Release Day Review: Bad to the Bone by Nicki Bennett

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-to-the-bone-by-nicki-bennett-9442-b

Blurb

A second chance at first love—if he has the courage to take it.
Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again.
Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom.
But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.

Review

While I don’t usually like “second chance” books, I really enjoyed this one.

This was very heart-felt, with a real-ish type setting but enough “fantasy” elements to make it feel a bit like Cinderella.

I loved the added touches of making Ricky Native American, as well as rich. The “bad guys” were super bad and I definitely felt like I was reading an old timey romance – with a gay twist!

I thought Alex and Ricky Lee had great chemistry and their story was mostly sweet and little hot. I loved Sam – especially the end scene!

Overall this was exactly what you’d expect for the genre, well-written and a quick sweet read.

3.75 of 5 stars

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Time to Laugh: Somebody Killed His Editor Audiobook by Josh Lanyon Narrated by Kevin R. Free

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Somebody-Killed-His-Editor-Audiobook/B00B29YVJ4?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_11&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=TP4H6VXN8VT08ZQ7M5QD&

Blurb
For sixteen years reclusive mystery writer Christopher (Kit) Holmes enjoyed a very successful career, thanks to the popularity of elderly spinster sleuth, Miss Butterwith, and her ingenious cat, Mr. Pinkerton. But sales are down in everything but chick lit, and Christopher’s new editor doesn’t like geriatric gumshoes. It’s a pink, pink world for Mr. Holmes.

At the urging of his agent, Christopher reluctantly agrees to attend a mystery writers’ conference at a remote Northern California winery. But no sooner does he arrive than he discovers the pajama-clad body of a woman in the woods. If nearly two decades of mystery-writing are anything to go by, the woman doesn’t appear to have died a natural death.

With a storm in full force and a washed-out bridge making it impossible for law enforcement to come to the rescue, it’s practically like all those classic murder mysteries in isolated country manors that Christopher has been penning for sixteen years! If only Miss Butterwith was on hand. Or even Mr. Pinkerton

Review

There is a lot of situational humour in this story. We first meet Christopher stuck in a storm getting soaked in his new designer clothes to improve his image, on his way to meet an editor and stumbles across a body. For the length of the book, told from Christopher’s point of view, he is stuck on a literary retreat with a number of other crime/mystery writers. To make matters worse he doesn’t want to be there. The irony of his situation is very amusing. Not to mention Christopher’s droll sense of humour. I liked how his prickly relationship with J.X, they go so hot and cold and the miscommunications between them had me longing for some frank discussions but that would’ve spoiled the tension.
I liked Kevin R. Free’s narration. He gave me a great sense of sarcastic Christopher and exasperated but amused JX. The large cast of secondary characters were also handled really well. Each with their own unique characteristics coming through. I liked it so much I downloaded the second two books straight away.

5 of stars out of 5

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Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Release: Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker

Chasing Rainbows Press LLC:
https://www.amazon.com/Second-Wind-Aimee-Nicole-Walker-ebook/dp/B079QKNW5L/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1519412275&sr=1-2&keywords=second+wind+aimee+walker&dpID=51dMu2nORZL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=src

Blurb
Second wind: a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort. After an amicable divorce, Lincoln Huxley is ready to embrace the sexuality he repressed for more than two decades. Rush Holden is no longer willing to settle for closeted men or those who don’t share his dreams of marriage and fatherhood. A chance encounter on a lakeside pier is the second wind they both need. Or will it just be a painful reminder of all they had lost?

Second chance: an opportunity to try something again that failed one time. Rush and Lincoln have shared a lot of firsts—friendship, young love, and heartbreak. Cruel reality forced the two men to choose paths that took their lives in different directions. Twenty-six years later, they get a second chance to fall in love with each all over again. Can it really be that simple, or will the same issues ruin their happiness a second time?

Happily ever after: to live happily for the rest of one’s life. Rush and Lincoln know that love and life can’t be defined by words alone. Patience, commitment, and the determination to do whatever it takes will be the only way the two men achieve their happily ever after.

Review
We meet Rush and Lincoln when they are going through difficult times in their current relationships. During this time both of them recall events during their childhood when they were friends and were each other’s first love. This sets the scene perfectly for me. I understood the struggles and longings both of them were going through. So when they actually do meet again falling in love and lust felt so natural in the story. Such a beautiful twist of fate and timing. Lincoln has finally accepted who he is and Rush has learned from past mistakes. They both needed to be at this point in their lives for their second chance to be their forever. This is the kind of story that made me wonder where it was going whilst reading and sigh with content at the end. Aimee Nicole Walker I applaud you for such a wonderfully written story.

4.5 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends to Lovers: Men of Smithfield: Mark and Tony Audiobook by LB Gregg Narrated by Shannon Gunn

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Men-of-Smithfield-Mark-and-Tony-Audiobook/B008LUTE9E?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=ZNDG8G4NS9NXG19XGX9S

Blurb
“Coming home from work to find my boyfriend banging our hairy, married landlord – in our bed – was bad enough. Discovering Jamie had also cleaned out my bank accounts made it officially the worst day of my life. I think I can be forgiven for wanting revenge, even if a few little laws (and possibly Jamie’s nose) got bent in the process.

“Fortunately, the law is on my side in the form of my oldest friend, Tony Gervase. I’ve tried to deny my attraction to the sexy trooper for years. After all, he made it clear long ago that he wasn’t interested in me that way. But if the hot encounter in his kitchen is any indication, he is now. At least the day is ending a whole lot better than it began….

“But the morning after, the Jamie situation goes from bad to seriously messed up. The jerk’s in more trouble than I could have imagined. And as it turns out, I don’t know Tony as well as I thought I did, either.

Review
This book started at a pace and kept right on going. Mark finds his partner Jamie cheating on him and that he has cleared his bank accounts, so he seeks revenge. Oh boy does he take revenge. The only problem is by acting on impulse he could get himself into trouble. Mark turns to long time friend Tony who tries to talk sense into him. You can feel the attraction between Mark and Tony sizzle, Shannon Gunn portrays this excellently. The confrontations between Mark and Jamie are relayed perfectly. Shannon Gunn puts so much emotion into his narration it feels like I’m there watching it all unfold. I must admit I really wasn’t expecting the story to unravel the way it did and all in a matter of 48 hours.
In amongst the wreckage of Mark and Jamie’s relationship Tony finally tells Mark he’s been waiting for him. All the time Mark has thought Tony wasn’t interested. When they get together it is so so hot. I liked it so much I got the other audiobooks. Let’s see if LB Gregg and Shannon Gunn continue to be as good.

4 of stars out of 5

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Purchased for review

 

 

 

Enemies to Lovers: Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35907068-poke-check

Blurb

One scorching summer in each other’s arms could never be enough.

Stanislav “Stan” Lyamin is happy playing for the Railers. The towering goalie is well-loved, respected, and making a home for himself even though that home only contains him, his cat, and his growing Pokemon trading card collection. Stan prefers it that way. He’d given his heart to a man in a secret affair, and that man walked away, leaving Stan shattered. Now Erik is back in his life, and he has the same tumultuous effect he had on Stan’s heart as before. This time it’s not just a kissable mouth and sweet blond curls that Erik has brought to Harrisburg, there’s a soon-to-be ex-wife and a precious baby. Despite the vow Stan made to hate Erik forever, he’s now finding it harder and harder to turn away.

Erik Gunnarsson’s dream had always been to play in the NHL, he just never imagined he’d land a contract with the Railers. Who would have thought that fate would put him on the same team as Stanislav Lyamin; the man whose heart he’d callously broken?

Secrets and lies had defined their summer relationship, and the choice that Erik made to end it all haunts him still. In the middle of a messy divorce and with a baby in tow, Erik finds himself back in Stan’s life. Now all he has to do is be the best dad he can be, prove to the team that he deserves the chance to stay on the roster and try his hardest to get Stan to forgive him. Is it possible to persuade a man who hates you to give love a second chance?

 

Review

 I thought this was adorable!

Stan is one of my favorite characters – not just in this series – but in general! He’s so sweet, and funny, and sincere!

I kinda wanted Erik to have to work harder for Stan’s forgiveness but I think that’s just Stan, too.

There is a lot of internal dithering in this that probably doesn’t need to be there, but I appreciated the insight into Stan’s mind.

This was really funny as well as super sweet and the smexy times were great, too!

I wanted a bit more hockey and a bit less angst, but it was still a great addition to the series and is probably tied with first for me as my favorite so far!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

The Hockey Player’s Heart (Hockey Hearts #1) by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-hockey-players-heart-by-jeff-adams-and-will-knauss-9211-b

Blurb

When hockey star Caleb Carter returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, the only thing he’s interested in is a little R & R. He never expects to run into his onetime crush at a grade school fund-raiser . Seeing Aaron Price hits him hard, like being checked into the boards. The attraction is still there, even after all these years, and Caleb decides to make a play for the schoolteacher. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, right?

Aaron has been burned by love before and can’t imagine what a celebrity like Caleb could possibly see in a guy like him. Their differences are just too great. But as Aaron spends more time with Caleb, he begins to wonder if he might have what it takes to win the hockey player’s heart.

Review

This was a nice friends to lovers romance. I wasn’t ever really capitivated by their chemistry and I wish we’d gotten more of a glimpse of the angst from childhood.

I felt that Aaron wasn’t reliably making sense given how obvious Caleb seems to be pursuing him.

It was easy to read and the writing was good.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Tea or Consequences by KC Burn Narrated by Darcy Stark

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tea-or-consequences-by-kc-burn-8882-

Blurb
Riley Parker: temp, twink, geek… sleuth?

Maybe Riley isn’t living up to his full potential, but being a temp executive assistant suits him. He’s never bored at work, he’s got friends who let him geek out, and he’s got a carefully crafted twink exterior… which might be getting constrictive now that he’s on the other side of thirty. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s comfortable.

It all unravels when he takes a job working for a tea-obsessed cosmetics queen, the owner of Gautier Cosmetics. During the launch party for a new product, Riley finds his boss dead under suspicious circumstances, and the homicide detective is none other than Tadeo Martin, Riley’s high school obsession who never knew he was alive.

Tad drafts Riley to get the scoop on the inner workings of Gautier, and for Riley, it’s like a drug. His natural inquisitiveness is rewarded with more and more Tad. Unfortunately, his snooping puts him in the running for two other roles: suspect and victim. The killer doesn’t care which

Review
In my opinion this is a murder mystery with a touch of romance. The story is told from Riley’s point of view and we get an idea of his mild dissatisfaction with his life. Not with his work but in that he would like a partner. The mystery is fairly good. I never guessed who the culprit was or how the deed was actually done. So in that respect I absolutely enjoyed the story. The romance between Riley and Tad was a little more frustrating. It felt like Tad was using Riley. Not only for his information about Gautier but for a bit of relief. Although the way Tad romanced Riley was sweet. Meeting for breakfast or dinner and conversation. There is plenty of kissing and a bit of heat. Riley’s dream come true after crushing on Tad during high school.There was a side story of Riley’s relationship with his brother which I found distracting. I wanted more from it but it didn’t really have any bearing on either the murder mystery or the romance. This is a nice low angst story with a good mystery aspect.

I’ve not listened to anything narrated by Darcy Star before. He has a good smooth voice and I liked his characterisation of Riley and the slightly more gruff sounding Tad. I also liked the way he portrayed Riley’s friend Alisha and Madam Gautier. He gave the book the right atmosphere. Overall I enjoyed this audiobook and the way it was narrated by Darcy Star.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relay (Changing Lanes #1) by Layla Reyne

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/relay

Blurb

Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.

Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.

Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.

Review

There were things I loved and some things I didn’t care for with this story.

Loved:

The Ginger.

Alex.
The Olympics.
Swimming.
The team.
The chemistry between Alex and Dane.
Alex’s family.
How Dane handled his family in the end.

Not so much:
I’m not a fan of “second chance” stories because I miss that initial “spark.” I thought Dane was very immature and I’m not sure Alex was wise in getting back together with him. (Of course it pays out later in the story – but Dane didn’t do enough to regain his trust at first -IMHO.)

I can’t wait for the audio – I’m really hoping it’s someone who can do all the accents!

I’m really looking forward to the next installment!

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Holidays: Ghostwriter of Christmas Past (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by T.A. Moore

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Ever since ghostwriter Jason Burke ended up in loco parentis for his orphaned niece, Mallory, he’s been trying. He goes to parent/teacher events, and he makes packed lunches, so he definitely didn’t mean to forget about Christmas. He just hasn’t celebrated it since he left home under a cloud years ago.
Put on the spot, Jason makes the snap decision to take Mallory to see where he and her father spent their Christmases as kids. The last thing he expects is to run into Tommy, his ex—ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend—who is still living in town… and working as a sheriff’s deputy.
It’s hard to avoid someone in a small town—and maybe Jason doesn’t want to. He got Mallory a Christmas, and maybe now it’s time to get himself a Christmas boyfriend. But first, he owes Tommy some explanations.

Review
When I finished reading this story my immediate thought was that this could make a good novel. Don’t get me wrong it is a solid short story with just enough background to keep me happy but it could easily be a lot more. I’m not certain if I felt any sympathy or empathy for Jason. I certainly did for his Niece Mallory. It’s very clear Jason is out of his depth caring for Mallory when both of them are still grieving. And that might be why he decided to take her back to where he and her dad grew up. I liked Tommy, he’s the strong dependable one, just what Jason and Mallory need to give them some stability. The only thing is that we as the reader get an idea of why Jason had to leave home at eighteen but I don’t think he ever really explained it to Tommy. I loved the ending, gave me a contented sigh. This is a good short story full of homecoming forgiveness and new starts. Personally I would like more.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Holidays: A Timely Gift (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Kris T. Bethke

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing….
On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch that he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic working after all.
Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime—if they’re willing to accept it.

Review
This is a lovely story. Fate (or Grandpa’s magic) has given Rory and Deacon a second chance at love. I loved how Rory wants to think the pocket watch is influencing each moment but dismisses it only to finally accept a little solstice magic has helped things along. I love the Christmas films and stories where there is a little touch of magic. Makes you believe anything is possible. Rory and Deacon make a lovely couple and deserve their happy ending.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review