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

release day review

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

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

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

Review:

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

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

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

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Fangs for the Memories by Julia Talbot

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fangs-for-the-memories-by-julia-talbot-9965-b

Blurb: One wolf lost his memory, but they’ll both lose their hearts.
Bitten werewolf Tom owes the folks at the Dead and Breakfast big for saving his life. So when they ask for help with a rogue wolf on the premises, he’s happy to do his part….
Though he isn’t quite prepared for what he’ll find.
Werewolf Nathan lost everything to a sadistic kidnapper—his freedom, his memories, and maybe even his ability to be human. But as soon as he meets Tom, he knows he might be able to reclaim his life. And even a turned wolf like Tom feels the mating call. The trouble is, Tom isn’t the only one who wants Nathan, and they’ll need help from all their supernatural friends at the D & B to defeat a powerful enemy and keep their love—and themselves—alive.

Review: This is a standalone sequel to Fangs and Catnip, this time the pairing is between 2 wolf shifters. The story is sweet, with an almost childlike feel to the dialogue, which fit within the storyline.
Tom, (we met him when he was bitten in book 1), is a made wolf. He runs a sort of animal rescue centre that includes helping shifters. The owners of the B&B have noticed a wild, distressed wolf and ask Tom to help. He helps the wolf, learns his name – Nathan and discovers that he’s a shifter.
Nathan has run from a horrid situation and is understandably traumatized. The way Tom and the others look out for Nathan makes up the bulk of the story. We also get to see past characters like Carter and meet new ones like Ed, a magpie shifter.
There is very little angst, some suspense – (when the cause of Nathan’s trauma reappears) – and humour. The suspense piece may have been a tad rushed, but it brings some new faces to the series.
This is a cozy read, like the satisfaction one gets putting on one’s favourite pair of slippers.
And it was my pleasure to read.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Steamy Romance: Protecting His Omega by Giovanna Reaves

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36358610-protecting-his-omega?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Phoenix Harcourt is a single father who was kicked out of his home when his parents found out that he was an omega. After losing his alpha mate, Phoenix turned his focus to his daughter and the successful company that was left in his care. With a threat to his life, Phoenix hires a bodyguard who wants to protect more than his body. He also want’s Phoenix’s heart.

Hired to protect an omega, Lucius Payne had one goal: do his job and nothing else. He was never one to mix business with pleasure. Moreover, finding an omega mate was not in his plans, especially when it is the man he is supposed to protect. Then his job becomes more complicated than he was expecting.

Can Lucius convince Phoenix to trust him with his heart as well as his body?

Review: So, I’m late to the party for non-shifter, mpreg stories, but this is a good one to get started with.
Phoenix was kicked out of his home at 16 because he was an omega and gay. After being taken in by Maxwell, a rich businessman (father/son relationship), Phoenix thrives and eventually takes over Maxwell’s business when he dies. Phoenix was mated once and has a little girl, Jasmine from the relationship.
Not everyone at Phoenix’s company is happy that he is the new owner, so when he starts receiving threatening letters Phoenix is forced to contact a private security company. This is how he meets Lucius, his mate.
What I liked about the story is that Phoenix is not a typical omega – yes, he knows he will submit to his alpha’s will – but he has a backbone and wouldn’t give in to the natural instinct to rollover for his alpha mate. Lucius is a patient alpha, who wants to care for his omega. There is a lot of sexual tension between the 2 men before they finally get together – mid book- but it’s worth the wait! Both men were a delight to read and Jasmine was realistically cute.
There is a surprise twist towards the end that also adds to the story (quite unique).

Luckily, I got my first taste with a good story and will likely continue to dip my toes in the sub-genre.

4 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for review

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Fire and Granite by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/searchresults?q=fire+and+granite

Blurb:
A Carlisle Deputies Novel

The heat is growing from the inside, but danger is building on the outside.

Judge Andrew Phillips runs a tight ship in his courtroom. He’s tough, and when he hands down a sentence, he expects to be obeyed. So when a fugitive named Harper escapes and threatens his life, Andrew isn’t keen on twenty-four/seven protection… especially not from Deputy Clay Brown. They have a past, one that could cause problems in their careers.

But with Clay assigned to Andrew and the two of them together every minute, there’s nowhere to hide from their attraction—or from the fact that there’s much more than chemistry blooming between them. As the threat intensifies, Clay knows he’ll do anything it takes to protect the people who are taking their places in his heart: Andrew and his young niece and nephew.

Review:
This is the second in the Carlisle Deputies series. I have not read the first one, though there are characters from the first book, this works as a standalone story.
Andrew Grey consistently delivers sweet, straight forward romances with little angst, lots of heartwarming themes and HEAs. This story is no different.
Clay and Andrew knew of each other and both thought that the other man was difficult, bossy and not likeable. They are forced to work together when an escaped convict (Clay’s cousin) manages to escape, but not before threatening Andrew’s life, (he was the judge in his conviction).
When Andrew ends up staying with Clay at his home, the 2 men get to know each other better and soon develop a mutual attraction. But, just as the romance is starting up, Andrew has to take care of his niece and nephew. Andrew worries that the sudden change will affect his budding relationship with Clay, but Clay is on board with the change. In the middle of all of this, they are still dealing with the stalking convict and the person pulling the convict’s strings.
I liked the story, no new trope/theme, but an enjoyable read. There is a bit of a twist in regards to the mystery, leading to interesting turn of events.

There were a couple of inconsistencies in my ARC copy which I hope will be fixed by the general release date; otherwise a good story, enough for me to follow the series.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook Month: The Long Way Home by Z.A. Maxfield, narrated by J.F Harding

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Long-Way-Home-Audiobook/B01MQGGZ71?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4GVDMJXBB991JR8MT96Z&

Blurb:
Ever since the accident that cost him his job on the Seattle police force, Kevin Quinn has been living with psychic abilities he refers to as the ‘gift that keeps on taking’. His attempts to use his talents to help the police have been met with limited success. Yet, when teenage boys start going missing from the beach cities of Southern California, Kevin gets on a plane.
Connor Dougal has every reason to believe all psychics are fakes and charlatans. He’s still numb from the disappearance of his first love, a boy who went missing 10 years earlier. Everything he aspires to is a direct result of that tragedy, even the acquisition of his detective shield. The irony of having to babysit Kevin Quinn is not lost on him.
These two suspicious men must develop trust and respect for one another to solve the case and, on the way, maybe fall in love.

Review:

A good story with great narration.
Kevin is a reluctant psychic (the ‘gift’ manifests after an accident). He’s asked to work on a missing persons case where he meets Connor. Connor is assigned to assist Kevin in the investigation; at first they don’t get along, but very quickly they develop a rapport which leads to a mutual attraction. As they grow closer, the mystery of the disappearances unfolds. There is quite a bit of wit and humour in the story that kept me engaged throughout.

Story: 4 of 5 stars

Narration:JF Harding was really good! This was my first time listening to him after which I bought a couple more books that he’s narrated. His pacing, inflections and timing was spot on for the characters. The subtle humour and wit of the prose was nicely voiced and he portrayed the dynamics and chemistry of the 2 MC’s very well.
Definitely a story I will listen to again.

 

5 of 5 stars

 

Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook Month: The Bone Orchard by Abigail Roux, narrated by Nick J Russo

 

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/The-Bone-Orchard-Audiobook/B076HCC2S9?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_13&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=5DJ273RTFPQ44P0Q23A7&

Blurb: After leaving a trail of terror and death in his wake, the notorious “Missouri” Boone Jennings finally meets his match in San Francisco when US marshal Ambrose Shaw catches up to him. The story of his capture, and the marshal’s bravery, has already become legend back east by the time Pinkerton inspector Ezra Johns gets off the train from New York City to testify in the murderer’s trial.

When Ambrose is unable to give witness to the evils he’s seen, Ezra becomes their lone hope for putting Jennings in a noose. But if Ezra thinks that’s his biggest problem, he’s got plenty to learn about life – and the afterlife – in the spirited West.

Fortunately, Ambrose is there to assist, and more than happy to oblige Ezra – in the courtroom or the bedroom. He spent his life bringing justice to the Wild West, and if he has a say in it, that’s how he’ll be spending his death too.

Review: A romantic ghost story with a bit of a twist; very well narrated by Nick Russo.
I enjoyed listening to Nick Russo’s characterisation of Ambrose as a gruff, older lawman and Ezra, as the younger inspector. Mr. Russo has a way of making an ordinary person or scene seem larger than life – I really forgot that I was not actually watching a western on the telly. He brought the characters to life, making a short story very enjoyable.
The story itself is engaging and the link to the present day, with some members of the Sidewinder team, was a treat.

4 out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Time to Go Dark: Living Out Loud by Nyrae Dawn and Christina Lee

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36046796-living-out-loud?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Ben Emerson has lived by his minister father’s rules most of his life. Born into an ultra-conservative church community, he’s finally brave enough to break free and move to San Francisco. Distancing himself certainly helps create a new mindset, but living as an openly gay man takes some getting used to. When he reaches out to Xavier, a childhood friend who lives in the city, Ben isn’t sure how he’ll respond given their thorny history. Ben hopes the familiar connection will help him right some wrongs as well as provide the solace he’s been craving.

Xavier Ramos is who he is, and he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. Whether it’s eyeliner, nail polish, tattoos or his love of hooking up, he uses his body as a form of self-expression but doesn’t let anyone get too close. When Ben reenters his life, Xavier helps him experience the city and feel comfortable in his own skin. Seeing the world through Ben’s eyes, he begins to wonder if he’s also not living as freely as he thought.
When Xavier challenges Ben’s beliefs about sex, it becomes explosive—for both of them. Xavier breaks apart Ben’s sheltered world and shows him what it’s like to live out loud. The more time they spend together, the more Xavier begins to long for Ben in a different way—one that both surprises and scares him. But real life doesn’t fade into the background, so when Ben’s past comes knocking, old habits are hard to break. Testing the foundation of their deepening connection will take a trust that will either bind them…or tear them apart.

Review: This story broke my heart a little. Ben endured a lot as a young teen. His religious parents (dad is a pastor), believed that conversion therapy could ‘cure the gay’ out of Ben. Xavier just wanted to belong, and when he showed his feelings by kissing Ben, Ben pushed him away.
Fast forward several years later. Ben has moved away from his family and wants to reconnect with Xavier. Xavier, is now living openly as a gay man. He has a bit of a bad boy persona, complete with tattoos. What starts out as a rebuilding of a friendship, turns into a slow, heat-building exploration of their attraction to each other.
The story is well written, especially the romance. Both men learn a lot about each other as their friendship moves to something more intimate. I think I was just as surprised, (in a good way) as they were, when they finally let their barriers fall and they fell in love ☺

4.5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Time to Laugh: The One that Got Away by Rhianne Aile and Madeline Urban

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-one-that-got-away-by-rhianne-aile-and-madeleine-urban-5285-b

Blurb: When David Carmichael suffers a migraine and then a broken shoulder, Trace Jackson, his best friend, simply moves in to take care of him. Their easy camaraderie continues with no problems until David discovers an undercurrent of heat and tension flowing between them. Despite knowing his best friend is straight, David is slowly falling in love. What he doesn’t know is that Trace is struggling with a similar discovery.
Trace has never desired another man before. He’s a ladies’ man with quite the reputation, considered a top prize around town. But his close, treasured friendship with David makes the emotion and arousal growing between them irresistible. Soothing David’s doubts, Trace makes it clear that he wants to know if they can make it work. Because Trace is sure he wouldn’t love another man — that’s not the issue. He just loves David.

Review: This is one of my favourite re-reads- there is no angst, no misunderstandings, just a humourous, sweet romance.
Trace and David have been friends for a while. David injures himself (during a migraine episode) and Trace stays to look after him. David is gay and during his recuperation time, he is slowly falling for his straight friend. Trace, for his part, is beginning to see David in another (more sexually attractive) light. The men slowly realise that they could be more than friends and go for it. There are some funny scenes, especially with Mabel, Trace’s cat and the poker game ☺
This is not a deep book, just entertaining, so just enjoy it for the feel good read it is.

3.75 stars out of 5

 

Copy purchased for review

 

Time to Laugh: Stay with Me (The PI Guys, #1) by S.E. Harmon

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/stay-with-me-by-se-harmon-2808-b

Blurb:

The PI Guys: Book One
Private investigator Mackenzie Williams’s newest client is everything he’s looking for in a guy—charming, beautiful, intelligent, and successful. There’s only one itty bitty problem—the guy’s not exactly gay. In fact, Jordan Channing is looking for a PI to follow his fiancée. The smart thing would be to thank Jordan for his time, turn Mr. Perfect away (don’t let the door hit you on the rump, thank you very much), and forget he exists.
Of course, Mackenzie has never been accused of doing the smart thing. Being a smart aleck is more his MO. Relationships aren’t up his alley, never have been. So why’s he so inexplicably drawn to his new client?

Jordan has always been the high achiever, a man who lives in a focused, controlled, and carefully constructed manner. But for the first time in his life, he has to admit the impossible—another man is getting his engine running on all cylinders. Despite Jordan’s denial, it’s not long before he can no longer resist the strong undercurrents pulling them together. Now Jordan must decide if he can go against everything he’s ever known to have the only love he’s ever wanted.

Review:

I loved the overall story – GFY done right, but I didn’t like Mac much until half way in. He just seemed a bit childish … but I did like his snark. Mac eventually grew on me, (I ended up really liking him when he popped up in ‘So into You’).
Mac is a PI who is still hurting from being dumped from a long-term relationship. To make matters worse, his ex decided to be with a woman AND the he took the dog. (This creates a funny secondary storyline as Mac schemes to get the dog back.)
Jordan hires Mac to watch his girlfriend for signs of cheating. Mac is immediately attracted to the straight man but knows nothing can come of it. Yet, as they spend time together, Jordan becomes attracted to Mac (and conflicted about his feelings for another man). Mac doesn’t make it easy either and is not without faults – he tends to push people away, he doesn’t believe love is for him and he hides behind his sarcasm. However, they manage to start a relationship but it’s not plain sailing. They have a big fight (both men are to blame), but in the end, they get it together and work it out.
It’s a really good story, once it gets going and by the end, I had a good sized smile on my face ☺

4 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for Review

 

Release Day Review: Bad Attitude by KA Mitchell

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-attitude-by-ka-mitchell-9505-b

Blurb: Saving lives never used to be this complicated.

Gavin Montgomery does what’s expected of him by his wealthy and powerful family—look good in a tuxedo and don’t make waves. When a friend takes a leap off a bridge, Gavin tries to save him, only to fall in with him. At least at the bottom of the river he won’t feel like such a disappointment to his family. But he’s pulled from the water by a man with an iron grip, a sexy mouth, and a chip on his shoulder the size of the national deficit.
Jamie Donnigan likes his life the way it is—though he could have done without losing his father and giving up smoking. But at least he’s managed to avoid his own ball and chain as he’s watched all his friends pair off. When Montgomery fame turns a simple rescue into a media circus, Jamie decides if he’s being punished for his good deed, he might as well treat himself to a hot and sweaty good time. It’s not like the elegant and charming Gavin is going to lure Jamie away from his bachelor lifestyle. Nobody’s that charming. Not even a Montgomery….

Review:

Let me start by saying I really liked this book. It’s a curious mix of sweetness, humour (the banter is great), heat and some hardness; not unlike a hard-boiled sweet with a soft centre.
Gavin is a sort of trust fund kid who doesn’t have or seem to work. At first glance, he seems spoilt, self-centred and idle. Then there’s Jamie, a policeman on the marine search and rescue team. He has a ‘bad attitude’ to most people, (a prickly, don’t mess with me vibe). When Jamie saves Gavin from a watery grave they begin a curious hot/cold relationship based on lust and preconceived notions, (the latter based on Jamie’s thinking that Gavin doesn’t do anything except party). Slowly each man finds that there’s more to the other – Gavin is really a sweet young man who cares for others and is a bit lonely; Jamie is not as hard as he makes out to be, in fact he wouldn’t mind having a stable romantic relationship. Their relationship runs hot and cold but they finally get it together.
Although this is the 3rd book in the Bad series (I haven’t read the first 2), it can be read as a standalone (I’m going to get the first 2 books).
My only gripe is that the book ends rather abruptly – I would have loved to see a bit more of them as a couple.

4 stars out of 5

4-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review