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: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever By: Andrew Grey Narrated by: John Solo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-best-worst-honeymoon-ever-by-andrew-grey-9640-b

Blurb

How can heartbreak turn into happily ever after?

Tommy Gordon is all set for happily ever after – until heartbreak strikes when his husband-to-be leaves him at the altar. In a bid for distraction, his best friend, Grayson Phillips, suggests he takes advantage of the luxury honeymoon anyway! But the last thing Tommy wants is to go alone, so he invites Grayson and his son, Petey, along.

Beautiful Bonaire lends itself to romance, and along with close quarters, relaxing on the water, and a matchmaking kid, Tommy and Grayson soon find themselves closer than ever…and considering more, much to Grayson’s delight. But before they can plan the best best honeymoon ever, dark clouds descend in the form of Tommy’s ex and a sting from paradise that could ruin everything.

Review

One of the main reasons I love Andrew Grey’s books so much is that he can tell a good story without having it drawn out forever. The two main characters Grayson and Tommy are good friends who have been attracted to each other, but timing never worked out for them. Then after Tommy gets jilted at the altar, Grayson and his young son Petey end up all going on Tommy’s honeymoon. There, Tommy and Grayson work through their feelings for each other while also making sure their budding relationship doesn’t have a negative effect on Petey. There is a little drama when Tommy’s conniving Ex shows back up with a blackmail scheme. There description of the scenery and the underwater ocean scenes is breathtaking.

John Solo is a great narrator. He keeps the narration flowing at a good pace and I absolutely adore his voice for Petey!!

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Recent Review: The Enchanter’s Flame (The Ellwood Chronicles #1) by Michele Notaro narrated by Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Audible link

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Enchanters-Flame-Audiobook/B07LC44TC4?ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_11_B07LC44TC4&pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=0ZAHTHRQJHPC89EKEXYP&

Blurb

Strange things are happening all around Brinnswick. Things that remind me of a piece of my past I’d rather forget. Girls are being killed, drained of blood, and left with strange markings on their bodies. When I finally connect the cases together, a specialist is called in—though, what he’s a specialist of is beyond me.

When the chief assigns him as my new partner for the case, I can’t help but groan on the inside. Why of all people would I be assigned to Ailin Ellwood? The man is a disaster waiting to happen and a jerk to boot. A sexy jerk, but a jerk nonetheless.

What will Sebastian think when he discovers Ailin’s specialty? Will he make a run for it or will he stick around and discover a world of magic hidden beneath the city’s surface?

***The Enchanter’s Flame is the first book in the Ellwood Chronicles. It’s a paranormal romance that contains explicit material and is intended for mature adults 18 and over.***

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

First, let me say I LOVE this cover – it’s so nice not to see the typical half -naked torso!
Second, I wanted to say that I really want to recommend this book. ( I can’t say the series because the first/prequel isn’t my type of book – but that’s maybe just me). Ailin is a great character and this book is full of magic and humor and some UST! I really enjoyed it! The entourage of animals really cracked me up!
I’m looking forward to the next book and hopefullly more laughs and spells!
4 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Kenneth Obi is not my favorite.  He does a fine enough job but I don’t enjoy his narrations as I do others.  He’s a nice way to listen to this story if you can’t read it or want a hands free method – but he didn’t necessarily add to my overall enjoyment.  There is something about his character voices that I just don’t love.

In any case it’s still a great book and a nice audio.

 

3 of 5 stars

 

Overall 3.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Inside Out (Road to Blissville #6) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43580798-inside-out?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
Romeo Bradly and Julius Shepherd moved to Blissville for the same reason: a fresh start. Romeo was looking for a school district where he could make a real impact in the lives of students and faculty, and Julius was eager to teach one of his passions to the best and brightest at a school with a nationally ranked science program. But the sleepy little town offered them much more than they’d bargained for—quirky people, unlikely friendships, and an all-consuming attraction that turns them inside out.

When unexpected circumstances threaten to cancel the school play, Romeo’s theater background and Julius’s musical expertise make them the perfect pair to save the day. Working together so closely makes it harder for the men to ignore their growing feelings. After all, the heart knows what it wants and doesn’t care about age gaps, race, or professional conflict of interest. Romeo and Julius will learn that they have far more in common than they realize, and their differences will make them stronger if they give love a chance.

Their commitment to each other and the play will be tested when outside forces target them as a couple and exert pressure to cancel the production. Romeo and Julius vow to prove their love can conquer any challenge and will burn strong well beyond the curtain call.

Inside Out is a whimsical, May/December romance featuring a man learning to love again and a man falling in love for the first time. It is the sixth book in the Road to Blissville series and can be read as a standalone book or part of the series. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

Review
Inside Out is the 6th book of the Blissville series. This one can easily be read as a standalone. This book is very light hearted, funny. Romeo and Julius are both well developed characters. The two men come together after fighting their attraction, to help a trio of kids bring their school musical to life. As a huge musical nerd, I thoroughly loved this plot line. Julius ends up composing the music and the scene when Romeo hears it for the first time is absolute magic. When word gets out about this musical, a homophobic faction arises to try and shut the production down. Even with the threat of a homophobic group on the rampage, this story has very little angst and still comes off as a very sweet and swoon worthy read.

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster, narrated by Seb Yarrick

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-missing-ingredient-by-brian-lancaster-9738-b

Blurb: It can take losing everything to realize what you had all along.
Up-and-coming London chef Marcus Vine is poised on the edge of success, but the only men courting him are investors. That leaves Marcus with some free time—which is fortunate, because his godchildren need him.

A year ago, a horrible accident killed Marcus’s best friend, Raine, leaving her children without a mother and her husband, Tom, without a partner. Consumed by grief, Tom has been going it alone, refusing help, but when Marcus sees him out with the children, it’s obvious that Tom and his two daughters need someone. His persistent caring finally wears Tom down, allowing him to accept the comfort Marcus offers. Soon Marcus is up to his elbows in homework, home-cooked meals, and after-school activities. Over time he helps them rebuild their world, until soon their lives are approaching normal.
Then the unexpected happens: Tom confesses he has romantic feelings for Marcus, and nothing can ever be the same.

Review:

Story 4 out of 5: Marcus, a successful chef is still reeling from the death of his best friend, Raine.
Raine left behind, Tom and their 2 children; all of whom are trying their best to cope with life without her when Marcus reconnects with the family. Marcus starts to help Tom with the day to day running of Tom’s house and his old attraction (to Tom) begins to grow again. Tom for his part, is beginning to see Marcus as more than a godfather/friend helping out; he’s beginning to feel an attraction as well.
This is the first time that Tom has non-platonic experienced feelings for any man and at first, he seems OK with it. Then he starts to second guess himself, he wonders what others will think, so he pushes Marcus away. The latter is understandably hurt, but he lets Tom figure it out and eventually, they do get their HEA.
The story is well written, with memorable characters – I really enjoyed the story, and hope to read more by this author.

Narration 4 out of 5: I quite enjoyed Seb Yarrick’s narration. He had a down to earth tone and he was good with the accents (I was pleased at how made Marcus’s Nigerian-born assistant sound ☺).
His pacing was good, giving a solid performance. I would definitely look for more of his narrations.

Overall: 4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day Review: Eye of the Beholder by M.D. Grimm

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/eye-of-the-beholder-by-md-grimm-10154-

Blurb
Is it better to risk it all… or never know what could have been?

After surviving an abusive childhood, Vulcan remade himself upon arriving in Los Angeles, California. He became a blacksmith for the paranormal community and strives to earn the respect of the vampire covens and werewolf packs that call LA home. He also prevents the pain of loss by keeping everyone at arm’s length.

But he never planned on meeting a former Roman soldier by the name of Marcus Cassius Vespillo. Something sparks between them and turns into a friendship he never considered possible. He can’t deny his intense attraction to the intelligent, courteous, ancient vampire. And it scares him.

Though Vulcan is wary of seeking more with Cassius, an attack leaves him at death’s door and forces him to reexamine his priorities. But Cassius has his own secret, one that promises tragedy and loss. And if that wasn’t enough, a slayer arrives in the States, one with a bloody connection to Cassius… and Vulcan himself

Review
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The world building is great. Only a few humans know that vampires, werewolves and gouls exist. Those who do work for them in someway. The story started by setting the scene for Vulcan then jumped forward. Cassius is a wonderful character. A very ancient vampire who falls madly in love with Vulcan. Theirs is a slow paced love story and it needs to be slow to get the most from the building romance. Due to his past Vulcan is hesitant to get involved with anyone let alone an ancient vampire. Running alongside the romance is a mystery one that climaxes just as Vulcan let’s Cassius past his defences. All in all I loved the new take on this trope. The epilogue is a wonderful ending.

4 of stars out of 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Educating the Professor by Sean Michael

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/educating-the-professor-by-sean-michael-10150-b

Blurb

Kenneth Brannigan is a small-town history professor. He’s happy with his life, loves the classes he teaches, and lives in a tiny apartment in a converted house with his best friend, Tim, next door. He’s still recovering from a bad breakup and is content to stick to his comfortable routine. It’s Tim who insists he come to the Queer Alliance’s Rainbow Mixer.

At the mixer, Kenn meets David Burgundy, a new-to-town TA who is working on his masters. Dave is drawn immediately to Kenn and is thrilled when Kenn offers to show him the best pizza place in town. One meal leads to two, which leads to Dave and Kenn spending most of their free time together… and Kenn loosening his self-imposed rules regarding dating and sex for some kinky fun.

Kenn’s ex isn’t going to just let Kenn be, though, and the happier Kenn is with Dave, the less the ex likes it. Will Kenn continue to run away from his past, or will his relationship with Dave help him face it head-on?

Review

This was a cute and sweetly kinky romance story. I thought it would have a bit of a May-December vibe going, because one MC is a professor and the other a TA, but both characters are more or less the same age and interestingly enough it wasn’t the professor dictating the rules in the relationship. Role-reversals like that are like catnip to me, loved that.

Kenn and Dave are drawn to each other from the first, but Kenn has secrets he doesn’t think he can share with his new friend/lover. So he tries to keep his distance and protect both their hearts, but he’s no match for Dave’s gentle persistence and understanding. To say nothing of the startling chemistry they share.
Kenn has a truly awful ex that doesn’t seem to know how to stay in the past where he belongs. It was great to see Kenn, eventually, stand up to that controlling jerk though. The BDSM part of the story certainly added spice, though it remains more on the level of their playing the occasional scene together rather than a 24/7 D/s lifestyle romance.

Definitely an enjoyable read.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Escaping Mortality (The Escape Trilogy Book 3) by Sara Dobie Bauer

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43206768-escaping-mortality?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Their ocean journey was successful, and Andrew and Edmund found an Elder just in time. As they wished, Edmund is now a vampire like Andrew. They have eternity together, but first, they must visit Edmund’s ailing mother in the English countryside with their flock of immortals, including the Elder, who has taken an ominous liking to his new creation.
When they arrive at Edmund’s family estate, his sick mother and her loathsome best friend await them. While ducking religious curses, Edmund struggles to harness an unexpected power gifted him by the Elder. Andrew fears for his beloved as Edmund becomes more and more monstrous—but vampires have always been monsters, haven’t they?
A battle is coming, for Edmund’s heart and his soul, and Andrew will lose neither. He escaped island exile and a near tragedy at sea to be with Edmund, the beautiful young sailor he loves. Andrew will do anything to keep Edmund by his side, but his most dangerous adversary may be Edmund himself.

Review:
This is the final book of the trilogy, and it is a fitting end to the story.
Andrew and Edmund have left New Orleans to find an Elder (Brien) who will make him immortal. They find and Elder (Brian) who turns Edmund, but not without some hidden consequences.
As the group (Felipe, Michelle and others), continue on their voyage to England (to see Edmund’s dying mother), they realise that Brien has given Edmund some extra powers. This includes the ability to control things and eventually, people; making Edmund more powerful – (a fact that will have dire consequences later).
When they get to England, we learn more about Edmund’s background, inheritance and his past relationships. Eventually, he finds out that he is indirectly responsible for his mum’s illness.
Again, the one thing constant throughout the stories is the love Edmund and Andrew have for each other. Ultimately, this is what sees them through trials they encounter with Brien and others.
In the end, both men get their eternal get their HEA. I loved the epilogue; definitely a treat to see he vamps well into the future ☺
This was a really good story. Loved it from the first to the last book.

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review