Categories
adult - 18+

Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote Narrated by Hamish Long

audiobookreview

https://www.audible.com/pd/Where-Love-Grows-Audiobook/B08FNHCYYJ?qid=1598094909&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=QJM4STCKDHFSPQ5A34ZW

Blurb
When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.
Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.
He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.
A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.
This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.
Review
Story: I think this might very well be the best book Jay Northcote has written so far. There’s just so much emotion in this story. And the writing… it’s simply incredible. Such a pleasure to listen to, especially the almost poetic, evocative descriptions of nature and some of the MC’s internal musings. A book to be savored and enjoyed, never rushed.
Luke and Stephen get off to a rough start, but I very much enjoyed the slow but sure way their friendship developed. Stephen is a tough nut to crack. His heart, health, pride and self-esteem have suffered countless blows. He’s lost so much: his parents, his health, a job he loved, … and he finds it nearly impossible to believe he can have happiness again. He’s super prickly and antagonistic as a result, but so vulnerable underneath his hard exterior. Luke, on the other hand, is very open about how he feels and tries his hardest to form a connection with Stephen. He’s such a sweetheart and has his own cross to bear, unfortunately. Luke and Stephen both tugged on my heartstrings something fierce.
This book has an almost magical “Secret Garden” feel to it, with a prominent role going to Nature, with all its beauty and promise of growth and resilience. The garden slowly blossoming under Luke’s care wonderfully mirrors the progress both Luke and Stephen make as well.

Narration: Hamish Long is the perfect choice for this audiobook. His honeyed voice and wonderful ability to capture every emotion, however small or subtle, make this into a mesmerizing listen. I love the voices he does for both Stephen and Luke, though Stephen’s slight accent is especially enjoyable to listen to.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 6


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Starling’s Again by Aver Rigsley

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54138709-starling-s-again?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=WqRrPGnFsp&rank=1

Blurb:
October 1943. Manhattan, New York.

Peter Corcoran has been a Friday night regular at the Starling Club for so long that he has his own seat at a back table. From here, he watches the battalion of stunning single ladies take turns dancing with the most handsome man in the whole establishment. That attractive man is not only his best friend but also his roommate—and it won’t be one of the drop-dead-gorgeous women who Daniel Bennet goes home with at the end of the night.

When the closed apartment door cuts off the rest of the world, Danny gives him the first of a series of burning kisses—kisses that never cease to shatter Peter’s universe. But the tiny, cynical voice in the back of his head has him doubting their strange, secret charade and wondering if their romance could ever be more than just an indulgence at the end of the week, when prying eyes aren’t looking…

Review:
Short, but sweet story of two friends navigating around the romantic feelings they have for each other.
While Danny dances with ladies at the club they frequent – Peter can’t help wondering if Danny truly feels the same way about him, even though they go home together each Snight.
It’s sweet the way Danny reassures Peter of his feelings; showing him with gentle touches and telling Peter how he felt about him in the past, and how he feels about him now.
It’s a good story, just wish it was longer. It would have been nice to see if their plans for their future worked out.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Omega Replaced (Omega Reimagined #5) by Tanya Chris

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50996431-omega-replaced

Blurb
Alpha Donovan is certain about one thing. His work recovering missing omegas who’ve been separated from their protectors is a service—to the alphas who hire him and to the omegas themselves. What he’s less confident about is his unconventional desire to be dominated by someone as strong as he is. No alpha is supposed to want that.

When Donovan arrives in North Leland, he expects it to be just another job. Find the omega, bring her home. Then he meets Judge Tarek, the gorgeous alpha determined to thwart his mission. Tarek disapproves of his job, but not his fantasies, which he’s ready and oh-so-able to fulfill.

Everything is backwards in this strange town. Wanting another alpha’s teeth in your neck is okay, but returning an omega to their rightful place isn’t? Donovan has a lot to learn, and if he can’t change his way of thinking fast enough, he’s going to lose what he’s never allowed himself to believe he could have.

Omega Replaced is an alpha/alpha novella with BDSM components in the Omega Reimagined series. It can be read as part of the series or as a standalone. This is a non-MPREG omegaverse.

Review

Wonderful omegaverse romance. It had everything I wanted in this genre: well-rounded main characters, a strong attraction between the potential mates but an important enough conflict to make things difficult for them, intriguing secondary characters and a good storyline.
I really liked the world-building in this book and thought it was very interesting how the author played around with stereotypes and societal conventions based on gender and sexual orientation. Donovan has a hard time breaking away from the toxic ideas that were instilled in him at childhood, even though they go counter to his own needs and identity, and that inner struggle to me added a welcome sense of realism and depth to the story. The chemistry between Tarek and Donovan is absolutely sizzling, but I also liked the patience and vulnerability Tarek showed to Donovan. Tarek is very open about his feelings and intentions, but Donovan still has a hard time daring to trust in the possibility of a future where he can be himself, be happy. Very enjoyable read, definitely recommend it.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Happy Place (Rainbow Plave #5) by Jay Northcote

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52042563-happy-place

Blurb

A first kiss from a younger man leads to a sexual awakening…

George’s strict upbringing has left him ashamed of his sexuality. In his forties now, he’s yet to come out or even kiss a man—until he meets Quentin.

Quentin has had enough of bad relationships with men who won’t commit. Still raw from the last one, he’s not ready to try again. But George is sweet, and helping the older man get some experience might be a fun diversion.

Swept rapidly into a deeper connection than they bargained for, they face a dilemma. George isn’t ready to come out, and Quentin wants a boyfriend who isn’t afraid to be seen with him in public. Can they find a way to navigate the unpredictable waters of their new relationship and find happiness together?

Review

An amazing, well-written May-December romance with the perfect amount of angst, steam, starry-eyes and sweetness.

I loved the realness of this story, how everything wasn’t just perfect lust and connection from the first. This romance felt so genuine and authentic, like something that could happen to actual people, which made it a very appealing read to me. As a reader I got to cheer for Quentin and George as they stumbled, doubted or misspoke and sympathized with them as they struggled through some pretty awkward moments. And most importantly, I got to see them fall in love which was absolutely heartwarming.

George is a product of his upbringing, poor guy, and in some ways he’s in a prison of his own making because of that. He has carried around a big secret for most of his life and doesn’t appear to have any friends he can turn to in order to break free and be true to himself, which was pretty sad. I loved his bravery and how he handled his coming out though. Quentin is a wonderful character too. I could easily relate to his longing for a relationship, as well as his hesitancy to open himself up to heartbreak, again.

I loved how these two men fit into the Rainbow Place “community” and I especially liked Seb’s role in their story, though the glimpses we got of the other characters in the series were great fun as well.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: The Great Aerodynamcist by A. Nybo

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-great-aerodynamicist-by-a-nybo-11535-b

Blurb:

Thinking he’s up to the task, droll Irishman Donnell, who is new to Australia, has almost completed assembling a model steampunk flying machine for his nephew’s Christmas present. Then an accident involving a parachute, some superglue, and his mouth lands Donnell in the emergency room with two of his fantasy men… only one of whom is real.

Review:

Such a fun, short story! It managed to pack in quite a bit of humour and a bit of heat in fewer than 40 pages 🙂
Donnell and Charlie are wonderful men, both sweet with great senses of humour. I loved that there was a bit of a crush going on before they actually meet, it gave a bit of depth to their subsequent romance.
My only complaint is that I wish this could have been a longer story, as the couple were a delight.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: The Carpenter’s Prince by J. Ellis

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-carpenters-prince-by-jayce-ellis-11568-b

Blurb:

Sean Edwards would do anything for his nephew, including designing the props for a children’s version of the Nutcracker. He’s ready for the long nights and weekends in the workshop—they’re part of the job, especially given the short notice. The insanely sexy head ballerino is completely unexpected, however.
All principal danseur Keni Jackson wants is to surpass last year’s performance, blow people’s socks off, and cement his place in the studio. The last thing he needs is something to shatter his carefully held control—like a cuddly carpenter who favors jazz over Tchaikovsky.
Sean and Keni are drawn to each other, but not everyone is a fan of their relationship. When Keni’s position is threatened, they have to decide whether to walk away for good, or if what they’ve found is worth fighting for.

Review:

Very nicely written story. The characters were well-defined characters and there was quite a bit of emotional depth to the story, despite its brevity. Keni and Sean worked well together, both trying to be the others anchor.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Escape (Rebellion #1) by Annabelle Jacobs

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47185989-escape?from_search=true

Blurb

This isn’t the life Cole dreamt of, but what choice does he have?

With his twenty-third birthday behind him, Cole Moreton now faces the shifter compatibility test which will decide his future. Testing positive means joining a pack and eventually taking the bite. Unfortunately, with enviable skills in self-defence and hand-to-hand combat, the kind of packs interested in him aren’t any he’d want to join.

Logan has been a member of the McKillan pack for most of his life. Pack is family and loyalty is everything, but when the shifter government turns out to be no better than the oppressive humans before them, he questions everything.

Right from their first meeting, Logan knows that a life with the McKillan pack isn’t right for Cole, but with his alpha taking a keen interest in Cole’s skills, Logan’s hands are tied. Mutual attraction builds between them, but acting on it is futile—helping Cole will put their lives at risk and an end to any future they could’ve had.

Review

Annabelle Jacobs excels at world-building and she has yet again imagined an incredible, even if a bit scary, shifter universe. Wolf packs rule England through (abuse of) power and coercion, equality between humans and shifters seemingly an impossible dream.

This is very much a suspense driven story, action-filled and brilliantly paced. The romance storyline builds up slowly in a threatening environment that isn’t conducive to it, still the growing emotional bond and passionate chemistry between Cole and Logan is unmistakable and enthralling.

Cole is determined not to be forced to join a pack or change into a shifter, but his choices, as those of every human, have been taken away. He finds help, unlikely and unexpected, in Logan, the very shifter send to recruit him. There’s no insta-love or mating instinct in this universe, so no easy or quick trick to make the MC’s fall in love. They actually get to know each other first before falling head over heels in love. I love how determined and brave Logan is, how respectful of Cole’s wishes even in extremely dire circumstances. Cole is also a wonderful MC, adapting to new circumstances with alacrity and very courageous himself when it comes down to it.

We leave Cole and Logan on the brink of a dangerous future, ready to face all the challenges and possible heartbreak that comes with fighting for a better world… The start of a rebellion.

I can’t wait to see what’s next for them and their friends!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Nothing Special by Jay Northcote

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46368624-nothing-special

Blurb

When Noah’s insecurity threatens their fledgling relationship, can Sol convince Noah that he’s enough?

Noah thinks he’s nothing special. Average height, a bit on the skinny side, and cute but rather geeky, he’s relentlessly ordinary. He certainly doesn’t expect to be noticed by Sol, the gorgeous dark-haired stranger Noah usually sees on his commute home.

When a friend persuades Noah to take a big risk in a bid to get Sol’s attention, things turn out better than Noah dared to hope. But Noah doesn’t believe he’s interesting or sexy enough to hold Sol’s attention.

As Sol tries to get closer, Noah tries to protect his heart by pulling away. If their relationship is going to survive, Noah needs to accept that Sol sees him very differently to how Noah sees himself. Because to Sol, Noah is something very special indeed.

Review

This was a very entertaining, easy read about two really sweet, drama-free guys. After some mutual pining and longing looks in the train, Noah and Sol get together in the cutest way thanks to Metro and a little prodding from Noah’s best friend. They seem to fall in like/lust/… maybe even love with heartwarming ease. Things are shaken up a bit near the end, though, with Noah’s insecurities attempting to put a brake on a good thing. Loved how the author did that and so unexpectedly upped the emotional stakes in this story. The epilogue was the cutest ever, so romantic!!
Recommend.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Spark in the Stars by Foster Bridget Cassidy

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/spark-in-the-stars-by-foster-bridget-cassidy-10559-b

Blurb:
A case of mistaken identity could lead to love for an aloof starship captain and a brilliant if underappreciated mechanic from the sticks—if they can survive the dangerous mission assigned to them.

Ginnovi Oshwald just needs someone to give him a chance. He can keep anything running, despite the “spark” his body produces that sometimes wreaks havoc with electronics. Gin gets his chance when Captain Lian Hartford comes to Tallahassee in search of a mechanic. The trouble is, he’s looking for Gin’s sister. But since he only has a name to go by, Gin tells a little white lie. What could go wrong?
Lian loves his ship and his work as a diplomat but has difficulty connecting with others—only partly because of his mixed human and alien heritage. Something about the eccentric mechanic intrigues him, though, and their easy friendship could become more… if they live long enough to broker peace between humanity and a hostile race while pacifying a crew that thinks Gin belongs in prison.

Review:
It’s an interesting read at the start especially when Gin is mistaken for his sister and the dialogue switches between his and his sister’s name – I liked that, once I got used to it ☺
However, the story got to be a little confusing to me; how did Temina know what ship her brother was on? Then there were the secondary characters, they had been introduced but I had a hard time keeping track of many of them – Doc was also called Mother, but I wasn’t sure if she was really Lian’s mum and Pip turned out to be a deity.
Gin and Lian were likeable characters, but I didn’t feel that they any chemistry together.
It’s a good story, just not for me.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Come Back Around by BA Tortuga

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/come-back-around-by-ba-tortuga-10588-b

Blurb:
Can two divorced dads get a second chance at a redneck wedding?

When Reid Porter agrees to be his best friend’s man of honor, he never considers that his ex, Mateo, will be there too. Which is ridiculous, because Jennifer is marrying Mat’s brother. Reid would never let Jen down, though, so he finds himself at the Leaning N Ranch with his two daughters and a whole lot of baggage about seeing Mat again.
Mat loves his baby brother and would do anything for him, including face the love of his life, whom he’s sure has moved on. When he and Reid come face-to-face after more than two years apart, they realize they’ve never let go. Now they have to do what they never could before—balance work, home, and children, while finding a way to come back around to each other’s love.

Review:
This was a comfort read – it gave me the warm fuzzies reading how a divorced couple found their way back to each other. One of the things I enjoy about Ms. Tortuga’s stories is how there is a cast of characters that make the story larger than life – in this case – Mat’s mum and dad, Mat and Reid’s daughters, even the groomsmen. There are characters from a previous Leaning N book (Stoney and Ford) – but one doesn’t have to have read their story to enjoy this one.
As the blurb says, both men are going to have to bury their differences as their sibling (Mat’s) and best friend (Reid) are getting married. As soon as they see each other again, the love they never lost rekindles. Sure there are some doubts and yes, they need to hash out why they got a divorce, but they are sure that their love for each other and their kids will see them through this time.
A sweet story!

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review