Recent Release: Blue Umbrella Sky by Rick R. Reed

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/blue-umbrella-sky-by-rick-r-reed-10315-b

Blurb

Milt Grabaur has left his life, home, and teaching career in Ohio to start anew. The Summer Winds trailer park in Palm Springs, butted up against the San Jacinto mountain range, seems the perfect place to forget the pain of nursing his beloved husband through Alzheimer’s and seeing him off on his final passage.

Billy Blue is a sexy California surfer type who once dreamed of being a singer but now works at Trader Joe’s and lives in his own trailer at Summer Winds. He’s focused on recovery from the alcoholism that put his dreams on hold.

When his new neighbor moves in, Billy falls for the gray-eyed man. His sadness and loneliness awaken something Billy’s never felt before—real love.

When a summer storm and flash flood jeopardize Milt’s home, Billy comes to the rescue, hoping the two men might get better acquainted… and maybe begin a new romance.

But Milt’s devotion to his late husband is strong, and he worries that acting on his attraction will be a betrayal.

Can they lay down their baggage and find out how redemptive love can be?

Review

I was very intrigued by the blurb but sadly this book did nothing for me. I really struggled to finish it. The two main characters are Milt, who’s husband passed away from Alzheimer’s and Billy, a young man struggling with sobriety. Milt has pulled away from all human contact until a flood forces him into Billy’s orbit. The two men have the beginnings of a friendship going on. Billy admits to himself early on that he was intrigued and falling in love with the lonely man. Milt in the other hand doesn’t want to move on from his deceased husband due to a promise he made to him on the sick bed. The ending seemed very rushed. I think if a few extra chapters of more build up were added I would have liked it more. I also found the frequent jumps back in time to be confusing since there was no notice that it had happed.

3 stars of 5


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Recent Release: Redeem by Christina Lee

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44152554-redeem?from_search=true

Blurb
Successful financial analyst Michael Walsh leads a picture-perfect life that anyone would envy—unless they caught a glimpse beneath the surface. Haunted by failed relationships and self-doubt, Michael harbors a soul-deep loneliness that no number of casual hookups can fulfill. So why can’t he stop thinking about his New Year’s fling with a man whose quiet desperation matched his own?

Barista Stewart Jenkins has an abysmal track record with relationships, and no matter how hard he tries to keep things tightly under wraps, his life is spinning out of control. His hookup with the gorgeous Michael was only supposed to be sex—hot, dirty, uncomplicated—but that small taste leaves him yearning for more.

Every no-strings encounter that follows between Michael and Stewart peels away more layers, blurring the lines, until they’re left with a raw tenderness and acceptance they both crave. A relationship seems out of the question—they come from drastically different lives and are plagued by inexcusable sins. Being vulnerable is sure to reveal old wounds, and forgiveness seems out of reach, unless they can find a way around their fears on the road to redemption.

Review
Both Michael and Stewart have both come out of relationships they have tried to cling on to. Both of them have been painted as the bad guys. It during this period of acceptance and introspection that they meet each other and the penny drops. They know of each other through their former partners. Small world. Both of them are carrying a lot of baggage and resist getting involved with anyone again. They are so drawn to each other that they dance around admitting that they want anything more than to hook up. Both of them grow so much during this story that it’s a captivating read. They are getting together at the right point for both of them, they are now receptive to understanding where things have gone wrong in the past and do not want to make the same mistakes again. Even though they don’t quite want to open up to each other in the bedroom Stewart and Michael are so hot together, phew what chemistry.
Although this book can be read as a stand alone I personally think you get a deeper understanding of exactly how far both of them have come if you’ve read, or listened, to the previous two books. West (Jonas) relationship with Tristan is in Reawaken and Elijah and Kam’s story is in Reclaim.

5 of stars out of 5



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Audiobook: Mating of Convenience Second Chances, Book 1 By: Ann-Katrin Byrde Narrated by: John Solo

audiobookreview

https://www.audible.com/pd/Mating-of-Convenience-Audiobook/B07N8HYTH6?ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_9_B07N8HYTH6&pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=QAYDWY42QXAKVE3F90J3&

Blurb
Money problems? Marry your best friend!
Nathan and Raphael were friends first, then lovers, then…nothing when Raphael left to pursue his dreams of becoming a tattoo artist. But only one year after Raphael makes it out of his small-town home, bad news descends on him. His useless father has gotten their family into debt so deep , it would take 1,000 years to dig them out. With his siblings on the brink of becoming homeless, Raphael turns to his estranged but wealthy grandmother for help and receives a deal: If he settles down and marries, he’ll free his siblings of the debt.
When Raphael asks Nathan for a favor – to enter a marriage of convenience – Nathan agrees. After all, he’s doing it so he can start his own pet shop, right? Wrong. Nathan just can’t say no to the man who used to be his best friend – the man he’s still secretly yearning for, even as he’s doing his best to hide that fact. After all, he knows better now than to fall for Raphael again.
Haunted by the loss of their past relationship, Raphael regrets breaking Nathan’s heart. Scars from the past are never easy to heal, though, and the more time he spends with his new husband, the harder it gets for Raphael to deny the sparks that Nathan ignites in him. Except, this is just a pretend relationship, isn’t it?
While this audiobook is part of the Oceanport Universe, knowledge of that series is not required to enjoy this story.

Review
I really enjoyed this audio for the most part. The only issue I had was with all the secondary characters, I felt a bit lost, and I have read all the Oceanport books too. This is a solid friend to lovers/second chance at love story. We have soft spoken and easy-going alpha Nathan and the omega Raphael who while he loved Nathan, he felt he had to give him up so Nathan could eventually have his dream family. This book was a fairly easy listen but there was a difficult scene dealing with miscarriage that may be a trigger.

John Solo has long been a favorite narrator of mine. I loved all his voices, he keeps the story moving at a nice pace. He is a master of his craft!
4 stars for story and 5 stars for narration


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Release Day Review: A Model Escort by Amanda Meuwissen

release day review

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-model-escort-by-amanda-meuwissen-10283-b

Blurb

What’s the value of love?

Shy data scientist Owen Quinn is brilliant at predictive models but clueless at romance. Fortunately, a new career allows him to start over hundreds of miles from the ex he would rather forget. But the opportunity might go to waste since this isn’t the kind of problem he knows how to solve. The truth is, he’s terrible at making the first move and wishes a connection didn’t have to revolve around sex.

Cal Mercer works for the Nick of Time Escort Service. He’s picky about his clients and has never accepted a regular who is looking for companionship over sex—but can the right client change his mind? And can real feelings develop while money is changing hands? Owen and Cal might get to the root of their true feelings… if their pasts don’t interfere.

Review

A Model Escort was a fairly decent read. The story flowed really well. I enjoyed the connect Owen and Cal had. I’m usually a little skeptical about these types of stories….sometimes they are just another retelling of Pretty Women, but Model Escort isn’t. Neither man is looking to be saved by the other. Owen reaches out to Cal’s escort agency mainly because of loneliness. Cal is in his early 40s and seems to be burning out, he decided to accept Owen as a client to try and mix things up. Both men are surprised by the connection they end up making. There’s some drama built up by an ex-boyfriend and an ex client, I wish that was drawn out a little more but instead it was resolved within a few pages. The only thing I didn’t like was Owens job. I had no clue what the heck he was actually doing job wise and the beginning of the story was a bit confusing but other than that I enjoyed this book.

3.5 stars


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Recent Release: Stallion Mage: True Mates (Stallion Mage book 2) by A.O. Spade

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43587581-stallion-mage?from_search=true

Blurb

As an earth mage, Alvarr is the only stallion who can survive outside the tribe’s territory. And this is exactly what he must do to find out what has been affecting the land so terribly. Most of the stallions believe that the lack of rain is just a bad season, but Alvarr’s trusted advisor, Elder Mastok, fears that Nature has abandoned them due to a terrible event from their people’s distant past.

Whatever the cause, Alvarr knows he must get answers before the tribe starts to starve. His journey takes him far beyond the stallion territory into the lost land of their ancient people. There, Alvarr discovers not only secrets about the way they once lived, but himself as well.

When he returns to leader Laren and the tribe, he is bearing more than ancient knowledge. It is only a matter of time before his secrets become known to all: he, a stallion, is with child, and Laren is his true mate.

Review

This book picks up right where we left Alvarr in the first one, alone and on a mission.

Romance takes a backseat and this is much more of an adventure story with Alvarr going on a solitary quest to find out more about the “Rift” that has brought such imbalance to the world of the horse shifters. The horses have lost so much of their history and knowledge, even worse, they have lost their hearts with stallions living apart from the mares and foals. I love that it’s this particular “imbalance” in their society that causes Nature to lose its way.

Laren is rather inflexible in his way of thinking and his distrust of all things unknown, and thus unsafe until proven otherwise, almost proves stronger than the draw to claim and protect his mate. Foremost in his mind is always the safety of his tribe though, and he comes through for Alvarr when push comes to shove. Eventually.

Alvarr is a wonderful character and I loved how he came into his own in this story. He grows so much on his journey, and surprises even himself with his new-found resourcefulness and inner strength. The Elders and Barron make for amazing secondary characters, and even Thane and Nassor, the villains of the tribe, are well-written and nuanced characters.

The mpreg aspect of this universe is done differently than in most omegaverse stories I’ve read so far and I really like this new angle. I also love the sense of urgency throughout the story (doomsday is coming for the tribe, after all) and the way physically weaker members, like Alvarr, Barron and the Elders, get to play such an important part in saving their brethren.

I’m very curious to see how it will all play out in the end.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Recent Release: Escaping Mortality (The Escape Trilogy Book 3) by Sara Dobie Bauer

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43206768-escaping-mortality?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Their ocean journey was successful, and Andrew and Edmund found an Elder just in time. As they wished, Edmund is now a vampire like Andrew. They have eternity together, but first, they must visit Edmund’s ailing mother in the English countryside with their flock of immortals, including the Elder, who has taken an ominous liking to his new creation.
When they arrive at Edmund’s family estate, his sick mother and her loathsome best friend await them. While ducking religious curses, Edmund struggles to harness an unexpected power gifted him by the Elder. Andrew fears for his beloved as Edmund becomes more and more monstrous—but vampires have always been monsters, haven’t they?
A battle is coming, for Edmund’s heart and his soul, and Andrew will lose neither. He escaped island exile and a near tragedy at sea to be with Edmund, the beautiful young sailor he loves. Andrew will do anything to keep Edmund by his side, but his most dangerous adversary may be Edmund himself.

Review:
This is the final book of the trilogy, and it is a fitting end to the story.
Andrew and Edmund have left New Orleans to find an Elder (Brien) who will make him immortal. They find and Elder (Brian) who turns Edmund, but not without some hidden consequences.
As the group (Felipe, Michelle and others), continue on their voyage to England (to see Edmund’s dying mother), they realise that Brien has given Edmund some extra powers. This includes the ability to control things and eventually, people; making Edmund more powerful – (a fact that will have dire consequences later).
When they get to England, we learn more about Edmund’s background, inheritance and his past relationships. Eventually, he finds out that he is indirectly responsible for his mum’s illness.
Again, the one thing constant throughout the stories is the love Edmund and Andrew have for each other. Ultimately, this is what sees them through trials they encounter with Brien and others.
In the end, both men get their eternal get their HEA. I loved the epilogue; definitely a treat to see he vamps well into the future ☺
This was a really good story. Loved it from the first to the last book.

4.5 stars out of 5


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Recent Release: Elias By Erin E. Keller

Good Reads

https://www.jms-books.com/erotic-romance-c-29_94/elias-p-2635.html?zenid=bt9b4JSEAEyjiUt7gDzs80

Blurb

Detective Thomas Doyle has been living a lonely, compartmentalized life ever since the death of his life partner, Aiden. He vowed never to let anybody get close to him again — the pain of losing a loved one is too much to bear. Despite his vow, Thomas is lonely, and has a number of one-night stands, sexual encounters with unnamed men he doesn’t care to remember. Then he meets Elias.

Elias Byrne knows the pain of abuse and rejection intimately. Unable to escape the clutches of his older brother, Elias dreams of someone to love, and of being loved in return. He admires Thomas, but the detective never pays him any notice. In a desperate attempt to get closer to him, Elias steals his wallet, then gives it back the next day.

Pretty soon, Thomas feels a strong attraction to the fiery, arrogant, younger man. Elias intrigues him, but he resists his growing feelings because he doesn’t want to get hurt again.

When Thomas rescues Elias from his abusive brother, can he also rescue them both from the loneliness that threatens to consume them? Can Elias conquer the detective’s hardened heart and find the love he always longed for? Or will Thomas stubbornly refuse to give himself another chance at love?

Review

Thomas has been nearly existing the past 2 years after the death of his partner Aiden. One day while on his way to work he feels a panic attack starting and ends up meeting a young man who ends up bringing him back to life. Elias has a hard life. He feels indebted to his older brother and because of this he allows his brother to prostitute him out. Elias see Thomas and becomes infatuated with him. He sees Thomas as a savior figure.
At first, I didn’t think I would like this book. I like for characters to be able to save themselves instead of waiting for someone to come do it for them. At first this is what the book seemed like but in the end, Thomas helped Elias become strong enough to help himself.
There are some difficult scenes in this book. Physical violence and an attempted rape scene so readers with triggers should be cautious. This story does end on a lighter note but hopefully there will be more to Thomas and Elias’ story down the road.
4 Stars


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