Time to Comfort: Audiobook: Sin and Tonic by Rhys Ford narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/sin-and-tonic-by-rhys-ford-9595-b

Blurb: Sinners Series: Book Six

Miki St. John believed happy endings only existed in fairy tales until his life took a few unexpected turns… and now he’s found his own.
His best friend, Damien, is back from the dead, and their new band, Crossroads Gin, is soaring up the charts. Miki’s got a solid, loving partner named Kane Morgan—an Inspector with SFPD whose enormous Irish family has embraced him as one of their own—and his dog, Dude, at his side.

It’s a pity someone’s trying to kill him.

Old loyalties and even older grudges emerge from Chinatown’s murky, mysterious past, and Miki struggles to deal with his dead mother’s abandonment, her secrets, and her brutal murder while he’s hunted by an enigmatic killer who may have ties to her.
The case lands in Kane’s lap, and he and Miki are caught in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. When Miki is forced to face his personal demons and the horrors of his childhood, only one thing is certain: the rock star and his cop are determined to fight for their future and survive the evils lurking in Miki’s past.

Review:

(Previously reviewed by Dee on this site)

Miki gets his happy ever after! I have had a fantastic time following the series. This last book is just as good, (if not better), than the first.
Miki still has ghosts from his past haunting him. When a stranger who claims to know his mum wants to meet him, he’s understandably skeptical, but curious. Well, the meeting doesn’t go as planned, as someone shoots up the meeting place and the stranger is killed, leaving Edie severely wounded. The murder investigation lands in Kane’s lap and the unraveling of Miki’s past begins.

Although this is the last of the Sinners series, it didn’t feel like a final end, you know? Instead, I felt like I was saying goodbye to my extended family, imagining that I’d see them again in another settings or gathering.
I thought I would be sad reading the last installment – and I was for a bit – but the joy I felt knowing that Miki had finally gotten his happy ending, overrode any sadness. By the end of the book we leave him continuing to heal from all the horrors he’s endured. He is more comfortable with the knowledge that he has a family to call his own, that he can rely on to be there for him. And now, he also knows where he’s from.
It was also lovely to see the others – Dude, Damie and Sionn; Quinn and Rafe; Con and Forest; and of course, Donal and Brigid.
There are a few surprises, heaps of suspense and humour sprinkled throughout the story (indeed, the entire series). But most of all, there is love – romantic and familial within the story; and the love that Rhys has poured into her work.

Absolutely recommend this book and the entire series.

6 stars out of 5

Audio

I will have to agree with Dee for my evaluation of the story. I think – for the most part – that Rhys is a wonderful writer but that you do have to want a certain type of drama to enjoy her stories. She excels at bringing us characters in pain and giving them some sort of resolution. In this series everybody has their back story filled with pain and some with anguish. We couple it with a current bout of violence and luckily the wall of Morgans are there to help keep the tide at bay. I think – though I’ve loved this series so much – that it has come to it’s natural conclusion and aside from some cute side stories – this is a needed/warranted ending.

 

As for the narration- Tristan James is amazing. He’s got this sexy as hell voice and he’s also pretty good at setting the mood for a story with his pacing and energy. For some reason, however, this time around, the voice he chose for Miki is a bit off from what he’d chosen before and it bugged me. Miki didn’t sound like himself – he sounded … softer? I don’t know – but it didn’t match previous narrations. It’s a small thing and definitely doesn’t detract from the rest of the story and all the lovely accents – but it did bug me a little.

 

In any case – fans of the series will be sad to see this one but love it at the same time. It’s not a standalone so don’t start with this one!

 

Recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to Comfort: Score (Men of Hidden Creek) by A.E. Wasp

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39680434-score?from_search=true

Blurb
Home is where you make it.
Beau Hopper is good at goodbyes. A minor-league hockey player, he goes where the league tells him. Single and estranged from his family, Beau drifts without connections or commitments. He makes a living, not a life.

Former Marine Connor Casey’s life revolves around his siblings. After Hurricane Harvey took their home and a car-crash claimed their parents, Connor is determined to rebuild their house and their lives.

When Beau learns Connor might lose custody of his siblings if he can’t finish the rebuild in time, he volunteers to help in exchange for a place to stay, and it isn’t long before he finds himself in Connor’s bed. It takes more than passion and plywood to build a home, so when the league comes calling after Beau, Connor can’t ask him to stay… but how can he ever let him go?

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains eye-rolling teenagers, stolen kisses, and fewer noogies than you’d expect.

Review
This was an incredibly moving romance, it really got to me. The MC’s were lovable to the extreme, the kids were absolutely wonderful, and the other, more minor, characters were also really great (okay, most of them, not the dreaded Walrus of course! And I hope Youngblood will get a chance to redeem himself).

Connor is a former marine who has given up his career in the military to take care of his siblings, after their parents died in a car crash. He is self-sacrificing and hard-working, always giving to his loved ones, never asking anything for himself.
Beau is a hockey player, who has never been in a real relationship and spends his living running away from big emotions like love and commitment. Until Connor…

I love how their relationship developed. Starting with an instant reaction, and with very little opportunity to act on it, they almost naturally become an item and Beau fits into Connor’s family seamlessly.
Beau falls in love with Connor, but at the same time gets to know and love Connor’s four siblings as well. Which is so beautiful and touching to see happen.

We get to know Sean, Fiona, Micah and Benji really well. They are an important part of Connor’s life, and as such, also of this story. They are not just props in the background. I loved that! Reading about the dynamics of this little family was very touching and heart-warming.
There was one scene in particular that stood out for me. It revolved around Sean, Beau and Connor, where Connor had a PTSD-related “episode” that was very emotional and gripping.

The epilogue was wonderful!! Both romantically sweet and funny. How could anyone not fall in love with Prince Connorette and his knight in shining armor, Beaumeo? Impossible!

This book really drew me in. My heart ached for Connor and Beau, especially near the end, because of course, it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way through to their HEA.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Provided by Author

Time to Comfort: Love Me Louder by Christina Lee

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40663475-love-me-louder?from_search=true

Blurb
Noah Dixon is damaged goods. After an accident leaves him physically scarred and emotionally vulnerable, dating isn’t in the cards, so he throws himself head-first into his retail job. When he’s obligated to attend his best friend’s engagement party on Fire Island, it dawns on him he’s about to spend yet another weekend feeling totally invisible and alone among a swarm of gorgeous men.

That’s when the idea of an escort comes in.

After Will Crossen was forced to put his theater major on hold in favor of two jobs to tackle his ailing mother’s hospital bills, he tells himself becoming an escort isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just another form of acting, right? He doesn’t expect his newest customer to be the cheery, overconfident sales associate he avoids like the plague at his day job. Talk about awkward.

But what happens on Fire Island stays on Fire Island…especially when a smoldering attraction sparks into flames. Will doesn’t feel so alone anymore, and for the first time, Noah realizes someone is seeing him behind all the scars. But between their jobs, Will’s massive familial responsibilities, and Noah’s vulnerabilities, they don’t stand a chance unless they find a way to let love speak louder than their demons.

Review
I enjoyed this story immensely!!

It had everything I want in a romance: emotional depth and a real connection between the MC’s, great chemistry and a lovely slow-burn hurt/comfort theme.
Throw in the excitement and angst that comes with falling for a fake boyfriend and I knew I was in for an allnighter because no way was I putting this book down!

Noah feels inadequate and has a very low self-image, especially with regards to his appearance. Initially, this skews his view on the world, read Will, and he has a difficult time accepting that Will might be genuinely attracted to him.

Will takes care of his mother and works two jobs to make ends meet, giving up his dream of a career in the theatre. I love his sense of responsibility and family.

Noah and Will dance around each other and their true feelings for quite some time, afraid to give too much away and get hurt, hesitant to believe that what they share between them could be real.

I love how the fake boyfriend trope was written here, with the closed-off colleague turning out to be an escort! The author didn’t take the easy way out by turning the route of insta-lust, but slowly let the feelings build, raising the emotional stakes bit by bit.

We get to reconnect with some of my all-time favorite characters as well, which was a delightful surprise!
Tate & Sebastian are such an adorable couple and I loved that Tate’s alter ego, Frieda Love, was the one to give Noah and Will that final little nudge to help them confess their true feelings to one another!

As is the case in all her books, Christina Lee surrounds her MC’s with engaging, three-dimensional secondary characters, be they family, friends or co-workers, drawing us into the wonderful fictional world she created. If only there was a portal the reader could step through to make their acquaintance!

I loved the title of this book so much!! Its message is incredibly apt and feels so true to these two amazing characters.
The extraordinary Frieda Love sums it up marvelously:

“Sometimes people need you to love them a little louder!”

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Review copy provided by Author

 

 

Release Day Review: Bad Habit by K.A. Mitchell

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-habit-by-ka-mitchell-9957-b

Blurb

Life is always looking for ways to screw you over. Scott McDermott survived the foster care system and knows better than to let anyone close, but Liam Walsh is his one vulnerability.

Twice Scott let down his guard, and twice Liam vanished from Scott’s life.

So when Scott comes face-to-face with Liam for the first time in six years, he punches Liam in the nose. Only after Scott’s friend—and Baltimore County police officer—Jamie reads him the riot act does Scott discover that in the intervening years Liam has been to war and lost his leg.

Liam hasn’t had the easiest life either. He took care of his drug-addicted mom when she was unable to take care of herself. He’s fallen in love with Scott twice, but when Liam saw Scott going down the same path as his mother, he left. The lesson that he can’t save everyone has been a painful one for Liam to learn. Maybe what he and Scott had can’t ever be fixed.

Scott and Liam have never fallen out of love—which becomes obvious when they start working together—but what will make this time any different from all the others? Will the third time really be a charm?

Review

This is a grittier second chance at love story than I’m used to reading, and at first rather higher on hurt than comfort, but I enjoyed it very much. Love certainly isn’t for the faint of heart in this story, but I loved how these characters ultimately found their way back to each other. It’s not just about finding love though, but also very much about following your own path in life and finding friends and a community.

Scott and Liam have both had a difficult childhood, part of it spent (or misspent) in the foster care system. Outwardly, Scott is the tough guy and asocial misfit, whereas Liam seems all charm and affability, so at first glance these two seem a very unlikely pair. Liam and Scott both have fears and insecurities to overcome, but as we get to know them better, Scott seemed to me to be the more vulnerable of the two. I can certainly understand his initial angry reaction upon seeing Liam again after all those years.

The bond between Scott and Liam is incredible intense, but laced with the pain of past mistakes. Their connection is really strong, tinged with inevitability even, and comes across the pages very clearly and powerfully even when a HEA seems impossible. They are obviously meant to be together, but can’t seem to figure out how to make their relationship work, how to let their guard down (again) or how to take a chance on love and trust in the possibility of a future together.

There’s an amazing moment in the book where the author captures the essence of their relationship in the lyrics of a song. That scene really got to me. Beautifully written and very emotional.

Scott is very caring and considerate toward Liam, trying to help him regain his independence, no strings attached. He’s such a sweetheart, though one with a temper and a very short fuse.

This book can be read as a standalone, though I would recommend you read the other books in the series first. Quite a few of the main characters from the previous books come along to lend our current heroes a hand or weigh in with an opinion, so it’s more fun if you’ve read the other books as well. Though perhaps it is merely a case of meeting new friends instead of reconnecting with old ones. Either way Scott and Liam are in awesome company!

This is a great addition to a wonderful series!

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Fangs for the Memories by Julia Talbot

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fangs-for-the-memories-by-julia-talbot-9965-b

Blurb: One wolf lost his memory, but they’ll both lose their hearts.
Bitten werewolf Tom owes the folks at the Dead and Breakfast big for saving his life. So when they ask for help with a rogue wolf on the premises, he’s happy to do his part….
Though he isn’t quite prepared for what he’ll find.
Werewolf Nathan lost everything to a sadistic kidnapper—his freedom, his memories, and maybe even his ability to be human. But as soon as he meets Tom, he knows he might be able to reclaim his life. And even a turned wolf like Tom feels the mating call. The trouble is, Tom isn’t the only one who wants Nathan, and they’ll need help from all their supernatural friends at the D & B to defeat a powerful enemy and keep their love—and themselves—alive.

Review: This is a standalone sequel to Fangs and Catnip, this time the pairing is between 2 wolf shifters. The story is sweet, with an almost childlike feel to the dialogue, which fit within the storyline.
Tom, (we met him when he was bitten in book 1), is a made wolf. He runs a sort of animal rescue centre that includes helping shifters. The owners of the B&B have noticed a wild, distressed wolf and ask Tom to help. He helps the wolf, learns his name – Nathan and discovers that he’s a shifter.
Nathan has run from a horrid situation and is understandably traumatized. The way Tom and the others look out for Nathan makes up the bulk of the story. We also get to see past characters like Carter and meet new ones like Ed, a magpie shifter.
There is very little angst, some suspense – (when the cause of Nathan’s trauma reappears) – and humour. The suspense piece may have been a tad rushed, but it brings some new faces to the series.
This is a cozy read, like the satisfaction one gets putting on one’s favourite pair of slippers.
And it was my pleasure to read.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time to get scared: Gray’s Shadow – Kings of Hell MC Book 4 – K.A. Merikan

Good Reads link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41052468-gray-s-shadow?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
— There can be no shadow without the man to cast it. —

Gray. Lost his twin. Will never be complete. Works alone.
Shadow. Monster? Human? Exists to be Gray’s one true companion.

After losing his twin brother, Gray has devoted his life to the Kings of Hell MC. He will do anything to protect his family and that means anything.

Even sell his own shadow to the devil.

Following a fire that left him without one arm, Gray feels pushed to the sidelines. In order to prove to his club that he is still capable of completing dangerous tasks, he will have to team up with the strange creature from the Other Side. Tall, inhumanly strong, and menacing despite the handsome exterior, Shadow is just the tool Gray needs.

The moment Shadow lays his eyes on Gray, he wants to crawl under Gray’s skin and make the human his.

Gray on the other hand isn’t willing to get attached to a monster destined to do the devil’s bidding and disappear once his time is up. Rejected, Shadow has to do everything in his power to convince his human that they belong together.

But as the clock ticks away precious minutes of Shadow’s existence, Gray will have to choose between his loyalty to the Kings of Hell MC and responsibility for the creature he brought into this world.

Review
Yet another fantastic story from K.A. Merikan! They never fail to deliver an in-depth story with strong characters and pack it full of emotion.
This book is continuing the overall story arc of the Kings of Hell MC series but we have our own story for Gray and Shadow. I’d recommend reading the books in order, or at minimum the first, Laurent and The Beast, to understand the basics of the demonic side of the story. It’s been a really interesting ride so far with some…..quirky characters but they are all worth reading and book 4 just continues that trend. All members of the MC are included and are there through the tough times for Gray.
Whilst a serious and, at times, creepy story we are treated to some funny moments with Shadow learning about the world around him. I think those moments’ help to pull us through some that are quite tough with Gray reminiscing about his dead twin and losing his arm, as well as the tasks that they carry out on behalf of the club.
As Gray is the quiet, reserved man of the club, you never really expect much but we are given complete access and he has suffered for so long in silence about several things. He just proves himself a winner for the strong, silent type award but Shadow soon puts his limits to the test. He’s very much a man willing to do his part for the club but doesn’t take anything for himself.
Initially, Shadow is creepy and we’re unsure of his abilities. A scene not far in may be hard for some to read as Shadow attempts to become one with Gray without the man’s permission. He learns the hard way what Gray will accept but as a newly formed person, he has no understanding of the world without instruction from others. Reading him learn about the world and people around him is endearing as he always wants to know more but there’s always the underlying edge of what he’s capable of. What endears him the most is his steadfast adoration of Gray, of which Gray is very much deserving but he never quite goes about things the right way.
The story moves along at a good pace with our introduction to the characters and story line diving right in and from the outset, I was fully engaged! Needing to know what was going to be happening next, everyone’s involvement with the demon and the club’s plans moving forward. K.A. Merikan do such amazing work in building a world that you feel really engaged in, I find it so easy to imagine everything around the characters wherever they are as they describe/visualize the surroundings. Our MC’s are treated with the respect they deserve and earn their places at each other’s side by the end.
I cannot recommend this series enough. This is yet another of their books that I have fallen in love with and I’m really looking forward to book 5, the last in the series.

Number of stars out of 5
5

Provided by author

Release Day Review: Fire and Granite by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/searchresults?q=fire+and+granite

Blurb:
A Carlisle Deputies Novel

The heat is growing from the inside, but danger is building on the outside.

Judge Andrew Phillips runs a tight ship in his courtroom. He’s tough, and when he hands down a sentence, he expects to be obeyed. So when a fugitive named Harper escapes and threatens his life, Andrew isn’t keen on twenty-four/seven protection… especially not from Deputy Clay Brown. They have a past, one that could cause problems in their careers.

But with Clay assigned to Andrew and the two of them together every minute, there’s nowhere to hide from their attraction—or from the fact that there’s much more than chemistry blooming between them. As the threat intensifies, Clay knows he’ll do anything it takes to protect the people who are taking their places in his heart: Andrew and his young niece and nephew.

Review:
This is the second in the Carlisle Deputies series. I have not read the first one, though there are characters from the first book, this works as a standalone story.
Andrew Grey consistently delivers sweet, straight forward romances with little angst, lots of heartwarming themes and HEAs. This story is no different.
Clay and Andrew knew of each other and both thought that the other man was difficult, bossy and not likeable. They are forced to work together when an escaped convict (Clay’s cousin) manages to escape, but not before threatening Andrew’s life, (he was the judge in his conviction).
When Andrew ends up staying with Clay at his home, the 2 men get to know each other better and soon develop a mutual attraction. But, just as the romance is starting up, Andrew has to take care of his niece and nephew. Andrew worries that the sudden change will affect his budding relationship with Clay, but Clay is on board with the change. In the middle of all of this, they are still dealing with the stalking convict and the person pulling the convict’s strings.
I liked the story, no new trope/theme, but an enjoyable read. There is a bit of a twist in regards to the mystery, leading to interesting turn of events.

There were a couple of inconsistencies in my ARC copy which I hope will be fixed by the general release date; otherwise a good story, enough for me to follow the series.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release day Review: Crocus by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/crocus-by-amy-lane-9524-b

Blurb

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart

Review
In my opinion you really do need to read or listen to book 1, Bonfires, before starting Crocus. Bonfires is the story of how Aaron and Larx meet and fall in love with all the complications of joining two families. It ends when Larx’s eldest daughter Olivia comes home from college and tells them she is pregnant. This book takes off from that point. We learn that not only is she pregnant she also has Depression. Amy Lane handles this very difficult subject very well. There is no miraculous recovery just because it suited the storyline. We go through Olivia’s struggles to move out of the dark place she is in and Larx’s struggles as a parent to help her. At the same time his rock, Aaron is injured whilst on duty, one of his students is suffering from domestic abuse and is missing in a snowstorm. In amongst this two brothers need his support. There is so much to keep you on edge desperate to know more and wanting everything to work out. I love the dose of reality and practically Amy Lane has in these stories. By the way the book ended I am certain there will be a third book, can’t wait.

5 of stars out of 5

5-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Recent Release: Bad Seed by Gareth Vaughn

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38901778-bad-seed?from_search=true

Blurb
Dane’s a Decrypter down on his luck — after accidentally dispatching the wrong creature, he’s sent to a small town where the cryptids he hunts are sparse. Crypt Coffee becomes his business front, but instead of a thrilling new mission on the side, he’s stuck sending ghosts back to where they came from. Dane can annoy customers, at least, and tries to scare off Professor Sean Sanderson when he starts poking around too much. But Sean isn’t about to stay away. Not when he hears about the murder of a former student, and definitely not if young, exciting Dane has information about it. But the more he allows himself to get dragged into this supernatural world of monsters and ghosts, the more the danger escalates. And if Sean and Dane aren’t careful, tracking down a murderer who can use magic might just get them killed

Review
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this book. I love the idea of a kind of supernatural enforcer keeping rogue elements in line. But this book just didn’t settle with me. Both Dane and Sean start with an antagonist type relationship and it pretty much stays that way. Dane is very prickly, bitchy and short tempered. I’m not sure if that’s because he doesn’t want to be in bleu falls (he was sent there as a Decrypter) or he is always that way. Sean keeps coming back. If this is a start of a series featuring them that might explain it, they’ll have time to grow. There were also a few loose ends. Sean was initially looking into a student death by what he thought was a werewolf. This is never mentioned again. The investigation diverted on to another who it turns out was poisoned. Another is the all powerful Order Dane works for. We are left wondering if they do come to wipe Sean’s mind because he’s seen to much or not. Is this the start of an investigative/ supernatural peacekeeping partnership? I don’t know but this book hasn’t gripped me enough to want to know.

2.5 of stars out of 5

2.5-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review