Release Day Review:Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/devouring-flame-by-ej-russell-10077-b

Blurb

An Enchanted Occasions Story
Reunited and reignited.

While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith, half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads seeing again: the ifrit, Hashim of the Windrider clan.

On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith, stupidly besotted, revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word? Message received, loud and clear: Thanks but no, thanks.

Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free.

When their attraction sparks once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name—which would be a hell of a lot easier if they didn’t have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood.

But if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes.

Luckily Smith is the guy who gets shit done. And Hashim is never afraid to heat things up.

Review
This was very cute. I love EJ Russell’s imagination and way with character dialog.
I didn’t enjoy this as much as her other series but as this looks to expand further I’d totally read more from this series – well- pretty much anything by this author goes on my TBR list ☺
I can’t put my finger on it – but I think the thing – for me – that makes it less enjoyable is that they’d already met and we have a misunderstanding to get around first. I’m just not a fan of that trope.

I did really love the “powers” and their combined effects on one another – very romantic and wonderful. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the author, fans of paranormal romance and fans of romance with humor.

4 of 5 stars


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Release Day Review: Second Hand (Tucker Springs #2) by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/second-hand-by-marie-sexton-and-heidi-cullinan-10079-b

Blurb

Paul Hannon flunked out of vet school. His fiancée left him. He can barely afford his rent, and he hates his house. About the only things he has left are a pantry full of his ex’s kitchen gadgets and a lot of emotional baggage. He could really use a win—and that’s when he meets El.

Pawnbroker El Rozal is a cynic. His own family’s dysfunction has taught him that love and relationships lead to misery. Despite that belief, he keeps making up excuses to see Paul again. Paul, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s talented and kind and worthy. Paul, who’s not over his ex-fiancée and is probably straight anyway. Paul, who’s so blind to El’s growing attraction, even asking him out on dates doesn’t seem to tip him off.

El may not do relationships, but something has to give. If he wants to keep Paul, he’ll have to convince him he’s worthy of love—and he’ll have to admit that attachment might not be so bad after all.

Review by Karen

This was a really sweet out for you story, very competently written. It builds up slowly, allowing the MC’s to truly get to know each other and gravitate towards each other very naturally before taking that leap of faith together.

Paul is incredibly innocent and naïve. He doesn’t think too highly of himself and as a result he’s completely oblivious to any attempt at flirting made by El or anyone else for that matter. He’s the kind of nice guy that borders on being too nice for his own good. His attempts to hold onto his failed relationship, and his willingness to put up with the horrible way his ex-girlfriend treats him, was a bit hard for me to swallow. I really wanted him to have a little more pride or backbone. Though of course, a lot of that was probably because of his fear of coming out (even to himself) and his low self-esteem. It takes Paul a long time to accept himself and let go of his vision of what he thinks his life should be like.

For a guy who wasn’t looking for a relationship and commitment, El is amazingly patient and understanding with Paul, even when he’s scared himself of opening up and taking a chance on love. He’s such a family guy, which is always heartwarming to read, even if his family is not exactly the Brady Bunch. My heart ached for El and his mother especially. Her clutter addiction is hard on both of them, and rooted in such heartbreak.

This was an enjoyable read with a very satisfying happily ever after. I loved seeing Paul come into his own and choose El above all others.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Aerielle

Paul and El are one of my favorite couples in this series. Paul is so oblivious to everything, not just romance stuff but to life in general. El, who grew up with a hoarder has learned to keep himself from forming attachments to not just things but people.

After his break up with his long-time girlfriend, Paul longs to be someone’s first choice. That is a great sentiment but once Paul and El become romantically involved, Paul is still thinking about whether he wants to be gay or have the “easy life” of a straight man. This inevitably causes a blow up between Paul and El.

Sometimes books written by dual authors have flow issues, but this book is seamless. Second Hand is two men’s journey of acceptance. It’s a great addition to the Tucker Spring series!

4.5 Stars of 5

 


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Recent Release: BFF: Forever (BFF book3) by Devon McCormack

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43224645-bff?from_search=true

Blurb
JESSE:

It began with his electric touch and a hurricane of frenzied passion that ravaged my body, my mind, my soul…my entire life.

We both knew where the line was, yet we crossed it because it was the only way we could be close to one another. We told ourselves it was nothing more than a fantasy–a beach vacay we could treat like a dream, cherishing it in our hearts, but evading the real life repercussions of our actions.

If only it had been that easy…

We couldn’t keep away from each other, and one lust-filled encounter after another birthed a connection, which turned into so much more.

Now I’m head over heels for my best friend’s father.

Oh, Eric Westright…you’ve changed me. I’m addicted to your touch. I’m a servant to your desires.

I kept telling myself it was nothing more than a dream, but now the thought of awakening from our life together terrifies me. I can’t bear a world where I never knew what it was like to be lost in those magnificent blue eyes, to feel his caress against my face, his lips against my own…him loving me deep inside.

Oh, please, if this is all a dream, don’t let me wake up. Let me have this. I know I messed up, but I can fix everything I’ve broken. I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’ll make it right.

I’ll do whatever it takes. Just please let me have him FOREVER.

Review
All the love for this amazing couple!! What a wonderful and inspiring love story. I’m still on cloud nine, this is going to be an awful book hangover.

It’s been a long time since I anticipated the release of a book the way I have this one. I’ve just been so curious about what else was in store for Jesse and Eric. It didn’t feel finished, or maybe I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. Honestly, my expectations were so high, I was almost afraid to start reading. I held back for about five seconds and then I was all in. And it was everything I hoped for and more.
All the romance. All the love. All the feels. Absolutely worth the wait.

The love these two characters have for each other just feels so all-encompassing. It goes way beyond the bliss of the initial attraction and early butterflies straight into the deeper joy that comes when you’ve gotten to truly know each other, the bliss and comfort you find in being there for your partner through the good and the bad, and the peace that comes with knowing that the reverse is true as well.

The author did an amazing job at describing how utterly gone Jesse and Eric still are on each other. Their devotion, the sheer magnitude of their love was an immense pleasure to read. I soaked up every word. Each time I read the words “my Eric”, I about melted on the spot from the sweetness of it all. Jesse’s humor, his limitless patience and understanding, Eric’s bravery and the vulnerable side he shows in this book… It was all just … wow. No words can do this story justice.

I was so happy about the way all the “loose ends” were resolved. Just so glad how it all worked out for Eric, Jesse and Ty especially. There were quite a few family moments that were very emotional, a bit painful, and a lot teary, but full of love and hope for the future.

I very much enjoyed all the wonderful secondary characters like aunt Connie, Charlotte and Stan, and even Tricia. Not to mention the loyal bands of friends both Eric and Jesse have. A lot of potential there for other future stories! So I’m happily readying myself to play the waiting game again.

Number of stars out of 5: 6


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Release Day Review: Gabriel and the Devil by Robert P. Rowe

release day review

Dreasmpsinner

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/gabriel-and-the-devil-by-robert-p-rowe-10074-b

Blurb: Flirting with the devil can lead to a helluva good time.
Gabriel is a regular angel. The former altar boy plans to graduate from college, become an accountant, get a good job, find a wife, and live a faithful Catholic life.

But one Halloween night, the devil pops in out of nowhere, challenges everything he believes, and heats up Gabriel’s lonely life.
Marcello is full of the devil. He’s lusted after Gabriel forever, but what he really wants is Gabriel’s eternal soul. Still, his mischievous sense of humor, along with his tricks and jokes, leads to a misunderstanding that could condemn him to hell on Earth. Only the truth will let these souls find true love and happiness.

Review: Overall, this was a fun read – the good, religious boy and the not so good, devilish tempter. I thought the story was cleverly done – without giving the twist away – there is a bit of sleight of hand that works quite well.
My biggest complaint is how quickly Gabriel fell for Marcello; one moment he’s resisting Marcello’s tempting ways and almost as quickly, he’s fallen in lust/love. This is a story that could have been longer in order to fully stretch out the fantasy and fun. But the ending is nice, complete with a satisfying epilogue.

3.5 stars out of 5


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Recent Release: Elias By Erin E. Keller

Good Reads

https://www.jms-books.com/erotic-romance-c-29_94/elias-p-2635.html?zenid=bt9b4JSEAEyjiUt7gDzs80

Blurb

Detective Thomas Doyle has been living a lonely, compartmentalized life ever since the death of his life partner, Aiden. He vowed never to let anybody get close to him again — the pain of losing a loved one is too much to bear. Despite his vow, Thomas is lonely, and has a number of one-night stands, sexual encounters with unnamed men he doesn’t care to remember. Then he meets Elias.

Elias Byrne knows the pain of abuse and rejection intimately. Unable to escape the clutches of his older brother, Elias dreams of someone to love, and of being loved in return. He admires Thomas, but the detective never pays him any notice. In a desperate attempt to get closer to him, Elias steals his wallet, then gives it back the next day.

Pretty soon, Thomas feels a strong attraction to the fiery, arrogant, younger man. Elias intrigues him, but he resists his growing feelings because he doesn’t want to get hurt again.

When Thomas rescues Elias from his abusive brother, can he also rescue them both from the loneliness that threatens to consume them? Can Elias conquer the detective’s hardened heart and find the love he always longed for? Or will Thomas stubbornly refuse to give himself another chance at love?

Review

Thomas has been nearly existing the past 2 years after the death of his partner Aiden. One day while on his way to work he feels a panic attack starting and ends up meeting a young man who ends up bringing him back to life. Elias has a hard life. He feels indebted to his older brother and because of this he allows his brother to prostitute him out. Elias see Thomas and becomes infatuated with him. He sees Thomas as a savior figure.
At first, I didn’t think I would like this book. I like for characters to be able to save themselves instead of waiting for someone to come do it for them. At first this is what the book seemed like but in the end, Thomas helped Elias become strong enough to help himself.
There are some difficult scenes in this book. Physical violence and an attempted rape scene so readers with triggers should be cautious. This story does end on a lighter note but hopefully there will be more to Thomas and Elias’ story down the road.
4 Stars


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Recent Release: Picking the Corners by Ashley K. Broome

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36675273-picking-the-corners?from_search=true

Blurb

Nate Cross of the Vancouver Vikings would do anything for his best friend Roman Orlyck, including taking him in after a devastating concussion. Until Roman moved in, Nate didn’t realize how much he cared about him.
With the season looming and his linemate forced to sit out, Nate struggles between friendship and wanting more from Roman. Days turn to weeks and their friendship deteriorates, leaving Nate to struggle with their relationship and his performance on the ice. The question looms heavy—how are they supposed to play together when they aren’t even speaking?

Review

I recently found this author and I’m pretty glad I did. I’ve now read 2 of the 3 of her hockey books and they’re pretty good.

She seems to know about hockey and is good at character development as well as giving us some wonderful sexual tension.

I’m not crazy about her writing style and sometimes her sex scenes leave a little to be desired in the heat/flow department.

However, I was able to fall into the story without much effort and I wanted to keep reading til the story ended – a sign of good book!

The plot in this story is predictable but still enjoyable and I’d recommend this to fans of m/m hockey romance.

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42931944-home-for-christmas?from_search=true

Blurb

Can Connor show River a real family Christmas?

When Connor finds River on the roof of the campus admin building, he doesn’t know what to do. His friend is drunk, and shouting into a snowstorm, a bottle of vodka in his hand. The easy part is getting River down; the hard part is insisting River comes home with Connor for Christmas.

River doesn’t have a family, or any place outside of college that he calls home. Not that it matters to him; he’s happy being alone for Christmas in his budget motel, watching reruns of Elf. Only, Connor keeps telling wildly improbable stories of the perfect family celebrations at his parents’ ranch in Texas, and it’s wearing River down. He didn’t ask to be kidnapped. He didn’t want to fall in love with the entire Campbell-Hayes family. But he does.

From one Christmas to the next. This is Connor’s year to rescue River, and himself, for them both to mess things up, make things right, fall in lust and finally, for Connor to show the man he loves what being part of a family can mean.

Review

I was a big fan of the Texas series when it first started… I’m not sure I’ve actually read every book in the series – but most of them?

In any case, this is the next generation and it’s Jack and Riley’s college aged kid. I’m not sure – but this feels like soap opera aging – where you see the child born and then in 2 years they’re a teenager! LOL or I’m just getting too old to remember everyone’s age!

In any case this was really sweet and it was fun seeing Jack and Riley again as parents.

If you’re a fan of the series you’ll love this, if you just want a sweet holiday hurt/comfort – this is for you, too!

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Fox and Wolf By Julia Talbot

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fox-and-wolf-by-julia-talbot-10064-b

Blurb

Apex Investigations: Book One
Werewolf PI Dylan Weems is a hired to solve the murder of a client’s customer. As an ex-cop, Dylan is the perfect man for the job, but he doesn’t expect the complication of alluring fox shifter Rey.
Ever since finding the dead body of one of his clients, Rey Mercier’s life is a mess, and he needs help desperately. He has no idea why he’s the target of some ruthless people or what he did to anger them. Hopefully Dylan and his motley crew of shifters at Apex Investigations can help him find out, but first Dylan and Rey have to deal with literal corporate tigers and dire crocodiles shifters… all while deciding what to do about the mate bond that’s becoming undeniable. And is that even possible between fox and wolf?

Review

This was a very enjoyable shifter romance with an interesting mystery subplot. A quick and entertaining read.

 

Rey is a bit of a mess at first, and obviously in way over his head with big bad dire … creatures out to get him. He hires a PI to help him investigate and hopefully solve the mystery of the sudden threat against his life. Dylan, the PI in question, doesn’t need long to become totally smitten with Rey, though both men are thrown by their unexpected connection. Dare they think the M-word (mate)?

 

I loved Dylan’s protective side and his use of endearments when addressing Rey, which he does very quickly. They are super sweet together. Dylan and Rey have a bit of an opposites attract vibe going, with emphasis on the attract. I was glad that their relationship was balanced, and that Rey could also be there for Dylan and help him out, so it wasn’t just a case of the bigger shifter protecting the smaller, seemingly more vulnerable one. The investigation itself didn’t always hold my interest, but I did really like how the bond between the two MC’s built up as well as the interactions between Dylan, Rey and Dylan’s pack.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, and prejudices muddled the waters for a while, but love, and the good guys, win in the end.

 

The world-building is a bit unclear, though I do like that there are all kinds of shifters with different abilities and characteristics in this universe. There also seem to be some racial prejudices between the different animal shifters, which makes “inter-species” relationships slightly more challenging, as Dylan and Rey find out. Dylan belongs to an atypical pack, led by an alpha wolf, but with members from different shifter species. So it’s a kind of chosen family story.

We get to know and care for the entire pack, the author doing a wonderful job of creating interest in the stories that are to follow in this new series.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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Recent Release: The Victorian (Lavender Shores book 9) by Rosalind Abel

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42104359-the-victorian

Blurb
Sexy bartender Seth Marino is the epitome of the allure and sophistication for which the town of Lavender Shores is known. For twenty years, Seth has found contentment and happiness as co-owner of the Blue Blossom Bed-and-Breakfast. Seth’s kind heart, good looks, and humor charm both locals and tourists—except the one person who despises him.

Charley Perez began building the life of his dreams a few years before Seth moved to town. Just as his hard work was about to pay off, Charley saw his hopes for building a restaurant worthy of his abuela’s recipes slip through his fingers when Seth arrived. Sure, maybe Charley has a temper, perhaps he should smile more, but does the whole world have to lay out the red carpet for the slutty bartender while never giving Charley a break?

When Lavender Shores welcomes a star-studded food-and-wine celebration, Seth and Charley are forced to work together, leading to an explosion of anger and passion. Both men find the heat and fire of hatred morphing into an irresistible attraction. But even as Seth sees a different side of Charley, the hurt and anger of the past simmer below the surface, threatening the future. And a lifetime of struggle isn’t easy for Charley, who must find the courage to show his true self in seeking help and reaching for his dreams.

Review

Genius! I think I have a new favorite couple in Lavender Shores.

As enemies to lovers stories go, this one is full on. These characters loathed each other and had done so for about two decades. Their mutual animosity ran so deep, I wondered how they would ever get over that. What could possibly get these men to reevaluate their opinions and start seeing each other in a different light? Not to mention forgive past hurts? Because some of their exchanges were incredibly vicious.

But the author managed it brilliantly, turning from enemies to lovers to hurt/comfort with a twist I didn’t see coming, but which tore at my heart. All at once, it became a very different story. Deeply emotional and heartbreaking.

Seth and Charley are both complex and wonderful characters. Their chemistry is off the charts, but what really got to me the most were the little things like Seth showing up on his birthday to be there for Charley, without any expectations, the tentative hand holding which is so much more revealing than angry sex ever could be… They aren’t the most “conventional” couple, but the love they feel for each other is so strong and true. It was absolutely inspiring. I also loved that it wasn’t an easy thing, for either of them. They are tested from the onset and that made every little step they took closer to each other even more rewarding.

I loved the bond between Charley and Mabel & Sapphire, it was so good to see him have those two in his corner. Same for his connection with Alex, the way he stands up for her and supports her…those were some of the best scenes in the book.

The epilogue was amazing, incredibly touching and romantic while still staying true to who these characters are. The perfect feel-good ending where we leave our MC’s in a happy, hopeful place.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


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Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story The Legend of Gentleman John by TJ Nichols

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb
Banyn, a fae, escorts the souls of children to Magh Meall, but one Christmas, he comes for a lad who isn’t quite dead, and he breaks a rule rather than wait while John fights a battle he’ll ultimately lose. So begins a long-running affair that crosses the border between life and death, the human and fae realms, and even oceans to strange countries with different gods and rules.

John Rourke renounced a religion that had no place for him and returned to the old ways. Convicted of theft, he is sentenced to transportation and suffers brutal punishment—until he escapes to live on his own terms as a bushranger. When vengeance against his tormentor consumes him and threatens his life, John finds he has only one holiday wish—to see his fae lover one last time.

Review

Review

This story is told in the style of a fairy tale rather than a love story, which to me, made it more interesting than the usual holiday short that is around.

 

John Rourke is a man born with a soul that doesn’t match his body, in a time when that is not allowed. From a poor family he begs and steals to survive until one night, he isn’t supposed to. But the fae escort sent for his soul, helps him live instead and creates a bond that will see them through many years.

 

The timeline on this story does jump around causing me to stumble a few times with where and when I was reading, but I really enjoyed this legend and especially the final scene at the end. 

Although we are not given a huge amount of time to get to know the character of John, what is learnt makes him an interesting and likeable man. Someone who is battling everything life has thrown at them and doing their utmost to survive in a hostile world.

I would have liked for this story to be more drawn out and expanded, but as it stands, it has been one of the more interesting holiday offerings I have read.

 

4 stars out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review