Recent Release: Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by Jay Northcote

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43717814-better-place?from_search=true

Blurb

Joe deserves better. Meeting Dylan helps him see that.

After a recent redundancy, Joe takes a few months off to try and make it as a writer. His partner, Harry, is less than supportive but Joe is used to that after ten years together, just like he’s used to Harry’s controlling nature and his drinking habit.

Dylan, a server at Rainbow Place, is fascinated by Joe as he sits in the café and works on his laptop. His attempts to flirt are met with awkwardness at first, but gradually Joe opens up. Dylan is disappointed when he learns Joe isn’t single. As their friendship develops he begins to worry about the nature of Joe’s relationship, especially when he witnesses Harry’s behaviour in person. Abuse isn’t always physical, and Dylan knows that from experience. His concern helps Joe see his relationship for what it is, and gives him the courage to end things with Harry.

Free to act on their mutual attraction, Joe and Dylan dive headlong into something that becomes serious fast. Joe revels in the passion and intimacy he’s been missing out on for so long, but Dylan is worried that Joe is on the rebound. He puts on the brakes, knowing that they need to slow down to make this last. For this new relationship to work, Joe needs to show Dylan that he’s ready to move on from the past.

Review

This book reminds me again of why I love Jay Northcote’s stories so much. This is a truly wonderful love story with two incredibly authentic MC’s, facing real-life problems.
What I always take away from his stories is that love, romantic, soul-deep and overwhelming love, can happen for everyday regular people. That’s where he shines and brings out the magic. Which is exactly what he did here.

I really felt a connection with these characters, Joe and Dylan, though Joe especially, and I was so moved by their story. Perhaps part of the reason is its slow and gentle build-up, with the focus on the emotional bond between the MC’s first, before any physical shenanigans take place. The story builds very gradually, because at the start of the book Joe is still in a relationship, albeit one who has seen better days with a partner who is very controlling, dismissive of Joe’s wants and needs, and who pretty much takes Joe for granted.

Joe and Dylan start out as friends and stay that way until Joe’s newly single. No cheating here.
I think the author did a really good job at describing Joe’s and Harry’s relationship, taking his time to give us a look into their lives and for Joe to do his utmost for their relationship to succeed even after he gains a new perspective on it. It makes Joe very easy to relate too. I also love that Dylan wasn’t “that guy”, breaking up a supposedly happy home, so to speak.

Dylan’s past experiences make him very well suited to understand what Joe’s going through and seeing him watch out for Joe was very touching. Dylan also has insecurities to face and I love him for his insight and courage, figuring out the best way for their relationship to make it long term.

The writing style is wonderful, fluent and very evocative with beautiful imagery. I especially loved the scenes at the beach which were so descriptive I felt as if I was right there too.

I also absolutely adored one of the new characters! Lady Gogo is just wow! I can’t help but feel that she’s been introduced to be a significant other for a certain someone… and I have to say I’m super excited for that pairing!! So fingers crossed!

m/m, gay, contemporary, friends to lovers, age-gap

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

This book is part of a series. I have not read the others, so it’s possible to read as standalone, but there’s probably side stories that are thrown in that only one reading series would appreciate, but it’s ok. Dylan is an artist on his off time and works at a LGBT café. There is where he meets Joe, an older man that he feels instantly attracted to. Joe is involved with someone else so they remain just friends, though attraction is still simmering beneath the surface. Joe’s relationship with his partner was rocky and very relatable. They were overly complacent and the other man took Joe for granted and was a bit of a jerk. Dylan could see the warning signs after witnessing an encounter because he had gone through something similar….and with a small scar to prove it. Even though Dylan was trying to help, he did come off way too brash in need to help. I also was iffy on how fast things progressed with Joe and Dylan. However, they had a fairly solid friendship before a relationship so I guess it makes sense to not hold back . Still. I liked how Dylan was supportive of Joe in ways no one else was and Joe was able to start building his life again. Also that Joe helped inspire and encourage Dylan with his art. Feel good book and I enjoyed reading. Will read previous books now.

Number of stars out of 5

5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
This book left me feeling slightly ambivalent, and I reckon part of it is due to the themes this book deals with. Joe is in a relationship that is already falling apart, and meeting Dylan helps him see the extant of it. As he falls for Dylan, and realizes he is no longer in love with his partner, you understand as a reader why this is happening, and that it’s not ‘cheating’. Yet there are some gray areas and even the breakup itself was not a very clean break. I say it left my ambivalent not as a bad thing, just that it had a very realistic feel to it. Life is rarely black and white, relationships are complicated, and Jay managed to get that across very well in this book (and all his books have the same quality, be honest). I still felt uncomfortable at times, that maybe they needed clearer lines when they became a couple. Yet, you see how they build a bond over the time they were friends so it’s not like Joe was bouncing from one man to another without any thought.

The book also has a somewhat slower pace, and it works well with all the heavy themes it deals with. Dylan and Joe are both interesting characters, and I liked getting a lot of the other MC’s from previous books and side characters in the action. This book to me feels more of a HFN then a HEA but it is a happy ending non-the less.
I am also really anticipating the next book, IF I guessed the MC’s correctly, it looks awesome!

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Stallion Mage: True Mates (Stallion Mage book 2) by A.O. Spade

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43587581-stallion-mage?from_search=true

Blurb

As an earth mage, Alvarr is the only stallion who can survive outside the tribe’s territory. And this is exactly what he must do to find out what has been affecting the land so terribly. Most of the stallions believe that the lack of rain is just a bad season, but Alvarr’s trusted advisor, Elder Mastok, fears that Nature has abandoned them due to a terrible event from their people’s distant past.

Whatever the cause, Alvarr knows he must get answers before the tribe starts to starve. His journey takes him far beyond the stallion territory into the lost land of their ancient people. There, Alvarr discovers not only secrets about the way they once lived, but himself as well.

When he returns to leader Laren and the tribe, he is bearing more than ancient knowledge. It is only a matter of time before his secrets become known to all: he, a stallion, is with child, and Laren is his true mate.

Review

This book picks up right where we left Alvarr in the first one, alone and on a mission.

Romance takes a backseat and this is much more of an adventure story with Alvarr going on a solitary quest to find out more about the “Rift” that has brought such imbalance to the world of the horse shifters. The horses have lost so much of their history and knowledge, even worse, they have lost their hearts with stallions living apart from the mares and foals. I love that it’s this particular “imbalance” in their society that causes Nature to lose its way.

Laren is rather inflexible in his way of thinking and his distrust of all things unknown, and thus unsafe until proven otherwise, almost proves stronger than the draw to claim and protect his mate. Foremost in his mind is always the safety of his tribe though, and he comes through for Alvarr when push comes to shove. Eventually.

Alvarr is a wonderful character and I loved how he came into his own in this story. He grows so much on his journey, and surprises even himself with his new-found resourcefulness and inner strength. The Elders and Barron make for amazing secondary characters, and even Thane and Nassor, the villains of the tribe, are well-written and nuanced characters.

The mpreg aspect of this universe is done differently than in most omegaverse stories I’ve read so far and I really like this new angle. I also love the sense of urgency throughout the story (doomsday is coming for the tribe, after all) and the way physically weaker members, like Alvarr, Barron and the Elders, get to play such an important part in saving their brethren.

I’m very curious to see how it will all play out in the end.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Obsessed (bundle) by Quin Perin

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43198063-obsessed

Blurb

All Meik cares about is lust, not love.

An eager boy toy, that’s what he’s looking for. Someone who worships the ground he walks on. The very second he lays eyes on the enigmatic, street musician Sebastian, he believes he found his new playmate. Obsessed with the young man, Meik introduces him to a world full of sins and desire until the man’s presence threatens to reveal dark memories he had locked away tightly.

Review

This book is at once deliciously smutty, sneakily romantic and utterly heartbreaking. What a rollercoaster this has been! It’s so refreshingly different and original. I loved it!

The story is written from the pov of Meik Lennen, a man who seemingly has it all and is bored with the sameness of his easy, luxurious life. Until… a chance encounter with a mysterious street musician, Sebastian.

There’s a lot of very hot dirty talk and gratuitous sex, deliberately throwing the reader off the scent of the unique love story that is to follow. Almost slyly at first, the authors drop little hints to help the reader understand Meik better and gradually flashbacks are introduced as the story unfolds further. These give us a truly heart-rending glimpse into Meik’s past and it finally starts to make sense why he is so broken and closed-off.

Honestly, I love Meik!! He starts out, and continues for quite a while, as a real jerk, but in the end I just wanted to cuddle him and cheer him on. After shaking him a little (no, a lot), because the man is so oblivious! Sebastian remains a mystery for some time, because we get our info through Meik and he’s not always the most perceptive of narrators. I like Seb’s resilience and his acceptance of Meik, warts and all.

As the emotional connection between Meik and Sebastian continues to grow, Meik is forced to recognize that he actually feels something for the younger man. Something more than lust, that is. Can’t say he gives in with good grace, but he does go after his man in his own fashion. The continuing flashbacks into Meik’s past are beautifully written and very sweet, poignantly so.

After a certain event… Meik and Sebastian have a falling out of sorts. The L-word is still something Meik has a lot of trouble accepting, and he fights it. So hard. Will he have the courage to embrace it (again), knowing how deeply it hurts when things go south?

The story concludes in a very unique way, with the focus shifting even more to Meik’s origin story.
He is always so blunt, arrogant and cold even (on the outside) that seeing him so vulnerable and sweet with his first love was an endearing change of pace. Knowing what was coming didn’t make it any easier to read though. Meik’s emotions are raw and overwhelming, his grief so real. He’s totally forgiven for closing his heart off like he did.

I adore Quin & Perin’s writing style. They are brilliant with picking the right word or comparison to make the reader understand just how much their character is feeling. I love the way they cut off sentences to create more tension and heighten emotions.

Can’t wait to see what they bring us next!

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates Narrated by Colin Darcy

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rocking-the-cowboy-by-skylar-m-cates-9800-

Blurb
Opposites who go together like country and rock ’n’ roll.

Long before he was a superstar, Remy Sean had a secret crush on Jed Riley. But Jed sees Remy as a spoiled pop rocker and an extension of his father’s control. Still, Jed is willing to let Remy hide from the press on his ranch—but only as a way to get his father out of his life and business for good.

Used to being admired and fawned over, Remy keenly feels the sting of Jed’s dismissal. Can he make Jed see him as more than a pain in the ass? Or is Jed too tangled up in his ranch to see past his old hurt?

Jed doesn’t believe someone desired by so many fans could want him, a simple cowboy. But Remy is determined to change Jed’s mind and steal his heart….

Review
Opposites attract stories have always been a favourite of mine. I love the way seemingly insurmountable obstacles are overcome and bridges built bringing a couple together. Even better that it’s a Cowboy and a Rockstar with a history. This story is a wonderfully easy listen. The Ranch is Jed’s whole life. His father walked away for the glitz of the music industry and Jed has to keep the ranch afloat without interference. Remy feels burnt out and has no inclination to write songs. When Remy gets to the Ranch it reawakens the unrequited love he felt for Jed as a teenager. It’s lovely how they grow to care and love for each other. Jed puts others himself, making decisions he thinks are for the best but he doesn’t actually find out first if that’s what they want. This leads to misunderstanding and nearly risking everything he has with Remy. Until Remy realises what is happening and sorts it out. There’s great chemistry between them and I was happy for the happy ever after ending.
Colin Darcy does a great job narrating this story, he gives right voices to Jed and Remy brining out their personalities. And the secondary characters of Jed’s father and family are portrayed really well. All the characters are believable and he pitched his tone just right for the mood of the story. I’ll watch out for others narrated by him.

4 of stars out of 5 for the story
4 of stars out of 5 for the Narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day Review: Helix by Anna Martin

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/helix-by-anna-martin-10255-

Blurb
When high school student James has trouble with his truck, Dylan, who is studying to be a mechanic, comes to the rescue. James thinks he hides his immediate attraction well, but is happy to be wrong when Dylan asks for his number. Since James is new to romance, they take things slowly, and because Dylan is in college, James keeps the budding relationship secret from his overprotective dad.

Across town, Mark, a teacher and single father to James and his sister, Frankie, meets Steve at a bar for what both believe will be a quick hookup. Mark doesn’t see any reason to tell his kids about Steve or press Steve for details about Steve’s adopted son…. It’s just sex between them. Isn’t it?

Two very different love stories grow side by side, each hidden from the other. But all of that changes at a family barbecue, when Mark decides it’s time for his kids to meet Steve and for him to meet James’s boyfriend, who none of them realize is Steve’s son, Dylan. The inevitable explosion means the two couples have some explaining to do to soothe the hurt feelings of their families—and lovers.

Review
The blurb attracted me to this story. I was intrigued as to how the two couples would react when they found out about each other. From previous experience of Anna Martin’s work I was confident that it was not going to be some parody. I loved reading about two very different love stories growing at the same time. Each from a very different perspective. The mature couple with their previous experiences and issues and the younger pair with their own very different but no less important aspects to a building relationship. There was the innocence and gentleness of James and Dylan’s as opposed to the passionate intensity between Steve and Mark. Each couple looking for something different. It was also interesting reading the near miss meetings between the two pairs.
The very different parenting styles were interesting and I could see the pitfalls coming. Thank heavens for Frankie or I wonder if Mark and James would have built the bridge between them so easily. It surprised me how much of an unreasonable ass Mark became, there really is no fool like an old fool.
The epilogue rounded things up beautifully.
I think this book would work really well as an audiobook.

4 of stars out of 5


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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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Retro Review: Shattered Secrets (In the Shadow of the Wolf #1) by R.J. Scott , Diane Adams

Blurb

Rob is a cop and has just passed his thirtieth birthday, being promoted to a special police task force specializing in wolf / human cases. He sees it all. The seedy underbelly of city life, the fights, the murders, and the parts of human / wolf interaction that people would rather ignore. He meets a young man, Jamie, at a club and embarks on the hottest one night stand of his life. Little does he know that his lover is a shifter. He has no worries with wolves, but interspecies relationships are not on his to-do list.

When a case involving kidnappings of young werewolves lands on Rob’s desk the ugly face of the werewolf sex trade is something he has to deal with. With Jamie seemingly at the centre of it all can Rob push past his prejudices and keep his lover alive?

Review

I’m not sure why I hadn’t read this before but I love RJ Scott and have enjoyed Diane Adams work in the past and I ran across a mention of this somewhere… you get the picture.

 

In any case I really enjoyed this!  There are a few plot holes – like the “I don’t want to date a shifter because we wouldn’t be equals” that are small and don’t really interfere with my overall enjoyment. 

 

There is a fair amount of hot smexy times and “mine” / mate feelz.  There is an exciting crime to solve and some shifted times as well.

 

Overall I read through this quickly and can’t wait to move on to book 2!

 

Highly recommended to shifter fans!

4.25 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Wild as the West Texas Wind Author: Jackie North

release day review

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43787252-wild-as-the-west-texas-wind?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Blurb
Soulmates across time. Two hearts that were meant to be together.

In present day, Zach takes a road trip to Trinidad to find information on a missing friend.

In 1892, Layton Blue, outlaw, longs for hearth and home even as he treasures his life of freedom.

A freak rainstorm washes Zach’s car into a ditch, sending him back to the year 1892. Searching for help, alone and on foot in the middle of the nowhere, he crosses paths with the famous Ketchum Gang. Now the gang’s prisoner, Zach’s fate is to be sold at a seedy auction for whores.

Layton is put in charge of making sure Zach does not escape, but as the chemistry between them grows, Layton finds himself wanting to help Zach.

Can Layton overcome years of being on the run? Can Zach accept help from an outlaw?

A male/male time travel romance complete with fast rides across the desert, campfires beneath the stars, cool water in the desert, wild rescues, and true love across time

Review
It’s not often that I read late into the night because I had to finish a story, but this is one of them. I wasn’t sure going in whether I would connect to an outlaw as the main character but I needn’t have. Layton is a sweet caring man caught in a situation where he is making the best he can out of what life has given him. The main characters from the previous books are mentioned but they do not play a major role and their context is explained so well in the story I didn’t feel I was missing something not having read it. Although I will do now because I want to know more about them. The relationship between Layton and Zach feels like enemies to lovers but it’s not that’s only on Zach’s part given the circumstances he finds himself in. Back in time stranded and in the clutches of an immoral gang. His only hope is to find Laurie. In the last section of the story the pace picks and I was rooting for them. I just wish there was an epilogue a glimpse into the future but maybe that’ll be in the next book.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Relase Day Review: Reunited by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/reunited-by-andrew-grey-10179-b

Blurb

Back in high school, nobody noticed quiet nerd Kevin Howard.
But everybody noticed handsome, athletic, and ultra-popular jock Clay Northrup.
They had nothing in common and lived in different worlds.
But a lot can change in fifteen years, and when they meet again at their high school reunion, Clay is no longer the big man on campus, and Kevin isn’t hiding in a corner anymore.

Can they put aside who they were? Can one night really lead to forever?

Review

Cute second chance at love story with a high school reunion turning into an unlikely first date. I liked that we get quite a lot of backstory for our MC’s, even in this short a novella. Both MC’s have changed a lot since high school, but we still get that opposites attract vibe which is always fun. Kevin is a great guy, but came off a bit boastful sometimes and not as restrained or centered as he prides himself on being.
There’s certainly potential for these two MC’s, both in the romance and finding family department, but there are practical challenges to be faced if they are to make a success of a real relationship.

I would have liked to have had more of an answer to the final question on the blurb. The ending, though sweet and hopeful, still left quite a bit open.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day Review: My Fair Brady By K.C. Wells

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/my-fair-brady-by-kc-wells-10232-b

Blurb

A spur of the moment invitation changes two lives.

Jordan Wolf’s company runs like a well-oiled machine. At least until his PA, Brady Donovan, comes down with the flu and takes sick leave. Then Jordan discovers what a treasure Brady is and who really keeps his business—and Jordan in particular—moving like clockwork. So when Jordan needs a plus-one, Brady seems the obvious choice to accompany him. After a major shopping trip to get Brady looking the part, however…. Wow.

Brady has a whole new wardrobe, and now his boss is whisking him away for a weekend party. Something is going on, something Brady never expected: Jordan is looking at him like he’s never seen him before, electrifying Brady’s long-hidden desires.

But can the romantic magic last when the weekend is over and it’s back to reality?

 

Review

Jordan leads an extremely well-organized life thanks to his very efficient personal assistant Brady. Jordan never realized how much Brady did for him until one day Brady fell ill and started missing work. After spending time nursing Brady back to health Jordan started feeling the beginning of attraction. Brady has been in love with Jordan almost since the beginning of working for him. When Jordan asks him to come with him to a party as a “fake boyfriend” he jumps at the chance. The sparks fly between these two men. My Fair Brady was a sweet angst free read that I highly recommend.

4.5 out of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review