Recent Release: From Brussels, With Love by Amy Calirel

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/from-brussels-with-love-by-emy-calirel-10834-b

Blurb

Dispirited after a recent breakup, Irish project manager Trevor is guilted into a trip to Brussels with his best friend. A chance meeting with cute and funny tour guide Jerome turns into a weekend of sex and friendship. Forgetting his phone at Jerome’s apartment shifts their fling into a long-distance relationship held together by postcards, texts, and stolen weekends. But distance isn’t the only thing keeping them apart—Trevor is a workaholic who values his success, while artistic Jerome is carefree but insecure.

Starting a life together means facing major challenges, but the loving words they’ve shared build a bridge across the sea—one that might let them meet in the middle.

Review

This was an okay read, but I think both the characters and the plot could have been a little better developed. I didn’t feel the magic between the MC’s and their romance fell a bit flat for me. A couple of weekends don’t a relationship make. Their annoyances and differences are glossed over, allowed to fester and throw a wrench into things at far too late a stage in the story. Some of the writing also felt too over the top, with overly dramatic, cliché plots and reactions from the MC’s and even sometimes from the secondary characters.

I’m from Belgium so I was curious to see how the author would incorporate Brussels/Belgium into the story, but unfortunately I didn’t get much of a Belgian feel from either the setting or the Belgian characters, apart from a little name-dropping of touristy places and a little bit of French thrown in. The setting didn’t feel authentic to me.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Game Changer (Game Changers #1) by Rachel Reid Narrated by Tor Thom

audiobookreview

Audible:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Game-Changer-Audiobook/1541431626?qid=1572134542&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=7TJ5WG0S76CGPFKH47C1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb

New York Admirals captain Scott Hunter takes his pregame rituals very seriously. In this case, it’s not just a lucky smoothie he’s craving—it’s the man who made it.

Pro hockey star Scott Hunter knows a good thing when he sees it. So, when a smoothie made by juice bar barista Kip Grady precedes Scott breaking his on-ice slump, he’s desperate to recreate the magic…and to get to know the sexy, funny guy behind the counter.

Kip knew there was more to Scott’s frequent visits than blended fruit, but he never let himself imagine being invited back to Scott’s penthouse. Or kissed with reckless abandon, never mind touched everywhere all at once. When it happens it’s red-hot, incredible and frequent, but also only on Scott’s terms and always behind his closed apartment doors.

Scott needs Kip in his life, but with playoff season approaching, the spotlight on him is suddenly brighter than ever. He can’t afford to do anything that might derail his career…like introducing the world to his boyfriend. Kip is ready to go all-in with Scott—but how much longer will he have to remain a secret?

Review

First I want to say “How did I miss this when it first came out????”
I’m a huge hockey fan and I’ll tell you I get really annoyed when authors don’t know the sport or do a crummy job integrating the sport with the romance.

Rachel Reid does neither.

I read book 2 first, because that’s what I’d requested but I immediately turned around and read this because it was that good!

I can’t say if this one or that one is better because they are so different.

In this we have a “good boy” but closeted and another pretty “good boy” but out who meet. Kip has no real knowledge of hockey and doesn’t even recognize Scott as the star he is.

The author does a terrific job of giving us the regular NHL cities with probable NHL teams with different names. It allows her to lean on our own knowledge of the city and the fan base and the experience without having to infringe on rights or create an alternate world.

I was very impressed by this and her knowledge of the sport.

The romance is really sweet with some smokin’ hot smexy times and the sweetest HEA ever!

I really can’t say enough about this!

If you like Cinderfella stories, hockey, sports romances, coming out stories and sweet love stories – this is for you!

 

Audio

 

Tor Thom did a fantastic job with this.  He has a lovely deep voice and really tries hard to give all the characters a unique voice to match their persona.  He’s a relatively new narrator (to me) but I’ll definitely keep him on my radar for the future!  Recommended!

5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: First Impressions by Jay Hogan

Dreamspinner

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/first-impressions-by-jay-hogan-10864-b

Blurb:
Auckland Med.: Book One
Michael:

Two years ago I made a mistake—a big one. Then I added a couple more just for good measure. I screwed up my life, but I survived. Now I have the opportunity for a fresh start. Two years in NZ. Away from the LA gossip, a chance to breathe, to rebuild my life. But I’m taking my new set of rules with me.

I don’t do relationships.
I don’t do commitment.
I don’t do white picket fences.

And I especially don’t do arrogant, holier-than-thou, smoking-hot K9 officers who walk into my ER and rock my world.

Josh:

One thing’s for certain: Dr. Michael Oliver is an arrogant, untrustworthy player, and I barely survived the last one of those. He might be gorgeous, but my daughter takes number-one priority. I won’t risk her being hurt again. I’m a solo dad, a K9 cop, and a son to pain-in-the-arse parents.

I don’t have time for games.

I don’t have time for taking chances. I don’t have time for more complications in my life.
And I sure as hell don’t have time for the infuriating Dr. Michael Oliver, however damn sexy he is

Review

Enjoyable enemies-to-lovers story with a bit of suspense.
Josh is a policeman with a young daughter. He’s estranged from his family except for his sister. Michael is a trauma doctor who seems to be under a bit of stress.
Both men are polar opposites – Josh is the relationship type, Michael, not so much. The first few times they meet, they are definitely not impressed with each other. Josh comes off as an arrogant, somewhat judgy person, Michael decides he’s going to needle Josh any way he can.
Their relationship evolves from antagonistic to a more passionate relationship, especially when each man decides to accept the other as is. There is a bit of a separation (which I didn’t like – hate the non-communication plot).
The other supporting characters, including Josh’s daughter are also well written.
The crime/mystery sub-plot is interesting – we get to see another side to New Zealand that’s not shown on travel shows ☺ Throw in Josh’s homophobic family and there is more than enough to keep one engaged in the story.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Savage Bite (Shifter Kings #2) by Aja Foxx

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48137460-savage-bite?from_search=true

 

Blurb

Greyson Bailey had followed Shifter King Montgomery Beck for years. He stood by his side through thick and thin, fought numerous battles with him, and was even there when the man eventually claimed his omega after twenty-five years of waiting for him. Greyson just wished he could find a bit of that happiness of his own.

When he’s sent to oversee the omegas at the monastery where Fagan grew up, he finds more trouble than a simple shifter, even a warrior like himself, can handle. He wakes up wounded in an alley with no idea how he got there, who had shot him, or why the omega kneeling next to him smells so damn alluring.

Davan has spent his entire life in a monastery being trained to serve whatever master he was given to. He learned every fighting skill he could, not to protect his master, but to protect himself. He had no intention of spending his life serving someone he didn’t know.

The man he saved and dragged to the alley is a different story. Davan desperately wants to get to know him better, but the people who hurt Greyson have other ideas. Chased through the streets of the city, Davan and Greyson have to fight for their future. Together they just might have a chance at happiness.

Review

I enjoyed this. It was a good sequel.
If you enjoyed book 1 you’ll enjoy following up on Greyson whom we met in book 1.

There wasn’t a whole lot different from the first book , but I did appreciate learning a bit more about this world and seeing the slightly different aspects Davan brought to the omega theme.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased For Review

 

Recent Release: Slow Birth by Leta Blake (Heat of Love book 2.5)

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47898759-slow-birth?from_search=true

Blurb

Jason and Vale are back in this side story set in the Heat of Love universe!

A romantic getaway turns dramatic when an unexpected heat descends on Vale, leaving Jason with no choice but to act. The resulting pregnancy is dangerous for Vale and terrifying for Jason, but with the help of friends and family, they choose to embrace their uncertain future. Together they find all the love, joy, and heat they need to guide them through!

While this story follows the characters from Slow Heat, it will be most enjoyable if read directly after Alpha Heat, as it takes place contemporaneously with that book.

Review
It was great reading Vale and Jason’s pregnancy story from their prospective, as in book #2 in the series they are already pregnant. This brings new light to the events that take place in Alpha Heat and has just the right amount of angst we are used to from Leta with the smoking hotness of Vale and Jason who will not be deterred by a growing belly.
Having gone through pregnancy and birth (almost 5 months ago) this novella struck a chord with me. It deals with very deep emotional changes brought on by pregnancy, and the physical ones too. I was moved at times and found myself echoing Vale and Jason’s fears and hopes. Birth is such a shock to the body, soul and relationship. Leta, while still keeping this an erotic romance full of heat, managed to capture some of the real-life essence of motherhood (or should I say Paterhood?) in their tale. I have always admired Leta’s writing, and if you like this series you will love this tale of hope, love and humanity in its most basic form.

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Surrender the Chase (Grizzly Rim #2) by Mia West

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47169173-surrender-the-chase?from_search=true

Blurb

Coming Oct 7, 2019: Expanded Novel Edition!

For wolf shifter Dmitri Sernov, life bites.

His late-night hunts leave him winded, the twelfth rewrite of his novel is crap, and his last good lay was five drafts ago. He’s staring down forty with a creative well as empty as his bed.

The last thing he needs is a beautiful, intimidating, obnoxious pup bent on exposing Dmitri’s underbelly…

…and everything else that’s gone soft.

Thierry Marrou has burned every bridge from Montréal to Juneau.

Once a prospect for Canada’s Olympic hockey team, he’s just been kicked off a piddling local squad in Nowhere, Alaska.

But one whiff of the silver wolf on the opposing bench was enough to confirm that the dreams drawing Thierry across a continent have a very real source.

Now all he has to do is convince Dmitri Sernov to be his alpha. Très simple, non?

SURRENDER THE CHASE is the 2nd standalone novel in the GRIZZLY RIM m/m shifter series. Lace up for pheromone-charged hockey, dirty French lessons, a grumpy hero who thinks he’s past his prime, and a pushy young hothead determined to prove him wrong.

 

Originally published in 2015 & 2016 as novellas, the GRIZZLY RIM novel editions have been extensively revised and expanded for republication in 2019.

Review
(Previous novella)

In book one we met this amazing little town in Alaska where some unique shifters and a few humans live. Dmitri is a wolf shifter with a reputation as a slut, but conversely he’s a bit of a lone-wolf, too. He’s older, a bit gruff, and if you get to know him, a lot insecure.

Thierry is a flighty, flirty, fast-playing hockey player who finds himself “compelled” by dreams to find a man, Dmitri. He trusts his gut above all else and his gut tells him he needs to meet Dmitri, but it doesn’t tell him what to do next.
At first, beyond the initial attraction, there is doubt on both sides. Dmitri can’t trust that this beautiful, young, stranger has been having dreams about him. Thierry is also not sure what to make of these dreams and though he finds Dmitri fascinating and sexy he doesn’t know if he can make himself stay put when clearly Dmitri is a stay-put kind of guy.

**

Mia is an amazing author! I absolutely adore this series! I reviewed the first book, Launch the Hunt here: http://kimichanexperience.com/launch-the-hunt-grizzly-rim-1-by-mia-west/

I couldn’t wait for book two and it was worth the wait!

Mia’s writing is so fluid and effortless (though I’m sure she’d say it takes work, if Dmitri is any example!) that the reading of this story is so easy. I was expecting a story similar to book one and got none of that, but it was not a disappointment at all. Dmitri and Thierry have a very different story to tell. They still have that element of magic that connects them, but at their core they have this very human relationship story first.

Dmitri is getting older and doubting his attractiveness and purpose in the world. Thierry is still young, but also has questions about his purpose and future. I LOVED that both Dmitri and Thierry called Thierry’s mom for advice! So. Funny! Her little side story is interesting in it’s own right and I’m wondering/hoping she becomes a continual secondary character.

The use of French and Thierry’s adamant, “I’m not French I’m Quebecois!” was wonderful. So beautiful and touching then funny and heart-warming at the same time.

My heart absolutely ached for both of these guys and I’m always impressed with shifter stories who use the animal part as much as the human part to create their characters and their motivations. It was hysterical that Thierry’s mom asked him about his fur and skin and was he hunting enough! So cute!

The smexy times are very sensuous but also REAL feeling and authentic. Dmitri is older and nervous and that shows!

I can’t wait for book 3, I loved this as much as book 1 and can’t recommend it enough.

(re-read and 2nd edition)

I can see that there were some additional scenes – more hockey, more parental involvement- maybe some more romance building?

All in all I think both the longer story and the novella are good and I couldn’t really say I appreciated a lot of difference.

I still enjoyed these two characters a lot and I guess I felt a little bit more of their HEA with the novel than the novella.

Recommended!

(I liked the original cover better 🙂   )

4.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: The Prince and His Bedeviled Bodyguard (Paranormal Princes #1) by Charlie Cochet

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48122504-the-prince-and-his-bedeviled-bodyguard?from_search=true

Blurb

Prince Owin

Being a fierce predator—not at all adorable, despite my graceful stature—the last thing I needed was a bodyguard. Especially a wolf shifter, whose presence alone was an insult to my princely principles. As Prince of the Ocelot Shifters, I prided myself on my infallible feline instincts, uncompromisable dignity, and flawless fashion sense. If having a canine follow me around at all times wasn’t bad enough, I now faced the most important moment of my entire life. The time had come to prove I was worthy of my crown. If only I could find a way to get rid of the pesky bodyguard.

Grimmwolf

When the King of All Shifters asked me to guard Prince Owin, I admit I had no idea what to expect. Cat shifters tend to be a little intense, not to mention kinda cranky. Owin was no exception, though he seemed crankier than most. Being his bodyguard was proving to be one of the greatest challenges of my life—but not nearly as great as convincing him there was something special between us. When Owin is faced with a perilous quest to prove his worth, I was determined to keep him safe, even if the same couldn’t be said of my heart.

Review

OMG I loved this so much! This reminded me so much of Charlie’s Soldati Prince (which I adored!)
It had that same humor, otherworldly flavor, adorkable characters, mild adventure and loads of magic!

The smexy times were hot and the romance developed at a lovely, sweet, pace.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Suckerpunch (Hockey Gods and Monsters #1) by Elyse Springer

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/suckerpunch-by-elyse-springer-10800-b

Blurb

A rookie goalie with a secret and a handsome yet hotheaded defenseman clash in the locker room and on the ice—but their shared desire to make the playoffs might help them move from enemies to lovers.

When the goalie for the Seattle Cascades hockey team is injured while drunk driving and Alex Fanning is recruited to take his place, Alex thinks his dream has come true. But to hold on to his hopes, he must keep his vampire heritage secret as the sport moves to ban Paranormals. The sexy but infuriating defenseman Sasha Petrov won’t make that easy. The injured goalie was his best friend, and he resents Alex’s presence—maybe even enough to use his bloodline against him.

Tensions mount, but the realization that there’s more to their feelings than animosity hits both men like a punch to the gut. Alex and Sasha’s newfound friendship promises passion, but a shocking betrayal could cost them all the ground they’ve gained

Review

This was so much fun! It was great hockey with lots of authentic information that illustrated the author’s knowledge of the sport. It had a compelling alt universe that demonstrated a layer of bigotry that can be used to illustrate any number of biases that are surely occurring in the sport (and in our nation).

The romance was so sweet – slow burn, full of miscommunication and sexual tension.

I loved the HEA and I really hope this is the beginning of a long series because I can’t wait to see more from this world!

Recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Bite (Anthology) by Clare London, Ruby Moone, Sue Brown, Joanna Chambers

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48272713-bite?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Vampires old and new, strong and sensual, with desires both predatory and protective. Their attraction is fierce and fascinating, and their love is eternal. We believe they deserve a very special kind of man—and their own happily ever after.
Four best-selling authors bring you their own take on the vampire lover’s story.

In Out of Time by Clare London, the ancient vampire Ambrus tries to protect Edward, a newly-turned young man, hoping to bring him comfort, acceptance of his fate, and eventually love.

In Christmas for a Vampire by Ruby Moone, grief-stricken vampire, Ellis Davenport, faces a miserable, lonely life when it seems the love of his life prefers death to eternity with him.

In A Tale Told in Darkness by Sue Brown, Lee comforts his lover with the tale of Brook, a vampire who falls for his neighbour Michael. When the young man is pursued by someone far more dangerous, only Brook can save him.

In Lamb to the Slaughter by Joanna Chambers, there is very little Lucien St. Villiers enjoys more than hunting for beautiful young men who are eager to learn all that Lucien has to teach them.

Review: Four well written, vampire-themed novellas in one collection.
Here are my thoughts about each story (in no particular order).

A Tale Told in Darkness (Sue Brown)
This is a story in a story. The main story, (with Lord Brook and Michael), has a bit of suspense, but a satisfying end. Brook, the vampire, meets his neighbour, Michael (human and is his fated mate). However, someone seems to be stalking Michael, and when he disappears, Brook has to find out who and why.
Nice little mystery here.

Lamb to the Slaughter (Joanna Chambers)
This was definitely a tale of the hunter being the hunted ☺
Lucien, our undead person, is a love/feed them and leave them creature. Until he meets Marcus, who gives him a run for his money. I enjoyed the twists in this story.

Christmas for a Vampire (Ruby Moone)
This story was a bit sad. Set during the winter holidays, Ellis is heartbroken that his lover, Quinn doesn’t want the same things he does. The holidays remind Ellis of his lost love. Liked the story overall.

Out of Time (Clare London)
Younger Edward as not had an easy life (or afterlife after being turned). Ambrus, an older vampire offers to help Edward. Ambrus travels through time, not forming any connections with anyone … until Edward. The story of how Ambrus helps Edward overcomes his resentment against his situation, (as a reluctant vamp), spans several decades. Sweet story with a touch of angst.

All 4 stories were enjoyable, there were a couple I wished had been a bit longer, but all were entertaining.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Something Wild By Anna Martin

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/something-wild-by-anna-martin-10842-b

Blurb
The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.

But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.

Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.

With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.

Review
There was a lot I liked about this story. The world building was fantastic. I also really liked the two main characters, Kit and Logan. Even though they have known each other for years, they are pretty awkward around each other due to secret crushes. They end up rescuing and rehabbing a baby dino that they name Dizzy. She is a wonderful secondary character, even though she is a dinosaur. She plays an important part in the story. Where the story fell flat, was the whole issue with poachers. The resolution to that problem was a bit lackluster. The ending also felt a bit rushed. This was a fun read for dinosaur and romance lovers!

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review: Another ‘feel good’ pick me up story from Anna Martin  Bonus points for the dinosaurs and their descriptions; (I’ve always loved dinosaurs and although these were fictional animals, they were a pleasure to read about).
The MCs, Logan and Kit, are really just grown up nerds living their dream. Both men work at the dinosaur research island – Logan in the field, Kit in the lab – and each one has a crush on the other. They eventually bond over rescuing a baby dinosaur, Dizzy.
This is another well thought out, well written story, including the adventure, suspense and descriptions of the island and New Zealand.
The other characters – Leilani, Kit’s mums and Dizzy – were all great additions to the story.
This was an interesting, scientific (though mostly fictional), fun story with a solid storyline that left me with a satisfied feeling 

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review