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


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Gabriel and the Devil by Robert P. Rowe

release day review

Dreasmpsinner

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/gabriel-and-the-devil-by-robert-p-rowe-10074-b

Blurb: Flirting with the devil can lead to a helluva good time.
Gabriel is a regular angel. The former altar boy plans to graduate from college, become an accountant, get a good job, find a wife, and live a faithful Catholic life.

But one Halloween night, the devil pops in out of nowhere, challenges everything he believes, and heats up Gabriel’s lonely life.
Marcello is full of the devil. He’s lusted after Gabriel forever, but what he really wants is Gabriel’s eternal soul. Still, his mischievous sense of humor, along with his tricks and jokes, leads to a misunderstanding that could condemn him to hell on Earth. Only the truth will let these souls find true love and happiness.

Review: Overall, this was a fun read – the good, religious boy and the not so good, devilish tempter. I thought the story was cleverly done – without giving the twist away – there is a bit of sleight of hand that works quite well.
My biggest complaint is how quickly Gabriel fell for Marcello; one moment he’s resisting Marcello’s tempting ways and almost as quickly, he’s fallen in lust/love. This is a story that could have been longer in order to fully stretch out the fantasy and fun. But the ending is nice, complete with a satisfying epilogue.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf audiobook by B.G. Thomas narrated by Donald Tursman

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/grumble-monkey-and-the-department-store-elf-by-bg-thomas-1071-

Blurb
Kit Jefferies, a part-time department store Christmas elf, is an artist who loves life and his family. Unfortunately, his car dies at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere as he is heading home for Christmas. Enter Nick St. George.

Nick is a very unhappy man—he’s achieved his professional goals only to find the rest of his life bleak and empty. Deciding there was only one way to make everything right, he is on his way to San Francisco on a dark mission, and even the horrible sleet storm that blocked his path won’t deter him. That’s when he found Kit.

At first, Nick is pretty sure rescuing Kit was a big mistake. Kit’s personality is just too, well, effervescent. But as the miles go by, Kit begins to bring light to his dark heart. It might even be bright enough to illuminate a Christmas miracle

Review
The story was part of the 2013 Dreampinner Press “Heartwarming” Advent Calendar.
Nick is such a grump, love him. He is trying to get to San Francisco before Christmas Day when he meets Kit at a rest stop. He is so dismissive and judgmental of Kit. Nick is so angry at the world and takes it out on Kit. Kit seems to be everything Nick despises about being gay. Kit and his positive attitude gets through to Nick. Although I had my suspicions Where the story was heading to it was still bit of a surprise. On seeing the cover picture I thought the story would be humorous but I don’t think it gets there. Nick and Kit’s story has a happy for now ending and overall left me feeling thoughtful rather than buoyed up in Christmas spirit.
The narrator gives some attempt to voice the characters but it does sound more like Donald Tursman is just reading the story. If you don’t listen closely it’s hared to distinguish which character was speaking. Initially there was a hollow sound to the recording but either that got better or I got used to it.

3 of stars out of 5 for the story
2 of stars out of 5 for the narration

Reviewer Name: MaryD

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Fair isn’t life By Kaje Harper

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fair-isnt-life-by-kaje-harper-9973-b

Blurb

 

Luke Lafontaine survived the past year by not thinking about the father he lost, the dairy farm he couldn’t save from bankruptcy, or his way of life that vanished with the rap of an auctioneer’s hammer. Cleaning up city folks’ trash at the Minnesota State Fair is just another dead-end job. But at the Fair, surrounded by a celebration of farm life,  ambitions he’d given up on and buried deep start to revive. And seeing Mason Bell in the parade—gorgeous, gay, out-of-his-league Mason—stirs other buried dreams.

Mason left his hometown for college in Minneapolis without looking back. Student life is fun, classes are great, gay guys are easy to find, but it’s all a bit superficial. He’s at the State Fair parade route with his band when he realizes a scruffy maintenance worker is Luke, his secret high school crush. Luke should be safely home working on his dad’s farm, not picking up litter. Mason wishes he hadn’t fallen out of touch. He’s an optimist, though, and it’s never too late for second chances. Now he just has to convince Luke.

 

Review
Luke has gone through a lot, losing his father, his farm and home, and only narrowly escaping a life on the streets. He’s lost hope and I felt quite sad for him. All that loss really impacted him and continues to define him throughout the story. It’s more than a simple background story for the cliché “tormented hero”.
Luckily this is fiction, and Kaje Harper managed to give Luke a way to turn his life around with a little help from his former high school crush, Mason. Although reality intrudes when we are shown that Luke’s farm was no exception and that other dairy farms also struggle to survive, with no miracle to fix their issues.

Luke is physically more imposing than the smaller and more studious Mason, but their relationship doesn’t conform to stereotypes, which I loved! Luke looks to Mason for guidance and help to discover new things, like say make-up. The issue of what it means to be a real “man” is touched upon and handled in the best way. I really liked Luke and Mason as a couple, they are a great fit.

This story has an very realistic feel to it, with a “true story” kind of vibe running through it thanks to the incredibly authentic (not always likable) secondary characters and real life issues that crop up. Even the happy for now ending adds to that feeling.

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Not Just Friends by Jay Northcote

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42181544-not-just-friends

Blurb
Is it worth risking a friendship for a chance at love?

Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. One that’s full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis isn’t prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max, because Lewis had always assumed he was straight.

Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis’s jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction. When Max’s relationship goes awry, Lewis is the one to comfort him and one thing leads to another. After a night together, Lewis is devastated that Max wants to go back to being just friends.

Lewis tries his best to move on and their friendship survives, but the feelings he has for Max don’t go away. He faces other challenges as he deals with coming out to his parents, and needs Max’s support more than ever. But Lewis isn’t the only one who’s conflicted. When Max finally admits he cares for Lewis too, Lewis must decide whether he dares risk his heart again on being more than just friends.

Please note that although this edition has been re-edited for publication, there is no new or additional content.

Review
This book is has been re-edited from its original release but included no new content.
I am a big fan of Jay’s books. Being from the South West UK, it’s really great getting to read about places close to me and speech that I can easily hear in my head in the correct accent!
We follow Lewis as he starts at university, sharing student accommodation with four others guys but feeling an instant attraction towards Max. It’s not a new experience for him but the first time he’s contemplating it and making decisions about himself.
It’s a fun read with the five men meeting for the first time and getting to know each other, several nights out especially in Fresher’s week which is well known for the drunken shenanigans of new students!
Lewis’ inner turmoil regarding his sexuality and attraction to Max is our main focus and you’re easily pulled along for the ride with him. He doesn’t really have anyone to turn to which makes it harder for him to sort through his thoughts. We do get to meet some good characters. The other guys in the accommodation all have individual personalities that shine through, and then there are couple of people that are met on courses and societies that we get to read more of . They offer friendship and support at important times.
One thing I loved was when Lewis and Max go running and get to go along Avon Gorge and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was wonderfully written and described. Jay is a great writer at drawing you into the story and keeping you engaged throughout. The characters come across as very “real” to me and are people that I enjoy reading about. These students are mostly just starting out with independent living and first, big relationships. They’re fun to read and leave me wanting more.

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Gateway to Love by Sarah Hadley Brook

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/gateway-to-love-by-sarah-hadley-brook-9915-b

Blurb:

Ten days to finally make the leap from friends to lovers…. Craig and Mitchell have been friends for years, but each of them reached a point where that camaraderie became… more. Mitchell’s kept his feelings close to his chest. So has Craig, but now that they’ve graduated from UMKC, he knows it’s his last chance to show Mitchell they’re meant to be before their careers take them to opposite sides of the country. He insists they can’t leave Missouri behind without one last adventure. Mitchell agrees to a road trip to visit all the touristy spots and say goodbye to their home state. As they spend their days and nights together, buried feelings rise to the surface and hope blossoms. When their journey ends with a dance beneath the Branson stars, will they find love and a future together at the end of the road? States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Review:
Another road trip story, this time it’s about two young men who want to see if they can define their feelings for one another, while taking in the sights of Missouri. All, before they go their separate ways after graduation.
Craig and Mitchell are best friends, recent college graduates. Unbeknownst to each other, each man is secretly in love with the other.
From the beginning you can see that these 2 have a great affection for one another – Craig only calls Mitch ‘Mitchell’; likewise Mitch only lets Craig get away with calling him ‘Mitchell’ (and he secretly loves it!).
As they travel together, layers of feelings are peeled away, slowly exposing how they feel about each other. And as the story develops, one also gets to sightsee with them.
When they finally figure out how they feel about each other, they still have to figure their future – they both have accepted jobs on opposite coasts. Hint: This is handled sweetly at the end and with the epilogue.
Overall, this a nice story with an undercurrent of humour and charm throughout, making it an easy, pleasant read with minimal angst.

3.5 stars out of 5


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Recent Release Review: Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) by R.J. Scott ,V.L. Locey

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35559022-ryker?from_search=true

Blurb

This New Adult book is the first in the Owatonna U Series, a spin off from the best selling Harrisburg Railers Hockey Series.

Ryker is hockey royalty, Jacob is a poor country boy. Can two vastly different people find common ground and become the men they want to be?

Ryker comes from a long line of championship-winning hockey players. Playing college hockey to develop his game is his only focus, and nothing will stand in the way of him working to become the best player. He has no room for relationships, people that point out his flaws, or anyone who calls him on his dreams. He certainly has no place for love, and meeting Jacob is nothing but a useful distraction on the side. After all trying to get his Owatonna Eagles teammate into bed is less work and more play. When tragedy rocks his family, his charmed life crumbles, and the only person he can turn to is the same one who claims to hate him.

Jacob Benson has only known hard work and stifling conservative values his whole life. Born and raised in the small rural community of Eden Crossing, Minnesota, he’s the only son of a hard-working but struggling dairy farming family. Jacob is using his skills in hockey to finance his way to an agricultural science degree. These four years at Owatonna U. will probably be the only time he has to enjoy life, gain acceptance about his sexuality, and live openly before his inevitable return to the farm. Running into a pretty rich boy like Ryker Madsen is putting a damper on his enjoyment of life away from home. Ryker’s flip, conceited, carefree attitude grates on Jacob’s every nerve. So why, if Ryker is everything he dislikes, does he want nothing more than to explore the sinful dreams that his annoying teammate stars in every night?

Review
I really loved this book! It’s definitely a YA/NA – it has a lot of angst that is age appropriate (and therefore a little frustrating) but still fits the ages of the MCs involved.

I think this can be a standalone but you’re definitely missing a lot of subtext if you don’t read these in order.

There was enough steam to keep things feeling hot but again – age appropriate.

I was pretty mad at the authors – when the hurt Ten in the last book – but I am hoping he seems on the mend and will hopefully be back up and skating soon 😉

I’ve really been enjoying this series and can’t wait for the next installment!

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: 11 Seconds by John Charles

 

Blurb : In a world dominated by greed and political loyalties, the line between right and wrong is often completely blurred.

He wanted more than revenge. His was a vendetta, a vendetta that he was capable of carrying out. Tenodod was a cyber hacker who knew how to use the skills he developed while working for one of the most powerful systems developers in the world. Only now, he was using those talents to bring down Bertram Lynnworth, Chairman and CEO of ESTG, and would continue until his vendetta was fulfilled, no matter who got hurt in the process.

Mystery, romance, and intrigue in a suspense filled thriller that will leave you asking how to protect yourself and your family.

We Own You appeared on every monitor in every ESTG facility around the world. There Is No Escape voiced the laughing clown as Tenodod took over every system within the company.

Hackers can steal your identity, control your car, access your secret files. What if one had a grip on your beating heart? What if it only took 11 seconds?

Tenodod would make Bertram crawl for what he did to all those innocent people. Unfortunately, Marc Lynnworth, Bertram’s unsuspecting son, and hundreds of others, would become pawns in Tenodod’s evil plot. “I never wanted anyone to die; I only wanted your father to see the error of his ways.”

Review
I’ve not read anything by John Charles before and I’m always up for something new. I was surprised that at the beginning the author offers a free book which is I think a prequel to the series. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to read it before this book so I’m not sure how much information it gives. This is a well paced story which kept my interest. It’s set around cyber terrorism. An anonymous foe is creating havoc every 11 days. All the alphabet organisations are hunting him. one. Of the main characters, Marc, is a Robin Hood type hacker working with the authorities to bring him down. He is in college and deeply in love with Kylar. Asher is assigned to protect Marc. Another main Character is the NSA agent leading the investigation. She is a good strong female lead. I liked the way all the characters actions are believable, in that the pressures of being in the middle of in effectively being held to ransom by someone who has the ability to wreak havoc over the whole country, through controlling the network, would do. I was also surprised by how vilified Bertram was. He seemed more like someone in over his head and trapped working with the CIA rather than a deliberately crewel father or boss. But he is not given a chance of redemption at the end of the book.
Here’s the part that surprised me. Asher Redman was a background character. I’m so used to the characters series are named after taking centre stage that I kept waiting for it to happen but it didn’t. The story isn’t even from his POV. It’s from either Julie’s or Marc’s. Here I’m torn. I liked the story and the pace. It all takes place over about 6 weeks, from 11th November to just after Christmas. But something didn’t click for me and I was quite disappointed because from the blurb it sounded like my kind of book. Don’t let that put you off because n the whole it is an engaging story of young love and family in a very trying time.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Book Link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FZPKGSW

Release Day Review: A Fool and his Manny by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-fool-and-his-manny-by-amy-lane-9714-b

Blurb

Seeing the truth and falling in love.
Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan’s friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.
At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

 

Review by Morgan

I adored this couple! I loved the idea of the younger guy who falls for his “nanny” but ends up getting him! He was just the right amount of contrite and then bossy to really flip all my switches and he felt authentic to me.

The romance moved at a very low angst, steady pace and I loved seeing all the familiar faces. While this is definitely a good standalone, it’s better if you’ve read the others before it.

Watching Dusty move from kid through to adult was just right, too. Enough of the kid stuff for him to feel “real” but not so much that it was weird seeing him as an adult.

If you’re a fan of the author, the series or “mannies” this is for you! If you’re in the mood for a sweet “coming of age” book – I think this is wonderful for that purpose, too.

As for the upcoming audio: I don’t want this to sound like John Solo isn’t good – he is! – but I sure do wish we could have Nick Russo or Gomez for this series as well – I’d love that so much!

5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copy Generously Provided for Honest

 

Review by Mary

A fool and his manny is book 4 of Amy Lane’s Manny series within the Dreamspun desires collection. It can be read on it’s own but I think you get a richer story by knowing the history in the previous books. I liked the beginning of this story. There is a a bit set in the present day which then flashes back to a couple of important episodes before coming back into the present. Oh my heart went out to Quinlan. Such a gentle soul to have been hurt so much by an ignorant family. Dusty’s determination for Quin to see him as anything other than a teenager is great. He is just what Quin needs, someone in his corner and a whole family supporting him. It’s rare to get to see a character grow into an adult. Dusty is about 9 or 10 in the previous book growing into the teenager Quin meets when he joined the family 7 years ago. These are characters and a family I grew to love. Low level angst when Dusty was pushing Quin to face his fears and Dusty getting a little dominant over Quin again to push him into dealing with his fear of rejection and see that Dusty wasn’t going anywhere. I’m not sure if this is the end but I hope we get to see this clan again, they are quite fun.

4 of stars out of 5


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Steamy Romance: Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6562748-str8te-boys

Blurb

How far would you dare to go to win it all?

Maverick Holms and Duke Warren share almost everything a college soccer team, an apartment and the same extremely competitive nature. Thanks to that never-back-down spirit, they re about to share more than they bargained for.

The game is gay chicken . The rule: get as close as possible without kissing, and the one that pulls away first is the loser. The problem: neither of them likes to lose. It isn t long before the game becomes an excuse to touch and kiss in every possible forbidden way. And after they pose for a gay website to earn extra money, things really heat up.

Suddenly Duke is talking lifetime commitment, and Mav is backpedaling as hard as he can, not sure if he s ready to accept all his best friend is offering him. Or the truth about what he is.”

Review

Ok, ok. So this was one of my favorites… awhile ago. It’s not quite as “timeless” as I’d thought but… it’s still a lot of fun with a surprising amount of feelz. (And tons of hawt sex!) LOL

So these guys play “gay chicken” – which is pretty offensive when I think about it – but – for the sake of the story – is an effective tool to get these two guys – who are apparently realllllly clueless – in compromising situations that push the limit on believability – but are also pretty erotic.

If you close your eyes to the vaguely offensive and slightly ridiculous plot, and focus on the feels and the eventual results, it’s a quick, hot read about 2 frat boys finding love.

3 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review