Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/nomads-dream-by-august-li-10134-b

Blurb

Two men, each with a hidden destiny. Can they defeat a web of deceit and dark magic to ensure their fates intertwine?

Bedouin Isra al-Grayjaab’s dreams lead him to Janan, an amnesiac beggar on the street of Qena—one who steals his heart and starts him on a seemingly hopeless quest. With only their wits, Isra’s knowledge of the desert’s secrets, and the aid of a mercurial djinn, they must recover Janan’s past. But neither can predict his true identity or the lengths others will go to see that his mind remains broken and his true power out of his reach.

In a sweeping romantic adventure that takes them across the Eastern Desert to the modern streets of Cairo and on to the luxurious Red Sea Coast, Janan and Isra seek a truth that will either bring them into each other’s arms or tear them apart forever.

Review

To me this felt much more like a mystery/adventure story, and rather less like a romance. Though Janan and Isra fall in love and spend quite a lot of time together, I was left wanting more. As love stories go this one is rather more mellow than I like as far as feelings & passion go. It reads like an action-filled fairy tale and I prefer my romances a little grittier with MC’s who develop a deep emotional connection and build a life together as couple. We leave our MC’s before they get to do that.

This book has a peculiar mix of paranormal characters on the one hand and very religious characters on the other, which is certainly different from what I’m used to reading. I think the author did an amazing job in describing the Bedouin way of life and the beauty of the desert, and I also liked how she interspersed the story with Arabic terms & customs. Always with a light and respectful touch. I felt like I stepped into a tale of the Arabian Nights.

The story is set in modern-day Egypt which still has quite a way to go in matters like LGBT rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. These issues are important to the story and I was pleased to see our fictional characters come out on top and pursue a happy and hopeful life together. How that translates into their daily life stays vague, however, they are both still in the closet as far as I know.

The secondary characters are well-written. Flicker, the djinn who befriended and protected Isra, is intriguing and mysterious, and we also get two very strong and independent female characters, Sehrish and Nawra, which was a nice plus.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

The Other Book by Roe Horvat

 

Good Reads

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43380012-the-other-book?from_search=true

 

Blurb
It was supposed to be just sex… Famous last words.

Tyler doesn’t overthink pleasure and avoids complications. He knows it might be stupid to get involved with his closeted boss, but the temptation is too great. At first, the cold and beautiful Joel Sandstrom seems to loathe Tyler’s guts.

Except one late night at the office, his reasons become clear…and his control breaks.

Every time they touch, Joel’s stony face comes alive, harsh lines smooth out, and for a minute, he looks serene. Happy, even. Just sex – dirty, intense, spectacular sex.

During their covert encounters, Tyler discovers the power he has over the lonesome man, and it’s a heady feeling. What if he could set Joel free and give him peace of mind? When Tyler realizes how much Joel needs him, he doesn’t regret breaking his own rules.

Gay erotic romance. Contains explicit scenes and sexual interactions between more than two partners. For adult readers only.

Review
Joel and Tyler are very interesting characters, their relationship hits you in the face unexpectedly and the Enemies-to-Lovers vibe is very strong in this book. It’s hard to wrap your head around what is going on at first but I did like that the story didn’t drag it out too long and they did come clean to each other in a relatively healthy way.

This book was very intense and erotic sexually, and in that sense I liked it even though I usually do not like when couples add a third (or fourth) in a relationship. Despite that I felt it was written well and didn’t affect my delicate monogamist sensibilities too much. It was also important for Joel to find freedom, in the confining darkness of the closet imposed upon him, so that scene was a pinnacle moment for him in a way.
I liked that despite the awful situation between Joel and his father the darkness was not too overpowering and it ended with a good HEA.
I know Roe Horvat wished this book to be read without reference to his previous work (according to his author’s not in the beginning) but I could not make that distinction and I feel like his other books (such as Vanilla Clouds) were better. That being said, this is a good length story with enough heat to singe off your eyebrows and good emotional development in the characters.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Coming Soon! Cash by Garrett Leigh

January 22!

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43188699-cash?from_search=tru

Blurb
Cash is a car mechanic with a secret. Head down, sleeves up, he hides from the past as much as his shattered heart, until a reluctant stumble into a Tottenham bar ends in the one night stand of his dreams.

Hunt saboteur Rae can’t believe his luck when he wakes up the next morning. Cash is gorgeous, and the hottest hook up he’s ever had. He doesn’t expect to see him again, until a twist of fate lands him on Cash’s doorstep a few months later.

United by a cause that’s broken Cash before, they are drawn together. They have more in common than they ever imagined, but with Cash haunted by the past, and Rae so tangled in the present, it’s not long before love isn’t enough to keep them alive.

Review
I wouldn’t say this was a romance story more a statement story, if there is such a thing. The emphasis is on fox hunting and the lengths the saboteurs go to to prevent foxes being harmed. I’ve never really known much about the hunt or that despite being illegal now it still goes on. Although it doesn’t surprise me. I did feel a bit conflicted in thatI don’t agree with the actions on either side but as part of this story it works so well. Rae and Cash’s relationship is complicated. Cash’s past is troubling him and makes it a rocky journey for them. Rae is caught up in his life with the saboteurs that he is single minded. The angst ebbs and flows throughout the story which kept me hooked. I wanted to know if they were going to have a chance. I was happy with the happy for now ending. It feels right.
I didn’t realise there was a previous book, Lucky, Lucky and Dom’s story. I am intrigued by them. I am also interested in the next book Jude.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Cole audiobook by BG Thomas narrated by Paul Morey

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-cole-by-bg-thomas-6184-

Blurb
Javier Torres was a sweet, plump, and very unpopular child. But over the years, he turned himself into a gorgeous gym god. The problem is he’s also become an egotistical snob. But one day his arrogance pisses off the wrong little old lady, and he wakes up to find that, like the Prince in Beauty and the Beast, he’s been transformed into something from his personal nightmares. Javier has nowhere to go but back home, where to his surprise, he is greeted with open arms, not just by the family he remembers, but by his new brother-in-law, Cole. Cole suspects there might be a pretty heart to go with the pretty face locked inside that new body, but has Javier learned enough to earn Cole—instead of coal—for Christmas

Review
This title is part of the 2011 Advent Calendar: I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
I quite enjoyed this take on the beauty and the beast / it’s a wonderful life type of story. It’s also a moral lesson of judging people by looks rather than who they really were. And how shallow he had become. It took a harsh lesson before he was able to see what he had become. He didn’t really understand until he went home to see his family and meets Cole again. Javier’s partner Mark is a horrible person especially the way he treated Javier after he was transformed.Quite a message in this story but it is heartwarming. The love and acceptance of family and of oneself.
The narrator, Paul Morey, does a fair job but I felt that the emotions were missing. After all Javier did suffer his worst nightmare and was deserted by Mark at Christmas. The characters were portrayed well enough. I could make out who was who and there was some characterisation.

3 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Prince (The Christmas Angel #7) by R.J. Scott

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42645523-christmas-prince

Blurb
‘Prince Raphael, the youngest son of the Montaunoit royal family, is the custodian of his country’s history. At a Sotheby’s auction, he outbids Marc on an item he doesn’t even want. Just because he can.

Meeting the museum curator turns Raphael’s world upside down, and when lust turns to love he knows he has to change.

Can Marc be the one to show Raphael that he doesn’t have to stay the lonely prince forever, and that love is always an option?

*******

This story is one of seven stories which can all be read and enjoyed in any order.

* * * * *

In 1750, a master woodcarver poured all his unrequited love, passion, and longing into his masterpiece—a gorgeous Christmas angel for his beloved’s tree. When the man he loved tossed the angel away without a second thought, a miracle happened. The angel was found by another who brought the woodcarver True Love.

Since then, the angel has been passed down, sold, lost and found, but its magic remains. Read the romances inspired by (and perhaps nudged along by) the Christmas Angel through the years. Whether it’s the 1880’s New York (Kim Fielding), the turn-of-the-century (Jordan L. Hawk), post World War II (L.A. Witt), Vietnam-era (N.R. Walker), the 1990’s (Anyta Sunday), 2018 Europe (RJ Scott), the Christmas Angel has a way of landing on the trees of lonely men who need it’s blessing for a very Merry Christmas and forever HEA.

Review

I wanted to love this – I’m a fan of the author and the blurb totally had me hooked! Prince, snobby museum guy, small country – sounded really cute.

However, it was really confusing and there wasn’t a lot of story here. We got a bit of cute flirting but I wasn’t sure where the conflict was which made for a rather tepid romance.

I enjoyed the fake new country but wasn’t as impressed by the rest of the story – especially as compared to the others in this series. This was my very least favorite and I don’t recommend it much – the others were so strong that this one looks quite faded next to them.

Others have loved this more than I did, so please look at their reviews – it might just be a case of “it’s not you – it’s me.”

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane (re-release)

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-kitsch-by-amy-lane-10019-b

Blurb: Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Review: Rusty is a “nice boy”. Tries hard, plays football, dates girls… but he’s not the “quickest”. He can eventually figure things out – given enough time- but he takes awhile to get there.
Good manners and a fascination for the new kid – chocolate to Rusty’s vanilla – prompts Rusty to befriend snarky, openly gay, Hispanic and funny Oliver. Oliver can hold his own with Rusty’s “friends” but it’s Rusty who becomes Oliver’s best friend in the last year of high school.
When it comes time for Rusty to go to Berkley, where he just knows he’s going to fail, Oliver does all he can to assure him that he’ll be there for him and that he knows Rusty won’t get lost in the shuffle. And… he kisses Rusty – telling him to just “think about it”.
Rusty is left at Berkley- lost, scared, trapped with a crazy but warm-hearted-hyper-sexual-roommate (Rex), and the memory of Oliver’s kiss to make him question…everything.
When it becomes apparent that Rusty is in fact not ready for Berkley – though he tries damn hard – he is ready for Oliver and knows that Oliver is more than just his best friend. Rusty goes home for Thanksgiving and is greeted by Oliver and kisses. His family witnesses this and kicks Rusty out of the house.
Luckily, Oliver’s family is there to help Rusty pick up the pieces and get him set up. What follows, is Rusty’s jump into the deep end of adulthood and his navigation of his first real relationship that also happens to be his first gay relationship.
Oliver’s impatience and love both help and hinder him in this process, but the underlying support he and his dad offer Rusty give him the strength to grow into the man he needs to become.
**
After Gambling Men, this is my favorite Amy Lane book. It is sweet, funny, tender, lightly sexy and really wonderful.
Rusty’s character is so open and honest as is Oliver. I love that the two have constant communication about their feelings, but even so, still manage to run into trouble because relationships are hard! Oliver just can’t understand Rusty’s reluctance to have him move in and Rusty just can’t be pressured in to giving Oliver anything but a wonderful home.
Oliver is just smart and snarky enough to ease the saccharine sweetness of Rusty’s goodness and make them a real, fun, and sexy couple.
I loved the interactions with the secondary characters. The role model of Oliver’s dad. The hilarity of the cousins. The hero-worship of Rusty’s sister. And the eventual grace of Rusty’s parents.
I read this book when I need a warm hug on a rainy afternoon and it always makes me feel better.
I can’t recommend it enough.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
There is a special place in my heart for Amy Lane and her books. It was through Amy’s Little Goddess series, I followed her carefully laid out book crumbs which led me to the world of MM romance. She was also the first ‘real live author’ I wrote to after reading her work and I was so excited when she wrote back.

Knowing how Amy writes, I was expecting to shed a few tears over this book, and I wasn’t wrong.
Rusty is an absolute sweetheart. With his upbringing, he could have been a really arrogant bully, but he isn’t. He knows he isn’t that smart, but he still tries his hardest. He doesn’t want to go to college as he knows it will be too hard for him, but he goes anyway to please his parents.
His one rebellion is to fall in love with Oliver Campbell. And he gets kicked out of home for it.

I adored Rusty right from the beginning. Reading the book from his point of view, he may not quite have rose tinted glasses, but there is an innocence to the way he sees the world that can’t help but charm the reader. Oliver may be the smaller of the two boys, but he is smarter and does everything he can to fiercely protect Rusty.

This book is what Amy Lane does best. Great characters and a story that will rip out your heart and stomp on it before carefully putting it back inside you to beat another day.

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided 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

Time to Comfort the Hurts: Oz by Lily Morton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42840413-oz?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Blurb: What happens when temporary becomes forever?

Oz Gallagher does not do relationships well. Bored and jobless after another disastrous hook up, he decides to leave London for a temporary job in the wilds of Cornwall. Surely managing a stately home on a country estate will be easier than navigating the detritus of his relationships at home. Six months there will alleviate a bit of his wanderlust and then he can come back to London as footloose and fancy free as the day he left it.
However, when he gets there he finds a house in danger of crumbling to the ground and a man who is completely unlike anyone he’s ever met. An earl belonging to a family whose roots go back hundreds of years, Silas is the living embodiment of duty and sacrifice. Two things that Oz has never wanted. He’s also warm and funny and he draws Oz to him like a magnet.
Oz banks on the fact that they’re from two very different worlds to stop himself falling for Silas. But what will he do when he realises that these differences are actually part of the pull to one another? Will falling in love be enough to make him stop moving at last and realise that he’s finally home?

Review:
This book ticked all my boxes: snark/banter, engaging characters in Silas, Oz and old friends – Henry and Ivo and potentials for a future story –Niall and Milo.
It’s a hilarious story right from the start, when Oz comes home to find his soon to be ex BF in bed with someone else. The snark starts there and pretty much continues through the whole book.
Lily Morton has a talent for making her characters fun, yet flawed and a bit vulnerable, but not overwhelmingly so. Oz has a penchant for well-to-do blokes who tend to look down at his working class roots. He fully expects that things will be the same with the earl, (his new employer), but he’s so wrong ☺
Which brings us to Silas, Henry’s brother (and no, you don’t have to read Risk Taker, but why wouldn’t you?). Silas (aka the earl), is a veterinarian. He doesn’t stand on ceremony and is currently preoccupied with saving his ancestral home. When he and Oz meet there is an attraction that they both try to ignore, (considering their track records), but they fail epically!
What I loved about the story is that it’s a straightforward romance – the MCs meet, they get to know each other, and while they may have doubts about their feelings, they don’t give up trying to make their budding relationship work. There’s no drama –except with Silas’s mother, no stupid misunderstandings. And the epilogue is so good –loved seeing them in their future.
I do hope that we get to see Niall and Milo have a story and see more of Oz and Silas.

I highly recommend this story.

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Bishop Ridge by Cate Ashwood

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42776179-bishop-ridge?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: They found exactly what they weren’t looking for.

Logan:
I had almost everything I’d ever wanted—career, friends, my own easy life in Sawyer’s Ferry, Alaska. I’d given up on filling in the missing pieces long ago. Now, I was more than satisfied with the perfectly practiced, perfectly predictable routine I’d created for myself. At least until Jackson Daley walked into my clinic.

Jackson:
Working the rigs is temporary. Everything in my life is. Jobs, cities, and the guys I take home—nothing sticks, and that’s exactly the way I like it. After four years in Alaska, I’m itching to pick up and leave. I’m ready to move on and start over someplace new, until a one-night stand I can’t seem to shake has me breaking all my own rules.
Now as I get closer to walking away, my reasons for leaving seem blurrier than ever, and for the first time in my life, there could be something worth staying for.

Review: This was a quick read. Logan is the one of the doctors at Sawyer’s Ferry, (met him in Alaska). He’s resigned himself to being alone for the foreseeable future and this is his mindset when he meets Jackson on one of clinic his trips. When they meet, the attraction is immediate and they hook up, neither thinking that it would go anywhere beyond another potential hookup. What they didn’t factor in was how compatible they were in and out of bed. While Logan is on board with a relationship, Jackson is a self-professed nomad and already has a job lined up in New Mexico.
The story unfolded very quickly (sort of felt more like a novella) – they meet, they hookup, they realise that they are getting too attached to each other, and then Jackson tries to distance himself. It takes an incident to make them see that they can be together if they have faith in their feelings.
It’s a fun read with some really hot times, but overall, it seemed a little rushed.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Heart of a Redneck by Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/heart-of-a-redneck-by-jodi-payne-and-ba-tortuga-9971-b

Blurb: Colby McBride is a blue-collar cowboy trying to make ends meet laying tile in Colorado. A loner by choice, Colby works hard with his hands and finds his peace camping in the mountains outside Boulder. Gordon James is a white-collar restaurateur who owns not one, but two successful establishments in downtown Boulder. He’s a sophisticated urbanite who is devoted to his work and is accustomed to getting what he wants.
The men are friends, but sparks fly when Colby falls in love and decides to show Gordon how much fun a good old boy can be. They’re just beginning to explore their relationship when Gordon’s sister’s suicide leaves him with custody of his five-year-old niece.
Colby comes from a huge family and is eager to help with the girl and to prove his worth to Gordon. But neither of them is ready for the tremendous changes to their already busy lives, or for how this new relationship with Olivia challenges them, complicating the way they interact with each other.

They say opposites attract, but can these two very different men work together to join their disparate lives and form a strong, if highly unlikely, family?

Review:

I was expecting another nice, low angst read with lots of humour and heart from BA Tortuga. And yes, I got that and a bit more from this collaboration with Jodi Payne.
I really liked the 2 MCs: Gordon (Gordy), a well to do, somewhat cultured restauranteur, and Colby, a blue collar, born and bred Texan that just happens to live in Colorado. The pairing of the 2 men should not have worked (and it didn’t always work between them), but they suited each other just fine.
Both men have been mutually attracted for a bit, and once they decide to act on the attraction they go hot and heavy. It’s all fun and games for them until Gordy becomes the guardian to his niece, Olivia. He automatically shuts Colby out, at first thinking that his thing with Colby might be a short term thing. Colby proves him wrong by helping Olivia settle in and Gordy, by being his backup, friend and partner.

So, as I mentioned there is the low angst and humour, but there was a lot of realistic feelings – Gordy being wary of Colby’s role in his (and his niece’s) life; the jealousy when Colby seems to connect with Olivia better than he does; all the while tring to run to very successful businesses. Colby is unsure of his part in ‘co-parenting’ Olivia – he doesn’t want to step on toes, but he’s a born nurturer and loves caring for both Gordy and Olivia. He’s also unsure of his budding relationship with Gordy – are they going to be serious, a family or is he just a casual thing.
Happily, they work things out – not perfectly, but with the understanding that they need to talk things out – they tend to get their wires crossed a lot.

As usual, the secondary characters are memorable. I found it to be a warm, fun story.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review