Categories
adult - 18+

Recently Released: Home Improvement By: Tara Lain

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/home-improvement-a-love-story-by-tara-lain-10627-b

Blurb
Romance on Aisle Sixteen—opposites attract amid the hammers and screws of the home improvement store.

Gabe Mason became a father at seventeen, and his daughter, Ellie, is the most important thing in his life. But being the parent the courts demand means Gabe has given up most of his dreams—education, making furniture, a gay social life—to be a model dad with a steady, reliable job in a home improvement store. Life’s predictable until Jerry, a shy, eccentric guy in a hat and sunglasses, begs Gabe to oversee the renovation of his run-down mansion.

Gabe loves the house and the work, and Jerry’s pretty lovable too, but when Gabe discovers Jerry’s secret identity, he fears their passion could overturn both their lives forever

Review
Sweet cute story. Gabe’s focus has always been on his daughter. He maintains a steady job but no social life. Gabe’s daughter Ellie is an old soul, she is much more mature than her age and looks out for her Dad. Jerry wants a quiet life. He comes across as a shy, awkward introverted character but it’s more the situation than his true nature. I loved the slow blooming attraction between Gabe and Jerry. The way they met is lovely. The fun they have together is delightful to read. Ellie supports them all the way. The only things standing in their way is the attitude of Gabe’s ex wife and the secret Jerry is keeping. Jerry’s secret comes out in an interesting way and from there it all comes to ahead. The story ends with a happy ever after and a contented smile on my face.

4 of stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Sweet Clematis by R. Cooper narrated by Dominic Carlos

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/sweet-clematis-by-r-cooper-10617-b

 

Blurb

A Being(s) in Love Story

Can a curse be a blessing?

Clematis works hard to embody every fairy stereotype. He can be a sulky prince or a submissive flirt, slutty and arrogant or silly and soft. He makes himself into whatever causes someone to want him. Combine that with beauty that’s incredible even for a fairy, and everyone wants him sooner or later… just not for long.

Well, everyone except the fairy Clematis secretly adores. But then, he’s never expected happily ever after, not when he’s spent years burying his emotions and making himself unlovable to push people away and protect his heart.

But his curse changes all that, and Clematis can no longer prevent his feelings from rising to the surface. He’s terrified that when his few friends see him for who he really is, they’ll abandon him, just like his parents did.

It’s hard to imagine friends who see past his act to the sweet person within, but maybe happiness has been in front of him the entire time, waiting for the real Clematis to break free and blossom.

REVIEW

Does a fairy find love with another fairy? Clematis has always thought that the shiny humans were the ones that you find happiness with. When he meets Flor, he sees so much shine, but Flor is only interested in David. Clematis hides so much for so long and when he and Flor begin a tentative friendship years after they meet Clematis cannot hide his emotions anymore. He believes that he is not worthy of any kind of friendship or love and pushes Flor away before he can be hurt but the feelings have already begun and cannot be denied.

I enjoyed this story from the Beings in Love series. It was nice to see Flor and Clematis get their own story. We get to see the softer sides of Flor and Clematis. We see what makes Clematis do what he does. As their relationship grows and deepens, we get to see what is underneath the façade that they each show the world. Their story is full of emotions and strong characters. Flor and Clematis figure things out with the help of their friends. I enjoyed the friendships and camaraderie between everyone. Clematis and Flor’s story is a beautiful read. We are treated to emotions and revelations throughout this book. Not only do we get to see their relationship unfold but we also get to see more of the political strife that is going on for the beings of this world and especially at the school. I hope that there is more to come from this world.
Narrator Dominic Carlos does a wonderful job of bringing these characters and their world to life. I was quickly absorbed into the story as soon as I began to listen.

4 stars out of 5



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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Never a Hero (Tucker Springs #5) by Marie Sexton

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/never-a-hero-by-marie-sexton-10608-b

Blurb

A Tucker Springs Novel

Owen Meade is in need of a hero. Sheltered, ashamed, and ridiculed by his own mother for his sexuality, his stutter, and his congenital arm amputation, Owen lives like a hermit, rarely leaving his apartment. He hardly dares to hope for more… until veterinarian Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs.

Charming, handsome Nick steals past Owen’s defenses and makes him feel almost normal. Meeting his fiery, determined little sister, June, who was born with a similar amputation, helps too. June always seems to get her way—she even convinces Owen to sign up for piano lessons with her. Suddenly the only thing standing between Owen and his perfect life is Nick. No matter how much he flirts, how attracted to Owen he seems to be, or how much time they spend together, Nick always pulls away.

Caught between his mother’s contempt and Nick’s stubbornness, Owen makes a decision. It’s time to be the hero of his own story, and that means going after what he wants: not just Nick, but the full life he deserves.

Second Edition

First Edition published by Riptide Publishing, May 2013.

Review

Never A Hero has a lot of good things going for it. This book is a little more angsty than the other books in the series. The two main characters, Owen and Nick are both dealing with emotional and physical issues. Without realizing it both men are looking for the same thing, acceptance and they find this in each other.

I have read both editions of this book and honestly, I was hoping that some things would have been changed. Without giving too much away, one of the main characters, is keeping a “secret” from the other MC. I really don’t like how the “secret” was revealed.

I still think over all this is a decent story with some really great moments.

4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: The CEO Christmas Manny by: Angela McCallister; Narrated by: John Solo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-ceos-christmas-manny-by-angela-mccallister-10040-

Blurb
Anything but business as usual.
Billionaire CEO Nic Price lives for his job. With sales down and grumbling from the board of directors – including Nic’s permanently dissatisfied father – the last thing Nic needs is distraction from the new manny, whose freewheeling approach to childcare is outlandish…and who makes Nic feel things he’s never allowed himself to feel.
Ex-teacher Sasha Lindsey is all about fun – that’s the reason people love him, so he has to be. After a bad break-up leaves him jobless and homeless, the live-in manny job with Mr. Price seems like a windfall. But his chemistry with Nic is off the charts, and he can’t afford another workplace romance disaster.
Can Nic leave his dominance in the bedroom and open his heart to the best thing that’s ever happened to him? Or will Sasha’s leap of faith backfire and ruin his chances at the family happily-ever-after he’s always dreamed of?

Review
I have so many mixed feelings about this audiobook that it’s been hard to focus them for this review. First I should say that I liked it. I enjoy Manny stories and on several levels this ticks a lot of boxes for me. But I found it hard to connect with Sasha and Nic. They’re similar in that they both have hateful parents and are driven in their chosen profession. Both of them are compassionate people but Nic’s demanding father has driven the compassion down to a very low priority in his life. Nic’s niece and nephew need attention from their uncle but is get a series of nannies. Sasha’s compassionate nature has meant he’s been taken advantage of in the past. which has left him with no home or job, until he becomes a Manny to Lucy and Ben. I enjoyed the slow burn story but did feel there was some unnecessary angst. Nic’s self centred attitude caused unnecessary pain to Sasha. Poor Percy (Nic’s friend and assistant) is left with the dirty work. I’d love to see Percy have his own story. Nic does eventually come to his senses and has a happy ending with Sasha. I would have loved an epilogue where Nic’s father suffered for his actions but alas it was not meant to be.
Jon Solo is an excellent narrator. The emotional ups and downs he gives emphasis and the overall tone he uses make it a more compelling listen.

4 of stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Truth Will Out by KC Wells; narrated by Seb Yarrick

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

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

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:

Story:

This was a good story. The murder/mystery held my attention – so many potential murderers to choose from ☺; then there’s Mike, ex DI-turned-pub owner and the younger Jonathon – a world renowned photojournalist. Their romance unfolds over the course of the story, but is not the main focus; the melding of the mystery and romance made it an interesting story.

Narration:

Seb Yarrick is really good here – he has a good range for English accents – from Mike’s slight country burr to the more polished accent for Jonathon (and all the others in between). He has distinct voices for the characters, so I always knew who was talking.
He definitely made this an easy, enjoyable listen, one I would listen to again.

Story: 4 stars
Narration: 4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: On Shaky Ground By Andrew Grey

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/on-shaky-ground-by-andrew-grey-10532-b

Blurb
Martin Graham built his business from the ground up with hard work and intuition. Due to a degenerative eye disease, he’s learned to rely on his other senses to feel out the competition. To realize his dream, he just needs to broker one last deal… and finally secure an assistant.

Brock Littleton is desperate for money—desperate enough take the job no one else wants: assistant to demanding, fussy, intensely private Mr. Graham.

Everything about Brock gets under Martin’s skin in ways he never expected, making him realize a successful business isn’t the only component to a happy future. But as Martin’s deal comes together, one of the prices could be the relationship with Brock that Martin is just starting to believe could be real.

Review

This was another good story by Andrew Grey. I really enjoy the fact that he doesn’t shy away from writing bout characters that have disabilities or illnesses. This was a pure feel good romance. The chemistry is there between Martin and Brock but it’s very low key. Aside from a little kissing and light groping there is very little steaminess to this story. Even though this story lacks physical intimacy there is plenty of emotional intimacy. My only complaint about this story was that most of it was a build up to the two MCs revealing their feelings and then the story was over. You really can’t go wrong with anything by Andrew Grey.

4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Coming Soon! Warm Heart (Search and Rescue #1) by Amy Lane

July 16!

Dreamspinner

warm-heart-by-amy-lane-10634-b

Blurb

Search and Rescue: Book One

Survive the adventure. Live to love.

Following a family emergency, snowboarder Tevyn Moore and financier Mallory Armstrong leave Donner Pass in a blizzard… and barely survive the helicopter crash that follows. Stranded with few supplies and no shelter, Tevyn and Mallory—and their injured pilot—are forced to rely on each other.

The mountain leaves no room for evasion, and Tevyn and Mal must confront the feelings that have been brewing between them for the past five years. Mallory has seen Tevyn through injury and victory. Can Tevyn see that Mallory’s love is real?

Mallory’s job is risk assessment. Tevyn’s job is full-on risk. But to stay alive, Mallory needs to take some gambles and Tevyn needs to have faith in someone besides himself. Can the bond they discover on the mountain see them to rescue and beyond?

Review

Now this is what I’m talkin’ about! This is the Amy I love. Leave it to Amy to take a “stuck on a mountain in a blizzard” story and make it about hope and love and humor.

Normally I hate these kinds of stories. I grew up in the mountains and I totally don’t ever want to build a snow fort or live in a cave or do anything revolving around 5 layers of clothes. No thank you. And I don’t really love reading about being cold either.

But, Amy manages to take what might be cliché and make it totally different. There was a lot of “happy coincidences” that allow our guys to make it but she does make it seem at least mostly plausible. (I’m not sure about the final “snowboarding” bit… but it was fun to imagine! 😉 )

I really enjoyed these characters and am looking forward to more in this series.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Coming Soon! Fox Hunt (Shifter U #4) by J. Leigh Bailey

July 2!

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fox-hunt-by-j-leigh-bailey-10590-b

Blurb

Outfoxing their enemies will be a bear of a task.

Aspiring journalist and fox shifter David ends up with a target on his back after hacking the Moreau Initiative, the shifter world’s greatest enemy. But he won’t let that stop him from the campus tour road trip that’ll help him become the next Anderson Cooper… even if his family insists he travel with a grumpy grizzly bear bodyguard.

Buddy Brady is older, sexy, and too damn distracting for David, and as the sexual tension builds, so does the suspicion around the repeated attacks–first in Chicago, then in New York. Someone is tracking them, and all clues point to a traitor in the shifter ranks. Worst of all, they could be after David’s family….

Review

This was awesome! So much fun! I love the subtle body image discussion as well as the “living up to expectations” story line in addition to the fun with shifters and running around the country.

It was good to see some of our previous friends from Shifter U – though I really wanted to see more of the Thunderbird in action!

The romance flowed really smoothly and felt authentic and the action was just the right mix of funny and exciting.

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars


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Review
I enjoy the Shifter U series but this story didn’t quite live up to the others for me. I found David to be a whiny character at first who seemed to mature as the story went on. This was possibly due to the positive calming influence of Buddy (Theo). Unfortunately the story didn’t quite meld the romance and switch from enemies to lovers story from the mystery of who was after David together. It felt on times to be two stories. The mystery was a little obvious and Buddy was not a very effective body guard. His affection for David shines through. Overall Fox Hunt is a fun read.

3 of stars out of 5



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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: The Athlete and the Aristocrat by Louisa Masters; narrated by Seb Yarrick

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-athlete-and-the-aristocrat-by-louisa-masters-10068-b

Blurb:
Sometimes love takes balls.

Newly retired championship footballer Simon Wood is taking on his next challenge. His plan for a charity to provide funding for underprivileged children to pursue football as a career has passed its first hurdle: he has backers and an executive consultant. Now it’s time to get the ball rolling.
Lucien Morel, heir to the multibillion-euro Morel Corporation, is shocked—and thrilled—to learn his father has volunteered him as consultant to a fledgling football charity. Better yet, the brains behind it all is heartthrob Simon Wood, his teenage idol and crush.
Although Simon and Lucien get off on the wrong foot, it’s not long before they’re getting along like a house on fire—sparks included. But with the charity under public scrutiny, can their romance thrive?

Review: It’s an OK story –I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had read The Bunny and the Billionaire (the MC’s of that book popped up a bit in this story). I liked Simon and Lucien, they were very good together. The relationship between both men developed from a friendship that very soon evolved into mutual attraction. However, Simon, while bisexual, has never been out in public with a man.

I liked the premise of the story, (establishing a charity for underserved kids), allowing one to see the inner (good) qualities of both men.

Seb Yarrick is a solid narrator – he doesn’t have a whole lot of range, though he did a passable job with Lucien’s (French) accent. I liked listening to him, (definitely made the book more enjoyable for me). To me, he’s more of a ‘comfy’ reader, one I would listen to again.

Story: 3 stars
Narration: 3.5 stars

Overall 3.25 stars rounded to 3 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Release Day Review: Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford

release day review

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ramen-assassin-by-rhys-ford-10582-b

Blurb:
When life gives Kuro Jenkins lemons, he wants to make ponzu to serve at his Los Angeles ramen shop.
Instead he’s dodging bullets and wondering how the hell he ended up back in the Black Ops lifestyle he left behind him. After rescuing former child star Trey Bishop from a pair of thugs in the middle of the night, he knows it’s time to pick up his gun again. But it seems trouble isn’t done with Trey, and Kuro can’t quite let go… of either the gun or Trey Bishop.

Trey Bishop never denied his life’s downward spiral was his own fault. After a few stints in rehab, he’s finally shaken off his Hollywood bad-boy lifestyle but not his reputation. The destruction of his acting career and his relationships goes deep, and no one trusts anything he says, including the LAPD. When two men dragging a dead body spot him on a late-night run and try to murder him, Trey is grateful for the tall, dark, and deadly ramen shop owner he lusts over—not just for rescuing him, but also for believing him.
Now caught in a web of murders and lies, Trey knows someone wants him dead, and the only one on his side is a man with deep, dark secrets. Trey hopes Kuro Jenkins will stick around to see what the future holds for them once the dust settles, but from the looks of things, neither of them may survive to find out.

Review: I really enjoy the way Ms. Ford weaves the character of a city, a piece of furniture or other everyday things like birds, smells, tastes into the story. This latest story is no exception. The city of LA, even the seagulls were featured characters ☺
Trey is a washed up child actor. He’s gone through rehab a few times and this time aims to keep on the straight and narrow. However, fate has other plans for him.
Kuro is ex-covert ops (not assassin). Forced to ‘retire’, he’s opened a ramen shop. When he rescues Trey from a violent situation, Kuro finds himself falling back into his old way of life.
Overall, I enjoyed the story but it didn’t feel as tight or as well put together as some of Ms. Ford’s other stories (rushed maybe?). A few things didn’t work for me – the continued hostility of Trey’s family, esp. Kimber; the arc of Kuro’s former mentor coming out of retirement, (possibly continued in the next book?). I felt that the feelings between Kuro and Trey developed a little too quickly – yes they had been eyeing each other prior to them actually meeting – but I really didn’t buy their chemistry. Since this is the first of the series, I hope to see their relationship get more attention and really feel their connection. And I’d like to see Trey’s family situation improve, at least a little.

Story: 4 stars


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