Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Hero for the Holidays by Charles Payseur

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

 

Cody travels from Metro City to the Caribbean island lair of Dr. Devious to look after the place while the supervillain is in space for the holidays… and maybe to mend his broken heart. With Christmas fast approaching, Cody is desperate to avoid reminders of his recent disastrous breakup, and a few weeks of sun and relaxation sound perfect—until a drunk (but very cute) superhero crashes the party by literally crashing onto the beach.
And that’s just the start of Cody’s problems—angry shark-men, mysterious lava creatures, and a malfunctioning AI all make his holiday getaway anything but relaxing. Amid the chaos of his adventures in lair-sitting, though, Cody might find just what he needs—a new chance at love.

Review

When Cody agrees to lair sit for Dr. Devious, he thought he would be in for a nice relaxing holiday on the island. What happens will change his life forever. Trying to get over a bad break up Cody just wants to soak up some sunshine and forget his pain, but unexpected visitors and an artificial intelligence gone haywire is what he must deal with.
This story is a fast paced read that pulled me in right from the start. Cody’s adventure is full of comical mishaps and an engaging plot. Cody is a regular person and readers can relate to him and how he deals with what is happening on the island. It was fun to see all the misunderstandings happen throughout this story. This is a sweet and endearing read and look forward to more from this author in the future.

Number of stars out of 5: 4

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Romancing the Undercover Millionaire by Clare London

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/romancing-the-undercover-millionaire-by-clare-london-10016-b

Blurb

Romancing The…
Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?
Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.
Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.
While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?

Review

Alexandre is your typical spoiled playboy rich kid. He gets the bright idea to go undercover to reveal who is causing trouble in the family business warehouse. He meets his boss Tate. Tate is essentially a single parent of his three siblings and occasionally his grandmother when her arthritis is bad . The twins add great humor to the book. The attraction is instant. It was funny to read how easily Tate sees through Alex. Both are guarded. Alex, because he’s never tried for relationships and wanting to keep identity secret until mystery is solved, and Tate, because he feels that anyone he loves will eventually leave him plus the responsibility he feels to his siblings. The mystery incidences added great drama to the book. I enjoyed reading the family dynamics and know personally how tough it is maintaining a family in poverty. Alex gets hurt and shortly after the truth about him comes out. The sex scenes were hot without being detailed. The bond between them was great to read. All background characters were fun to read also. Overall fantastic read.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: A Light in the Darkness by Alice Winters; narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Link:
https://www.audible.com/pd/A-Light-in-the-Darkness-Audiobook/154144759X?qid=1543000021&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=SJ717YXMZSWR7R1K4JYX&

Blurb: Felix and Lane are trying out their new normal. Normal means no more car chases, no more drug lords, and definitely no more kidnapping bad guys. All of that is a thing of the past in this new, normal(ish) life style filled with family get-togethers, torturous jogs through the park, and the occasional romp in the parking lot. Felix is done stealing (all but for the cat). He is actually enjoying the boring side of life, especially with Lane by his side doing what he does best: looking handsome. But when Felix’s brother wants to repair their relationship, he brings with him a secret that could cost all of them their lives.
Lane isn’t complaining because the thrills of life-threatening situations are right up his alley. They may think they have a handle on the situation, but what they do not know is that someone has been working them from the shadows. Forcing them to do exactly what he wants as he drives them closer to his sick game of life and death.

Review:
Hands down, this is one of the best sequels I have ever had the pleasure of reading and listening to!
Lane and Felix are still very much in love and are settling into the new home that *they’ve just bought, (*well, Felix did contribute $5, lol!), when Felix’s past rears up. It starts with his long lost brother, Darian and soon escalates into a convoluted mind game that tests both Lane’s and Felix’s sleuthing skills. Through it all, the banter, the sass and shenanigans kept me highly entertained.
But, the narration ….
Joel Leslie owned the story, lock, stock and barrel!; especially Felix. You will understand exactly what I mean when you listen to the opening wail “Lane!….”. I don’t know what else I can say about Joel that is not already known – brilliant narrator, versatile performer, excellent for knowing what a character needs and how to portray said character. Joel was born to do this series ☺
What made this a truly an excellent performance is how he minimized the impact of the repetitive “he said”, “I said” that peppered the story. The author may not have realised the impact of this for people listening to the audio. I hope that, (if there is a continuation of the In Darkness series), Joel will be able to give his considerable wealth of knowledge and advice on the editing of the audio.
I absolutely loved the narration and story!

6 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Audiobook: My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley narrated by Joseph Morton

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/my-fair-captain-by-jl-langley-9628-b

Blurb: When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden.

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

Review:

Book reviewed previously: https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-my-fair-captain-by-j-l-langley/

Joseph Morton (new to me), had a nice voice. He didn’t attempt to ‘act’ out the different characters. Unfortunately, it also made the narration rather emotionless (to me); any emotion portrayed by the characters was delivered in the same (mono)tone.
Ovearll, the narration was okay – it was more reading, (which isn’t bad), than performance, but I liked it enough to get through the book. I will likely listen to the narrator again.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get Paranormal: A Time To Rise by Tal Bauer

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40526865-a-time-to-rise

Blurb

History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.

Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand against the darkness. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and the evils that exist beyond the Veil.

But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenburg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago, and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.

Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Cristoph struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cristoph collides with Alain as both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican… and of the world.

Review

A Time To Rise is Bauer’s first steps into the paranormal world, but don’t expect romantic “vegetarian” vampires with a bit of sparkle, because that isn’t how he writes. The vampires in this story are ugly, evil and they smell. Really, really bad.

As with everything he writes, Bauer’s level of research and attention to the small detail is second to none and sets him far above, in my opinion, most other authors out there.

As always, this book is character led, but with the romance taking a backseat to the drama and mystery of the story.
Both Alain and Cristoph are interesting personalities, who help drive the story along at its fast pace. They are helped by a whole host of great secondary characters not least of which is Father Lotario, a cigarette smoking, vodka drinking priest who I would love to sit and chat with in a bar one evening.

The twists and turns of this book will leave you gasping for breath and worried what you will find at the next turn of the page. Its a lot darker than most paranormal romances out there, but worth every bitten nail.

5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Release Day Review: Love You So Special by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-special-by-tara-lain-9894-b

Blurb

Artie is a simple guy, a blue collar plumber, not smart, and still deeply closeted, the only thing special about his life are his colorful tropical fish. Artie is working in a concert hall when he hears the music for the first time. Intrigued and instantly enamored, he even finds an excuse to go back after hours to try and hear it again. The mysterious musician might be a figment of his imagination, but a few days after when he goes to the ritzier part of town for a job he hears it again. The source is the pianist and composer Francois Desmarais, international talent, beautiful and rich, and oh yeah, his boss.

Francois is a world renowned musician with fans all over the globe, too bad he can’t stand to talk to people and crowds petrify him. Secluded and barley making any public appearances, Francois is fascinated with the cute guy working in his property. He feels safe and at ease in his company, something he never though himself capable of feeling again, and they become friends. Just when Francois starts feeling more confident in himself his fear of strangers turns out to be justified and Artie has to decide if he will stay in the closet or stand next to this amazing man he grew to adore for much more than his talented fingers.

Review by Karen
This is a very cute romance, but definitely a whirlwind one.

Once the MC’s start to have feelings for each other, everything just goes incredibly fast. I feel like they skip a few steps in the whole let’s get to know each other process. I would have liked it better if the author had given them a bit more time to fall in love.
François and Artie are very sweet together though, and do have a great connection, however fast it came about.

I did really like that music was so important to both men. It felt almost like a third in their relationship and was wonderfully described. A piano and Chopin… what’s not to love about that combination? It gave François all the advantage he needed to woo Artie.

Danger lurks in the crowds of fans that gather to hear François play, however.
When it comes out of the shadows, it does so suddenly and unexpectedly.
A great way to add tension and suspense to the story and give both François and Artie a chance to prove what they’re made of.

Artie’s coming out felt a bit rushed to me, especially the conversation with his family. I feel this was a missed opportunity to add some more emotion and depth to the story, but it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of it.

This was a fun, quick read.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta
This was a true sweet read, quit funny and just all around pleasure. Both main characters were interesting, Francois with his elusive personality and mystic and Artie, the big tough plumber with the heart of gold and softness. I especially liked how each did not live up to the stereotypical expectations of similar characters, and managed to surprise me along the way. This book had all of Tara’s charm and sass with a surprisingly small amount of sex which was actually nice. It fit the story well and I was not missing it, even though Tara’s books tend to be on the lava side of hot this was a bit milder. I liked the pacing too, they formed a nice friendship before they moved to the romantic side and it was fun getting to know them.

This is a great palate cleanser after and emotional read or a really bad book you need to flush out (did you see what I did there?) full of funny moments that will make you smile and unforgettable characters.

Number of stars out of 5
3 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review by Dee

A really nice story about a regular, blue collar guy meeting and falling for a classical pianist. There is humour, a bit of hurt/comfort and a good bit heat in the story.
Artie is closeted, somewhat due to his job but mostly because he really hasn’t had a reason to declare himself. François had been subject to a traumatic incident (as a kid) and is quite wary of people in general. When both men meet, they feel a connection that trumps both their fears. Artie finds someone to protect and brave being out for; François finds someone (other than his mum) to have his best interests at heart.
This is another good standalone addition to the ‘Love You’ series!

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Get Paranormal: The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles

 

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34715150-the-magpie-lord?from_search=true

Blurb:
Lucien Vaudrey returns to England after two decades of exile in China following the mysterious deaths of his brother and father. With the infamous title of Lord Crane and an Earldom Lucian also inherited his family’s enemies. Seeking help of the magical variety after a string of self-harm episodes he did not expect it to come from on such enemy.
Magician Stephen Day had his share of reasons to hate the Cranes but cannot ignore the supernatural threat handing over Lucian’s head.

Despite the multitude of reasons to hate Crane, Stephan finds himself quickly falling for the unusual lord, with his colorful tattoos and disregard of social rules. But, danger to his heart is not the only thing Stephan needs to fear, there is Evil in Carnes house and a plot so thick you can drown in it slowly reveals itself the deeper they dig into the sordid history of Lucians ancestors. If Stephan can’t find a way to stop it, they would never leave the house again- alive or dead.

Review:

The richness of language and twisting plot is done beautifully, this book is just the kind of historical I like to read and when it’s a KJ Charles book you know it’s guaranteed to be amazing! KJ weaves intricate mysteries and unique characters into works of fiction that are just mind blowing. Her Sins of the Cities is one such perfection and this book is a promising start to another series. The setting is just the right amount of raw and gut punching with the flair and sophistication of the upper class and the magical supernatural elements were fascinating and seemed completely natural in this world- something I find many paranormal books lack.

Lucien is probably the wittiest, most charming, rakish, wonderfully horrible man I have had the pleasure of reading about. I absolutely adored him, he is seductive and controlling yet vulnerable at the same time. Stephen is as much a contradiction as Lucien is, and TO Lucian as well. He is such a fiery, compassionate little man and I loved his level of control and knowledge in his respective field. He is so competent and never backs down even when all hope is lost.

The way the plot unfolded and slowly revealed more of the sordid history of the Crane household and family was suspenseful and I found myself wishing for more time to keep reading when I inevitably had to put it , and once I was done reading I was anxious to get the next one and keep reading. I am so excited for the next books and how the story will continue for this couple.

Number of stars out of 5
5 stars.

Purchased for 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

Recent Release: Love it Like You Stole it by Ki Brightly

Nine Star Presents

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40718985-love-it-like-you-stole-it?from_search=true

Blurb
Michal, or Meeko, is in trouble. Tearing cars for money to get his mechanic certifications and impress his day-job boss Ben who he has been crushing on for years, was supposed to be temporary. Now in dept to a dangerous man Michael is sucked in to crime and in fear for his life.
Ben has been in a routine for a long time, with his auto repair shop doing good and raising his niece right it seems like he is in a great place, and with a great boyfriend to boot. But Ben feels off, nothing is interesting anymore, except Meeko, his young employee, and the dream car he is fixing up. Michael is such and important par of Ben’s live that when he starts acting strange Ben can’t help but try to help him. Longing to be together yet so many things keeping them apart, will their bond survive and danger Meeko is tangled in? Can they even fix it before it’s too late?

Review:
I have to say the first thing I like about this book is the writing. It had such a distinct, lyrical and expressive style I honestly think it elevated the story for me and made it an emotional journey. It was written in such a way that I felt like every character is so tangible, I could picture them so clearly, especially Ben with his gestures and all the little details of how they move, it was almost like the book was animated through the words. The use of car related lingo was a nice touch, for me this book was, as Ben and Meeko often say, Cherry.
Ben is such an interesting character, gruff and gentle, and I loved how he and Meeko seemed to fit each other emotionally and just had the same vibe about them. Meeko being 19 did some stupid things, and to me it made sense, he had his childish bits and he had to deal with the results of some really bad decisions. I enjoyed not having their ages specified, I could probably figure it out but despite the obvious gap it’s not such a big issue in the story. It was the longing they had for each other, the craving for the other that was just captivating, with the writing I was drawn into the story and could not put it down.

All the characters were well rounded, interesting and quirky, the shared history, described or hinted was really developed, and I got the feeling like the author knows all these characters inside and out. The crime theme was interesting, not my go-to genre, not as glamorous and raw, I liked it and felt it was refreshing.
Plot wise I would say some parts did drag a bit and I could have skipped of rushed them, some things just seemed slightly repetitive.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to get Paranormal! Love and Payne (THIRDS Book 13) by Charlie Cochet

 

Dreamspinner Press Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-and-payne-by-charlie-cochet-9843-b

Blurb:

Austen Payne, THIRDS Squadron Specialist Agent (SSA) for Destructive Delta and TIN operative, has seen the worst the world has to offer, faced lethal killers, and helped bring down dangerous organizations. But nothing terrifies him more than falling in love. After years of undercover work, Austen is a master at defending himself and protecting his heart… until he meets Osmond Zachary.

THIRDS Defense Agent Osmond Zachary has a huge, doting family, yet something is missing in his life. After meeting grumpy, foul-mouthed, jittery cheetah Therian Austen Payne, Zach knows exactly what that something—or someone—is. Unfortunately Austen seems determined to avoid Zach at all costs.

When Zach foils an assassination attempt, he ends up in the killer’s crosshairs, and Austen is Zach’s best chance at staying alive. Zach hopes the crisis will bring them closer, but Austen has every intention of walking away as soon as the danger is over.

Happily ever after isn’t for guys like Austen, but Zach is determined to show him it can be….

Review:
I have to confess I only read the first THIRDS book, Hell & High Water, so I read this book almost as a stand-alone. In regards to that I did not feel like I was missing too much information and even though I am sure reading all the previous books would have given me more background I can definitely say reading it on its own is no issue.
I do have to say that despite the popularity of this book series I did not get into it when I read the first one and # 13 did not change my mind even though I am a big Paranormal/Fantasy/Shifter fan.

I would say the biggest issue I have is believability, mainly in the world of the book. I like the background and evolution of Therians, as explained at the beginning, but when it comes to the various government agencies I feel like they are more prop then substance. I also think the mystery of the assassination attempt, and the subsequent hiding Zach was just not detailed enough. You have skilled agents, and advanced technology and yet the discovery of the perp is delayed and only comes as an afterthought. It’s almost like they intentionally miss the clues so it can prolong the ending. I feel the plot writing is underdeveloped and unbalanced, in a way that does not let me fully get into the story.

I enjoyed Austen and Zach as characters, but I feel the growing attraction between them took too much of the story. Sure it was fun and sexy at times but I felt the story needed more action and more emotional depth. They have known each other for four years, and while Zach is very interested, Austen has been keeping his distance but could not seem to stope checking in on Zach and coming to his aid whenever something happened to him. You do get the feeling of an almost Friends-To-Lovers (my favorite trope) vibe though they are not truly friends as Austen repeatedly pushes Zach away. I just kept going back to thinking I wish I believed the plot itself, and not have it as some sort of stage setting for Zach and Austen to get together. Because when you have these elements in a story they must work together with everything else. I feel like had the action and thrill been better and the world more complex this would have been a 5 Strat book for me.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review