Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf audiobook by B.G. Thomas narrated by Donald Tursman

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/grumble-monkey-and-the-department-store-elf-by-bg-thomas-1071-

Blurb
Kit Jefferies, a part-time department store Christmas elf, is an artist who loves life and his family. Unfortunately, his car dies at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere as he is heading home for Christmas. Enter Nick St. George.

Nick is a very unhappy man—he’s achieved his professional goals only to find the rest of his life bleak and empty. Deciding there was only one way to make everything right, he is on his way to San Francisco on a dark mission, and even the horrible sleet storm that blocked his path won’t deter him. That’s when he found Kit.

At first, Nick is pretty sure rescuing Kit was a big mistake. Kit’s personality is just too, well, effervescent. But as the miles go by, Kit begins to bring light to his dark heart. It might even be bright enough to illuminate a Christmas miracle

Review
The story was part of the 2013 Dreampinner Press “Heartwarming” Advent Calendar.
Nick is such a grump, love him. He is trying to get to San Francisco before Christmas Day when he meets Kit at a rest stop. He is so dismissive and judgmental of Kit. Nick is so angry at the world and takes it out on Kit. Kit seems to be everything Nick despises about being gay. Kit and his positive attitude gets through to Nick. Although I had my suspicions Where the story was heading to it was still bit of a surprise. On seeing the cover picture I thought the story would be humorous but I don’t think it gets there. Nick and Kit’s story has a happy for now ending and overall left me feeling thoughtful rather than buoyed up in Christmas spirit.
The narrator gives some attempt to voice the characters but it does sound more like Donald Tursman is just reading the story. If you don’t listen closely it’s hared to distinguish which character was speaking. Initially there was a hollow sound to the recording but either that got better or I got used to it.

3 of stars out of 5 for the story
2 of stars out of 5 for the narration

Reviewer Name: MaryD

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Saving Hannah by J.P. Barnaby

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/saving-hannah-by-jp-barnaby-10051-b

Blurb

Thomas Aberthol’s luck has run out. His daughter, Hannah, needs a miracle he can’t deliver. A hacker with a felony record, Thomas has little chance of finding work that will provide the care she needs. Out of money, out of options, and out of hope, he throws himself on the mercy of someone he never thought to see again.

Even after ten years, Aleksander Sanna still dreams of that drunken kiss. A perfect moment in time when Thomas wanted him. In his world of elegant code and high finance, the picture he holds of Thomas torments him in the dark of night.

Their worlds collide as Thomas interviews for the job he so desperately needs with the company Aleks inherited from his father. Thomas doesn’t get the position, but Aleks offers him a completely different kind of proposal, one suited to Thomas’s unique talents… one that will change the course of both their lives.

Review

This is a second chance at love story, with a little bit of out for you mixed in, though that’s not the focus of the book.

Our two main characters, Thomas and Aleks, used to be best friends in college and they developed deeper feelings for each other as well, though these were left unspoken. Thomas wasn’t ready to face that particular truth about himself and basically made a run for it. Things happen, not all of them good, and ten years pass before life throws them together again.

Aleks has never forgotten Thomas, and when he finds himself in a unique position to help Thomas and his little girl, who’s battling with leukemia, he grabs it with both hands. He needs Thomas’ expertise too, to help him find out what happened to his father, so they strike a mutually beneficial bargain. I very much liked what the author came up with here, and how she handled it.

Aleks and Thomas are a great pairing. I very much enjoyed watching them find their way back to each other. Aleks’ devotion and big heart instantly made me like him a great deal, and it hurt to see how alone he was “pre-Thomas”.
Thomas is a father first and foremost, but he’s not had it easy. He feels so guilty about his past and how that impacted his little girl. Hannah is always at the forefront of his mind. He’s caught between a rock and a hard place, but bravely soldiers on. I could really relate to his struggles.

This is very much a story about finding family, with Aleks embracing Hannah from the very first moment. Swoon. Way to go, Aleks!
Hannah’s a dear, such a brave young girl, and reading about her battle with her illness was heartbreaking. I think the author did a great job in describing the desperation and helplessness that Thomas and his mother have no choice but to endure, though those are luckily offset by the heartwarming moments the three of them, and later Aleks too, share and the support they find with each other.
Thomas’ mom is great, looking out for her son and understandably apprehensive about the risks he takes for both Hannah and Aleks.

As the story unfolds, this new little family is threatened from an unexpected corner, and we get more of an action-filled story, bringing suspense and tension that I hadn’t seen coming. So this book has a little bit of everything in it, combining a deeply emotional storyline with a crime/action subplot.

All in all, I found this to be a very enjoyable, surprising read.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Make a Circle by Elliot Joyce

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Pagan punk musician Lucas is fully prepared to spend this Yule with the rest of the band and his beautiful bass guitar when Oliver, his boyfriend of almost a year, asks if he wants to join the rest of the Han family for their annual winter celebration. It comes as a shock since Ollie has gone to great lengths to keep the two apart, and Lucas always assumed he was the reason. Since they’re planning to be together long-term, Lucas can’t say no to meeting Ollie’s parents, but he better brush up on his manners and his Mandarin because this is going to be a holiday season like no other—and it has some surprises in store for both of them.

Review

I liked this story. I wasn’t 100% sure I got the message, if there was one. The story centred around family and acceptance but in my naivety I thought Oliver has already been accepted by his family, well that was the impression I got from the way they treated him. It was more the case that the older members of his family were having a hard time breaking habits and kept speaking without thinking. I know that is hurtful but it doesn’t come across as malicious in the story. It’s not just that Oliver is gay there is another aspect his family had to understand and accept. I don’t want to give it away because it is an important part of the story. His family is big and loud with the usual family drama. Lucas is worried about fitting in because he doesn’t speak mandarin. For this reason he doesn’t realise that they liked him straight away. Just like with Oliver though the family members were thoughtless and did not think to include him in conversation by switching to English which left him feeling on the outside.

Overall it is a lovely story, with a warm family welcome for Lucas, even though he had to hear that through Oliver. Just a snapshot of a holiday moment in this couple’s relationship.

3 of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: The CEO’s Christmas Manny (Beyond the Boardroom #1) By Angela McCallister

release day review

Dreamspinner

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

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 love stories where the single parent falls for the governess/manny, and even more so when it’s a holiday romance. The Sound Of Music is one of my favorite Christmas movies, so I’m all for aloof, closed-off workaholics who could use a little help reconnecting with their family and desperately need someone to love and be loved by in return. So okay, the kids are already teenagers and the single parent is their uncle and not their father, but the magic is still there.

Sasha is very much a people-pleaser, a warm-hearted, giving person. Not only by nature, but also out of necessity as he fears that people will not want him around otherwise, which was quite sad. He needs someone to love him even when he’s not being all that upbeat and to really see him.
It seems unlikely that uncle Scrooge could be the one to give him that, but there’s more than meets the eye to Nic as well. Though Nic definitely has some issues that need dealing with and shackles to throw off before he can be there for Sasha, or Lucy and Ben, for that matter. He makes some pretty awful mistakes along the way, unfairly blaming Sasha and pushing him away when things start going south with his business and his parents from hell. Not well done. Luckily, he has Lucy and Ben to talk some sense into him, as well as his friend, Percy.

I really like slow-burn stories like this one and I loved seeing the connection form between Nic and Sasha, the feelings that grew stronger alongside their physical attraction. I also enjoyed the scenes with Lucy and Ben, who are an integral part of the story and not just part of the décor.

This was a well-written, heartwarming romance, the perfect read for the season.

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 Review:

I enjoyed this story- it’s a mix of hurt/comfort, mild angst balanced with dashes of humour and heat.
Nic is a workaholic, only because he feels the need to live up to his parent’s expectations (I disliked them ☹). He has custody of his niece and nephew, but because he’s so busy with work, he emotionally neglects them leading to them acting out. After the kids drive away the last nanny, Nic hires Sasha – (assuming Sasha is a ‘she’) – sight unseen. Sasha is sort of an unconventional nanny – for one, he’s really a very well qualified teacher in math and other subjects and for another, he has ‘think-out-of-the-box’ ideas for approaching learning.
When both men meet there is an instant attraction, both fighting it for different reasons.
I was a little surprised at how quickly they gave in to their initial lust and mildly peeved at Nic for blowing hot and cold with Sasha. When Nic blows cold the final time, all hell breaks loose, leaving Sasha pretty much out in the cold.
What I appreciated is that even when Nic gets Sasha back, it’s not all sunshine and roses – he really has to prove to Sasha that he won’t bail when things get tough, nor will he shy away from Sasha’s issues.
I really enjoyed the story – the kids were nice and Percy (Nic’s best friend) was a good secondary character – I hope he gets a story ☺

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Cole audiobook by BG Thomas narrated by Paul Morey

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-cole-by-bg-thomas-6184-

Blurb
Javier Torres was a sweet, plump, and very unpopular child. But over the years, he turned himself into a gorgeous gym god. The problem is he’s also become an egotistical snob. But one day his arrogance pisses off the wrong little old lady, and he wakes up to find that, like the Prince in Beauty and the Beast, he’s been transformed into something from his personal nightmares. Javier has nowhere to go but back home, where to his surprise, he is greeted with open arms, not just by the family he remembers, but by his new brother-in-law, Cole. Cole suspects there might be a pretty heart to go with the pretty face locked inside that new body, but has Javier learned enough to earn Cole—instead of coal—for Christmas

Review
This title is part of the 2011 Advent Calendar: I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
I quite enjoyed this take on the beauty and the beast / it’s a wonderful life type of story. It’s also a moral lesson of judging people by looks rather than who they really were. And how shallow he had become. It took a harsh lesson before he was able to see what he had become. He didn’t really understand until he went home to see his family and meets Cole again. Javier’s partner Mark is a horrible person especially the way he treated Javier after he was transformed.Quite a message in this story but it is heartwarming. The love and acceptance of family and of oneself.
The narrator, Paul Morey, does a fair job but I felt that the emotions were missing. After all Javier did suffer his worst nightmare and was deserted by Mark at Christmas. The characters were portrayed well enough. I could make out who was who and there was some characterisation.

3 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Once in a Lifetime by Cassie Decker

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb
All his life, astrophysicist Peter has dreamed of seeing the comet that last appeared on his birthday—and won’t be seen for another thirty-eight years. Since it could be his only chance, he travels to New Zealand. But his dream might be quashed after all when his rental car breaks down on the way to the observatory. He doesn’t even have a place to stay.

Fortunately a New Zealand native with a heart of gold offers assistance. But is kindness the only thing drawing the two men together?

Rangi can’t leave Peter stranded so close to Christmas, and his family has plenty of room—and love—to share. While Rangi is attracted to Peter, he’s seen too many of his friends get their hearts broken by tourists. Will they manage to see the comet on its decades-long journey across the sky… and take advantage of a rare opportunity that might never come again?

 

Review

 

This short was super sweet and I really enjoyed the addition of Maori culture with Rangi and his family. It was very interesting, me not being very familiar with New-Zealand and Maori culture. Peter was a very quiet kind of character and I found him very refreshing. He had the promise he made to his father to see the Comet, and his back story was sad but in a way gave him so much character depth, which was great in such a sort story where it’s often hard to achieve.
I enjoyed the chain of mishaps that brought Rangi and Peter together, and Peter was such a warm loving man it was very easy to fall in love with him, Peter and me both!

I also loved how well rounded the story felt, how there was almost a feeling of a full circle, a destiny that brought them to this place in time, together.
It was a very romantic, soft story full of character and love.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Exit Through the Gift Shop by Kim Fielding

 

 

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb

Alex’s traditional family Christmas Compromise means spending the holiday at a second-rate theme park, Poseidon’s Planet, but Alex doesn’t mind. He enjoys the rides and the company of his family, and it’s a good break from his going-nowhere existence back in Indiana. Then he meets a certain sexy employee in a pirate costume, and Alex’s vacation gets even better. But thrill rides last only a short time, and sooner or later everyone has to return to real life. Alex long ago gave up on marrying a handsome prince—will he have to give up on his pirate as well?

Review

I loved this story, the characters are fantastic and have a very tight familial bond. I enjoyed Alex’s family and their Christmas compromise vacation. Each character had a very distinct voice in the story, quirks and in such a short story I admire Fielding’s ability to write such well-rounded characters in a short.
Alex meets Rory in Poseidon’s Planet theme park and they have an instant attraction. With time against them (Alex’s family is only there for a few days) Rory reaches out to Alex and they have a very sweet, short date the next day. There is just something so captivating and charming about both of them, and the banter they share is both sexy and incredibly funny. I loved the sense of family found in the story, and how Alex’s family really embraced Rory from the first moment.
This is a super sweet, smile inducing short you do not want to miss out on!

Number of stars out of 5
4

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Broken Halos (Queen City Rogues #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42615116-broken-halos?from_search=true

Blurb

Oliver Knight’s past is shrouded by sorrow and tragedy, but instead of hiding from it, Ollie owns his truth and uses his experiences to uplift others. As an out and proud pastor, he provides a safe place for LGBTQ Christians to gather and worship, and as a recovering addict, he counsels those pursuing sobriety. Ollie’s life is fulfilling but also a little lonely. He may not have a hard time meeting men, but he does have a hard time getting them to stick around once they discover his vocation.

Archie White is a former drag queen who hung up his stilettos to start an HIV transition home in the memory of someone he held near and dear to his heart. All work and no play has made Archie a very dull man, but he thinks his luck is about to change when a friend introduces him to a dark-eyed stranger. That is until he learns the man is a pastor. Archie detests anything to do with religion, and for very good reasons.

Archie’s gut tells him to run, and Ollie’s heart tells him to pursue. What can a pastor and a sometimes-queen possibly have in common? A desire to find unconditional love with someone who truly sees them. What happens next is the poignant, sweet, and sexy journey for two resilient hearts. Ollie and Archie’s halos might be battered and a little tarnished, but they’re definitely not broken.

Broken Halos is a charming story with heart, heat, and humor. Warning: these characters and their quirky sidekicks may take up permanent residence in your heart, so proceed with caution. Each book in the Queen City Rogues series can be read as part of the series or as a standalone novel. This book contains sexually explicit material and colorful language intended for adults 18 and older.

Review

Broken Halos is the first book in Aimee’s new Queen City Rogues series. We first meet Ollie and Archie in This Time Around. While this can be read as a stand alone I highly suggest reading This Time Around so you can see Ollie and Archie’s first meeting.

Unlike most of the other books in her connecting series (Curl Up and Dye and The Road To Blissville) this book doesn’t really have any big mystery plot (there is a slight one towards the end, which seems to be setting up one of the next stories in the series). This is simply a story of how two men who appear to be complete opposites come together in love.

I’m always intrigued when religion comes to play in any sort of LGBTQ fiction and in most cases, its in a bad light. Having Ollie be a gay pastor was a great way for Aimee to show that, church leaders are men. They have wants, needs, desires like everyone else and its okay to act upon those wishes/needs.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The love that blossomed between Archie the former drag queen and Ollie the pastor was one of a kind. Ollie was never afraid to let Archie now that he accepted him 100% the way he was. Due to past conflicts Archie is very distrustful of any sort of church figureheads. While he finds himself very attracted to Ollie he runs from those feelings. It isn’t until he sees how genuine Ollie really is that he allows himself to act upon those feelings.

This book brought out a lot of feelings in me. You can’t help feeling sympathy towards both men when they reveal their pasts to each other, a little anger towards certain ex-boyfriend and drag queens who try to tear our couple apart and of course loads of laughter. This is a fantastic start to a new series!!

5 Stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to Comfort: Score (Men of Hidden Creek) by A.E. Wasp

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39680434-score?from_search=true

Blurb
Home is where you make it.
Beau Hopper is good at goodbyes. A minor-league hockey player, he goes where the league tells him. Single and estranged from his family, Beau drifts without connections or commitments. He makes a living, not a life.

Former Marine Connor Casey’s life revolves around his siblings. After Hurricane Harvey took their home and a car-crash claimed their parents, Connor is determined to rebuild their house and their lives.

When Beau learns Connor might lose custody of his siblings if he can’t finish the rebuild in time, he volunteers to help in exchange for a place to stay, and it isn’t long before he finds himself in Connor’s bed. It takes more than passion and plywood to build a home, so when the league comes calling after Beau, Connor can’t ask him to stay… but how can he ever let him go?

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains eye-rolling teenagers, stolen kisses, and fewer noogies than you’d expect.

Review
This was an incredibly moving romance, it really got to me. The MC’s were lovable to the extreme, the kids were absolutely wonderful, and the other, more minor, characters were also really great (okay, most of them, not the dreaded Walrus of course! And I hope Youngblood will get a chance to redeem himself).

Connor is a former marine who has given up his career in the military to take care of his siblings, after their parents died in a car crash. He is self-sacrificing and hard-working, always giving to his loved ones, never asking anything for himself.
Beau is a hockey player, who has never been in a real relationship and spends his living running away from big emotions like love and commitment. Until Connor…

I love how their relationship developed. Starting with an instant reaction, and with very little opportunity to act on it, they almost naturally become an item and Beau fits into Connor’s family seamlessly.
Beau falls in love with Connor, but at the same time gets to know and love Connor’s four siblings as well. Which is so beautiful and touching to see happen.

We get to know Sean, Fiona, Micah and Benji really well. They are an important part of Connor’s life, and as such, also of this story. They are not just props in the background. I loved that! Reading about the dynamics of this little family was very touching and heart-warming.
There was one scene in particular that stood out for me. It revolved around Sean, Beau and Connor, where Connor had a PTSD-related “episode” that was very emotional and gripping.

The epilogue was wonderful!! Both romantically sweet and funny. How could anyone not fall in love with Prince Connorette and his knight in shining armor, Beaumeo? Impossible!

This book really drew me in. My heart ached for Connor and Beau, especially near the end, because of course, it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way through to their HEA.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Provided by Author

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