Enemies to Lovers: A Different Light by Morningstar Ashley

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37553326-a-different-light?from_search=true

Blurb
Bennett Cole had lived next door to Mitchell “Mac” Campbell, III for eighteen years of his life, in the small town of White Acre. They’d never gotten along, never seen eye to eye, and never understood one another…not that they’d ever cared to try.

But when Bennett’s so-called buddies ditched him at a party in the woods where he was assaulted and left for dead, Bennett pulled through. The emotional scars rendered him too terrified to go back to school and face his “friends” or his attackers. With little choice, his family packed up and left town.

Ten years later—at the request of his mother—Bennett returned to the place he’d grown up and the home he’d once felt safe, to oversee the repairs before his childhood house was sold. The contractor? None other than Mac, the once annoying boy next door, who still lives there in the home his parents gifted him.

Being in such close proximity—working together every day, to repair the Coles’ family home—Bennett and Mac’s contentious relationship goes from bad to worse as their personalities continue to clash. But their heated exchanges may not be as antagonistic as they seem. And when new information is revealed, can the men begin to see each other in a different light?

Review
We were asked to pick 4 or 5 books in the enemies to lovers genre for the month of February in honor of Valentine’s Day. This is not a genre I actively search for so I browsed several sights and this was the first story I found that caught my interest. All I can say is it drew me in and held my interest all the way through.

This book has MC’s falling into the rut of judging a person on how they look and the job they hold. Morningstar Ashley has incorporated this whole concept into the whole storyline. Bennett is the geek, Mac is the “bad” boy. Misconceptions start as kids, and continue into their adult life. Add in parents who also compare and push their son to be more like the neighbor boy and you can see why these to MC’s grate on each other.

Morningstar Ashley has created multi dimensional characters. While Bennett is truly a geek he is also survivor. As well as brave for returning to the town where he was so viciously attacked. Mac is a tattooed, motorcycling owner of a construction company and a good friend to those closest to him.

Morningstar Ashley takes us through Bennett and Mac meeting after 10 years. The two of them butting heads with their misconceptions, to them suddenly realizing the there are 2 sides to every story. Many of the secondary characters of this book play big parts in this story and make for a well rounded storyline.

Truly a sweet boy next door story, which is well written.

5 of 5 stars
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Purchased for Review

 

Valentine’s Day Read: Secret Service: My Secret Valentine By Kim Dare

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6240048-secret-service?from_search=true

Blurb
What’s more important, their love for each other or their differing attitudes to kinky sex?

Alistair has made it very clear he isn’t into anything even vaguely kinky.

Sheridan knew he was in love with him the day he found that out, and then decided to stay with him anyway. Unable to ease his desire to serve at home, Sheridan volunteers at a club where he can secretly serve the patrons, and feed his submission, without upsetting Alistair by revealing that side of his personality to him.

When chance drags Alistair into that same club on Valentines weekend, Sheridan’s leather mask can’t keep his secret safe any longer. With his desire to serve out in the open, it’s not long before other secrets start to come out and they both have to make a choice.

Does Sheridan give up on ever being allowed to submit to the man he loves, or does Alistair take the risk of becoming the master his love has always wanted?

Review
The story introduces Sheridan and Alistair as an established couple. Because of commitments they are apart on Valentine’s Day. Whilst reading the story I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t seem to be the romantic BDSM I was hoping for, but by the end I understood that it really was. It is more about truly knowing and accepting your partner which in the end brings them closer together. Alistair is upset when he sees by chance sees Sheridan behaving subserviently in a club.
Alistair gives Sheridan one night, a night he tests Sheridan’s idea of submission. He expects that Sheridan will see it’s not what he really wants. Alistair had already decided Sheridan was too good to be sullied by being involved in the lifestyle. The story gives a clear indication that something has happened in Alistair’s past experience, as a Dom, to turn him away from the lifestyle. Such was his experience that he now views submission as degrading and he doesn’t want to see Sheridan that light. For his part Sheridan kept his submissive side hidden because he knew Alistair didn’t like the idea of it. These two men have both suppressed parts of their desire, Alistair because he didn’t like that side of himself and Sheridan to please Alistair. One Valentine’s night is all it takes for them to be honest and start the rest of their lives together. This is a well rounded glimpse into an important moment between a couple.

3 of stars out of 5

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: From Ashes (Heathens Ink #3) by K.M. Neuhold Narrated by Kenneth Obi

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Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/From-Ashes-Audiobook/B0792C9T3B?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=V2875FPC8CXA3G8PRQD2&

Blurb

“When the broken man with scarred skin walked into Heathens, asked for a job, and showed me a sketch of a phoenix, it felt like fate.”~ Adam

It started with an anonymous post by someone who didn’t want to live anymore. I read it over and over again, unable to get it out of my mind. What if my brother Johnny had posted something like this before he’d taken his own life? Would someone have been able to save him?

I’ve been living a lie for 16 long years and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to keep it up. And when a beautiful, broken man walks into my tattoo shop asking for a second chance at life, I know I’ll never be able to turn him away.

“When I was so far down I couldn’t even see the light, a stranger reached in to save me”~ Nox
I didn’t have anything to live for, until a kind stranger pulled me back from the brink. With physical and emotional scars I have nowhere to turn now but to that same stranger who saved my life without realizing it. But as my feelings for Adam grow, will I ever be anything other than a surrogate for the brother he couldn’t save? Am I even worthy of his love?

**From Ashes is the third book in the Heathens Ink series, each book in the series CAN be read as a standalone.

CAUTION: this book contains graphic descriptions of domestic violence and drug use that may be disturbing to some readers.

Review
(Book Reviewed here Previously)

Though the author stresses that this can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the other books in the series first. I agree that you can figure things out without having read them, but I do think they give a bit of background that is helpful.

Continuing the theme of hurt/comfort – we have another set of people who come together with a tragic past to find love. I was pleased that we didn’t spend pages and pages before everyone’s true identities are revealed. That can get tedious. I was also pleased by the response Adam had when Nox revealed his secret. That was actually one of my favorite parts of the story.

Unfortunately, for a lot of the story Adam really, really made me mad. I didn’t understand his need for secrecy and I couldn’t believe that he’d ask Nox – with his past – to go into hiding like he did. That INFURIATED me and made me want to quit reading.

Nox is soooo sweet and has such an amazing strength to him. Adam not only asked him to hide but was so dismissive of his VERY VALID fears. I couldn’t believe how he brushed aside all Nox’s worries and was so self-involved.

I didn’t care for Adam’s ex and it spoke poorly of him that he’d be willing to spend so many years with her just because the sex was good.

Speaking of the ex – she seemed a bit “too” psychotic – she felt like more of a caricature than an actual person – and she was difficult to take seriously.

I’m very intrigued by the next story – hinted at in this and glimpsed at in the end – but this wasn’t my favorite book in the series by a long shot.

I still recommend the author and series, but I wasn’t a big fan of this installment.

2.75 (rounded to 3) of 5 stars

Audio

Kenneth Obi is a relatively new to me narrator. He is easy to listen to and does a really nice job with the pacing and emotions. He does a valiant job of giving all the characters unique voices and even the females were pretty good.

I miss the dual narration we had from the previous two books in this series but this wasn’t bad. While I wasn’t bowled over with his talent, he was definitely good.

I’d give him a solid B+ – or 4 of 5 stars

Overall 3.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Enemies to Lovers: Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony

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

Blurb

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

Review

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

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

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

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

3.5 of 5 stars

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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: Lost and Found by Rick R. Reed Narrated by Michael Neeb

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lost-and-found-by-rick-r-reed-7849-

Blurb
On a bright autumn day, Flynn Marlowe lost his best friend, a beagle named Barley, while out on a hike in Seattle’s Discovery Park.

On a cold winter day, Mac Bowersox found his best friend, a lost, scared, and emaciated beagle, on the streets of Seattle.

Two men. One dog. When Flynn and Mac meet by chance in a park the next summer, there’s a problem—who does Barley really belong to? Flynn wants him back, but he can see that Mac rescued him and loves him just as much as he does. Mac wants to keep the dog, and he can imagine how heartbreaking losing him would be—but that’s just what Flynn experienced.

A “shared custody” compromise might be just the way to work things out. But will the arrangement be successful? Mac and Flynn are willing to try it—and along the way, they just might fall in love

Review
My first thought on finishing Lost and Found was boy the narrator read fast. I ended up reducing the speed but that made the narrator sound sleepy so I put it back. This is an amusing story with a few twists and turns to keep the listener on their toes. I really didn’t expect the ending which surprised and pleased me.
he first part is how Barley the Beagle brings Flynn and Mac together. I love Mac. He loves Barley and the panicky way he tries to avoid the inevitable conclusion when Flynn finds him and Barley was amusing. Flynn is more earnest.
I liked the concept of two people bonding, getting to know each other and falling in love over a dog. I’m not sure with the twists and turns the story takes that I gelled with the book. Flynn’s best friend Clara seemed to be in love with him but then vanished from the story. When Mac’s grandma becomes ill Mac pushes Flynn away and the ending seems to be spur of the moment decision to go in a new direction.
For Rick R Reed always writes a gentle story that wraps you up in a bit of comfort. It was the same for this one. I did enjoy it, just don’t analyse the plot too much or you’ll be let with too many why questions.

Michael Neeb’s narration was good not necessarily great. As I said earlier it felt too fast for me. His characterisations were good, especially getting the panicky Mac across and reasonable Flynn. I liked the way he portrayed the female characters, especially Mac’s landlady. I got a good impression she had had a life well lived.

3 of stars out of 5

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Audiobook: Love Wanted By: John Inman Narrated by: Ezekiel Robison

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-wanted-by-john-inman-8578-b

Blurb

When it rains, it pours. Not only has Larry Walls been evicted from his apartment, but his hours have also been cut at the department store where he works, leaving him facing homelessness.
Meanwhile, Bo Lansing, a total stranger to Larry, toils at a dead-end job as a fry cook while attending night classes to become a certified chef. When the school closes its doors without warning, leaving Bo in the lurch for thousands of dollars in tuition, his dream of becoming a chef is shattered and his financial troubles spiral.
Desperate for a new beginning, each man answers an ad for live-in help posted by a wealthy recluse, and wonder of wonders, they are both hired! Just as their lives begin to improve, a young Kumeyaay Indian named Jimmy Blackstone joins the workforce at the Stanhope mansion.
When Mr. Stanhope’s true reason for hiring the young men is discovered by one of the three, a fourth entity makes its presence known.
Greed.
With all these players vying for position in a game of intrigue orchestrated by one lonely old man and a mischievous ghost, can a simple thing like love ever hope to survive the fray?

Review

I admit I was leery of this when I read the blurb. I really don’t like love triangles and I was worried about 3 men involved but not in a ménage. Well… yeah. So it is a bit of a love triangle and I didn’t really like it… but…

There are many great things about this:
John Inman is a great descriptive and creative writer and if you like stories with a unique twist and a bit of humor and some quirky characters – this is for you!

Ezekiel Robison – the reason I chose this to review – is amazing! He’s near the top of my short list of favorite narrators. He’s great at giving everyone unique voices, he moves the story along with his ability to portray emotion and comedic timing and he’s easy on the ears!

If you’re in the mood for something a little – diferent – I’d read some reviews and consider this one. It’s not your typical love story!

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

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Forever With you by Londra Laine

release day review

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36506668-forever-with-you?from_search=true

Blurb
Kelly Brooks Montes is only nineteen years old and just starting college in New York City when tragedy strikes, and he becomes a single dad to his toddler brother. Four years later, Kelly and his baby brother, Jaylen, are doing well, though Kelly leads a double life to make ends meet. He’s a high-level administrative assistant by day and a racy go-go boy by night. Between raising his brother, dancing, and trying not to run afoul of his new boss, Kelly doesn’t have time for a boyfriend. Even if he did want a man in his life, a past trauma makes him question whether he can ever trust a man with his body or his heart. But then Kelly receives an unexpected but steamy birthday kiss from his boss, a man he was sure hated him, and he begins to wish for things he knows he shouldn’t.

Andrew Whitman knew from the moment he held Kelly’s hand that the man was special, and it both annoyed and terrified him. Kelly makes him feel a little out of control and Drew is a highly controlled man. He has to be to keep his sexuality a secret from his father, a conservative politician. And he is OK with that. He has a perfectly good, mutually beneficial, life plan with his best friend, Lex. A long time ago, he’d made his peace with the fact that he’d never find a man worth turning his life upside down for. Then he ends up with his capable and gorgeous assistant under him on top of his desk, and his life plans change. Drew can’t seem to get out of his own way when it comes to the quiet, sexy, and surprising single dad, but he can’t stop himself from falling for Kelly and his sweet baby brother. And just when it seems that Kelly has worked through his past hurts enough to let Drew into his body and his heart, manipulative family and words unspoken threaten to tear them apart. But after getting a taste of a life he never thought he could have, Drew won’t let anything tear his fledgling family apart

Review
Oh wow. Kelly is so perfect. He took responsibility for his baby brother at nineteen, works two jobs (he loves both of them) and is an excellent employee. But for all that too good to be true perfection I found myself liking Kelly and very much drawn to him. He is an extraordinary character. I’ll mention there is a trigger warning of rape in Kelly’s past. It took me a little longer to warm up to Andrew. He seemed a bit too cold and uptight at first but that was just hiding insecurity because he hadn’t felt this way before. I really liked the sensitive way the author has handled their growing relationship. They both have issues to overcome and in the early stages of their relationship Kelly’s are more prominent. For Drew it is his hesitancy in facing difficult personal situations that cause problems for them both. The secondary characters are also solid characters and in some cases integral to the story. This is such a wonderful genuine romance that I loved every moment of it. Londra Laine is an author to look out for and wholeheartedly recommend Forever with You.

5 of stars out of 5

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Audiobook: Finding Mr. Wright by BA Tortuga Narrated by Robbie Nelson

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Dreampinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/finding-mr-wright-by-ba-tortuga-8815-

Blurb
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including weddings. And misunderstandings.

Colorado wedding planner Mason O’Reilly lands a major contract: a two-hundred-guest wedding at the Leanin’ N Ranch, where his friends Ford and Stoney are working to provide a safe space for GLBT events. The Wright/Preston ceremony is a destination wedding, and as the grooms are from Texas, everything is done over the phone and email. There’s no way that could lead to trouble, right?

Oops.

Oil tycoon Noah Wright isn’t happy about the impending disaster, but he admires Mason’s quick thinking and grace under pressure. And that’s not all he likes about the out-and-proud wedding planner. Even though Mason’s interested in Noah, his Mr. Right can’t possibly be a rancher from Dallas.

Can he

Review
I spent a very pleasant afternoon listening to this book. Headphones on letting the family fend for themselves. Just what I needed on a wet and windy English winters day, images of a Colorado summer. I like this gentle story it brought a smile to my face with the mix up over the wedding and the unyielding Noah Wright. As the story progresses Noah begins to admire Mason and his can do will do attitude making the events he organises run smoothly. There are parts that feel contrived for the sake of the story but it’s all in the spirit of the Dreamspun desires series, love wins against all odds. Such as family interference, being from different social classes, distance and work getting in the way. The story is full of fun characters, the bride, members of the Leanin’N Ranch (I liked them so much I’ve brought book one to listen to) and the wonderfully described dog.
Robbie Nelson is a new to me. I enjoyed his narration and the characterisation of Mason, Noah and the crew of the Leanin’N Ranch. I liked the accents he used, although I am from England so I have no idea how authentic they are, but I found them easy to listen to. Robbie has a lovely voice.

3 of stars out of 5

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The Hideaway by Rosalind Abel

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36469492-the-hideaway?from_search=true

Blurb

Lavender Shores’s resident tattoo artist, Connor Clark, looks the part—six foot six, musclebound, and covered in ink—and most definitely doesn’t blend in. Grafted into the Bryant family as a teenager to escape his abusive father, the Bryants saved his life, but Connor has never truly felt a part of the founding family royalty. And if his heart’s desire were revealed, it would betray everything the Bryants have done for him.

Micah Bryant was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He’s always had everything he ever wanted—save the one he desires most. Even moving to New York City for a few years didn’t dampen his passion. Not that Micah had expected it to. He’s known his destiny since he was nine years old, the moment it had walked through his door.

After years of longing, years of secrets and stolen moments of passion and love, Connor weakens enough to allow the town to see how he feels, and let the Bryants know his love for Micah is anything but brotherly. But no sooner had the decision been made than Connor’s biological family returns and shatters it all. Still, Micah holds on to the belief that their romance was written in the stars, but maybe he’d been wrong all those years…

Review

This book really gets into a taboo subject for most. Foster brothers who develop a romantic interest in each other. And it’s not like they just flaunt what they want. They have fought their attraction for many, many years. They have tried to get involved with other men, and even separation. Still whenever they are back around each other the heat they feel is explosive!

Connor feels like he is betraying the Bryant family. They took him in, fought for him and made him a member of their founding family. When he finally gets to the stage where he can no longer deny his desire for Micah, Connor discovers he has a nephew who seems to be going through everything Connor did at his age. Suddenly declaring his love for Micah gets moved to the back burner.

Micah on the other hand is ready to go ballistic. He knows his family will accept him, and he knows that him and Connor being together in front of Moses will shake things up, but it won’t be irreparable.

This is a great read, with ideas that make you think, hot sex that make you steam and a happy ending that will make you smile!

5 of 5 stars

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