Release Day Review: Wild as the West Texas Wind Author: Jackie North

release day review

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43787252-wild-as-the-west-texas-wind?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Blurb
Soulmates across time. Two hearts that were meant to be together.

In present day, Zach takes a road trip to Trinidad to find information on a missing friend.

In 1892, Layton Blue, outlaw, longs for hearth and home even as he treasures his life of freedom.

A freak rainstorm washes Zach’s car into a ditch, sending him back to the year 1892. Searching for help, alone and on foot in the middle of the nowhere, he crosses paths with the famous Ketchum Gang. Now the gang’s prisoner, Zach’s fate is to be sold at a seedy auction for whores.

Layton is put in charge of making sure Zach does not escape, but as the chemistry between them grows, Layton finds himself wanting to help Zach.

Can Layton overcome years of being on the run? Can Zach accept help from an outlaw?

A male/male time travel romance complete with fast rides across the desert, campfires beneath the stars, cool water in the desert, wild rescues, and true love across time

Review
It’s not often that I read late into the night because I had to finish a story, but this is one of them. I wasn’t sure going in whether I would connect to an outlaw as the main character but I needn’t have. Layton is a sweet caring man caught in a situation where he is making the best he can out of what life has given him. The main characters from the previous books are mentioned but they do not play a major role and their context is explained so well in the story I didn’t feel I was missing something not having read it. Although I will do now because I want to know more about them. The relationship between Layton and Zach feels like enemies to lovers but it’s not that’s only on Zach’s part given the circumstances he finds himself in. Back in time stranded and in the clutches of an immoral gang. His only hope is to find Laurie. In the last section of the story the pace picks and I was rooting for them. I just wish there was an epilogue a glimpse into the future but maybe that’ll be in the next book.

5 of stars out of 5


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Recent Release: Escape to Paradise By Cailtin Ricci

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/escape-to-paradise-by-caitlin-ricci-10136-b

Blurb

His attraction to men means Kalean is the black sheep of his wealthy and powerful family—but it won’t get him out of attending his brother’s pretentious wedding ceremony. Kalean doesn’t want to go, but if his parents insist, he has a stipulation: he’ll be there with a man on his arm.
On the pleasure planet, Wish, Kalean goes to a brothel to meet some potential escorts. But the man who captures his attention isn’t one of those on offer….
Descani is as surprised as anyone at Kalean’s attraction to him—and at his own interest in the young man. He’s even more perplexed as a bond begins forming between them.
But a murder rips apart Kalean’s family and redefines his role. He’ll be isolated on his cold and barren home world, far from the warm and colorful planet of Wish—and the arms of the man who’s coming to mean so much to him—unless he can find a way to escape the forces separating them.

Review

This book is the newest in this series. It has shy and inexperienced Kalean. His family owns the mining rights to the icy planet they live on. If there was royalty, they would be the monarch. His cold and distant family grated on my nerves. Hard to be out, but not accepted. Pretty well swept under the rug. Then as stipulation to go to his brother’s wedding, he meets Descani. A character that by description is almost feline like…but no mention of tail. They are very hot together. Kalean started shy, but as the book progresses he became comfortable in his new freedom. Descani’s character is amusingly brash and very forward. Great contrast to Kaleaan who is shy and just accepts thing as is while brooding in silence. A few sad parts, but not bad. I enjoyed the added character of Lethe, his sister in law. She has spunk. The descriptions of the locations are great and you feel transported to the planets in this story. Great book., it was hard to put down.

Number of stars out of 5

5


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Audiobook: A Fool and his Manny by Amy Lane Narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-fool-and-his-manny-by-amy-lane-9714-b

Blurb

Seeing the truth and falling in love.
Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan’s friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.
At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

Review

I adored this couple! I loved the idea of the younger guy who falls for his “nanny” but ends up getting him! He was just the right amount of contrite and then bossy to really flip all my switches and he felt authentic to me.

The romance moved at a very low angst, steady pace and I loved seeing all the familiar faces. While this is definitely a good standalone, it’s better if you’ve read the others before it.

Watching Dusty move from kid through to adult was just right, too. Enough of the kid stuff for him to feel “real” but not so much that it was weird seeing him as an adult.

If you’re a fan of the author, the series or “mannies” this is for you! If you’re in the mood for a sweet “coming of age” book – I think this is wonderful for that purpose, too.

As for the upcoming audio: I don’t want this to sound like John Solo isn’t good – he is! – but I sure do wish we could have Nick Russo or Gomez for this series as well – I’d love that so much!

5 of 5 stars

Audio

I guess Dreamspinner must have a contract for this series because Amy’s usual taste in audiobook narrators doesn’t seem to be able to continue here.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Kenneth Obi does a perfectly fine job – I just love her choices for her other books a lot more.

In the end, he was easy to listen to and does a nice job with timing, characters and emphasis.

3.5 of 5 for the audio

Overall 4 of 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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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

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Audiobook: Fire Balls (Balls to the Wall #2) by Tara Lain Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fire-balls-by-tara-lain-8126-b

Blurb

A Balls to the Wall Romance

Renowned artist Rodney Mansfield stands five foot six, has pink hair, six earrings, a black belt in karate—and a desperate yearning for firefighter Hunter Fallon. But Rod, the Runtback of Notre Dame, knows he’ll never land the beautiful “straight gay” guy, so Rod musters his altruism and helps his more masculine friend Jerry attract Hunter. As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, Rod saves Hunter from a firehouse homophobe—humiliating Hunter in front of his dad!

Hunter lives a dream life—his father’s dream. While he’d like to teach literature in college, read poetry in the sun, and find a strong guy to top him, he fights fires for his dad. Hunter hates flamboyant guys like Rodney. So why can’t he resist him? Maybe it’s time to admit this is one flame he has no desire to put out.

First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2012.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

Though this is the second book in the series, they are absolutely okay as standalones. I do like watching the progression, however, as each new couple (or triad!) meets and we see them in future stories.

Rod is the artist who painted David – if you read book one. He’s very flamboyant and he both loves and hates this about himself. He’s also not very tall, but he’s super tough and a black belt in Karate.

There’s a lot to this story that I love: I love Rodney. He’s a great character. Self assured. Charismatic. Colorful. Stereo-type defying. Hunter is unique as well. I love that Rodney helps Hunter but that it’s Hunter’s family who helps him the most.

What I didn’t love: the first two times Hunter and Rodney are together physically felt both like cheating and a little less than consensual. I don’t mean rape – while Rodney probably could hurt Hunter physically , he would never – but more mentally. I didn’t like that it was clear Hunter wasn’t mentally in a good place to make decisions, he was dating Jerry, and he didn’t want to want Rodney. I didn’t feel good about how Rodney sort of “seduced” him… it’s hard to explain but it clearly wasn’t something both men were on the same page about and it left both men feeling bad after it happened.

So, I’m conflicted about the rating, because I love Rodney and appreciate so much about the story, but that aspect really brought my appreciation of this story down. I’m going to go with 3 of 5 stars and leave it at that.

(I’m not sure if anything changed from the first edition to this one, but I’d read the original and couldn’t tell a difference, but it’d been a long time ago.)

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Nick J Russo is one of my favorite narrators ever, so it’s not unreasonable that I loved this just as much as any of his other narrations.  He is so good at giving everyone unique voices and handling the sometimes awkward phrasing that the author has chosen.  

I always know if Nick’s narrating I’ll be entertained and that the book will be undoubtedly elevated beyond just the reading of the material.

Recommended in this format!

5 of 5 stars for the narration

Overall

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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

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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

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Release Day Review: New Tricks by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/new-tricks-by-andrew-grey-10029-

Blurb
In matters of the heart, there’s no such thing as business as usual.

Thomas Stepford spent years building a very successful business and now at thirty-nine, he wants a quieter life. With his parents needing help, he decides to return home. He can’t get away from business completely and needs an assistant—but the man who is hired isn’t quite what he had in mind.

Brandon Wilson, the ink on his degree barely dry, needs a job, and his mother helps him get one as Mr. Stepford’s assistant. Thomas doesn’t seem to remember, but Brandon worked mowing the stunningly attractive older man’s lawn years ago. Thomas was Brandon’s teenage fantasy, and now he’s Brandon’s boss.

Thomas and Brandon are both determined to keep their relationship strictly business, but the old attraction is still there. They learn to work together even as the tension between them reaches the boiling point. But just as they start to surrender, Thomas’s old life in New York calls him. Even if he resists that pull, can their newfound relationship survive when Brandon receives the call of his dreams… from Hollywood

Review by Mary
Another simply lovely heartwarming story by Andrew Grey. Thomas has given up on love. He’s had some bad experiences which left him wary. Although he has built up a very successful business, this has also come at a cost to his health. Now approaching 40 Thomas is questioning his lifestyle and whether it’s worth it. Thomas comes across as such a war and caring person but the story gives glimpses of his toughness in business. His drive and determination to build has got him this far but he needs to slow down and pay attention to his health and to his family. Going home to a quieter way of living. Into the story comes Brandon an intelligent young man who has known hardship but gets by with the love and s of his grandmother. He’s intelligent with a good degree but can’t get a job. Opportunity brings Thomas and Brandon together and from there they recognise what true love can be like. Such a beautiful low angst romance. Perfect for that Christmas spirit feeling without it actually being a Christmas story. I do hope Blaze, Thomas’s best friend and business partner gets his own story and also finds true love.

4.5 of stars out of 5


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Review by Aerielle

 

Andrew Grey is the master of sweet, low-angst romances. New Tricks is about Thomas, a man on the verge of burn out, leaving New York City and moving to a small town in Colorado to take care of his aging parents. There he meets his new assistant Brandon, a recent college graduate and finds himself very attracted to the young man. Thomas has been hurt by a past relationship with a coworker and vows not to act upon his feelings.

Brandon has known and lusted after Thomas since he used to mow Thomas’ yard back in high school. Brandon easily brings order to Thomas’ chaotic life. The pair enjoy spending time with each other and eventually act upon their attraction.

Thomas knows that he won’t be able to keep Brandon with him forever. Brandon is destined for better things. When Brandon gets a job offer that he can’t turn down, Thomas is determined to let him go live his life.

New Tricks has a full cast of enjoyable characters. Thomas’ New York assistant Marjorie is brassy and snarky and doesn’t take any of Thomas’ crap. I absolutely loved Brandon’s grandmother Thelma who is the only family member who is accepting of Brandon’s sexuality. She is so fierce and protective of her grandson.

You can not go wrong with this book!!

 

 5 stars

 

 

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Time for the Holidays: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane (re-release)

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-kitsch-by-amy-lane-10019-b

Blurb: Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Review: Rusty is a “nice boy”. Tries hard, plays football, dates girls… but he’s not the “quickest”. He can eventually figure things out – given enough time- but he takes awhile to get there.
Good manners and a fascination for the new kid – chocolate to Rusty’s vanilla – prompts Rusty to befriend snarky, openly gay, Hispanic and funny Oliver. Oliver can hold his own with Rusty’s “friends” but it’s Rusty who becomes Oliver’s best friend in the last year of high school.
When it comes time for Rusty to go to Berkley, where he just knows he’s going to fail, Oliver does all he can to assure him that he’ll be there for him and that he knows Rusty won’t get lost in the shuffle. And… he kisses Rusty – telling him to just “think about it”.
Rusty is left at Berkley- lost, scared, trapped with a crazy but warm-hearted-hyper-sexual-roommate (Rex), and the memory of Oliver’s kiss to make him question…everything.
When it becomes apparent that Rusty is in fact not ready for Berkley – though he tries damn hard – he is ready for Oliver and knows that Oliver is more than just his best friend. Rusty goes home for Thanksgiving and is greeted by Oliver and kisses. His family witnesses this and kicks Rusty out of the house.
Luckily, Oliver’s family is there to help Rusty pick up the pieces and get him set up. What follows, is Rusty’s jump into the deep end of adulthood and his navigation of his first real relationship that also happens to be his first gay relationship.
Oliver’s impatience and love both help and hinder him in this process, but the underlying support he and his dad offer Rusty give him the strength to grow into the man he needs to become.
**
After Gambling Men, this is my favorite Amy Lane book. It is sweet, funny, tender, lightly sexy and really wonderful.
Rusty’s character is so open and honest as is Oliver. I love that the two have constant communication about their feelings, but even so, still manage to run into trouble because relationships are hard! Oliver just can’t understand Rusty’s reluctance to have him move in and Rusty just can’t be pressured in to giving Oliver anything but a wonderful home.
Oliver is just smart and snarky enough to ease the saccharine sweetness of Rusty’s goodness and make them a real, fun, and sexy couple.
I loved the interactions with the secondary characters. The role model of Oliver’s dad. The hilarity of the cousins. The hero-worship of Rusty’s sister. And the eventual grace of Rusty’s parents.
I read this book when I need a warm hug on a rainy afternoon and it always makes me feel better.
I can’t recommend it enough.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
There is a special place in my heart for Amy Lane and her books. It was through Amy’s Little Goddess series, I followed her carefully laid out book crumbs which led me to the world of MM romance. She was also the first ‘real live author’ I wrote to after reading her work and I was so excited when she wrote back.

Knowing how Amy writes, I was expecting to shed a few tears over this book, and I wasn’t wrong.
Rusty is an absolute sweetheart. With his upbringing, he could have been a really arrogant bully, but he isn’t. He knows he isn’t that smart, but he still tries his hardest. He doesn’t want to go to college as he knows it will be too hard for him, but he goes anyway to please his parents.
His one rebellion is to fall in love with Oliver Campbell. And he gets kicked out of home for it.

I adored Rusty right from the beginning. Reading the book from his point of view, he may not quite have rose tinted glasses, but there is an innocence to the way he sees the world that can’t help but charm the reader. Oliver may be the smaller of the two boys, but he is smarter and does everything he can to fiercely protect Rusty.

This book is what Amy Lane does best. Great characters and a story that will rip out your heart and stomp on it before carefully putting it back inside you to beat another day.

4.5 stars out of 5


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