Categories
adult - 18+

Pieces of You audiobook by N.R. Walker, narrated by Glen Lloyd

audiobookreview

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53351569-pieces-of-you?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=xyeXC1Pzm9&rank=1

Blurb
Dallas Muller has everything he never expected he’d have. He owns a successful motorbike mechanic shop in Newcastle, and he’s madly in love with his boyfriend of four years, Justin Keith.

Justin has always struggled to find where he fit in, never realising his true worth or what it means to be loved—until he met Dallas. Living and working together might be too much for some, but Dallas and Justin wouldn’t have it any other way.

When a terrible accident tears their world apart, Justin’s left with no memory of Dallas or their relationship. Trying to put the pieces back together is almost impossible when some pieces are blank and some are missing altogether. Dallas has to let Justin find his own way back to him and just hope that their love will light the way.

Review
The narration was an issue for me, I think the narrator had a weird cadence when the characters were not talking, and it threw me off. When characters were speaking, he had a great range of emotions, distinct voices and I liked the narration a lot. It was still hard for me to ignore all the other parts when he had his normal speaking voice. It was not bad. I just didn’t click with it and it was bothering me all the time.
Listening to the story a second time (after reading the e-book) I still felt like the ending was a bit too cut off. Even though it was a soft cliffhanger type of ending, I felt like I was missing pages and looked to make sure I had read through.
What I loved: The way the amnesia and hospital stay were described. It felt much more realistic them any book I read with a similar plot, and it punches you in the gut that much harder because of it. The plot revolves around a few characters, and it feels small yet significant in its focus on them. The story flowed so well, and I adored how Dallas made sure to keep the boundaries so Justin could feel safe to recover and feel what ever he felt without pressure to remember the years he lost.
I did feel like towards the end it became a bit rushed to have a sort of HFN ending. And to me the Slow Burn, and the wonderful, gentle pace of the story were lost. I look forward to the next piece of the story to see how Dallas and Justin face the new challenges that will surely come their way.

Number of stars out of 3 of 5



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Categories
adult - 18+

Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote Narrated by Hamish Long

audiobookreview

https://www.audible.com/pd/Where-Love-Grows-Audiobook/B08FNHCYYJ?qid=1598094909&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=QJM4STCKDHFSPQ5A34ZW

Blurb
When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.
Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.
He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.
A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.
This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.
Review
Story: I think this might very well be the best book Jay Northcote has written so far. There’s just so much emotion in this story. And the writing… it’s simply incredible. Such a pleasure to listen to, especially the almost poetic, evocative descriptions of nature and some of the MC’s internal musings. A book to be savored and enjoyed, never rushed.
Luke and Stephen get off to a rough start, but I very much enjoyed the slow but sure way their friendship developed. Stephen is a tough nut to crack. His heart, health, pride and self-esteem have suffered countless blows. He’s lost so much: his parents, his health, a job he loved, … and he finds it nearly impossible to believe he can have happiness again. He’s super prickly and antagonistic as a result, but so vulnerable underneath his hard exterior. Luke, on the other hand, is very open about how he feels and tries his hardest to form a connection with Stephen. He’s such a sweetheart and has his own cross to bear, unfortunately. Luke and Stephen both tugged on my heartstrings something fierce.
This book has an almost magical “Secret Garden” feel to it, with a prominent role going to Nature, with all its beauty and promise of growth and resilience. The garden slowly blossoming under Luke’s care wonderfully mirrors the progress both Luke and Stephen make as well.

Narration: Hamish Long is the perfect choice for this audiobook. His honeyed voice and wonderful ability to capture every emotion, however small or subtle, make this into a mesmerizing listen. I love the voices he does for both Stephen and Luke, though Stephen’s slight accent is especially enjoyable to listen to.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 6


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Categories
adult - 18+

Shortbread and Shadows Author: Amy Lane

 Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/shortbread-and-shadows-by-amy-lane-11686-b

Blurb
Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club: Book One

When a coven of hedge witches casts a spell for their hearts’ desires, the world turns upside down.

Bartholomew Baker is afraid to hope for his heart’s true desire—the gregarious woodworker who sells his wares next to Bartholomew at the local craft fairs—so he writes the spell for his baking business to thrive and allow him to quit his office job. He’d rather pour his energy into emotionally gratifying pastry! But the magic won’t allow him to lie, even to himself, and the spellcasting has unexpected consequences.

For two years Lachlan has been flirting with Bartholomew, but the shy baker with the beautiful gray eyes runs away whenever their conversation turns personal. He’s about to give up hope… and then Bartholomew rushes into a convention in the midst of a spellcasting disaster of epic proportions.

Suddenly everybody wants a taste of Bartholomew’s baked goods—and Bartholomew himself. Lachlan gladly jumps on for the ride, enduring rioting crowds and supernatural birds for a chance with Bartholomew. Can Bartholomew overcome the shyness that has kept him from giving his heart to Lachlan?

Review
I don’t always know what I’m going to get with a book written by Amy
Lane but I know I am going to enjoy it. With this book Amy has given us love and magic, what a potent combination. I fell in love with timid, shy, naive Bartholomew who turns out to be a hero in this story. Lachlan is determined that Bartholomew will pay attention to him and realise how much he is attracted to Bartholomew. Here’s where love and magic get sticky because you can’t fool magic. Magic knows Bartholomew’s true hearts desire is Lachlan. Now the fun begins in the book. Such a wonderful comedy of errors occurs as
Bartholomew, his coven and Lachlan try to appease magic and put things right. True love blossoms in amongst the mayhem and Bartholomew realises he can rely on Lachlan to back him up and support him.
Whilst Bartholomew and Lachlan’s story comes to a wonderful happy for now ending there was a tiny cliffhanger. I do hope the next story is out soon this coven grabbed my heart with their spell and I don’t want to break free from them just yet.
Number of stars out 5 of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Soul to Keep Author: Garrett Leigh Narrator: Dan Calley

audiobookreview

Publisher and link to book (i.e. Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36291180-soul-to-keep

 

Blurb
Stand-alone second book in the LAMBDA nominated Rented Heart series.

Recovering addict Jamie Yorke has returned to England from California. With no home or family to speak of, he sticks a pin in a map and finds a small town in the Derbyshire Peak District. Matlock Bath is a quiet place – he just needs to get there, keep his head down, and stay clean. Simple, right? Until a chance meeting on the flight home alters the course of his so-called life forever.

Ex-Army medic Marc Ramsey is recovering from life-changing combat injuries while pulling nights as a trauma specialist at the local hospital. Keeping busy is a habit he can’t quit, but when Jamie – so wild and beautiful – bursts into his life, working himself into the ground isn’t as compelling as it used to be.

Marc falls hard, but chaos lurks behind Jamie’s fragile facade. He’s winning his battle against addiction, but another old foe is slowly consuming him. Both men have weathered many storms, but the path to the peace they deserve might prove the roughest ride yet.

Review
This book worked as a stand-alone for me. I have never read of listened to Rented Heart and whilst characters do cross over a little I did not feel like I was missing something. This story is all about Jamie and Marc. I absolutely loved their meeting, it was like fate was giving them a push knowing they would be just what each other needed. As Jamie fights to control his addiction his OCD comes more to the front as a way to take control of his life. Such a powerful battle he is going through. Marc is there for him, really they are there for each other. There’s a lot in this story without it feeling overwhelming. I love the realism in Garrett Leigh’s writing. There’s aren’t any cinderfella moments. Everyone has to work hard to get what they want or to be with, without a too heavy load of angst.
Dan Cally’s narration adds a perfect amount of grit with his gravelly voice. He is able to convey Marc’s tired determination of an NHS Doctor and the frenetic worry that drives Jamie. Perfect for me.

Number of stars 4 out of 5 for story
Number of stars 5 out of 5 for narration


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Categories
adult - 18+

Tiramisu After Midnight By Mark David Campbell

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tiramisu-after-midnight-by-mark-david-campbell-11664-b

Blurb

If Enrico, who is gay, and his twin brother, Fabrizio, who is straight, can make a success of their B&B on Lago Maggiore in northern Italy, they can save their family home from their conniving half sister. Can good intentions and lots of heart make up for what they lack in money and experience?

On the other side of the Atlantic, in Syracuse, New York, Owen is buckling under an unrequited crush and the pressures of starting an event-planning business. His best friend Maggie books a last-minute getaway at the twins’ romantic villa—and insists Owen join her.

Even if the B&B is not quite as elegant as advertised, they are seduced by the stunning scenery, sumptuous foods, and luscious wines—not to mention their charming hosts.

Love is in the air, but before these four lonely hearts can make their dreams come true, they must overcome past obsession, half a world of distance, and false accusations.

When your tiramisu is only a soggy biscuit soaked in instant coffee and topped with spray cream, it’s time to take a chance on the real thing.

Review

Tiramisu After Midnight was an okay book. The story line isn’t very original, which is probably why I couldn’t really get into it, Owen is supposedly in love with his best friend, all is hopeless, so he runs off to Italy and in a short few days, his heart is healed by the cute Italian guy Enrico. Throw in greedy family members and some prejudice and that pretty much sums up this story.
I just had a hard time getting into this book even though there was a lot I liked. The characters were all well written. There was plenty of banter which I always like. The description of the Italian cities were fantastic.
3 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Finding Armando by Joe Cosentino

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/finding-armando-by-joe-cosentino-11671-b

Blurb

Found At Last: Book Two

An investigative adventure in search of an elderly man’s first love brought Theo and Jamison together. Now they’re called to put their sleuthing skills to use once again and reunite Pocono resort manager Asher with his lost love, Armando. But the hunt through rural Pennsylvania won’t be easy with Jamison’s younger brother locking horns with the resort’s assistant manager and a shocking offer from the sous chef, Grace.

Review

Finding Armando is a story of found family, love and friendship. This is the second book of a series and not having read the first book I felt like I was dropped into the middle of an ongoing story but I still enjoyed this one. All of the characters, major and minor were very well written. Armando and Asher’s story was heartbreaking at times but they managed to pull through and get their happy ending.
I definitely recommend reading the first story first for better enjoyment!

4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent release: Love me Daddy by: Elouise East

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53845736-love-me-dadd

Blurb
Will their pasts stop them from striving for a future?

Being homeless makes finding a safe Daddy experience difficult, which is confirmed when Nathan is almost knocked out after calling out the word during a liaison. When Loren steps in to aid him, Nathan is ready to let the strong man take charge. But he won’t ask for what he really needs, not when the reaction could be so extreme.

With many failed relationships in his past, Loren yearns for the perfect boy to cherish, but it’s a fantasy in more ways than one as far as he can tell. Nathan’s vulnerability calls to his protective instincts, but he refuses to cross the line. And then he finds Nathan’s need of him is very real.
When Loren assumes control, it centres them both but as they explore their way through this new dynamic, Nathan needs to learn if he’s going to be Daddy’s good boy or Daddy’s little brat

Review
It was a nice surprise reading a uk based Daddy/boy story. The other aspect that I liked was that Nathan’s little side was about 6 or 7, I would guess. It made a nice change from ABDL. Although I was sceptical about their start. Loren was a Good Samaritan who helped Nathan when he was injured. The part I was sceptical about was leaving a stranger alone in his home. But that could say something about me rather than the story. It is a very sweet story where in essence soul mates meet. The difficult topics of homelessness and what is needed to be done to survive are handled lightly, possibly glossed over. This story has a very light feel good touch. Both Loren and Nathan had given up on meeting someone who would match their kinks. But a chance encounter made all their dreams come true. A chance for a fairy tale happy ever after.

Number of stars 3 out of 5

Reviewer Name: MaryD


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Bent Not Broken by Z. Allora

Good Reads

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bent-not-broken-by-z-allora-11668-b

Blurb

Stefano Rossi longs for the mystical—and so far unattainable—peace of reaching subspace. But can he accept that the person who can take him there is a man?

Riku Tao has given up on finding a sub who complements him. He’ll stick with doing demonstrations at the BDSM club the Edge. He certainly doesn’t have time for a closeted Catholic guy with internalized biphobia… and yet he cannot help but want to protect Stefano and give him what he needs. A history of physical and sexual abuse makes it impossible for Stefano to come out of the closet, and Riku certainly isn’t going back in.

Perhaps an arrangement of six months to explore their desires will be enough to satisfy them both.

Or it might break their hearts.

To take hold of his future with the man he’s coming to love, Stefano will need to move beyond the pain of his past, and he won’t be able to do it alone.

Review

Very moving and inspiring OFY romance with incredibly well-rounded main characters. High on hurt/comfort and genuine emotions, very nuanced story-telling. Riku and Stefano both need the connection and love they find with each other, but it’s not an easy road to happiness. Stefano has gone through so much when he was younger, and it still haunts him to the present day, preventing him from being happy or being able to truly connect with others. It was heartbreaking to read his story, so much raw pain… When he finds Riku and is almost astonished at being treated with gentleness and care… that just touched me so deeply. Riku is an amazing character. As I read this, I got incredibly invested into the well-being of Stefano and Riku both. Stefano struggles to accept himself for who he is, in more than one way, but seeing him get to a better place, step by small step, was wonderful. I loved that Stefano found it within himself to reach out for help and to recognize his own strength and self-worth in the process. Very satisfying HEA. Recommend.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Danny Doormat by Rowan McAllister

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/danny-doormat-by-rowan-mcallister-11698-

Blurb
It’s time to wipe his feet of the idea that he’s not good enough to be loved.

Danny Dorfmann is dependable, no matter what’s going on in his own life. So when widower Asa needs a sitter for his dog, Minion, Danny is the natural choice. Besides, Danny’s had a crush on Asa—a hot architect who’s way out of his league—for years.

Asa is just climbing out of his grief over the loss of his husband and trying to reclaim his life. Love and dating aren’t on his radar, but as one favor turns into another and he spends more time with Danny, romance sneaks up on them.

Friendly adventures gradually turn into something deeper, but a manipulative roommate and interfering family and friends want to douse the slow burn building between Danny and Asa. To keep the chances of a happily ever after going, Danny will have to take a stand—and to hold on to the man of his dreams, he’ll have to stop letting everybody walk all over him.

Review
This is a very slow burn friends to lovers story. I was attracted by the blurb. The story sounded different. It took me a while to get into the story. Danny keeps everything close to himself. Never letting anyone get too close, that is until ASA. I felt for Danny, he seemed to be in the mindset that he was a disappointment to his family. No matter that he’s a kind and caring soul. Asa thought he knew Danny but it takes his friendship with him to realise Danny’s kind nature means he’s taken advantage of. It was lovely to see their friendship evolving and ASA understanding Danny more. And Danny helping Asa find the fun in life, and I must not forget cute Minion a very important part of the family. Overall a very nice sweet story that I was able to get lost in rooting for both Danny and Asa to get together.

3 of stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: The Edge of the World by Garrett Leigh, narrated by Dan Calley

audiobookreview

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53298839-the-edge-of-the-world

Blurb

Shay Maloney is living his dream—on tour with his pirate/folk-rock band. But you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’re from, and that’s where moody filmmaker and researcher Ollie Pietruska comes in.

The band’s management persuades Shay to let a television company film a documentary about his roots beyond his adoptive Irish family, and Ollie comes into his life knowing more about Shay than Shay’s ever known about himself.

But while Ollie holds the key to Shay’s past, he’s also hiding deep scars. Even as the hardships of the tour bring them closer, Ollie’s demons threaten the blossoming romance. They might both reach the breaking point before Ollie realises he’s been standing on the edge of the world for too long, and it’s Shay who holds the key to his future

Review

This was a mellow hurt/comfort story with a very promising premise, up and coming rock star falls for the reporter digging into his past while hiding secrets of his own. I had trouble connecting to the story and the MC’s though. It just wasn’t completely clear to me why exactly they fell for each other and Ollie is less than straightforward in his dealings with Shay. I understand why it’s hard for him to be open and vulnerable, but I wasn’t enamored of the mixed signals he kept sending Shay’s way. He didn’t always seem to grasp how his decisions impacted the other man. The research into Shay’s past didn’t feel very relevant to the story and though it ended in something of a shocking revelation … even that fell a little flat. An okay read, but I’ve come to expect more from this author.

Narration: Dan Calley did a great job with his performance of this story, and drew me in more than I’d have been by just reading the book. I really like the timbre of his voice, the accents and his interpretation of the characters. He made the MC’s sound very genuine and authentic.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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