Release Day Review: Femme Faux Fatale By Susan Laine

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/femme-faux-fatale-by-susan-laine-9982-b

Blurb

Mystery. Murder. Men in silk stockings. Hollywood nights are heating up.
Hardboiled Los Angeles PI Cain Noble is hired by wealthy and gorgeous Camille Astor to find her husband and a priceless work of art, both of which have disappeared.
At the nightclub owned by Mr. Astor, Cain encounters the mesmerizing Lily Lavender, who has the body of a goddess and the sultry voice of an angel—but is really a young man named Riley who attracts trouble like a magnet.
What’s a private dick in the vein of LA’s bygone era and a cross-dressing burlesque starlet to do when faced with the hidden decadence and lethal dangers of the Hollywood Hills? They have their work cut out for them because they haven’t even scratched the surface of an elaborate scheme more twisted than anyone could ever have imagined.

 

Review
The start of this story put me in mind of film noir, with the jaded PI meeting his dubious client for the first time. My initial reaction was that the characters were a bit caricaturist. This impression was strengthened the first time Camille Astor came into the picture. I think it’s intentional given that there are movie references included in the story. Once Cain met Riley that impression was less important and I put it to one side. Fireworks and good ole fashioned lust came into the story, yum. This is a tale that twists and turns. There are the obvious bad guys and the not so obvious worse guys which gave the story a pleasant edge. Some things I didn’t see coming and this kept me hooked. Overall good fast burn romance with murder-crime drama.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Cops and Comix By Rhys Ford

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cops-and-comix-by-rhys-ford-10013-b

Blurb

A Murder and Mayhem Short
It’s all fun and games until someone leaves a dead body on the floor.
Life for comic book store owner Alex Martin usually runs to the mundane. Sure, he has a regular influx of geeks and freaks, but for the most part, it’s a familiar weird. That all changes when he opens up Planet X Comics one morning and finds a corpse in the middle of his shop.
When Detective James Castillo is called in to investigate, Alex is torn between wanting to climb the man like a tree and giving him a wide berth. Luckily for Alex, the handsome detective is just as interested in him—as a suspect in the murder.

Review

This novella starts with a dead body, and you assume most of it will revolve round that drama and the struggle between Alex being extremely attracted to James and fearing he will be accused of murder.

I like that Ford chose to put enough of the romance and solved that conflict sooner than expected. I actually really liked Alex and James, they sort of had a slow buildup and it was very refreshing, considering most full length books jump right into the steam on the first date/meeting. There is a heaping amount of humor and a splash of bad Karma/Murphy’s Law mixed in and it makes for a truly fun read. And surprisingly (or not so much when you consider the talent of the author) you get well rounded characters in such a short story, James is a big softie and I liked his lack of macho ego. Alex is just the right amount of shy and geeky without turning into a total introverted outcast like some books tend to portray geeky/nerdy characters.

This short novella leaves you with a craving for more, written in Rhys Ford’s signature humor and fantastic writing style. The only reason I gave it 3.5 stars is that I felt it was a bit too short or rushed in some parts. Despite that it was just the kind of teasing taste to get you hooked on the series and I am definitely going to get the next ones and dive in.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Hawaii Five Uh-Oh by ZA Maxfield


Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hawaii-five-uh-oh-by-za-maxfield-9969-b

Blurb: A Plummet to Soar Story

Sarcastic cop Theo Hsu returns home to Hawai‘i after realizing he wants more from his life, and also, less. He hopes to reconnect with his past and make amends with his mother, who remarried a cool, distant man, leaving Theo unsure where he stands.
It doesn’t take him long to figure out where he wants to stand, though: right next to his childhood best friend, tattooed detective Koa Palapiti. Theo would like to upgrade their relationship, but Koa is putting out some seriously mixed signals. It’s a mystery Theo can’t let go, but just as they start to connect, kidnapping, murder, and a deadly game with international stakes get in the way. Koa wants to keep Theo out of it, and if it comes to a choice between him and Koa’s partner, Freddie Ortiz, Theo doesn’t like his chances.
But even if Koa wants to push him out of the investigation, and his life, Theo still has a few tricks up his sleeve. It’ll take all his special gifts, ingenuity, risk-taking, family ties—and even some kinky undercover work—to save the day… and the man he never should’ve let get away.

Review: This is the second in the Plummet to Soar series. It’s a standalone story, (I didn’t need to read the first book to enjoy this). It starts out simply – Theo returns to live in Hawai’i, reconnects with his family and meets up with his old friend, Koa. Then things turn mysterious, starting with Koa and his strange relationship with his work partner, Ortiz and ending with a crime family feud.
The story has lots of twists and turns, keeping you guessing as to what’s going to happen next. There is the budding reconnection between Theo and Koa – the latter blowing hot and cold; the mystery case that Theo inadvertently butts his way into; and Theo’s own relationship with his mum and her new family.
This is a complex and interesting story, with elements of BDSM – not full blown scenes – but enough to know that both MCs like that kink. The blurb isn’t kidding with the sarcasm! The humour is sometimes subtle and always funny as heck ☺
I would describe the story as more of a suspense/mystery with a bit of romance thrown in.

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Time to Comfort: Audiobook: Sin and Tonic by Rhys Ford narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/sin-and-tonic-by-rhys-ford-9595-b

Blurb: Sinners Series: Book Six

Miki St. John believed happy endings only existed in fairy tales until his life took a few unexpected turns… and now he’s found his own.
His best friend, Damien, is back from the dead, and their new band, Crossroads Gin, is soaring up the charts. Miki’s got a solid, loving partner named Kane Morgan—an Inspector with SFPD whose enormous Irish family has embraced him as one of their own—and his dog, Dude, at his side.

It’s a pity someone’s trying to kill him.

Old loyalties and even older grudges emerge from Chinatown’s murky, mysterious past, and Miki struggles to deal with his dead mother’s abandonment, her secrets, and her brutal murder while he’s hunted by an enigmatic killer who may have ties to her.
The case lands in Kane’s lap, and he and Miki are caught in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. When Miki is forced to face his personal demons and the horrors of his childhood, only one thing is certain: the rock star and his cop are determined to fight for their future and survive the evils lurking in Miki’s past.

Review:

(Previously reviewed by Dee on this site)

Miki gets his happy ever after! I have had a fantastic time following the series. This last book is just as good, (if not better), than the first.
Miki still has ghosts from his past haunting him. When a stranger who claims to know his mum wants to meet him, he’s understandably skeptical, but curious. Well, the meeting doesn’t go as planned, as someone shoots up the meeting place and the stranger is killed, leaving Edie severely wounded. The murder investigation lands in Kane’s lap and the unraveling of Miki’s past begins.

Although this is the last of the Sinners series, it didn’t feel like a final end, you know? Instead, I felt like I was saying goodbye to my extended family, imagining that I’d see them again in another settings or gathering.
I thought I would be sad reading the last installment – and I was for a bit – but the joy I felt knowing that Miki had finally gotten his happy ending, overrode any sadness. By the end of the book we leave him continuing to heal from all the horrors he’s endured. He is more comfortable with the knowledge that he has a family to call his own, that he can rely on to be there for him. And now, he also knows where he’s from.
It was also lovely to see the others – Dude, Damie and Sionn; Quinn and Rafe; Con and Forest; and of course, Donal and Brigid.
There are a few surprises, heaps of suspense and humour sprinkled throughout the story (indeed, the entire series). But most of all, there is love – romantic and familial within the story; and the love that Rhys has poured into her work.

Absolutely recommend this book and the entire series.

6 stars out of 5

Audio

I will have to agree with Dee for my evaluation of the story. I think – for the most part – that Rhys is a wonderful writer but that you do have to want a certain type of drama to enjoy her stories. She excels at bringing us characters in pain and giving them some sort of resolution. In this series everybody has their back story filled with pain and some with anguish. We couple it with a current bout of violence and luckily the wall of Morgans are there to help keep the tide at bay. I think – though I’ve loved this series so much – that it has come to it’s natural conclusion and aside from some cute side stories – this is a needed/warranted ending.

 

As for the narration- Tristan James is amazing. He’s got this sexy as hell voice and he’s also pretty good at setting the mood for a story with his pacing and energy. For some reason, however, this time around, the voice he chose for Miki is a bit off from what he’d chosen before and it bugged me. Miki didn’t sound like himself – he sounded … softer? I don’t know – but it didn’t match previous narrations. It’s a small thing and definitely doesn’t detract from the rest of the story and all the lovely accents – but it did bug me a little.

 

In any case – fans of the series will be sad to see this one but love it at the same time. It’s not a standalone so don’t start with this one!

 

Recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Recent Review: Running Blind (Havoc #2) by S.E. Jakes

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22094535-running-blind?from_search=true

Blurb

An ATF agent who lives for danger finds what he craves from an outlaw biker.

It’s impossible for a one-percenter motorcycle club member to simply walk away—and no one knows that better than undercover agent Bram, who’s almost killed for trying. His cover isn’t blown—yet—but it’s only a matter of time. The Heathens won’t be satisfied until he’s dead, so he decides to lay low and heal.

But when his younger brother’s disappearance throws a wrench into his plan, Bram ends up in Shades Run, a town ruled by the notorious Havoc MC. In less than twenty-four hours, Bram finds himself at the mercy of Sweet, Havoc’s president, as he throws himself into the undercover role of a lifetime: himself. A man who’s never belonged anywhere, and who will do anything to protect his younger brother.

When finding Linc seems impossible, Bram is torn between Sweet, Linc, and revealing his true identities . . . and there appears to be no way out. Once again, he risks it all trying to save it all. Only this time he’s got no backup to save him if he falls.

Review

(Some spoilery type info – not to ruin the plot though.)

Honestly I had thought SE Jakes had stopped writing.  It’s taken literally FOREVER for her to publish another book in this or her other series (m/m).  As a result I sure had some high expectations for this…

On the one hand – she delivers the rough love we’ve come to expect from her.  Very damaged people with questionable moral compasses doing what it takes to survive in their hard worlds.

We get to see a bit of some of our favorite MCs from previous books.

There is a LOT of very kinky sex.  A lot.  Kinky.  This absolutely lowered my rating.  At one point I’m not sure there was consent and it there was I wasn’t sure it was for multiple partners or fisting.  This didn’t sit well with me and as a result I won’t be buying the audio or reading this again.  I barely finished the first time.

I know that’s very person dependent so if that’s your thing – awesome!

I did love the HEA and how it came back around again to trust – it just never felt comfortable and I never felt the connection between these guys that I did the MCs from book 1.

Somewhat recommended – but read some reviews and read her other stuff before this.


Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Fire and Agate by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fire-and-agate-by-andrew-grey-9959-

Blurb
When Chris Anducci is moved off jail duty and into the sheriff’s office, he doesn’t expect his first assignment to be protecting a witness against a human trafficking ring. Knowing the new sheriff doesn’t abide screwups, Chris reluctantly agrees to work the case.

Pavle Kasun has spent the last four years of his life at the mercy of others. When an opportunity presented itself, he took it, resulting in his rescue. Now the safe houses he’s placed in are being threatened and he needs protection if he is to have any sort of chance at a life.

Chris opens his home to Pavle, but he doesn’t expect Pavle and his story to get under his skin… and stay there. Soon they discover they have more in common than either of them thought. Slowly Pavle comes out of his shell and Chris finds someone who touches his heart. But as the men looking for Pavle close in, they will stop at nothing to get him out of the way. Even if Chris can keep him safe, he might not be able to protect his heart if Pavle moves back home.

Review
There are some very heavy topics included in this story, human trafficking, PTSD, organised crime, police corruption, but none of it has much weight. The story focuses on Chris and Pavel and is told from Chris’s point of view. I found it a little hard to accept that as Pavel had been held prisoner for four years and subjected to who knows what kind of treatment would be so quick and seemingly comfortable with entering In to a physical relationship with someone so soon. Putting that aside the story focuses on Chris and Pavel’s relationship and the criminal investigation part is in the background. There is very little realism in this story but I was quite glad of that. I enjoyed the positivity that Pavel was strong enough to fight the trauma of what he had been through not only to testify against his captors but to find love.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Audiobook: Crocus by Amy Lane narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Blurb
Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart

Review
(Previously reviewed by Mary on site.)
In my opinion you really do need to read or listen to book 1, Bonfires, before starting Crocus. Bonfires is the story of how Aaron and Larx meet and fall in love with all the complications of joining two families. It ends when Larx’s eldest daughter Olivia comes home from college and tells them she is pregnant. This book takes off from that point. We learn that not only is she pregnant she also has Depression. Amy Lane handles this very difficult subject very well. There is no miraculous recovery just because it suited the storyline. We go through Olivia’s struggles to move out of the dark place she is in and Larx’s struggles as a parent to help her. At the same time his rock, Aaron is injured whilst on duty, one of his students is suffering from domestic abuse and is missing in a snowstorm. In amongst this two brothers need his support. There is so much to keep you on edge desperate to know more and wanting everything to work out. I love the dose of reality and practically Amy Lane has in these stories. By the way the book ended I am certain there will be a third book, can’t wait.

From Morgan: I absolutely agree with Mary. Even though the HEA for our guys happens in book 1, we don’t really see them interacting a whole lot together because – in typical Amy fashion – they are BOMBARDED with drama. Though the drama is still in heavy doses in book 2 – our guys handle it TOGETHER and that makes all the difference.

I was glad to see Amy confront the depression issues head on and not shy away from the less than perfect side of pregnancy, etc.

Highly recommended and can’t wait for book 3!

Audio

I just love Nick J Russo. I can’t say that enough. He makes every listening experience a joy and I always know I can depend on him to provide a quality character choice and interpretation. I love how he manages to give Aaron the laid back and stolid voice while in the next breath giving us the hyper and sometimes frenetic Larx.

Well done and highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars for both


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Time to get Paranormal: Heard: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free Book 3) by A.M. Arthur

 

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36589425-heard

Blurb
An omega who can’t speak meets an alpha who won’t listen….

Karter Jenks is a first-year constable who’s still trying to prove himself to his superiors, so he isn’t looking for a mate right now. Soon, sure, but he also knows he has work to do to change his alphahole tendencies around omega rights. The Kell Iverson trial opened his eyes to how cruelly some omegas are treated, and Karter doesn’t want to follow in his authoritarian father’s footsteps when he finds his mate. And he absolutely does not expect a homeless omega vagrant and burglary suspect to be his bondmate.
Jax Orris escaped a life of captivity and pain to save himself and his infant son. Living as vagrants isn’t ideal, but it’s better than trusting the authorities who landed Jax in hell to begin with. When their hiding place is discovered, Jax is shocked to feel the mating bond with the young alpha who’s been tracking him—and even more shocked when the constable doesn’t immediately arrest him for his crimes. It helps him trust Karter enough to accept his help in keeping himself and his son safe from the men Jax escaped.
Jax’s story horrifies Karter, and he vows to protect his omega from further harm—but first he has to get his stubborn, angry omega to trust him. Trust is no longer in Jax’s nature, but he can’t deny his connection to the young alpha eager to please him. Jax never thought he’d want another alpha to touch him, much less mate with him, but Karter’s gentle patience breaks down the walls Jax erected around his heart after the death of his first mate. As Jax’s next heat approaches, the investigation into his captivity uncovers surprising connections to several previous cases, and the danger to everyone involved increases. Can he trust Karter to protect him, or will Jax’s past destroy their chance for a happily ever after?

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse

Review

After his mate dies in a work accident, Jax is sent to stay in an omega rescue. There his is sold to a pregnant omega fighting ring. After giving birth to his son he runs away from the fighting ring. While investigating break ins Karter starts to think an omega may be breaking into these homes and something is pulling at him to find the man. Eventually he tracks Jax down and discovers that not only is Jax his mate but was rendered mute by the men who ran the fighting ring. The two men are immediately drawn to each other. Karter is determined to be a good alpha to Jax and his son. I really liked the dynamic of this book. Jax, even though he is the omega he is slightly bigger and stronger than his alpha. Karter doesn’t have an issue with that, in fact he seems to revel in having a non traditional omega. Karter is my favorite alpha in the series so far. He is still a young alpha, who was raised in a conservative home and but he is trying to adapt to a more liberal way of thinking. This book was a bit easier to get through than the the first two in the series. The abuse in this book is a little less pronounced than the first two, but there still is some discussion about what Jax went through during his time in captivity.
5 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Audiobook: Cowboy in the Crosshairs by BA Tortuga narrated by Dorian Bane

audiobookreview

 

Dreamspinner Presents

 

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cowboy-in-the-crosshairs-by-ba-tortuga-10011-b

 

Blurb: Once upon a time, a prince lived in a magical kingdom called Turquoise, New Mexico.
Well, really, TJ is a small-town police chief. Every Friday he holds court in the diner with the local holy roller, the art colonists, and the horsey people. But the Benes, who own the rodeo company, keep to themselves. TJ knows, because he was once hot and heavy with the oldest Bene son.
When Wacey Bene gets trampled by a remuda and comes home to heal, he’s none too happy to run into TJ, or his two little boys and their momma. The story might end there—if it wasn’t for some pesky bastard trying to kill Wacey.
The law steps in, and the townsfolk are cross about somebody messing with one of their own.
But once the bad guy is put away, can TJ and Wacey make their place in this wild and eccentric town a permanent one?

Review: Book originally reviewed here:
https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-cowboy-in-the-crosshairs-by-ba-tortuga/

I was really excited to listen and review the audiobook – Dorian Bane rocks the narration IMO! (Note: I’m a UK transplant so I don’t really know if Texans/New Mexicans really sound like that).
Mr. Bane conveyed the humour and the emotions of the characters very well.
He had very distinct voices for almost all of the characters, except for Wacey and Tank; they sometimes sounded a little like each other (to me). However this wasn’t much of an issue because I still knew which character was which, depending on the situation.
This is one of those stories that the audiobook is a really great (or better) way to experience the story. I loved it!

4.5 stars out of 5
Reviewer Name: Dee


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to Get Paranormal: Seen: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free Book 2) by A.M. Arthur

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36281352-seen

Blurb

Hell is a six-by-six jail cell and no hope for the future.
Kell Iverson has never raised his hand against another person in his entire life—and yet somehow he’s been arrested and charged with the murder of his alpha mate Krause. Sure, Krause brutalized him on a daily basis, and Kell hated his mate, but he never wanted the man dead. Not fighting the charge and accepting his fate is the easiest path—except Kell doesn’t think he’ll survive a week in prison, and he doesn’t want to disappoint his younger brother Braun by giving up. He also doesn’t expect to recognize the lawyer who shows up to defend him.
Ronin Cross was barely eighteen when he felt the mating bond with then-fourteen-year-old Kell, but his family moved away before Ronin could decide what to do. For the last ten years, he hasn’t forgotten teenage Kell, hasn’t mated, and now he’s in Sansbury Province to defend adult Kell from a capital murder charge. The mating bond is still there, but now isn’t the time to pursue anything with his fragile, battered, emotionally-damaged client.
For Kell, the term “kind alpha” is a contradiction, because he’s never known one. He went from abusive father to abusive mate, and for twenty-four years, he’s simply done what he’s told. But Ronin asks Kell what he wants. What he likes. Ronin sees him, and it’s both confusing and delightful. But Kell is facing prison time at best, execution at worst, and as his trial date looms, he can’t indulge in a fantasy that will never come true…or can he?
NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

Review
Kell is a beaten down omega, in jail for allegedly killing his alpha. He seems almost hopeless but in walks the first alpha who was ever kind to him. Ronin felt the mating pull toward Kell when he was 18 but Kell was only 14 at the time. His family moved away to another province shortly after but he never forgot about Kell. An old friend contact Ronin to help with a defense case and once he found out that it was Kell he dropped everything thing to go to him. Kell of course is leery of any alpha but gradually he accepts that Ronin will never hurt him.
I think reads definitely need to read Saved before Seen in order to fully understand what all is going on in this story. A lot of abuse is in this story, mostly what was done to Kell in the past but In the end this story is about strength and love, it will break your heart but also lift you up!

5 stars

Purchased for Review