Coming Soon! Making it Better by Lyss Em

January 21

Blurb
“You still mess me up after all this time, Luc.”
“Not my problem.”

Court’s forceful brand of dominance pushes Lucan’s buttons like nothing else, but he can’t forget how badly Court hurt him in the past. Their romance six years ago was heady, intense, and sizzling—and left Lucan with deep emotional scars. When he runs into Court at a fetish party, the spark is still there. But so is the pain.

For Court, Lucan is the mindfuck he never got over. He still doesn’t know why Lucan ended things, and when he sees Lucan in the flesh again, the desperate need to dominate comes rushing back. Court would do anything to have a second chance, but he won’t let Lucan mess with his head and break his heart again. Or so he tells himself.

“I’ll do it all right for you this time if you just teach me.”

When Lucan agrees to show Court how to be a good Dom, the two headstrong men toe a delicate line between restraint and uncontrolled passion. Will the same sick love that consumed their past destroy their future?

Making It Better is a standalone enemies to lovers, second chance, contemporary, BDSM romance with an HEA ending.

Review
My first thought starting this book was that Lucan and Court just don’t listen to each other. This is either going to be great or repetitive. Well I thought it was great. It’s not the kind of second chance story where they meet again and all their previous issues disappear. No, both Lucan and Court have to work at making it right. Lucan confronts his insecurities and comes to terms with the nature of his kink. Court has to understand where things went wrong the first time they were together. The journey they go on and the trust they build makes a great story. not to forget the kinks. The BDSM is very well handled and shows a good view of safe sane and consensual. There is a level of violence within some of the play and blood play which may be a trigger for some.

4.5 of stars out of 5


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Release Day Review: Whiskey and Moonshine by Elizabeth Noble

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/whiskey-and-moonshine-by-elizabeth-noble-10086-b

Blurb

Drunk on love.

Like a well-aged whiskey, master distiller and old-money entrepreneur Malone Kensington is elegant and refined. Unfortunately he’s also a perfectionist who is more dedicated to the success of his generations-old company than his own love life.

That company needs a public spokesman.

What Colton Hale lacks in sophistication, he more than makes up for with the charisma that’s allowed him to survive on the street from a young age and charm his way into the lucrative—if overwhelming—public position at the Kensington Distillery. When Mal takes Colt under his wing, hoping to polish off his rough edges, opposites attract and a passionate romance blossoms despite the differences in age and background. But can it survive a Kensington Board of Directors who believe Colt is nothing but a gold digger and a kidnapper determined to profit from the love of Mal’s life—dead or alive?

Review

This is a quick and light read with a decent basic premise, enjoyable enough though the execution was somewhat lacking for me. The author had a whole bag of tricks at her disposal (boss/employee, cinderfella vibe, crime plot, potential for hurt/comfort, May/December), but I still didn’t really feel the magic between this couple.

Colt goes from a life on the streets to a successful career as spokesman, even making it onto a well-known tv-show, with incredible ease. He’s definitely the more interesting of the two MC’s and has some great scenes, especially in the beginning when he hasn’t shed all his conman ways yet. His honesty about his past is one of his redeeming features. Mal is a successful businessman, but not a great talker. And apparently his company is in great need of someone who can appear, and speak, in public. Enter Colt.

It’s basically an insta-love story, but I remained a little unconvinced by the tepid attraction between Mal and Colt and little happened to make me believe in deeper feelings than lust. Both MC’s were at times immature and hasty in their judgment of each other, the good and the bad. I could have done without some of the more theatrical, emotional outbursts. I especially didn’t care for Mal’s cavalier and irresponsible attitude towards potentially breaking contracts, his own financial security and even more importantly, that of his company’s employees whose livelihoods depend on him making clear-headed choices. Most of the things that bugged me about Mal were intended to show his romantic devotion to Colt, I think, but made a wholly different impression on me.

Mal loses himself too much in his infatuation with Colt, which turns into love at breakneck speed. There’s no obstacle that he can’t “break” or explain away. I’d have more easily believed in the strength of his love for Colt, if the obstacles in their path, like Colt’s unsavory past, had actually held any weight for Mal… if they’d made him pause, even for the slightest moment. But there is no doubt in his mind at any point, not even when they barely know each other. And I feel as if by the end of the book, they still do not know each other all that well, which made the eventual HEA rather unsatisfactory for me.

Number of stars out of 5: 3

 


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Recent Release: Is It Over Yet? by L.A. Witt

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43184087-is-it-over-yet?from_search=true

Blurb

Rhys Powell and Derek Scott are divorcing. Mistakes have been made, lines have been crossed, and there’s no going back. Both men are exhausted and ready to move on.

But their daughter is getting married soon. In the name of not putting a damper on her wedding, Derek and Rhys agree to keep the divorce on the down-low and show up as the happy couple everyone still believes they are.

And between a roller coaster of a road trip and the love and joy surrounding the wedding… Derek and Rhys just might remember why they fell for each other in the first place.

Are they only kidding themselves? Or can a rekindled spark really light the way to forgiveness?

Review

This was a difficult book to get through. Not because it was bad, because it wasn’t. It is actually a very good story but the anguish the two men, Rhys and Derek are going through just ripped through me. The couple have decided to end their marriage after one of the men cheated, but when their daughter’s wedding approaches they decided to try to pretend that everything between them is ok. The forced proximity of the drive to the wedding and the wedding itself really brings things into focus for both men.

The cheating occurs before the book starts and is only mentioned in conversations. The character who cheated, didn’t try to hide what he did but came clean right away. He doesn’t excuse what he did and readily accepts all the anger that is flung his way. It’s obvious to the reader that Rhys and Derek still love each other but there is so much anger still lingering between the two. The real question through the whole book is “is love enough”?

5 Stars


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Release Day Review: Second Hand (Tucker Springs #2) by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/second-hand-by-marie-sexton-and-heidi-cullinan-10079-b

Blurb

Paul Hannon flunked out of vet school. His fiancée left him. He can barely afford his rent, and he hates his house. About the only things he has left are a pantry full of his ex’s kitchen gadgets and a lot of emotional baggage. He could really use a win—and that’s when he meets El.

Pawnbroker El Rozal is a cynic. His own family’s dysfunction has taught him that love and relationships lead to misery. Despite that belief, he keeps making up excuses to see Paul again. Paul, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s talented and kind and worthy. Paul, who’s not over his ex-fiancée and is probably straight anyway. Paul, who’s so blind to El’s growing attraction, even asking him out on dates doesn’t seem to tip him off.

El may not do relationships, but something has to give. If he wants to keep Paul, he’ll have to convince him he’s worthy of love—and he’ll have to admit that attachment might not be so bad after all.

Review by Karen

This was a really sweet out for you story, very competently written. It builds up slowly, allowing the MC’s to truly get to know each other and gravitate towards each other very naturally before taking that leap of faith together.

Paul is incredibly innocent and naïve. He doesn’t think too highly of himself and as a result he’s completely oblivious to any attempt at flirting made by El or anyone else for that matter. He’s the kind of nice guy that borders on being too nice for his own good. His attempts to hold onto his failed relationship, and his willingness to put up with the horrible way his ex-girlfriend treats him, was a bit hard for me to swallow. I really wanted him to have a little more pride or backbone. Though of course, a lot of that was probably because of his fear of coming out (even to himself) and his low self-esteem. It takes Paul a long time to accept himself and let go of his vision of what he thinks his life should be like.

For a guy who wasn’t looking for a relationship and commitment, El is amazingly patient and understanding with Paul, even when he’s scared himself of opening up and taking a chance on love. He’s such a family guy, which is always heartwarming to read, even if his family is not exactly the Brady Bunch. My heart ached for El and his mother especially. Her clutter addiction is hard on both of them, and rooted in such heartbreak.

This was an enjoyable read with a very satisfying happily ever after. I loved seeing Paul come into his own and choose El above all others.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Review by Aerielle

Paul and El are one of my favorite couples in this series. Paul is so oblivious to everything, not just romance stuff but to life in general. El, who grew up with a hoarder has learned to keep himself from forming attachments to not just things but people.

After his break up with his long-time girlfriend, Paul longs to be someone’s first choice. That is a great sentiment but once Paul and El become romantically involved, Paul is still thinking about whether he wants to be gay or have the “easy life” of a straight man. This inevitably causes a blow up between Paul and El.

Sometimes books written by dual authors have flow issues, but this book is seamless. Second Hand is two men’s journey of acceptance. It’s a great addition to the Tucker Spring series!

4.5 Stars of 5

 


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Recent Release: BFF: Forever (BFF book3) by Devon McCormack

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43224645-bff?from_search=true

Blurb
JESSE:

It began with his electric touch and a hurricane of frenzied passion that ravaged my body, my mind, my soul…my entire life.

We both knew where the line was, yet we crossed it because it was the only way we could be close to one another. We told ourselves it was nothing more than a fantasy–a beach vacay we could treat like a dream, cherishing it in our hearts, but evading the real life repercussions of our actions.

If only it had been that easy…

We couldn’t keep away from each other, and one lust-filled encounter after another birthed a connection, which turned into so much more.

Now I’m head over heels for my best friend’s father.

Oh, Eric Westright…you’ve changed me. I’m addicted to your touch. I’m a servant to your desires.

I kept telling myself it was nothing more than a dream, but now the thought of awakening from our life together terrifies me. I can’t bear a world where I never knew what it was like to be lost in those magnificent blue eyes, to feel his caress against my face, his lips against my own…him loving me deep inside.

Oh, please, if this is all a dream, don’t let me wake up. Let me have this. I know I messed up, but I can fix everything I’ve broken. I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’ll make it right.

I’ll do whatever it takes. Just please let me have him FOREVER.

Review
All the love for this amazing couple!! What a wonderful and inspiring love story. I’m still on cloud nine, this is going to be an awful book hangover.

It’s been a long time since I anticipated the release of a book the way I have this one. I’ve just been so curious about what else was in store for Jesse and Eric. It didn’t feel finished, or maybe I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. Honestly, my expectations were so high, I was almost afraid to start reading. I held back for about five seconds and then I was all in. And it was everything I hoped for and more.
All the romance. All the love. All the feels. Absolutely worth the wait.

The love these two characters have for each other just feels so all-encompassing. It goes way beyond the bliss of the initial attraction and early butterflies straight into the deeper joy that comes when you’ve gotten to truly know each other, the bliss and comfort you find in being there for your partner through the good and the bad, and the peace that comes with knowing that the reverse is true as well.

The author did an amazing job at describing how utterly gone Jesse and Eric still are on each other. Their devotion, the sheer magnitude of their love was an immense pleasure to read. I soaked up every word. Each time I read the words “my Eric”, I about melted on the spot from the sweetness of it all. Jesse’s humor, his limitless patience and understanding, Eric’s bravery and the vulnerable side he shows in this book… It was all just … wow. No words can do this story justice.

I was so happy about the way all the “loose ends” were resolved. Just so glad how it all worked out for Eric, Jesse and Ty especially. There were quite a few family moments that were very emotional, a bit painful, and a lot teary, but full of love and hope for the future.

I very much enjoyed all the wonderful secondary characters like aunt Connie, Charlotte and Stan, and even Tricia. Not to mention the loyal bands of friends both Eric and Jesse have. A lot of potential there for other future stories! So I’m happily readying myself to play the waiting game again.

Number of stars out of 5: 6


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Release Day Review: Fox and Wolf By Julia Talbot

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fox-and-wolf-by-julia-talbot-10064-b

Blurb

Apex Investigations: Book One
Werewolf PI Dylan Weems is a hired to solve the murder of a client’s customer. As an ex-cop, Dylan is the perfect man for the job, but he doesn’t expect the complication of alluring fox shifter Rey.
Ever since finding the dead body of one of his clients, Rey Mercier’s life is a mess, and he needs help desperately. He has no idea why he’s the target of some ruthless people or what he did to anger them. Hopefully Dylan and his motley crew of shifters at Apex Investigations can help him find out, but first Dylan and Rey have to deal with literal corporate tigers and dire crocodiles shifters… all while deciding what to do about the mate bond that’s becoming undeniable. And is that even possible between fox and wolf?

Review

This was a very enjoyable shifter romance with an interesting mystery subplot. A quick and entertaining read.

 

Rey is a bit of a mess at first, and obviously in way over his head with big bad dire … creatures out to get him. He hires a PI to help him investigate and hopefully solve the mystery of the sudden threat against his life. Dylan, the PI in question, doesn’t need long to become totally smitten with Rey, though both men are thrown by their unexpected connection. Dare they think the M-word (mate)?

 

I loved Dylan’s protective side and his use of endearments when addressing Rey, which he does very quickly. They are super sweet together. Dylan and Rey have a bit of an opposites attract vibe going, with emphasis on the attract. I was glad that their relationship was balanced, and that Rey could also be there for Dylan and help him out, so it wasn’t just a case of the bigger shifter protecting the smaller, seemingly more vulnerable one. The investigation itself didn’t always hold my interest, but I did really like how the bond between the two MC’s built up as well as the interactions between Dylan, Rey and Dylan’s pack.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, and prejudices muddled the waters for a while, but love, and the good guys, win in the end.

 

The world-building is a bit unclear, though I do like that there are all kinds of shifters with different abilities and characteristics in this universe. There also seem to be some racial prejudices between the different animal shifters, which makes “inter-species” relationships slightly more challenging, as Dylan and Rey find out. Dylan belongs to an atypical pack, led by an alpha wolf, but with members from different shifter species. So it’s a kind of chosen family story.

We get to know and care for the entire pack, the author doing a wonderful job of creating interest in the stories that are to follow in this new series.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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Release Day Review: A Whole Latte Sass By Marguerite Labbe

release day review

Dreamspinner: 

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-whole-latte-sass-by-marguerite-labbe-10070-b

Blurb

Geek Life: Book Two

It’s no secret cosplayer Felipe Suero is looking for his happily ever after—in his love life as well as his career. He’s getting his degree so he can quit his miserable job and start his own costume business. Now he just needs to land the sexiest silver fox to ever attend a con.

Trask Briscoe’s life revolves around staying clean and sober, running the Magick Den, and attending local cons. His rules haven’t left much room for romance. But he can’t deny Felipe has caught his complete attention. He’s just not sure what he can offer a man so full of joy and sass.

When Trask finally accepts Felipe’s offer for a cup of coffee, he soon finds himself on a second date and a third. Between cosplay projects and roleplaying games, they discover a deeper connection than either of them expected. And Trask realizes that sometimes rules are made to be broken.

Now Felipe just has to convince his family—and Trask—that Trask has more love to offer than he ever dreamed.

 

Review

This book was an unexpected delight and I immediately ran to buy book 1 in the series because the cameos of those characters just captured me.  Marguerite has fantastic writing and I am so happy I got to know her, as now I have a new author to follow.
The gaming and geeky world described in the book is very accurate, as someone who was part of it many years and have friends who still are very into it I enjoyed how detailed it was- yet not too much for someone who is not really in this scene. I learned some new things on the way, mostly about roleplaying. Trask and Felipe are such fun, interesting and complex characters, I felt like their relationship, with all its hardships and Felipe’s family not always supporting it, was very mature, even if Felipe has a tendency to dramatic outbursts and storming off- they work it out and in no place is there a time where they just give up because of a misunderstanding. Feeling get hurt, yes, but in the end they always try to talk about it and figure out how to make both happy.

I think one of the things I liked the most was that when they did finally start dating and had their first kiss, there was no ‘explosion/electricity/shivers’ and all those other over the top descriptions we so often get in Romance and M/M Romance. It was very refreshing to see them act on their mutual attraction in more real-life way. It make it that much more interesting, and I liked that they took time to get to know each other more, in the romantic aspect. Despite some parts of the story that might have been a touch slow for me, the author wisely added POV’s of characters from book 1 and ones I assume will be in book 3. It was quite unique, because it gave just enough insight into these other characters, tempting you to read more about them (like Morris and Theo from book 1) and gave you an outside view of Trask and Felipe. I don’t think I have ever come across a book that had this kind of POV in M/M before and I really liked it!

Number of stars out of 5

4.5


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Time to Celebrate the Holidays: The Captain’s Cornish Christmas by Catherine Curzon, Eleanor Harkstead

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42392361-the-captain-s-cornish-christmas

Blurb

For a lonely Cornish lifeboatman and an author who’s more used to crime scenes than love scenes, this Christmas is going to be very merry indeed!

When Jago Treherne agrees to man the Polneath lifeboats one snowy Christmas, he knows he can forget turkey and all the trimmings.

Yet when he boards a seemingly empty yacht and stumbles upon sexy Sam Coryton enjoying an energetic afternoon below decks, Jago soon realizes that he might be unwrapping a very different sort of Christmas gift this year!

Publisher’s Note: This book is related to the Captivating Captains series.

Review

This was a cute Christmas novella revolving around two men who’ve known each other for years. Jago is a lifeboat captain who goes out to check on a missing boat, which is manned by Sam. This brings both men back into each other’s orbit and the romance flies.

I really enjoyed the opening scene between the two men. Jago seems to have given up on finding love because of how demanding his job is. Sam is tired of the fast past of the big city and just wants to retire to the quiet countryside. Jago is shy and awkward (my favorite type of hero) and Sam is more relaxed and confident. Sam has wanted Jago for year’s, but the timing never seemed to be right. He sets out to woo Jago from the get-go. Jago can’t believe a man as wonderful as Sam would be interested in him but Sam has no problem proving that his feelings are genuine.

While this is apart of a series, each book is a stand alone and can be read and enjoyed in any order. While I wish these stories were a bit longer, I highly recommend them !!

4 stars


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Release Day Review: Saving Hannah by J.P. Barnaby

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/saving-hannah-by-jp-barnaby-10051-b

Blurb

Thomas Aberthol’s luck has run out. His daughter, Hannah, needs a miracle he can’t deliver. A hacker with a felony record, Thomas has little chance of finding work that will provide the care she needs. Out of money, out of options, and out of hope, he throws himself on the mercy of someone he never thought to see again.

Even after ten years, Aleksander Sanna still dreams of that drunken kiss. A perfect moment in time when Thomas wanted him. In his world of elegant code and high finance, the picture he holds of Thomas torments him in the dark of night.

Their worlds collide as Thomas interviews for the job he so desperately needs with the company Aleks inherited from his father. Thomas doesn’t get the position, but Aleks offers him a completely different kind of proposal, one suited to Thomas’s unique talents… one that will change the course of both their lives.

Review

This is a second chance at love story, with a little bit of out for you mixed in, though that’s not the focus of the book.

Our two main characters, Thomas and Aleks, used to be best friends in college and they developed deeper feelings for each other as well, though these were left unspoken. Thomas wasn’t ready to face that particular truth about himself and basically made a run for it. Things happen, not all of them good, and ten years pass before life throws them together again.

Aleks has never forgotten Thomas, and when he finds himself in a unique position to help Thomas and his little girl, who’s battling with leukemia, he grabs it with both hands. He needs Thomas’ expertise too, to help him find out what happened to his father, so they strike a mutually beneficial bargain. I very much liked what the author came up with here, and how she handled it.

Aleks and Thomas are a great pairing. I very much enjoyed watching them find their way back to each other. Aleks’ devotion and big heart instantly made me like him a great deal, and it hurt to see how alone he was “pre-Thomas”.
Thomas is a father first and foremost, but he’s not had it easy. He feels so guilty about his past and how that impacted his little girl. Hannah is always at the forefront of his mind. He’s caught between a rock and a hard place, but bravely soldiers on. I could really relate to his struggles.

This is very much a story about finding family, with Aleks embracing Hannah from the very first moment. Swoon. Way to go, Aleks!
Hannah’s a dear, such a brave young girl, and reading about her battle with her illness was heartbreaking. I think the author did a great job in describing the desperation and helplessness that Thomas and his mother have no choice but to endure, though those are luckily offset by the heartwarming moments the three of them, and later Aleks too, share and the support they find with each other.
Thomas’ mom is great, looking out for her son and understandably apprehensive about the risks he takes for both Hannah and Aleks.

As the story unfolds, this new little family is threatened from an unexpected corner, and we get more of an action-filled story, bringing suspense and tension that I hadn’t seen coming. So this book has a little bit of everything in it, combining a deeply emotional storyline with a crime/action subplot.

All in all, I found this to be a very enjoyable, surprising read.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Recent Release: Rough Trade (The Woodbury Boys #3) by Sidney Bell

Carina Press

https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488097195_rough-trade.html

Blurb

Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.

He’s just always gone it alone.

Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.

Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.

So then why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

Review

Amazing action-filled story, the suspense nearly killed me! I also loved the sly humor that snuck in when the MC’s weren’t running or fighting for their lives.
This is a gritty romance between two heroes who have both been beaten down by life and aside from the suspense plot, it has some heavier themes too, like sexual abuse and its resulting mental health issues. So not a lighthearted read, but definitely an amazing, insightful, original and gripping story.
The two MC’s could not be more different.
Ghost takes a very dim view of the world and the people in it, and doesn’t trust easily if at all. He’s experienced some horrible things in his young life. But he survived. He’s very much a fighter, never giving up and using whatever means possible to get through another day, stealing, lying and cheating as he goes along. He needs every bit of his resolve and strength to fight for his life (literally) and for his chance at happiness with Duncan.
Duncan is the quintessential strong, silent type. He’s a firm believer in justice and made a brave choice to do the right thing in a difficult situation, only to be betrayed by the very people who were supposed to have his back. Now he’s struggling to find a new path, slowly realizing he can’t return to his former life. And then he meets Ghost!
The connection between Duncan and Ghost builds up slowly, with ups and downs, but it is beautiful to see the trust between them grow and to see them get closer, however tentatively at first. Ghost has serious mental health problems, and I was glad to see him reach out for help, going to therapy and building a life for himself. Love was not an easy fix for him, though it was an important motivator. I really liked that extra little bump in the road, the realism it brought to the story.
I very much enjoyed this book! I was so caught up in it, just couldn’t put it down once I started, which doesn’t happen to me all that much anymore.
This book is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone.

Number of stars out of 5:5


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