Release Day Review: Place Setting (States of Love) by Claudia Mayrant

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/place-setting-by-claudia-mayrant-10094-b

Blurb

Cameron Dunlop has lived in the Lowcountry town of Summer Corners, South Carolina, his whole life. He loves his home, but his little town in the Deep South doesn’t offer much in the way of dating options.

Chef Gray Callahan has enjoyed success in the kitchen, but his last relationship sunk like a bad soufflé. When plans for his sister’s wedding go awry, it provides the perfect excuse to pack up and go home, where he can help out as he decides how to start his life over.

Gray’s path crosses Cameron’s, and he realizes together they might have all the ingredients to save the day—with maybe enough left over for something sweet just for the two of them.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Review

This short story was such a sweet story to read. Gray relocates back to his small hometown and meets Cameron, who had a high school crush on Gray. There’s a pretty instant attraction. I like how quickly they worked together and the interest didn’t drag out. I enjoy reading cute stories like this where most works itself out with minimum trouble. The “Stick Shack” scene was cute and hot. Was happy Gray was able to pull through for his sister. I would LOVE to read a continuation of this book. Hope more in this series are made.

Number of stars out of 5

5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Tigers on the Way (Tigers and Devils #4) by Sean Kennedy

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tigers-on-the-way-by-sean-kennedy-10072-b

Blurb

Documentary producer Simon and ex-footballer Declan are taking some big steps toward a lasting life together. They’ve bought a house, and they’ll need it for the family they plan to start. Their friend, Nyssa, has made the generous offer to be their surrogate, and Declan couldn’t be more excited about the idea of a baby.

Simon knows fatherhood is a huge commitment, and though it’s daunting, he sees how much Dec wants it, and he’s sure that together, they can succeed in anything—despite the worries nagging at him.

But just as their new life is taking shape, a health scare disrupts their plans at the worst possible moment. With time running short, Simon and Dec will have to bare their fears and doubts to each other so they can face them before their world changes forever.

It might mean a literal leap of faith.

 

Review

This was a lot of fun!  I’d forgotten how much I enjoy Simon’s snarky humor and Declan’s steadfast devotion.  The secondary characters are also back and so funny, too!

There is no steam in this – and I missed that aspect – I think a little bit would have helped – we don’t need a ton but…

I really enjoyed watching the couple navigate Simon’s health scare and the decision to become fathers.  I really liked how that was handled.

I was worried, given the length of this, that I was going to be bored – I tend to find sequels like this can be tedious – but I wasn’t and I can really recommend this to all the fans from the original books.

I will say that I do think it could have been edited a bit tighter and that there are some parts of this that could have been deleted 🙂  IMHO

 

4 of 5 stars

 


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Release Day Review: Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper by Carole Cummings

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-fear-the-not-really-grim-reaper-by-carole-cummings-10083-b

Blurb

When unassuming college student Emery Sutton wakes up in the morgue, it takes him a few minutes to remember he has magic (superpowers, damn it!) and free himself from the refrigerated drawer. And the body bag. (God.) It doesn’t take long, though, for him to remember the hot guy with wings he ran into just before a city bus ran into him.

Junior Reaper John must explain to his supervisor how his first solo assignment went so wrong. All he knows is that he happened upon Emery quite by accident, that Emery saw John when he shouldn’t have been able to, and when they accidentally touched, a bus came out of nowhere and plowed Emery under. (John really does feel bad about that.)

Hot angels, annoying demons, hijinks, absurdity, drunk siblings, a dash of silly romance, an inordinate attachment to wings, and a highly disorganized bid for world domination—Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper follows Emery and John down the rabbit hole where they find that moms are scarier than demons from hell, a goat is not a puppy no matter what Emery’s sister says, and awkward romance can happen anywhere.
Review by Dee
This is a delightful, fun story. It’s a cross between a YA story, a Monty Python sketch all rolled into a Terry Gilliam or Prachett plot.
Emery keeps getting killed – unsuccessfully. Now, this would not be funny under normal circumstances, but this is a comedy so roll with it. It turns out that a junior Grim Reaper, John accidentally ‘kills’ Emery. John is full of remorse, reports this to his superiors, only to find out that Emery has not ‘transitioned, that is to say there is no record of his dying. More worrisome, there is no record of Emery at all. John is sent to investigate. The investigation leads to hijinks, meeting of demons, minions, family (Emery’s) and 2 young men falling in love.
The story is unique, funny, with a fun pop references, a close knit family and a formidable mum who will not tolerate evil in any of her kids!
If you like fantastical farces that’s not afraid to poke fun, this is definitely a good choice.

4 stars out of 5


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Review by Rebecca

This book drew me in instantly. Character rambling at the beginning, but it’s very humorous and shows the sense of humor and awkwardness of Emery. Movie references that made me smile. John is a Reaper that just wanted to do things right. It’s funny how he’d tiptoe around what really happened on his solo mission. So much nerd humor is in the book, very exciting. Enjoyed Emery’s family and the humor they brought to the book. Poor John is lost as to why he keeps being unsuccessful, yet doesn’t mind being around Emery more. The mutual attraction is overlooked by both. The demons were an amusing addition to the drama. The book isn’t centered on a relationship between Emery and John, but the attraction is there. All around enjoyable book.

Number of stars out of 5

5


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Release Day Review:Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/devouring-flame-by-ej-russell-10077-b

Blurb

An Enchanted Occasions Story
Reunited and reignited.

While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith, half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads seeing again: the ifrit, Hashim of the Windrider clan.

On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith, stupidly besotted, revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word? Message received, loud and clear: Thanks but no, thanks.

Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free.

When their attraction sparks once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name—which would be a hell of a lot easier if they didn’t have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood.

But if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes.

Luckily Smith is the guy who gets shit done. And Hashim is never afraid to heat things up.

Review
This was very cute. I love EJ Russell’s imagination and way with character dialog.
I didn’t enjoy this as much as her other series but as this looks to expand further I’d totally read more from this series – well- pretty much anything by this author goes on my TBR list ☺
I can’t put my finger on it – but I think the thing – for me – that makes it less enjoyable is that they’d already met and we have a misunderstanding to get around first. I’m just not a fan of that trope.

I did really love the “powers” and their combined effects on one another – very romantic and wonderful. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the author, fans of paranormal romance and fans of romance with humor.

4 of 5 stars


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Release Day Review: A Whole Latte Sass By Marguerite Labbe

release day review

Dreamspinner: 

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-whole-latte-sass-by-marguerite-labbe-10070-b

Blurb

Geek Life: Book Two

It’s no secret cosplayer Felipe Suero is looking for his happily ever after—in his love life as well as his career. He’s getting his degree so he can quit his miserable job and start his own costume business. Now he just needs to land the sexiest silver fox to ever attend a con.

Trask Briscoe’s life revolves around staying clean and sober, running the Magick Den, and attending local cons. His rules haven’t left much room for romance. But he can’t deny Felipe has caught his complete attention. He’s just not sure what he can offer a man so full of joy and sass.

When Trask finally accepts Felipe’s offer for a cup of coffee, he soon finds himself on a second date and a third. Between cosplay projects and roleplaying games, they discover a deeper connection than either of them expected. And Trask realizes that sometimes rules are made to be broken.

Now Felipe just has to convince his family—and Trask—that Trask has more love to offer than he ever dreamed.

 

Review

This book was an unexpected delight and I immediately ran to buy book 1 in the series because the cameos of those characters just captured me.  Marguerite has fantastic writing and I am so happy I got to know her, as now I have a new author to follow.
The gaming and geeky world described in the book is very accurate, as someone who was part of it many years and have friends who still are very into it I enjoyed how detailed it was- yet not too much for someone who is not really in this scene. I learned some new things on the way, mostly about roleplaying. Trask and Felipe are such fun, interesting and complex characters, I felt like their relationship, with all its hardships and Felipe’s family not always supporting it, was very mature, even if Felipe has a tendency to dramatic outbursts and storming off- they work it out and in no place is there a time where they just give up because of a misunderstanding. Feeling get hurt, yes, but in the end they always try to talk about it and figure out how to make both happy.

I think one of the things I liked the most was that when they did finally start dating and had their first kiss, there was no ‘explosion/electricity/shivers’ and all those other over the top descriptions we so often get in Romance and M/M Romance. It was very refreshing to see them act on their mutual attraction in more real-life way. It make it that much more interesting, and I liked that they took time to get to know each other more, in the romantic aspect. Despite some parts of the story that might have been a touch slow for me, the author wisely added POV’s of characters from book 1 and ones I assume will be in book 3. It was quite unique, because it gave just enough insight into these other characters, tempting you to read more about them (like Morris and Theo from book 1) and gave you an outside view of Trask and Felipe. I don’t think I have ever come across a book that had this kind of POV in M/M before and I really liked it!

Number of stars out of 5

4.5


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Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Holiday Island by A.D. Ellis

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

No peacocks were harmed in the making of this story.

Rafa’s nautical skills are less than stellar. He’d rather be a full-time artist, but he has a duty to the family business and a fear of standing up to his father and brother.

Carpenter Lucas is determined to rebuild his business after a lover’s betrayal nearly destroyed it. But he runs into a snag when he misses the last boat to the job site.

Rafa offers to take him, but Rafa isn’t much of a sailor.

When they end up on the wrong island, fears for survival gradually give way to an appreciation of the beauty around them—and each other. Rafa insists a holiday miracle will save them, and he teases Lucas for being a Scrooge.

In the end, Rafa’s miracle might come from the last place he expects: inside himself.

Review

This advent calendar short story was so adorable to read. Good descriptions of the island. The scenes involving peacocks in the distance was really cute. There are sexy mm scenes without being graphic. The brother made me want to kick him. Only complaint is that it’s just too short. There are multiple potential chapter routes that the author left open for a full novel, but still a great read.

Number of stars out of 5

5

 

 

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: Love Happens Anyway by RJ Scott Narrated by Sean Crisden

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Love-Happens-Anyway-Audiobook/B07KFPTB1Q?qid=1545259106&sr=sr_1_11&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_11&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=YHWG1TZ8336AY89GBJ7V&

Blurb

Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas, what could possibly go wrong?
Derek is facing yet another Christmas where his life feels out of control. He has a new career that doesn’t feel like his, and parents who would just love to see him settled down. All he needs is a temporary buffer for the parties he has to attend, and for his parents to leave him alone. Enter, Luke.
Luke is 20,000 dollars short for the renovations on Halligans, his family’s bar in New York’s Financial District. A favor for a buddy has him agreeing to play the part of boyfriend to a guy with more money than sense.
But when the spirit of Christmas works its magic on the two men, and they begin to fall for each other, Derek runs scared, and Luke needs space.
It doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in the way of love, or how much you run in the other direction, because, when you’re least expecting it, whether you want it or not, love happens anyway.

Review

Soooo cute! This is adorable! We have a really sweet guy who has hit a rough patch and an adorable but weaker guy who hasn’t really stood up to his folks like he should.

This is pretty much the ideal set up for a “fake boyfriend” and it plays out pretty wonderfully.

I found it easy to fall into and was mostly swept away – the narration helped make this so easy!

There were a couple of things that brought me out of the story. Derek’s life is too easy and I didn’t always understand why his super sweet family was the cause of such angst. I also felt like he was offering a huge sum of money for 4 dates without sex.

But… it was pretty fun and I enjoyed it – especially with Sean Crisden’s narration – his voice is so sexy and easy to listen to!

4 of 5 stars for the story and 5 of 5 for the narration

4.5 of 5 stars overall


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Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story The Last Birthday Party by Mere Rain

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Their favorite holiday is going away. Will it take their friendship with it?

Since 1989, the birthday of the Emperor of Japan has been celebrated on December 23rd. But this is the last year; the Emperor is abdicating, and next year there will be no holiday.

For twenty-year-old Akihito, the holiday has always been special. It’s his birthday, too, and a perfect excuse for spending the entire day celebrating across Tokyo with his life-long best friend, Kenji. But now that they will no longer get the day off and will soon face adult responsibilities, will they drift apart? Or if Akihito confesses the secret love he’s held in his heart for years, will their closeness be ruined? One thing is certain: nothing will be same by the end of the day.

Review

This Advent Calendar short is such a sweet read. You have Akihito and his best friend since childhood Kenji. The memories of their antics together made me smile. Plus how sweet they are. I enjoyed the bits on the culture that are included in the book. Small moments of pining, nothing dramatic. I was so very happy with the ending. This is a great “feel-good” book to add some extra sweetness to your day.

Number of stars out of 5

5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf audiobook by B.G. Thomas narrated by Donald Tursman

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/grumble-monkey-and-the-department-store-elf-by-bg-thomas-1071-

Blurb
Kit Jefferies, a part-time department store Christmas elf, is an artist who loves life and his family. Unfortunately, his car dies at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere as he is heading home for Christmas. Enter Nick St. George.

Nick is a very unhappy man—he’s achieved his professional goals only to find the rest of his life bleak and empty. Deciding there was only one way to make everything right, he is on his way to San Francisco on a dark mission, and even the horrible sleet storm that blocked his path won’t deter him. That’s when he found Kit.

At first, Nick is pretty sure rescuing Kit was a big mistake. Kit’s personality is just too, well, effervescent. But as the miles go by, Kit begins to bring light to his dark heart. It might even be bright enough to illuminate a Christmas miracle

Review
The story was part of the 2013 Dreampinner Press “Heartwarming” Advent Calendar.
Nick is such a grump, love him. He is trying to get to San Francisco before Christmas Day when he meets Kit at a rest stop. He is so dismissive and judgmental of Kit. Nick is so angry at the world and takes it out on Kit. Kit seems to be everything Nick despises about being gay. Kit and his positive attitude gets through to Nick. Although I had my suspicions Where the story was heading to it was still bit of a surprise. On seeing the cover picture I thought the story would be humorous but I don’t think it gets there. Nick and Kit’s story has a happy for now ending and overall left me feeling thoughtful rather than buoyed up in Christmas spirit.
The narrator gives some attempt to voice the characters but it does sound more like Donald Tursman is just reading the story. If you don’t listen closely it’s hared to distinguish which character was speaking. Initially there was a hollow sound to the recording but either that got better or I got used to it.

3 of stars out of 5 for the story
2 of stars out of 5 for the narration

Reviewer Name: MaryD

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story An Everyday Hero by E.J. Russell

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

When Adam Tyler’s sister announced she was pregnant, Adam decided to move from Portland, Oregon, to Phoenix, Arizona, to fully embrace the uncle experience. However, he didn’t count on the move being delayed until three days before Christmas—and three days before his sister’s due date. And he definitely didn’t count on finding a scorpion in his bedroom. Cue the panicked calls to exterminators.
Garrett Strong doesn’t consider himself at all remarkable—his ex certainly didn’t think so—and Garrett’s pest-control business is circling the drain. Although Adam is his first new client in months, that isn’t the only reason Garrett goes above and beyond for him. He feels a real connection to the younger man and intends to do everything in his power to make sure Adam feels safe and welcome in Phoenix—venomous intruders notwithstanding.

Review

This is my favorite of the 4 I read!

I loved this!!!

It is soooo cute and the guys are so adorable together! There is a wonderful back and forth POV and two opposites totally attracting! I’m a Portlander so finding out about the terrors of Arizona was hysterical and eye opening!

I learned right along with Adam about scorpions and snakes and fencing – Oh My!

Garrett is so self effacing and in need of a big hug – it was wonderful to see the two find each other.

I only wish the story were longer – as is the case with any good story.

Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review