Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story That Turtle Story by CS Poe

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Nor O’Brien spends his days in sunny Key West caring for and rehabilitating sea turtles. He doesn’t need anything else in life, expect maybe a significant other to cuddle with after a long day. But recent heartbreak has left Nor salty, and he’s not in the mood for anything, Christmas included. Then Eugene Montgomery walks into Turtle R&R, claiming to have found a clutch of eggs in distress. Nor is smitten with the tourist at first sight, and at the suggestion of his screwball colleagues, indulges in some no-strings-attached fun. Nor and Eugene are quick to get along, happily enjoy each other’s company, and take in the island’s unique holiday pleasures together. But Nor would never leave his turtles, not for any man. So when his rebound fling turns into strong romantic feelings for Eugene, it’ll take a Christmas miracle to keep the two together forever in Key West.

Review

This is an adorably cute story! It’s short, sweet and fits just right.
The blurb describes the story, so I won’t restate it; just know that it has everything – humour, attraction, some learning (turtles☺ ), colorful characters (Gus), a mini angst/misunderstanding and the promise of an HEA. I loved it!

4 stars out of 5

Copy generously provided by publisher

Audiobook: Under a Blue Moon (CAMP H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker Narrated by Dorian Bane

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/under-a-blue-moon-by-bru-baker-9642-b

Blurb

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?

Review

Story:

When Nick and Drew meet at the airport, they hit it off immediately and sparks fly, but they both have planes to catch and places to be… Nick is unaware that human Drew knows about the existence of werewolves and pegged him for a wolf almost from the get go. Imagine his surprise when he finds out Drew is one of his new co-workers at Camp H.O.W.L.!
FYI, he doesn’t handle surprises well. It wasn’t his finest hour.

Nick doesn’t think a relationship with a human and a were can work, so he keeps Drew at a distance. His concerns are valid, I think, and I liked that he didn’t just put them aside because of his attraction to Drew. That being said, he does test Drew’s patience, and the reader’s, when he starts sending out mixed signals and refuses to let go off his prejudices. Even when Drew proves him wrong, again and again.

Drew’s a great guy, competent, understanding and patient, which he needs to be to deal with headstrong Nick. I also loved his playful side and competitive streak when he goes all out to show Nick a thing or two about what he’s capable of.

Emotions start running high and when disaster strikes, Nick finally understands how much Drew has come to mean to him. But is he too late? I loved the tension and emotional highs and lows that we get near the end of the story, which contrasts nicely with the almost mellow storyline that went before. There’s a lot of humor too, which I liked, and the secondary characters are well-written and help create a warm sense of pack & family around the MC’s. Always a big part of the charm of shifter romances for me.

I very much enjoyed this story. A lot of shifter romances focus on the fated mate connection and are far more insta-lust/insta-love than this one, but I actually really liked that the author took her time to get Nick & Drew there and the real life worries that snuck in.

Narration:
I very much enjoyed Dorian Bane’s performance, his warm voice and the emotions he brought to the story. He makes Nick sound a bit more gruff than Drew, and I loved how Nick’s inner turmoil came out in the narration. Drew’s buoyancy and zest for life shine through as well and I also liked the voices the narrator came up with for the secondary characters.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Colina de Lavanada by August Li

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb
Lord protector of whores, thieves, sorcerers, and deviants.

Owning a parcel of land the railroad needs to cross means Edward gets to run the border town around the station as he sees fit. What starts as a place to indulge his varied appetites becomes a haven to society’s castoffs, and if Edward encourages legends about its founder to flourish, well, he’s not so much a liar as a man who wants to protect all the cultures living in peace. Being mayor means folks might ignore his vices, but they also expect him to fix what goes wrong.

When a crushing heat wave and drought threaten not only the town’s diverse holiday celebrations but its very existence, Edward must turn to the one man he’d rather french kiss a timber rattler than face—the icily elegant Cantonese mage Edward walked out on but never stopped loving.

Review
Mages, addiction, drought and second chances.
Four words to describe this little magical tale.

Stunning mage Shu holds Edward, the founder of Colina de Lavanda, at distance… his heart can’t handle him.
Edward couldn’t stay with just one guy so Shu put him aside.
With the ongoing drought Edward has to ask Shu for help…

Amazing description of a wonderful scenery. The main characters were well put down, a flawed mayor and a graceful, elegant mage. An undeniable love and attraction. A nice solution to solve the drought and a sweet reuniting. This all woven together with some magic and here you got it: Colina de Lavanda. I did like this tale.

Number of stars out 4 of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story The Night Sky Festival by S.A. Stovall

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

 

Blurb

Photographer Zach is happy to pack up his gear and head to the Mojave Desert over the holidays. Ever since his ex-husband filed for divorce a day before Christmas, it’s safe to say this isn’t Zach’s favorite time of year.

Fortunately, he stumbles upon a town where the residents seem to agree. The good people of Baker would much rather celebrate the possibility of extraterrestrials as they dance under the stars in their unique “Night Sky Festival.” The locals are interesting, to say the least, and they want Zach to join them.

But is Zach ready to let go of his holiday bitterness? And if so, whose invitation should he accept: the cute cashier, the burly single dad, or the sexy fun-loving cop?

Review

I really could not get into this story, it felt unfinished and ended abruptly. The writing was fine and there were a few funny moments, I liked the characters but the story just progressed oddly. Zach is a very grumpy man but as soon as he meets the first man in the little town of Baker he starts feeling different. After a painful divorce two years prior he could not think about men as attractive, but the men of Baker seem to have other ideas. That in itself was a fun concept, but then he meets two more men and is oddly attracted to all of them and they all hit on him strangely too. I thought it had something to do with the theme of aliens in the town and maybe have a bit of a paranormal theme going on, but it never really got clear. I was just confused because in the end I never understood why he chose one men out of the three, as he shows the same kind of attraction to all of them. It was too unfinished and confusing to me.

Number of stars out of 5
2

 

 

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Release Day Review: New Tricks by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/new-tricks-by-andrew-grey-10029-

Blurb
In matters of the heart, there’s no such thing as business as usual.

Thomas Stepford spent years building a very successful business and now at thirty-nine, he wants a quieter life. With his parents needing help, he decides to return home. He can’t get away from business completely and needs an assistant—but the man who is hired isn’t quite what he had in mind.

Brandon Wilson, the ink on his degree barely dry, needs a job, and his mother helps him get one as Mr. Stepford’s assistant. Thomas doesn’t seem to remember, but Brandon worked mowing the stunningly attractive older man’s lawn years ago. Thomas was Brandon’s teenage fantasy, and now he’s Brandon’s boss.

Thomas and Brandon are both determined to keep their relationship strictly business, but the old attraction is still there. They learn to work together even as the tension between them reaches the boiling point. But just as they start to surrender, Thomas’s old life in New York calls him. Even if he resists that pull, can their newfound relationship survive when Brandon receives the call of his dreams… from Hollywood

Review by Mary
Another simply lovely heartwarming story by Andrew Grey. Thomas has given up on love. He’s had some bad experiences which left him wary. Although he has built up a very successful business, this has also come at a cost to his health. Now approaching 40 Thomas is questioning his lifestyle and whether it’s worth it. Thomas comes across as such a war and caring person but the story gives glimpses of his toughness in business. His drive and determination to build has got him this far but he needs to slow down and pay attention to his health and to his family. Going home to a quieter way of living. Into the story comes Brandon an intelligent young man who has known hardship but gets by with the love and s of his grandmother. He’s intelligent with a good degree but can’t get a job. Opportunity brings Thomas and Brandon together and from there they recognise what true love can be like. Such a beautiful low angst romance. Perfect for that Christmas spirit feeling without it actually being a Christmas story. I do hope Blaze, Thomas’s best friend and business partner gets his own story and also finds true love.

4.5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Review by Aerielle

 

Andrew Grey is the master of sweet, low-angst romances. New Tricks is about Thomas, a man on the verge of burn out, leaving New York City and moving to a small town in Colorado to take care of his aging parents. There he meets his new assistant Brandon, a recent college graduate and finds himself very attracted to the young man. Thomas has been hurt by a past relationship with a coworker and vows not to act upon his feelings.

Brandon has known and lusted after Thomas since he used to mow Thomas’ yard back in high school. Brandon easily brings order to Thomas’ chaotic life. The pair enjoy spending time with each other and eventually act upon their attraction.

Thomas knows that he won’t be able to keep Brandon with him forever. Brandon is destined for better things. When Brandon gets a job offer that he can’t turn down, Thomas is determined to let him go live his life.

New Tricks has a full cast of enjoyable characters. Thomas’ New York assistant Marjorie is brassy and snarky and doesn’t take any of Thomas’ crap. I absolutely loved Brandon’s grandmother Thelma who is the only family member who is accepting of Brandon’s sexuality. She is so fierce and protective of her grandson.

You can not go wrong with this book!!

 

 5 stars

 

 

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: A Soldier’s Wish (The Christmas Angel #5) by N.R. Walker

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/series/242950

Blurb

The year is 1969…

Gary Fairchild is proud to be a hippie college student, and he protests the Vietnam War because he believes in love and peace. To him, it isn’t just a counterculture movement—it’s a way of life. When tickets to the Aquarium Exposition—3 Days of Peace & Music, or Woodstock, as it was better known, go on sale, there’s no way he isn’t going.

Richard Ronsman is a sheltered farm boy who lives in the shadow of his overbearing father. He’s hidden his darkest secret to earn his father’s love, but nothing is ever good enough—not even volunteering for the Vietnam War. And with just a few days left before he’s deployed, a striking hippie invites him to join them at a music festival.

Three days of music, drugs, rain, mud, and love forged a bond between these two very different men that would shape the rest of their lives. They share dreams and fears, and when Richard is shipped off to war, they share letters and love. For Richard’s first Christmas home, he is gifted a special angel ornament that just might make a soldier’s wish come true.

Review

Wow. This was so amazing! I have to admit – having grown up in the 70s and 80s I never really thought much about Vietnam. I mean, I learned about it as a general piece of history, but I never thought about what it meant to these men who truly believed it was the “wrong” type of war or to whom they never wanted to kill a human and they get drafted based on their birthday – ugh! How horrible – NR Walker really helped me to put it in context of today and I am amazed at how many men even went on without draft dodging.

In any case, this is a tremendously sweet story with a great look at history and a very sweet ending. If I have any complaints its that there was way too much sex in relation to the emotional connection that she usually gives us. IMHO.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Hero for the Holidays by Charles Payseur

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

 

Cody travels from Metro City to the Caribbean island lair of Dr. Devious to look after the place while the supervillain is in space for the holidays… and maybe to mend his broken heart. With Christmas fast approaching, Cody is desperate to avoid reminders of his recent disastrous breakup, and a few weeks of sun and relaxation sound perfect—until a drunk (but very cute) superhero crashes the party by literally crashing onto the beach.
And that’s just the start of Cody’s problems—angry shark-men, mysterious lava creatures, and a malfunctioning AI all make his holiday getaway anything but relaxing. Amid the chaos of his adventures in lair-sitting, though, Cody might find just what he needs—a new chance at love.

Review

When Cody agrees to lair sit for Dr. Devious, he thought he would be in for a nice relaxing holiday on the island. What happens will change his life forever. Trying to get over a bad break up Cody just wants to soak up some sunshine and forget his pain, but unexpected visitors and an artificial intelligence gone haywire is what he must deal with.
This story is a fast paced read that pulled me in right from the start. Cody’s adventure is full of comical mishaps and an engaging plot. Cody is a regular person and readers can relate to him and how he deals with what is happening on the island. It was fun to see all the misunderstandings happen throughout this story. This is a sweet and endearing read and look forward to more from this author in the future.

Number of stars out of 5: 4

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Holidays Are Where Your Heart Is By Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Jared’s been all over the world as a traveling manny with Holiday Helpers, and the itch to put down roots is is starting to eclipse his wanderlust—especially since his current family is a handful.
After culinary school, Wes did some wandering of his own, exploring Central America before settling as a resort chef in his mother’s homeland of Costa Rica, a place he loves and plans to stay. If he’s learned one thing, it’s to be wary of flings with vacationers. Still, he can’t stand to watch two little Swiss kids lose their belief in Saint Nicholas, so he’ll lend a hand to the manny assisting the family. It won’t be easy to recreate a traditional European Christmas in a tropical paradise.
Between a snowball fight on a sunny beach and sledding down an active volcano, Jared and Wes discover some renewed holiday magic of their own. Can they make it last a lifetime?

Review

This was a story that just didn’t have enough length to work. We got an idea of where this was going to go and just about when it seems like it gets it’s legs, it’s over.

While I appreciated the need for brevity and technically the story is all there, what it felt like was a lovely lead in and a brief exploration of the meet cute, then pow – it’s over and a maybe HFN.

I’m not sure how much longer it needed to be but I really just didn’t feel our MCs connecting much and I learned way more about the family/kids than the new boyfriend.

In any case – there were some cute moments but I wasn’t satisfied in the end.

2.75 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert book and audiobook narrated by Sean Crisden

Audible Link:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Better-Not-Pout-Audiobook/1488206163?qid=1544021897&sr=sr_1_2&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=PRD1FWTW48ZYY2KE8E7Z&

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40242604-better-not-pout?from_search=true

Blurb
One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

Review
This holiday romance is cute and uplifting, befitting the holiday spirit, but it also has that typical emotional intensity that I’ve come to look for in any book by Annabeth Albert. I was expecting something light and maybe a bit mushy, an easy read to get into the right frame of mind for the holidays. This was so much more than that, though.

I adored Teddy from the beginning and his good cheer and positive attitude to life make him a perfect match for Nick, who very much needs what Teddy has to offer. Even if he doesn’t realize it.

Nick is also a great character, very steady and competent, though somewhat emotionally closed-off and grumpy at first. He’s not really feeling the holiday spirit, santa claus suit notwithstanding.
Nick’s at a point in his life where he needs to find a new direction, and is feeling a bit lost.
Enter Teddy… who makes Nick feel again and pushes him to reassess how he wants to live his life. Go Teddy!

Nick and Teddy are very different in age and outlook, but they have both known loss and as a result are similarly playing it safe in some way or other. Nick more obviously so than Teddy. These two characters are just so right together, they complement and inspire each other in the very best of ways and have a great connection, both emotionally and chemistry-wise.
I felt like knocking some sense into Nick though, because he seems hell-bent on throwing away his chance at love and happiness. Stubborn man.

I love May/December stories and this was an exceptional take on that trope.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Provided for Review

Review by Morgan – audiobook

I totally agree with Karen about the story and Sean Crisden’s narration was perfection! A totally enjoyable holiday experience! Highly Recommeded!

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Homecoming (The Christmas Angel #4) by L.A. Witt

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41718469-christmas-homecoming

Blurb

August 1939. Roger Miller and Jack O’Brien have been close since childhood. By the time they realize there’s more between them than friendship, Jack is leaving their sleepy Iowa town for college. But they console themselves knowing he’ll be home for Christmas. Right?

It is Christmas before they see each other again, but that Christmas comes six years and a world war later. Aged, beaten, and shaken by combat, they’re not the boys they were back then, but their feelings for each other are stronger than ever.

Neither know the words to say everything they’ve carried since that peacetime summer kiss, though. Even as they stand in the same room, there’s a thousand miles between them.

But maybe that’s some distance the little angel in Roger’s rucksack can cross.

The Christmas Angel series books are standalones and can be read in any order.

Review

This was so sweet! Although this was a bit hard to swallow –I still loved it and was so glad for their HEA. LA Witt really did a nice job imagining the hardship of war for these boys and how it would affect their future decisions. I loved the line “We can be some other town’s ______ bacherlors” – such a lovely outcome for them!

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review