Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Deadman’s Hand By: Cindy Dees

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dead-mans-hand-by-cindy-dees-11680-

Blurb
Temptation, peril, and dirty poker.

Love is a high-stakes game.

When Collin Callahan, British secret agent, goes up against math genius turned surfer bum Oliver Elliot, the battle is epic—and so is the attraction. They’re pitted against each other in an exclusive, ultra-secret—and ultra-illegal—poker match in Gibraltar, but when players start dying and they could be next, they find a common goal: catch the killer before it’s too late.

Evenly matched at poker and romance, they each wrestle personal demons that threaten to consume them as the stakes climb. It’s an all-or-nothing gamble with both life and love on the line as they fight to be the last seven-card studs standing.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Seven-Card Stud by Ava Drake, November 2016

Review
I pondered how to write a 3 * review for a book I really liked. In book 1 Wild Cards Inc provides personal security. In this story their operative Colin Callahan is an inexperienced undercover agent. The story is a mix of suspense, who done it, and thriller. Colin is pretending to be an expert card player in very high stake game. It did keep my at I really wanted to know what happened next. Colin meets Gun (Oliver) and falls for him but can he trust him. I enjoyed the way the story played out up until the end. This is where my review drops. I want to know what happens next. I don’t have the imagination of an author to create the rest of the story myself. I had hoping that since this is a republished series the ending was fleshed out or if not another book is added that gives Colin and Gun’s next adventure bringing down the Consortium. Fingers crossed that happens.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Poker Face by Cindy Dees

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/poker-face-by-cindy-dees-11661-

Blurb
Surveillance, seduction, and extra-dirty politics.

Christian Chatsworth-Brandeis has a problem. A huge one. The US senator he works for has run away with his latest mistress on the eve of a make-or-break fund-raising event, and it’s up to him to cover his boss’s irresponsible tracks.

Stone Jackson, the senator’s new bodyguard, looks enough like the senator that, with some extensive grooming, he might pass for Senator Lacey. Christian and Stone hatch a plan to fool everyone by substituting Stone for the senator, but Miami madness and the incendiary heat between them are throwing obstacles in their way. It’s a race to find the senator and pull off the con of the century before the attraction between them spins completely out of control

Second Edition
First Edition previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Ace in the Hole by Ava Drake, July 2016

Review
I found Poker Face to be a delightful story. I loved the way the hard disciplined body guard caves in to Christian to take on the persona of Senator Lacey. This story could easily have become slapstick comedy but the author controlled the events brilliantly. It was easy to see the events unfolding, wondering where it was going. I was hoping the Senator gets his just deserts after skipping of with his current mistress. I didn’t see the ending coming, wonderful.
The characters are well crafted and totally lovable, even Jack Lacey is the kind of character I love to hate. Throughly enjoyable story.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Twice Shy by Sally Malcolm

GoodReads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48559190-twice-shy?from_search=true&rank=1

Blurb
The last thing Joel Morgan wants is to fall in love again. Scarred by his failed marriage, Joel’s determined to keep his life emotionally stable—which means taking a job teaching fourth grade, fixing up his house on weekends, and avoiding absolutely all romantic entanglements. And he’s doing great.

Until he meets sweet but struggling single dad, Ollie Snow.

Following the tragic death of his sister and her husband two years earlier, Ollie became the legal guardian of their two young sons—much to the horror of the boys’ conservative grandparents. They think Ollie’s too young and too unreliable to raise their grandsons. So to prove them wrong, Ollie’s determined to parent the boys without anyone’s help.

Until he meets reserved but caring teacher, Joel Morgan.

As the only two men in the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, Joel and Ollie are thrown together over a series of fundraising events, and somewhere between the Beach Fun Run and the Fall Festival they fall in love. But Ollie has another reason for moving to New Milton—a reason he’s keeping close to his chest—and Joel’s wounded heart won’t trust a man with secrets.

Dare they hope for a future together, or will their past pain keep them apart forever?

Review
Joel and Ollie are two very insecure people. Both of them have had loss3 in one way or another and had to battle to get the life they have now. Twice shy is a sweet story of redemption and Trust. There’s also a cosy feeling to the story it’s gentle when it could very well have been angsty it’s charmingly set around different school events. Which brings a lot of other fun characters into the story. Some are from previous books but I didn’t feel I was missing out from not having read the first two books in the series. I haven’t read anything by Sally Malcolm before and I found this book to be soothing even though the journey Joel and Ollie take is hesitant. I think it is the way the book is written that kept me sympathetic to both characters reluctance to make their relationship public. It ws very much an on and off relationship. Both of them had their reasons for hesitation and it’s these reasons that e me from feeling irritated that they hadn’t got on with it already! Ollie has his nephews to think about and Joel definitely fit in the once bitten twice shy category.
Absolutely a feel good story that makes me want to investigate the first two books.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Hard Hart by: E. Davies Narration: Greg Boudreaux

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Hard-Hart-Audiobook/B07YN8N2CS?qid=1571593358&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=HW41X56SQN82VGNBW430&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb
Jesse Stone is rebuilding his life. He’s ditched his no-good ex, sworn off men, moved to a new town with his four best friends, and started the pottery business of his dreams. And then he slept with his hunky new neighbor. Oops. Jesse needs to focus on work, but all he can think about is getting Finn between his hands like a perfectly-shaped work of clay.

Trouble just blew into town, and his name is Jesse. Finn Hart knows that pursuing Jesse will ignite old family tensions, but he can’t stay away. The construction foreman has never built a lasting relationship. He’s too busy keeping the peace in a town that was founded by one Hart, but is slowly being strangled by another—Finn’s grandfather.

Finn and Jesse are on the same page: they want to save Hart’s Bay, and it starts by bringing tourists in with Jesse’s new art gallery. But their hearts are bruised, and taking a chance comes with a price. Not everyone in Hart’s Bay wants change. For a few narrow minds, nothing good should come to Finn’s branch of the Harts, and that includes love.

Can love wash away twenty years of bad blood and bring a new dawn for Jesse, Finn, and all of Hart’s Bay

Review
So many possibilities in this series. New town and a new start for Jesse and his friends. Add in a family feud they unwittingly get caught in and explosions are bound to happen. I felt sorry for the residents of Hart’s bay. They have given up and are just existing. Jesse has plans to bring some life back to the Town. Along the way he meets Finn. Finn is a Hart. And he is caught up in a family feud which is harming the town as much as it has split the family.
Fin and Jesse’s story is wonderfully positive and it’s great to feel that the whole town is embracing a new start just like the main characters are. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
Greg Boudreaux’s dulcet tones are perfect. He gave Finn a lovely sexy voice and Jesse had a touch of hesitancy and vulnerability which made him so endearing.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Christmas Homecoming (The Christmas Angel #4) by L.A. Witt Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Christmas-Homecoming-Audiobook/B07L19L69S?pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=KYRG2KSZ1VAF4HGX7H26&ref=a_library_c4_libItem_B07L19L69S

Blurb

August 1939. Roger Miller and Jack O’Brien have been close since childhood. By the time they realize there’s more between them than friendship, Jack is leaving their sleepy Iowa town for college. But they console themselves knowing he’ll be home for Christmas. Right?

It is Christmas before they see each other again, but that Christmas comes six years and a world war later. Aged, beaten, and shaken by combat, they’re not the boys they were back then, but their feelings for each other are stronger than ever.

Neither know the words to say everything they’ve carried since that peacetime summer kiss, though. Even as they stand in the same room, there’s a thousand miles between them.

But maybe that’s some distance the little angel in Roger’s rucksack can cross.

The Christmas Angel series books are standalones and can be read in any order.

Review

This was so sweet! Although this was a bit hard to swallow –I still loved it and was so glad for their HEA. LA Witt really did a nice job imagining the hardship of war for these boys and how it would affect their future decisions. I loved the line “We can be some other town’s ______ bacherlors” – such a lovely outcome for them!

4 of 5 stars

Audio

Nick is a great choice for this sweet Christmas story. A joy to listen to.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Beautiful Trauma (Queen City Rogues #3) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47128093-beautiful-trauma?from_search=true

Blurb
Does trauma define or motivate a person?

Homeless and rejected, Henry Sullivan arrived on the doorstep of Ryan’s Place with nothing but the clothes on his back. Life as he knew it was over. Within those walls, Henry found the encouragement and love needed to turn hopeless into hopeful. Enrolling for summer classes at his community college was the first step toward achieving the dreams he thought were lost to him. There was just one little snag: the professor standing in the front of the room taught Henry the true meaning of human sexuality.

After a crushing breakup, Professor Ezra Meyer moved to the Queen City for a fresh start where everything was new—job, home, and friends. His first challenge: prove the benefits of his biology of human sexuality course outweighed the controversy. Ezra agreed to teach the class during the summer semester at a community college associated with his university to gauge interest. There was just one little problem: Ezra had personally demonstrated the unit on Sexual Technique and Behaviors with one of his students.

Random or Fate?

It was supposed to be a harmless hookup on a night when Henry was celebrating his birthday and Ezra was trying to ease his loneliness. Fast forward six months later, the attraction blazed hotter than ever, but acting on it could have dire consequences neither man was willing to risk. Or were they? Could true love be Henry and Ezra’s ultimate reward, or were they destined to become just another sad lesson learned?

Beautiful Trauma is a story about triumph over tragedy, embracing the unexpected, and a reminder that family is more than biology. Are you looking for a feel-good romance with witty banter, toe-curling passion, and a story that stays with you long after the final page? Look no further. Beautiful Trauma is the third book in the Queen City Rogues series but reads as a standalone book. It contains sexually explicit material and colorful language and is intended for adults 18 and over.

Review
Beautiful Trauma was a beautiful, sexy, captivating story. It is the 3rd book in the Queen City Rogues series but can be easily read as a standalone. The chemistry between the two main characters, Ezra and Henry is off the charts and its no wonder these two couldn’t stay away from each other. Henry is very sweet and innocent in the beginning but under Ezra’s love and care, he really comes into his own towards the end. Like the previous two books in the series, there is very little angst and drama in this book. This was a fun, sexy read that I highly recommend!!

5 stars

Reviewed by Aerielle

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Summerfield’s Angel (The Christmas Angel #2) by Kim Fielding Narrated by KC Kelly

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Summerfields-Angel-Audiobook/B07L4C112L?pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=KYRG2KSZ1VAF4HGX7H26&ref=a_library_c4_libItem_B07L4C112L

Blurb

After the hard winter of 1888 ended Alby Boyle’s work as a Nebraska ranch hand, he returned to New York City in search of his long-lost family. His mother and brothers are nowhere to be found, however, and after Alby’s years of absence, Five Corners no longer feels like home. His prospects seem as dim as the nighttime alleys.

When Alby pauses to admire an angel ornament in a department store window’s Christmas display, he meets Xeno Varnham-Summerfield. Wealthy, handsome, and enthusiastic, Xeno brings Alby some temporary cheer. But for Alby to achieve his dreams of love and a real home, well, that may take a bit of holiday magic.

Review

Kim Fielding is such a great writer! She excels at giving us less than charming situations with guys who probably shouldn’t be together and finding a way to make it appealing and possible nonetheless!

I learned some stuff about New York’s Cowboys in the 1800s! That was fascinating! Also – a bit about the YMCA – which was also cool.

I loved the HEA our guys got and I was so touched by the angel’s work in this story.

This was very sweet and highly enjoyable.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

KC Kelly was the perfect choice to narrate this! He does a great job with both the “aristocrat” and the “country” inflections and is a joy to listen to!

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Running With Scissors By LA Witt Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Running-with-Scissors-Audiobook/B07N7Y711Q?qid=1549302973&sr=1-5&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_5&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=G56K1FPHDPT38GMSD558&

Blurb

Eighteen months ago, drummer Jude Colburn made the biggest mistake of his life when he walked away from his band just as they were on the brink of success. Now, he’s got a second chance. The band’s bassist just quit, and Jude plays bass almost as well as he plays drums. The other band members aren’t thrilled, but they are desperate.

Running with Scissors needs him, but there’s one condition: no hooking up with bandmates. That’s what ruined things eighteen months ago, after all. Jude’s on board, but no one warned him about the drummer who replaced him. A.J. Palmer is shy and unassuming . . . until he hits the stage. He gets Jude’s attention from the first beat, and suddenly that “no hookups” rule isn’t so easy to follow.

Keeping secrets on a tour bus isn’t easy either, and it’s only a matter of time before the band catches on. When everything hits the fan, Jude has to choose: a second chance at the career he’s always regretted leaving, or a shot at the man of his dreams?

Review

So I will admit that I mostly skimmed this book.

I LOVE the idea. LOVE the author. LOVE the cover. But I didn’t love the outcome.

Jude left his band high and dry and when he returns he’s told absolutely no hook-ups will be tolerated with other band members. So of course… he and AJ find themselves having to hide their developing love for each other and that causes lots of strife and on again/off again angst. Turns out Jude had a “thing” with another band member and there are unresolved feelings between the two to this day.

I didn’t really like Jude all that much and kinda felt AJ was a bit wishy-washy. So their “passion” was just as uneventful for me. In fact, I thought the most passionate thing in the book was the violent reaction to the hook-up the other band members had rather than the love between our two MCs. (The women in particular were pretty screechy.)

I was kinda hoping for this “super shy on the tour bus” guy to become this totally “hot and madly passionate” guy with his beau but it was kinda luke-warm instead. Usually LA Witt is full of hawt and sexy love scenes sometimes a little on the kinky side, but this was pretty white bread.

I think, had I not had high expectations because of my fandom for the author I wouldn’t have felt as let down, because it is still a “good” book, just not as great as I’d come to expect. (As you can tell from my previous review of Static – I am a big fan of this author.)

So, with that… I give it a fair 3 of 5 stars.

Audio

I think Michael Ferraiuolo adds a LOT to this story. He gives it more depth and makes it more engaging. I really think this is the best way to enjoy this story and recommend it in this format the most.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Enemies to Lovers: Hostile Ground by LA Witt and Aleksandr Voinov narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Hostile-Ground-Audiobook/B07PJWLDBN?pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=QF3XHHK2W1HP2PT00E1K&ref=a_library_c4_libItem_B07PJWLDBN

Blurb

After the deaths of three undercover cops investigating a drug ring in a seedy strip club in Seattle, Detective Mahir Hussain has been sent to finish the job. He joins the club’s security team in the hopes of finding enough evidence to bust the operation before the men in charge find a reason to put him in a shallow grave. To protect the strippers, only gay men can work the club. Ridley, the cold and intimidating head of security, knows exactly how to test potential new hires-including Mahir. From the minute they meet, Mahir and Ridley engage in a dangerous dance of sex and mind games. Mahir needs to find his evidence before Ridley figures out he’s a cop-and before they both grow too close to betray one another.

As the game goes on, Mahir burrows deeper into the operation, where he learns there’s much more happening than meets the eye . . . and why every cop who made it this far has been silenced with a bullet.

Review

LA Witt is one of my must-read authors, but I had not read anything by Aleksandr Voinov before. Let me tell you, the two of them together are FANTASTIC! I will definitely be updating my TBR list with them in mind.

Hostile Ground is a full-length novel that reads like a novella because it is so fast-paced and page-turning.

What I loved about this book:

– The two MCs are both very alpha but realistic and not over the top. They are both in law enforcement, so you have that certain “cop” element/ego, but both have a nurturing side that they are not afraid to show.
– Kinza, Mahir’s nephew. He added a wonderful element of family and continuity to the story and I am really, really hoping we will see him in a future book!
– The action/mystery part of the story. Usually this part of the book is filler for me. I really like the emotions/relationship part of a romance and the rest is just a vehicle for that. In this book the mystery part of the story (catching the bad guys) was really exciting and kept my interest.
– The relationship/Sex. Super sweet relationship with very hot sex. Enough said.
– Nontraditional characters. I really enjoyed the fact that Mahir is Muslim and not a stereo-type but a full-fledged, unique character who gives us insight into a culture not typically seen in most romances.

What I didn’t love:
– That it ended!
– That I haven’t seen the sequel yet!

This is a fantastic book by a fantastic writing duo and I highly recommend it. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Audio

Nick is – yet again – wowing me with his talent! I loved the subtle way he chose to portray Mahir. He does a great job with the LOADS of characters in this story including the young characters and the female.

This absolutely is the best way to enjoy this story – highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars!


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Diplomatic Relations (Sci-Regency #4) by J.L. Langley, narrated by K.C. Kelly

audiobookreview

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

Story:
I really like how this series brings such an original sci-fi take to the regency genre. Very unusual and fun.

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 I 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.

Narration:

I think the narrator’s performance really fits the quite proper vibe of the regency-like setting of this story. I loved that he tried to incorporate that into his narration. I very much enjoyed the audio version of this story and loved K.C. Kelly’s take on Blaise and Dalton. I also liked the different voices he did for the secondary characters. There’s quite a cast of them, so that can’t have been easy to do.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review