Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (Sci-Regency #4) by J.L. Langley

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/diplomatic-relations-by-jl-langley-10234-b

Blurb

Opposites don’t just attract… they sizzle.

A lusty special forces soldier who lives by his own set of rules, Dalton Fairfax decided long ago to stop wishing for his father’s love, and he found his calling. Now that he’s back home and between assignments, he finds himself at loose ends. When the opportunity arises to play bodyguard and help out his country, Dalton jumps at the chance. Not only does it keep him busy, but it just so happens that his charge is the man he saw on leave last month and hasn’t been able to get out of his head.

Heir to a dukedom and a conservative politician, Blaise Thompson strives to prove himself worthy of carrying on the family legacy as the next IN Councilman. However, his closest competitor keeps getting in the way and taking credit for Blaise’s ideas. Maintaining his stellar reputation isn’t easy to do while keeping his outrageous younger brother in line and foiling his rival’s personal attacks. He has no time for a guard and even less time for romance.

When a priceless antique goes missing, Blaise and Dalton discover that Regelence has larger problems than just IN plots. Now the only way to stop a scandal that threatens both of them is to compromise, and they are forced to confront the risk of losing everything… even each other.

Review

This was a light and fun read. I really like how this series brings such an original sci-fi take to the regency genre. It was a bit surprising, though in a good way, to see a man worry about his “reputation” in society for once, quite the role-reversal.

Blaise is very sheltered, almost too innocent even, which is why I found it a bit incongruous to see him shed his principles and risk his precious reputation so easily afterwards. Although I suppose he was overcome by the power of his love for Dalton. Blaise’s parents are supposedly very loving, but strangely aren’t in the picture much and not overly warm when they are.
I liked the storyline on Dalton and his parents far better, troubled though their relationship was. That brought some intense emotional moments in the story, on top of the developing romance, and gave Dalton’s character extra depth and a nice chance to grow. Dalton’s definitely my favorite.

The banter between Blaise and Dalton was very entertaining and sweet depending on the moment and really enjoyed the “galactic” swear words and expressions. Most of their relationship plays out behind closed doors and with a lot of sneaking around. That did annoy me at times, especially near the end. I feel that Blaise could have been a bit more assertive and forthcoming by then, standing up for his man and all that. Though all’s well that ends well and things wrap up great with an only slightly predictable grand gesture.
The stage is also teasingly set for the next stories in the series and I’m definitely intrigued enough to want to see how they’ll play out.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Audiobook: Don’t let Go by Andrew Grey; Narrated by Jeff Gelder

audiobookreview

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

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 remember reviewing the book when it came out and saying how much I enjoyed it. Well that hasn’t diminished at all. I love the concept of two people who both had secret identities, neither realising the other is someone famous. Both of them living in the moment enjoying each other’s company. Both Zeke (Hy) and Robert (Avery) have reached a turning point in their life and need to make a decision. Although it does seem in their heart they already knew what they wanted it just took meeting each other to make it happen. Their idyllic life is put in jeopardy when Robert is identified as Avery but the family and friends rally round to protect him.
I’m not completely sold on Jeff Gelder’s narration. To me it sounds flat and not paced very well. He does provide some level of characterisation that suits the characters making them distinct. The story kept me listening though.

4 of stars out of 5 for the story
3 of stars out of 5 for the narration
Overall 3.5 stars


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The Other Book by Roe Horvat

 

Good Reads

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43380012-the-other-book?from_search=true

 

Blurb
It was supposed to be just sex… Famous last words.

Tyler doesn’t overthink pleasure and avoids complications. He knows it might be stupid to get involved with his closeted boss, but the temptation is too great. At first, the cold and beautiful Joel Sandstrom seems to loathe Tyler’s guts.

Except one late night at the office, his reasons become clear…and his control breaks.

Every time they touch, Joel’s stony face comes alive, harsh lines smooth out, and for a minute, he looks serene. Happy, even. Just sex – dirty, intense, spectacular sex.

During their covert encounters, Tyler discovers the power he has over the lonesome man, and it’s a heady feeling. What if he could set Joel free and give him peace of mind? When Tyler realizes how much Joel needs him, he doesn’t regret breaking his own rules.

Gay erotic romance. Contains explicit scenes and sexual interactions between more than two partners. For adult readers only.

Review
Joel and Tyler are very interesting characters, their relationship hits you in the face unexpectedly and the Enemies-to-Lovers vibe is very strong in this book. It’s hard to wrap your head around what is going on at first but I did like that the story didn’t drag it out too long and they did come clean to each other in a relatively healthy way.

This book was very intense and erotic sexually, and in that sense I liked it even though I usually do not like when couples add a third (or fourth) in a relationship. Despite that I felt it was written well and didn’t affect my delicate monogamist sensibilities too much. It was also important for Joel to find freedom, in the confining darkness of the closet imposed upon him, so that scene was a pinnacle moment for him in a way.
I liked that despite the awful situation between Joel and his father the darkness was not too overpowering and it ended with a good HEA.
I know Roe Horvat wished this book to be read without reference to his previous work (according to his author’s not in the beginning) but I could not make that distinction and I feel like his other books (such as Vanilla Clouds) were better. That being said, this is a good length story with enough heat to singe off your eyebrows and good emotional development in the characters.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


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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

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Death to Christmas Sweaters by L.E. Franks

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Chess and Benjamin are casual lovers, each hiding his devotion to the other and his wish for more. But Chess is a wealthy playboy who—Benjamin believes—will never settle down. And Chess is sure, with the way Benjamin keeps him at arm’s length, that he can’t be interested in getting serious.

They’re destined for a head-on collision as Chess plans for a holiday escape designed to send Benjamin’s ardor spiking like the temperatures in Los Angeles, while Benjamin desperately drags his feet, wanting to cool things down to protect his vulnerable heart. But when the ghosts of Chess’s Christmas past and Benjamin’s unwelcome present converge at LAX, it’s obvious there are other forces at play and about to take over.

Drawn into their respective family dramas at a joint gathering, will Chess and Benjamin finally take a stand for each other and the relationship they both want, or will the holiday finally take its toll?

Review

This was a fun short story.

We first meet Chess and Benjamin when they are already in a relationship, both wanting to make it a more permanent thing, but each not sure what the other is thinking and so it looks like a break up is inevitable.  But thankfully they manage to stumble their way through to their own happily ever after.

 

I did enjoy this book. It was an easy read with both main characters being extremely likeable.

There was an array of friends and relations popping up throughout who mostly added to the story although some did feel superfluous. Even though we were introduced to a lot of characters for such a short tale, as a taster to a writer, it would make me look for more work by this author.

 

3.5 stars out of 5

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story The Faller by Daniel de Lorne

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Being caught with another man sends Charlie Young fleeing his family to the forests of southwestern Australia to scrape together steamer-passage to the big smoke of London. But life as a timber faller isn’t easy and it’s made worse when the men, he works with are brash, bigoted, and often brutal. All except Jack Tapper, who’s the kind of gentle giant that sets Charlie’s heart racing.
While the other men head into town for Christmas, it’s just Charlie and Jack and acres of forest. But trees tell no tales and a few days alone is the perfect opportunity to indulge a bourgeoning passion. When the men return and find things not as they once were, Charlie and Jack have to make the hard decisions about whether to stay where they are or run for their lives.

Review

Charlie is running away and trying to hide. He stops to work as a faller hoping to get some money for a ticket to London where he imagines he will be safe, but will he make it? The big men he is working with surely will not look kindly at him if they ever find out what he likes.
When the biggest man of them all turns out to be the one Charlie can count on will the two fight to stay or run?

Charlie has been through a lot and is learning early on how tough life can be. He longs for a chance to live and love. When a chance for love comes with Jack Charlie must make some hard choices. It was nice to see the way Charlie and Jack connected as their attraction turned into something more. There is so much Charlie must learn before he can truly be free. Charlie and Jack are good men who must let go of their past to find a future. Both men go through some self-searching and they learn the hard way that love is worth fighting for.

Number of stars out of 5: 3

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Tulsi Vivah by Anna Kaling

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

 

The festival of Tulsi Vivah ushers in the Hindu wedding season and tears away the love of Kristopher’s life. Three years of passion and tenderness are reduced to a shameful skeleton in the closet as Arjuna submits to the marriage his parents have arranged for him. His family has never even heard Kristopher’s name.

The festival, a ritualistic wedding between the holy basil plant, Tulsi, and her eternal lover, Vishnu, is as much of a play-act as Arjuna’s upcoming nuptials, but he believes the wedding will honor his parents and please Vishnu. So why is his Tulsi plant—whose leaves heal and bless the devout, who is Vishnu’s representative on earth—dying? Arjuna tends to her with all the care of a concerned parent, but it might take more than his devotion to save her. She might need Kris, with his clever green-fingers—and maybe a revived Tulsi can heal two hearts.

Review
Not exactly my cup of tea, but still a sweet and hopeful holiday romance. In the end. It took a while to get there.
I guess what bothered me so was that we have an established couple that breaks down, not because of an outside threat, but because of one of the MC’s himself. Not something I like to see in a romance. Pet peeve of mine.

I had a hard time warming up to Arjuna, because I hated how he treated Kris and even more how he broke up with him. So much in their relationship happened on Arjuna’s terms, which is just very unhealthy as well as unbalanced and I didn’t feel as if Arjuna appreciated Kris’ efforts enough. He suffered too during their separation, so that did win him some highly-needed bonus points. But then it also takes Arjuna (a lot of) time to realize it would be awful of him to marry Sharanya under false pretenses, and that initial willingness to spend a lifetime lying to a spouse like that again didn’t endear him to me.

I liked learning more about Hinduism and its mythology, and the really wonderful thing for me was that the Tulsi plant was used as a subtle way to show Arjuna that he should feel free to pursue love and happiness, even if it comes in the form of a relationship with Kris and not in that of an arranged marriage to a woman.

In the end, Arjuna makes some brave choices and is a very lucky man to still hold Kris’ affections. However, both MC’s had to face a learning curve in order to better understand the other’s point of view and create a stronger foundation for their relationship.
I loved the final scene where Kris finally meets Arjuna’s parents. A very heartwarming send-off for our MC’s.

Number of stars out of 5: 3

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: Dawn and Dusk by Dirk Greyson Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dawn-and-dusk-by-dirk-greyson-6765-b

Blurb

Sequel to Sun and Shadow
Day and Knight: Book Three

For Scorpion agents Day and Knight, their relationship is slow to develop, and trust is hard to build. Then Day’s brother, Stephen, goes missing, and Day finds out more about him than he ever dreamed. Day’s first reaction to Stephen’s disappearance is to try to get to him as fast as possible.

Knight initially holds him back, so they can attempt to find out what they’re walking into. But when Knight sees Day’s desperation, he steps in to help and tries to calm the man he’s growing to care about, even though the trail is cold, and clues are scarce.

When Day witnesses his brother being shot live on television, he loses the last of his control. Despite the lack of answers, Day is more determined than ever to find out what happened. Stephen was all the family he had left.

Bone-deep fear and adversity threaten to tear Day and Knight apart but facing unimaginable hardship together might finally cement the bond between them.

Review
Dawn and Dusk picks up almost immediately after book two. Knight is trying to come to terms with his feelings towards Day. Day on the other hand is ready to have relationship based on more than sex. Throughout the series, Knight struggles with moving on from the death of his wife and child. It isn’t until the end of this book that he realizes that he can have true feelings for Day without pushing his wife and son out.
The story line of all three books were very action packed and full of mystery. Book three revolves around the disappearance of Day’s brother. This story travels into the deserts of Arizona and deals with human trafficking and the coyote runners.
I highly recommend reading/listening to the first two books before this one. There is a lot of development in the relationship between Knight and Day that you will miss if those books are skipped.
While this story ends on a high note between Knight and Day, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Hopefully there will be more books eventually released.

The series is narrated by Andrew McFerrin. He is a decent narrator, who has a very pleasant voice that keeps me drawn into the stories he voices. My only issue is that he doesn’t seem to have a large range of “voices”. The two main characters are easily distinguished from each other, but a lot of the secondary characters sound alike.

5 stars for story
4 stars for narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Romancing the Undercover Millionaire by Clare London

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/romancing-the-undercover-millionaire-by-clare-london-10016-b

Blurb

Romancing The…
Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?
Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.
Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.
While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?

Review

Alexandre is your typical spoiled playboy rich kid. He gets the bright idea to go undercover to reveal who is causing trouble in the family business warehouse. He meets his boss Tate. Tate is essentially a single parent of his three siblings and occasionally his grandmother when her arthritis is bad . The twins add great humor to the book. The attraction is instant. It was funny to read how easily Tate sees through Alex. Both are guarded. Alex, because he’s never tried for relationships and wanting to keep identity secret until mystery is solved, and Tate, because he feels that anyone he loves will eventually leave him plus the responsibility he feels to his siblings. The mystery incidences added great drama to the book. I enjoyed reading the family dynamics and know personally how tough it is maintaining a family in poverty. Alex gets hurt and shortly after the truth about him comes out. The sex scenes were hot without being detailed. The bond between them was great to read. All background characters were fun to read also. Overall fantastic read.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Bishop Ridge by Cate Ashwood

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42776179-bishop-ridge?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: They found exactly what they weren’t looking for.

Logan:
I had almost everything I’d ever wanted—career, friends, my own easy life in Sawyer’s Ferry, Alaska. I’d given up on filling in the missing pieces long ago. Now, I was more than satisfied with the perfectly practiced, perfectly predictable routine I’d created for myself. At least until Jackson Daley walked into my clinic.

Jackson:
Working the rigs is temporary. Everything in my life is. Jobs, cities, and the guys I take home—nothing sticks, and that’s exactly the way I like it. After four years in Alaska, I’m itching to pick up and leave. I’m ready to move on and start over someplace new, until a one-night stand I can’t seem to shake has me breaking all my own rules.
Now as I get closer to walking away, my reasons for leaving seem blurrier than ever, and for the first time in my life, there could be something worth staying for.

Review: This was a quick read. Logan is the one of the doctors at Sawyer’s Ferry, (met him in Alaska). He’s resigned himself to being alone for the foreseeable future and this is his mindset when he meets Jackson on one of clinic his trips. When they meet, the attraction is immediate and they hook up, neither thinking that it would go anywhere beyond another potential hookup. What they didn’t factor in was how compatible they were in and out of bed. While Logan is on board with a relationship, Jackson is a self-professed nomad and already has a job lined up in New Mexico.
The story unfolded very quickly (sort of felt more like a novella) – they meet, they hookup, they realise that they are getting too attached to each other, and then Jackson tries to distance himself. It takes an incident to make them see that they can be together if they have faith in their feelings.
It’s a fun read with some really hot times, but overall, it seemed a little rushed.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review