Time to Comfort: Love Me Louder by Christina Lee

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40663475-love-me-louder?from_search=true

Blurb
Noah Dixon is damaged goods. After an accident leaves him physically scarred and emotionally vulnerable, dating isn’t in the cards, so he throws himself head-first into his retail job. When he’s obligated to attend his best friend’s engagement party on Fire Island, it dawns on him he’s about to spend yet another weekend feeling totally invisible and alone among a swarm of gorgeous men.

That’s when the idea of an escort comes in.

After Will Crossen was forced to put his theater major on hold in favor of two jobs to tackle his ailing mother’s hospital bills, he tells himself becoming an escort isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just another form of acting, right? He doesn’t expect his newest customer to be the cheery, overconfident sales associate he avoids like the plague at his day job. Talk about awkward.

But what happens on Fire Island stays on Fire Island…especially when a smoldering attraction sparks into flames. Will doesn’t feel so alone anymore, and for the first time, Noah realizes someone is seeing him behind all the scars. But between their jobs, Will’s massive familial responsibilities, and Noah’s vulnerabilities, they don’t stand a chance unless they find a way to let love speak louder than their demons.

Review
I enjoyed this story immensely!!

It had everything I want in a romance: emotional depth and a real connection between the MC’s, great chemistry and a lovely slow-burn hurt/comfort theme.
Throw in the excitement and angst that comes with falling for a fake boyfriend and I knew I was in for an allnighter because no way was I putting this book down!

Noah feels inadequate and has a very low self-image, especially with regards to his appearance. Initially, this skews his view on the world, read Will, and he has a difficult time accepting that Will might be genuinely attracted to him.

Will takes care of his mother and works two jobs to make ends meet, giving up his dream of a career in the theatre. I love his sense of responsibility and family.

Noah and Will dance around each other and their true feelings for quite some time, afraid to give too much away and get hurt, hesitant to believe that what they share between them could be real.

I love how the fake boyfriend trope was written here, with the closed-off colleague turning out to be an escort! The author didn’t take the easy way out by turning the route of insta-lust, but slowly let the feelings build, raising the emotional stakes bit by bit.

We get to reconnect with some of my all-time favorite characters as well, which was a delightful surprise!
Tate & Sebastian are such an adorable couple and I loved that Tate’s alter ego, Frieda Love, was the one to give Noah and Will that final little nudge to help them confess their true feelings to one another!

As is the case in all her books, Christina Lee surrounds her MC’s with engaging, three-dimensional secondary characters, be they family, friends or co-workers, drawing us into the wonderful fictional world she created. If only there was a portal the reader could step through to make their acquaintance!

I loved the title of this book so much!! Its message is incredibly apt and feels so true to these two amazing characters.
The extraordinary Frieda Love sums it up marvelously:

“Sometimes people need you to love them a little louder!”

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Review copy provided by Author

 

 

Audiobook: Love You so Madly by Tara Lain Narrated by Ry Forest

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-madly-by-tara-lain-9634-b

Blurb
A Love You So story.
Ben Shane has it all…and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.
Though Dusty is odd for a 23-year-old – no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive – the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus?
He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work. After all, Ben’s perfect…and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only mad in love.

Review

Story-Love You So Madly is the second book in the Love You So Stories but can easily be read as a standalone. This is a pretty short read/listen about a guy, Ben who works hard for a charitable foundation. He seems to have the perfect life. Rich, attentive fiancée Alan, who wants to give him the world. A job, that even though it requires long hours, he gets to help people, which he loves. But underneath the surface Ben isn’t as happy as he seems. He doesn’t want to be a trophy husband to his rich boyfriend, he wants to make a difference in the world. Ben has noticed the office handyman, the stunningly attractive Dusty for a while but has hardly ever talked to him. Eventually that all changed and Dusty starts to help Ben out with some renovation problems he’s been having. Ben starts to notice some weird quirks about Dusty as the two get to know each other. As the two men grow closer to each other Ben struggles with his attraction to Dusty and his failing relationship Alan. After Dusty has a health scare Ben finally realizes what he wants and goes about making the changes in his life.

I found this to be a very light, fast paced book. The two main characters were sweet and funny. I did at some points find Dusty’s mother to be a bit over bearing but after finding out about past issues I could kind of get why she was like that. The one thing I didn’t like was towards the end, when Dusty and Ben finally get together, they had sex after their “first” date. I don’t think it needed to be in the story. It felt rather rushed and out of place. I would have been just as happy not to have it there. Other than that I found this to be a delightful book and series so far.

Story-4 stars

Narration-Ry Forest seems to be a fairly new narrator. I have only listened to one other book he has narrated, and I have the same issue with both books. Ry has a very attractive voice that kept me enthralled. He puts a lot of enthusiasm in his narrations but at times this can be very over the top (like when he “voices” a moan or laugh). He keeps the story going and I didn’t have any other issues, except the moaning/laughing parts, but I will most like still pick up an audio narrated by him in the future.

Narration-4 stars

Overall 4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to get Scared: Abercrombie Zombie by KZ Snow

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11719825-abercrombie-zombie?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Dead folks are the best friends of Quinn McConnell and Hunter Janz. Dead folks pay the bills for this team of psychic mediums . . . but just barely. To make it into the financial comfort zone, they need to outshine their competition.

Quinn needs even more than that. He’s been infatuated with his partner for the nearly three years they’ve been together, and if he can’t either get over his crush or make something happen with Hunter, they’ll have to split up. Sexual tension and unrequited love can wreak havoc with a psychic’s reception.

Salvation comes hobbling along in the form of a well-dressed but ravaged-looking man who can clearly see and converse with the dearly departed. Why? Because, he claims, he has something in common with them: He’s also been dead. The zombie who calls himself Dustin DeWind needs the psychics’ help in finding the man who made him what he is. In return, he promises to steer them toward the often elusive spirits that are their stock in trade.
But something more goes on when Quinn and Hunter forge an uneasy alliance with Dustin DeWind. It seems he’s also nudging them toward each other.

Review:

A totally different take on zombies – well, this zombie anyway.
The blurb gives the bones of the story, but it doesn’t prepare you for the murder/mystery, subtle humour, some pop culture references or the life lessons you get out of the story.
The humour and some of the pop culture are intertwined; the zombie is called Dustin DeWind – I didn’t know it was the name of a song, instead I thought it a tongue-in-cheek reference to zombies being dead (dust to dust …). Still thought it was amusing☺.
The way Dustin became a zombie is different, which makes him a different type of zombie – one that doesn’t eat brains – for starters ☺
When Dustin meets up with Quinn and Hunter, Dustin inadvertently stirs up a mini drama between the 2 psychics, especially with Quinn who’s been in love with Hunter for some time. Quinn has managed to keep it to himself until circumstances change to bring those feelings up front. The way the unrequited love angle is handled really well – hardly any angst, but you feel Quinn’s hurt.

When all 3 men get better acquainted, it turns out they all need each other – and this is the meat of the story. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the story evolved, and because the story is so unique, it’s best you read it to see how it progresses and ends.

I really enjoyed it.

4 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane Narrator: Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-leading-man-by-ashlyn-kane-9598-

Blurb

He wrote a comedy. Fate directed a romance.

Drew Beaumont is bored of the same old roles: action hero, supervillain, romantic lead. He’s not going to let a fresh gay buddy comedy languish just because they can’t find him the right costar. No, Drew bats his eyelashes and convinces everyone that the movie’s writer should play Drew’s not-so-straight man.

Aspiring writer Steve Sopol has never had a screenplay optioned. Now one of Hollywood’s hottest properties wants to be in a movie Steve hasn’t finished writing—and he wants Steve as his costar. Turns out the chemistry between them is undeniable—on and offscreen.

Drew swore off dating in the biz, but Steve is the whole package: sharp, funny, humble, and cute. For Steve, though, giving in to the movie magic means the end of the privacy he cherishes. Will the credits roll before their ride into the sunset

Review
This is a sweet and fluffy feel good story. Perfect light listening when you want the romance without any angst. The majority of the story takes place on a film set where friends become lovers. Naturally our two leading men gradually become more than co-workers. Drew came across as a bit of a diva. I’m sure that Ashlyn Kane totally intended him to, but he has a lot of redeeming qualities as well. I loved the way they ended working together. It was one of those possible disastrous scenarios which comes good. I found the whole film set setting quite interesting. The whole premise for the film they are making is a great story in its own right. Wonderful secondary characters, Drew’s agent and Steve’s mother, and the Director.
As always Kenneth Obi provides great narration. He gives distinct voices to all the characters I was never in any doubt which character was speaking. The only thing was I didn’t feel the connection between Drew and Steve. I’m not sure if that was the writing or the depth of character. Nevertheless it is an enjoyable audiobook. It’s light enough to fill an afternoon or accompany you when you are on a journey.

4 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get Paranormal: A Time To Rise by Tal Bauer

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40526865-a-time-to-rise

Blurb

History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.

Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand against the darkness. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and the evils that exist beyond the Veil.

But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenburg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago, and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.

Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Cristoph struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cristoph collides with Alain as both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican… and of the world.

Review

A Time To Rise is Bauer’s first steps into the paranormal world, but don’t expect romantic “vegetarian” vampires with a bit of sparkle, because that isn’t how he writes. The vampires in this story are ugly, evil and they smell. Really, really bad.

As with everything he writes, Bauer’s level of research and attention to the small detail is second to none and sets him far above, in my opinion, most other authors out there.

As always, this book is character led, but with the romance taking a backseat to the drama and mystery of the story.
Both Alain and Cristoph are interesting personalities, who help drive the story along at its fast pace. They are helped by a whole host of great secondary characters not least of which is Father Lotario, a cigarette smoking, vodka drinking priest who I would love to sit and chat with in a bar one evening.

The twists and turns of this book will leave you gasping for breath and worried what you will find at the next turn of the page. Its a lot darker than most paranormal romances out there, but worth every bitten nail.

5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Recent Release: Love it Like You Stole it by Ki Brightly

Nine Star Presents

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40718985-love-it-like-you-stole-it?from_search=true

Blurb
Michal, or Meeko, is in trouble. Tearing cars for money to get his mechanic certifications and impress his day-job boss Ben who he has been crushing on for years, was supposed to be temporary. Now in dept to a dangerous man Michael is sucked in to crime and in fear for his life.
Ben has been in a routine for a long time, with his auto repair shop doing good and raising his niece right it seems like he is in a great place, and with a great boyfriend to boot. But Ben feels off, nothing is interesting anymore, except Meeko, his young employee, and the dream car he is fixing up. Michael is such and important par of Ben’s live that when he starts acting strange Ben can’t help but try to help him. Longing to be together yet so many things keeping them apart, will their bond survive and danger Meeko is tangled in? Can they even fix it before it’s too late?

Review:
I have to say the first thing I like about this book is the writing. It had such a distinct, lyrical and expressive style I honestly think it elevated the story for me and made it an emotional journey. It was written in such a way that I felt like every character is so tangible, I could picture them so clearly, especially Ben with his gestures and all the little details of how they move, it was almost like the book was animated through the words. The use of car related lingo was a nice touch, for me this book was, as Ben and Meeko often say, Cherry.
Ben is such an interesting character, gruff and gentle, and I loved how he and Meeko seemed to fit each other emotionally and just had the same vibe about them. Meeko being 19 did some stupid things, and to me it made sense, he had his childish bits and he had to deal with the results of some really bad decisions. I enjoyed not having their ages specified, I could probably figure it out but despite the obvious gap it’s not such a big issue in the story. It was the longing they had for each other, the craving for the other that was just captivating, with the writing I was drawn into the story and could not put it down.

All the characters were well rounded, interesting and quirky, the shared history, described or hinted was really developed, and I got the feeling like the author knows all these characters inside and out. The crime theme was interesting, not my go-to genre, not as glamorous and raw, I liked it and felt it was refreshing.
Plot wise I would say some parts did drag a bit and I could have skipped of rushed them, some things just seemed slightly repetitive.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Recent Release: Promises: The Next Generation (Bounty Hunters #5) by A.E. Via

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41183779-promises?from_search=true

Blurb
Duke Webb has run the most successful bail recovery agency in Atlanta for over twenty years. That’s because he has a team of trained, competent hunters backing him up to keep his name feared on the streets. But Duke knows that nothing can go on forever. His hunters are in committed relationships and ready to settle down, and so is he. That’s what leads him to start his new training program.

“That’s the new vision for Dukes. Veterans operating and tracking behind the scenes with a new powerhouse apprehension team on the streets.”

Brian and Quick are the first to offer up two new recruits.

Kellam Knight has studied martial arts under his sensei, Quick, since he was eight years old. A tossed-out reject from high-society, Kell has a problem fighting on the right side of the law. If he sees an injustice, he has to correct it. He doesn’t have to run and cower from his enemies anymore, he’s a fighter who can protect himself and others. When Quick offers Kell the opportunity to join Duke’s training program, he’s all in. Except he’s not prepared for the straight, over-confident, extremely disciplined, sexy man Brian has recruited to be his partner.

Tyrell Jenkins’ world was flipped upside down when his father never returned home from his last deployment. He’d been Ty’s teacher, mentor, his guide to living a righteous life as a good man. His father didn’t raise him to be like every other young, stereotypical male in Atlanta. Instead, he’s been taught to be respectful, to speak the language of real men. When Brian King – his father’s most trusted comrade – finally comes to him with the truth, he doesn’t come alone. He comes with trained men hidden in the shadows… and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a brotherhood unlike any other.

This installment is a part of a series and contains previously mentioned characters, but CAN standalone. Each book centers around a new couple.
This book ends in a HEA. NO cliffhanger.

Review

I loved – LOVED – this book! Which is no surprise as I am a big fan of AE Via and this series. However, in that series, I definitely love some books/ couples more than others and I LOVED these two together.
First because the author isn’t afraid of a little COLOR! She absolutely gave these guys unique qualities that felt very authentic and special and could only be there because of their background experiences flavoring their expressions both verbal and outward appearances. It was awesome! As a reader I get tired of all the MCs falling into “boxes” of this type of character and that type and these two – while they absolutely had some characteristics of Alpha and twink/submissive – they absolutely were NOT the typical of either of those characteristics.

I kinda felt a Malcolm X vibe from Ty and a karate kid vibe from Kell. In either case it was unique and though sometimes Kell acted in ways that weren’t always explained – he was mostly consistent and so it was ok. I had to subtract ½ a star because at the beginning Kell is described as this tough, crazy, off the rails at times vigilante and Duke and Quick have to keep bailing him out. To me, he humbled a bit too quickly and I never saw that part of his personality again. I’d have liked to see that rise to the surface now and again and see how Ty handled it/used it to his benefit against the bad guys.

In any case – while I think you can read this as a standalone I don’t think it’d be as good. There’s just too much going on with the other characters and I think this is best read in order.
https://www.goodreads.com/series/164584

Highly recommended to fans of the series/author!
4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Coming Soon: Hiding in Plain Sight Series: Camp H.O.W.L.: Book 3 Author: Bru Baker

September 18

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hiding-in-plain-sight-by-bru-baker-9869-b

Blurb

Happily ever after is right under their noses.
Harris has been keeping a big secret for years—his unrequited mate bond with his best friend, Jackson. He’s convinced himself that having Jackson in his life is enough. That, and his work at Camp H.O.W.L., keeps him going.
Things get complicated when Jackson applies for a high-ranking Tribunal job in New York City—far from Camp H.O.W.L. The position requires he relinquish all Pack bonds… and that’s when his wolf decides to choose a mate. Suddenly Jackson sees his best friend in a sizzling new light.
Their chemistry is through the roof, but they’re setting themselves up for broken hearts—and broken bonds—if Jackson can’t figure out a way to balance his career and the love that’s just been waiting for him to take notice.

Review

This was super disappointing for me. I LOVED the idea of the love from afar and the finally finding out we’re mates as a concept. However, the end result was a really tepid anticlimactic love scene(s) and a lot of important couple events happened off page.

Though fans of the series will still want to read this, and you don’t have to start from the beginning to enjoy this, I think if you start with this you’ll be disappointed and won’t appreciate the others in this series which are more wonderful.

3 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day: Star-Crossed Lover (Dreamcatchers #2) by Liv Olteano

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/star-crossed-lover-by-liv-olteano-9740-b

Blurb

A Dreamcatchers Tale

A love worth crossing the stars for.

Taka has been a dreamcatcher and part of Team 32 for over six decades, but nobody has tempted him like Ginger—a dancer at club Zee. Too bad dreamcatchers aren’t allowed to have meaningful relationships with regular people. His willpower proves a finite resource, though, when a mission at the club means spending much more time around Ginger.

Ginger’s infatuation with Taka is unwavering. When he proves to have some paranormal skills of his own, he earns himself a place on the team—if he wants it. His decision will change his life—not to mention Taka’s—irrevocably.

But living in the now could prove an issue for a man who has as much history as Taka. Can Ginger’s determination help him make his way into Taka’s heart?

Review

I chose this based on a whole lot of potential that I glimpsed with book 1 – unfortunately it didn’t come to fruition.

The author has created an interesting world with soul sucking demons and people with long lives who use spider magic to stop them. Sounds intriguing and mystical and magical right? It’s surprisingly flat and hard to get interested in.

Part of my problem with this might be the first person narrative which is not my favorite. The writing felt very stilted and awkward a lot of the time and the dialog inauthentic.

Another of my concerns was the fact that Taka comes off as really flat despite his decades of life and adventures and Ginger comes off as a caricature. We could have delved into the “star crossed nature” of our lovers, but we don’t. We could have explored Taka’s past love, but we don’t. We barely meet/understand Ginger at all and then- pow – they’re crushing on one another and bonding.

I never felt these two connect and their romance did not ever feel real to me.

I wanted to like this – but it just fell flat for me- both the romance and the action against the monsters. If you enjoyed book 1 you might enjoy this, if book one didn’t work for you, this won’t either. IMHO book 1 was better executed.  I don’t think this stands well on it’s own and should be read as part of a series.

2.75 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: When He was Bad by Poppy Dennison

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lifes-a-beach-by-poppy-dennison-9528-b

Blurb: Coconut Cove: Book Three

Lights, camera… wardrobe?

Coconut Cove is television’s newest hot sensation. The glitzy teen drama set in the beach lover’s paradise of Key West is the talk of every gossip rag eager for dirt and hookup news on the hot young actors—like Levi Phillips, who plays the show’s resident bad boy.
Levi’s attraction to costume designer Whit heads into high romance when Whit orders Levi out of his clothes—in an attempt to save Levi from heat exhaustion, of course.
Sassy Whit knows just how to dress, and undress, Levi, and soon the sexy duo are steaming it up off-screen, which is no surprise to their friends and cast mates.
But love in the public eye is complicated, and rumors pose challenges that can threaten careers and love….

Review: Another fun, light installment to the series that can be read on its own.
The short story focuses on Levi, another character on the fictional tv series and Whit, who is in charge of wardrobe.
Both men have crushed on each other for a while, to the point that the whole production cast/crew have been waiting for them to get together! Both MCs like to good naturedly snark at each other and it is fun to see them finally take the steps to getting together.
There is not a whole lot to the story, but the way they get together and want to stay together is nicely written and fun to read. It’s an easy read, one that I will reread if I need a quick pick me up.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review