Recent Review: Rocked Hard by Morticia Knight

Pride Publishing Presents

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/rocked-hard

Blurb

Can the touch of a rock god last forever?

Legendary alt rock singer, Aubrey King, is making a comeback after many years out of the spotlight. Rumors of his sexuality have always dogged him, and while he’s never come out publicly, his reasons for leaving the industry had nothing to do with his fear of discovery. What matters to him is the music. That’s his truth, and so far, his only real love. He aches to find someone to share his life with, but his propensity to fall fast and hard—along with chasing men he knows can never be his—has left him all alone.

Rock journalist Bryan Gallagher was first turned on to rock music at the age of twelve when he became obsessed with Aubrey’s band, Falling in Stereo. His friends, and even girlfriends, would sometimes tease him that he was hot for Aubrey. But it was all about the music and nothing else—at least that’s what he’s always told himself. When he’s approached about helping Aubrey write his memoir, it’s not only a dream assignment, but an exciting opportunity to work closely with his idol.

When Bryan meets Aubrey, the electric heat between them is unnerving. He’s further confused by how intense Aubrey’s attraction toward him is and how deeply they connect over their shared obsession of music. While Bryan struggles with uncertainty regarding his own sexuality, he also has to navigate through the perils of working with a lover and keeping their relationship a secret.

But Bryan’s biggest struggle of all might be determining whether declarations of true love from a rock star can ever be trusted.

Review by Xanthe
What a great story! I fully enjoyed the characters and the story line of this book from Morticia Knight.
Aubrey King is our rocker looking to make a comeback and has taken on Bryan Gallagher, rock journalist, to write his memoirs. Aubrey has always known he’s gay but the Rock and Roll life that he used to live never allowed him to be open as to who he truly was and he has never had anyone worth coming out for
Bryan, unlucky in love is about to meet and write for his inspiration for writing about the rock world. He’s been a fan since he was a boy and this is his ultimate dream come true. Though things take a turn he wasn’t expecting with some flirtation coming from Aubrey. Having never been attracted to a man before Bryan’s not quite sure how to handle things.
Moving forward with the project, both men become much more than they could have ever expected and big decisions have to be made for both of them.
This, for me, was an absorbing read. Constantly wanting to know how things are developing with both the MC’s and the life that they are moving towards. Aubrey’s lifestyle and person is a bit different to what Bryan was obviously expecting and I love when a character is sent off kilter in that way. Exploration between the two moves quickly and is hot(!) though Aubrey is very keen to point out that any and everything is going to go at the pace that Bryan wants, refusing to hurt or push him in any way. Bryan takes his time with thinking about the changes cropping up in his life since meeting Aubrey, even his interactions with others become interesting.
My only niggle with this book is the speed at which things happen in the beginning. I understand instant attraction and getting to know each other but for someone who has never experienced it with another man, it didn’t really ring true. However, Aubrey is such a lovable guy you can’t help but fall for him and how he expresses his feelings. Both he and Bryan bring out some of the best lines about the other man, just making you awwwww at them both.
There’s quite a bit of drama separate to but also impacting their relationship. It’s interesting to read how both men want to deal with things and the resulting changes it has on both of them.
I love some of the secondary characters we have – Rudy, tour manager and Jimmy, bassist, are the two guys to be truly relied upon, and Ed the man you love to hate. Bryan’s mother is adorable and I would have loved to have gotten more interaction with her and both men.
I’d definitely recommend this book!

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Sorel

I’m not quite sure what it was about this book, but it didn’t seem realistic enough to me and instead of feeling pulled into the story, I felt like quite detached from it.

Both Aubrey and Bryan were likeable enough characters, but from the very first meeting the whole relationship felt slightly off, even false. Maybe it is because I am not a big fan of insta-love and this was very, very instant.

As a character Bryan came across as very grounded and down to earth, but way too excepting of his attraction and very fast relationship with Aubrey. From never showing any interest in a man, to jumping into bed with one within a couple of days of their initial meeting, just doesn’t ring true.

As for Aubrey himself, at times I found his childlike quality towards love and commitment far too sugary and implausible. Even with the explanation we were given, the insecurities he displayed seemed more like a teenager than a rock star of 42 and had me pausing in annoyance on more than one occasion.

Overall, it was an easy, readable book, but it just didn’t grasp my attention like a good book should.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Coming Soon! Game Changer by Rachel Reid


October 22!

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38620127-game-changer?from_search=true

Blurb
This hockey superstar needs to focus on his game — not on love.

Scott Hunter is the superstar captain of the New York Admirals hockey team. He has lived his entire adult life in the spotlight—and in the closet. One day he stops at a smoothie shop after a run and is immediately charmed by the cute guy behind the counter.

That guy is Kip Grady, an underemployed college grad who would never in a million years think he had a shot with the rich and famous Scott Hunter. Scott returns to the smoothie shop every game day, telling Kip—and himself—that he likes to stick to routine when he’s playing well. The chemistry between them is immediate and undeniable, and finally Scott tells Kip he’s interested and invites him to his penthouse.

They begin a passionate relationship full of red-hot sex and sweet romance. But after weeks of barely leaving the confines of Scott’s penthouse, Kip isn’t sure how much longer he can be Scott’s secret. With the pressures of the playoffs upon him, Scott needs to decide how big a risk he’s willing to take for Kip—and himself.

Review

Scott Hunter is so far in the closet he can hardly see daylight. Having lived his whole adult life playing professional hockey, a game not known for its gay friendly attitude on the ice, he feels he must hide this large part of himself. His sexual encounters are few and far between and usually in a foreign country where nobody knows him.
That all changes one day when he goes into a smoothie shop and sees the cute guy behind the counter.

Kip Grady is a college graduate still living in his childhood home because he can’t afford to move out, and working in a smoothie shop, a job he hates, until Scott Hunter, the captain of the New York Admirals comes in one day…

This is a cute romantic tale of two men and their instant attraction for each other.
Both Scott and Kip are likeable enough, but they just didn’t seem to ring quite true for me. The “I love you’s” came far too quickly and once I love you had been said (and said often) the taking each other for granted and walking away just seemed too easy. Nobody was putting any major effort into keeping this relationship alive and when things got a little tough, they quickly walked away.

There is also a lot of sex in this book. A lot of sex. So much so that at times it felt like word padding.

But overall, this was a well written enjoyable tale, with no major angst and a very sweet, big romantic finish.

3.5 stars of 5

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day Review: All For You by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/all-for-you-by-andrew-grey-9846-b

Blurb
The only path to happiness is freedom: the freedom to live—and love—as the heart wants. Claiming that freedom will take all the courage one young man has… but he won’t have to face it alone.
In small, conservative Sierra Pines, California, Reverend Gabriel is the law. His son, Willy, follows his dictates… until he meets a man in Sacramento, and then reunites with him in his hometown—right under his father’s nose.
Reggie is Sierra Pines’s newly appointed sheriff. His dedication to the job means not flaunting his sexuality, but when he sees Willy again, he can’t escape the feeling that they’re meant to be together. He’ll keep Willy’s secret until Willy is ready to let the world see who he really is. But if going up against the church and the townspeople isn’t enough, the perils of the work Reggie loves so much might mean the end of their romance before it even gets off the ground….

Review
This book left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. It has a lot of the elements needed to make a great story and is skillfully written, but it didn’t really work for me.

I believe the author wants to educate his readers and create awareness regarding the troubles still faced today by people from the LGBTQ community. Though well-intentioned, he gets a bit heavy-handed in his execution, which is especially noticeable in Reggie, who does a lot of talking at Willy rather than to him, as if he’s standing in front of a classroom explaining the do’s and don’ts of coming out & relationships.
He does this at the most inopportune moments, and has a hard time letting go and enjoying the now.
He isn’t that much older than Willy, but acts as if he is decades further in life experience and wisdom. Willy, on the other hand, does sometimes behave a bit immature for his age. They don’t seem to be on an equal footing in that respect, so that makes it hard to understand how they would work as a couple.

Reggie is supposed to be a rising star in local law enforcement, but he shows little people management skills in the sheriff’s office when he threatens and baits one of his deputies. Admittedly the man turns out to be a crook, but Reggie has no evidence of that at that time. Bullying people, especially another bully, hardly seems the way to create a good work environment or to get people on your team to carry out their job the way you want them to.

Willy’s decision to confront his father about certain changes in their family life and to come out to him all at once, felt too sudden to me. He also really gets up in his father’s face, laying it all down in a very confrontational manner and not even trying to ease into the subject, which to me feels very out of character for him.

Willy’s father is a really ambivalent figure. I don’t feel as if grief for the loss of one child could make a loving dad turn into an abusive one to his other remaining children. And then just change back again, almost at the drop of a hat.
Other secondary characters bring more of a positive vibe to the story though, especially Willy’s mom (if a bit late in the game), Mr. Webster and Jamie.

Willy and Reggie’s relationship moves very fast, they hardly have the time to get to know and like each other or even gradually acknowledge their mutual attraction, before racing straight into a committed relationship. As a reader, I just didn’t feel it.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Captivating his Cattle Baron (A Paranormal’s Love Book 24) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41052607-captivating-his-cattle-baron?from_search=true

Blurb

Elder Bodb has walked the earth for over a thousand years. All that time, he’s waited patiently for Fate to bring him his mate. When he travels to the Falias clutch to share sentencing information on one of their former members, he catches just the faintest whiff of something…something intoxicating. His mate is finally near. After discovering the smell originated from the brother of a man mated to a gargoyle, Bodb learns that Nicholas Lindson doesn’t know about the paranormal world. To make matters worse, Nicholas is engaged to some socialite in Texas, and the wedding is only a few weeks away. Bodb discovers that’s not the worst thing, though. Nicholas is the heir to a Texas cattle baron empire, and his father is very involved in his life—overly so. Can Elder Bodb figure out how to not only share that paranormals exist and woo Nicholas, but to extricate his human out from under the father’s domineering hand?

Review

Elder Bodb is a gargoyle who is over eleven hundred years old. Nicholas is the brother of Mitch, who is mated to Kardamon (APL #23). No need to read Mitch’s story first.

Nicholas is engaged to be married to Sandra when he learns not only about paranormal creatures, but he is also chosen by fate herself to be mated to Bodb.

One major problem, Nicholas is a man of his word and calling off the wedding was not an option.

“My mate is a man of deep honor.” – Bodb

Then there is Nicholas and Mitch’s father Baltus. What a jerk!!!

“His father cared for one thing, and pleasure wasn’t it. It’s always about the bottom line. Money.” – Nicholas

I love the instant connection they have. Both are open to listening and figuring out a way for Nicholas to keep his promise and still be with his mate. Bodb may not find the situation ideal, but he will have his mate however he can.

“Please try to understand that you are my mate. A gift from the gods. And I am willing to do whatever is necessary to make you happy.” -Bodb

I hope there is more explaining at some point about “Uncle Albert”.

Charlie Richards always writes quick, hot and entertaining reads. As a huge gargoyle fan, I’m always excited when a new story comes out.

4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

I voluntarily and honestly reviewed this book without bias or persuasion from the author.

 

Recent Release: Truth & Betrayal by KC Wells

Good Reads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40742519-truth-betrayal?from_search=tru

Blurb
All the light went out of Jake’s life when his older brother Caleb died in a traffic accident. Getting through the aftermath was always going to be the hardest thing he’d ever done, but finding out that the tall stranger at the graveside was the one driving the car? At least Jake now has a target for all the rage inside him. Because the man responsible for stealing Caleb’s light from the world has no right to intrude on their grief.

Liam had known deep down that it was a mistake to go to Tennessee, but he’d hoped saying goodbye to Caleb would ease the pain inside him. The hostile reception from Caleb’s family and friends comes as no surprise, and Liam flees before things get ugly. They obviously know nothing of Caleb’s life in Atlanta, and maybe it’s better that way. Caleb’s secrets can die with him.
When Jake turns up at Caleb’s apartment to collect his brother’s possessions, what he discovers is the first shock in what is to be a series of revelations, turning Jake’s world upside down. New knowledge brings fresh pain and anguish.

Jake isn’t the only one who’s hurting…

Review
This is such beautiful and powerful story. It’s taken me a while to read because life had other idea about the best use of my time! I have found that when I was not reading l was constantly pulled back to the book. Thinking about the characters when l’m not reading. But sometimes the best way to savour a book is slowly so that all the bubbling emotions can be processed. Grief is hard to deal with at the best of times but finding out that the brother you idolised had a whole other life is extremely hard. Not to mention that Jake is also dealing with his own sexuality at the same time as finding out your brother didn’t feel able to confide in you. Then accepting you were scared to confide in him is a hard journey to take. Jake is lucky he now has Liam to guide him and be his friend whilst both of them come to terms with losing Caleb and the emotions involved in loving each other. Bring into the mix the bigotry and prejudice and there seems to be so much going against them. For me this is a story of faith, trust and hope where love ultimately prevails. The emotions are so powerful There were times I was crying for Caleb, Jacob and Liam. That is a sign for me that already this will be one of the books I will read over and over again.

5 of stars out of 5

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Coming Soon! Don’t let Go by Andrew Grey

August 7th!

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-let-go-by-andrew-grey-9792-b

Blurb
Avery Rivers is a country music sensation, selling records by the millions and playing to sold-out crowds. But behind that persona is Robert, a burned-out musician cracking under the pressure. He’s unable to write any new songs, and he wants out of the business—at least for a while. He changes his appearance and finds honest, hard work in Jackson, Wyoming. Maybe getting to be a regular guy for a while will get him past his block.

Hy Whitely was a championship bull rider until he watched his best friend thrown in the arena and decided the rodeo circuit was no longer the place for him. He wants to be plain old Zeke for a while, and when he returns to his family ranch, he bumps right into Robert—a one-night stand from his last rodeo appearance who is now working there as a ranch hand.

The heat between the men could sear the grass off the range, but each one is hiding a secret. Robert and Zeke, the men behind the public images, fall in love, but can they hold on when Avery and Hy are pulled back into the spotlight

Review
I always feel happy and contented when I finish a book by Andrew Grey and Don’t let Go is no exception. It’s an interesting concept where both main characters have hidden identities. Both of them know the pressure of touring and being in the spotlight. And both of them have reached a point in their lives, for different reasons, where something has got to change. It made it such a pleasant read that both Zeke (Hy) and Robert (Avery) are not looking for love but welcome it completely when it comes into their lives. They initially meet as a one night stand, a diversion because neither recognises the others professional persona. By fate or coincidence they meet again, on Zeke’s family ranch. From there on love grows and life is idyllic until real life and other people intervene. There are bitter sweet moments as well as hot scenes between them which round the story off perfectly. I fell in love with both Zeke and Robert and whilst they have ended in happy ever after place I wouldn’t mind visiting them again too see how they’re getting on.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Steamy Romance: Hush by Tal Bauer narrated by Joel Leslie

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Hush-Audiobook/B07CJXNKWB?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=7P7G86KQTKY2WQ1DW2PZ&

Blurb:
Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for 25 long years, he’s climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, US Marshal assigned to his DC courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can’t erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.

A devastating terrorist attack in the heart of Washington, DC, and the capture and arrest of the terrorist lead to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America’s national security. The Russian president is gravely injured and fixated on revenge, while a gay Russian dissident is arrested and put on trial in Judge Tom Brewer’s courtroom. As Russia beats the drums of war and the United States struggles to contain the trial before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in his courtroom, before his bench.

With the world’s attention fixed on Tom and this case, secrets from his past explode during the course of the trial, which place him at the very center of the case and make him the only man who can try to stop the world’s slide into war.

Review: I am a big fan of Joel Leslie (no secret there) and while I thoroughly enjoyed his performance and the story, I didn’t think that the 2 were a good fit … (as I type this I fully expect to be black-balled from several FB groups ☹ ).
Let me explain. Hush is part romance, part thriller – the first half, the romance is where I think Joel Leslie excels – he captures the tentative way Tom comes out of his 20+ year stint in the closet for Mike, the almost comical way Mike and Tom dance around their feelings and the comic relief of Kris, (Mike’s best friend). When the thriller/drama part of the story begins, it took me a bit to get used to hearing Joel Leslie outside of a humourous, romantic setting. However, once I got caught up in the ensuing events, especially trying to figure out who was pulling the strings, it got easier to accept his narration.
As mentioned before, Joel Leslie gives a very good performance and the story is very good. I just need to remember that artists grow into other roles and I need to grow along with them ☺

5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook Month: Finley by Ella Frank, narrated by J.F Harding

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Long-Way-Home-Audiobook/B01MQGGZ71?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4GVDMJXBB991JR8MT96Z&

Blurb:

It’s time to come home, Finn.

It’s been seven years since Daniel Finley left his hometown in Florida for the hustle and bustle of Chicago’s city life.
Since then, he’s worked hard for his position at the prestigious law firm Leighton & Associates, even when it’s caused distance and isolation from his family and friends. But that’s all about to change.

On his 30th birthday, he receives the one thing he never dared hope for. Something that was promised to him years earlier – a note. One simple sentence from the man he’s never been able to forget.

Six words will forever change the course of their lives.

Brantley Hayes has it all. Or so he thinks. When he first made the decision to take a job down in Florida, his family thought he was crazy. But, after years of living in the quiet beach town, he finally feels a sense of community. He’s surrounded himself with friends who are like family, has a job he loves, and owns a spectacular beachfront property that is his sanctuary.
Yet he still feels unfulfilled, as if a piece of the puzzle is missing, and he knows exactly which piece it is. On an impulse, he follows through with a promise he made years earlier. A promise to call home the one he sent away.

Nothing is as simple as it seems.

After years of separation, the former lovers are reunited, but Brantley wasn’t expecting to encounter the high walls now guarding Daniel’s heart.
Daniel may not be the same person he was when he left, but he knows that the first step to healing is the note in his hand..

Review:

I loved the story and its link to the Temptation series (one of my all-time faves to listen to).
Daniel Finley (Fin) is the cocky lawyer who helps Tate get a big settlement after an accident case. But before he became a cocky lawyer, he was a cocky law student who had his eye of one of his professors – Brantley Hayes. The story goes back and forth between the past and present, starting with Daniel coming home to face the man who sent him away. It was fun to see how the relationship between Fin and Brantley developed and grew over time while he (Fin) was still a student.
Note: The teacher/student aspect is quite well done – I didn’t once think that the relationship may not have been appropriate.
When Brantley decides that Fin would be better off finishing his degree at a better university, Fin doesn’t take the advice well, but leaves anyway. Fast forward to the present – he’s grown up and is prepared to ‘love’ Brantley and leave him. Happily their past chemistry makes it hard for them to walk away from each other. Like I said, I loved the story.

5 of 5 stars

Audio 
Charlie David narrates and while he is quite good, I wasn’t overly fond of his performance here. One of my issues is that there was very little distinction between the 2 MCs. There was slightly more of a difference with the 2 secondary characters- Derek and Jordan. Overall, it wasn’t a bad performance, just not one of my favourites, (it didn’t stop me from buying the audio for Derek and Jordan’s story).

Narration 3.75 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook Month: Watching and Wanting by Jay Northcote Narrated by Lewis Carter

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Watching-and-Wanting-Audiobook/B07CNGM8N9?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=50BDYMC2WCRBWDJKGB8Z&

Blurb

Watching Jude’s cam show stirs desires Shawn’s always denied… Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth – going nowhere.
Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction. Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated – and kinky – fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.

Review

This story finds us in sympathy with Shawn, he is in a dead end job and just dumped by his girlfriend. Everything is rubbing him wrong and that leads to him lashing out to his flat mates. Barging into Julian’s room and interrupting his cam show leaves Shawn not quite shocked enough to notice the website playing. He goes back to his room , pulls up the sight and watches. This leaves him questioning his sexuality and approaching Julian.

Julian is comfortable in his skin, and looks at what he does online as just a job, a way to help him pay for school and his room at the house. He is also out and proud and definitely doesn’t want to go back into the closet, even for someone he feels a strong connection to.

I like how some of the scenes they play out are talked out before hand, but I also like how even with planning they expand into something neither of the guys expected. I also liked how Shawn finally decided what he wanted and acted on it. Overall this is a great story of exploration and discovery

Narration
This is the first time listening to Lewis Clark and his timing and inflection were good. I thought the voices tended to get a little to effeminate, but that is my only complaint. Voices were distinguishable and applied where needed with narration and thoughts had the distinction needed.

Overall I would be willing to listen to something else he narrates.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Tomb of the God King By Julia Talbot

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tomb-of-the-god-king-by-julia-talbot-9594-b

Blurb

Englishman Christian Hewler travels to 1920s Egypt as the man Friday to an eccentric American millionaire, hoping to make history and establish his name in archaeology. What he doesn’t count on is meeting brash hired gun Eric Lawless, an American cowboy working for a rival team, or the paranormal mystery that draws them in and has them facing down crazy archaeologists, dark entities, and even ancient gods.
From dark tombs to the burning-hot desert of the Egyptian landscape, Christian has to prove his mettle. During this dangerous game of cat and mouse, the reluctant partnership between Christian and Eric blossoms into more—maybe even a love that can last beyond the deception and terror hidden deep in the tombs of the Valley of the Kings.

Second Edition
First Edition published by Torquere Press, October 2006.

Review

Historical books are one of my favourite reads, so I really wanted to read this.

It’s set in the 1920’s, at the height of mummy fever. Christian is an expert on archeological digs, but due to an indiscretion, he has to take a less than ideal job with an American ‘archeologist’. Christian is a bit of a ‘proper gent’, so when he meets Eric, a gun-slinging American (assigned to a rival team), there is a bit of a cultural divide J

The overall story is light but fun, complete with villains, ancient myths, some historically accurate facts – (if you want a factual story, that’s what history books are for!)

While I liked the overall story – the adventure, fun, humour – there was an aspect of the story that threw me a bit – .

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

 

Readers who like ancient history/mythology mixed in with a bit of fun and suspense will have a good time reading it.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review