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Recent Release: Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory

Good Reads

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30820566-eleventh-hour?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Borrowed from the Secret Intelligence Service cipher department to assist Briers Allerdale – a field agent returning to 1920s London with news of a dangerous anarchist plot – Miles Siward moves into a ‘couples only’ boarding house, posing as Allerdale’s ‘wife’. Miles relishes the opportunity to allow his alter ego, Millie, to spread her wings but if Miles wants the other agent’s respect he can never betray how much he enjoys being Millie nor how attractive he finds Allerdale.

Pursuing a ruthless enemy who wants to throw Europe back into the horrors of the Great War, Briers and Miles are helped and hindered by nosy landladies, water board officials, suave gentlemen representing foreign powers and their own increasing attraction to each other.

Will they catch their quarry? Will they find love? Could they hope for both?
The clock is ticking.

Review: This is a really good book! I enjoyed it immensely. It is a historical (1920’s), romantic thriller – set mostly in London. It has many of my favourite themes – wit, banter, authentic period references and situations, a bit of cloak and dagger spy situations and a straightforward romance.
Briers and Miles work for British Intelligence (pre-MI6). While Briers is more of a field agent, Miles is the desk jockey, a linguistics expert. Miles has an additional talent – he can convincingly impersonate a woman. Unfortunately, this talent has not always earned him the respect of his peers. When both men are paired together to foil an anarchist plot, both men soon find themselves falling for each other.
There are a few bumps along the way – Briers tendency to treat Miles like a delicate flower, for one – but Briers soon learns that Miles/Millie are both made of sterner stuff. There is a lot of subtle humour throughout the story, even during some desperate times.
This is a well written, fun story and I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
I loved this book!

5 stars out of 5

 


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Devil Next Door – Criminal Delights: Obsession by Alex Jane

Dreamspinner

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42628785-devil-next-door—criminal-delights

Blurb
All Remy Harker wants is a fresh start.
Well, maybe that’s what he tells himself as he rolls up to his nice new house, in the nice little neighborhood, in a town where nobody knows his name.
He’s surrounded by friendly neighbors and a white picket fence. The ugly pink carpet might drive him to insanity, and he can’t stop wondering where the old lady who lived there before him died—but it’s nice.
And if he puts his mind to it, he can be anything—or anyone—he wants to be. He can be nice too.
At least, he thinks he can until he lays eyes on his next-door neighbor.

Luke Boucher is nice.
And quiet.
And perfect.

It doesn’t take long for Remy to insinuate himself into Luke’s life. A camera here, a break-in there.
—It’s not really stalking if you love someone, is it?—

But when Remy’s plan to make a good impression goes to hell, he ends up over his head in more ways than one. Then things aren’t quite so nice anymore.
—It’s not really murder if you love someone, is it?—

Loving your neighbor isn’t so easy when you’re the devil next door.

Review
Phew, this one was certainly very different. And quite dark… as advertised. There’s a very unsettling, creepy vibe throughout the book, absolutely befitting its theme and cover.

This is a well-written story and it holds quite a few surprises for the reader that I for one didn’t see coming. The author did a great job at building up the tension and changing the game quite unexpectedly.

For me personally though, the second half of the story things got to be a little too disturbingly dark and gruesome, and I found it difficult to keep rooting for the MC’s. I disconnected from the story. My advice: definitely read the warnings and take them seriously.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: How Not to Sin Lovestrong, Book 3 By: Susan Hawke Narrated by: Michael Pauley

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/How-Not-to-Sin-Audiobook/B07PW3WP78?ref=a_listener__c3_listenProd_1_1&pf_rd_p=1659cc9b-c59a-44b6-81d1-7aeca54f1a09&pf_rd_r=B5Q7ACKVMH7G0MSJCDGQ

Blurb

One regular guy who happens to be a preacher….

Reverend Dr. Gabe Samson doesn’t think he’s better than any of the people in his church, so please don’t put him on a pedestal. While he’s never hidden the fact that he identifies as bisexual, he’s never acted on it either. Gabe isn’t happy to learn that the sole reason he was hired to pastor the LGBT-friendly church was that the ruling elders wanted a safe poster child for inclusivity – in other words, they wanted the rainbow flag without letting it fly.

Plus one easygoing, new-age kinda guy….

Seth Thomas owns Holistic Healing, a metaphysical shop and yoga studio. He’s never really been a relationship kinda guy, but only because he hasn’t met the right man yet. Seth is laid back and goes with the flow. When fate drops a hot preacher in his lap, why wouldn’t he accept the gift?

Equals a pair of men who click from the start.

The two men find it almost too easy to get together, especially Gabe, who is fully embracing his bi side for the first time. Nothing in life is simple though. While Gabe and Seth are busy falling in love, they face an anti-gay hate group, a divided church, and a ruling elder who is hell-bent on sowing discord. Between Gabe’s patient wisdom and Seth’s snark, the pair fight the growing drama with the strongest weapons in their arsenal: love and humor.
©2019 Susan Hawke (P)2019 Susan Hawke

Review

I loved the book just from reading the synopsis. A pastor and a metaphysical healer?!?! Not a typical pairing but it works for Gabe and Seth. The book is hot and sweet without being too over the top. I really enjoyed seeing Gabe portrayed as more than just a pastor. While this book is fairly easy going there is a lot of religion (one of the main characters is a preacher after all) it didn’t feel preachy. The main drama of the story surrounds the fact that Gabe is a bisexual preacher.

Michael Pauley is doing a great job with this series!! While he doesn’t have the vocal library of a lot of narrators (a few characters sound a bit too similar) I love his energy when he’s narrating! He makes the story flow easily even when the subject matter isn’t the easiest to hear.
4.5stars for story 5 for narration

4.5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Bitten By Fate (Regent’s Park Pack #6) by Annabelle Jacobs

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43524485-bitten-by-fate?from_search=true

Blurb

Daryl plays with fire and gets burned by fate…

Former Primrose Pack member Jason Black happily accepted his role as beta in the new Regent’s Hill pack, knowing that merging the two was the best decision for everyone involved. Daryl Easton is loyal and honest but wary of change. The joining of the two packs wasn’t his preferred outcome, and he’s struggling to see all the newcomers as pack, including those now working alongside him.

When the alpha council proposes a two-week pack-building course to help improve troubled relationships, Jason and Daryl are sent along as backup. It soon becomes clear that the unit members and their betas won’t be the only ones taking part in tasks—Daryl and Jason will have challenges of their own to complete.

With the full moon adding to the rising tension, emotions are volatile, and tempers flare among the unit members. Jason and Daryl become closer than either of them expected, but with such opposing views on relationships, a messy outcome seems inevitable unless Daryl can let go of the past.

Review

I’ve been curiously awaiting Jason’s and Daryl’s story, excited to see how it would play out. It’s not exactly an enemies to lovers romance, but the animosity that still exists between some members of the Primrose Pack and their new pack serves a similar purpose and gives this unlikely couple something extra to overcome.

The forced proximity during the pack-building course was a great touch and I loved how the tension and emotions between Jason and Daryl continued to build throughout. As with the other couples in this series, Jason and Daryl also discover they have the potential for a mate bond, but that doesn’t mean they have it easy. Not in the slightest. They don’t just go happily into the sunset, instantly filled with joy and overcome with blind devotion. And that’s part of what makes their story so wonderfully gripping. The intense emotions, the passion, the angst, painful past experiences, the outside threat to the pack, … it all combines to make this a 5-star read.

Reading this book was bittersweet in a way, because this is the last one in the series and I’m loathe to say goodbye. The world-building, the character development, it’s all so expertly done. It’s not often that you get a shifter universe with such a sense of realism, well-rounded characters and a perfect mix of romance and suspense. I especially love that the alpha’s and even the beta’s are not stereotypical domineering, pumped-up beefcakes, but caring and insightful leaders, of either gender. I feel a re-read coming on.

m/m, gay, paranormal, shifter, opposites attract, fated mates, forced proximity, contemporary
Number of stars out of 5: 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: A Body in the Bathhouse by Brad Shreve

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43719899-a-body-in-a-bathhouse?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: On the verge of bankruptcy, private investigator, Mitch O’Reilly takes any gig that comes his way, while running his Eye Spy Supply shop in a forgotten Los Angeles strip mall. After two tours in Afghanistan, Mitch’s life amounts to operating his store, coping with his fun-loving sister, Josie, and scoring with anonymous men he meets online. That changes when he gets a break. A beloved comedy scriptwriter is murdered at a bathhouse, and Mitch is hired to prove the innocence of the club custodian. Adapting from a two-bit gumshoe to a high-profile sleuth proves more challenging than he expected.
As if Mitch didn’t have enough to deal with, charismatic bathhouse operator, Trent Nakos, enters his life. After a heartbreaking past, the manager is the definition of a man the brooding P.I. actively avoids.

Following leads from sprawling mansions to sketchy hoods is demanding but becomes more troublesome when deadly threats jeopardize the biggest opportunity of his career.

Review: This is more of a mystery with a dash of romance thrown in – I liked it! The story was entertaining, with bits of humour (sometimes dark ☺), a good mystery with interesting, and good, but flawed characters (Mitch especially).
Mitch is trying to keep his business from going bankrupt when he lands a job that could get him more clients. During his investigation of the murder, he meets Trent, the man whose innocence he needs to prove. Their interactions were definitely not romantic; Mitch was sometimes abrupt, bordering on rude, while Trent seemed a bit of a nitwit. What I really enjoyed was the mystery – the misdirection, the possible choices for the murderer and the way I had to follow the whodunit story through Trent’s POV.
As for the romance, or lack thereof, I do hope that in future books both MC’s interact more.

3.75 stars out of 5


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Recent Release: A Dance Too Far by H. L. Day

Good Reads

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44027062-a-dance-too-far?from_search=true

Blurb: Valentin Bychkov, rising star of contemporary Russian ballet, appears to have everything: wealth, talent, success, and a face and body to match. Not that anyone can get close. Bypass the entourage and there’s still Valentin’s sharp tongue and acerbic wit to deal with. He may give his body freely, but his emotions are kept tightly locked away.
Max Farley’s life is a simple one. All he’s interested in is work, drinking, and picking up the latest in a long line of one-night stands. The way he chooses to live may not be to everyone’s taste but it suits him down to the ground. He’s never met anyone who’s made him want to confront the demons from his past. Until now.

A show in London brings the two together. Lust brings them closer still. But if rumors of Bratva connections turn out to be true, then dangerous men wait in the wings. One dangerous man in particular, who’s used to people following his orders without question.
Difficult choices need to be made on both sides. Valentin and Max need to stop playing with fire and let each other go, or face the consequences. But letting go isn’t that easy where love is concerned.

And some things are worth the risk.

Warning: This book contains a snarky ballet dancer with an aversion to clothes, a little too much wall sex and an overabundance of Russian heavies.

Review: Overall, a good romantic suspense story, but for some reason I didn’t really warm to either Max or Valentin. Max was a bit of a ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’ type, but without the charm; Valentin was a cold, haughty type, also a bit charmless. I think I may have (unfairly) compared this book to previous H.L. Day books where the MC’s are a bit more fun.
Anyway, back to this book. It’s well written with glimpses into the ballet world and a bit of mafia mayhem (Russian) thrown in. The prose is engaging, and I did enjoy the wit and banter between the characters. Max’s backstory was a little disturbing, and frankly I wasn’t sure about the whole affair with the teacher when he was underage. But it did explain he was wired to not do relationships.
I think I was expecting a lighter, more humourous story – that is on me. It’s a good story and anyone looking for complex characters a hard fought HEA will love this book.

3.75 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Wicked Games (Queen City Rogues #2) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44390881-wicked-games?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Ryder Jameson and Lucien Clarke have a complicated past: Ryder conserves art; Lucien steals it. Their love-hate relationship spans six years and two continents and has endured multiple heists. Hoping to restore his tarnished reputation and heal his jilted heart, Ryder returns home to Cincinnati. When Lucien suddenly reappears in Ryder’s life, the ancient Shang Dynasty artifact isn’t the only prize he wants to claim.

Something more sinister than stolen art is stirring. Ryder and Lucien must join forces to untangle a web of secrets, lies, and treachery bigger than either of them expected. Trust won’t come easy, but they’ll need to rely on each other because pulling the wrong thread could lead to their death.

Is it fate that keeps bringing Ryder and Lucky together, or are they merely pawns in someone’s wicked games? Will they play for keeps this time or become collateral damage?

Wicked Games is a second-chance romance filled with passion, humor, and intrigue. It’s the second book in the Queen City Rogues series but can be read on its own. Wicked Games contains mature sexual content intended for readers 18 and older.

Review

This was a very gripping story, both the romance and the action plot. I did feel there was a bit too much focus on the suspense plot involving Lucien’s mysterious “employer” and the subsequent danger they find themselves in because of it, where I’d have preferred it if instead the author had taken more time to develop Ryder’s and Lucien’s relationship.

They have a lot of history, off page, and to my mind, they got over their trust issues and heartbreak a bit too fast, leaving too much unspoken when they get back together. This is not to say that things aren’t intense between them, and even at times quite moving as well. I loved how Lucien/Lucky called Ryder “Love” all the time, even when they are still at odds.

I really liked the secondary characters and the banter and flavor they brought to the story. Carmen, Dev and Percy stood out the most and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them. I’m curious to see where the next book in this series will take us.

m/m, contemporary, action/crime, second chance at love, opposites attract, misunderstanding

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Review

I loved Wicked Games so much. This is a story full of all sorts of emotions, drama and suspense. At first, I thought there was going to be a lot of back and forth fighting between Ryder and Lucien before they “made up” but that wasn’t really the case here. After reuniting for the first time there is an explosive scene between the two men (super hotttt). I loved all the references to Romancing the Stone and they play off of Carmen Sandiego.

These two men go on their own adventure to achieve their own happy ending. Aimee Nicole Walker is an amazing storyteller!

While this is a part of the Queen City Rogues series there is actually very little interaction with other characters from the series and can easily be read as a standalone but do yourself a favor and the first book Broken Halos for a little more build up to this one!
5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Borrowed Heart By Andrew Grey

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/borrowed-heart-by-andrew-grey-10304-b

Blurb

Robin, the recipient of a brand-new heart, knows he can’t give it to just anyone….

Robin’s been through his share of upsets recently, from heart transplant surgery to a brutal breakup. But his experiences have taught him life is short, and he’s ready to seize the day and start anew. A job at Euro Pride Tours is just the kind of adventure he’s looking for. He gets to see the world and live a little, but love isn’t on his radar screen. He isn’t sure his heart can endure that again.

Johan might’ve disappointed his family by striking out on his own, but when he meets Robin, he has no intention of letting him down. Each man is just what the other needs to feel whole again, and while Johan might not be the man Robin originally thought he was, he’s exactly what the doctor ordered to make Robin’s borrowed heart beat faster. As the tour through Germany progresses, they grow closer, but when Robin’s ex joins the tour, he could bring their blossoming love to a dramatic halt.

Review

I am a huge fan of Andrew Grey. His books have always been such a comfort for me and Borrowed Heart didn’t fail me. The blurb is a little misleading. Yes, Robin did receive a heart transplant however it was quite a few years ago. He states in the book that average life expectancy for a heart transplant recipient isn’t very long, like 10 to 12 years. His ex, Mason broke off their relationship because of this fact (supposedly). Robin moves to Germany for the summer to lick his wounds and to live his “borrowed” life to the fullest. His latest tour is being driven by Johan and the sparks fly. Like a lot of Andrew’s books, the dreaded ex shows up on the tour and is up to no go. I liked how a few of the tour members also got little side stories. While the tour travels through Germany and the surrounding area, we get to learn more about Robin and his fears. Johan spends most of the time, reassuring Robin that he’s worth being with, no matter how long they will have. My only criticism about the book is that I wanted to know more about what happened with the ex. Otherwise it was a good, sweet story!

4 stars



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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Wanted – Bad Boyfriend by TA Moore narrated by Michael Mola

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/wanted-bad-boyfriend-by-ta-moore-9824-b

Blurb: Island Classifieds: Book One

His mother. His best friend. The barmaid at the local pub. Everyone is determined to find Nathan Moffatt a boyfriend. It’s the last thing Nathan wants. After spending every day making sure his clients experience nothing but romantic magic, the Granshire Hotel’s wedding organizer just wants to go home, binge watch crime dramas, and eat pizza in his underwear.
Unfortunately, no one believes him, and he’s stuck with lectures about dying alone. Then inspiration strikes. He needs the people in his life to want him to stay single as much as he does. He needs a bad boyfriend.

There’s only one man for the job.

Flynn Delaney is used to people on the island of Ceremony thinking the worst of him. But he isn’t sure he wants the dubious honor of worst boyfriend on the entire island. On the other hand, if he plays along, he gets to hang out with the gorgeous Nathan and piss off the owners of the Granshire Hotel. It’s a win-win.

There’s only one problem—Flynn’s actually quite a good boyfriend, and now Nathan’s wondering if getting off the sofa occasionally is really the worst thing in the world.

Review:
Book reviewed earlier. https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-wanted-bad-boyfriend-by-ta-moore/
This is a story set in the UK, so I was surprised (and disappointed) that the narration was done in an American accent. Once I got over that, I settled into listening.
Michael Mola did a good job with the character voices, capturing the sarcasm, humour and much of emotions of both MCs. Unfortunately, I had imagined the characters with English accents, so that took away from my enjoyment.
Otherwise, it’s not a bad way to experience the book.

Story: 4 stars out of 5
Narration: 3.5 stars out of 5
Reviewer Name: Dee



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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Stallion Mage- Wild Foal (Stallion Mage book 3) by A.O. Spade

GoodReads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44177708-wild-foal?from_search=true

Blurb

As new mates, Alvarr and Laren grow closer, and when Alvarr shares the secret of his pregnancy with the stallion leader, Laren reacts with joy… but also with worry. Winter has taken hold of their land and shows no signs of stopping. The stallion shifters have less and less to eat, even when Alvarr’s earth magic is able to provide some sustenance.

They also have different ideas about the future. As a mage close to Nature, Alvarr knows the answer is to bring the tribes together, but he doesn’t want to challenge Laren’s leadership, nor burden him with the impossible task of making the other stallions follow him.

But as these questions loom over them, the biggest remains. How will Alvarr give birth to a baby? In the absence of healers and mares, there is no one to provide guidance through this unknown event.

Review

Stallion Mage – Wild Foal continues on with the final scene of book 2 in this series, where we left Alvarr severely wounded after being saved by Laren from an attack by Thane and Nassor. Laren has finally accepted that Alvarr is his mate, but he has an even bigger surprise still coming his way. Once Alvarr figures out how best to broach the subject, that is.

It was great to see them get the time to enjoy each other and learn what it means to be fated mates, in between trying to survive the rift, the harsh winter and the strife within their own tribe. I loved the scenes where they reconnect with the mares and the new discoveries they made while they were there.

I had hoped the shifters would have learned more about their history and former way of life, maybe even spend more time in their human shape but that was not the case. The story doesn’t yet cover that much ground and instead focuses on the healing of the rift between the mares and the stallion tribes.

I’m as impressed as before with the mythology and the universe the author created in this serie. I think it holds potential for still more stories.

We take our leave of Laren and Alvarr when they’re in a happy place and hopeful for the future, but with still a lot to discover and re-build.

shifter mpreg, m/m, fantasy, historical, fated mates

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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