Audiobook: Love and Payne by Charlie Cochet (THIRDS Book 13) narrated by Mark Westfield

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-and-payne-by-charlie-cochet-10194-b

Blurb:
When THIRDS agent Osmond Zachary foils an assassination attempt on an anti-Therian politician his life is in danger. Austen Payne, a lonely and lethal TIN operative, must keep Zach alive. Thrust together with Zach’s plethora of relatives, can Austen keep him safe while struggling with his feeing for Zach and guarding his own heart?

Review of book by Neta (posted previously)

I have to confess I only read the first THIRDS book, Hell & High Water, so I read this book almost as a stand-alone. In regards to that I did not feel like I was missing too much information and even though I am sure reading all the previous books would have given me more background I can definitely say reading it on its own is no issue.
I do have to say that despite the popularity of this book series I did not get into it when I read the first one and # 13 did not change my mind even though I am a big Paranormal/Fantasy/Shifter fan.

I would say the biggest issue I have is believability, mainly in the world of the book. I like the background and evolution of Therians, as explained at the beginning, but when it comes to the various government agencies I feel like they are more prop then substance. I also think the mystery of the assassination attempt, and the subsequent hiding Zach was just not detailed enough. You have skilled agents, and advanced technology and yet the discovery of the perp is delayed and only comes as an afterthought. It’s almost like they intentionally miss the clues so it can prolong the ending. I feel the plot writing is underdeveloped and unbalanced, in a way that does not let me fully get into the story.

I enjoyed Austen and Zach as characters, but I feel the growing attraction between them took too much of the story. Sure it was fun and sexy at times but I felt the story needed more action and more emotional depth. They have known each other for four years, and while Zach is very interested, Austen has been keeping his distance but could not seem to stope checking in on Zach and coming to his aid whenever something happened to him. You do get the feeling of an almost Friends-To-Lovers (my favorite trope) vibe though they are not truly friends as Austen repeatedly pushes Zach away. I just kept going back to thinking I wish I believed the plot itself, and not have it as some sort of stage setting for Zach and Austen to get together. Because when you have these elements in a story they must work together with everything else. I feel like had the action and thrill been better and the world more complex this would have been a 5 Strat book for me.

Number of stars out of 5: 3 of 5 stars

Audio Review by Morgan

 

 

I still like this series quite a lot.  It doesn’t have that hook that it did but I really enjoy the shifting and the world Cochet has built is still full of funny lines and neat powers.  I’m a bit tired of the drama – so that makes the story more of a 3 than a 4 for me. 

The romance was nice and I loved the growly “mine!” in bear language this time around.

The audio by Mark Westfield is definitely the best way to appreciate this entire series.  He does such a nice job with the “sound effects” and doing his best to give everyone a unique voice and character.

I was glad I waited for the audiobook!

3 for the story and 5 for the narration – 4 overall

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Picking the Corners by Ashley K. Broome

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36675273-picking-the-corners?from_search=true

Blurb

Nate Cross of the Vancouver Vikings would do anything for his best friend Roman Orlyck, including taking him in after a devastating concussion. Until Roman moved in, Nate didn’t realize how much he cared about him.
With the season looming and his linemate forced to sit out, Nate struggles between friendship and wanting more from Roman. Days turn to weeks and their friendship deteriorates, leaving Nate to struggle with their relationship and his performance on the ice. The question looms heavy—how are they supposed to play together when they aren’t even speaking?

Review

I recently found this author and I’m pretty glad I did. I’ve now read 2 of the 3 of her hockey books and they’re pretty good.

She seems to know about hockey and is good at character development as well as giving us some wonderful sexual tension.

I’m not crazy about her writing style and sometimes her sex scenes leave a little to be desired in the heat/flow department.

However, I was able to fall into the story without much effort and I wanted to keep reading til the story ended – a sign of good book!

The plot in this story is predictable but still enjoyable and I’d recommend this to fans of m/m hockey romance.

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42931944-home-for-christmas?from_search=true

Blurb

Can Connor show River a real family Christmas?

When Connor finds River on the roof of the campus admin building, he doesn’t know what to do. His friend is drunk, and shouting into a snowstorm, a bottle of vodka in his hand. The easy part is getting River down; the hard part is insisting River comes home with Connor for Christmas.

River doesn’t have a family, or any place outside of college that he calls home. Not that it matters to him; he’s happy being alone for Christmas in his budget motel, watching reruns of Elf. Only, Connor keeps telling wildly improbable stories of the perfect family celebrations at his parents’ ranch in Texas, and it’s wearing River down. He didn’t ask to be kidnapped. He didn’t want to fall in love with the entire Campbell-Hayes family. But he does.

From one Christmas to the next. This is Connor’s year to rescue River, and himself, for them both to mess things up, make things right, fall in lust and finally, for Connor to show the man he loves what being part of a family can mean.

Review

I was a big fan of the Texas series when it first started… I’m not sure I’ve actually read every book in the series – but most of them?

In any case, this is the next generation and it’s Jack and Riley’s college aged kid. I’m not sure – but this feels like soap opera aging – where you see the child born and then in 2 years they’re a teenager! LOL or I’m just getting too old to remember everyone’s age!

In any case this was really sweet and it was fun seeing Jack and Riley again as parents.

If you’re a fan of the series you’ll love this, if you just want a sweet holiday hurt/comfort – this is for you, too!

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Prince For Sale by Caroline Gibson

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43130391-prince-for-sale

Blurb

Freed from slavery, trapped by magic.
Vell once was a powerful sorcerer and a prince of Otharn. By the side of his father, King Covl, and his beloved brother, Lonn, worlds fell at his feet. Now, he is a slave, cast out by his father, sold, used and abused. Being delivered to Earth may be his last hope for freedom.

David Thomen, scientist, inventor, defender of Earth, is living a lonely life with his inventions. Responsible for opening the gateway from Earth to Otharn, he must come to terms with his role as Vell’s newest owner, and face up to Otharn’s plans for Earth.

Forced into an intimate relationship against both their wills, can Vell and David break the bonds of magic joining them together? And when the time comes, will they want to?

Note to readers: This book is for a mature audience, it contains dubious consent, memories of past rape, as well as consensual sex scenes. No graphic violence, mild descriptions of injuries.

Review

I definitely need to warn the readers that the “ little bit of possibly non-consensual sex” is actually the whole book. I’m not sure the prince ever consented until the very end. This made me incredibly uncomfortable.

The only reason I kept reading is that the story itself is unique and imaginative and I wanted to see what happened – but in the end I’m not sure I can recommend it as a “good” romance because it really isn’t. It’s an interesting paranormal story. I’ll leave it at that.

If you’re looking for rape fantasies then this will definitely appeal.

2.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Beat Of Their Own Drum (Book 3 in the Replay series) by K.M. Neuhold

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42530502-beat-of-their-own-drum

Blurb
Jude
Every rock band needs their bad boy, right? That’s me. Hookers, drugs, DUIs— been there, done that. I’m in a Downward Spiral and proud of it (see what I did there?). When the band manager, Archer, hires Bennett to keep me from screwing up while the band is on hiatus, I may have finally met someone who won’t take my attitude lying down. With the three of us cooped up together for weeks on end, I have a feeling things might get interesting.

Archer
Downward Spiral is my baby. Not only am I the band manager, I discovered them ten years ago when they were nothing but a bunch of high school kids playing in a hole in the wall bar on the weekends. But it’s obvious I haven’t done a great job because they’re falling apart. If the lead singer isn’t trying to kill himself, it’s the bass player telling me he can’t write any new songs. And no one gets under my skin more than Jude, who seems determined to snort and drink himself into an early grave. There’s only one man I can think of who might be able to get Jude back on the right track, Bennett Schmitt. Unfortunately, he’s also the man I let get away sixteen years ago and haven’t gotten over since.

Bennett
If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s taking control of a situation. In fact, control is kind of my thing. Which is probably why I’m the best in the business when it comes to getting out of control celebrities back on track. When my ex calls and tells me he’s desperate for my help, I can’t turn him down. Between the infuriatingly sexy drummer with no idea what kind of trouble he’s asking for, and my ex looking better than ever, there’s no way this isn’t about to get messy.

Review

A kinky mmm romance with three wonderful and complex main characters, each one well-rounded and interesting. Together they were simply irresistible!

Bennet and Archer have a past together and still love each other despite having broken up years ago, so that could have put them on an uneven footing with Jude, but that doesn’t happen. The author makes sure that they are all equals in this relationship, every man bringing something unique to it and finding love and care with the other two in equal measure. There are several very moving moments in the story, and all three men have moments of weakness and vulnerability. It was great to see them learn to trust one another and give in to their growing feelings, or acknowledging feelings that were there all along.

The only thing that I would have liked to have seen developed a bit more fully is the emotional bond between Jude and Bennett. I’d have preferred them to get to know each other better before dropping the L-word, outside of their D/S connection, that is. I did really like the way the author incorporated the bdsm-aspect of Jude’s and Ben’s relationship into the story, as well as how she made Archer fit into it too. I think this is one of the best daddy kink stories I’ve read so far and I loved the way both Archer and Jude slowly discovered that part of themselves.

I found it a bit unrealistic that Jude shrugs off his drug addiction so easily. I’d have expected that part of him getting his act together would have been harder. It didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story one bit, however.

The occasional flashbacks were a great way to explain certain things and really brought home what these characters have been through.

We get glimpses of what’s happening with the other band members during their “vacation”, which was great. Not enough to distract us from the MC’s of this book, but still plenty to be able to fully appreciate the importance of the connection between the band members and how their rise to fame impacted their lives. For better and worse.

I was struck by the significance of the book’s title and really liked the play on words. Jude is the heart, the linchpin in the relationship between the three men, and they definitely have to follow their own path in order to find happiness.

I absolutely loved this story and I can’t wait to find out what happens next in this series!

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Slave Dance (Alien Blood Wars series – book 3) by Samantha Cayto

Pride Publishing

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/slave-dance

Blurb
What lurks in the dark is not always a monster. Sometimes it’s your deepest desire.
Quiet and steadfast, Emil has remade himself from botanist to chef. Taking care of people is what he does best. He hates having to fight the war with Dracul, but his loyalty to his captain forces him to do no less. Unlike others of his species, he has formed no intimate bonds and has no intention of doing so. That way lies sadness. He takes his pleasure from feeding those he loves, content with his destiny. That is until he runs into an abused boy who needs more than a good meal.
All turning eighteen means to Jase is that now the man who he is forced to call Master can abuse him publicly. A victim of sex trafficking, Jase only knows one way of life-brutal submission to whichever man claims him. When his Master joins Club Lux, it’s more of the same until he finds himself in the hands of its strange chef.
Circumstances force Emil into a new and frightening role and Jase into the arms of a scary and unfathomable Master. Emil is worse than any man—or so Jase thinks, when Emil’s alien nature comes out. Jase wants to be a good slave and Emil frets about saving Jase from himself. While they try to find their way, a vicious crew member begins to terrorize Boston. Now Emil fights on two fronts—the scariest being that he will fail Jase.

Review

I jumped in mid-series with this book, but the author does such a great job at world-building and connecting all the dots, that I was drawn into the story with ease. There are a lot of characters to get to know, but I had a clear idea of what was going on and with whom, so that wasn’t an issue in the slightest.

I was pleasantly surprised by the original take on the vampire/Dracula mythology that we get in this series. I’m a big fan of the paranormal genre, especially vampires and shifters, so I’m pretty stoked about having found a new author!

There’s an ongoing battle between Emil’s “band of brothers”, led by Alex, and a group of rogue deserters, led by the evil Dracul. The action-part part of the story is also a very important element, the focus is not solely on the romance. In between trying to save humanity from Dracul and his minions, Emil meets Jase when Jase’s Master (read abuser) brings him along to the bdsm club where Emil works as a chef. Supposedly, Jase is in a consensual slave/master relationship and it takes Emil and the others a little while to figure out that something else entirely is going on. But then it’s Emil to the rescue! Go Emil!

I have to admit that the scenes where Jase is abused where hard for me to read, and I was very happy when that part of the story was finally out of the way. I can see how it was necessary to have that be part of the book, because experiencing it alongside Jase, instead of having it be a kind of “behind closed doors”-event really heightens the emotional connection we feel as a reader to Jase. Still, not the easiest part of the book to get through. And of course, as a result, I very much rooted for Emil, the contrast between the alien and the actual monster couldn’t be starker.

Jase and Emil are both amazing MC’s, especially Jase who shows great resilience and courage. I do feel as if he might have recovered a bit too quickly though from everything he went through. Emil is a steady, kindhearted man, very much a caretaker, so he’s perfect for Jase. I loved the respect he showed for Jase’s independence and free will.

There are multiple pov’s used throughout the book, setting the stage for other storylines to come, and to help us get different, useful perspectives. We know how both MC’s feel, but we also get important insights from several, for the moment, secondary characters. One of whom is enslaved by Dracul, so reading his take on things is a great way to show readers why exactly Dracul is so loathsome and very much to be feared.

I can’t wait to see what will happen next, but I think I had best start with reading what happened at the beginning first. I dearly wish I had a Time-Turner like Hermione, so I could find the time to read all the books I want!

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review