Release Day Review: Hiding the Moon (Fish Out of Water #4) by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hiding-the-moon-by-amy-lane-9921-b

Blurb

A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover

Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose?

The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command.

Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well.

But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?

Review by Mary
As this is a crossover story I would recommend reading (or listening to) the A Fish out of Water series and Racing for Sun before starting this book. Having said that I feel I should confess that my preference is listening to them. I was waiting for A Few Good Fish (book 3) to be released before starting it and did not realise this book overlapped it. Now that I’ve finished it I can see how they tie together. A Few Good Fish is as usual from Jackson Rivers and Ellery Cramer’s view point with Ernie, Lee, Ace, Sonny etc as secondary characters. This book is Ernie and Lee’s story (including Ace and Sonny playing a big part) and their side of the events of chasing down the mercenaries out to get them. Psychic Ernie finds his soulmate, his home and sanctuary when Lee Burton realised the kill order he received on Ernie was wrong. I liked the good v evil premise. And that the book reads like an action film, where realism is sacrificed for great action and adventure. This is a beautiful story of damaged souls finding a place and people where they can heal. Problem is they have to literally fight cruel, hateful and vindictive men to reach it.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Mr. September by Bailey Bradford

Pride Publishing:

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/mr-september

Blurb
Summer fades into fall, but the heat isn’t letting up for this calendar man.
Enzo Mueller was glad to help out with the calendar shoot. His little sister, Nat, has been in remission for years and he’d do anything to help find a cure for childhood cancer—even if all he can do is pose for a charity event. That, and work three jobs so he can take care of her since their parents split a long time ago.
But raising a teenager and having a personal life are two things he doesn’t think can coexist. He’s resigned himself to being alone, aside from Nat, until he gets her through college. After all, no man in his right mind would want to deal with Enzo’s crazy work schedule.
Tony met Enzo when he waited on their table. Ever since then, Tony’s had Enzo on his mind, and when he runs into him again, something clicks between them. Tony’s daughter, Ina, finished her last cancer treatments weeks ago and she’s in remission. He’s been focused on her since before she was born, but now, one man is making him wonder if it isn’t possible to have more in life than he’d expected.

Review

This was a great little story about two men who have spent the last few years of their lives taking care of someone they dearly love. Tony is a single father, who’s young daughter finally beat her fight with leukemia. He has been secretly pinning over Mr. September, Enzo. He seems to be running into him a lot, at his daughter’s favorite restaurant and the gas station. Enzo has also noticed Tony and his young daughter Ina, but between his three jobs and looking after his 17 year old sister, he doesn’t really have time for dating. Things finally come to a head when Tony shows up at the restaurant alone, and both men admit to the attraction burning between them.
I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series and it is fine as a stand alone. I was a little shocked that this ended up being a shifter book. Maybe shifters play a bigger role in the previous books but here it seemed out of place. Its only mentioned a few times and even then its almost like an after though. Aside from that I enjoyed this book overall. The chemistry between the two men is off the charts. I will definitely be going back and reading the previous books in the Calender Men series.

4 stars


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Audiobook: Love You So Hard (Love You So Stories #1) by Tara Lain Narrated by Narrated by: Ry Forest / Stephen Kurpis

audiobookreview

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
(Book reviewed here previously)

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

Audio

Ry Forest is new to me but does a really good job.  He doesn’t do a lot to make the two characters wildly different but he uses his acting skills to give them each a unique character.  He’s very easy to listen to and he’ll definitely be someone I’d look for in the future.

This was a great way to enjoy this story.  Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

4.5 of 5 stars

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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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Release Day Review: Heart of Glass by Ari McKay

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/heart-of-glass-by-ari-mckay-9422-b

Blurb: Lawyers In Love

Fear of being like his unfaithful father has put high walls around senior litigator Asher Caldwell’s heart. Can former district attorney Zach Richardson knock them down to reveal the passionate man beneath the commitment-phobic workaholic, or will Zach’s own jealousy destroy what they’re trying to build?

A new life and a new love—that’s what Zach’s hoping for when he leaves the DA’s office and lets his friends give him a makeover. But the jury’s still out on whether the experiment was a success. His new look gets the attention of his boss and secret crush, Asher Caldwell, and leads to a seduction. Unfortunately, to Zach’s horror he learns that Asher assumed he was a paid escort. Asher is equally mortified to discover he had sex with an employee. Even so, the encounter meant a lot to both men, and they want to give dating a shot. Their romance born out of mistaken identity might work if Zack can trust Asher to be satisfied with the love of only one man… and if Asher can trust himself.

Review: What a sweet story, just what I needed after a horrid week!
The romance between Asher and Zach is straightforward, sweet but peppered with a little self-doubt (Zach) and ‘closed-offness’ (Asher).
The blurb says it all, but the gem of the story is the simplicity of their romance, it just is (a romance with dates, meeting the family, etc.). In fact, the story is more than 75% of the way in before ‘the misunderstanding’ occurs, and even then the separation is not protracted, (although Zach should have known better…).
I loved the gift exchange at the end ☺

This story gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, definitely enjoyed it!

3.5 stars out of 5

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Audiobook: Ante Up by Kim Fielding Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ante-up-by-kim-fielding-8952-b

Blurb

Love is a high-stakes game.

A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.

An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I’m a huge Kim Fielding fan and I’ve really been enjoying these Dreamspun books so I was really looking forward to this.

I think that if I hadn’t had such high expectations for a story from this author – I know what amazing things she can do – I would have given this more stars. But… and maybe this is unfair – I didn’t resonate with this like I have so many of her other stories.

On the one hand it was pretty interesting and fairly light, the two MCs are not exactly what you’d expect – which is refreshing. On the other hand I wasn’t really ever bowled over by their chemistry and I was a bit disappointed by the ending.

However – if you’re in the mood for a paranormal story written by an excellent author with a somewhat unique twist on the trope – give this is a try – you won’t be disappointed!

3.5 of 5 stars

Audio

Here is another example of where a great narrator can absolutely elevate a story to the next level. I admit that I was surprised I hadn’t loved this before – Kim Fielding is a writing Goddess! – but it hadn’t struck the right notes with me. However, the narrator – Andrew McFerrin – did an amazing job! He gave everyone unique voices that absolutely suited them perfectly (I LOVED Ante and never realized you pronounce it Aunty…) and thought his depiction of Peter was fantastic!

He gave us just the right amount of emotion and angst and humor to make this a really gripping listen.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall
4.5 of 5 stars

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Chasing Thunderbird (Shifter U #2) by j. leigh bailey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/chasing-thunderbird-by-j-leigh-bailey-9270-b

Blurb

A Shifter U Tale

A legendary love.

Ornithology professor Simon Coleman’s reputation is at risk, and the only way to save his name is to prove thunderbirds are more than creatures of Native American myth. Grad student and part-time barista Ford Whitney has a lot on his plate, but it’s also his duty to make sure the resident bird nerd doesn’t discover shape-shifters—like himself—live on campus.

When a series of incidents related to Simon’s search put him in harm’s way, Ford’s instincts kick in, and they become closer than is strictly proper for student and teacher. Ford is forced to reveal his secrets to Simon, and their relationship is put to the test—Simon must choose between salvaging his reputation and protecting the man who protected him….’

Review by Morgan

This was terrific!  The world building is excellent.  The humor is great!  The romance could use some follow up, but what we get is sweet.

I loved the chemistry between the MCs, and I ADORED Ford’s shifted form!

If we’d gotten to see our guys together longer this would have easily been a 5+ star read for me.  Understanding that the genre is lower steam, I still wish we’d gotten more smexy times.

The action was fast paced, the dialog witty, the magic wonderful and the conclusion fairly to mostly satisfying.

Though I wanted more time with our guys as a fully fledged couple, I appreciated their version of HEA.

(I was disappointed not to see  Buffalo Bill again, but was glad to see some of the other characters from book one.)

4.5 of 5 stars

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Review by Beth

 

This was such a wonderfully different perspective on shifters. Yes there were wolves, foxes etc… but the main focus was on birds.  Mythical birds as the story progresses.  I loved how Simon was looking for facts not for the notoriety but because of his grandfathers reputation. A family secret/non secret that although couldn’t be proven, couldn’t be denied either.

 

I liked how conflicted Ford got. Trying to downplay everything academically while becoming more and more emotionally involved. I wish the story would have been a little longer so we could have seen more of Simon and Ford as a couple, because what was shown was really sweet and caring. Many of the secondary characters could have been more involved just to show more of story setting. Again a good book that I just wished was longer.
4 of 5 stars

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Finders Keepers by N.R. Walker

release day review

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37904249-finders-keepers?from_search=true

Blurb

Needing a change of scene, Griffin Burke moves from Brisbane to Coolum Beach to start a new job. The beautiful white sand, aqua-coloured ocean, blue skies, and summer breezes are everything he longs for. What he finds is a mud-covered dog, lost and hungry, with a nametag and a phone number.

Dane Hughes is stuck in Surfers Paradise at a week-long work conference when he gets a phone call from his distraught mother. His dog, his fur baby, Wicket, has run away. Unable to leave and feeling helpless and miserable, he gets a text from a guy. “I think I found your dog…”

Griffin and Dane start talking, and Griffin agrees to look after Wicket until Dane can collect him. With a few days left before his new job starts, Griffin takes Wicket on some coastal adventures and sends Dane photos of their fun, and so the start of something new and kind of wonderful begins.

Griffin might have moved to Coolum in search of a new life, but what he finds is so much more. What he gets to keep just might take some four-legged help

Review

Nr Walker is such a diverse writer! She can break our hearts out in the desert, open our minds out in Africa, introduce us to fighting and lighten our days with sweet and simple romances!

This is a cute, no angst story about two guys who are a little lonely and really into one specific dog. They meet on the phone and over texts and slowly learn about the other.

Meanwhile, there is a more deeply moving story happening with Dane’s landlady, and that too, ends happily.

If you want something sweet, sexy and funny – this is the book for you!

Highly Recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: Going Commando (Heathens Ink #2) by K.M. Neuhold Narrated by Cooper North

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Going-Commando-Audiobook/B077J6B6GK?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=EX3V2EX6F2FT4KDR9Q7E&

Blurb: “I never thought I could want anyone as much as I wanted Nash, then I met you”~Royal
When I was sixteen I was afflicted with a terrible curse…I fell in love with my straight best friend. I never thought I’d move past my feelings for Nash and find someone who could love me in return, until the day a gorgeous marine plopped himself down in my chair and asked me to ink him. I’m falling fast for Zade, but my feelings for Nash are still very real. When life starts getting complicated and Nash speaks the words I never thought I’d hear, the only thing I want is for us to find a way to make this work…together.

“What if I told you, you’d never have to choose?”~Zade
I thought I’d stay in the marines for life, that was the plan. But after a traumatic event I couldn’t make myself re-enlist when my contract was up. Confused and unsure what to do next I called up my best friend for a place to stay. What I didn’t count on was my best friend’s boyfriend practically throwing a sexy tattoo artist at me to keep me busy. Royal is everything I’ve ever wanted and his roommate, Nash, is starting to grow on me, too.

“A few weeks ago I thought I was straight. Now I’m sandwiched between two sweaty men. Can’t say I do anything half-assed.” ~Nash
Of course I’ve noticed that my best friend, Royal is crazy good looking. I have eyes, that doesn’t mean I’m into guys. Although, when I start to notice that his new boyfriend, Zade, is pretty hot too, that makes me start to question things a little. Not to mention the dreams I keep having of the three of us together. I’m willing to try if they are.

**This is NOT a love triangle, just good old fashioned man-on-man-on-man love

**Every book in the Heathens Ink series can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s way more fun to read them in order.

Book Review by Anna:
(Book reviewed here previously)
K.M. Neuhold was a new to me author, but I will be looking at her back catalogue after reading this very enjoyable installment in her Heathens Ink series.

Royal is in love with his best friend since childhood, Nash. Unfortunately Nash is straight, so Royal needs to move on, instead of having threesomes with him and women, just in order to get a chance to suck Nash’s dick.
When he meets Zade the attraction is instantaneous and the two hit it off, both in and out of the bedroom and for the first time in his life, Royal actually sees himself getting serious with someone. And wouldn’t you know it, the first time Royal finds himself in love with someone who can actually return his feelings, is also the time Nash realises he may not be as straight as he thought!
The guys are hot and heavy together and the sex is steamy as all get out **fanning myself**. The transition from two to three is enjoyably smooth and problem free with out any angsting and hardly any outside conflicts about the arrangement either.
Personally I would have preferred the societal biasses against such a set up being explored and more on Zade’s past instead of the Liam side plot, but the author’s choice still made for an enjoyable read. The writing flows nicely and the prose is easily read and very engaging. It’s a lovely little story, with very little angst, which is quite impressive as some very heavy topics are touched upon.

My only other niggle was the character names. All of the Heathen Ink employees and partners have maddeningly similar ‘stereotypical alpha male’ names: Nash, Zade, Gage, Thane, Madden… But that is just me, and I got over it pretty quickly.

All in all I would recommend this book and I will be looking up the first one in the series too and will definitely want to read Adams story when that is released.

Overall Impression: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Book Review by Morgan

I’m going to have to agree with Anna here on almost every point!

I thought the lack of angst was both a blessing and a curse. I think Nash’s “conversion” felt natural and didn’t need a lot of fanfare, however – I think the link between Nash and Zane could have used some fleshing out to be a bit more “believable”.
While I absolutely LOVED the addition of Liam to the story, there was way too much brushed under the carpet in a way that made things look way too easy. With such weighty subjects like youth and transgender and runaways or even bisexual bias and issues of being in a thouple– I felt more time spent on any or all of these as issues would have made for a more complete story. Definitely would have added to my “heart strings” moments.
I also wasn’t as pulled into the “throuple” as a success by the end of the book. Part of me wished that this was either about Nash and Royal or Royal and Zane first…. Then a more involved book that showed them opening up the relationship to the other. It was just a bit too easy and fast to be anything but superficial and while I still enjoyed it – I didn’t “believe” it as much as I could have.
Another thing that bothered me was the total wishy washy way in which Nash’s mother addressed Liam and Nash in her kitchen. One moment she’s preaching about women’s influence and being responsible and then it’s dropped to never be an issue again.
What absolutely MADE this book for me was Royal and his inner dialog – he’s hysterical! One thing he does with regularity is thank God for things like “making beautiful men like Zane. Love Royal. Amen” Or when he sees Nash and Zane kissing “Dear God… Seriously, good job. Love, Royal. Amen.” Royal is a fabulous character and he made this book easily go from a 3 to a 4+ star book.
I was glad to see there are more books on the way and I hope Owen’s story is soon!

Highly recommended to fans of the author and this series, definitely for fans of ménage, this can be read as a standalone easily.

4.25 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

Audio

It’s hard to juggle a ménage when it comes to narration and I think Cooper North does an admirable job keeping everyone separate. His voice is really husky and suits the overall theme of this series and I like listening to it. Though he could do more to add differentiation to all the MANY characters, I think it’s easy enough to know which person is speaking.
I like his pacing and the emotions he infuses into the narration and think this is a great way to enjoy this story!

Recommended!

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Buried Passions by Andrew Grey

release day review 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/buried-passions-by-andrew-grey-9243-b

Blurb

When Broadway actor Jonah receives word that his uncle has passed away and named him the heir to a property in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Jonah’s plan is to settle the estate as quickly as possible and return to his life in New York City. Much to Jonah’s surprise, the inheritance includes the Ashford Cemetery—and its hunky groundskeeper, recent Bosnian immigrant Luka Pavelka.

Jonah soon discovers Luka is more than easy on the eyes. He sees into Jonah’s heart like no man ever before, and his job at the cemetery is all he has. If Jonah sells, Luka is left with nothing. Luka is there for Jonah when Jonah needs someone most, and there’s no denying the chemistry and connection between them. But Jonah has a successful career back in New York. Now he must decide if it’s still the life he wants….

Review

This is not one of my favourite Andrew Grey books. I just didn’t connect with it but it might have been because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind after the Christmas break. Having said that this is a well written low angst love story. Jonah is certain of his path in life. He is an actor and loves the stage. An Uncle Jonah hasn’t seen for a long time leaves him some property and since the last play has finished he goes to investigate. Jonah expects to sell the property and get back as soon as possible. What he doesn’t expect is to lust after Luca. When I read this scene I imagined Jonah’s eyes bugging out and jaw dropping when he first saw Luca, just like a cartoon character. Let’s just say they got hot and heavy very quickly. There is certainly chemistry between them. Luca is not looking for love exactly but being a recent immigrant he is longing for somewhere to belong. With Jonah he finds both love and a sense of finding a home. This is a story of choices and re-evaluation. Jonah thought his life was going in the right direction but after his Uncles bequest he questions this and has to make the choice between Love and career. I did like the story but as I said earlier for some reason it didn’t grip me.

 

3 of stars out of 5

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