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


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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

 


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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


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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


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Release Day Review: Truth Will Out by KC Wells

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/truth-will-out-by-kc-wells-9933-

Blurb

Jonathon de Mountford’s visit to Merrychurch village to stay with his uncle Dominic gets off to a bad start when Dominic fails to appear at the railway station. But when Jonathon finds him dead in his study, apparently as the result of a fall, everything changes. For one thing, Jonathon is the next in line to inherit the manor house. For another, he’s not so sure it was an accident, and with the help of Mike Tattersall, the owner of the village pub, Jonathon sets out to prove his theory—if he can concentrate long enough without getting distracted by the handsome Mike.

They discover an increasingly long list of people who had reason to want Dominic dead. And when events take an unexpected turn, the amateur sleuths are left bewildered. It doesn’t help that the police inspector brought in to solve the case is the last person Mike wants to see, especially when they are told to keep their noses out of police business.

In Jonathon’s case, that’s like a red rag to a bull…

Review
This is a wonderful cosy whodunnit mystery set in an English village. Full of classic armature sleuthing and village secrets. Lord of the manor is found dead but despite what it looks like it wasn’t an accident. Now the question is who done it. The two main characters are the heir, Jonathan de Mountford and Mike Tattersall, a former London Police Detective, now retired to the countryside. I found this to be a very easy going book to read. Despite the subject there was very little angst. I had an inkling who the murderer was earlier on but loved the way events played out. The story reminds me of tv murder mystery shows like Midsummer murders or Murder she wrote, with the gentle yet intriguing way events unfold. Where we see underneath the respectability of village life and all the secrets come scurrying out. I’m hoping there’s more books with Mike and Jonathan’s sleuthing exploits. They make a great pair. The way they slowly got together and any action is off the page which completely fits with this type of story. With this book KC Wells has shown what a range of talent she has.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
This is a very enjoyable whodunit, set in the English countryside and with a hint of romance, though the focus is very much on the murder mystery.

The author leaves around clues and plenty of misdirection for the reader, and the two MC’s, to sort through. Always with a light touch, nothing too obvious or easy.
We meet a lot of secondary characters, all milling about and muddying the waters for Jonathon de Mountford, wannabe sleuth and nephew of the victim. Jonathon is lucky enough to get help from Mike Tattersall, now a pub owner, but formerly a policeman and a very useful Sherlock to Jonathan’s Watson. His connections sure come in handy!
There are a lot of viable suspects, some very unexpected ones even. But nothing seems to pans out…
And of course, we also have the typical incompetent “copper”, an arrogant Detective Inspector, bumbling about in the story, who is more of a hindrance to the investigation than anything else. DI Gorland isn’t in town to make friends. Mission accomplished, I say.

I love the subtlety with which K.C. Wells brings the romance into the story. Nothing much happens on page, but the small things that do, make the budding relationship very believable and help the reader get a better feel for who the two MC’s are. Their connection and trust in each other is important to the development of the detective plot. I also really liked the storyline centering around Mike’s sister, Sue.

The story continues along smoothly, almost cozily, without too much suspense or danger, but that suddenly changes when Jonathon and Mike get too close to the truth … and the murderer.
The denouement is tense and surprising, with an added element of tragedy. Very well-written!

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Release Day Review: Nova Praetorian by N.R. Walker

release day review

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42271990-nova-praetorian?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Quintus Furius Varus is one of the best lanistas in Rome. Tall and strong in build, fearsome in manner, and sharp of wit, he trains the best gladiators bound for the arenas of Rome. When Senator Servius Augendus seeks personal guards, he attends the Ludus Varus for purchase of the very best. He puts to Quintus an offer he cannot refuse, and Quintus finds himself in Neapolis, contracted as a trainer of guards instead of gladiators.

Kaeso Agorix was taken from his homelands of Iberia and delivered to Rome as a slave. Bought by a senator to be trained as a guard, his fate is handed to the man who would train him. Absent free will, Kaeso knows his life is no longer his own, though he soon realises the gods have favoured him when he learns his new master has a kind heart.

Quintus and Kaeso forge a bond that far exceeds the collar at Kaeso’s neck, and together they discover the senator’s move for promotion has an ulterior motive. Thrown into a world of politics and conspiracy, of keeping enemies close, they move against time to save Rome before traitors and the gods themselves see to their end.

And in doing so, see the dawn of the nova praetorian—the new guard—rise.

Review

Wow!!! What a read!!! I have always been drawn to ancient times, add in romance and its absolutely perfect. The language is the most difficult part of this book but luckily N.R. has a glossary at the beginning of the story that really helps.

Quintus is a kind yet stern man who ends up getting sort of blackmailed by Senator Severius into becoming his personal guard against an unnamed threat. Kaeso is a newly captured slave who has trouble accepting his new circumstances. The Senator gives Kaeso to Quintus to train and keep under control. Quintus is a man who prides himself on his control yet with Kaeso he struggles to reign in that control. Kaeso can tell that while a hard task master, Quintus is also a kind man who treats the slaves like people.

The attraction between the two men grow strong but Quintus refuses to make any unwanted advances toward Kaeso, due to his circumstances of being a slave. Eventually the two men figure out that the attraction they feel towards each other is mutual.

This book really kept me wondering what the Senator was up to. Is he up to no good?? Or is he really just that much of a jerk. I loved how the story all came together in the end. I believe that Nova Praetorian is one of those books that each time you reread it you will pick up on something you missed the first time. This isn’t an easy read by any means, the language is pretty confusing but stick with it because it is an amazing story!!!

5 Stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta

 
I really enjoyed this epic action packed new book by N.R Walker, if you liked watching Gladiator and Spartacus you will LOVE Nova Praetorian. This book has everything a history romance lover will enjoy, with well researched and well-rounded world building, writing style fitting the time period and a thrilling story of lovers facing impossible odds. Kaeso is owned by the slippery senator Servius, a man that Quintus despises and knows better than trust. Placing him temporarily in Quintuse’s care as his slave while he guards the senator is a move meant to weaken him, and he must stay alert if he wants a future with Kaeso by his side.

Kaeso and Quintus banter and quip at each other, they are a great couple and fun to read even if danger lurks at every turn. Quintus also has a group of 20 men and women trained at his Ludus, and they are almost like family. Their connection is lovely to read and some of them are so well rounded as they take center roles in the story I enjoyed reading about them immensely. As the plot twists in unexpected ways, it is both thrilling and intriguing, and keeps you at the edge of your seat as it SLOWLY unfolds and reveals its depths.

If I have to say anything I would change in this story is a slight dragging in the halfway mark, the days seem endless and similar, and considering the amount of times Quintus and Kaeso have sex (nothing wrong with that on its own) I felt like maybe that part of the story could have moved faster. Yes, there is A LOT of sex in this book as passion burns and scorch these men to the bone! Again, no issue with it on its own, but at some point it was slightly repetitive, and I applaud their stamina and ability to train a full day after each night, but maybe we could have gotten to the excitement at the end a bit sooner.

Once you get to the ending though, you are not going to put it down! The odds are against Quintus and his men (and women) yet they manage to save the day with honor and skill. The ending was very satisfying, providing the epicness you crave and a HEA that will leave you smiling.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5


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Time to Get Paranormal: The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles

 

Goodreads link

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

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

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

Review:

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

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

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

Number of stars out of 5
5 stars.

Purchased for Review

 

 

 

Time to Get Paranormal: Duck! Audiobook by: Kim Dare Narrated by: Rod M. Maskew

 

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Duck-Audiobook/B01NCLJWJ9?qid=1535303252&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=JEEM5XB5ZEQJSXBW1DRC&

Blurb

Raised among humans, Ori Jones only discovered he was an avian shifter six months ago. Unable to complete a full shift until he reaches his avian maturity, he still can’t be sure of his exact species.
But with species comes rank, and rank is everything to the avians. When a partial shift allows the elders to announce that they believe Ori to be a rather ugly little duckling, he drops straight to the bottom rung of their hierarchy.
Life isn’t easy for Ori until he comes to the attention of a high ranking hawk shifter. Then the only question is, is Ori really a duck – and what will his new master think when the truth eventually comes out?

Review
I have loved this retake of the ugly duckling fairytale for a long time. The essence of the original fairy tale is still the structure of the story which makes it familiar whilst bringing it into the realm of shifters. We meet Ori living a life of drudgery being bullied by other bird shifters. The Avian nest has a hierarchical structure and Ori being a duckling is low down the pecking order, so to speak. The author has selected birds that suit the nature of the characters being portrayed. This gave me wonderful imagery. The superior Hawks and other birds of Pray being at the top and the pigeons scurrying about in service roles.
Reynard, a Hawk, is disgusted with the way Ori is being treated and offers him a role as a servant in his home. This is where the Master/slave story starts. If BDSM is not your cup of tea this might not the story for you. The core is Dominance and Submission but it doesn’t have a lot of kinky scenes, so it might be worth taking a chance. Reynard, being a Hawk, is a strong character and with the societal hierarchy consent seems to be taken for granted. His drive is to protect and care for Ori. Ori looks up to Reynard and equally wants to take care of Reynard by serving him. From this the love grows and blossoms. The huge bump in their relationship comes from when Ori has his final shift and becomes a Swan. I don’t think I’m giving much away given that it’s based on the Ugly Duckling fairytale. How they deal with this dramatic change though is what makes the story. Can their love overcome such an obstacle? I’ll leave you to discover that for yourselves.

Regarding the narration, I am a fan of Rod M. Maskew’s narration. He excelled at portraying the nature of each bird’s character through the tone and voices he chose. The Hawks were superior upper class English men and the crows were noisy ruffians. Ori was gentle and meek but also gracious. Apart from the second book, magpie, I don’t think he has narrated anything else, which is such a shame.

5 of stars out of 5 for both

Purchased by reviewer

Release Day Review: Raising the Bar By Leigh Dillon

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/raising-the-bar-by-leigh-dillon-9845-

Blurb
Destin Bellingham has inherited a problem. Thanks to his late playboy father, Destin faces putting a For Sale sign on his family’s historic horse farm. Getting his talented stallion, Black Sambuca, into the Grand Prix show ring would put Bellmeade back on the map—if only someone could make “Sam” behave like a show horse.

Disgraced top rider Tonio Benedetto has his own problems, but he can work magic with difficult jumpers, so Destin hires him despite his bad-boy reputation. The street-smart, openly gay loudmouth from Miami and the closeted, buttoned-down son of Old Dominion Virginia make a rocky pairing, but time is running out to save Bellmeade from bankruptcy.

Opposites attract, sparks of tension grow into flames of passion. But if Tonio fails to tame Sam, will true love become a lost cause too?

Review
I had to think a lot about this book. The scene setting is good. The descriptions give a sense of how beautiful the area is. The romance side took a back seat to Destin’s struggle to keep the farm afloat. I didn’t have a problem with that but both Destin and Tonio seem to have problems that were only skated over. Destin has to come to terms with his feelings about his father and Tonio with his behaviour that triggered his bad boy reputation. Together they have a chance of making the farm viable again. On the romance side I didn’t really feel it. There was something missing for me and I can’t identify it. In my opinion the star of the story is Black Sambuca, Sam for short. This is one smart feisty horse. His stubbornness keeps Tonio guessing and almost proves too much of a challenge. In the end though it all comes together in a happy ending.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review