Again by Mary Calmes

againBlurb

Six years ago, Noah Wheeler went to meet his boyfriend, Dante Cerreto, at the airport, and his world ended. Dante was kissing someone else and claimed to be in love. So Noah took his heartbreak-and the sonogram pictures of their surrogate child-and closed the door on the big picture of what he thought his life would be, focusing instead on the piece of the dream he got to keep, being a father.
Now on vacation in Las Vegas, Noah accidentally runs into the Cerreto family, and then the man himself, and learns that not only was he deceived, but Dante was as well. Now Dante wants to make up for lost time, six years’ worth, and to do that he needs Noah, the only man he’s ever loved, and Grace, the daughter he didn’t know he had, to give him a chance at happiness. Dante’s going to have to take a crash course in communication and seduction, though. Noah’s not going to fall in love just to be broken again.

Review

Noah went to the airport to surprise his boyfriend Dante with a sonogram of his child only to find Dante in a clench with his work partner. When confronted Dante tells Noah he wants out of the relationship and that he’s fallen in love with someone else.

Though Noah is crushed he does what he can to share with Dante their child, but to no avail. It isn’t until 6 years have passed that they cross paths only to find out that things aren’t what everyone originally thought.

**

This is a short story, only 96 pages, so much of it happens in a re-telling and the only “real time” is a matter of hours.

As usual I loved the characters. Noah is the perfect guy who did everything “right” but with all the wrong information.

Dante, you think is all bad, isn’t at all… but he still screwed up, and how! But… he’s the alpha guy who makes your eyeballs melt and nobody can just let that get away.

Dante’s family is also perfect and helps to smooth everything over. Noah’s current “boyfriend” is perfectly stupid and manages to do just the right thing so that nobody feels bad about what happens to him.

Most of this is typical Mary wonderfulness and I loved it. What I didn’t love was the brevity and what it did to the story. Instead of having our MCs work out something realistic (Mary does like to split her guys up – for years!) they end up making up in less than 48 hours and it felt really forced. I just hadn’t gotten to the point where I was able to buy into them getting back because Dante hadn’t done enough to earn his right to be back in Noah’s life.

It was close… but I couldn’t quite feel good about it.

So though it pains me to do so, I must give this a 3 of 5 stars. Great for Mary fans, but those less forgiving might not like this title as much.

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(Copy Purchased for Review)

 

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Tell Me It’s Real Audiobook by TJ Klune Narrated by Michael Lesley

realBlurb

Do you believe in love at first sight? Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.

Review the book and the audio version:

Can’t. Write. Laughing. Too. Hard!

Oh my effing God this book is funny! TJ has said that he resembles Paul the most of any of his characters and I can believe it. Paul is hysterical. He has absolutely no filter and he is neurotic as hell. His family and friends are just as off the charts colorful and laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying inducing.
When I read the book I laughed out loud so many times my husband made me tell him what I was reading – I had him going on some of the lines delivered too.

Paul has a sarcastic GPS named That Damn Bitch that wants to kill him. At one point:
“You have arrived at your destination,” That Damn Bitch said.
“We’re in the middle of the freeway!” I shouted at her.
“Recalculating,” she growled.
“She just wanted us to stop so we’d get hit by a tractor-trailer,” I muttered.

“Please make a U-turn,” That Damn Bitch said.
Sandy stared at the GPS. “Isn’t she supposed to say make a U-turn when it’s safe to do so?”
I shook my head. “She used to say that, but for some reason she stopped. I thought it was a malfunction at first, but now I know she just wants me to die.”

Paul has a grandma with a homophobic parrot named Johnny Depp.
“Here comes the rump ranger!” every time I walk into her house.

Paul is at the zoo and falls into the Hippo exhibit.
“Sandy! Oh God, Sandy! I think I got some of the hippo shit water in my mouth! Call the fire department! Call the army! Send big guns! I don’t want to die! There are so many things I need to do! I always wanted to learn to line dance!”

That’s only a teeny small fraction of the hilarity in this book. Add to that the narration by Michael Lesley and it’s doubled! Michael adds just the right amount of lisp to Paul’s monologues and diatribes to make you cackle and just enough sugar to Helena Handbasket’s drawls to make you purr.

You can’t listen to this anywhere you need to be quiet. You will be laughing out loud. Seriously guffawing.

Besides being a LOL book – for once, really, laugh out loud – it is a sweet, sweet romance.

Vince is a gorgeous if a somewhat clueless homo-jock that falls for Paul instantly despite the fact that Paul does absolutely EVERYTHING wrong.

Helena/Sandy helps Paul to realize he has to be brave sometime and even when Paul is brave he manages to fall on his face. (You remember the scene where he hits his head on the mattress – right?) But it all works out in the end and like all TJ’s work it ends so sweetly.

I cannot rate this book high enough! If you want a book full of hilarity and a sweet romance – look no further, this is the masterpiece.

Six out of five stars for both the story and the audio version.

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Copy purchased for review

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Uncaged (Shifter’s Uprising Book 1) by Lisa Oliver and Thomas J Oliver Book Review

uncagedBlurb

Book 1 – Shifter’s Uprising Series.
Can be read as standalone.

Carlin is an Alpha Wolf Fighter, one of only three in the top spots at the Souterrain – an underground fighting club, run by the Elite to punish shifters who have gone outside of the laws. He’s happy enough, only has to fight exhibition matches, has his own apartment space, food and sex on tap – yep, life it good. So when Martin offers him the chance to fight for his freedom, Carlin turns it down. It’s no fun being a lone wolf and Carlin is quite happy where he is.

Then Lucas catches his eye. A handsome man, a stunning fighter, moving up through the ranks fast. Lucas might not have the killer attitude that most men at the Souterrain have, but he’s got the moves. Carlin has no problems insisting the man is bought to his apartment – sex is never a bad idea. But when he catches Lucas’s scent and realizes the man is his fated mate, suddenly getting him to bed is the least of his problems. Lucas wants to be free, and for the first time in a long time, so does Carlin.

Unfortunately there is more to Lucas than meets the eye. Martin certainly has no intention of letting them go, and if he has to have Carlin killed to keep Lucas at the Souterrain, then the man has no problems with that either. Suddenly the deal Carlin makes with Martin goes horribly wrong, and Carlin and Lucas realize that the price for freedom might be Carlin’s life, and even then Lucas will not be free.

Warnings: M/M sex, HEA, some violence (they are in a fight club after all). A growly Alpha who lets his emotions get the best of him, and a hybrid shifter with a wicked imagination.

Review

Carlin and Lucas are both victims of an administration that wants total control of it’s subjects. Carlin has a bit more freedom, but ultimately he’s just as limited as Lucas when it comes down to it.

When Lucas and he figure out they’re true mates they both suddenly have something worth fighting for and against.

Though this is a much darker shifter story (perhaps that’s the influence of Lisa Oliver’s son as writing partner) it still has that very romantic element along with the wonderful world-building.

I loved that Lucas has the ability to shift into more than just a wolf – that’s a unique twist that makes me excited to see what else happens in this series!

I recommend this book and the author highly!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Provided by Author for honest Review

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Uncaged by Lisa Oliver Blog Tour

Banner300x250Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Lisa and Thomas J. Oliver, authors of Uncaged (Shifter’s Uprising #1).

 

[Thomas] Hi there, thank you for hosting us here today. Our book, Uncaged is set in a world where shifters can be imprisoned for life if they break any shifter laws. The laws are upheld by a force called the Elite who work for a ruling family, the Masons.

 

[Lisa] At the heart of this story is a true mate romance. Lucas is a hybrid shifter who is fighting his way up through the ranks of cage fighters. Carlin is an Alpha Wolf shifter who has already attained one of the top positions and is quite happy with his lot…until he meets Lucas and realizes they are true mates. Now freedom is on his mind, and he will fight to get it.

This book is a little different from my other books (the Cloverleah Pack, Bound and Bonded, Stockton Wolves and the Alpha and Omega series) but that is to be expected with a collaborative effort. For me the important element of the story was the love growing between two men…

 

[Thomas] …and for me it was the fight scenes and the underlying theme of this series which is how men will act under an oppressive ruling family. I think we got a good balance and hopefully readers will think so too.

 

  • Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.

 

[Thomas] Well, Carlin loves to cook but it’s not something he gets a lot of chance to do very often…

[Lisa]…and Lucas loves to listen to jazz music, something even Carlin doesn’t know.

 

  • Have you ever written something that made you cry?

 

[Lisa] I have – some of the Cloverleah Pack books, like where Scott walks away from Damien in book 3, and Anton acts like such an ass to Troy in book 4 – for some reason both of those scenes made me tear up at the thought of it, and I had to work extra hard to get those men their HEA.

 

[Thomas] This is my first book, so the short answer is no. But I imagine Mom will have me thinking of some soppy stuff in the next one…not that it will make me cry, but Mom probably will.

 

  • Have you ever co-written with someone before?

 

[Lisa and Thomas] No.

 

[Lisa] I have always wanted to collaborate with someone else. Writing can be quite a lonely occupation. I never thought my first co-writing project would be with my son, but it was really fun to do and I am looking forward to working on the next book.

 

  • What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

 

[Thomas] I didn’t realize that the writing process itself took so long. I have these ideas in my head, but when we came to putting them on paper it was like…you have to be able to convey what’s in your head, clearly enough on paper so others can see what you are thinking. I found that hard – as well as the sex scenes…my Mom did those and no, I didn’t even talk to her about them…talking to my mother about sex is just freaky.

 

[Lisa] Yep, you left all that to me, lol. Not a problem. I have trouble with action scenes, I always have. That is what made writing this book so much more fun because I had someone who I could talk to about specific movements, sensations and things like that – there are more action scenes in this book than in any of my other ones.

 

  • Name your four most important food groups.

 

[Thomas] I try and eat healthy when I can – fruit, vegetables, a lot of water, and fish/chicken. I can guess what Mom is going to say.

 

[Lisa] too right, lol. Chocolate, chocolate, tea (for fluids) and more chocolate.

Thank you Lisa and Thomas!

actual cover

 

Here is an excerpt from their book:

Excerpt:

Carlin knew he was behaving like an idiot pacing up and down the floor of his small apartment, but he couldn’t stop. How long did it take for one man to have a shower for fucks sake? He’d ordered food for the both of them. Having been a fighter for more than five years, Carlin knew that Lucas would be hungry – hopefully for food and sex. But if the bloody man didn’t get his skates on then Carlin would eat alone and get straight to dessert when Lucas arrived.

About to call Brian and find out where his errant fuck had gone, Carlin caught the sound of people outside of his door. He threw himself on the couch and picked up a book. He didn’t want Lucas thinking he was waiting for him or anything.

 

Brian came in, Lucas a few steps behind him.

 

“Alpha Fighter Carlin. This is Lucas, ranked fifth after today.”

 

Carlin was surprised. He’d heard the man had moved swiftly up the ranks, but he didn’t realize that Lucas was so close to a shot for an Alpha ranking. In theory, one more fight and he might have to fight Lucas in the ring. For a moment Carlin was tempted to send the man away. He did have some conscience, even after so many years of being a fighting machine. He didn’t want to have to kill someone who had been in his bed.

 

But then Lucas stepped past Brian, and Carlin was caught in angry eyes. Silver eyes. Something tugged at Carlin’s brain – the eye color had some significance, didn’t it? But then Lucas’s scent hit Carlin’s nose and any rational thought fell straight out of his brain.

 

“Leave, Brian,” Carlin said, standing up and not breaking his stare with Lucas. He knew his body radiated the power he was famous for, and guessed he might look intimidating, as he heard Brian whisper to Lucas as he scurried out of the door, “I told you not to stare at an Alpha. You’re dead meat pup.”

 

“Better dead than a fuck toy,” Lucas snarled – his comment for Brian, but those silver eyes stayed fixed on Carlin.

 

“I agree,” Carlin said, his voice dropping as he got closer. Before Lucas could react, he reached his hand around, grabbing Lucas by the nape and pushing the man’s face into his throat. Whatever Lucas was going to say was muffled by Carlin’s skin, although the man was kicking, punching and doing everything he could to get free.

 

“Sniff, damn you,” Carlin said urgently. “Fucking sniff, and then I’ll let you go.”

 

Carlin felt Lucas quieten, although his body still stayed rigid in Carlin’s grasp. Lucas’s deep inhale was the only sound in the room. Carlin knew the moment Lucas had worked out what Carlin was trying to say.

 

Buy the book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZAIZXNQ

AllRomanceebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-uncaged-1829820-340.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/549729

Meet the authors:

Lisa Oliver had been writing non-fiction books for years when visions of half dressed, buff men started invading her dreams. Unable to resist the lure of her stories, Lisa decided to switch to fiction books, and now stories about her men clamor to get out from under her fingertips.

When Lisa is not writing, she is usually reading with a cup of tea always at hand. Her grown children and grandchildren sometimes try and pry her away from the computer and have found that the best way to do it, is to promise her chocolate. Lisa will do anything for chocolate.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers and other writers. You can friend her on Facebook here, or email her directly at yoursintuitively@gmail.com.

 

Thomas Oliver doesn’t have a lot of time for writing itself although he can talk about his ideas for hours. A construction worker by day, he has a wicked imagination and it was from sharing some of his ideas with Lisa, that the idea for this series was born.

When not working, Thomas is like any other young man. He loves to spend time with friends, his girlfriend and working on his car. His dream is to do up a project car – something mean, with attitude and plenty of power under the hood.

Anyone wanting to contact Thomas can do so through Facebook.

 

 

Where to find the author:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lisaoliverauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wisecrone333

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lisaoliver79/

My Blog: http://www.supernaturalsmut.com

 

 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25695445-uncaged

Publisher: Oliver Group Publications

Cover Artist: Lisa Oliver

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Surrender the Chase (grizzly rim book 2) by Mia West

surrender the chaseBlurb

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 erotic dreams drawing Thierry across a continent have a very real—and very cranky—source.

Review

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.

6 of 5 stars

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Copy generously provided by author for honest review

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Caught Running Audiobook by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux Narrated by Jeff Gelder

CaughtRunningAUDmedBlurb

Ten years after graduation, Jake “the jock” Campbell and Brandon “the nerd” Bartlett are teaching at their old high school and still living in separate worlds. When Brandon is thrown into a coaching job on Jake’s baseball team, they find themselves learning more about each other than they’d ever expected. High school is all about image – even for the teachers. Brandon and Jake have to get past their preconceived notions to find the friendship needed to work together. And somewhere along the way, they discover that perceptions can always change for the better.

Review

Brandon and Jake were never friends nor really enemies in high school, simply occupants of totally different social spheres. Ten years later they are both teaching at their old high school and things are looking a lot different than they did back then.

Brandon, who was home schooled for much of his schooling, was never a “team” type of guy. But, he’s still an athlete. When the school needs a coach to help with the winning baseball team, new teacher Brandon is pressed into service.

Jake is very skeptical of Brandon’s “help” in the coaching department, but after seeing the guy run, he re-evaluates. They end up kind of working really well together as coaches, and that slowly blossoms into more.

It’s a slow-burn, but both are aware of the other physically, more than just friends. It takes an act of bravery on Jake’s part to test the waters, but once he does the two barely come up for air!

These are still tough times, and nobody can find out about them… and are they willing to even admit how important they are to each other?

**

I really loved this and it was my first audiobook that I bought in the m/m genre. It’s an easy read. Very low angst, very hot sex, fun dialog, quirky MCs and in general just a light fun book.

Now that I’ve read a ton more in this genre, and have come to expect a bit more from it, I can say that there are things that could be done to improve it – ie make these guys move past the ILYs to the nitty gritty living life in secret as co-workers, dealing with Jake’s pain management, coming to grips with Brandon’s life ambitions… lots of heavy “issues” that got fairly well brushed under the rug at the end of the book and left as things to be dealt with “later”.

I think that, as authors, both Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux definitely grew and improved as they published more books, but as far as a fun, light books go – this still ranks among the top!

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

Jeff Gelder isn’t my favorite author, and as has been pointed out in other reviews, he makes many mistakes with this narration. In addition, his tone is rather flat or sometimes takes on an up note that doesn’t fit the story.   In any case, it isn’t horrible, but it’s not great, and other narrators could’ve definitely done a better job.

Regardless, I still highly recommend this book and as a way to enjoy this without reading it, this narration will absolutely get the job done.

So for the book and the narration a solid 4 of 5 stars.

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(Copy purchased for review)

 

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