Dark Romance: Creature (Bureau #3) by Kim Fielding

 

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39779972-creature?from_search=true

Blurb

Alone in a cell and lacking memories of his past, John has no idea who—or what—he is.

Alone on the streets of 1950s Los Angeles, Harry has far too many memories of his painful past and feels simply resignation in facing his empty future.

When Harry is given a chance to achieve his only dream—to become an agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs—all he has to do is prove his worth. Yet nothing has ever come easy for him. Now he must offer himself and John as bait, enticing a man who wants to conquer death. But first he and John must learn what distinguishes a monster from a man—and what a monster truly wants.

Review: This is a total departure from what I usually read, in a good way. The atmosphere is decidedly 1950’s noir which is fit the theme of the story.
John is a being that has been held in a cell for an unspecified length of time. He thinks he is a man, but knows he is not quite human. He also knows that people – the few that he has met – are scared of him.
Harry is a man down on his luck, unable to be the one thing he wants, a member of the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs. He is made an offer of a trial assignment with the organization – bait a criminal into custody – and he would be considered for a permanent job. Harry finds out that John is the bait and has to overcome his initial revulsion. As he interacts with John, his initial revulsion turns to pity and then to a sort of friendship. Al the while, we see John become more human and eventually, lovable.
It is an interesting story. I liked the setting, especially like the lack of technology (no mobile phones, GPS, internet), I felt I was watching a black and white film. Even though it’s part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. I’ll likely check out the rest of the series.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Go Dark: Snow Falling by Davidson King

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36515977-snow-falling?from_search=true

Blurb

After running from a past destined to kill him, Snow has been hiding on the streets.

Tell nobody your name.
Tell nobody your secrets.
Trust nobody!
These are the rules of the streets.
His entire life changes when he saves an eight-year-old boy from a violent end. Christopher Manos is one of the most powerful crime bosses in the country.

Don’t ask anyone to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.
Secrets can get you killed.
Trust nobody!
These are the rules he lives by.
When his eight-year-old nephew disappears, he never expects the boy’s savior to end up being his own. A man with a dangerous past and a man with a dangerous future find love amidst murder and mayhem. But with Snow’s life being threatened at every turn, will Christopher’s best be enough to prevent Snow Falling?

Review

I loved this book! I was very surprised to find that it’s the authors 1st novel. It was so well done. The characters were well developed, and I even found myself rooting for Chris, a crime boss who doesn’t hide what he is. I loved Snow, he is strong, despite all that he’s gone through. I worried a bit that the story would be dark and depressing, especially with a crime boss that does not change … much. But my fears were groundless – while there is some crime, (hello crime boss!), it was in keeping with the story. Christopher does have a heart as evidenced by his love for Simon (his nephew) and Snow.
It’s a fun, well crafted book – highly recommend ☺

5 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for review

 

Time to go Dark: Slide audiobook by Garrett Leigh Narrator: Michael Lesley

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/slide-by-garrett-leigh-5714-

Blurb
Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength – things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

Review
This is quite an intense story, quite dark and angst.To say Ash has had a hard life would be an understatement. We don’t know what has happened but from the anxiety and phobias Ash has it must’ve been bad. In a way it was better not to know, the focus was on the relationship developing between Pete and Ash and how they deal with them. In the past Ash turned to drugs to block out the overwhelming feelings but when we meet him he is clean and works as a tattoo artist. Pete is a wonderful character. He sees so much in his job as a paramedic but this never dulls his warm loving nature to those he cares about. There are twists and turns and I wondered when these two would ever get a break. Garrett Leigh has built an excellent world. I was drawn into their lives and never wanted to leave. I liked the sensitive way Ash’s mental health is handled.
Michael Lesley’s narration is excellent. He gave Ash and Pete their own voices and personalities. This is one of those that has been given a new dimension with talented narration.

4 of stars out of 5

Purchased by reviewer

 

Time to Laugh: Hidden in Darkness by Alice Winters

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38612013-hidden-in-darkness?from_search=true

Blurb: When Felix lands a job taking care of a man recovering from severe injuries, he thinks his life may have just turned around. Anything has to be better than the place he’s leaving. There’s something about Lane that draws Felix to him and makes him question if this place could finally become a home for him. But when someone begins stalking Felix, he is left to question who Lane is and what actually happened to him. Together, Felix and Lane will be forced to see just how far they will go to protect each other. Being chased by cops, kidnapping a man, and breaking into a drug operation seems to be his normal since arriving in Lane’s life. Felix may be out of his element, but one thing he is sure about is that he doesn’t want to leave, even if it costs him his life.

Review:
I really had a lot of fun reading this 🙂 Felix is a snarky, height-challenged man who has a heart-breaking past. Lane is a recently blinded, (in the line of duty), detective. Felix is hired to to be a companion (babysit) Lane, with hilarious and adventurous results!
Be warned- Felix does not treat Lane’s blindness with kid gloves- in fact, some of the things that Felix did to Lane, (like putting the toilet seats up and getting Lane to sit), were funny, and a little mean, (but mostly funny!). I liked that Felix did not pity or patronise Lane, (hence some of the things he said/did).
Both men eventually begin to open up to each other, providing the story with a bit of tenderness and heart.
This is a story to be enjoyed as is – don’t try to analyse how feasible some of the exploits are – just enjoy the ride!

4.5 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for review

 

Time to Laugh: The One that Got Away by Rhianne Aile and Madeline Urban

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-one-that-got-away-by-rhianne-aile-and-madeleine-urban-5285-b

Blurb: When David Carmichael suffers a migraine and then a broken shoulder, Trace Jackson, his best friend, simply moves in to take care of him. Their easy camaraderie continues with no problems until David discovers an undercurrent of heat and tension flowing between them. Despite knowing his best friend is straight, David is slowly falling in love. What he doesn’t know is that Trace is struggling with a similar discovery.
Trace has never desired another man before. He’s a ladies’ man with quite the reputation, considered a top prize around town. But his close, treasured friendship with David makes the emotion and arousal growing between them irresistible. Soothing David’s doubts, Trace makes it clear that he wants to know if they can make it work. Because Trace is sure he wouldn’t love another man — that’s not the issue. He just loves David.

Review: This is one of my favourite re-reads- there is no angst, no misunderstandings, just a humourous, sweet romance.
Trace and David have been friends for a while. David injures himself (during a migraine episode) and Trace stays to look after him. David is gay and during his recuperation time, he is slowly falling for his straight friend. Trace, for his part, is beginning to see David in another (more sexually attractive) light. The men slowly realise that they could be more than friends and go for it. There are some funny scenes, especially with Mabel, Trace’s cat and the poker game ☺
This is not a deep book, just entertaining, so just enjoy it for the feel good read it is.

3.75 stars out of 5

 

Copy purchased for review

 

Recent Release: Mason and the Dog Wrangler by CL Etta

Publisher Pride Publishing
https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/mason-and-the-dog-wrangle

Blurb
Sorrow’s grip is relentless until a rambunctious ball of fur and a handsome dog wrangler break its hold.

Four years after his partner died, leaving him to raise their daughter alone, Mason Ford still grieves his loss. Resigned to devoting his life to their little Nik, Mason goes through his days exhausted by the nightmares that keep him from sleeping. When he and Nik meet Jeremy Coulter, dog wrangler extraordinaire, their cozy world is upended. Mason’s attraction to the exuberant man with the teasing smile is unfamiliar and frightening, while Nik’s easy camaraderie with Jeremy is instantaneous.

When Jeremy saves Nik’s life, Mason wonders if he has fallen for the much younger man or are his feelings nothing more than obligation? Is it possible that love at first sight is real

Review
I’m not really sure how I feel about this story. It all seemed so convenient. There is only 39 pages for the author to convey the depth of Mason’s grief and how meeting Jeremy impacts on his and his daughter’s life. It’s been four years since his partner’s death but it reads as though Mason has depression rather than grief. Jeremy is quite a character. He seems to be able to relate well with children and animals, especially dogs. He is immediately attracted to Mason and pursues him. Everything from this point moves at quite a pace and I think the story would have benefited from being a little longer. I’m not convinced by how quick the relationship between them develops and changes. Nice short story though.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Before You Break by KC Wells and Parker Williams Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/before-you-break-by-kc-wells-and-parker-williams-9384-b

Blurb

Six years ago Ellis walked into his first briefing as the newest member of London’s Specialist Firearms unit. He was partnered with Wayne and they became fast friends. When Wayne begins to notice changes—Ellis’s erratic temper, the effects of sleep deprivation—he knows he has to act before Ellis reaches his breaking point. He invites Ellis to the opening of the new BDSM club, Secrets, where Wayne has a membership. His purpose? He wants Ellis to glimpse the lifestyle before Wayne approaches him with a proposition. He wants to take Ellis in hand, to control his life because he wants his friend back, and he figures this is the only way to do it.

There are a few issues, however. Ellis is straight. Stubborn. And sexy. Wayne knows he has to put his own feelings aside to be what Ellis needs. What surprises the hell out of him is finding out what Ellis actually requires.

Review

Previously reviewed here.

I loved this book!
This is a spin off or continuation of the Collars and Cuffs series and we get to see many of our favorite characters. Eli and Jarrod have moved to London and bought, updated and reopened the local BDSM club. Wayne introduces Ellis to the club on opening night and from there our story develops.
Wayne is the perfect person/Dom to Ellis. I liked how he was firm but not controlling. So much of Wayne’s Dom personality was integrated into his everyday life and everyone looked to him to guide them through their work situations. When he approached Ellis about starting a dom/sub relationship, he wasn’t heavy handed, he was reassuring and low key about it.
Ellis was a mess. He just wants to keep everyone happy and it was now affecting both his personal and work life, as well as him not taking care of himself. As Wayne and Ellis continue to explore and learn each other, it is probably one of the most caring exploration into BDSM I’ve ever seen.

Audio 

Whatever training Joel had before he got into narration has only helped solidify his place as one of the outstanding narrators in this genre. His ability to do many different accents make the story realistic and his timing and inflection help build the high and low points of the story!
There is never any hesitation to purchasing a book narrated by Joel, as I always know I will get a quality product!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Buried Passions by Andrew Grey narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents:
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/buried-passions-by-andrew-grey-9537-b

Blurb:
When Broadway actor Jonah receives word that his uncle has passed away and named him the heir to a property in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Jonah’s plan is to settle the estate as quickly as possible and return to his life in New York City. Much to Jonah’s surprise, the inheritance includes the Ashford Cemetery—and its hunky groundskeeper, recent Bosnian immigrant Luka Pavelka.

Jonah soon discovers Luka is more than easy on the eyes. He sees into Jonah’s heart like no man ever before, and his job at the cemetery is all he has. If Jonah sells, Luka is left with nothing. Luka is there for Jonah when Jonah needs someone most, and there’s no denying the chemistry and connection between them. But Jonah has a successful career back in New York. Now he must decide if it’s still the life he wants….

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/buried-passions-by-andrew-grey/

I jumped at the chance to listen to Joel Leslie narrate and I was not disappointed.
I was not a great fan of the story – for some reason it didn’t engage me as much as Andrew Grey’s other stories – but the narration made me enjoy the story a lot more.
Joel Leslie does a really good job of infusing emotion, humour and heat into the story. He’s a master of accents, so I had no trouble with believing that Luka was Eastern European. His portrayal of Jonah had the right amount of snark, compassion and ultimately, happiness.
Joel Leslie’s narration is always great way to enjoy a book. I ended up liking the story a lot more because of his performance.

3.5 stars out of 5 for the story
5 stars out of 5 for the narration

Overall 4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey Narrated by Jack Wesley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/taming-the-beast-by-andrew-grey-8936-

Blurb

The suspicious death of Dante Bartholomew’s wife changed him, especially in the eyes of the residents of St. Giles. They no longer see a successful businessman… only a monster they believe was involved. Dante’s horrific reputation eclipses the truth to the point that he sees no choice but to isolate himself and his heart.

The plan backfires when he meets counselor Beau Clarity and the children he works with. Beau and the kids see beyond the beastly reputation to the beautiful soul inside Dante, and Dante’s cold heart begins to thaw as they slip past his defenses. The warmth and hope Beau brings to Dante’s life help him see his entire existence—his trials and sorrows—in a brighter light.

But Dante’s secrets could rip happiness from their grasp… especially since someone isn’t above hurting those Dante has grown to love in order to bring him down

Review by Mary
(Book Reviewed here Previously)

The nature of this beast is in his beastly behaviour rather than appearance. Does such a handsome man hide a hideous nature? I liked that Beau was not ready to accept everyone else’s verdict that Dante was a beast. Both of them have their secrets but Beau has learned that sharing them can make them less scary. After all his name is Clarity it’s only appropriate he can see things clearly. Where as Dante has put himself in his own hell. He has withdrawn from any social contact. The only people who know him are the staff at the house.
I have always liked the way Andrew Grey writes. He has a way of writing a gentle story that has a powerful message. In this story we see a man who by trying to do the right thing is vilified. He believes he doesn’t deserve to be happy. Like all of Andrew Grey’s characters both Dante and Beau are believable everyday people. With secrets and faults that cloud the way they live. You just can’t help but get pulled into their lives rooting for the happy ever after ending. If you are looking for a feel good story I recommend this one.

5 of 5 stars

Review by Morgan

I’m definitely in agreement with most of Mary’s review. I think Andrew Grey is a very straight forward writer and that appeals to a lot of people. I think the allegory and metaphor in this was a little over the top, but it was still very fun and the message absolutely clear.

If you’re a fan of the re-done fairy tale this is for you! If you want a subtle romance – this isn’t it.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

Jack Wesley is a relatively new narrator and I think he does a great job with differentiating voices, expressing emotion and his voice quality is good and easy to listen to.

Highly Recommended.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release day Review: Crocus by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/crocus-by-amy-lane-9524-b

Blurb

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart

Review
In my opinion you really do need to read or listen to book 1, Bonfires, before starting Crocus. Bonfires is the story of how Aaron and Larx meet and fall in love with all the complications of joining two families. It ends when Larx’s eldest daughter Olivia comes home from college and tells them she is pregnant. This book takes off from that point. We learn that not only is she pregnant she also has Depression. Amy Lane handles this very difficult subject very well. There is no miraculous recovery just because it suited the storyline. We go through Olivia’s struggles to move out of the dark place she is in and Larx’s struggles as a parent to help her. At the same time his rock, Aaron is injured whilst on duty, one of his students is suffering from domestic abuse and is missing in a snowstorm. In amongst this two brothers need his support. There is so much to keep you on edge desperate to know more and wanting everything to work out. I love the dose of reality and practically Amy Lane has in these stories. By the way the book ended I am certain there will be a third book, can’t wait.

5 of stars out of 5

5-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review