Categories
adult - 18+

Shortbread and Shadows Author: Amy Lane

 Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/shortbread-and-shadows-by-amy-lane-11686-b

Blurb
Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club: Book One

When a coven of hedge witches casts a spell for their hearts’ desires, the world turns upside down.

Bartholomew Baker is afraid to hope for his heart’s true desire—the gregarious woodworker who sells his wares next to Bartholomew at the local craft fairs—so he writes the spell for his baking business to thrive and allow him to quit his office job. He’d rather pour his energy into emotionally gratifying pastry! But the magic won’t allow him to lie, even to himself, and the spellcasting has unexpected consequences.

For two years Lachlan has been flirting with Bartholomew, but the shy baker with the beautiful gray eyes runs away whenever their conversation turns personal. He’s about to give up hope… and then Bartholomew rushes into a convention in the midst of a spellcasting disaster of epic proportions.

Suddenly everybody wants a taste of Bartholomew’s baked goods—and Bartholomew himself. Lachlan gladly jumps on for the ride, enduring rioting crowds and supernatural birds for a chance with Bartholomew. Can Bartholomew overcome the shyness that has kept him from giving his heart to Lachlan?

Review
I don’t always know what I’m going to get with a book written by Amy
Lane but I know I am going to enjoy it. With this book Amy has given us love and magic, what a potent combination. I fell in love with timid, shy, naive Bartholomew who turns out to be a hero in this story. Lachlan is determined that Bartholomew will pay attention to him and realise how much he is attracted to Bartholomew. Here’s where love and magic get sticky because you can’t fool magic. Magic knows Bartholomew’s true hearts desire is Lachlan. Now the fun begins in the book. Such a wonderful comedy of errors occurs as
Bartholomew, his coven and Lachlan try to appease magic and put things right. True love blossoms in amongst the mayhem and Bartholomew realises he can rely on Lachlan to back him up and support him.
Whilst Bartholomew and Lachlan’s story comes to a wonderful happy for now ending there was a tiny cliffhanger. I do hope the next story is out soon this coven grabbed my heart with their spell and I don’t want to break free from them just yet.
Number of stars out 5 of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Soul to Keep Author: Garrett Leigh Narrator: Dan Calley

audiobookreview

Publisher and link to book (i.e. Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36291180-soul-to-keep

 

Blurb
Stand-alone second book in the LAMBDA nominated Rented Heart series.

Recovering addict Jamie Yorke has returned to England from California. With no home or family to speak of, he sticks a pin in a map and finds a small town in the Derbyshire Peak District. Matlock Bath is a quiet place – he just needs to get there, keep his head down, and stay clean. Simple, right? Until a chance meeting on the flight home alters the course of his so-called life forever.

Ex-Army medic Marc Ramsey is recovering from life-changing combat injuries while pulling nights as a trauma specialist at the local hospital. Keeping busy is a habit he can’t quit, but when Jamie – so wild and beautiful – bursts into his life, working himself into the ground isn’t as compelling as it used to be.

Marc falls hard, but chaos lurks behind Jamie’s fragile facade. He’s winning his battle against addiction, but another old foe is slowly consuming him. Both men have weathered many storms, but the path to the peace they deserve might prove the roughest ride yet.

Review
This book worked as a stand-alone for me. I have never read of listened to Rented Heart and whilst characters do cross over a little I did not feel like I was missing something. This story is all about Jamie and Marc. I absolutely loved their meeting, it was like fate was giving them a push knowing they would be just what each other needed. As Jamie fights to control his addiction his OCD comes more to the front as a way to take control of his life. Such a powerful battle he is going through. Marc is there for him, really they are there for each other. There’s a lot in this story without it feeling overwhelming. I love the realism in Garrett Leigh’s writing. There’s aren’t any cinderfella moments. Everyone has to work hard to get what they want or to be with, without a too heavy load of angst.
Dan Cally’s narration adds a perfect amount of grit with his gravelly voice. He is able to convey Marc’s tired determination of an NHS Doctor and the frenetic worry that drives Jamie. Perfect for me.

Number of stars 4 out of 5 for story
Number of stars 5 out of 5 for narration


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Categories
adult - 18+

Tiramisu After Midnight By Mark David Campbell

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tiramisu-after-midnight-by-mark-david-campbell-11664-b

Blurb

If Enrico, who is gay, and his twin brother, Fabrizio, who is straight, can make a success of their B&B on Lago Maggiore in northern Italy, they can save their family home from their conniving half sister. Can good intentions and lots of heart make up for what they lack in money and experience?

On the other side of the Atlantic, in Syracuse, New York, Owen is buckling under an unrequited crush and the pressures of starting an event-planning business. His best friend Maggie books a last-minute getaway at the twins’ romantic villa—and insists Owen join her.

Even if the B&B is not quite as elegant as advertised, they are seduced by the stunning scenery, sumptuous foods, and luscious wines—not to mention their charming hosts.

Love is in the air, but before these four lonely hearts can make their dreams come true, they must overcome past obsession, half a world of distance, and false accusations.

When your tiramisu is only a soggy biscuit soaked in instant coffee and topped with spray cream, it’s time to take a chance on the real thing.

Review

Tiramisu After Midnight was an okay book. The story line isn’t very original, which is probably why I couldn’t really get into it, Owen is supposedly in love with his best friend, all is hopeless, so he runs off to Italy and in a short few days, his heart is healed by the cute Italian guy Enrico. Throw in greedy family members and some prejudice and that pretty much sums up this story.
I just had a hard time getting into this book even though there was a lot I liked. The characters were all well written. There was plenty of banter which I always like. The description of the Italian cities were fantastic.
3 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Finding Armando by Joe Cosentino

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/finding-armando-by-joe-cosentino-11671-b

Blurb

Found At Last: Book Two

An investigative adventure in search of an elderly man’s first love brought Theo and Jamison together. Now they’re called to put their sleuthing skills to use once again and reunite Pocono resort manager Asher with his lost love, Armando. But the hunt through rural Pennsylvania won’t be easy with Jamison’s younger brother locking horns with the resort’s assistant manager and a shocking offer from the sous chef, Grace.

Review

Finding Armando is a story of found family, love and friendship. This is the second book of a series and not having read the first book I felt like I was dropped into the middle of an ongoing story but I still enjoyed this one. All of the characters, major and minor were very well written. Armando and Asher’s story was heartbreaking at times but they managed to pull through and get their happy ending.
I definitely recommend reading the first story first for better enjoyment!

4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Ride the Lightning (Sinister in Savannah Book 1) By Aimee Nicole Walker

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54226440-ride-the-lightning?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=T0n02eFgxF&rank=3

Blurb

Truth seeker. Promise keeper. Guarded heart.

By day, Jonah St. John is a criminal analyst for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. By night, he produces Sinister in Savannah, an investigative podcast, with his two best friends. Jonah’s life revolves around three principles: a man’s word is his oath, friendships are priceless gifts, and love is for other people.

When the Sinister in Savannah team delves into the thirty-eight-year-old murder of a drag queen, they quickly discover that the story doesn’t end with the alleged killer’s confession in 1995. Continuing the investigation could have fatal consequences for Jonah and everyone he holds dear, including his irresistible intern.

To love is to lose: a lesson Jonah has learned the hard way. For a decade, he has embraced solitude as his penance for a past mistake. Then came Avery Bradford, a man whose warmth and sunshine infuses Jonah’s battered soul and challenges his resistance. Over the past eight months, Jonah has soared closer and closer to Avery’s flame until the thing he’s feared the most becomes the one he can’t live without.

The chill of danger merges with the heat of desire, forming a deadly superstorm. Will Jonah seek shelter or ride the lightning?

Sinister in Savannah series is a fictional podcast exploring the city’s most nefarious crimes with Southern-fried snark. The books explore friendship, love, loss, and the irrepressible human spirit. Ride the Lightning is book one of three. While each book is written about a different couple, the series should be read in order. Sinister in Savannah is an LGBT romantic suspense series with mature language and sexual content intended for adults eighteen and older.

Review

From start to finish this book had me enthralled. The suspense, the romance, the hurt, all the feelings. I loved getting to see Jonah on a more personal side. His devotion to Marla was unexpected. I enjoyed how his relationship with Avery unfolded. I was very shocked as the “bad guy” was reveled.
Great story! Can’t wait for the next book.

5 of 5 stars

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Bent Not Broken by Z. Allora

Good Reads

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bent-not-broken-by-z-allora-11668-b

Blurb

Stefano Rossi longs for the mystical—and so far unattainable—peace of reaching subspace. But can he accept that the person who can take him there is a man?

Riku Tao has given up on finding a sub who complements him. He’ll stick with doing demonstrations at the BDSM club the Edge. He certainly doesn’t have time for a closeted Catholic guy with internalized biphobia… and yet he cannot help but want to protect Stefano and give him what he needs. A history of physical and sexual abuse makes it impossible for Stefano to come out of the closet, and Riku certainly isn’t going back in.

Perhaps an arrangement of six months to explore their desires will be enough to satisfy them both.

Or it might break their hearts.

To take hold of his future with the man he’s coming to love, Stefano will need to move beyond the pain of his past, and he won’t be able to do it alone.

Review

Very moving and inspiring OFY romance with incredibly well-rounded main characters. High on hurt/comfort and genuine emotions, very nuanced story-telling. Riku and Stefano both need the connection and love they find with each other, but it’s not an easy road to happiness. Stefano has gone through so much when he was younger, and it still haunts him to the present day, preventing him from being happy or being able to truly connect with others. It was heartbreaking to read his story, so much raw pain… When he finds Riku and is almost astonished at being treated with gentleness and care… that just touched me so deeply. Riku is an amazing character. As I read this, I got incredibly invested into the well-being of Stefano and Riku both. Stefano struggles to accept himself for who he is, in more than one way, but seeing him get to a better place, step by small step, was wonderful. I loved that Stefano found it within himself to reach out for help and to recognize his own strength and self-worth in the process. Very satisfying HEA. Recommend.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Omega Replaced (Omega Reimagined #5) by Tanya Chris

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50996431-omega-replaced

Blurb
Alpha Donovan is certain about one thing. His work recovering missing omegas who’ve been separated from their protectors is a service—to the alphas who hire him and to the omegas themselves. What he’s less confident about is his unconventional desire to be dominated by someone as strong as he is. No alpha is supposed to want that.

When Donovan arrives in North Leland, he expects it to be just another job. Find the omega, bring her home. Then he meets Judge Tarek, the gorgeous alpha determined to thwart his mission. Tarek disapproves of his job, but not his fantasies, which he’s ready and oh-so-able to fulfill.

Everything is backwards in this strange town. Wanting another alpha’s teeth in your neck is okay, but returning an omega to their rightful place isn’t? Donovan has a lot to learn, and if he can’t change his way of thinking fast enough, he’s going to lose what he’s never allowed himself to believe he could have.

Omega Replaced is an alpha/alpha novella with BDSM components in the Omega Reimagined series. It can be read as part of the series or as a standalone. This is a non-MPREG omegaverse.

Review

Wonderful omegaverse romance. It had everything I wanted in this genre: well-rounded main characters, a strong attraction between the potential mates but an important enough conflict to make things difficult for them, intriguing secondary characters and a good storyline.
I really liked the world-building in this book and thought it was very interesting how the author played around with stereotypes and societal conventions based on gender and sexual orientation. Donovan has a hard time breaking away from the toxic ideas that were instilled in him at childhood, even though they go counter to his own needs and identity, and that inner struggle to me added a welcome sense of realism and depth to the story. The chemistry between Tarek and Donovan is absolutely sizzling, but I also liked the patience and vulnerability Tarek showed to Donovan. Tarek is very open about his feelings and intentions, but Donovan still has a hard time daring to trust in the possibility of a future where he can be himself, be happy. Very enjoyable read, definitely recommend it.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: The Edge of the World by Garrett Leigh, narrated by Dan Calley

audiobookreview

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53298839-the-edge-of-the-world

Blurb

Shay Maloney is living his dream—on tour with his pirate/folk-rock band. But you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’re from, and that’s where moody filmmaker and researcher Ollie Pietruska comes in.

The band’s management persuades Shay to let a television company film a documentary about his roots beyond his adoptive Irish family, and Ollie comes into his life knowing more about Shay than Shay’s ever known about himself.

But while Ollie holds the key to Shay’s past, he’s also hiding deep scars. Even as the hardships of the tour bring them closer, Ollie’s demons threaten the blossoming romance. They might both reach the breaking point before Ollie realises he’s been standing on the edge of the world for too long, and it’s Shay who holds the key to his future

Review

This was a mellow hurt/comfort story with a very promising premise, up and coming rock star falls for the reporter digging into his past while hiding secrets of his own. I had trouble connecting to the story and the MC’s though. It just wasn’t completely clear to me why exactly they fell for each other and Ollie is less than straightforward in his dealings with Shay. I understand why it’s hard for him to be open and vulnerable, but I wasn’t enamored of the mixed signals he kept sending Shay’s way. He didn’t always seem to grasp how his decisions impacted the other man. The research into Shay’s past didn’t feel very relevant to the story and though it ended in something of a shocking revelation … even that fell a little flat. An okay read, but I’ve come to expect more from this author.

Narration: Dan Calley did a great job with his performance of this story, and drew me in more than I’d have been by just reading the book. I really like the timbre of his voice, the accents and his interpretation of the characters. He made the MC’s sound very genuine and authentic.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Pieces of You by N.R. Walker

Blurb
Dallas Muller has everything he never expected he’d have. He owns a successful motorbike mechanic shop in Newcastle, and he’s madly in love with his boyfriend of four years, Justin Keith.

Justin has always struggled to find where he fit in, never realising his true worth or what it means to be loved—until he met Dallas. Living and working together might be too much for some, but Dallas and Justin wouldn’t have it any other way.

When a terrible accident tears their world apart, Justin’s left with no memory of Dallas or their relationship. Trying to put the pieces back together is almost impossible when some pieces are blank and some are missing altogether. Dallas has to let Justin find his own way back to him and just hope that their love will light the way.

Review
I really enjoyed the story about 85% through, but felt the ending was a bit too cut off. Even though it was a soft cliffhanger type of ending, I felt like I was missing pages and looked to make sure I had read through.
What I loved: The way the amnesia and hospital stay were described. It felt much mor realistic them any book I read with a similar plot, and it punches you in the gut that much harder because of it. The plot revolves around a few characters, and it feel small yet significant in its focus on them. The story flowed so well, and I adored how Dallas made sure to keep the boundaries so Justin could feel safe to recover and feel what ever he felt without pressure to remember the years he lost.
I did feel like towards the end it became a bit rushed to have a sort of HFN ending. And to me the Slow Burn, and the wonderful, gentle pace of the story were lost. I look forward to the next piece of the story to see how Dallas and Justin face the new challenges that will surely come their way.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Fated Hearts by Garrett Leigh, narrated by Dan Calley

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fated-Hearts-Audiobook/B087CC3PL4?ref=a_library_t_c5_libItem_&pf_rd_p=13bed4e9-e83d-4210-8510-a695400e0d63&pf_rd_r=0KCH2687J8CNATEV6XYK

Blurb
“He’s not a wolf.”

Devastated by the death of his best friend, Zio is a soldier with one thing on his mind: revenge. Consumed by a conflict that’s raged as long as he’s been alive, he’s had little time or inclination to learn the legends of the shifter world he was raised in. And he certainly doesn’t have time to deal with a shifter of a different kind, even if it’s for the good of the war effort. For the good of his pack. The fact that he’s already crossed paths with the new face in his unit is almost irrelevant.

Almost.

Do no harm. Give life not death: it’s the oath Devan was reborn to live by, so when he’s sent abroad to embed with a wolf pack as their resident healer, he doesn’t hesitate. In the supernatural world, some bonds are instant—soldiers become brothers, pack become family. But others run deeper and before long, Devan’s at the mercy of instincts he can’t control.

Zio’s inner wolf is desperate to be with Devan, while Devan struggles to keep the pack safe. But as the war escalates, and new love is tainted by anguish and pain, the battles within might prove the toughest of them all.

“I won’t let him die.”

Review

There are a lot of shifter stories out there, and standing out isn’t always easy, but Garrett Leigh managed it effortlessly with Fated Hearts. I loved the detailed world-building, the action and danger in this dystopian society and the combination of magic and science.

All the characters were intriguing and complex, making this the perfect basis for a very promising series. I so hope there’ll be more to come.

I loved the angst in this story, and the incredible pull between the MC’s. Zio and Devan are wonderful together, when they get there, because obstacles abound.

Narration: Dan Calley did an amazing job with his performance of this story, the pacing and emotional intensity were great and he brought a wonderful array of voices for all the different characters. Is it just me or are British accents just absolutely yummie? I also really loved the accent he did for Devan.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


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