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

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

release day review

Dreamspinner

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

Blurb

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: 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

 

 

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:The Kinsey Scale (Campus Connections #1)by CJane Elliott

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-kinsey-scale-by-cjane-elliott-9963-b

Blurb

Life is good for Eric Brown. He’s a senior theater major, an RA for a freshman dorm, and has a great circle of friends. Single since sophomore year, Eric isn’t looking for love. But then Will Butler—fellow senior, co-RA, and the cutest guy Eric’s ever seen—walks into his dorm. Will has a girlfriend he sees off campus—a minor disappointment that becomes a major problem when a housing shortage causes Will and Eric to become roommates, and Eric is forced to witness Will’s hotness day in and day out. For protection, Eric asks Jerry, his ex-boyfriend, to pretend they’re still together. Jerry warns him it’s a stupid idea, but he reluctantly agrees.

Too bad it won’t save Eric from losing his heart.

Will Butler has never believed in himself. His dysfunctional family saw to that. Although Will has loved music since childhood, he’s never seriously considered pursuing it, and the person he’s dating doesn’t encourage him. Then he and Eric Brown become roommates, and everything changes. Eric believes in Will and his talent. He’s also gorgeous and playful and fast becoming Will’s best friend. And that’s not good, because Will is hiding some big things, not only from Eric, but from himself.

Review
I really liked this! I thought the characters were great and though I sometimes felt like they were missing the boat by just not TALKING I could kinda understand it given their respective ages.

I liked the smexy times (though I wish there were more) and really felt the HEA was worth the time invested. Highly enjoyable!

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
This book took me a long time to read. Not because it was particularly difficult or taxing, but just that it didn’t engage me at all. At 65% through, I was still waiting for something to happen. For a book about a drama student there really was no… well, drama.
Everything is written from Eric’s point of view, but it felt like we never really get to know him as we bounced through the academic term. And Will similarly so.
Will had a potential home life back story that could be quite interesting, but nothing was made of it. His music, another strong potential story never flourished.
The best character of the bunch was Jerry, the pretend boyfriend as we got to see some animation from him, the rest just seemed insipid.
Sadly, this book did not live up to the blurb.

2.5 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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Time to Comfort: Love’s Tethered Heart by CL Etta


Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/loves-tethered-heart-by-cl-etta-7960-b

Blurb

Two years ago Mico and his partner suffered a savage gay bashing that left Mico a quadriplegic—and ended his dreams of traveling the world as an archeologist. Abandoned by the man he loved, he lives in isolation, tethered to his bed by the machines keeping him alive, with only his caretakers and immediate family as companions.

Assigned to interview Mico and uncover the story behind his assault and his refusal to identify his attackers, journalist Danny is unprepared for his reaction to the fragile, yet enigmatic man. Mico is afraid to let Danny into his life, and Danny is unsure how to change his mind. Mico is also keeping secrets, and he isn’t the only one. Danny is determined to protect Mico, and he’s determined to show Mico that their feelings for each other can thrive amidst the mechanics of Mico’s existence.

If you enjoy romantic tales of heartbreak turned to hope, the life-affirming story of Danny and Mico will make you believe in the possibility of love for everyone—no matter what obstacles they face.

Review
I’m in awe….This is how you write a story from different perspectives. Really amazingly done.
The buildup is stunning and the story beyond my expectations
At 30% I really broke down when Mico broke down my God it was heartbreaking.

As you can read in the blurb Mico was bashed two years earlier and left with quadriplegic, I’m not familiar with such circumstances as described in this story. But it’s all convincing and I’m very content when there is love, compassion, honesty and forgiveness involved.
And when this is done in a amazingly honest and caring way I’m sold.

Danny is interviewing Mico about what happened to him two years ago. Through these interviews we get to know the whole story. We will meet all his caretakers and we see the growing affection between Danny and Mico. I love them both <3

There are some hilarious parts (you must read them yourself)
The story was in balance and felt real and honest, despite the dark clouds you could feel the warmth of the sunshine.
There are some hideous parts where I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Some stupidities which were understandable.

It was a journey and a hard one. It touched me deep. I felt it in my burning chest.
When I have that feeling I know it’s real. Through reading every time i try to assure myself if this was holding Mico high because no way I want to read something that degenerate someone, that would bring someone down because of someones disability. In this case Mico who depends on others. Mico is not his disability he is a man with a big heart, humor, intelligent and caring….so exceptional, all his reflections felt real.

And Danny my God he is amazing, he sees a soul just how we all should. We see this story from his pov. We can see him grow and his love has no boundaries he is very dedicated.
Then there are Randy, Adrian their story will stun you. And there is Santi, Dad and other Dad and Mom
It was a circle of unconditional love.

All felt real and convincing.

You know….some sentences are so right….so straight to the heartstrings…you can only love them.
This book will make you laugh and cry and will amaze you about the strength of men kind.
It was beautiful solid written with unexpected turns.
An absolute mustread!!

5 stars out of 5


 

 

 

 

 

Copy provided for review

Recent Release: A Deeper Blue (The Game #2) by S.E. Harmon

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-deeper-blue-by-se-harmon-9928-b

Blurb

A year ago, Kelly Cannon couldn’t imagine he’d end up with his formerly straight best friend. It’s hard to believe he can finally kiss Blue any time he wants… as long as they’re in private. And there’s the rub. Despite Kelly’s promise to wait until Blue is ready to come out, he’s tired of sneaking around. The cracks in their relationship are starting to show, and there might not be enough spackle in the world to fix them.

Britton “Blue” Montgomery may not be the physics brainiac his boyfriend is, but he’s not stupid. He knows Kelly isn’t completely happy. But he’s not ready to be the poster boy for bisexuals and gays in the NFL. He just wants to keep his head down, play the game he loves, and go home to the man he adores. Is that too much to ask?

With the truth slowly coming to the surface, Blue must make a choice. If it means losing Kelly, there’s no decision to make…. He has to find enough courage to face the music and hope they’ll survive the fallout.

Man. Happily-ever-afters may not be just for Disney princesses, but they sure are a lot of work.

Review

So here’s the thing. If you loved book one, if you love this author and their style of writing, you will love this sequel.

It’s full of SE Harmon’s sense of humor, flair with sexual chemistry and attention to minutia (I mean detail- ahem.)

One thing I’ve felt about each SE Harmon title was that it was good but too long and needed a fierce hand with an editor and it’d be tight and wonderful. As it is, though there is a lot of interesting stuff happening, it isn’t needed IMHO. I felt like I understood the importance of Kelly’s career without having to go step by step with him through his teaching process. I get that the foot ball guys are jerks without having to sit through each moment of practice.

So, for me, I found myself wanting to skim a lot and though I found the sex hot – it got skimmed as well.

I definitely needed this book to close up what we started in book 1 and so – to that extent – I was happy to have read this – but I’m still left with that feeling of wishing it’d been shorter and more to the point.

I think fans of the author will disagree but I give this 3.5 stars.

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review