Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Slow Birth by Leta Blake (Heat of Love book 2.5)

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47898759-slow-birth?from_search=true

Blurb

Jason and Vale are back in this side story set in the Heat of Love universe!

A romantic getaway turns dramatic when an unexpected heat descends on Vale, leaving Jason with no choice but to act. The resulting pregnancy is dangerous for Vale and terrifying for Jason, but with the help of friends and family, they choose to embrace their uncertain future. Together they find all the love, joy, and heat they need to guide them through!

While this story follows the characters from Slow Heat, it will be most enjoyable if read directly after Alpha Heat, as it takes place contemporaneously with that book.

Review
It was great reading Vale and Jason’s pregnancy story from their prospective, as in book #2 in the series they are already pregnant. This brings new light to the events that take place in Alpha Heat and has just the right amount of angst we are used to from Leta with the smoking hotness of Vale and Jason who will not be deterred by a growing belly.
Having gone through pregnancy and birth (almost 5 months ago) this novella struck a chord with me. It deals with very deep emotional changes brought on by pregnancy, and the physical ones too. I was moved at times and found myself echoing Vale and Jason’s fears and hopes. Birth is such a shock to the body, soul and relationship. Leta, while still keeping this an erotic romance full of heat, managed to capture some of the real-life essence of motherhood (or should I say Paterhood?) in their tale. I have always admired Leta’s writing, and if you like this series you will love this tale of hope, love and humanity in its most basic form.

Number of stars out of 5
4


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Drama Dance (Nicky and Noah Mystery #8) by Joe Cosentino

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46763572-drama-dance

Blurb

Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is back at Treemeadow College directing their Nutcracker Ballet co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. With muscular dance students and faculty in the cast, the Christmas tree on stage isn’t the only thing rising. When cast members drop faster than their loaded dance belts, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is cracking the Nutcracker’s nuts, trapping the Mouse King, and being cavalier with the Cavalier, before Nicky and Noah end up stuck in the Land of the Sweets. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining eighth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on the Fairy—Sugar Plum that is, clumsy mice, malfunctioning toys, and murder!

Review
Drama Dance was a fun, fast paced murder mystery. I haven’t read any of the previous books and was able read this one just fine since each book appears to be a standalone. I was surprised by how humorous this book was. It takes a lot for me to actually laugh out loud and this book pulled a few chuckles out of me. The mystery was very well plotted out and had me stumped right up until the reveal. I strongly recommend this one!

4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: A Foreign Country by Alex Jane

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46353750-a-foreign-country?from_search=tru

Blurb
Private Detective John Right’s life is pretty good.

He loathes paperwork and could do without wasting his weekends catching out cheating spouses, but business is booming and he’s sharing his life with Jason, a man he’s still crazy about after three years.

The only downside is his lover’s baffling choice of friends and the fact that John is convinced Jason is keeping secrets from his dark past.

When a late-night phone call leads them to a kidnap victim with amnesia, and a dangerous man from Jason’s previous life suddenly resurfaces, they have much more than just secrets to deal with.

And after their mysterious house guest starts to show more than a passing interest in the detective couple, John is left struggling when his relationship, as well as his detecting skills, are put to the test.

Are they strong enough to resist the temptation of an enigmatic stranger?

Maybe. If they don’t get killed in the meantime

Review
Wow I didn’t expect the epilogue such a teaser, but not I stress a cliffhanger. If you are anything like me I don’t like not knowing what happens next but a gentle tease into the possibilities of the next story is fine. In this story John and Jason are more settled but there are many secrets and hidden truths between them. These start to come out as the case they are investigating unfolds. It’s an unusual case and Alex Jane writes this style so well. Kept me wondering what was coming next, which is what I like. The story line in this book is wrapped up bu I just didn’t have a clue that what was revealed in the epilogue was coming.
Although you can read this as a stand-alone in my opinion you would miss out on the history between John and Jason Mr & Mr Detective book 1 Gazes into You.

4.5 of stars out of 5

Purchased by reviewer

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45285747-anthony-earl-of-crofton

Blurb
A tale set in Stuart England, where the king’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.

Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side. As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.
When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger. Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.
It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win. They will do whatever it takes to protect the king’s life, and their commitment to each other.

Review

First off, I have not read any other the connecting stories in this series, so I felt a bit lost in places. However, I did like the main characters Sebastian and Anthony. I found Sebastian and Anthony to be a charming couple. There is an interesting mystery plot involving the King that I enjoyed. This book really reminded me of the Harlequin Romances I used to read when I was younger. I think this book would be better enjoyed if the previous books are read first.

3.5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Kennard’s Story (Cronin’s Key IV) by N.R. Walker

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43572632-kennard-s-story?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Kennard and Stas have been enjoying being newly bonded mates, hidden away for the last six months in Stas’ cabin, deep in the forests of Northern Russia. When they get a visit from Alec, Cronin, Eiji, and Jodis, Kennard and Stas decide to return to London where they get news of a supernatural disturbance in India.

Excited for a new adventure, the band of friends embark on a journey like they’ve never seen before. Following a trail of snakes and serpents, they slip through gates into timeless dimensions all over the world, leaving them without their vampire powers. Even Alec is powerless as they follow a trail of gates and doorways to their final destination.
But the bad guy isn’t who they think it is, and Kennard will need to draw on his past to save their future. Because history is never what it seems…

Review:
When we left Cronin and Alec (Cronin’s Key III), Kennard had found his mate, Stas. The cosmopolitan, city vamp and the Russian lumberjack vamp; talk about opposites!
The story starts off with the 2 men still in their honeymoon period, getting to know each other in and out of bed (mostly in ;)). Kennard is now much happier having found his mate, even willing to wear non designer clothing (gasp!).
We also get to catch up with the rest of the gang – Cronin, Alec, Jodis and Eiji, with Alec giving hilarious driving lessons to the others.
However, the book is called Cronin’s Key IV for a reason – another adventure awaits them – with most of story centering on the latest mystery. Unfortunately, this is what I found to be a little disappointing. To me, the mystery was convoluted, mixing Greek/Roman mythology together with ancient Mayan, Indian, Persian and other cultures. It seemed like NR Walker was trying a bit too hard to create an adventure which seemed a bit rushed. However, I did like how she wove in Kennard’s backstory and made it the ‘key’ to completing this mystery.
So, while I did like the overall story, I think I would have liked a simpler adventure and more emphasis on Kennard and Stas, especially blending their very disparate lives together.

3.5 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Release Day/Time for Holidays: The First Noel by Joe Cosentino

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-first-noel-by-joe-cosentino-10018-b


Blurb

Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories: Book Three

Each Christmas has marked a milestone in Bobby and Paolo’s love story. But will this year be their last noel?

It’s no surprise Bobby isn’t feeling much holiday spirit—not when he suspects his husband, Paolo, might be interested in his new business associate, the incredibly handsome Noel. On top of that, Bobby’s father is hanging up his Santa suit at the department store due to health issues; and worst of all, Geoffrey’s birth mother, funded by antigay extremists, is threatening their family. She’s trying to take away Bobby and Paolo’s adopted son, but she’ll have to face their supportive friends, family, and pastor before she can tear Geoffrey from the only real home he’s ever known.

With so many challenges in their path, the December grooms will need an extra helping of holiday magic this year. Rumor has it Santa’s on his way to spread some holiday cheer.

Review

The First Noel is the third holiday novella featuring Bobby and Paolo. This one picks up a year later, around Christmas time. Bobby and Paolo have adopted the young boy Geoffrey, but sadly things seemed to have hit a rough patch between Bobby and Paolo. Paolo is work long hours, has been seen out with a handsome man, and Bobby’s mother and best friend are convinced that Paolo is having an affair. To top things off Geoffrey’s mother shows up out of the blue, wanting her son back, while being backed by an antigay group. Bobby is also having to deal with the fact that his father’s health issues are becoming more serious.

For a story that took less than an hour to read, it really had all I like in a good book. In my opinion Bobby and Geoffrey are the stars of this story. Geoffrey is such an adorable little boy and Bobby is the backbone of the family. The secondary characters provide some comic relief. There is a tiny bit of drama and a whole lot of love.

4 Stars

 


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Escaping Solitude (The Escape Trilogy Book 2) by Sara Dobie Bauer

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42189648-escaping-solitude?from_search=true

Blurb:

Ancient vampire Andrew escaped his tropical island exile with his beloved human sailor, Edmund. They’ve now returned to Andrew’s home in nineteenth-century New Orleans and must navigate not only their developing relationship—and equally haunted pasts—but also a hungry coven of vampires Andrew used to call friends.
Desperate to stay by Andrew’s side forever, Edmund examines the impressive coven library in search of an Elder, the only creature capable of turning Edmund. Although missing for centuries, Andrew believes an Elder must still survive somewhere; they just have to find him.
The search is put on hold when Edmund receives word that his mother is ill in London, and the lovers set off on an oceanic journey surrounded by new friends and old enemies. When things go terribly wrong, Edmund’s fragile human life hangs in the balance, and an Elder must be found or Andrew will be alone forever.

Review:
This is book 2 of the trilogy. It picks up with Andrew and Edmund landing in New Orleans, La – (Andrew had been exiled to a remote island). While in NOLA, Andrew learns more about Andrew and the company he kept before his exile. Andrew also gets to see another, somewhat hedonistic and sometimes darker side to Edmund. The one thing constant is their love for each other. So imagine my surprise when out of the blue, Andrew allows a ménage involving Edmund. For me, it came out of left field and almost made me stop reading. But the story is so good that, despite that blip, I want to see them get their HEA.
The story is short, but packed with historical imagery of 18th? century NOLA.
This installment ends on a cliffhanger, but by now I’m fully invested in the story that I can’t wait to read book 3.

4 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+ Audiobook Book Gay Mid level angst Part of a Series

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


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Categories
adult - 18+ young adult

Time to Get Scared: A Hymn In The Silence by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40517607-a-hymn-in-the-silence

Blurb
Since graduating from Whisperwood School for Boys, William has found a sense of normalcy in his life with James. He has a steady (albeit secret) relationship, a home, and a job—even if it doesn’t pay the greatest. Nevermind that he lacks James’ reckless bravery when it comes to dealing with spirits; he does his best and it hasn’t killed him thus far.

When a new client calls on their expertise in solving a grisly multiple homicide, William resists. They’re spirit hunters, not detectives. But the money is too much to pass up when they don’t know when their next meal will be, and soon they’re arriving at Evenbury Manor, nestled in a close-knit rural community, ready to investigate.

They’re in over their heads, but in very different ways than William could have anticipated. The hills are filled with creatures far more dangerous than any they’ve ever encountered, and their usual tactics aren’t working. On top of his renewed struggles with his addiction, William is left to fend for himself against the dead to protect not only the community, but the person in the world that’s most important to him.

Review
This is an amazing ghost story! A great mix of suspense, adventure, friendship and romance!

The change in pov with regards to A Light Amongst Shadows, from James to William, serves as a lovely way to gain more insight into William’s thoughts and feelings this time. His anxiety comes across far more, same for his opium addiction and how it effectively holds him hostage, it’s a crutch but a dangerous one.

William and James are hired to solve a mystery that may or may not involve supernatural culprits. Either way, they soon have reason to fear they are in over their head. Time to call in reinforcements! We get to reconnect with Virgil and meet a wonderfully brave and intelligent new character, Adelia! Loved her!

William and James are marvelous together as always. It was wonderful to see how they have come along since their time spent at Whisperwood. Their banter is fun to read, but their more emotional moments will tug at your heartstrings something fierce.

I loved how they included so many historical details, in the subtlest of ways, sometimes by using certain quaint words and other times by casually mentioning everyday facts of life of the 19th century. Going from the more banal stuff like fashion choices and horse-drawn “cabs’, to the more peculiar practice of taking memento mori photographs, which seems a rather morbid custom from a 21st century perspective.

This is a beautifully written story and a joy to read thanks to the authors’ eloquent and expressive writing style. I also very much enjoyed the quirky humor that they incorporated throughout the story with, among other things, the never-ending quest for a “company name” for these two fearless spirit slayers.

Kelley York and Rowan Altwood really understand how to tell a tale in a way that’s so clear and compelling that as a reader you are completely sucked into the story. It almost seems to play out before you like a (scary) movie. So it wasn’t always the most relaxing read… things have a way of going bump in the night in ghost stories, after all. I swear I almost jumped right out of my seat a couple of times. Don’t read this book in bed, you’ll be scared to death imagining what might come crawling out from under it…

I also loved the mystery, or rather mysteries, that needed solving. It was exciting to try and figure it out ahead of the characters. Emphasis on try. The plot was well-thought out and there was plenty of suspense and danger, with ghosts and other threats lurking in the most unexpected of places.

So recommend this!!

Number of stars out of 5: 5


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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Bi-Sexual Bullying Dreamspinner Established Couple Football Gay Gay High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series PTSD young adult

Audiobook: Crocus by Amy Lane narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Blurb
Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart

Review
(Previously reviewed by Mary on site.)
In my opinion you really do need to read or listen to book 1, Bonfires, before starting Crocus. Bonfires is the story of how Aaron and Larx meet and fall in love with all the complications of joining two families. It ends when Larx’s eldest daughter Olivia comes home from college and tells them she is pregnant. This book takes off from that point. We learn that not only is she pregnant she also has Depression. Amy Lane handles this very difficult subject very well. There is no miraculous recovery just because it suited the storyline. We go through Olivia’s struggles to move out of the dark place she is in and Larx’s struggles as a parent to help her. At the same time his rock, Aaron is injured whilst on duty, one of his students is suffering from domestic abuse and is missing in a snowstorm. In amongst this two brothers need his support. There is so much to keep you on edge desperate to know more and wanting everything to work out. I love the dose of reality and practically Amy Lane has in these stories. By the way the book ended I am certain there will be a third book, can’t wait.

From Morgan: I absolutely agree with Mary. Even though the HEA for our guys happens in book 1, we don’t really see them interacting a whole lot together because – in typical Amy fashion – they are BOMBARDED with drama. Though the drama is still in heavy doses in book 2 – our guys handle it TOGETHER and that makes all the difference.

I was glad to see Amy confront the depression issues head on and not shy away from the less than perfect side of pregnancy, etc.

Highly recommended and can’t wait for book 3!

Audio

I just love Nick J Russo. I can’t say that enough. He makes every listening experience a joy and I always know I can depend on him to provide a quality character choice and interpretation. I love how he manages to give Aaron the laid back and stolid voice while in the next breath giving us the hyper and sometimes frenetic Larx.

Well done and highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars for both


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