Release Day Review: Home and Heart by Sean Michael

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/home-and-heart-by-sean-michael-10058-b

Blurb
Is it possible to find the heart’s home twice in a lifetime?
Six years ago, Sawyer Burroughs’s life fell apart. His soul mate and husband of four years died of cancer, and he fell into depression… and a bottle. It’s taken six years, but he’s turned his life around and is ready to start again on the other side of the country.
In his new apartment, he’s welcomed by his young and carefree neighbor, Derek, from across the hall. Derek is eager to make Sawyer feel welcome and even offers him a place to stay when Sawyer arrives ahead of his furniture.
The upstairs neighbors are just as friendly, and soon Sawyer finds a place with the friends-with-benefits threesome. He’s not the shy, vanilla lover they think he is, though, and he’s hiding more than a pair of nipple rings. As it happens, the guys have kinky secrets of their own, but for four men to make a BDSM relationship last, they’ll have to figure some things out.

 

Review

Second chance romance where Sawyer finds not just one man but three. Reading the blurb I thought yes, bring it on. Then I started reading and well it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Sawyer has left his old life behind and wanted a completely fresh start. The first day in his new apartment he meets Derek. Derek sort of takes him under his wing and looks after Sawyer. It wouldn’t be a Sean Michael story if sex didn’t appear and it sure did. Started a few pages in and kept up a relentless pace. Twos, threes and fours. A Dom, Luke, and I suppose the best way to describe Derek as a trainee Dom, a brat, Benny, and Sawyer who is all sub. Luke figures out what Sawyer needs and helps Derek provide it for him. There is a great dynamic between the four of them. Sawyer is ready for a change and Derek, Luke and Benny are just what he needs. As the story progresses I understood there are two couples in the dynamic. They played together but also strengthened their relationship apart. Mostly it is the building of Sawyer’s relationship with Derek but occasionally Luke and Benny. They were already in a relationship when the story started. I particularly liked that Luke is teaching Derek to be Sawyer’s Master whilst strengthening his Dominance over Benny. My take on it is that it’s two couples who play together rather than a ménage. I never thought I’d say this but I would’ve liked less sex and more on the story between the four of them. It feels like only a third of the book is about the relationship between each other, the rest is sex, hot hot sex but it’s exhausting.

 

3 of stars out of 5



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf audiobook by B.G. Thomas narrated by Donald Tursman

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/grumble-monkey-and-the-department-store-elf-by-bg-thomas-1071-

Blurb
Kit Jefferies, a part-time department store Christmas elf, is an artist who loves life and his family. Unfortunately, his car dies at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere as he is heading home for Christmas. Enter Nick St. George.

Nick is a very unhappy man—he’s achieved his professional goals only to find the rest of his life bleak and empty. Deciding there was only one way to make everything right, he is on his way to San Francisco on a dark mission, and even the horrible sleet storm that blocked his path won’t deter him. That’s when he found Kit.

At first, Nick is pretty sure rescuing Kit was a big mistake. Kit’s personality is just too, well, effervescent. But as the miles go by, Kit begins to bring light to his dark heart. It might even be bright enough to illuminate a Christmas miracle

Review
The story was part of the 2013 Dreampinner Press “Heartwarming” Advent Calendar.
Nick is such a grump, love him. He is trying to get to San Francisco before Christmas Day when he meets Kit at a rest stop. He is so dismissive and judgmental of Kit. Nick is so angry at the world and takes it out on Kit. Kit seems to be everything Nick despises about being gay. Kit and his positive attitude gets through to Nick. Although I had my suspicions Where the story was heading to it was still bit of a surprise. On seeing the cover picture I thought the story would be humorous but I don’t think it gets there. Nick and Kit’s story has a happy for now ending and overall left me feeling thoughtful rather than buoyed up in Christmas spirit.
The narrator gives some attempt to voice the characters but it does sound more like Donald Tursman is just reading the story. If you don’t listen closely it’s hared to distinguish which character was speaking. Initially there was a hollow sound to the recording but either that got better or I got used to it.

3 of stars out of 5 for the story
2 of stars out of 5 for the narration

Reviewer Name: MaryD

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Make a Circle by Elliot Joyce

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Pagan punk musician Lucas is fully prepared to spend this Yule with the rest of the band and his beautiful bass guitar when Oliver, his boyfriend of almost a year, asks if he wants to join the rest of the Han family for their annual winter celebration. It comes as a shock since Ollie has gone to great lengths to keep the two apart, and Lucas always assumed he was the reason. Since they’re planning to be together long-term, Lucas can’t say no to meeting Ollie’s parents, but he better brush up on his manners and his Mandarin because this is going to be a holiday season like no other—and it has some surprises in store for both of them.

Review

I liked this story. I wasn’t 100% sure I got the message, if there was one. The story centred around family and acceptance but in my naivety I thought Oliver has already been accepted by his family, well that was the impression I got from the way they treated him. It was more the case that the older members of his family were having a hard time breaking habits and kept speaking without thinking. I know that is hurtful but it doesn’t come across as malicious in the story. It’s not just that Oliver is gay there is another aspect his family had to understand and accept. I don’t want to give it away because it is an important part of the story. His family is big and loud with the usual family drama. Lucas is worried about fitting in because he doesn’t speak mandarin. For this reason he doesn’t realise that they liked him straight away. Just like with Oliver though the family members were thoughtless and did not think to include him in conversation by switching to English which left him feeling on the outside.

Overall it is a lovely story, with a warm family welcome for Lucas, even though he had to hear that through Oliver. Just a snapshot of a holiday moment in this couple’s relationship.

3 of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Cole audiobook by BG Thomas narrated by Paul Morey

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-cole-by-bg-thomas-6184-

Blurb
Javier Torres was a sweet, plump, and very unpopular child. But over the years, he turned himself into a gorgeous gym god. The problem is he’s also become an egotistical snob. But one day his arrogance pisses off the wrong little old lady, and he wakes up to find that, like the Prince in Beauty and the Beast, he’s been transformed into something from his personal nightmares. Javier has nowhere to go but back home, where to his surprise, he is greeted with open arms, not just by the family he remembers, but by his new brother-in-law, Cole. Cole suspects there might be a pretty heart to go with the pretty face locked inside that new body, but has Javier learned enough to earn Cole—instead of coal—for Christmas

Review
This title is part of the 2011 Advent Calendar: I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
I quite enjoyed this take on the beauty and the beast / it’s a wonderful life type of story. It’s also a moral lesson of judging people by looks rather than who they really were. And how shallow he had become. It took a harsh lesson before he was able to see what he had become. He didn’t really understand until he went home to see his family and meets Cole again. Javier’s partner Mark is a horrible person especially the way he treated Javier after he was transformed.Quite a message in this story but it is heartwarming. The love and acceptance of family and of oneself.
The narrator, Paul Morey, does a fair job but I felt that the emotions were missing. After all Javier did suffer his worst nightmare and was deserted by Mark at Christmas. The characters were portrayed well enough. I could make out who was who and there was some characterisation.

3 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Release Day Review: New Tricks by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/new-tricks-by-andrew-grey-10029-

Blurb
In matters of the heart, there’s no such thing as business as usual.

Thomas Stepford spent years building a very successful business and now at thirty-nine, he wants a quieter life. With his parents needing help, he decides to return home. He can’t get away from business completely and needs an assistant—but the man who is hired isn’t quite what he had in mind.

Brandon Wilson, the ink on his degree barely dry, needs a job, and his mother helps him get one as Mr. Stepford’s assistant. Thomas doesn’t seem to remember, but Brandon worked mowing the stunningly attractive older man’s lawn years ago. Thomas was Brandon’s teenage fantasy, and now he’s Brandon’s boss.

Thomas and Brandon are both determined to keep their relationship strictly business, but the old attraction is still there. They learn to work together even as the tension between them reaches the boiling point. But just as they start to surrender, Thomas’s old life in New York calls him. Even if he resists that pull, can their newfound relationship survive when Brandon receives the call of his dreams… from Hollywood

Review by Mary
Another simply lovely heartwarming story by Andrew Grey. Thomas has given up on love. He’s had some bad experiences which left him wary. Although he has built up a very successful business, this has also come at a cost to his health. Now approaching 40 Thomas is questioning his lifestyle and whether it’s worth it. Thomas comes across as such a war and caring person but the story gives glimpses of his toughness in business. His drive and determination to build has got him this far but he needs to slow down and pay attention to his health and to his family. Going home to a quieter way of living. Into the story comes Brandon an intelligent young man who has known hardship but gets by with the love and s of his grandmother. He’s intelligent with a good degree but can’t get a job. Opportunity brings Thomas and Brandon together and from there they recognise what true love can be like. Such a beautiful low angst romance. Perfect for that Christmas spirit feeling without it actually being a Christmas story. I do hope Blaze, Thomas’s best friend and business partner gets his own story and also finds true love.

4.5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Review by Aerielle

 

Andrew Grey is the master of sweet, low-angst romances. New Tricks is about Thomas, a man on the verge of burn out, leaving New York City and moving to a small town in Colorado to take care of his aging parents. There he meets his new assistant Brandon, a recent college graduate and finds himself very attracted to the young man. Thomas has been hurt by a past relationship with a coworker and vows not to act upon his feelings.

Brandon has known and lusted after Thomas since he used to mow Thomas’ yard back in high school. Brandon easily brings order to Thomas’ chaotic life. The pair enjoy spending time with each other and eventually act upon their attraction.

Thomas knows that he won’t be able to keep Brandon with him forever. Brandon is destined for better things. When Brandon gets a job offer that he can’t turn down, Thomas is determined to let him go live his life.

New Tricks has a full cast of enjoyable characters. Thomas’ New York assistant Marjorie is brassy and snarky and doesn’t take any of Thomas’ crap. I absolutely loved Brandon’s grandmother Thelma who is the only family member who is accepting of Brandon’s sexuality. She is so fierce and protective of her grandson.

You can not go wrong with this book!!

 

 5 stars

 

 

Copy Generously Provided 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: The Law of Miracles by KC Wells

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42759300-the-law-of-miracles?from_search=true

Blurb
The sequel to A Christmas Promise…
Joshua Trant is doing his best to support his son Micah and Micah’s partner Greg as they approach the trial of Greg’s attackers. This was never going to be easy, especially as Greg wants them prosecuted for a hate crime, but County Attorney Alexander Rycliffe assures them he’ll do his utmost to make sure the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions. Joshua hopes that whatever the outcome, Greg will be happy. What he’s finding more difficult to deal with, is the way he’s feeling about Alex. Joshua has loved two people in his life – Hayden and Rachel – and lost them both. The chance of him being lucky a third time is so slim, the thought doesn’t even cross his mind, until Love – and his kids – give him a push in the right direction…

Alex knows what it is to have loved and lost, and he thinks he’s done with men. Then Joshua Trant walks into his life. Alex soon learns there’s more to Joshua than just a handsome face, and the men finally have what both of them need – a friend. But as the months go by, it becomes obvious to everyone concerned that their friendship has the potential to develop into something deeper – if they let it.

One man who thinks he’s had his chance at love.
One man who has to let go of a past betrayal and learn to trust again.
And both are about to be shown Christmas is indeed a time of miracles. All you have to do is believe

Review
Seriously what’s not to love about two older guys finding love. Both of them have their own baggage that they have to come to terms with over this wonderful slow building romance. And that’s what I love about KC Wells stories, there’s real life but with a lot of hope and magic. Alex and Joshua start by becoming friends helping each other out, cooking and companionship I suppose. Each of them believing they are done with love only to find love hadn’t finished with them yet. It was great that everyone else could see it but they couldn’t. I loved the slow build it let me get to know and come to love Joshua and Alex. Joshua being so happy he managed to cook meatloaf for the kids endeared me to him right from the start along with Alex’s humour about having two titles. The two of them together making a white chocolate cheesecake, made me smile. The length of time before they even kissed was well worth the buildup. There is so much more to the story, good times and bad, bittersweet moments. It’s one I will definitely read again and become a Christmas favourite
I know this book is a sequel, and it can certainly be read on it’s own but I would wholeheartedly recommend reading A Christmas Promise first.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Mosquitoes and Mistletoe by Ren Holly

 

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

After Andrew’s boyfriend dumps him just before Christmas, he decides to take a job far, far away from city life. It’s a dishwashing job on a remote island off the coast of Georgia. Expecting sunshine, palm trees, and some quality alone time, Andrew is surprised to find alligators, mosquitoes, rattlesnakes, and Garrett—a devilishly handsome naturalist. Andrew desperately tries to resist Garrett’s charm, because a twice-broken heart before Christmas is just not an option. Besides, Andrew’s new friend Anna might already have a thing for Garrett.
But where do Garrett’s interests lie, and will Andrew find out before he’s surprised by a visit from his ex?

Review

What a cute story heartbreak to happiness. Lovely Christmas feel good story. It’s amusing the way poor Andrew get into so many situations Garrett has to rescue him from. They make a great pair. It seems that Garrett hasn’t questioned his sexuality before being attracted to Andrew, or at least not acted on it. There is a good cast of secondary characters who make the little island a family. All looking out for each other. This is the case when Andrew’s duplicitous ex turns up with his family, only for Garrett to get the wrong idea. Perfect short story giving me the meet, romance, misunderstanding and happy ending.

4 of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Audiobook Review: P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon Narrated by Noah Michael Levin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ps-i-spook-you-by-se-harmon-8565-b

Blurb
SSA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency’s golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one slight, tiny, itty-bitty paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden he’s the agency’s embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself—go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him.

Cold-case detective Daniel McKenna’s latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Five years earlier, high school student Amy Greene went missing after leaving her part-time job and was never seen again. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help that his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex.

It doesn’t help that Rain is pretty sure he’s falling in love with Danny all over again—if he ever stopped. Add to that the frustration of seeing ghosts at every turn while he works a case that’s stalled in its tracks, and Rain is starting to wonder if second chances and happy endings are just for fairy tales

Review
I reviewed the book when it came out and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad that I didn’t remember the story at all. Good in the sense that I was able to come to it fresh, but bad that it obviously was not memorable in the least. Having said all that I completely enjoyed this story which was mixture of ghost and reluctant medium with a good dose of second chance romance. Paranormal stories have always intrigued me. This one was about Rain both coming home and coming to terms with his powers. The ghosts, particularly one called Ethan, are hounding him to help them find peace and cross over. However returning home means meeting with his ex Danny. Rain never got over Danny despite being the one to break up with him. Rain and Danny do get their happy ever after but for me it felt like the medium side of his story was just beginning. I would love a second book, or even a short story about how they are getting on. Especially as Rain’s family are wonderfully quirky characters and would certainly make the story very interesting. But at this stage I doubt a sequel will be forthcoming. I mustn’t forget the mystery side of the story which turns out to be a murder. This kept me guessing until near the end when it all fell into place.
I’ve not listened to anything by Noah Michael Levine before. He has a smooth voice very easy to listen to and absorb into the story. He acts out the story line well ensuring all the characters stand out with their own voices and personalities. Overall a good listen but I’m not sure if it’s going to stick in my mind.

Number of stars out of 5
4 out of 5 for both the story and narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Femme Faux Fatale By Susan Laine

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/femme-faux-fatale-by-susan-laine-9982-b

Blurb

Mystery. Murder. Men in silk stockings. Hollywood nights are heating up.
Hardboiled Los Angeles PI Cain Noble is hired by wealthy and gorgeous Camille Astor to find her husband and a priceless work of art, both of which have disappeared.
At the nightclub owned by Mr. Astor, Cain encounters the mesmerizing Lily Lavender, who has the body of a goddess and the sultry voice of an angel—but is really a young man named Riley who attracts trouble like a magnet.
What’s a private dick in the vein of LA’s bygone era and a cross-dressing burlesque starlet to do when faced with the hidden decadence and lethal dangers of the Hollywood Hills? They have their work cut out for them because they haven’t even scratched the surface of an elaborate scheme more twisted than anyone could ever have imagined.

 

Review
The start of this story put me in mind of film noir, with the jaded PI meeting his dubious client for the first time. My initial reaction was that the characters were a bit caricaturist. This impression was strengthened the first time Camille Astor came into the picture. I think it’s intentional given that there are movie references included in the story. Once Cain met Riley that impression was less important and I put it to one side. Fireworks and good ole fashioned lust came into the story, yum. This is a tale that twists and turns. There are the obvious bad guys and the not so obvious worse guys which gave the story a pleasant edge. Some things I didn’t see coming and this kept me hooked. Overall good fast burn romance with murder-crime drama.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review