Release Day Review: Whiskey and Moonshine by Elizabeth Noble

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/whiskey-and-moonshine-by-elizabeth-noble-10086-b

Blurb

Drunk on love.

Like a well-aged whiskey, master distiller and old-money entrepreneur Malone Kensington is elegant and refined. Unfortunately he’s also a perfectionist who is more dedicated to the success of his generations-old company than his own love life.

That company needs a public spokesman.

What Colton Hale lacks in sophistication, he more than makes up for with the charisma that’s allowed him to survive on the street from a young age and charm his way into the lucrative—if overwhelming—public position at the Kensington Distillery. When Mal takes Colt under his wing, hoping to polish off his rough edges, opposites attract and a passionate romance blossoms despite the differences in age and background. But can it survive a Kensington Board of Directors who believe Colt is nothing but a gold digger and a kidnapper determined to profit from the love of Mal’s life—dead or alive?

Review

This is a quick and light read with a decent basic premise, enjoyable enough though the execution was somewhat lacking for me. The author had a whole bag of tricks at her disposal (boss/employee, cinderfella vibe, crime plot, potential for hurt/comfort, May/December), but I still didn’t really feel the magic between this couple.

Colt goes from a life on the streets to a successful career as spokesman, even making it onto a well-known tv-show, with incredible ease. He’s definitely the more interesting of the two MC’s and has some great scenes, especially in the beginning when he hasn’t shed all his conman ways yet. His honesty about his past is one of his redeeming features. Mal is a successful businessman, but not a great talker. And apparently his company is in great need of someone who can appear, and speak, in public. Enter Colt.

It’s basically an insta-love story, but I remained a little unconvinced by the tepid attraction between Mal and Colt and little happened to make me believe in deeper feelings than lust. Both MC’s were at times immature and hasty in their judgment of each other, the good and the bad. I could have done without some of the more theatrical, emotional outbursts. I especially didn’t care for Mal’s cavalier and irresponsible attitude towards potentially breaking contracts, his own financial security and even more importantly, that of his company’s employees whose livelihoods depend on him making clear-headed choices. Most of the things that bugged me about Mal were intended to show his romantic devotion to Colt, I think, but made a wholly different impression on me.

Mal loses himself too much in his infatuation with Colt, which turns into love at breakneck speed. There’s no obstacle that he can’t “break” or explain away. I’d have more easily believed in the strength of his love for Colt, if the obstacles in their path, like Colt’s unsavory past, had actually held any weight for Mal… if they’d made him pause, even for the slightest moment. But there is no doubt in his mind at any point, not even when they barely know each other. And I feel as if by the end of the book, they still do not know each other all that well, which made the eventual HEA rather unsatisfactory for me.

Number of stars out of 5: 3

 


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Recent Release: Tigers on the Way (Tigers and Devils #4) by Sean Kennedy

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tigers-on-the-way-by-sean-kennedy-10072-b

Blurb

Documentary producer Simon and ex-footballer Declan are taking some big steps toward a lasting life together. They’ve bought a house, and they’ll need it for the family they plan to start. Their friend, Nyssa, has made the generous offer to be their surrogate, and Declan couldn’t be more excited about the idea of a baby.

Simon knows fatherhood is a huge commitment, and though it’s daunting, he sees how much Dec wants it, and he’s sure that together, they can succeed in anything—despite the worries nagging at him.

But just as their new life is taking shape, a health scare disrupts their plans at the worst possible moment. With time running short, Simon and Dec will have to bare their fears and doubts to each other so they can face them before their world changes forever.

It might mean a literal leap of faith.

 

Review

This was a lot of fun!  I’d forgotten how much I enjoy Simon’s snarky humor and Declan’s steadfast devotion.  The secondary characters are also back and so funny, too!

There is no steam in this – and I missed that aspect – I think a little bit would have helped – we don’t need a ton but…

I really enjoyed watching the couple navigate Simon’s health scare and the decision to become fathers.  I really liked how that was handled.

I was worried, given the length of this, that I was going to be bored – I tend to find sequels like this can be tedious – but I wasn’t and I can really recommend this to all the fans from the original books.

I will say that I do think it could have been edited a bit tighter and that there are some parts of this that could have been deleted 🙂  IMHO

 

4 of 5 stars

 


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Release Day Review: Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper by Carole Cummings

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-fear-the-not-really-grim-reaper-by-carole-cummings-10083-b

Blurb

When unassuming college student Emery Sutton wakes up in the morgue, it takes him a few minutes to remember he has magic (superpowers, damn it!) and free himself from the refrigerated drawer. And the body bag. (God.) It doesn’t take long, though, for him to remember the hot guy with wings he ran into just before a city bus ran into him.

Junior Reaper John must explain to his supervisor how his first solo assignment went so wrong. All he knows is that he happened upon Emery quite by accident, that Emery saw John when he shouldn’t have been able to, and when they accidentally touched, a bus came out of nowhere and plowed Emery under. (John really does feel bad about that.)

Hot angels, annoying demons, hijinks, absurdity, drunk siblings, a dash of silly romance, an inordinate attachment to wings, and a highly disorganized bid for world domination—Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper follows Emery and John down the rabbit hole where they find that moms are scarier than demons from hell, a goat is not a puppy no matter what Emery’s sister says, and awkward romance can happen anywhere.
Review by Dee
This is a delightful, fun story. It’s a cross between a YA story, a Monty Python sketch all rolled into a Terry Gilliam or Prachett plot.
Emery keeps getting killed – unsuccessfully. Now, this would not be funny under normal circumstances, but this is a comedy so roll with it. It turns out that a junior Grim Reaper, John accidentally ‘kills’ Emery. John is full of remorse, reports this to his superiors, only to find out that Emery has not ‘transitioned, that is to say there is no record of his dying. More worrisome, there is no record of Emery at all. John is sent to investigate. The investigation leads to hijinks, meeting of demons, minions, family (Emery’s) and 2 young men falling in love.
The story is unique, funny, with a fun pop references, a close knit family and a formidable mum who will not tolerate evil in any of her kids!
If you like fantastical farces that’s not afraid to poke fun, this is definitely a good choice.

4 stars out of 5


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Review by Rebecca

This book drew me in instantly. Character rambling at the beginning, but it’s very humorous and shows the sense of humor and awkwardness of Emery. Movie references that made me smile. John is a Reaper that just wanted to do things right. It’s funny how he’d tiptoe around what really happened on his solo mission. So much nerd humor is in the book, very exciting. Enjoyed Emery’s family and the humor they brought to the book. Poor John is lost as to why he keeps being unsuccessful, yet doesn’t mind being around Emery more. The mutual attraction is overlooked by both. The demons were an amusing addition to the drama. The book isn’t centered on a relationship between Emery and John, but the attraction is there. All around enjoyable book.

Number of stars out of 5

5


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Release Day Review: Oil and Water (The Wildcatters Book 1) by B.A. Tortuga

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/oil-and-water-by-ba-tortuga-10084-b

Blurb

Oilman Max inherits a passel of trouble when his boss passes away, leaving him a house in England and a heck of a lot of money. He’s thinking London is the worst place on earth… until he meets Morgan.

Colorful, carefree, and a little crazy, Morgan is just what Max needs, and the two set out on the adventure of a lifetime, chasing pleasure wherever it takes them, learning that together they can make anything fun… and sexy.

Too bad reality has to set in, and Morgan’s multimillionaire father has a lot to say about what reality looks like. Will their different worlds conspire to separate them like oil and water?

Review

This was different from what I’m used to reading. The writing style is very distinct, bringing to mind stream of consciousness a bit. It’s a well-written story, but the pace was a tad too slow and meandering for me.

Our main characters, Max and Morgan, hit it off almost instantly and spend the biggest part of the book happily making out on what seems like one long extended vacation, going to various exotic locations. Money is no object for either man, so no pesky roadblocks from something like reality or work. It was a bit difficult for me to believe in the strength of their connection, because they were so constantly removed from anything real. When it’s all fun and games, how do you go from infatuation to a deeper emotion like love?

They do have one big threat to overcome, Morgan’s dad. Who seems to come straight out of the 19th century with his Bedlam antics and makes Mr. Rochester seem like a benevolent angel for only keeping his mad wife locked up in the attic. This part felt a bit contrived to me, but what was good about it, is that it tested both men’s feelings and their determination to be together.
This is Max’s moment to shine and he takes it.

I found myself losing interest a bit in the middle of the story, but the final chapters caught my attention again and I liked how the author wrapped things up. With a perfect stand-in for the proverbial bow.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


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Release Day Review: Second Hand (Tucker Springs #2) by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/second-hand-by-marie-sexton-and-heidi-cullinan-10079-b

Blurb

Paul Hannon flunked out of vet school. His fiancée left him. He can barely afford his rent, and he hates his house. About the only things he has left are a pantry full of his ex’s kitchen gadgets and a lot of emotional baggage. He could really use a win—and that’s when he meets El.

Pawnbroker El Rozal is a cynic. His own family’s dysfunction has taught him that love and relationships lead to misery. Despite that belief, he keeps making up excuses to see Paul again. Paul, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s talented and kind and worthy. Paul, who’s not over his ex-fiancée and is probably straight anyway. Paul, who’s so blind to El’s growing attraction, even asking him out on dates doesn’t seem to tip him off.

El may not do relationships, but something has to give. If he wants to keep Paul, he’ll have to convince him he’s worthy of love—and he’ll have to admit that attachment might not be so bad after all.

Review by Karen

This was a really sweet out for you story, very competently written. It builds up slowly, allowing the MC’s to truly get to know each other and gravitate towards each other very naturally before taking that leap of faith together.

Paul is incredibly innocent and naïve. He doesn’t think too highly of himself and as a result he’s completely oblivious to any attempt at flirting made by El or anyone else for that matter. He’s the kind of nice guy that borders on being too nice for his own good. His attempts to hold onto his failed relationship, and his willingness to put up with the horrible way his ex-girlfriend treats him, was a bit hard for me to swallow. I really wanted him to have a little more pride or backbone. Though of course, a lot of that was probably because of his fear of coming out (even to himself) and his low self-esteem. It takes Paul a long time to accept himself and let go of his vision of what he thinks his life should be like.

For a guy who wasn’t looking for a relationship and commitment, El is amazingly patient and understanding with Paul, even when he’s scared himself of opening up and taking a chance on love. He’s such a family guy, which is always heartwarming to read, even if his family is not exactly the Brady Bunch. My heart ached for El and his mother especially. Her clutter addiction is hard on both of them, and rooted in such heartbreak.

This was an enjoyable read with a very satisfying happily ever after. I loved seeing Paul come into his own and choose El above all others.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Review by Aerielle

Paul and El are one of my favorite couples in this series. Paul is so oblivious to everything, not just romance stuff but to life in general. El, who grew up with a hoarder has learned to keep himself from forming attachments to not just things but people.

After his break up with his long-time girlfriend, Paul longs to be someone’s first choice. That is a great sentiment but once Paul and El become romantically involved, Paul is still thinking about whether he wants to be gay or have the “easy life” of a straight man. This inevitably causes a blow up between Paul and El.

Sometimes books written by dual authors have flow issues, but this book is seamless. Second Hand is two men’s journey of acceptance. It’s a great addition to the Tucker Spring series!

4.5 Stars of 5

 


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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


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Release Day Review: Fox and Wolf By Julia Talbot

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fox-and-wolf-by-julia-talbot-10064-b

Blurb

Apex Investigations: Book One
Werewolf PI Dylan Weems is a hired to solve the murder of a client’s customer. As an ex-cop, Dylan is the perfect man for the job, but he doesn’t expect the complication of alluring fox shifter Rey.
Ever since finding the dead body of one of his clients, Rey Mercier’s life is a mess, and he needs help desperately. He has no idea why he’s the target of some ruthless people or what he did to anger them. Hopefully Dylan and his motley crew of shifters at Apex Investigations can help him find out, but first Dylan and Rey have to deal with literal corporate tigers and dire crocodiles shifters… all while deciding what to do about the mate bond that’s becoming undeniable. And is that even possible between fox and wolf?

Review

This was a very enjoyable shifter romance with an interesting mystery subplot. A quick and entertaining read.

 

Rey is a bit of a mess at first, and obviously in way over his head with big bad dire … creatures out to get him. He hires a PI to help him investigate and hopefully solve the mystery of the sudden threat against his life. Dylan, the PI in question, doesn’t need long to become totally smitten with Rey, though both men are thrown by their unexpected connection. Dare they think the M-word (mate)?

 

I loved Dylan’s protective side and his use of endearments when addressing Rey, which he does very quickly. They are super sweet together. Dylan and Rey have a bit of an opposites attract vibe going, with emphasis on the attract. I was glad that their relationship was balanced, and that Rey could also be there for Dylan and help him out, so it wasn’t just a case of the bigger shifter protecting the smaller, seemingly more vulnerable one. The investigation itself didn’t always hold my interest, but I did really like how the bond between the two MC’s built up as well as the interactions between Dylan, Rey and Dylan’s pack.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, and prejudices muddled the waters for a while, but love, and the good guys, win in the end.

 

The world-building is a bit unclear, though I do like that there are all kinds of shifters with different abilities and characteristics in this universe. There also seem to be some racial prejudices between the different animal shifters, which makes “inter-species” relationships slightly more challenging, as Dylan and Rey find out. Dylan belongs to an atypical pack, led by an alpha wolf, but with members from different shifter species. So it’s a kind of chosen family story.

We get to know and care for the entire pack, the author doing a wonderful job of creating interest in the stories that are to follow in this new series.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story The Legend of Gentleman John by TJ Nichols

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb
Banyn, a fae, escorts the souls of children to Magh Meall, but one Christmas, he comes for a lad who isn’t quite dead, and he breaks a rule rather than wait while John fights a battle he’ll ultimately lose. So begins a long-running affair that crosses the border between life and death, the human and fae realms, and even oceans to strange countries with different gods and rules.

John Rourke renounced a religion that had no place for him and returned to the old ways. Convicted of theft, he is sentenced to transportation and suffers brutal punishment—until he escapes to live on his own terms as a bushranger. When vengeance against his tormentor consumes him and threatens his life, John finds he has only one holiday wish—to see his fae lover one last time.

Review

Review

This story is told in the style of a fairy tale rather than a love story, which to me, made it more interesting than the usual holiday short that is around.

 

John Rourke is a man born with a soul that doesn’t match his body, in a time when that is not allowed. From a poor family he begs and steals to survive until one night, he isn’t supposed to. But the fae escort sent for his soul, helps him live instead and creates a bond that will see them through many years.

 

The timeline on this story does jump around causing me to stumble a few times with where and when I was reading, but I really enjoyed this legend and especially the final scene at the end. 

Although we are not given a huge amount of time to get to know the character of John, what is learnt makes him an interesting and likeable man. Someone who is battling everything life has thrown at them and doing their utmost to survive in a hostile world.

I would have liked for this story to be more drawn out and expanded, but as it stands, it has been one of the more interesting holiday offerings I have read.

 

4 stars out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

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Release Day Review: A Whole Latte Sass By Marguerite Labbe

release day review

Dreamspinner: 

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-whole-latte-sass-by-marguerite-labbe-10070-b

Blurb

Geek Life: Book Two

It’s no secret cosplayer Felipe Suero is looking for his happily ever after—in his love life as well as his career. He’s getting his degree so he can quit his miserable job and start his own costume business. Now he just needs to land the sexiest silver fox to ever attend a con.

Trask Briscoe’s life revolves around staying clean and sober, running the Magick Den, and attending local cons. His rules haven’t left much room for romance. But he can’t deny Felipe has caught his complete attention. He’s just not sure what he can offer a man so full of joy and sass.

When Trask finally accepts Felipe’s offer for a cup of coffee, he soon finds himself on a second date and a third. Between cosplay projects and roleplaying games, they discover a deeper connection than either of them expected. And Trask realizes that sometimes rules are made to be broken.

Now Felipe just has to convince his family—and Trask—that Trask has more love to offer than he ever dreamed.

 

Review

This book was an unexpected delight and I immediately ran to buy book 1 in the series because the cameos of those characters just captured me.  Marguerite has fantastic writing and I am so happy I got to know her, as now I have a new author to follow.
The gaming and geeky world described in the book is very accurate, as someone who was part of it many years and have friends who still are very into it I enjoyed how detailed it was- yet not too much for someone who is not really in this scene. I learned some new things on the way, mostly about roleplaying. Trask and Felipe are such fun, interesting and complex characters, I felt like their relationship, with all its hardships and Felipe’s family not always supporting it, was very mature, even if Felipe has a tendency to dramatic outbursts and storming off- they work it out and in no place is there a time where they just give up because of a misunderstanding. Feeling get hurt, yes, but in the end they always try to talk about it and figure out how to make both happy.

I think one of the things I liked the most was that when they did finally start dating and had their first kiss, there was no ‘explosion/electricity/shivers’ and all those other over the top descriptions we so often get in Romance and M/M Romance. It was very refreshing to see them act on their mutual attraction in more real-life way. It make it that much more interesting, and I liked that they took time to get to know each other more, in the romantic aspect. Despite some parts of the story that might have been a touch slow for me, the author wisely added POV’s of characters from book 1 and ones I assume will be in book 3. It was quite unique, because it gave just enough insight into these other characters, tempting you to read more about them (like Morris and Theo from book 1) and gave you an outside view of Trask and Felipe. I don’t think I have ever come across a book that had this kind of POV in M/M before and I really liked it!

Number of stars out of 5

4.5


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Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Death to Christmas Sweaters by L.E. Franks

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Chess and Benjamin are casual lovers, each hiding his devotion to the other and his wish for more. But Chess is a wealthy playboy who—Benjamin believes—will never settle down. And Chess is sure, with the way Benjamin keeps him at arm’s length, that he can’t be interested in getting serious.

They’re destined for a head-on collision as Chess plans for a holiday escape designed to send Benjamin’s ardor spiking like the temperatures in Los Angeles, while Benjamin desperately drags his feet, wanting to cool things down to protect his vulnerable heart. But when the ghosts of Chess’s Christmas past and Benjamin’s unwelcome present converge at LAX, it’s obvious there are other forces at play and about to take over.

Drawn into their respective family dramas at a joint gathering, will Chess and Benjamin finally take a stand for each other and the relationship they both want, or will the holiday finally take its toll?

Review

This was a fun short story.

We first meet Chess and Benjamin when they are already in a relationship, both wanting to make it a more permanent thing, but each not sure what the other is thinking and so it looks like a break up is inevitable.  But thankfully they manage to stumble their way through to their own happily ever after.

 

I did enjoy this book. It was an easy read with both main characters being extremely likeable.

There was an array of friends and relations popping up throughout who mostly added to the story although some did feel superfluous. Even though we were introduced to a lot of characters for such a short tale, as a taster to a writer, it would make me look for more work by this author.

 

3.5 stars out of 5

 

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