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: 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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Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Laugh: Behind the Curtain Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Hugh Bradley

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/behind-the-curtain-by-amy-lane-6070-b

Blurb

Dawson Barnes recognizes his world is very small and very charmed. Running his community college theater like a petty god, he and his best friend, Benji know they’ll succeed as stage techs after graduation. His father adores him, Benji would die for him, and Dawson never doubted the safety net of his family, even when life hit him below the belt.

But nothing prepared him for falling on Jared Emory’s head.

Aloof dance superstar Jared is a sweet, vulnerable man and Dawson’s life suits him like a fitted ballet slipper. They forge a long-distance romance from their love of the theater and the magic of Denny’s. At first it’s perfect: Dawson gets periodic visits and nookie from a gorgeous man who “gets” him—and Jared gets respite from the ultra-competitive world of dancing that almost consumed him.

That is until Jared shows up sick and desperate and Dawson finally sees the distance between them concealed painful things Jared kept inside. If he doesn’t grow up—and fast—his “superstar” might not survive his own weaknesses. That would be a shame, because the real, fragile Jared that Dawson sees behind the curtain is the person he can see spending his life with.

Review:

This is a sweet story of two people, seemingly in opposite phases of life, coming together and finding love.  Dawson is totally adorkable and Jared is too cool for school.  They are utterly perfect for each other!

Amy is so good at giving us these bony limbed-kersplang-awkward characters that you can’t help but absolutely adore and then pairing them with a masterful, solid, yet somehow broken-needing-to-be-fixed character.  Dawson says all these ridiculous things and it just works.  Just when you think Dawson is the one who needs to grow up, you realize that, no, he is the rock in this relationship and poor Jared is the one who needs to be rescued.

Amy also excels at “friends” and Dawson’s friends (and family) are so wonderful and though they may try to steal the story, they only add to its richness and texture, by giving it greater depth.

The dialog in this book is funny, sweet, touching and wonderful, just like Jared and Dawson’s love for each other. I really enjoyed these guys and I hope we get to see them in future books, I didn’t want this one to end! 

Audio:

The narrator, Hugh Bradley, is new to me, but I will definitely look for him in the future. He did an amazing job, really brining the characters to life with his voices and inflection. He seemed to really “get” Dawson and Jared and their story. Sometimes a narrator can mess up a story for you, if you have already read it and already have a feel for the characters in your head. But Hugh seemed to be reading the same story as me, and I really enjoyed listening to his version. I highly recommend this audible as a companion to the book or all on its own.

6 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

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

Time to Laugh: Overtime Audiobook (ficlet) by Avon Gale narrated by Scott Smith

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31218096-overtime?from_search=true

Blurb

This short story (approximately 4000 words) takes place after the events of Power Play and before Empty Net. It features Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie Isaac Drake — as well as a few other familiar faces — and is available as a bonus for Avon’s newsletter subscribers.

 

 

 

 

 

Review

I can’t do a month about laughing and NOT include Avon Gale.  She cracks me up!  This is a little ficlet she has available for free on her blog – including the audio!

I don’t love Scott Smith but he has become the voices for the characters in this series to me and so by extension I now love him.

This is an adorable look at Misha and Max and the goalie before he meets Saint.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Laugh: Shawn’s Law Audiobook by Renae Kaye Narrated by Casey Hunter

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Shawns-Law-Audiobook/B010TUDVP6?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_3&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=C3FAVFC5KAEHVHS26Y2G&

Blurb
Shawn is single, twenty-nine, the full-time carer of his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, and a frequent victim of Murphy’s Law—although his family calls it Shawn’s Law. Other than caring for mum, his day consists of painting nude men and spying on the guy who walks his dogs along the street every day at four o’clock. When Shawn takes a spectacular fall on his front steps, who is there to witness it other than the man of his dreams?

Harley doesn’t believe in Shawn’s Law—but he soon changes his mind.

The two men make it through a memorable first date and Shawn’s sexual insecurities to begin a relationship stumbling toward love. But when Shawn’s Law causes Harley to be injured, Shawn is determined to save Harley’s life the only way he knows how—by breaking up with him. Not once, but twice. Throw in a serial killer ex-boyfriend, several deadly Australian animals, two dogs called Bennie, a mother who forgets to wear clothes, an unforgiving Town Council, and a strawberry-flavored condom dolly, and Shawn’s Law is one for the books

Review
The slapstick comedy never stops in this story. Shawn should come with a health warning. The majority is Shawn attracting bad luck, but there were a few when I thought come on Shawn where’s your common sense. It was funny though. Being such a frequent visitor he knows paramedics and emergency room nurses by name! Hippie Hotpants aka Harley doesn’t think Shawn’s Law is real, he soon learns. However his doubts do cause a few bumps in his relationship with Shawn. Shawn is one in a million. I was impressed with the way Renae Kaye portrayed Eileen’s dementia, very sensitively done in the context of the humour in the book.
I feel quite mean saying the narration was good enough. Casey Hunter has a pleasant voice to listen to but didn’t take the time to verify the pronunciation of Australian animals or other typical Australian words. It was on these occasions that the narration fell flat for me. There was not a great deal of characterisation but it was clear enough which character was speaking.

3 of stars out of 5

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Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Audiobook: Spencer Cohen by NR Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Spencer-Cohen-Series-Book-One-Audiobook/B079YWN5G5?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=PNCF0KWC7M6PZ0ZKHDGK&

Blurb

Spencer Cohen is the guy who gets answers to relationship questions. Playing the role of the new lover, his job is to make his client’s ex realise one of two things: he doesn’t want to break up or he really does. Either way, his client gets answers.

The ex would either apologize and beg, or turn and walk. But in the end, Spencer’s client won. If he wanted his ex back and got him, it was great. If the guy walked away, then as hard it was for the client, he knew it was over. Regardless of the outcome, Spencer’s work was done.

Andrew Landon’s ex left him without so much as an explanation. But his sister can’t stand to see him miserable, so, much to Andrew’s dismay, they hire Spencer to be Andrew’s new boyfriend to get the ex back.

For Spencer, it is never personal. Merely a business transaction. No emotions, no strings, no complications.

Yeah right.

Even a blind man could see how this would end.

Review by Beth

NR Walker has given us a book that shows us that no matter how much you close off yourself to the thought of love, it can show up when you least expect it.

The job Spencer has created for himself let’s him turn himself into whoever his client needs. Pretending to be the new boyfriend, it will either make the old boyfriend come back or ignore the client altogether. Either way there is the answer to where the relationship stands.

Spencer’s new client Andrew just doesn’t understand why Eli just walked away so he is open to trying out Spencer’s services to find out why. In the process of getting to know Andrew, Spencer doesn’t realize he is falling for his client. Everything clicks between the 2. There are too many instances where they have the same tastes and interests. When it all comes to a head, all of Spencer’s issues drive him away. in the end there is a revelation to what drives Spencer and a HEA

Audio

I think Joel was made to do this book. His ability to do an accent is spot on and even his female voices are realistic. Add to that his timing, and delivery and you are swept away into the story like you are in a corner of the room observing it as it unfolds!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

(Book reviewed here previously)
Andrew got dumped – abruptly – by his ex, Eli. His sister just wants Andrew to be happy, so she arranges for Spencer to act as his boyfriend and stir up the ol’ green-eyed monster in Eli to push him back into Andrew’s arms.

If it works, it was meant to be – if it doesn’t, at least Andrew can have some closure.

Spencer moved to America from Australia after some family issues force his hand. He inadvertently helps a friend re-gain her boyfriend and a career is born! (He also does other things – it’s not that lucrative!)

When Andrew and Spencer meet there is instant attraction – they’re like two pieces of a puzzle who click together perfectly. But… Andrew wants Eli right?

**

Be forewarned – this is pretty classic NR Walker series protocol – so we get a slow, slow burn toward a finale of a … kiss. Granted the sexual tension is off the charts and the looks are seriously smoldering… but no sex.

But – YOU WON’T MISS IT! She is such an amazing writer that this slow burn feels right and the pages fly by.

Of course I can’t wait for the next installment – and you might want to wait for all three are published if that’s your thing – but… this is a wonderful story and well worth the wait.

Both MCs are so complex and fun. Neither is particularly needy or whiny and yet both have this amazing streak of vulnerability in them.

I am thoroughly captivated by this series and I cannot wait for the next book!

Because music is a theme in this book – NR Walker made a spotify list: https://open.spotify.com/…/…/playlist…
I highly recommend having it available while you are reading.

6 of 5 stars

Audio

So you know I’m a huge Joel Fan Girl but you gotta know – this book absolutely resonates with Joel’s narration – it’s just perfect! Joel moved me to tears with the closing chapters – the emotional tension is held beautifully by the pacing and his intonation. Though this is – by far – not the most angsty of NR’s stories – Joel infuses into the words all the tension we’re feeling by the end of this slow burn romance.

Highly recommended!

6 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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Copy Purchased for Review

Recent release: Heart2Heart: A Charity Anthology By Various Authors

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38395210-heart2heart

Blurb

Once upon a time, a bunch of M/M authors wondered… What if a dating app that guaranteed you a love match broke down just in time for Valentine’s Day? What if you found yourself on a blind date with a random guy who might be your opposite in every single way? It could be a disaster. Or… When the code breaks down, fate just might take over.

Eleven of your favorite gay romance authors have joined forces to light up your Valentine’s Day with a collection of sweet, sexy, silly, and hot short stories, featuring a wacky cast of characters chosen from your reader suggestions! Morticians and magicians, superheroes and spies, lawyers and lobstermen, will all learn that love has nothing to do with algorithms… and sometimes you find it in the least-likely places.

And the best part? All proceeds from this collection will go to the authors’ favorite LGBTQ charities, to ensure that love in all its incarnations will be celebrated and protected every single day of the year!

 

Review

Overall, I think this is totally worth reading. Besides the charity, these are all really cute stories that are vaguely linked and all about opposites attracting. They’re mostly sweet and funny with very little angst and a light dash of steam.

 

Highly recommended!

 

4 of 5 stars for the book

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The Setup / The Fallout 

Bailey & Ryder

This is the first and last story of this anthology and it’s super cute. The maker of the app falls for the hot window washer and adorableness ensues.

 

4 of 5 stars

The Magician and the Mortician
A.E. Wasp

Tied for my favorite in the anthology. Really sweet/touching older guy who’s pining for a long passed lover who falls for a younger guy and vice versa.

 

5 of 5 stars

The Professional Gamer and the Paranormal Photographer
Allison Hendricks

I didn’t dig this very much. Too little in HEA department and not enough chemistry to win me over.

 

2.5 of 5 stars

The Assassin and the Dog Walker
Charlie Cochet

If you’re in the mood for a crazy, exaggeratedly funny plot – this is for you.

 

3.5 of 5 stars

The Superhero and the NSA Agent
Hailey Turner

 

Sweet, funny, nice steam

 

3.5 of 5 stars

The Tattoo Artist and the Writer
Lily Morton

Fair amount of heat. Friends finally admitting love.

 

3 of 5 stars

The Uber Driver and the Phone Sex Operator
Lucy Lennox

 

Very steamy, sweet and funny with virgin! Sweet HEA.

 

4 of 5 stars 

The Event Planner and the Electrician
Poppy Denison

This tied for my favorite. Really sweet and funny.

 

5 of 5 stars

The Lawyer and the Lobsterman
Ruthie Luhnow

This was one of my least favorites. I didn’t understand why it ended where it did – it was like the date had just started and now it’s over!

 

2 of 5 stars

 

The Florist and the Lawyer
Sloane Kennedy

This would have been better if it’d been longer but it was really sweet and a little funny and had one of the best “epilogues” in the whole anthology!

 

4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Laugh: Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11045338-muscling-through?from_search=true

Blurb:

The bigger they come, the harder they fall… in love.

Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.

 

Larry’s intrigued to find there’s more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry’s class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair.

Is it physical? Oh, yes, it’s deliciously physical, and so much more—which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.

Contains comic misunderstandings, misuse of art materials, and unexpected poignancy.

Review

This is one of my all time favorite m/m books ever. I re – read it several times a year. I love it’s simple honesty and love and the fact that it makes me laugh as well as touches me makes it golden.

JL Merrow’s dry British humor crackles throughout the book and I love the dialect and the slang: Al talking with Larry-

“Are you a poof?” I asked. I didn’t think he’d mind. And even if he did, there wasn’t nothing a little bloke like him could do to me, so that was all right.

Though there are a few “hurdles” most of the book is Larry and Al falling in love and it is so, so sweet.   But, since it’s told through Al’s eyes, it’s rough around the edges.

“I never met anyone who made me feel like Larry does. I don’t mean just the fucking. He makes me feel special, like I’m not just a set of muscles and a big cock.”

It has a great message. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Al is way more than just a big, hunk of a man, he’s also a fantastic artist with an artist’s soul. I love that Larry sees that part of him and helps him to develop it.

I can’t recommend this book enough and I give it 6 out of 5 stars! I hope it eventually comes out in audio!

 (I’ve tried and tried to reach the author to do an interview… but alas it isn’t to happen… one can only hope!)

6 of 5 stars

 

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Purchased for Review