MIghty Casey (Book 1) by Willa Okati

mighty caseyBlurb

The only thing extroverted Nate loves more than baseball is his quiet, reserved Casey. The feeling’s mutual, thanks–but it isn’t all fun and games. A wedding planner, Casey’s booked solid during the summer months and thanks to a certain poem about the Mudville Nine, cringes at the thought of ball games. Fair’s fair–with seven older sisters who redefined “wedding drama”, Nate freezes at the thought of tying the knot. Casey might wish things were different, but he wouldn’t trade Nate, his big heart, or his skills between the sheets for a wedding worthy of a Rockefeller.

After losing a strip poker bet, Casey’s promised forfeit is spending a full day at a softball tournament. He’s sure there’s more going on than a simple sports wager and wonders what Nate’s up to, but he’s curious enough to jump in and commit. And so, finally, is Nate, who’s planning a surprise involving an engagement ring and a proposal from the pitcher’s mound.

But things don’t go quite according to scheme for the odd couple when Nate takes his lover out to the ball game. And who knows what might happen when Casey’s called up to bat?

Review

We start this book with an established couple, Nate and Casey. Casey hates all things baseball/softball related due to an old poem about the Mudville Nine. Nate has 6 older sisters who have pulled him in to all their wedding non-sense over the years and hates all things wedding centered. Nate loves baseball. Casey is a wedding planner. Yup. Oil and Water. Right?

On the day the book describes, Casey is fulfilling an obligation to a bet he lost by attending a day’s worth of softball games that Nate has organized. He does so with a fair amount of grace and humor and the day is punctuated with sexy interludes in semi-public places.

Casey gets to see why Nate loves baseball so much through the eyes of Nate’s friends and co-workers and ends up actually having a pretty good time.

It’s no secret that Nate has something special planned for Casey and most of the day is a build up to this main event.

When the time comes, it is suitably sweet and touching with just the right amount of humor.

I liked this short story quite a lot. Normally I am not a fan of established couple books, unless I’ve been following the couple from the beginning. But in this case, the chemistry between the two is really hot and sweet and the story is fun and sort of exciting.

The baseball as background was cute. The secondary characters were funny and had their own stories to add, which gave depth to what could have been a fairly flat telling of one day in the life of this couple.

If you like baseball, sweet love stories of compromise and growth and frequent bouts of semi-public sex – you’ll love this short story by Willa Okati.

I really liked it and give it 4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy provided by Loose Id for an honest review

http://www.loose-id.com/mighty-casey.html

Wolf, WY (Wolf book 1) by AF Henley

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There’s nothing like a fresh start, and for Randy, still nursing wounds left by a cheating ex and harboring a deep mistrust for all things corporate, Wolf, Wyoming seems like the perfect place to start over. Secluded, quiet, and self-sufficient, Wolf is bound to not only inspire, but to bring Randy the peace he needs. The view’s not bad, either.

Vaughn O’Connell and his family are Randy’s only neighbors for miles, and while Randy knows it’s somewhat unlikely that a man with three kids is gay, it doesn’t hurt to look. When a misunderstanding brings Randy face to face with both Vaughn and his eighteen year old son, Lyle, Randy’s not sure what to feel about either of them.

But things are not what they appear in Wolf, and the closer Randy gets, the stranger the O’Connell family seems…

Review

Randy runs to Wolf, Wyoming to escape the headaches he’d found while being a lawyer in Washington DC. He thinks some time in the sticks will help him develop his creative side of writing and painting. But he’s a city boy through and through and notghing has prepared him for living in the country during a Wyoming winter.

Vaughn and his family have lived in the isolated community for their entire lives. They live in Wolf for a reason and have to be careful of who they allow to get close to them. At first they’re very stand-offish with the city slicker Randy, but later things become far more complicated.

There are some strange dynamics going on and in a strange turn of events both Vaughn and his 18 year-old son Lyle seem to be sort of vying for Randy’s attention. Vaughn is more on again/off again about his feelings, but Lyle is all in.

Though Randy can appreciate Lyle’s attractiveness, it’s his father that catches his eye.

When the tension between father and son comes to a head, the secret gets out and Randy has to decide if what Vaughn offered is worth sticking around and fighting for, or should he run from his problems as he has done all his life?

**

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

I have to admit to spoilers, though not very surprising, they aren’t spelled out until late in the book. So be warned, if you want the full “experience” don’t read the rest of this review.

***

 

 

 

Ok, with that out of the way… Vaughn and Lyle are werewolves. Duh. They have to hide it from humans, until there’s a reason to let them in on it. I’m not exactly sure what the “rules” are for this, because it never made sense to me. At one point Randy is told, “Once the eyes have seen it can’t be unseen”… and? So I guess now that Randy knows about werewolves suddenly all paranormal creatures can be seen. I didn’t really understand that part.

There is more I never quite understood. First, it was extremely uncomfortable having Lyle and Randy do their weird, flirty, domination dance while we are supposed to be rooting for Vaughn (Lyle’s Dad for Pete’s sake!) and Randy to get together. I think the author would have done much better making Lyle a friend of the family or another competing male … something other than his child. It was weird and felt gross.

Second, I never understood what the issue was between father and son. Was it a play for alpha-ness? They don’t have pack dynamics that we see in other shifter novels, so I wasn’t sure what they were fighting each other for. Was it just weird werewolf teenage rebellion? I didn’t get it, and like I said it felt gross.

Third, I never really liked Randy. Yes, he was funny and his inner dialog was witty. But it went on and on and on and on. It took up to 53% of the book before anyone even kissed and most of that was inside Randy’s head. This book needed a lot of heavy handed editing so that it could be whittled down to a much shorter book.

Fourth, Randy’s parents and the running away thing should have been fleshed out or left alone.

Finally, when Randy and Vaughn do end up “together” I was left wondering, together how? Did Randy give up being a lawyer? Is he now a writer? What happened? And what about Lyle? It was abrupt and again didn’t make sense.

So… to sum up. I thought this was a weird and sometimes inappropriate book that didn’t always make sense and though it had some elements of charm to it (Randy’s funny dialog both internal and external), I can’t recommend it.

I’m sorry to say this is the first book I’ve read by this author and it may be the last.

1 of 5 stars

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(Copy generously provided by NetGalley for an honest review)

Coming October 21st.

Less Than Three Press Presents

http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&products_id=977

Any Closer by Mary Calmes

AnyCloserLgBlurb

Part of the First Time For Everything Daily Dose 2011 collection

Charlie Ryder has a colorful past, painful memories, and an embarrassing secret. After three years working for Leo Foster’s construction company, Charlie’s worst fears are realized, and Leo finds out what Charlie has worked so hard to hide. When Leo meets the revelation with absolute love and acceptance, Leo has to trust that Charlie’s love isn’t just gratitude, and Charlie has to learn to trust again, period. It’s going to take a lot of work for these two men to get any closer.

 

Review

Leo is the foreman of a construction crew with an employee, Charlie. Charlie started out with Leo three years ago, a scared, tentative soul who has slowly blossomed over time and is now one of Leo’s close friends.

One of Leo’s exes blows into town telling stories about Charlie’s past, making Charlie confess not just his past, but his present and hopefully future.

Leo is a clueless, golden-hearted man who seems to have no idea that Charlie’s been crushing on him for awhile now. Charlie sees Leo as safe in a world where he knows only pain and betrayal.

When Leo proves again that he can be trusted, Charlie finally makes his move.

**
I love these “super sweet, clueless men get the good guy end the end” type stories. Mary is wonderful for giving us these MCs who are almost too good to be true, but since they seem a little bit dense about it, they are utterly charming.

I loved how sweet Charlie was with Leo and how Leo made him feel safe and secure, regardless of his past.

It was a fun book to re-visit and I recommend as a lovely re-read to her fans, and if this is your first time reading this story you are in a for a treat! My only complaint is that I wish it were longer 🙂

 

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2322

The Last Wolf (Sapphire Ranch Wolves Book 1) By Sue Brown

last wolfBlurb

Book 1 in the Sapphire Ranch Wolves Series

The only good predator is a dead one, as far as Joe Lowther is concerned.

That is until the day he shoots a wolf, only to watch the animal turn into a naked Callum Pope. Cal is being hunted by a group of humans who eradicate shifter packs for sport.

Joe makes a decision to help Cal and discovers a deeper connection with the young shifter. One which he’d like to explore. If they live that long.

 

Review:

Callum Pope shows up on Joe Lowther’s ranch as a wolf and Joe shoots him. Joe is shocked when Cal turns back into a man and even more shocked when Cal talks to him in his head!

The two must figure out how to keep Cal safe from the Hunters who annihilated his pack and begin to explore their relationship with one another.

This is a short book, part of a series, and though the ending is happy, it is definitely a cliff-hanger. No way are our boys settled and happy, in fact they are just starting to get together.

Sue Brown’s version of shifters is sweet and sexy. Cal is witty and a little bratty. Joe is protective and honorable and a great foil for Cal.

The secondary characters look like they may play a role in future books and I look forward to seeing their love stories, too.

Overall I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of the series.

I give it a 4 of 5 stars

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Copy purchased for review

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Wolf-Sapphire-Ranch-Wolves-ebook/dp/B00NBI2EUC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443745954&sr=8-1&keywords=last+wolf+sue+brown

Found at the Library by Christi Snow

found libraryBlurb

His entire life, Tommy Garrett has dealt with self-doubts. He thought he’d conquered the majority of them until a chance meeting with an author brought his illiteracy to the forefront…again. Growing up with un-diagnosed dyslexia has left Tommy barely able to read, but books are his Nirvana. Now he spends his life creating art dedicated to the love of those “untouchable” items.

Robert McIntyre, Mac, is a best-selling, highly celebrated author. But his point of view has become a little bit too narrow…until Tommy opens his eyes. That chance meeting has changed everything about his world. He has no idea how to find the beautiful man he met, and offended, at the library book sale. But when he does, Tommy’s life is in crisis-mode. It’s the holidays and Mac can’t just standby when Tommy needs help, whether Tommy wants it or not.

Two artistic men. One shared passion for books.

Life is hard, and sometimes when conflict arises you have to write your own plot twist to pull yourself out of the fray.

Review

Mac is a writer and his last relationship ended when his boyfriend couldn’t be more interesting than his “characters”. He likes to donate to the local library and helps out at their annual book sale.

He’s called to help out a buyer who’s bought a TON of books and he is psyched. Here is a cute, fun, bibliophile who seems to be flirting back! When he tries to ask the guy out he finds that the books are slated to be “repurposed” into art – meaning DEGRADED. Something very hateful to the writer. So, they end up on the wrong foot.

Of course, the cutie is Tommy. Tommy is a young artist and book store owner who actually loves books, but can’t read well, so he listens to them and makes amazing art out of them as well. His brother is in the hospital fighting for his life when he and Mac meet again. Mac now realizes just who Tommy is and why he “degrades” books and wants to make amends.

From there it’s a dance between Tommy’s guilt surrounding his brother, his reluctance to be with a rich, famous writer and his own insecurities.

But… perseverance wins out and we get a beautiful HEA.

**

WOW. This book by a new (to me) author just blew me away.

The story is gripping and the romance is terribly sweet. There is an appropriate amount of hot smexy times, but that is definitely not the main purpose of the book.

I loved both MCs and found them to be very real and engaging. The secondary characters were well developed and interesting and I’m hoping one or both might get their own stories in the future.

I think what stuck with me the most was the imagery surrounding Tommy’s art and how well the author brought the reader (and Mac) around to seeing things from Tommy’s side.

I highly recommend this and give it 6 of 5 stars.

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(Normally I wait til closer to release day to post a reivew, but I wanted to get the word about this out early – I think you’ll enjoy it!)

Pre-Order Available Now
Out October 23, 2015

http://www.amazon.com/Found-At-Library-Christi-Snow-ebook/dp/B01621EHPE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444441469&sr=8-1&keywords=found+at+the+library

Strength of the Pack (Book 1) by Kendall McKenna

strengthBlurb
A Marine werewolf and his commander bring legends to life while surviving combat deployment in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Lucas Young doesn’t know much about shifters. When Sergeant Noah Hammond is assigned to Lucas’ platoon, the Marine Corps’ True Alpha werewolf challenges the Lieutenant’s authority and his self-control. As Lucas learns to dominate and command Noah, he struggles against a strong attraction and deepening emotional bond. During their combat deployment to Afghanistan, Lucas and Noah begin mirroring legendary partnerships. Their bond and their power grow as they survive dangerous combat and ambushes. When one of them is wounded in battle, they both must embrace the strength of their bond before they lose each other forever.

Review

Lucas is a commanding officer in Afghanistan, one of his men is Noah, a True Alpha werewolf. Though in military terms Lucas outranks him, Noah, in terms of werewolf hierarchy is about as high ranking as it gets. The military – known for its flexibility – (sarcasm) – actually accounts for this and allows the wolves their own pecking order within the military ranks.

Everything seems to be working out well, but there is an extra something going on between Noah and Lucas. We find out, over time, that Lucas and Noah share an extra special bond between them and their ability to communicate with one another makes them invaluable on a war front.

The bulk of this book is spent avoiding explaining to Lucas the nature of their bond, and expecting him to go along with it, which he does. The two grow closer as soldiers and friends and then lovers, all the while muddling through confusion as to why he feels compelled to do the things he does.

Clearly Kendall McKenna knows her military speak well, she uses all the three letter acronyms and jargon with a practiced hand.

Her version of shifters is really quite sweet, given the setting, and though I was driven crazy by the fact that a lot of the conflict could have been eliminated by one simple conversation, I appreciated the fact that these are fairly recalcitrant alpha males who are unused to explaining their feelings and therefore were not likely to have a sit-down and put it all out there.

I had wanted there to be more “declarations” of love but, if you read between the lines you will see their feelings are more than clear and if you continue on with the series their love for one another is never in doubt.

I highly recommend this book and give it a 4.5 of 5 stars.

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Purchased the book for review

http://www.amazon.com/Strength-Pack-Tameness-Wolf/dp/1608208443/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443751846&sr=8-1&keywords=strength+of+the+pack

My Prince by Anna Martin

MyPrinceBlurb

 

After growing up in a rough part of town, George Maguire worked his way out of Manchester and to a career as a design engineer. Alexander van Amsberg, an architecture student at the University of Edinburgh, wasn’t the sort of guy he normally had explosive, hotel-room one-night-stands with. Alex was charming, classy, and, as George later learns, Prince of the Netherlands.

Fate brings them together again, and Alex makes sure to get his sexy stranger’s phone number this time. Despite all the reasons why they shouldn’t work, something clicks, and Alex thinks that this time, he might have found the right guy. But Alex’s aristocratic ex stirs up trouble in the press for George and his humble family, and Alex realizes he has to get real about having a boyfriend from the wrong side of town.

While George acknowledges his modest upbringing, he doesn’t let anyone insult his family. Life’s no fairy tale, and regardless of his royal title, Alex might destroy his one chance for happily ever after.

Look for my review 6 of 5 stars here:  http://kimichanexperience.com/my-prince-by-anna-martin

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Released today by Dreamspinner

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6999

Otter Chaos by PD Singer

otterBlurb

Lon Ewing snowboarded in and turned economist Corey Levigne’s life upside down, introducing him to a world he didn’t know existed. Corey’s still adjusting to a boyfriend who shifts into an otter and raids the koi pond—and now Lon says Corey’s department chair is a werewolf?

Wolves at the university, wolves in the bank—across Lon’s desk sits Professor Melvin Vadas and his hench-wolves, demanding a construction loan for the pack’s new lodge in the mountains. There’s just one little problem: the proposed building site is home to a breeding population of rare fish.

What do wolves care for stupid human rules, an otter who’d barely make a good snack, or one pesky human determined to protect the environment? Once they’re snout to snout with Corey and Lon, there’s more than silverscale dace on the Endangered Species List.

Includes Tail Slide, the short story that launched Otter Chaos.

Fresh powder snow and running water in the Colorado back country call Lon like the moon calls the wolves. Belly-sliding to a good time on the weekends makes up for a workweek at a desk, and meeting Corey adds a whole new level of fun to snowboarding.

It’s easy to slip away for time alone in the woods without raising suspicion, but how’s Lon to entertain himself when bad snow and a worse spill force them off the mountain too early?

Never give an otter a box of Cheerios.

Review

The first story: Tail Slide is the true “romance”. This is where Lon meets Corey and they fall in love. It’s amazing!

When Lon is “in his fur” he thinks just like an otter and it’s hysterical! He can somewhat reach his human side but he has a hard time of it. Unlike other shifter lore he MUST be in his fur for several hours a day or else he shifts spontaneously. He is truly half an animal and must honor that.

Corey is all human and has to adjust to this amazing development of finding an otter where his boyfriend once was.

The two have to find a way to adjust their expectations about what a partner means including “fishy kisses”!

The second story, the much longer one, starts with Corey and Lon already living together. The bulk of this story is the mystery outlined in the blurb. There is some relationship building between the two MCs and that’s a nice touch.

Instead of having the love story start with ILY, that’s almost ignored in favor of the day to day compromises the two must make for one another.

This is not to say this isn’t sweet, sentimental or romantic – just more pragmatic than most romances.

I love how detail oriented PD Singer is in her works. She’s done a lot of research and adds so many details to make this a very rich and dense story.  There’s a lot of “boarding” terminology as well as lots of otter biology and some fish stuff too.  Fascinating!

I am super psyched because my little itty bitty home town is included in this story , Idaho Springs, so there’s that!

Anyhow – I really enjoyed this and hope to see more like it in the future.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy provided by author for honest review

http://www.amazon.com/Otter-Chaos-Slide-P-D-Singer-ebook/dp/B015KDNQFW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1443762183&sr=1-1&keywords=otter+chaos

(It’s only $0.99!)