Recent Release: Not Just Friends by Jay Northcote

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42181544-not-just-friends

Blurb
Is it worth risking a friendship for a chance at love?

Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. One that’s full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis isn’t prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max, because Lewis had always assumed he was straight.

Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis’s jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction. When Max’s relationship goes awry, Lewis is the one to comfort him and one thing leads to another. After a night together, Lewis is devastated that Max wants to go back to being just friends.

Lewis tries his best to move on and their friendship survives, but the feelings he has for Max don’t go away. He faces other challenges as he deals with coming out to his parents, and needs Max’s support more than ever. But Lewis isn’t the only one who’s conflicted. When Max finally admits he cares for Lewis too, Lewis must decide whether he dares risk his heart again on being more than just friends.

Please note that although this edition has been re-edited for publication, there is no new or additional content.

Review
This book is has been re-edited from its original release but included no new content.
I am a big fan of Jay’s books. Being from the South West UK, it’s really great getting to read about places close to me and speech that I can easily hear in my head in the correct accent!
We follow Lewis as he starts at university, sharing student accommodation with four others guys but feeling an instant attraction towards Max. It’s not a new experience for him but the first time he’s contemplating it and making decisions about himself.
It’s a fun read with the five men meeting for the first time and getting to know each other, several nights out especially in Fresher’s week which is well known for the drunken shenanigans of new students!
Lewis’ inner turmoil regarding his sexuality and attraction to Max is our main focus and you’re easily pulled along for the ride with him. He doesn’t really have anyone to turn to which makes it harder for him to sort through his thoughts. We do get to meet some good characters. The other guys in the accommodation all have individual personalities that shine through, and then there are couple of people that are met on courses and societies that we get to read more of . They offer friendship and support at important times.
One thing I loved was when Lewis and Max go running and get to go along Avon Gorge and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was wonderfully written and described. Jay is a great writer at drawing you into the story and keeping you engaged throughout. The characters come across as very “real” to me and are people that I enjoy reading about. These students are mostly just starting out with independent living and first, big relationships. They’re fun to read and leave me wanting more.

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Clutch (Forbidden Desires #1) by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42208487-clutch

Blurb

Bookish, snarky, and fiercely independent Nate Boudreaux leads a solitary life. Between teaching classes at the university and working toward his PhD, he doesn’t need a partner to occupy his time, and he certainly doesn’t need a man like Alistair Drake complicating his future.

Alistair Drake, black sheep of the tremendously wealthy Drake family, is more interested in adding another notch to his bedpost than another zero to his bank account. When a Grindr message brings him to Nate’s doorstep, then straight to his bed, he has no reason to believe that what they share will be more than a simple hookup, until, three months later, a tug on his soul informs him otherwise.

For the Drake family has a secret—one that will force Nate and Alistair together as much as it will demand that they be torn apart. One that Alistair and his brothers have carried all their lives… and one that Alistair and Nate’s future children will carry, too.

Bound to each other by the three precious impossibilities, Nate and Alistair have no choice—no matter the consequence, they will fight for their forbidden clutch.

Review

This book gives a different quirky twist to the usual mpreg alpha/omega story.
Both Nate and Alistair are likable characters who fit together well. The relationship between them moves along at a fast pace, with both snark and vulnerability balancing out the romance.
The comedy elements had me laughing out loud more than once through the story and the way Alistair takes off hand comments literally adds to the charm of the book.
The cast of secondary characters were a great addition, with an obvious set up for a following story that I look forward to reading.

4 stars out of 5

 

Purchased by the reviewer

 

Release Day: Trex or Treat by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/trex-or-treat-by-tara-lain-9979-b

Blurb

Josh Harris is all dad all the time. A busy college professor and devoted single father, Josh tries to be happy with only his son for company. But then Bradley “Trex” Trexler moves in across the street with his stepbrother, Bogo, and takes advantage of their empty home, making it into a haunted house for Halloween.

 

 

Review
This is a short, cute Halloween story and it’s really entertaining.
Tara Lain is great giving us interesting characters that you can get involved with really quickly, which is obviously a bonus in a short story.
Josh reads as a great parent in need of some companionship and Ernie is the most adorable and energised boy. The attraction between Josh and Trex shines through and it’s an enjoyable read. I love how involved both men are with their boys but also take the time to be with each other. I found this to be an enjoyable little story that was quick to consume but also touched the heart.
I definitely recommend this quick, Halloween romance. Always a winner with a Tara Lain story!

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Releases: Halloween Short Freebies!

Inn Love by Lucy Lennox

No blurb but a competition for a bed and breakfast pits two guys against one another in a haunted house.  But… they find love instead!

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36431512-inn-love?from_search=true

 

Review

This was an adorable little story about some meddling ghosts and a little boy who finally grows up to achieve his dream.

There were a lot of times that I was annoyed with Ryan and I got tired of the other “contestants” but it was a quick story that had some cute and sweet moments.

3 of 5 stars

Monster Till Midnight by E.J. Russell

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42509627-monster-till-midnight?from_search=true

Blurb

Brady dearly loves Halloween. But the haunted house extravaganza he staged in his new town–in a house that’s actually supposed to be haunted–is a total bust. But then, an unexpected visitor barges out of his corn maze…

Review

I wish this had been full length! I loved this so much! It was clever, with some fabulous twists in it and loads of laughs!

It was a minute to read, but I wish that we had more time with these characters and their discovery of love that is more hinted at than explored.

In any case – highly recommended for a quick, fun, Halloween read!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Truth Will Out by KC Wells

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/truth-will-out-by-kc-wells-9933-

Blurb

Jonathon de Mountford’s visit to Merrychurch village to stay with his uncle Dominic gets off to a bad start when Dominic fails to appear at the railway station. But when Jonathon finds him dead in his study, apparently as the result of a fall, everything changes. For one thing, Jonathon is the next in line to inherit the manor house. For another, he’s not so sure it was an accident, and with the help of Mike Tattersall, the owner of the village pub, Jonathon sets out to prove his theory—if he can concentrate long enough without getting distracted by the handsome Mike.

They discover an increasingly long list of people who had reason to want Dominic dead. And when events take an unexpected turn, the amateur sleuths are left bewildered. It doesn’t help that the police inspector brought in to solve the case is the last person Mike wants to see, especially when they are told to keep their noses out of police business.

In Jonathon’s case, that’s like a red rag to a bull…

Review
This is a wonderful cosy whodunnit mystery set in an English village. Full of classic armature sleuthing and village secrets. Lord of the manor is found dead but despite what it looks like it wasn’t an accident. Now the question is who done it. The two main characters are the heir, Jonathan de Mountford and Mike Tattersall, a former London Police Detective, now retired to the countryside. I found this to be a very easy going book to read. Despite the subject there was very little angst. I had an inkling who the murderer was earlier on but loved the way events played out. The story reminds me of tv murder mystery shows like Midsummer murders or Murder she wrote, with the gentle yet intriguing way events unfold. Where we see underneath the respectability of village life and all the secrets come scurrying out. I’m hoping there’s more books with Mike and Jonathan’s sleuthing exploits. They make a great pair. The way they slowly got together and any action is off the page which completely fits with this type of story. With this book KC Wells has shown what a range of talent she has.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
This is a very enjoyable whodunit, set in the English countryside and with a hint of romance, though the focus is very much on the murder mystery.

The author leaves around clues and plenty of misdirection for the reader, and the two MC’s, to sort through. Always with a light touch, nothing too obvious or easy.
We meet a lot of secondary characters, all milling about and muddying the waters for Jonathon de Mountford, wannabe sleuth and nephew of the victim. Jonathon is lucky enough to get help from Mike Tattersall, now a pub owner, but formerly a policeman and a very useful Sherlock to Jonathan’s Watson. His connections sure come in handy!
There are a lot of viable suspects, some very unexpected ones even. But nothing seems to pans out…
And of course, we also have the typical incompetent “copper”, an arrogant Detective Inspector, bumbling about in the story, who is more of a hindrance to the investigation than anything else. DI Gorland isn’t in town to make friends. Mission accomplished, I say.

I love the subtlety with which K.C. Wells brings the romance into the story. Nothing much happens on page, but the small things that do, make the budding relationship very believable and help the reader get a better feel for who the two MC’s are. Their connection and trust in each other is important to the development of the detective plot. I also really liked the storyline centering around Mike’s sister, Sue.

The story continues along smoothly, almost cozily, without too much suspense or danger, but that suddenly changes when Jonathon and Mike get too close to the truth … and the murderer.
The denouement is tense and surprising, with an added element of tragedy. Very well-written!

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day: Nightfall John Inman

release day review

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/nightfall-by-john-inman-9854-b

Blurb
Joe Chase and Ned Bowden are damaged men. They each bear scars from surviving the world they were born in. Deep scars, both physical and emotional.

When fate offers its first kind act by bringing the two together, suddenly their scars don’t seem so bad, and their lives don’t feel so empty.

Yet that kindness comes at a price.

Just as Joe and Ned begin to experience true happiness for the very first time, the world turns on them again.

But this time it turns on everyone.

Review
This story was utterly sweet, sensual, emotional, intense and intimate.

The story is about Ned and Joe are neighbors and have unspoken deep feelings for each other. At the same time they get, very carefully, closer and closer… the world is acting strange.
When the sky turns dark and the temperature’s dropping ugly, most of the people turn dark and ugly too. It becomes the ‘Survival of the fittest’
Joe will protect Ned at all costs.

Ned so fragile, precious and sweet funny… Joe lonely and very protectively hovering over Ned.
I was holding my breath.. it was so fragile. Ned has a history of abuse and is very vulnerable.

“There had been a vacant spot inside him all along, it seemed—a spot that needed caulking; a spot that Joe had never known was there. Had never imagined was there. Until Ned came along.”

The parts where Ned and Joe are together and exploring each other were excellent. The journey they went through was good and original and sometimes angsty.
It was not really my kind of thing. Some parts I scrolled through… I know others will love those parts. I was more fixated on the moments they explored each other. The way of writing was really wonderful.
The love they feel for each other and their lovemaking is sweet and delicate.
Those parts did something with my heart.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Coming Soon! The Second Time Around By Rowan McAllister

Sept 11!

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-second-time-around-by-rowan-mcallister-9848-b

Blurb
Though born into wealth and privilege, Jordan Thorndike can’t keep pretending. He’s never going to become the lawyer his parents hope for… or provide the daughter-in-law and two-point-four grandkids they expect. Faced with an ultimatum—carry on living the lie or get out—Jordan leaves with only what he can pack in his BMW.
Homeless, jobless, directionless, Jordan heads to one of his mother’s pet charities: Better the Second Time Around Rescue ranch. With his family name and charm, he has the staff eating out of his hand in no time—except for one man.
Russ has never been handed anything, and he resents the spoiled rich brat using the ranch to live out a fantasy. Though Jordan is determined to prove himself to Russ through hard work, family and old wounds complicate matters. Will Jordan realize that what he sees as an escape is real life for most people? And can Russ accept that Jordan can grow—and that he wants him?

Review

After his coming out to his family goes badly, Jordan doesn’t know what to do. Cut off from his life of privilege he heads to the one place he loved growing up, the BStar Ranch. There he strives to prove his worth and it seem to impress most of the people there with the exception the ranch foreman Russ. Russ has seen this type of guy too many times to count. He ridicules Jordan and refuses to baby him. Jordan is determined to win over Russ. When tragedy befalls once of Jordan’s favorite horses Russ finally sees the real man behind the fake smile. Russ knows Jordan will eventually leave the ranch but is still willing to go full steam into a relationship.

This starts out as a sort of enemies to lovers story but really only in regards to Russ. Jordan immediately accepts his attraction towards Russ and once he finds out that he is gay is determined to win him over. Russ on the other hand is a bit more complicated. I feel like his transition from jerk to sweetheart was pretty abrupt. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

4 stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: Never By Tara Lain Narrated by Kale Williams

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/never-by-tara-lain-8971-b

Blurb

A Pennymaker Tale
Wendell “Wen” Darling lives in a world of shoulds and musts. Left to care for his brother and sister by his dull drudge of a father and wacko irresponsible mother, he suppresses his creativity, slaving in an ad agency seventy hours a week, letting his no-talent supervisor take the credit.
Then his bosses blow the campaign for their biggest client and Wen gets a chance to shine—but only if he can find the artist who painted a wild, glorious wall of graffiti in the subway. Hiding behind a pillar at 2:00 a.m., Wen comes face-to-face with the scarlet-haired, elven-faced embodiment of his divergent opposite—Peter Panachek, the flighty, live-for-today painter, singer, and leader of the rock group the Lost Boys. Everything Wen takes seriously, Peter laughs off, but opposites attract, even if their kisses always lead to battles. Peter’s devil-may-care persona hides a world of secrets, self-protection, and hidden fears, until the day a drug dealer, Vadon Hooker, threatens everything Wen holds dear. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Pennymaker, Peter has to choose between facing responsibility or burrowing even deeper into Neverland.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously by Mary)

I so very much enjoy Tara Lain’s reimagined fairy tale series with Mr Pennymaker, the fairy godfather, appearing in each one. I think this take on Peter Pan is my favourite so far. I loved Peter’s vibrancy. He is carefree, an artist and the lead singer of the Lost Boys. Peter lives for the moment. Wendell on the other hand was thrust into responsibility at a young age caring for his sister and young brother. He has to keep his job. Tara Lain does an excellent job of bringing you into their lives and caring about them all. I could feel how tired and stressed Wen is and how spirited and alive Peter is. Together they provided a balance for each other. The only problem being their past. Both of them let past experiences cloud the chance of happiness. This is one of the best opposites attract stories I have read. They want each other but are convinced it’ll never work until a certain Mr Pennymaker helps them see the error in their thinking. The character for Hook is extremely clever and so appropriate for today. All the other characters are included, Tink, the lost boys (each with their own personalities and part to play in the story) smee and a small reference to the crocodile. Such an enjoyable book and one of the best reimagined fairytales I’ve read. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
5 stars out of 5

Review by Morgan

I definitely admire the way Tara Lain is able to make these old fairy tales over into m/m romances! What an imagination! Some of the tales are more transmutable than others and this one – while ridiculously clever – didn’t resonate with me as well as some of the others.

I found the names and the people cute but I didn’t feel the spark between Wen and Peter as well as I have in some of her other tales.

If you’re a fan of the author and the series – I think you’ll love this as much as you did the others – but if you’re new to either the series or Tara Lain in particular this wouldn’t be where I’d start.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Kale Williams did a fantastic job with this! He gave everyone unique voices, made the humor ring loud and clear and managed to carry it all off with a good amount of panache. Recommended in this format as the best way to experience this story.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

 

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Fire and Granite by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/searchresults?q=fire+and+granite

Blurb:
A Carlisle Deputies Novel

The heat is growing from the inside, but danger is building on the outside.

Judge Andrew Phillips runs a tight ship in his courtroom. He’s tough, and when he hands down a sentence, he expects to be obeyed. So when a fugitive named Harper escapes and threatens his life, Andrew isn’t keen on twenty-four/seven protection… especially not from Deputy Clay Brown. They have a past, one that could cause problems in their careers.

But with Clay assigned to Andrew and the two of them together every minute, there’s nowhere to hide from their attraction—or from the fact that there’s much more than chemistry blooming between them. As the threat intensifies, Clay knows he’ll do anything it takes to protect the people who are taking their places in his heart: Andrew and his young niece and nephew.

Review:
This is the second in the Carlisle Deputies series. I have not read the first one, though there are characters from the first book, this works as a standalone story.
Andrew Grey consistently delivers sweet, straight forward romances with little angst, lots of heartwarming themes and HEAs. This story is no different.
Clay and Andrew knew of each other and both thought that the other man was difficult, bossy and not likeable. They are forced to work together when an escaped convict (Clay’s cousin) manages to escape, but not before threatening Andrew’s life, (he was the judge in his conviction).
When Andrew ends up staying with Clay at his home, the 2 men get to know each other better and soon develop a mutual attraction. But, just as the romance is starting up, Andrew has to take care of his niece and nephew. Andrew worries that the sudden change will affect his budding relationship with Clay, but Clay is on board with the change. In the middle of all of this, they are still dealing with the stalking convict and the person pulling the convict’s strings.
I liked the story, no new trope/theme, but an enjoyable read. There is a bit of a twist in regards to the mystery, leading to interesting turn of events.

There were a couple of inconsistencies in my ARC copy which I hope will be fixed by the general release date; otherwise a good story, enough for me to follow the series.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day Review: All That Glitters by Kate Sherwood

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/all-that-glitters-by-kate-sherwood-9696-

Blurb
No matter what he tells himself, wealthy NYC architect Liam has never been able to forget his first love, Ben. But as he approaches midlife and realizes something is missing, can he forgive himself for the worst mistake he ever made—the one that left a hole no amount of career success can fill? Or will fear keep him from the full life he really wants?

Liam and Ben were childhood sweethearts, then college boyfriends. But when Liam cheated on Ben, Ben forced himself to cut ties and move on. He’s still living in the small town where they grew up, teaching, but it’s not the life he imagined for himself as a younger man. Still, when Liam returns, he can’t risk his heart again. He certainly can’t allow himself to love Liam again after fighting so hard to get over him.

Neither man wants to let go of the past and face their apprehension at starting over. They don’t want to fall in love a second time—but sometimes love happens whether it’s wanted or not

Review
Essentially this story is about Liam who in all intents and purposes is pining after Ben. It’s not really spelt out like that in the story, more my impression of it. Liam has everything rising career, money, mixes with the rich and famous but no one to share it with or any good solid friends. Liam can’t understand (or doesn’t want to try) why he is drawn back to his childhood town. Except Ben still lives there and so does his other friend Seth. When he messed up his relationship with Ben he also lost Seth‘s respect and friendship. Equally Ben is resisting his attraction and the pull towards Liam. He doesn’t want to get hurt again. This is a well written story. There was enough going on in the mild emotional turmoil and the machiavellian antics of Ben’s Uncle Calvin to keep me glued to the story. Anything less and I would’ve been shouting get on with it already. But that never happened. Liam is quite a self centred character whilst Ben is a caring soul. It has taken Liam a long time to realise all that glitters is not gold and he left to golden opportunity far behind chasing dreams and ambition. How they fare in the future I don’t know but they seem to be soulmates, so I’ll hope for the best. The epilogue feels more like a happy for now ending but they have good family and friends around them.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review