Audiobook: His Consort by Mary Calmes Narrated by Scott Smith

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-consort-by-mary-calmes-9995-b

Blurb
A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: his quaint little store attracts a devoted staff and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He’s perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying… and utterly mesmerizing.

The prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, is visiting New Orleans when he finds out the man who once helped his counselor is there in the Quarter. He thinks to simply meet and thank Jason—until he lays eyes on him. Varic’s devoted himself to protect the honor of his race, and he’s never wanted a mate before… but he immediately knows he must have this man, and no one else will do.

Varic may want to bring Jason safely into his world, but someone who doesn’t like the human’s soothing influence on vampyrs has deadly plans that would disrupt Varic’s dreams. Now, unable to tell friend from foe, Jason finds himself wondering how to hold on to the prince’s heart when he’s fighting for his life.

Review by Karen (book reviewed here previously)

I don’t think anyone can bring the soulmate/fated mate vibe to a story as well as Mary Calmes can. There’s no doubting the all-encompassing, blissful feelings that well up between Jason and Varic. I loved that they are so drawn to each other from the first, but even more that it’s not just about chemistry or power, but true love and appreciation of the other person that makes them so strong together.

I’m impressed by the amount of detail that went into the world-building and the setting of this story, bringing into it such history and a great cast of secondary characters. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in a follow-up story! We get to know Jason really well from the first, whereas our prince remains far more enigmatic. It takes a while for him to make an appearance “on page”. The author sure understands how to build up anticipation!

Jason is an incredibly endearing hero, strong and capable, but with a soft heart underneath. Varic, he who has it all and has had it for what seems like an eternity, needs to swiftly adjust to what it means to have a modern-day man for a mate, and how vulnerable that makes him feel. It’s not as easy as he might have expected, but his devotion to Jason never wavers.

The story is excellently paced with various vampyr political intrigues to muddy the waters for our heroes. Danger lurks in unexpected places and it’s hard to know who to trust. I didn’t see the threat coming at all! It was brilliant! Though less so for our MC’s, of course…

This was such an enjoyable read, I was totally swept away by it. It was all so intense! Loved it!

Number of stars out of 5: 5

Audiobook Review by Morgan

Well- let’s just say that I wasn’t as enthralled by the story as Karen was. I’ve been a big fan of Mary’s in the past and have really enjoyed her paranormal stories as well as some of her contemporary romances. Lately I’ve been re-visiting them and I think that while I still quite enjoy them – I maybe don’t love them like I used to.

This story kind of exemplifies the good and the bad in a Calmes story. She’s amazing at world building and not afraid to use terms and words that are unique. These can totally make the reader feel like they’re reading about something real or historical or otherworldly because it’s so complex and thorough and well-documented. However, the odd names sometimes feel bulky and as a reader I sometimes faltered over them. As a listener it was certainly made more easy but it still brought me out of the story and that isn’t a good thing.

Another Calmes trait is her clueless “aww shucks, who me?” MC that everyone adores and yet never knows his own worth. On one hand I really love that guy, on the other the repetitive nature of this guy has grown a bit tired. His counterpart – the more aggressive/kinetic/powerful MC is also a familiar face and in this case I never warmed to Varic at all. He wasn’t nearly as much of the story as Jason and I never got to see the two fall in love or really to understand why they did (unless it was a vague paranormal mate/consort thing that they couldn’t control – it was confusing.)

The secondary characters in Calme’s stories are always fun and well developed and they were here as well. I was just not that enthralled by them as I had been in some of her other books – probably because they were expected.

Just as I felt with her Change of Heart series – I think the world building was too much and the violence was OTT and the relationship rushed and non-romantic.

I’m afraid I’d give this a 2 of 3 stars and I can’t really recommend it.

As for the Audio –

Well – Scott Smith is one of those guys – I can’t say I like him but I tolerate him and he’s easy enough to listen to. He definitely tries with the accents and he tries to say all those new words well – but he’s still not great at pacing or emphasis or non-dialog passages.

I’d give him a 3 of 5 stars.

Overall 2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day Review:Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/devouring-flame-by-ej-russell-10077-b

Blurb

An Enchanted Occasions Story
Reunited and reignited.

While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith, half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads seeing again: the ifrit, Hashim of the Windrider clan.

On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith, stupidly besotted, revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word? Message received, loud and clear: Thanks but no, thanks.

Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free.

When their attraction sparks once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name—which would be a hell of a lot easier if they didn’t have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood.

But if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes.

Luckily Smith is the guy who gets shit done. And Hashim is never afraid to heat things up.

Review
This was very cute. I love EJ Russell’s imagination and way with character dialog.
I didn’t enjoy this as much as her other series but as this looks to expand further I’d totally read more from this series – well- pretty much anything by this author goes on my TBR list ☺
I can’t put my finger on it – but I think the thing – for me – that makes it less enjoyable is that they’d already met and we have a misunderstanding to get around first. I’m just not a fan of that trope.

I did really love the “powers” and their combined effects on one another – very romantic and wonderful. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the author, fans of paranormal romance and fans of romance with humor.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Boyfriend Cruise by Deanna Wadsworth

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-boyfriend-cruise-by-deanna-wadsworth-10060-b

Blurb

A Pride of the Caribbean Getaway
The Pride of the Caribbean is a cruise ship unlike any other. Paranormals working on board the enchanted ship hide in plain sight, under the benevolent protection of a demigod captain and his fairy husband.
And this is a shipboard romance unlike any other.
Josh Gilbert’s well-meaning family booked a gay-friendly cruise for Christmas in order to find Josh a boyfriend. Hoping to escape the constant parade of bachelors—and the collapsible fishing rod dangling mistletoe his mom keeps in her purse—Josh takes solace in a growing friendship with the ship’s photographer, Nathan. Though Josh is falling for Nathan, he worries it will never be more than a shipboard fling.
Nathan recently became aware of his incubus heritage and has finally learned how to control his demon side. But Josh has awakened more than just the demon’s need for orgasms—Josh has awakened Nathan’s heart. What’s developing between them is the real thing, but can Josh ever accept Nathan’s promiscuous past… and love a sex demon?
Amid lush tropical settings, family hilarity, holiday costume parties, sexy snorkeling adventures, gingerbread martinis, and mythical creatures, will Josh get his Christmas wish and finally find the true love he’s wanted for so long?

Review

This was very cute and I enjoyed it’s mix of holiday charm, paranormal surprise and new to sex romance.

It was a little goofy at the beginning but after about 30% it settled down into a lovely story with some heat and sweetness.

Recommended for fans of paranormal romance!

4 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Truth Will Out by KC Wells

release day review

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

Blurb

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

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

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

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

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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

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

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

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

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Knowing Me, Knowing You by Renae Kaye

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/knowing-me-knowing-you-by-renae-kaye-9931-b

Blurb

Loving You: Book Four

Can friends turned occasional lovers move beyond past mistakes and wrong assumptions to build something that can last?

Quiet bookworm Shane has a big secret—one he’s kept for fifteen years. AFL superstar Ambrose Jakoby grew up next door to Shane. They were close friends, and Shane supported Ambrose through school.

One night, everything changed.

Before Ambrose left Perth as a scared eighteen-year-old to head to Melbourne and take up his new footy career, Ambrose and Shane slept together.

For the next nine years, they continued a secret friends-with-benefits situation whenever Ambrose was in town. Shane never knew exactly where he stood or how to define Ambrose’s sexuality—and Ambrose didn’t know either. Then last Christmas, everything changed again, and a disagreement strained their friendship. Shane vowed to get over his unrequited love.

But Ambrose is back, recovering from an injury and hoping to make amends. He claims he’s ready for a real relationship. But Shane has to decide whether Ambrose means it and whether his Hufflepuff soul can take the chance.

Review by Aerielle

When I saw that Renae Kaye was writing another installment in the Loving You series I was very excited. While this book is a very good “friends-to-lovers” story it was lacking the pure joy and light heartedness that the first three books had.

Shane has always been in the background in the other stories, so coming into this book he was a complete blank page. He seems to have very little self-esteem and self-worth. He tends to calls himself “wallpaper Shane”.

Every few chapters there is an “Interview”, which is Shane asking his friends how long it took them to know they were in love. I really enjoyed getting these little insights.
By the end of the book I still felt like I didn’t really know much about Ambrose and only slightly more about Shane which is a real departure from all of Renae’s other books. This can be read as a stand-alone since there is a lot of explanation about the previous couples and their stories.

Overall this is a fairly decent story about two long-time friends who occasionally slept together coming to realize that they each mean the world to each other.

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review:  Jay and the gang are back! This time they make their appearances in Shane and Ambrose’s story.

I loved this addition to the series, especially 1 page ‘interviews’ with many of the cast from the previous stories.

Shane and Ambrose have been friends for years – Shane knows he in love, Ambrose appears to be straight. Until he’s about to leave for a professional football career in Melbourne (they live in Perth).

When Ambrose returns home to recover from an injury, the truth of his feelings for Shane comes out.

This ‘in the closet’ story could have been angsty and fraught with unnecessary misunderstandings; instead it is delightful, funny and warm.

As always, Renae Kaye writes warm personalities for her characters – Shane is the caring, self-deprecating (to a fault), snarky best friend. Ambrose is a bigger, but kind guy, looks out for his friends and still goes home to his mum.

This is a standalone story, but honestly, not reading the prior books would be a shame since they’re so good. There are references to 2 other characters from another author’s (Sean Kennedy) books which had me smiling, (I have the books).

 

Loved this story and I hope Hiram gets his own story.

 

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

I really enjoyed the first three books of the series but I have some reservations about this one. Mainly, I could not get over how much I disliked the way their relationship was manipulated by Ambrose. I felt like he put too many terms, and did not give enough back to Shane. Shane is a character that is sometimes hard to like, and he treats himself so poorly, despite Ambrose’s claims of his worth, that Ambrose’s treatment of him just grated on me more.

It was mainly the undefined friends-with-benefits situation going on, were it seemed like Ambrose was the only one really gaining anything out of it, and believing that Shane should be with him because he has undefined, but strong feeling towards him he never spoke about. And in the end Shane did what Ambrose needed, because it was good for Ambrose’s career at the time, and I could just not get over how much I felt it was not equal between them, and Ambrose taking what he needed when it was right for him. And Shane’s job is constantly treated as something he dislikes. Like it’s not worth anything, and so he can leave it and just be a kept man/do something else in Melbourne because he was not attached to it anyway. It was hard to care about a character that seemed to be designed to be rootless and motiveless, aside from pining after Ambrose and getting some action when he was around. I also felt like the author did not deal with the issue of Ambrose’s sexuality (him being Demi, perhaps) and the issue with is native roots. It felt like a side note when it should have been a bigger part of the story to me.

Their relationship felt off, more so when you realize the amount of time they hid this undefined thing between them. It hurt to read and was unsatisfying when Ambrose turned out to be the one who’s feelings and needs needed to be considered and not the other way around and heir HEA did not satisfy me at all.

The things I liked were mainly the other couples from previous books showing up and the friendship they share in their group.

Number of stars out of 5
2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review