Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (Sci-Regency #4) by J.L. Langley

release day review

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

This was a light and fun read. I really like how this series brings such an original sci-fi take to the regency genre. It was a bit surprising, though in a good way, to see a man worry about his “reputation” in society for once, quite the role-reversal.

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 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.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

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


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: Don’t let Go by Andrew Grey; Narrated by Jeff Gelder

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-let-go-by-andrew-grey-9792-

Blurb
Avery Rivers is a country music sensation, selling records by the millions and playing to sold-out crowds. But behind that persona is Robert, a burned-out musician cracking under the pressure. He’s unable to write any new songs, and he wants out of the business—at least for a while. He changes his appearance and finds honest, hard work in Jackson, Wyoming. Maybe getting to be a regular guy for a while will get him past his block.

Hy Whitely was a championship bull rider until he watched his best friend thrown in the arena and decided the rodeo circuit was no longer the place for him. He wants to be plain old Zeke for a while, and when he returns to his family ranch, he bumps right into Robert—a one-night stand from his last rodeo appearance who is now working there as a ranch hand.

The heat between the men could sear the grass off the range, but each one is hiding a secret. Robert and Zeke, the men behind the public images, fall in love, but can they hold on when Avery and Hy are pulled back into the spotlight

Review
I remember reviewing the book when it came out and saying how much I enjoyed it. Well that hasn’t diminished at all. I love the concept of two people who both had secret identities, neither realising the other is someone famous. Both of them living in the moment enjoying each other’s company. Both Zeke (Hy) and Robert (Avery) have reached a turning point in their life and need to make a decision. Although it does seem in their heart they already knew what they wanted it just took meeting each other to make it happen. Their idyllic life is put in jeopardy when Robert is identified as Avery but the family and friends rally round to protect him.
I’m not completely sold on Jeff Gelder’s narration. To me it sounds flat and not paced very well. He does provide some level of characterisation that suits the characters making them distinct. The story kept me listening though.

4 of stars out of 5 for the story
3 of stars out of 5 for the narration
Overall 3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Haste Ye Back by R. Quincy Cameron

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

The situation seems ideal: a month off work and a sweet deal to extend his stay in an unexpected paradise. Needless to say, Aaron is thrilled to snag an extra few days in Scotland after his work conference to soak up the magic of the country.

However, his plans to tourist his way around Edinburgh before his January 1st flight home are thwarted by a strange influx of people into the capital. Add in trains that don’t run on New Year’s, fireworks, first-footing, and running into the same gorgeous stranger as he exits every other shop, and Aaron really should have googled what “Hogmanay” was before he found himself whisked into the whirlwind of Scottish revelry and the impossible draw of that sexy stranger who tastes like scotch and, impossibly, already feels like the beginnings of home.

Review

Aaron is on vacation where he meets Connor. They literally bumped into each other before, but didn’t spend time. Met a second time and decided to make the most. I enjoyed the instant chemistry in this short story. There was a hot scene between them. I enjoyed reading about another culture, wanting to look this celebration up now. I could definitely see this being a longer book. Good holiday read. If only all vacations ended this exciting.

Number of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story A Holiday Tradition by Chrissy Munder

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

 

3 of stars out of 5

 

Paul Carpenter has his life all planned out. Or at least his father does. The right school, the right degree, the right job. Paul is on track, until a bus accident has him sitting out a coveted internship, babysitting, or being babysat, by a grandfather he barely remembers during his holiday stay in a Florida RV park. His father’s reasoning? How much temptation can Paul find around a bunch of senior citizens playing bingo? There’ll be nothing to distract him from his studies.
It’s hard to muster his holiday spirit when Paul is used to snow and cold, not sun, surf, and plastic flamingos in Santa hats. But then Paul meets Kevin Lombardo, who offers to show him some new holiday traditions. Suddenly Paul’s fast track hits a curve.”

Review

A sweet story about priorities in life and finding what makes you happy.
Paul’s father is set up as the bogeyman. He is a single father who is determined Paul will have a career irrespective of what Paul actually wants. Grandpa is the fun one, to him life is for living to the full. Then we meet Kevin who cares about the people who live on the and his attitude towards life gives Paul a lot to think about not to mention his growing attraction to Kevin. The only niggle I’ve got is that it ends quite abruptly. There is a jump of a year at the end and it felt like a lot had been skipped over leaving me dissatisfied. I think this story is one that could be expanded in the future.

 

3 of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Release: Bishop Ridge by Cate Ashwood

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42776179-bishop-ridge?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: They found exactly what they weren’t looking for.

Logan:
I had almost everything I’d ever wanted—career, friends, my own easy life in Sawyer’s Ferry, Alaska. I’d given up on filling in the missing pieces long ago. Now, I was more than satisfied with the perfectly practiced, perfectly predictable routine I’d created for myself. At least until Jackson Daley walked into my clinic.

Jackson:
Working the rigs is temporary. Everything in my life is. Jobs, cities, and the guys I take home—nothing sticks, and that’s exactly the way I like it. After four years in Alaska, I’m itching to pick up and leave. I’m ready to move on and start over someplace new, until a one-night stand I can’t seem to shake has me breaking all my own rules.
Now as I get closer to walking away, my reasons for leaving seem blurrier than ever, and for the first time in my life, there could be something worth staying for.

Review: This was a quick read. Logan is the one of the doctors at Sawyer’s Ferry, (met him in Alaska). He’s resigned himself to being alone for the foreseeable future and this is his mindset when he meets Jackson on one of clinic his trips. When they meet, the attraction is immediate and they hook up, neither thinking that it would go anywhere beyond another potential hookup. What they didn’t factor in was how compatible they were in and out of bed. While Logan is on board with a relationship, Jackson is a self-professed nomad and already has a job lined up in New Mexico.
The story unfolded very quickly (sort of felt more like a novella) – they meet, they hookup, they realise that they are getting too attached to each other, and then Jackson tries to distance himself. It takes an incident to make them see that they can be together if they have faith in their feelings.
It’s a fun read with some really hot times, but overall, it seemed a little rushed.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: At Your Service by Ariel Tachna Narrated by Jeff Gelder

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/at-your-service-by-ariel-tachna-3471-b

Blurb
When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet–and sleep with–Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.
Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them–Paul wants sex, not a relationship–Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.

Review
I have been a big fan of Ariel Tachna since I read her Langs Down series, but I wasn’t sure if I would like this one since I am not a big fan of long-distance love affairs. I ended up enjoying this one for the most part.

Anthony is an American in Paris for a week for work and ends up having a week-long affair with sexy French waiter Paul. He keeps reiterating that this affair will end once he leaves and goes back home which is fine with Paul who has been scorned by love in the past. When the last night rolls around Paul, especially seems reluctant for their time to end, which was surprising to me since he comes off as a bit of a man ho, but that gets addressed later in the story. They part ways but continue to communicate first via email then later through Skype. Both men go on with their lives while encouraging each other to see other people.

Paul gets jealous when Anthony starts seeing another man and ends up having many one-night stands. Anthony ends up getting an opportunity to start up a branch of his work in Paris and Paul invites him to stay with him until he finds a new place to live. They both tell their loved ones that their friendship is more important than jumping back into bed with each other. They have one slip up, but both agree that they should remain platonic friends. Paul really struggles with his feelings for Anthony until he finally bears all and tells him that he wants to try a relationship with Anthony. Anthony, who is afraid of getting hurt again agrees to think about it if Paul can provide that he is really ready for a monogamous relationship.

Paul is determined to prove that he’s trustworthy but eventually Anthony’s rules start to run him ragged and neither men really see it until Paul’s brother brings it to light. Paul uses sex as a way to combat loneliness and Anthony tries to find ways for him to cope when he can’t be there. Eventually they get their acts together and some really good scenes happen from there. The story ends rather abruptly. I really wish that there was an epilogue showing how the guys are doing 6 month or so down the line.

Narration:
I have listened to quite a few books that Jeff Gelder has narrated and while he isn’t a favorite of mine his does an adequate job. My issue with him is he doesn’t tend to change the tone of his voice much to inflect certain emotions. During certain sexy scenes it almost sounds like a character is laughing. I do have to say that I loved his voice for Paul. Super sexy French accent!

4 stars for story and 3.5 stars for narration

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Any Given Lifetime by Leta Blake

 

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41733251-any-given-lifetime?from_search=true

 

Blurb

Neil isn’t a ghost, but he feels like one. Reincarnated with all his memories from his prior life, he spent twenty years trapped in a child’s body, wanting nothing more than to grow up and reclaim the love of his life.
As an adult, Neil finds there’s more than lost time separating them. Joshua has built a beautiful life since Neil’s death, and how exactly is Neil supposed to introduce himself? As Joshua’s long-dead lover in a new body? Heartbroken and hopeless, Neil takes refuge in his work, developing microscopic robots called nanites that can produce medical miracles.
When Joshua meets a young scientist working on a medical project, his soul senses something his rational mind can’t believe. Has Neil truly come back to him after twenty years? And if the impossible is real, can they be together at long last?

 

Review by Karen

One of the most original love stories I’ve ever read! A great twist on the popular May/December trope and an incredibly unique second chance at love story. It nearly broke my heart, but luckily the author stitched it back together!

 

Leta Blake has an incredible gift with words and shows true excellence in weaving together Neil and Joshua’s almost epic tale. The emotions in this story soar to great heights, but there is also a lot of sadness and loss to overcome. And it’s all written in such a beautiful and moving way, as if she’s writing on our hearts instead of on the pages of the book.

I don’t think anyone could read this story and not feel touched by it.  

I love the way she uses dreams and their symbolism to help the characters deal with everything that happens, and also gives them a way to connect with each other when that doesn’t seem possible in real life.

Neil is a strange and complex character, in both his lifetimes. He doesn’t make friends easily, so I was glad to see him form a friendship with Derek. Neil’s so intense and focused, so dedicated to his research, and to Joshua’s happiness. Absolutely amazing guy. I was so impatient for him to grow up so he could finally reconnect with Joshua. But the author knew better than to rush that, and she builds up the tension and emotion very skillfully.

Joshua has built a life for himself, though he never really stopped loving Neil or grieving for him.

I loved how the author gave him a way to be (mostly) happy during the years it takes Neil to grow up, again. A bittersweet interlude, that afterwards connects with Neil in the most wonderful way. Can’t say more about that, but absolutely loved it.

Alice, Neil’s “second” mother, is amazing. She loves her little boy with all her heart, knowing and accepting who he truly is, however far-fetched it must have seemed. She struck me as really special and precious, and I was glad to be given a glimpse of her HEA as well. I simply adored that we got scenes from her perspective too.

This is a truly extraordinary love story.

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta

I was ready for some heart ache reading when I started this book, but like any other Leta Novel I read to date I was grossly unprepared for the emotional weight of it.
Neil and Joshua’s story is a heart wrenching tale of humanity and love, and I was overcome with emotions about life in general while reading.
First, you start out with Joshua in pain after losing Neil, missing out so many things they never did together because of fear. And the way he slowly built his life, picked himself up and met Lee a few years after that was awe-inspiring. I loved how Leta wrote his emotions, his love for both men, how their lives were interwoven and connected through Neil and because of his death, or should I say his life. This book really got me thinking ABOUT life and what the near future might hold for me and my loved ones, because it dealt with all that in Joshua’s life. Also, through the advancement of the nanite technology in the years 2019-2032 (the future of our present-day the book takes place in) Leta also talks about how technology evolved in our lives. Some of it is amazing and saves lives, other parts of it are too rushed and end up doing more bad then good, or changing how we live irrevocably. It is a very relevant topic in our time today, I think, and I liked that this book, despite it being a Romance, managed to enfold so many real emotions and feeling/fears readers face now or might face in the future.

The non-linear timelines are interesting, and really emphasized the convoluted nature of their lives, of Neil’s very existence. They show glimpses into the past and expose the nature of the characters, not just details from their past.

Second, the reincarnation theme has been written about, and the concept of finding yourself stuck in a too-young body is often referred in a humoristic way in books and film. Not here, Leta brought the truest- most painful depiction of a reincarnated reality in Neil. Having been born with the full knowledge and most of his memories he is in a constant state of loss and longing for the Joshua. And his mother, god bless her soul, is such a wonderful character, a true image of motherhood and limitless love. Neither one asked to be in this situation, her expecting her dead boyfriend’s baby, and Neil to simply die and not be stuck in a child’s body, desperate to grow and meet Joshua again. It was such a twisted way to live, and you can’t help but want them to be together while liking Lee and Joshua as a couple too. And they are also surrounded by mazing friends, Derek and Chris who are accepting and supporting through thick and thin.

When Neil, now aged 20 again, and Joshua meet for the first time in this lifetime, it is an explosive, erotic expression of love and longing. They ARE meant to be together, and the strength of their love is incredible. Especially as Joshua keeps talking about Neil’s faults when he remembers him, Neil is not an ideal, a sweetened memory made better by time. He is as much alive in Joshua’s heart as he is in the future Neil’s soul.

This book is about life, in all its forms, and love, of the purest kind. It deals with humanity, is about setting up your goals in life, about the journey as much as the ending. About taking chances, knowing what you need and want, and I found myself grateful for friends and family, thinking about the years to come while reading. Only Leta can take you through such a journey while you read about two men in love longing to be together. I kinda wanted to re-read it straight away, but my heart needs some room to expand before I can do that again. An amazing book by an author I admire, go read it if you like May/December, Second Chance and are just plain looking for a book unlike any other. You won’t be disappointed.

 

5 magnificent stars.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Coming Soon! Don’t let Go by Andrew Grey

August 7th!

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-let-go-by-andrew-grey-9792-b

Blurb
Avery Rivers is a country music sensation, selling records by the millions and playing to sold-out crowds. But behind that persona is Robert, a burned-out musician cracking under the pressure. He’s unable to write any new songs, and he wants out of the business—at least for a while. He changes his appearance and finds honest, hard work in Jackson, Wyoming. Maybe getting to be a regular guy for a while will get him past his block.

Hy Whitely was a championship bull rider until he watched his best friend thrown in the arena and decided the rodeo circuit was no longer the place for him. He wants to be plain old Zeke for a while, and when he returns to his family ranch, he bumps right into Robert—a one-night stand from his last rodeo appearance who is now working there as a ranch hand.

The heat between the men could sear the grass off the range, but each one is hiding a secret. Robert and Zeke, the men behind the public images, fall in love, but can they hold on when Avery and Hy are pulled back into the spotlight

Review
I always feel happy and contented when I finish a book by Andrew Grey and Don’t let Go is no exception. It’s an interesting concept where both main characters have hidden identities. Both of them know the pressure of touring and being in the spotlight. And both of them have reached a point in their lives, for different reasons, where something has got to change. It made it such a pleasant read that both Zeke (Hy) and Robert (Avery) are not looking for love but welcome it completely when it comes into their lives. They initially meet as a one night stand, a diversion because neither recognises the others professional persona. By fate or coincidence they meet again, on Zeke’s family ranch. From there on love grows and life is idyllic until real life and other people intervene. There are bitter sweet moments as well as hot scenes between them which round the story off perfectly. I fell in love with both Zeke and Robert and whilst they have ended in happy ever after place I wouldn’t mind visiting them again too see how they’re getting on.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Steamy Romance: BFF Best Friend’s Father Audiobook by Devon McCormack Narrated by Michael Pauley

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/BFF-Best-Friends-Father-Audiobook/B07B5K3B52?qid=1530506525&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=NES92BJ9E2MGBQ755DJW&

Blurb
Jesse:

A beach vacay with my best bud since college seems like the perfect opportunity to relax, catch some rays, and enjoy a couple of nights on the town. When I find a girl who’s eager to mess around with me, I figure I’ve got it made.

Then, I meet the intense, hot-as-hell, tattooed Eric Westright, who wrecks my world…in the best possible way.

He awakens something within me – something that’s always been here, but that’s never pulled so powerfully…not until I looked into those solemn blue eyes and felt the red-hot spark of his touch.

There’s something about this chemistry that’s so intoxicating, and the more I get to know him, the harder it becomes for me to resist these impulses that overtake me – that leave me wanting him to show me what it feels like to have a man inside me.

I know he’s fighting too. It’s so wrong, but every kiss, every caress, every stroke feels so right. We shouldn’t act on these urges, but we can’t help ourselves.

First he claims my body, then he claims my heart.

And before I know it, I’m in too deep with my best friend’s father…

Review
I wasn’t expecting this story to be quite so emotional. I understood about the ethical side, should a person let lust and attraction over ride the loyalty towards a best friend? Especially when the relationship between father and son is not good to start with. Ty’s behaviour is immature when it comes to his father Eric. Eric doesn’t really try to build a relationship with Ty. Equally Jessie seems to be embracing his bisexuality, even though it seems that he has never considered it before. Jessie is a virgin in this context. Eric the more experienced man. Once they acknowledge the attraction between them nothing holds them back. A fire has been lit in Jessie and he can’t get enough of Eric. So between the hot virgin exploration sex there is the two agonising moral dilemmas ping ponging around, for Jessie and for Eric, both in their own way betraying Ty’s trust and lying to him. The story concludes on more of a more slope than a cliffhanger. Eric reveals his deep secret that has clouded his relationship with Jessie. Ty doesn’t take the big relationship reveal very well (as expected). The ending reminded me of drama shows in the 70’s where there was a voice over at the end with the big questions. Will Ty forgive Eric and Jessie? Will Eric break up with Jessie? Tune in next time to find out.

Overall I enjoyed the narration by Michael Pauley. However, there were times I couldn’t distinguish between Eric and Jessie. The POV changes between chapters and when there was dialogue between the two characters it was clear, Jessie has a slightly higher pitch. But when the narration was just one character’s voice I couldn’t always remember if it was Eric or Jessie. Ty was a lot more distinct. This could very well be me, I listen whilst traveling and it’s not always easy to concentration. I will say that he certainly knows how to make the sex scenes sizzle.

Number of stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review