Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Rough Trade (The Woodbury Boys #3) by Sidney Bell

Carina Press

https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488097195_rough-trade.html

Blurb

Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.

He’s just always gone it alone.

Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.

Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.

So then why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

Review

Amazing action-filled story, the suspense nearly killed me! I also loved the sly humor that snuck in when the MC’s weren’t running or fighting for their lives.
This is a gritty romance between two heroes who have both been beaten down by life and aside from the suspense plot, it has some heavier themes too, like sexual abuse and its resulting mental health issues. So not a lighthearted read, but definitely an amazing, insightful, original and gripping story.
The two MC’s could not be more different.
Ghost takes a very dim view of the world and the people in it, and doesn’t trust easily if at all. He’s experienced some horrible things in his young life. But he survived. He’s very much a fighter, never giving up and using whatever means possible to get through another day, stealing, lying and cheating as he goes along. He needs every bit of his resolve and strength to fight for his life (literally) and for his chance at happiness with Duncan.
Duncan is the quintessential strong, silent type. He’s a firm believer in justice and made a brave choice to do the right thing in a difficult situation, only to be betrayed by the very people who were supposed to have his back. Now he’s struggling to find a new path, slowly realizing he can’t return to his former life. And then he meets Ghost!
The connection between Duncan and Ghost builds up slowly, with ups and downs, but it is beautiful to see the trust between them grow and to see them get closer, however tentatively at first. Ghost has serious mental health problems, and I was glad to see him reach out for help, going to therapy and building a life for himself. Love was not an easy fix for him, though it was an important motivator. I really liked that extra little bump in the road, the realism it brought to the story.
I very much enjoyed this book! I was so caught up in it, just couldn’t put it down once I started, which doesn’t happen to me all that much anymore.
This book is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone.

Number of stars out of 5:5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Twenty-Nine Hours to Eternity (2018 Advent Calendar Daily – Warmest Wishes) by Elizabeth Noble

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Being gay and pagan can make for a lonely holiday season, as Ian knows well. He’s used to celebrating alone. The last place he expects to meet a like-minded guy is at LAX during a twenty-nine-hour layover.

Ian’s never felt so comfortable or compatible with another man, even if there is an air of mystery to Race.

Race is no stranger to holiday isolation, and he decides they should seize the opportunity they’ve been given and observe the Saturnalia the way it was meant to be. A grand celebration ensues, where every moment is special and every meal a feast. The ancient traditions take on new meaning as the men find meaning in each other. But each of them has a destiny and for their paths to continue together, it’ll take a kind of magic that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

Review

 

I like my holiday romances sweet, mushy even, with a lot of family and friends surrounding the MC’s and most of all, with an optimistic, if not realistic, outlook on life. It’s the season of hope and peace for all. Sappy as that may sound. So a terrorist attack wasn’t really what I’d been hoping to find…

The story centers around Ian, a human, and Race, an enigmatic stranger, slightly less human. Both men are pagan, though exactly what that means, is left a bit vague. They meet at an airport and spend a day together waiting for their flights. They fall into like, into lust,… and then things take a turn for the worst. Not just for the characters, but sadly also for the story.

I find it very strange that Race lets the man he supposedly loves walk away from him straight into a violent and painful death. Doesn’t scream love to me. Perhaps a clearer explanation of what being a “timekeeper” entails would have helped to make sense of that. So they get to spend eternity together, yay, not so the other people who died in the attack. Where is their silver lining? Ian and Race don’t spare them a second thought but immediately go on their merry way to their happily-ever-after.

Though this wasn’t badly written per se, the plot and the MC’s did not appeal to me at all.

Number of stars out of 5: 2

 

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

One morning close to the holidays, Nolan wakes up to two surprises: a distress call from his younger brother and a beautiful man in his bed. Nolan, an art gallery owner, has always been discreet about his sexuality, but when his baby brother plans to come out at the annual family gala, Nolan wants to have his back—and that means showing up with a man of his own on his arm. Nolan knows just the man for the job.

Skylar, who owns a karate studio in St. Augustine, can’t get his one-night stand out of his mind. When he runs into Nolan at his gallery he is more than happy to volunteer his services as arm candy. Out-and-proud himself with his striking blue/green hair, Skylar is all in. Their adventure means a fancy salon, family drama, lots of sex, a ninja hippo, and palm trees lit up in a very suggestive way. By the end of it, what started as a hookup might become much more.

Review

What started out as a hook up ended up turning into a whole lot more. Nolan and Skylar end up meeting again after their hookup and both men can’t take their eyes off each other. When Nolan decides to show up at a party with another man to try and take the heat off of his little brothers coming out, Skylar agrees to be Nolan’s date. Nolan is very protective of his brothers and immediately jumps in to take the wrath from his step father. While this is a very short story I feel that the ending and admission of love was rushed. Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

4 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Cole audiobook by BG Thomas narrated by Paul Morey

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-cole-by-bg-thomas-6184-

Blurb
Javier Torres was a sweet, plump, and very unpopular child. But over the years, he turned himself into a gorgeous gym god. The problem is he’s also become an egotistical snob. But one day his arrogance pisses off the wrong little old lady, and he wakes up to find that, like the Prince in Beauty and the Beast, he’s been transformed into something from his personal nightmares. Javier has nowhere to go but back home, where to his surprise, he is greeted with open arms, not just by the family he remembers, but by his new brother-in-law, Cole. Cole suspects there might be a pretty heart to go with the pretty face locked inside that new body, but has Javier learned enough to earn Cole—instead of coal—for Christmas

Review
This title is part of the 2011 Advent Calendar: I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
I quite enjoyed this take on the beauty and the beast / it’s a wonderful life type of story. It’s also a moral lesson of judging people by looks rather than who they really were. And how shallow he had become. It took a harsh lesson before he was able to see what he had become. He didn’t really understand until he went home to see his family and meets Cole again. Javier’s partner Mark is a horrible person especially the way he treated Javier after he was transformed.Quite a message in this story but it is heartwarming. The love and acceptance of family and of oneself.
The narrator, Paul Morey, does a fair job but I felt that the emotions were missing. After all Javier did suffer his worst nightmare and was deserted by Mark at Christmas. The characters were portrayed well enough. I could make out who was who and there was some characterisation.

3 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Prince (The Christmas Angel #7) by R.J. Scott

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42645523-christmas-prince

Blurb
‘Prince Raphael, the youngest son of the Montaunoit royal family, is the custodian of his country’s history. At a Sotheby’s auction, he outbids Marc on an item he doesn’t even want. Just because he can.

Meeting the museum curator turns Raphael’s world upside down, and when lust turns to love he knows he has to change.

Can Marc be the one to show Raphael that he doesn’t have to stay the lonely prince forever, and that love is always an option?

*******

This story is one of seven stories which can all be read and enjoyed in any order.

* * * * *

In 1750, a master woodcarver poured all his unrequited love, passion, and longing into his masterpiece—a gorgeous Christmas angel for his beloved’s tree. When the man he loved tossed the angel away without a second thought, a miracle happened. The angel was found by another who brought the woodcarver True Love.

Since then, the angel has been passed down, sold, lost and found, but its magic remains. Read the romances inspired by (and perhaps nudged along by) the Christmas Angel through the years. Whether it’s the 1880’s New York (Kim Fielding), the turn-of-the-century (Jordan L. Hawk), post World War II (L.A. Witt), Vietnam-era (N.R. Walker), the 1990’s (Anyta Sunday), 2018 Europe (RJ Scott), the Christmas Angel has a way of landing on the trees of lonely men who need it’s blessing for a very Merry Christmas and forever HEA.

Review

I wanted to love this – I’m a fan of the author and the blurb totally had me hooked! Prince, snobby museum guy, small country – sounded really cute.

However, it was really confusing and there wasn’t a lot of story here. We got a bit of cute flirting but I wasn’t sure where the conflict was which made for a rather tepid romance.

I enjoyed the fake new country but wasn’t as impressed by the rest of the story – especially as compared to the others in this series. This was my very least favorite and I don’t recommend it much – the others were so strong that this one looks quite faded next to them.

Others have loved this more than I did, so please look at their reviews – it might just be a case of “it’s not you – it’s me.”

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42960918-old-acquaintance?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Blurb

 

There are two sides to every story, even those buried in the past.

 

When Sam spots the hot guy moving in next door, he’s all for going round to introduce himself. That soon changes when it turns out his new neighbour is Charles Whitmore, an old school acquaintance. Sam didn’t like him back then, for good reason, and fifteen years haven’t altered that.

 

Splitting up from his long-term boyfriend means a move across the city for Charlie. As luck would have it, his immediate neighbour is a guy he went to school with, Sam Gellar. While Sam is less than welcoming, his best mate is more than happy to invite Charlie into their social circle. Whatever problem Sam has with him, Charlie resolves to get to the bottom of it because, frosty beginnings aside, Charlie likes him.

 

With Christmas just around the corner, fate pushes them together, and they get on much better than they ever did at school. Despite his efforts not to, Sam develops feelings for Charlie, and they appear to be reciprocated. If Sam wants to take things further, he needs to either confront Charlie about their past—a past Charlie seems to have forgotten entirely—or let it go and move on. Sam knows deep down that he can’t let it go, but can’t find the right time to bring it up either.

 

Review

 

Old Acquaintance is a short and sweet novella about two former schoolmates who end up neighbors. Sam has despised Charlie since high school after Charlie attacked a good friend of his. Charlie ends up moving in next to Sam after his long-time relationship dissolves. Sam and Charlie grow close while Sam does construction on Charlie’s sister’s house. Sam fights his attraction towards Charlie due to what happened in high school. When Sam finally confronts Charlie there is the inevitable fall out. No need to fear the guys make up and live happily ever after.

 

This book has a good cast of characters. I liked Charlie and his sister and Sam’s friends but for a good part of the book I didn’t really like Sam. He just irked me, but his reluctant acceptance of Charlie’s cat Storm redeemed him in my eyes.

 

4 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Release Day Review: Fearing Fate By C.C. Dado

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fearing-fate-by-cc-dado-10033-b

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book Three
He is a fearless protector by nature and in his heart. But nothing’s ever simple with love… or fate.
At nearly seven feet tall, Zeus’s role had always been to protect the pack—but his newest charges need him more than most. Kimber and Kron are transplants from another pack, and they have a dangerous stranger on their tails. Zeus is determined to do his duty and drive the human out of town. But when he confronts Toren, his wolf has other ideas….
Something isn’t right, but should a huge, tattooed wolf with a secret soft heart fear his fate—to love a man with secrets of his own?

Review

This was my favorite book of the three in this series. It’s plot was less meandering and since all the world building had already occurred it felt more like a story should be with more showing and less telling.

The romance was super cute and at the same time touching and full of warmth and humor.

I really enjoyed this and I think you can definitely read this on it’s own – no need to read the others necessarily.

Highly recommended for fans of shifter romance.

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Guess Who’s Coming to Karamu by Cy Blanca

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Grant Cary, a twenty-eight-year-old grad student, has let his Kwanzaa shopping go to the very last minute. In his rush to get home, he quite literally bumps into Will Sheritan, a fortysomething software developer, in the elevator. But luck favors (or curses) the adventurous, because their elevator shuts down due to a blackout. Grant and Will learn about each other’s pasts and find more than just a casual interest.
Will has never celebrated Kwanzaa, and he’s reluctant to enter into a relationship, but exploring a new tradition—with a new friend—might brighten his lonely holiday. And if Will accepts Grant’s invitation to join his family for the Karamu feast, Grant might get his Imani gift early.
Review

Waiting until the last minute to buy his gifts has always gotten Grant in trouble, this time it gets him stuck in an elevator with a stranger during a store blackout. Could this be a blessing in disguise? Grant finds a new friend in Will but will with this friendship last past the elevator?

This story is a cute read. We have all wondered what we would do if stuck in an elevator and Grant gets to find out first hand. Grant is an interesting character with a painful background who finds something with Will. It was nice to watch the two men begin to connect as they wait for the elevator to begin working again. Grant has some interesting inner dialogue and keeps readers engaged to the story. Their adventure is open-ended and makes you wonder just what will happen next. It is a light and fun read with a touch of angst to it. Grant and Will begin to learn that life is what you make of it and for life to get better you have to try again.

Number of stars out of 5: 3

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

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

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

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