Categories
adult - 18+

Abstract Love by: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher and link to book (i.e. Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53977278-abstract-love

Blurb
Sam never expected to move back to Cleveland.
Donovan never expected to be attracted to a man.
Well, shit happens.

After high school, Sam Shelby moved to New York. Eight years later, he returns to Cleveland and lands a job at the best ad firm in town. It would be the perfect gig, if his boss weren’t such an ass.

After his wife leaves, Donovan Cooper questions everything. The arrival of a young, arrogant, gifted graphic designer at Donovan’s firm is the last straw.

Tempers flare over office gossip, and following a nasty argument and scathing kiss, Donovan flails away from heterosexuality while Sam struggles to keep his “no relationship” rule intact.

Despite ugly socks, fiery fights, and their best intentions to not fall in love, these bullheaded coworkers can’t deny their chemistry. Donovan seeks happiness while Sam seeks success, but is there room for more?

Review
I had no idea what I was getting into when I chose this book. The blurb intrigued me. I am so very happy I did. This book is going on my read again list. Both Donovan and Sam are such real characters. Each of them are going through their own problems and never expected to be drawn to each other. The push and pull between them was captivating. Donovan realises he is stuck in a rut, so stuck he doesn’t know how to get out until he meets Sam. Sam is fighting old demons. What I like about this book is that neither of them is the answer to each other’s problems but together they make coping with them more bearable. I admit in the beginning I wasn’t certain about the gay for you aspect of the story but it completely works. The secondary characters of Zen and Monica provide humour making the story less heavy.
This book impressed me enough that I’m now going to check out other works by Sara Dobie Bauer, can’t believe I haven’t found her work before.

Number of stars out of 5 5


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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+

Recent Release: Deadman’s Hand By: Cindy Dees

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dead-mans-hand-by-cindy-dees-11680-

Blurb
Temptation, peril, and dirty poker.

Love is a high-stakes game.

When Collin Callahan, British secret agent, goes up against math genius turned surfer bum Oliver Elliot, the battle is epic—and so is the attraction. They’re pitted against each other in an exclusive, ultra-secret—and ultra-illegal—poker match in Gibraltar, but when players start dying and they could be next, they find a common goal: catch the killer before it’s too late.

Evenly matched at poker and romance, they each wrestle personal demons that threaten to consume them as the stakes climb. It’s an all-or-nothing gamble with both life and love on the line as they fight to be the last seven-card studs standing.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Seven-Card Stud by Ava Drake, November 2016

Review
I pondered how to write a 3 * review for a book I really liked. In book 1 Wild Cards Inc provides personal security. In this story their operative Colin Callahan is an inexperienced undercover agent. The story is a mix of suspense, who done it, and thriller. Colin is pretending to be an expert card player in very high stake game. It did keep my at I really wanted to know what happened next. Colin meets Gun (Oliver) and falls for him but can he trust him. I enjoyed the way the story played out up until the end. This is where my review drops. I want to know what happens next. I don’t have the imagination of an author to create the rest of the story myself. I had hoping that since this is a republished series the ending was fleshed out or if not another book is added that gives Colin and Gun’s next adventure bringing down the Consortium. Fingers crossed that happens.


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Poker Face by Cindy Dees

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/poker-face-by-cindy-dees-11661-

Blurb
Surveillance, seduction, and extra-dirty politics.

Christian Chatsworth-Brandeis has a problem. A huge one. The US senator he works for has run away with his latest mistress on the eve of a make-or-break fund-raising event, and it’s up to him to cover his boss’s irresponsible tracks.

Stone Jackson, the senator’s new bodyguard, looks enough like the senator that, with some extensive grooming, he might pass for Senator Lacey. Christian and Stone hatch a plan to fool everyone by substituting Stone for the senator, but Miami madness and the incendiary heat between them are throwing obstacles in their way. It’s a race to find the senator and pull off the con of the century before the attraction between them spins completely out of control

Second Edition
First Edition previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Ace in the Hole by Ava Drake, July 2016

Review
I found Poker Face to be a delightful story. I loved the way the hard disciplined body guard caves in to Christian to take on the persona of Senator Lacey. This story could easily have become slapstick comedy but the author controlled the events brilliantly. It was easy to see the events unfolding, wondering where it was going. I was hoping the Senator gets his just deserts after skipping of with his current mistress. I didn’t see the ending coming, wonderful.
The characters are well crafted and totally lovable, even Jack Lacey is the kind of character I love to hate. Throughly enjoyable story.

4 of stars out of 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+

Recent Release: Twice Shy by Sally Malcolm

GoodReads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48559190-twice-shy?from_search=true&rank=1

Blurb
The last thing Joel Morgan wants is to fall in love again. Scarred by his failed marriage, Joel’s determined to keep his life emotionally stable—which means taking a job teaching fourth grade, fixing up his house on weekends, and avoiding absolutely all romantic entanglements. And he’s doing great.

Until he meets sweet but struggling single dad, Ollie Snow.

Following the tragic death of his sister and her husband two years earlier, Ollie became the legal guardian of their two young sons—much to the horror of the boys’ conservative grandparents. They think Ollie’s too young and too unreliable to raise their grandsons. So to prove them wrong, Ollie’s determined to parent the boys without anyone’s help.

Until he meets reserved but caring teacher, Joel Morgan.

As the only two men in the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, Joel and Ollie are thrown together over a series of fundraising events, and somewhere between the Beach Fun Run and the Fall Festival they fall in love. But Ollie has another reason for moving to New Milton—a reason he’s keeping close to his chest—and Joel’s wounded heart won’t trust a man with secrets.

Dare they hope for a future together, or will their past pain keep them apart forever?

Review
Joel and Ollie are two very insecure people. Both of them have had loss3 in one way or another and had to battle to get the life they have now. Twice shy is a sweet story of redemption and Trust. There’s also a cosy feeling to the story it’s gentle when it could very well have been angsty it’s charmingly set around different school events. Which brings a lot of other fun characters into the story. Some are from previous books but I didn’t feel I was missing out from not having read the first two books in the series. I haven’t read anything by Sally Malcolm before and I found this book to be soothing even though the journey Joel and Ollie take is hesitant. I think it is the way the book is written that kept me sympathetic to both characters reluctance to make their relationship public. It ws very much an on and off relationship. Both of them had their reasons for hesitation and it’s these reasons that e me from feeling irritated that they hadn’t got on with it already! Ollie has his nephews to think about and Joel definitely fit in the once bitten twice shy category.
Absolutely a feel good story that makes me want to investigate the first two books.

4 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Hard Hart by: E. Davies Narration: Greg Boudreaux

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Hard-Hart-Audiobook/B07YN8N2CS?qid=1571593358&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=HW41X56SQN82VGNBW430&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb
Jesse Stone is rebuilding his life. He’s ditched his no-good ex, sworn off men, moved to a new town with his four best friends, and started the pottery business of his dreams. And then he slept with his hunky new neighbor. Oops. Jesse needs to focus on work, but all he can think about is getting Finn between his hands like a perfectly-shaped work of clay.

Trouble just blew into town, and his name is Jesse. Finn Hart knows that pursuing Jesse will ignite old family tensions, but he can’t stay away. The construction foreman has never built a lasting relationship. He’s too busy keeping the peace in a town that was founded by one Hart, but is slowly being strangled by another—Finn’s grandfather.

Finn and Jesse are on the same page: they want to save Hart’s Bay, and it starts by bringing tourists in with Jesse’s new art gallery. But their hearts are bruised, and taking a chance comes with a price. Not everyone in Hart’s Bay wants change. For a few narrow minds, nothing good should come to Finn’s branch of the Harts, and that includes love.

Can love wash away twenty years of bad blood and bring a new dawn for Jesse, Finn, and all of Hart’s Bay

Review
So many possibilities in this series. New town and a new start for Jesse and his friends. Add in a family feud they unwittingly get caught in and explosions are bound to happen. I felt sorry for the residents of Hart’s bay. They have given up and are just existing. Jesse has plans to bring some life back to the Town. Along the way he meets Finn. Finn is a Hart. And he is caught up in a family feud which is harming the town as much as it has split the family.
Fin and Jesse’s story is wonderfully positive and it’s great to feel that the whole town is embracing a new start just like the main characters are. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
Greg Boudreaux’s dulcet tones are perfect. He gave Finn a lovely sexy voice and Jesse had a touch of hesitancy and vulnerability which made him so endearing.

5 of stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Lucifer’s Litigator By: T.J. Nichols

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lucifers-litigator-by-tj-nichols-10820-b

Blurb
To save his soul, he’ll have to fix his one regret—the love that got away.

The summer between the end of school and the start of what came next was full of sun, surf, and sex. For Will McLeod, that meant Tom, his first male lover. He knew the romance had an expiration date and would end when Tom joined the Army, but that didn’t stop Will from falling in love.

Tired of being looked down upon for being poor, Will became a lawyer—but not just any lawyer. He litigates for the gods as they gamble with the lives of those desperate enough to make deals. His job is to make sure they don’t slip free. He has more money than he knows what to do with, but he’s fast running out of soul.

Twenty-five years haven’t dimmed the candle Will holds for Tom, and when they meet again, he has a chance to put things right. Back then, Tom wasn’t ready to fight for them. Now the decorated soldier is willing to get his hands dirty, but will he be a match for the forces trying to keep them apart

Review
What a great concept. With the title and the blurb I gathered that Will was trapped in a job he no longer wanted. What I wasn’t expecting was the role Lucifer plays in the story. Will’s one regret was Tom, his first love. The story hangs on what that regret was. Neither of them knows for certain and it can’t be spoken about. I liked the flashbacks giving the reader an insight that the characters were just starting to remember and whilst we reading the story may be able to identify the significance Will and Tom don’t always get it away. I got invested in both Will and Tom. Wanting both f them to succeed and beat the odds against all the obstacles put in their way. There is a happy ending although I would have loved an epilogue just to leave me feeling everything works out well for them.

4 of stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Romancing the Rough Diamond by: Clare London

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/romancing-the-rough-diamond-by-clare-london-10775-

Blurb
Trust is the most precious jewel of all.

When Mayfair jewelers Starsmith Stones wins the commission for a gay royal wedding, CEO Joel Sterling is recommended to the brilliant young designer Matt Barth—only to discover Matt’s the man with whom he shared an anonymous and passionate kiss on the celebration night.

Disenchanted with the commercial jewelry industry, Matt nowadays prefers muddy archaeological digs to designing. Openly resentful of Starsmith’s hostile takeover of his family’s firm, he is horrified at the realization he’ll be working with the man who engineered that deal—but the opportunity to create something fabulous and unique for the royal couple is too tempting to refuse.

Working as a team reignites the spark between Joel and Matt. But when betrayal from within Starsmith threatens both the project and Joel’s confidence, will they have built enough trust to keep their newfound love as precious as the royal jewels?

Review
I liked the premise of this story that enemies become co-workers and then lovers. Despite his animosity towards what Matt sees a soulless corporation taking over his family business he can’t miss this opportunity to be involved in something so special. Joel is not the heartless business man Matt thinks he is. I love how their shared passion for creating beautiful jewellery brings them together. This is a heartwarming book. Full of wonderfully British characters. Matt is so pig headed in the beginning you know that when he falls for Joel it’ll be with his heart and soul. And so it is. He makes a brilliantly daft gesture. Made me laugh at the situation he got himself in. So happy that Joel and Matt get their happy ending in this feel good story.

4 of stars out of 5


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