Release Day Review: Familiar Demon By Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/familiar-demon-by-amy-lane-10187-b

Blurb
Familiar Love: Book Two
For over a century, Edward Youngblood has been the logical one in a family of temperamental magical beings. But reason has not made him immune to passion, and Edward’s passion for Mullins, the family’s demon instructor, has only grown.
Mullins was lured into hell through desperation—and a fatal mistake. He’s done his best to hang onto his soul in the twisted realm of the underworld, and serving the Youngblood family when summoned has been his only joy. Edward concocts a plan to spring Mullins by collecting a series of items to perform an ancient ritual—an idea that terrifies Mullins. He can’t bear the thought of losing Edward and his brothers to a dangerous quest.
But every item in their collection is an adventure in brotherhood and magic, and as Mullins watches from the sidelines, he becomes more and more hopeful that they will succeed. When the time comes for Mullins to join the mission, can he find enough faith and hope to redeem himself and allow himself happiness in the arms of a man who would literally go to hell and back—and beyond—to have Mullins by his side?

Review by Mary

When I started Familiar Demon I wondered if I should have read (or listened) to Familiar Angel first but its not necessary. It became clear as I continued that everything was to be explained. Although I think I will listen to it because I liked the characters.

This is the story of Mullins a demon and Edward a familiar. Their friendship and love has spanned more than a century. There are a lot of twists and turns involving gods and elves and all manner of other mystical creatures. Which gives the story a good pace. During the search for ingredients needed in the spell to free him Mullins tells his story. Explaining to Edward how he ended up in Hell and it only endears him further.

With the help of his family Edward manages to gather almost everything he needs to release Mullins from Hell. Into this story comes characters from some earlier books set on Greens Hill, the Little Goddess Series, and they form a key part of the story. I am tempted to look into them.

There are some aspects that didn’t seem clear but maybe they are destined to be explained in the next book. I wouldn’t say this is one of my favourite books by Amy Lane but is different and if you like fantasy it might be right up your street.

 

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

I bet I’m going to be in the minority again. Sigh.

This was just too complex for me. I had such a hard time understanding what was going on with all the Green’s Hill people and the “sphincters of hell” kept bringing me out of the story. I also did not understand the Other at all and the end result was this hodge podge of fantasy that just didn’t make me feel like I was as “in” the story as I wanted to be.

I adore those 3 boys. I loved the Angel story from book 1 and by comparison I was underwhelmed with the connection between Edward and Mullins.

There was just too much going on and I’m sad to say this just didn’t work for me as well as many of Amy’s other books did.

Now, that being said, it was still an Amy story – so parts of it were still really good – but parts of it felt discombobulated and rushed – but that could just be me. I have read the Green’s Hill stuff – once – awhile ago – and maybe if it was fresher in my mind – but I didn’t care for it – one of the MCs dies! – and it wasn’t one of Amy’s best – IMHO.

So – for fans of Amy, for fans of her Green Hill, and for fans of Familiar Angel this will definitely be a must read – but if you aren’t in one of those categories you might be terribly confused.

3 of 5 stars



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Audiobook: The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster, narrated by Seb Yarrick

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-missing-ingredient-by-brian-lancaster-9738-b

Blurb: It can take losing everything to realize what you had all along.
Up-and-coming London chef Marcus Vine is poised on the edge of success, but the only men courting him are investors. That leaves Marcus with some free time—which is fortunate, because his godchildren need him.

A year ago, a horrible accident killed Marcus’s best friend, Raine, leaving her children without a mother and her husband, Tom, without a partner. Consumed by grief, Tom has been going it alone, refusing help, but when Marcus sees him out with the children, it’s obvious that Tom and his two daughters need someone. His persistent caring finally wears Tom down, allowing him to accept the comfort Marcus offers. Soon Marcus is up to his elbows in homework, home-cooked meals, and after-school activities. Over time he helps them rebuild their world, until soon their lives are approaching normal.
Then the unexpected happens: Tom confesses he has romantic feelings for Marcus, and nothing can ever be the same.

Review:

Story 4 out of 5: Marcus, a successful chef is still reeling from the death of his best friend, Raine.
Raine left behind, Tom and their 2 children; all of whom are trying their best to cope with life without her when Marcus reconnects with the family. Marcus starts to help Tom with the day to day running of Tom’s house and his old attraction (to Tom) begins to grow again. Tom for his part, is beginning to see Marcus as more than a godfather/friend helping out; he’s beginning to feel an attraction as well.
This is the first time that Tom has non-platonic experienced feelings for any man and at first, he seems OK with it. Then he starts to second guess himself, he wonders what others will think, so he pushes Marcus away. The latter is understandably hurt, but he lets Tom figure it out and eventually, they do get their HEA.
The story is well written, with memorable characters – I really enjoyed the story, and hope to read more by this author.

Narration 4 out of 5: I quite enjoyed Seb Yarrick’s narration. He had a down to earth tone and he was good with the accents (I was pleased at how made Marcus’s Nigerian-born assistant sound ☺).
His pacing was good, giving a solid performance. I would definitely look for more of his narrations.

Overall: 4 stars out of 5


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Recent Release: Vampire’s Determined Mate by Alice Cain

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43783897-vampire-s-determined-mate?from_search=true

Blurb

Dominic has lived more centuries than he cares to count. He’s seen empires rise and fall, watched humanity grow and evolve and explode into war time and time again. He’s seen the best and the worst that the world has to give, but the past century has been the hardest.

Faced with an unknown illness, Dominic is running out of time to reconcile with his sentinels—the werewolves he considers his sons—but getting sidetracked by his deliciously sexy neighbor for a few years won’t hurt. He believes that excuse right up to the moment his empathic link to one of his sentinels goes haywire.

Pierce didn’t mean to fall for the sweet, much younger man across the hall, but he sure isn’t going to say no to their developing relationship when Dominic is the one seducing him.

Yet when the young man disappears, tracking Dominic by his cellphone might just be the weirdest experience of Pierce’s life. Can a human with an adult daughter, a responsible job, and a secret kink for biting really be dating a vampire?

Surely Dominic’s belief in the supernatural is simply a personality quirk…because there’s absolutely no way vampires and werewolves can exist. Right?

Review

Ugh! Remember how glowing I was about book 1? Well – this was very disappointing. First, it’s only a little about Dominic the rest is the folks from book 1 – which is fine but we really get almost none of Dominic’s romance and that’s very disappointing.

Also there is a huge plot hole in how Dominic blurts out his Vampire status.

Plus even now that I am done I don’t know why he was sick – so if it was explained it didn’t stand out.

Also the side story of Mac is now officially convoluted and all the lovely simplicity and thoroughness I was excited about in book one has gone. This book is too short for all the twists and turns and it did not make me very happy.

Also who picked the cover? It’s about a millennia old vampire or a 42 year old human – the colors, the model, the pose – all wrong.

2.75 rounded to 3 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: The Dragon Boss by Anna Wineheart ; Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Blurb

What happens when you send an accidental dick pic with your resume?
On the run from dark-web criminals, Lucian Bolt has given up on a permanent safe place – all he needs is a temporary one, so he can earn some quick cash and run again. Better to flee than linger in the truth: Because of his electronic whispering abilities, his family has been murdered. A person like him doesn’t deserve happiness.
Then Lucian meets Knox, and things change.
As the boss of Whole Fish Seafoods, Knox has everything – except a family. Fifty years ago, wolf-shifters murdered his mate and child. Believing himself a failure, Knox has sworn off taking another mate…until he meets the job applicant that stumbles into his office.
Lucian smells like wolves. Suspicious, Knox frisks him and plants his seed in Lucian. Only to find out a week later that Lucian’s not the non-magic human he claimed to be. And that Lucian is now pregnant… with a dragon child.
With Knox, Lucian glimpses what a happy future could be like. And with Lucian, Knox has someone to protect again. As the sparks between them grow, and as the dark tendrils of their pasts coil ever closer, can Lucian and Knox find their way to a future together?
The Dragon Boss is a stand-alone dragon-shifter novel with sentient shopping carts, a kraken, and a dragon who will not fail his mate. No cheating, no cliff-hangers, but there definitely is a happily ever after.

Review

On one hand this was really creative with a sort of “normalized” magic in society setting but there are still plenty of secrets.  I really thought the computer whisperer idea was fantastic and the “alive” shopping carts interesting.

On the other hand there some pretty big plot holes that kept me from loving this more.  The computer whisperer can’t figure out a way to get his dick pic back and he sent it in the first place.  Then the Dragon Boss doesn’t take precautions even though he knows the guy is magic.  And they sleep together right away and often despite not really liking one another and being in constant danger.  Then there is the kidnapping… that plot line made me crazy.

So… I did read all of it and was happy for the HEA – but I was bothered by these plot issues that kept this from being unique and well crafted.  I’d definitely take a look at the next book in the series.  Dragons are awesome and Lucian’s magic was cool.

Audio

John Solo is just not my favorite. He’s fine. He’s acceptable but I don’t enjoy him like I do some of the others. It might be just a personal thing.  He does a fair job of telling the story and it’s a nice way to enjoy this if you can’t read it.

Overall for both the story and the audio 3 of 5 stars.

 


Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Eye of the Beholder by M.D. Grimm

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/eye-of-the-beholder-by-md-grimm-10154-

Blurb
Is it better to risk it all… or never know what could have been?

After surviving an abusive childhood, Vulcan remade himself upon arriving in Los Angeles, California. He became a blacksmith for the paranormal community and strives to earn the respect of the vampire covens and werewolf packs that call LA home. He also prevents the pain of loss by keeping everyone at arm’s length.

But he never planned on meeting a former Roman soldier by the name of Marcus Cassius Vespillo. Something sparks between them and turns into a friendship he never considered possible. He can’t deny his intense attraction to the intelligent, courteous, ancient vampire. And it scares him.

Though Vulcan is wary of seeking more with Cassius, an attack leaves him at death’s door and forces him to reexamine his priorities. But Cassius has his own secret, one that promises tragedy and loss. And if that wasn’t enough, a slayer arrives in the States, one with a bloody connection to Cassius… and Vulcan himself

Review
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The world building is great. Only a few humans know that vampires, werewolves and gouls exist. Those who do work for them in someway. The story started by setting the scene for Vulcan then jumped forward. Cassius is a wonderful character. A very ancient vampire who falls madly in love with Vulcan. Theirs is a slow paced love story and it needs to be slow to get the most from the building romance. Due to his past Vulcan is hesitant to get involved with anyone let alone an ancient vampire. Running alongside the romance is a mystery one that climaxes just as Vulcan let’s Cassius past his defences. All in all I loved the new take on this trope. The epilogue is a wonderful ending.

4 of stars out of 5


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Audiobook: Don’t let Go by Andrew Grey; Narrated by Jeff Gelder

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-let-go-by-andrew-grey-9792-

Blurb
Avery Rivers is a country music sensation, selling records by the millions and playing to sold-out crowds. But behind that persona is Robert, a burned-out musician cracking under the pressure. He’s unable to write any new songs, and he wants out of the business—at least for a while. He changes his appearance and finds honest, hard work in Jackson, Wyoming. Maybe getting to be a regular guy for a while will get him past his block.

Hy Whitely was a championship bull rider until he watched his best friend thrown in the arena and decided the rodeo circuit was no longer the place for him. He wants to be plain old Zeke for a while, and when he returns to his family ranch, he bumps right into Robert—a one-night stand from his last rodeo appearance who is now working there as a ranch hand.

The heat between the men could sear the grass off the range, but each one is hiding a secret. Robert and Zeke, the men behind the public images, fall in love, but can they hold on when Avery and Hy are pulled back into the spotlight

Review
I remember reviewing the book when it came out and saying how much I enjoyed it. Well that hasn’t diminished at all. I love the concept of two people who both had secret identities, neither realising the other is someone famous. Both of them living in the moment enjoying each other’s company. Both Zeke (Hy) and Robert (Avery) have reached a turning point in their life and need to make a decision. Although it does seem in their heart they already knew what they wanted it just took meeting each other to make it happen. Their idyllic life is put in jeopardy when Robert is identified as Avery but the family and friends rally round to protect him.
I’m not completely sold on Jeff Gelder’s narration. To me it sounds flat and not paced very well. He does provide some level of characterisation that suits the characters making them distinct. The story kept me listening though.

4 of stars out of 5 for the story
3 of stars out of 5 for the narration
Overall 3.5 stars


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Recent Release: The Case of the Voracious Vintner (The Middlemark Mysteries #2) by Tara Lain

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-case-of-the-voracious-vintner-by-tara-lain-10132-b

Blurb
Where Bo Marchand comes from, gay men are just confirmed bachelors who never found the right girl. But now Bo’s a successful winemaker on the central coast of California, supporting his whole damned Georgia family, and all he really wants is the beautiful, slightly mysterious Jeremy Aames.

Jeremy’s vineyard is under threat from Ernest Ottersen, the voracious winemaker who seems to know all Jeremy’s blending secrets and manages to grab all his customers. Bo tries to help Jeremy and even provides a phony alibi for Jeremy when Ottersen turns up dead in Jeremy’s tasting room. But it’s clear Jeremy isn’t who he claims, and Bo must decide if it’s worth tossing over his established life for a man who doesn’t seem to trust anyone. When Jeremy gets kidnapped, some of the conservative winemakers turn out to be kinky sex fiends, and the list of murderers keeps dwindling down to Jeremy. Bo has to choose between hopping on his white horse or climbing back in his peach-pie-lined closet.

Review
The first book in the series was very nice and I was looking forward to reading this one, but I have to say I had a hard time reading it. A big part of the book, around 25-60% dragged out too much for me, I kept losing interest and deviating to other books because I was just bored. I think the most annoying thing was that I could tell what was behind the mystery, and the clues were very obvious. The characters, including Llewellyn and Blaise from book #1 were frustratingly clueless and it was too hard for me not want the plot to just get on with it. The last 35% or so are much more interesting, but most of the book could not hold me in suspense.

The couple is funny, their romance, while a bit cliché, was amusing and I liked how well wine making was incorporated into the book. Yet I can only give it 2.5 stars because it was so hard to finish and could not keep my interest for long.

Number of stars out of 5
2.5


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Release Day Review: Educating the Professor by Sean Michael

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/educating-the-professor-by-sean-michael-10150-b

Blurb

Kenneth Brannigan is a small-town history professor. He’s happy with his life, loves the classes he teaches, and lives in a tiny apartment in a converted house with his best friend, Tim, next door. He’s still recovering from a bad breakup and is content to stick to his comfortable routine. It’s Tim who insists he come to the Queer Alliance’s Rainbow Mixer.

At the mixer, Kenn meets David Burgundy, a new-to-town TA who is working on his masters. Dave is drawn immediately to Kenn and is thrilled when Kenn offers to show him the best pizza place in town. One meal leads to two, which leads to Dave and Kenn spending most of their free time together… and Kenn loosening his self-imposed rules regarding dating and sex for some kinky fun.

Kenn’s ex isn’t going to just let Kenn be, though, and the happier Kenn is with Dave, the less the ex likes it. Will Kenn continue to run away from his past, or will his relationship with Dave help him face it head-on?

Review

This was a cute and sweetly kinky romance story. I thought it would have a bit of a May-December vibe going, because one MC is a professor and the other a TA, but both characters are more or less the same age and interestingly enough it wasn’t the professor dictating the rules in the relationship. Role-reversals like that are like catnip to me, loved that.

Kenn and Dave are drawn to each other from the first, but Kenn has secrets he doesn’t think he can share with his new friend/lover. So he tries to keep his distance and protect both their hearts, but he’s no match for Dave’s gentle persistence and understanding. To say nothing of the startling chemistry they share.
Kenn has a truly awful ex that doesn’t seem to know how to stay in the past where he belongs. It was great to see Kenn, eventually, stand up to that controlling jerk though. The BDSM part of the story certainly added spice, though it remains more on the level of their playing the occasional scene together rather than a 24/7 D/s lifestyle romance.

Definitely an enjoyable read.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Coming Soon! Hexhunter (Hexworld #4) by Jordan L. Hawk

Feb 8!

Good reads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43532383-hexhunter?from_search=true

Blurb

Detective Bill Quigley fell in love with the familiar Isaac the night they met. But after more than two years, it’s time to admit to himself that Isaac doesn’t return his feelings.

Isaac knows he’s too broken by his experiences for anyone to fall in love with. Especially someone like Bill, who deserves a partner unplagued by Isaac’s nightmares and doubts.

When children go missing from an orphanage, Bill and Isaac must work together to find them. And as years of yearning threaten to ignite into passion, they must decide once and for all whether to take a chance on love.

Review

Just as I’ve come to expect, Jordan Hawk brings us another amazing installment in her Hexworld series!

What I love about this series is how clearly she brings to life the flavor, sounds, colors of her world with her words. Having listened to Tristan James’ narration of her characters helps – of course – but honestly – she does such a terrific job of painting the picture that it’s like being in a painting or watching a movie as I read.

The mystery is exciting but doesn’t overshadow the romance and the new “twist” we see here between Bill and Isaac is lovely and just as rewarding as the previous MCs in the series.

Highly recommended and I can’t wait to listen to this as well!

5 of 5 stars!


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Audiobook: A Fool and his Manny by Amy Lane Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-fool-and-his-manny-by-amy-lane-9714-b

Blurb

Seeing the truth and falling in love.
Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan’s friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.
At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

Review

I adored this couple! I loved the idea of the younger guy who falls for his “nanny” but ends up getting him! He was just the right amount of contrite and then bossy to really flip all my switches and he felt authentic to me.

The romance moved at a very low angst, steady pace and I loved seeing all the familiar faces. While this is definitely a good standalone, it’s better if you’ve read the others before it.

Watching Dusty move from kid through to adult was just right, too. Enough of the kid stuff for him to feel “real” but not so much that it was weird seeing him as an adult.

If you’re a fan of the author, the series or “mannies” this is for you! If you’re in the mood for a sweet “coming of age” book – I think this is wonderful for that purpose, too.

As for the upcoming audio: I don’t want this to sound like John Solo isn’t good – he is! – but I sure do wish we could have Nick Russo or Gomez for this series as well – I’d love that so much!

5 of 5 stars

Audio

I guess Dreamspinner must have a contract for this series because Amy’s usual taste in audiobook narrators doesn’t seem to be able to continue here.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Kenneth Obi does a perfectly fine job – I just love her choices for her other books a lot more.

In the end, he was easy to listen to and does a nice job with timing, characters and emphasis.

3.5 of 5 for the audio

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review