Categories
adult - 18+

Coming Soon: String Boys by Amy Lane

May 28

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/string-boys-by-amy-lane-10521-

Blurb

Seth Arnold learned at an early age that two things in life could make his soul soar—his violin and Kelly Cruz. In Seth’s uncertain childhood, the kindness of the Cruz family, especially Kelly and his brother, Matty, gave Seth the stability to make his violin sing with the purest sound and opened a world of possibility beyond his home in Sacramento.

Kelly Cruz has loved Seth forever, but he knows Seth’s talents shouldn’t be hidden, not when the world is waiting. Encouraging Seth to follow his music might break Kelly’s heart, but he is determined to see the violin set Seth’s soul free. When their world is devastated by a violent sexual assault and Matty’s prejudices turn him from a brother to an enemy, Seth and Kelly’s future becomes uncertain.

Seth can’t come home and Kelly can’t leave, but they are held together by a love that they clutch with both hands.

Seth and Kelly are young and the world is wide—the only thing they know for certain is they’ll follow their heartstrings to each other’s arms whenever time and fate allow. And pray that one day they can follow that string to forever… before it slices their hearts in two.

Review

From the moment I started this book I knew it’s going to be an Amy Lane classic. Full of feels and emotional highs and lows. I felt like I was privileged to be an onlooker on Seth and Kelly’s life. The turbulence that the Cruz family goes through broke my heart. The story pulledon my heart strings. Growing up along sideSeth, Kelly and Mattie being with them as they struggled through life and learned what loving that special person is all about.In this story we get the whole journey of friends to lovers, the hate and family rife as well as unconditional love. Seth has a unique talent for the violin and Kelly wants that to grow. There are a lot of times when school and other circumstances mean Seth and Kelly can’t be together but friends and family are there to get them through and hold on tight. I cried and cheered within moments of each other many times when reading this book and probably will again when I reread it. If you like angsty stories that also fill your heart with joy I can’t recommend this book high enough. If you are still unsure about this book I would suggest that if you are a fan of Amy Lane’s Bonfires and Crocus books then this one would suit you as well.

 

6 of stars out of 5



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

This was – has for me to review. I love Amy so much but this did not inspire me.

I was prepared for angst central and there was a bit – but I honestly was never attached to the characters in such a way that I felt it.

Perhaps it was just my frame of mind when I was reading it, but I just didn’t see these guys in the same light as some of her other couples.

First, they spend a ton of time away from one another but still visit so it was kinda – meh – on that front.

The family is both hard to love and so full of pain that I didn’t really get roped in to their drama.

The romance ends on a very bland note and I didn’t get the sense of relief that I usually do with her angsty stories.

It was good and interesting but not my favorite.

3.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Stable Hill by Jodi Payne

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/stable-hill-by-jodi-payne-10474-b

Blurb
Will three men from very different backgrounds find a home and a future together?

After losing his husband to cancer, Oscar Kennedy has his hands full with their four girls, the house, his job, and his mother-in-law. When he loses his father too, keeping Stable Hill, the old horse farm where he grew up, becomes impossible. Oscar hires Jeffrey Stokes, a slick-looking real estate broker with a roll-up-his-sleeves work ethic, to get it on the market.

Russell White manages the day-to-day at Stable Hill. Russ had loved Oscar’s dad like a father, and took on even more responsibility when the old man fell ill. He is shocked and saddened by Oscar’s decision to sell.

All three men have a stake in Stable Hill, and it’s not long before they start to invest in one another too. But their complicated relationship doesn’t make having to sell Stable Hill any easier. Will the fragile triad they’re building last when the farm that brought them together is gone?

Review
I liked the set-up of this story and really wanted to fall in love with it, but I didn’t really get there.

I had a hard time believing in the strength of the relationship between the three men, mostly because of Oscar. He is at times quite self-absorbed and not as aware or as careful of Russ’s and Jeffrey’s feelings as he should be. He also has quite a mean temper on him, and I didn’t care for his angry outbursts, even taking into account the difficult choices he has to make.

The issues and worries all three men face are very realistic though, a definite plus, and I liked that they weren’t able to magically fix everything because of love, but I didn’t feel as if they actually grew stronger trying to overcome all these issues together.

One of the things I did really like in this book were its secondary characters, especially Rose, and everything to do with Oscar’s family, including how Russ and Jeffrey find their place with them.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Why We Fight By TJ Klune

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/why-we-fight-by-tj-klune-10447-b

Blurb
Do you believe in love at first sight?

Corey Ellis sure doesn’t. Oh, everyone around him seems to have found their happy ending, but he’s far too busy to worry about such things. He’ll have plenty of time for romance after he survives his last summer before graduation. So what if he can’t get his former professor, Jeremy Olsen, out of his head? It’s nothing more than hero worship. And that’s the way it should stay.

Except bigender Corey—aka Kori—is interning at Phoenix House for the summer, a LGBTQI youth center. A center that recently hired an interim director until someone can be found to fill the position permanently.

Because life is extraordinarily unfair, the director just so happens to be a certain former professor, now turned current boss.

Desperate to keep things professional as he and Jeremy grow closer, Corey makes a major mistake: he turns to his friends, Paul Auster and Sanford Stewart for help.

But Paul and Sandy have some ideas of their own….

Set in the summer of 2016, Why We Fight is a celebration of queer life and being true to oneself… no matter the cost.

Review

Why We Fight was beyond amazing! This is TJ Klune at his finest. This series has long been a go to reread for me. Like most of his books there are a bunch of little Easter eggs hidden throughout this story. The characters are so outlandish but yet still so real.
At long last we finally get Corey/Kori’s story. We find out more about their past and the difficulties of going through the foster care system. We briefly met Corey/Kori’s love interest Jeremy at the end of Until You. Both are completely oblivious to how the other feels. I really enjoyed getting to see the Tucson crew from Corey/Kori’s perspective. They really do have a unique view on things. I am very sad to see the end of this series but I loved every minute of this book.

6 stars beyond amazing


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review:
This is a fitting end to this fun, touching, hilarious series. It’s about love and the family you make (and keep).
This is Corey/Kori’s story – and it’s perfect. There’s so much I want to say about how much I loved the book – the shenanigans starting off with Corey and Nana at a spa (with Paul’s mum and dad in tow). Then there’s Corey/Kori falling over his feet, (sometimes literally), when talking to Jeremy (his crush); the machinations of Sandy/Helena while trying to ‘help’ Corey/Kori’s love life. The kids at the youth centre were great characters. Let’s not forget Paul and Vince, who are unable to keep their hands off each other … hilarious! Charlie and Robert; so sweet together. Through it all, TJ Klune blends in a thread of hope, family, friendships and the forging of bonds – new and old.
For those who have followed the series from the beginning, you will love this ☺

5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Honeythorn by Marina Vivancos

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44589386-honeythorn?from_search=true

Blurb

Omega Milan Pryor knows his duty. He must travel North through the continent towards the snow, the cold, and his new betrothed. They say that Lord Alpha Raphael Ledford, the man he is to marry, is as artic as the weather of his land. But Milan has always been an optimist. Perhaps he might find friendship in the arranged marriage. Even love.

It doesn’t take long for Milan to realize that all the rumours about Lord Raphael are true. Reclusive, distant, frigid. Milan finds himself unwelcome in what he must now call his new home. He’s used to fighting for what he wants—but can he survive a husband as cruel as Lord Raphael?

Being bonded to one who rejects you is a painful thing. Will Milan be able to win his husband’s regard? What terrible secret is Lord Raphael keeping, and will Milan be able to discover it before it’s too late?
Or will Milan perish along with his heart?

Review

This book is set as Regency era with a slight Steampunk feel. It’s Omegaverse with hint of mpreg possibility, but did not happen in the book. Milan is from a family in the South, who is arranged to marry Raphael from the North. I was sad for Milan in the beginning for Raphael’s behaviors. The talks about steam powered machines in everyday life was fun to read. I also enjoyed the stark contrasts between the personalities of both men. Other than a VERY rocky beginning, the slow build between the men was wonderful to read. There was a big twist towards the end that surprised me. The background characters were a delight to read and really added to the tone of the book. Overall a very enjoyable read.

Number of stars out of 5

5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: No Quick Fix (Torus Intercession #1) by Mary Calmes

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44349918-no-quick-fix

Blurb

A retired SEAL is about to face his toughest assignment yet. As a nanny…

Fixer. Bodyguard. Advocate. Brann Calder is expected to play all these roles and more as a member of Torus Intercession, a security firm guaranteed to right what’s wrong. In the military, catastrophe was his specialty. Five months out of the service, Brann is still finding his way, so a new assignment might be just what he needs. Unless it includes two things sure to make a seasoned, battle-trained veteran nervous: life in a small town, and playing caretaker to two little girls.

Emery Dodd is drowning in the responsibility of single fatherhood. He’s picked up the pieces after losing his wife and is ready to move on now, hopeful that his engagement to a local patriarch’s daughter will not only enrich his community but will grant his daughters some stability too.

The only thing standing in Emery’s way is that he can’t he seem to keep his eyes—and hands—off the former soldier he’s hired to watch his girls until the wedding.

Emery’s future is riding on his upcoming nuptials, but being with Brann makes him and his family feel whole again. Too bad there’s no way for them to be together.

Or is there?

Review

Ho Hum. That’s what my overwhelming feeling from this was, unfortunately. 

First, the MCs don’t get together til almost the 75% point and I was frustrated and bored. Emery is engaged to a WOMAN for most of the book, and though they don’t cheat – it’s not awesome either.  

Like in other books of hers, the two MCs are fairly recognizable in Calmes stories and they don’t diverge much here. For example, Mary loves to give us these “unsuspecting” heroes and then show us their heroism – in this case Brann.  Emery is the super nice guy everyone in town loves but who doesn’t suspect it himself and is surprised by the adoration.

I don’t want to sound too harsh, but I’ve been a Mary fan for a long time and lately she just hasn’t wowed me with her work. Her characters feel like repeats and their trajectory to love is the same path with slightly changed scenery.

There are some reviewers out there who point out some Mary-isms – I’m not cool enough to keep track of that stuff – but when I do see those reviews I think – Oh Yeah – that’s SO TRUE! The very specific designer clothes, the pea coats, the waggling brows, the fact that the women all love the MCs to the point of being ridiculous… it’s all in here.

The cover by Reese is gorgeous and I was absolutely compelled by the blurb, but it just didn’t pan out for me.

For devoted fans of the author or maybe for folks new to Mary – this one will appeal. Otherwise… maybe not.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44437664-family-camp

Blurb

When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue.

Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.

Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?

Review

I loved this!

I’m always reminded – after I read an Eli Easton book – just why she’s one of my favorites.

It doesn’t matter the subject matter or the MCs, she manages to make even the most recalcitrant part of my heart.

In this case it was easy. You have a very loveable – do gooder – teacher – with a dopey sense of humor – trying to do right by a couple of “less than easy” kids and he’s an instant favorite. Next you introduce an – in the closet – baseball player who only wants to be the best because he’s a foster kid at heart, too.

It was a no brainer. These guys are loveable. The kids are great – felt pretty real – and the situation was believable – mostly.

I’m not a baseball fan but I can imagine this is what they’d go through and hopefully – one day – we can have out players without all the media going crazy.

If you’re a fan of the author, sports romance, kids, dopey humor and sweet romance – this is for you!

5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
Uncategorized

Recent Release: Galen’s Redemption By Parker Williams

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/galens-redemption-by-parker-williams-10363-b

Blurb
A Links In the Chain Story

A rich man is about to set foot into an unknown world, while a Good Samaritan fears he’ll have to close the charity he’s spent his life building. Poised to lose it all, they might find what they need most in each other.

Son of a wealthy importer, Galen Merriweather lives to broker deals, and he’s damn good at it. But it’s getting harder to ignore the kind of man his father is—a man who would pay Galen’s brother’s lover to leave… a man who’d demand Galen retrieve a quarter-million-dollar check from a struggling homeless shelter.

Robert Kotke knows the money is too good to be true, but it’s a godsend that could help so many people. Still, he hands it over when Galen shows up. But he isn’t done with Galen yet, and he’s going to challenge everything Galen ever believed.

Galen will face an impossible decision: the redemption he’s come to realize he wants, or the life he’d always dreamed of.

Review
Galen’s Redemption is the second book in Parker William’s Links In the Chain series. While this can be read as a standalone, I think its best enjoyed if book one Lincoln’s Park is read first.
The title of the book sums up the story perfectly. Galen is looking for redemption. He spent his whole life trying to please his domineering and abusive father. This has caused a major rift between Galen and his brother Lincoln. Galen has run himself ragged trying to please an unpleasable man.
Robert is the opposite of Galen. He has given his life to help others. He runs a homeless shelter that is barely surviving. Through Robert, Galen learns what family really is.
I’m a big sucker for redemption arc’s. This is very much a slow burn romance but seeing these two men come together for their HEA was simply divine. I loved every word of this story!!
5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Release Day Review: Freckles by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/freckles-by-amy-lane-10285-b

Blurb

Carter Embree has always hoped to be rescued from his productive, tragically boring, and (slightly) ethically compromised life. But when an urchin at a grocery store shoves a bundle of fluff into his hands, Carter goes from rescuee to rescuer—and he needs a little help.

Sandy Corrigan, the vet tech who helps ease Carter into the world of dog ownership, first assumes that Carter is a crazy-pants client who just needs to relax. But as Sandy gets a glimpse into the funny, kind, sexy man under Carter’s mild-mannered exterior, he sees that with a little care and feeding, Carter might be Super-Pet Owner—and decent boyfriend material to boot.

But Carter needs to see himself as a hero first. As he says good-bye to his pristine house and hello to carpet treatments and dog walkers, he finds that there really is more to himself than a researching drudge without a backbone. A Carter Embree can rate a Sandy Corrigan. He can be supportive, he can be a hero, he can be a man who stands up for his principles!

He can be the owner of a small dog.

Review

On the “super, sugary, sweet and lite” side of the Amy spectrum we have Freckles! It’s about a man whose entire life begins on the day a punk kid gives him a puppy of his own and he meets an aspiring Veterinarian named Sandy.

This is just plain feel-good, sweet, no angst, lots of laughs fun. There’s a bit of smexy times, but really, even that is “lite”. Sandy knows what he wants and just goes for it and so does Carter.

Amy tells us this is based on real people she knows from her own pet-owning experience and it shows. Though there are a couple of “inaccuracies” here and there, it’s a wonderful look at new puppy ownership and finding one’s own place in the world.

Personally I was cringing every time Carter left little Freckles alone – I kept picturing tragedy and mayhem upon return (since no crate!) but our Amy let little Freckles live on in relative peace ☺

This is a sweet vaguely Thanksgiving story that fans of the author or people just looking for something fun to read will absolutely adore.
Highly Recommended.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
Amy Lane has a fantastic writing style, lyrical and flowing that just grabs you from the start. In the same way Freckles the tiny puppy is thrust into poor Carter’s helpless hands, the reader is also thrown into this whirlwind of a romance, under the watchful eye of one itty bitty white fluff of a dog.
This book is funny, Whitty, and charming, it flows beautifully and the changes Carter goes through after meeting Freckles and becoming a doggy daddy are relatable and endearing. This is a book about evolving, growing as a person and becoming more than one, family and friends.

If you are looking for a sweet, fun read with some heat and lots of puppy love this is the book for you!

Number of stars out of 5
4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Release Day Review: Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack series book #1) by Bru Baker

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/stealing-his-heart-by-bru-baker-10269-b

Blurb

Danny’s parents raised him to believe his wolf was a curse. He’s part of the wealthy and powerful Connoll Pack, but only nominally. He abandoned that world to volunteer with supernatural kids, and he isn’t looking for a mate….

Max is a shifter who is also a detective. He’s working a case that could make or break his career. Danny’s caught up in the case he’s on, and he’s also irresistible. They’re a bad match—Max, an Alpha having trouble with his new powers and Danny, who trusts Alphas as far as he could throw one. But they can’t get enough of each other, and they might bond before they even see it coming.

They could be amazing together, but they have to get past a few obstacles—especially since someone close to Danny might be involved in the thefts Max is investigating.

Review
This is a cute shifter romance with a lot of humor and playful banter going around. It’s shifters, so there’s the whole mating thing, which is always fun, but it’s done surprisingly sweetly with a lot of emphasis on learning to know and trust each other, instead of just starting a relationship based on insta-lust and hoping for the best.

What’s a bit atypical in this story is that we get (some) werewolves who aren’t proud of their heritage, and actually look down on their animal half and try to suppress it or ignore it. In most shifter stories that sort of bigoted attitude is usually reserved for intolerant human antagonists and is not internalized by weres the way it is here.
Danny is raised in one such family and has the emotional scars to prove it. He’s used to fending for himself, so it was nice to see Max care for him and help him out. I liked seeing Danny get “adopted” so enthusiastically by Max’s family, which made for some heartwarming moments as well as unexpected revelations.
The mystery surrounding the thefts that Max is investigating is well-written and a nice way to introduce an element of danger and suspense into the story.

Stealing His Heart is the first book in a new series and it is set in the same universe as the Camp Howl series. We get brief glimpses of characters from the first series and references to Camp Howl as well, which I really liked. It’s always nice to see how the MC’s from previous books are faring.

m/m, gay, paranormal, shifter, finding family, fated mates

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Morgan

I loved this!  I thought this was one of Bru Baker’s better stories!

I love their chemistry, the secondary characters and how their feelings for one another manifest.  I love the “mine/mate” feel to this.

Highly recommended!


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

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