of his luster. Ditto with Sam and his willingness to bend so much without standing up for himself.

The paranormal stuff wasn’t as captivating as it was in book 1 but it’s still great!

I think you need to have read book 1 to really like this – so I’m not going to call it a standalone – but it might be ok.

If you loved book 1 you’ll really enjoy this.

Recommended!

4 of 5 stars

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Time to Laugh: Exorcising the Exes (Calling Dibs Book 1) by Jill Wexler

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39120173-exorcising-the-exes?from_search=true

Blurb: Thanks to their exes, Tanner Kennedy and Dan Markwell each believes himself to be a social mess, an embarrassment to be with, and not worth any man’s interest. When the two men begin talking about their exes, it’s as if they’d dated the same man.
Over a taco orgy, Tanner convinces Dan that they need to combat the scars left by their dating past with exorcisms, only via Instagram instead of holy water. They spend spring break together, purposely acknowledging the little things that their exes pushed upon them or told them to change. Posting to an anonymous Instagram account they created, Exorcising the Exes, they soon banish the demons of their exes with hashtags like #margaritasleadtolooselips and #hellyeahgummybears.

Instagramming their way to self-acceptance, Tanner and Dan also discover what it’s like to fall for someone who likes them for exactly who they are, #notperfectnotaproblem.

Review: #suchafunnybook, #readthisbook
This is a delightful, funny romance. Tanner and Dan were perfect for each other. They bond when they realise that they both have exes that tried to change them. Each time Tanner and Dan owned a habit, they posted pictures with a humourous #. Then there are the geese …
This book hits all my favourite themes – humour, romance, wit. It is definitely going in my ‘re-read to when I need a smile’ list. Really, really good! And I hope there will be another story featuring Jack and Matt.

4.5 stars out of 5

 

Purchased for Review