Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Rebuilding Forever by Kaje Harper narrated by Gomez Pugh

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Building-Forever-Audiobook/B07MKSB17P?qid=1562351989&sr=1-3&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=5Y923CJX6ZFRSNFTMSQ5&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_3

Blurb

Four years ago, Ryan and John decided they’d wait to get married until it came with full legal equality. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, that historic moment has finally arrived. But two hundred miles separate Ryan’s hectic residency from John’s busy campus job. With a son in college, a daughter choosing her future, and a rambunctious Irish Setter needing attention, planning a wedding isn’t simple.

Of course, even the most perfect ceremony can’t solve all their problems. What does it take to build forever?

Review

First I’d like to point out that our very own Karrie Jax did this cover! Woooooot!
The third book in the series. It sounds like it’s the last book – and felt that way – but I’d love to see more from these guys!
They do finally get married and it’s so sweet!
We get a bit of the history of their struggle as the Supreme Court makes it’s decision as well as a feel for what a life apart is like for these two guys.
It’s definitely not a standalone but I highly recommend it to fans of the series.
5 of 5 stars

Audio

As I’ve said before I’m a big fan of Gomez Pugh and yet again I was impressed by his narration. This is a fun story with very little actual angst and Gomez does a nice job carrying this tone throughout.

Gomez’ voice is really easy to listen to and I find myself eagerly listening but yet not necessarily focusing on his narration – in other words – perfect for an audio book narrator!

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars

 
Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Life, Some Assembly Required (The Rebuilding Year #2) by Kaje Harper narrated by Gomez Pugh

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Life-Some-Assembly-Required-Audiobook/B07M68BCSW?ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_7_B07M68BCSW&pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=0ZAHTHRQJHPC89EKEXYP&

Blurb

Finding love in the ashes was easy. Building a life together? Not so much.

After spending the first part of his life chasing pretty girls, love has finally come to Ryan in the form of John, a tall, lanky, red-headed landscape architect with wide shoulders and a five-o’clock shadow. For the first time in Ryan’s life, love feels easy. Hell, he even ran into a burning building for John and his son, and he’d do it again if he had to. But telling his father and brothers and classmates “I’m gay. I’ve met a man”? That’s going to take nerve of a different kind.

For John, loving Ryan is as natural as breathing. Now if only the rest of his life would fall into place. Dealing with his teen son is complicated enough, but with his ex-wife causing trouble and his daughter wanting to move in, John’s house – and his relationship with Ryan – threaten to split at the seams. Is one month without a new surprise knocking him upside the heart really too much to ask? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be yes.

Review

First, this is the sequel to The Rebuilding Year, and you must have read it before for this lovely novel to mean anything to you.

We left off with Ryan just telling his dad he’d met a man… This is the story of how to build a life with someone AFTER the initial blush of romance.

And that’s just it – it takes work. John and Ryan have to work at their relationship. They have to battle John’s crazy (seriously crazy) ex-wife Cynthia for John’s kids and their sanity. They have to battle Ryan’s homophobic brother and his Dad’s less than warm welcome. Ryan has to continually battle his pain.

What they don’t do is battle each other. That was a really nice touch. Sometimes – in sequels – the couple separates and we have to fight to bring them back together again, almost like a new story. In this case John and Ryan’s love for each other is strong and pervasive. The world throws them curve balls and they work as a team to hit them out of the park.

I loved the emerging personalities in John’s kids. Torrie is a force to be reckoned with and I loved her teen-age angst and thought it felt very authentic.

This wasn’t as “hot” as The Rebuilding Year – not that there isn’t plenty of great sex – there is – but the sexual tension was less and the book focused more on the emotional growth of the relationship at the same time the couple “experiments” with their newfound sex life.

The Rebuilding Year was one of my all time favorite books and it set an extremely high bar. I loved catching up with the guys and learning more about their lives. Kaje Harper is an amazing writer and she crafted another excellent story here. For me, it wasn’t quite as amazing as it’s predecessor, but it was still wonderful and a must read for her fans and fans of the first book.

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

I love listening to Gomez Pugh. He does a really nice job for John’s voice, deep, a little older, definitely sexy! He does a great job giving us unique voices for the other characters including the children and the female characters.

I find listening to him soothing and he really allows the story to shine through.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 5 of 5 stars

 

 
Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Splintered by Tal Bauer

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44669567-splintered?from_search=true

Blurb
Everything in Ben’s life was perfect. He had it all. The good career. The perfect partner, Evan. The happy home. They were even talking about turning the extra bedroom into a nursery.

But things start to splinter.

Evan begins missing time, not knowing where he was or how he got there. Terrors in the night rip them both from sleep, and Evan’s suddenly violent outbursts cost him his job and his reputation.

And voices in his head turn from whispers to screams, commanding him to act.

To turn on Ben.

How far will Ben go to save his partner’s life? How far is too far?

Should he have just… run away?

Review
I love Tal Bauer’s writing. The first part of the book is suspense the second is supernatural thriller. This story begins at a tense time between Ben and Evan which was conveyed so well that I felt uncomfortable. I never do well witnessing fights between people and this story starts with Ben thinking it’s the end of his relationship with Evan. The tension is palpable. Ben’s description of his feeling of dread as ‘an ice cream scoop to his guts’ is so evocative. But Evan is hiding his own problems and they are a lot more terrifying than possibly splitting up. As the situation between them increases the tension builds the story becomes a fantastic thriller. No matter how unsettling I just can’t stop reading. I felt like I wanted to read peeping through my fingers. As you can tell I’m not a horror fan but this story was compelling. I am happy with the ending and I’m so glad I read it during the day and not before bed.

number of stars out of 5. 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Bitten By Fate (Regent’s Park Pack #6) by Annabelle Jacobs

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43524485-bitten-by-fate?from_search=true

Blurb

Daryl plays with fire and gets burned by fate…

Former Primrose Pack member Jason Black happily accepted his role as beta in the new Regent’s Hill pack, knowing that merging the two was the best decision for everyone involved. Daryl Easton is loyal and honest but wary of change. The joining of the two packs wasn’t his preferred outcome, and he’s struggling to see all the newcomers as pack, including those now working alongside him.

When the alpha council proposes a two-week pack-building course to help improve troubled relationships, Jason and Daryl are sent along as backup. It soon becomes clear that the unit members and their betas won’t be the only ones taking part in tasks—Daryl and Jason will have challenges of their own to complete.

With the full moon adding to the rising tension, emotions are volatile, and tempers flare among the unit members. Jason and Daryl become closer than either of them expected, but with such opposing views on relationships, a messy outcome seems inevitable unless Daryl can let go of the past.

Review

I’ve been curiously awaiting Jason’s and Daryl’s story, excited to see how it would play out. It’s not exactly an enemies to lovers romance, but the animosity that still exists between some members of the Primrose Pack and their new pack serves a similar purpose and gives this unlikely couple something extra to overcome.

The forced proximity during the pack-building course was a great touch and I loved how the tension and emotions between Jason and Daryl continued to build throughout. As with the other couples in this series, Jason and Daryl also discover they have the potential for a mate bond, but that doesn’t mean they have it easy. Not in the slightest. They don’t just go happily into the sunset, instantly filled with joy and overcome with blind devotion. And that’s part of what makes their story so wonderfully gripping. The intense emotions, the passion, the angst, painful past experiences, the outside threat to the pack, … it all combines to make this a 5-star read.

Reading this book was bittersweet in a way, because this is the last one in the series and I’m loathe to say goodbye. The world-building, the character development, it’s all so expertly done. It’s not often that you get a shifter universe with such a sense of realism, well-rounded characters and a perfect mix of romance and suspense. I especially love that the alpha’s and even the beta’s are not stereotypical domineering, pumped-up beefcakes, but caring and insightful leaders, of either gender. I feel a re-read coming on.

m/m, gay, paranormal, shifter, opposites attract, fated mates, forced proximity, contemporary
Number of stars out of 5: 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Wanted – Bad Boyfriend by TA Moore narrated by Michael Mola

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/wanted-bad-boyfriend-by-ta-moore-9824-b

Blurb: Island Classifieds: Book One

His mother. His best friend. The barmaid at the local pub. Everyone is determined to find Nathan Moffatt a boyfriend. It’s the last thing Nathan wants. After spending every day making sure his clients experience nothing but romantic magic, the Granshire Hotel’s wedding organizer just wants to go home, binge watch crime dramas, and eat pizza in his underwear.
Unfortunately, no one believes him, and he’s stuck with lectures about dying alone. Then inspiration strikes. He needs the people in his life to want him to stay single as much as he does. He needs a bad boyfriend.

There’s only one man for the job.

Flynn Delaney is used to people on the island of Ceremony thinking the worst of him. But he isn’t sure he wants the dubious honor of worst boyfriend on the entire island. On the other hand, if he plays along, he gets to hang out with the gorgeous Nathan and piss off the owners of the Granshire Hotel. It’s a win-win.

There’s only one problem—Flynn’s actually quite a good boyfriend, and now Nathan’s wondering if getting off the sofa occasionally is really the worst thing in the world.

Review:
Book reviewed earlier. https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-wanted-bad-boyfriend-by-ta-moore/
This is a story set in the UK, so I was surprised (and disappointed) that the narration was done in an American accent. Once I got over that, I settled into listening.
Michael Mola did a good job with the character voices, capturing the sarcasm, humour and much of emotions of both MCs. Unfortunately, I had imagined the characters with English accents, so that took away from my enjoyment.
Otherwise, it’s not a bad way to experience the book.

Story: 4 stars out of 5
Narration: 3.5 stars out of 5
Reviewer Name: Dee



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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Stallion Mage- Wild Foal (Stallion Mage book 3) by A.O. Spade

GoodReads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44177708-wild-foal?from_search=true

Blurb

As new mates, Alvarr and Laren grow closer, and when Alvarr shares the secret of his pregnancy with the stallion leader, Laren reacts with joy… but also with worry. Winter has taken hold of their land and shows no signs of stopping. The stallion shifters have less and less to eat, even when Alvarr’s earth magic is able to provide some sustenance.

They also have different ideas about the future. As a mage close to Nature, Alvarr knows the answer is to bring the tribes together, but he doesn’t want to challenge Laren’s leadership, nor burden him with the impossible task of making the other stallions follow him.

But as these questions loom over them, the biggest remains. How will Alvarr give birth to a baby? In the absence of healers and mares, there is no one to provide guidance through this unknown event.

Review

Stallion Mage – Wild Foal continues on with the final scene of book 2 in this series, where we left Alvarr severely wounded after being saved by Laren from an attack by Thane and Nassor. Laren has finally accepted that Alvarr is his mate, but he has an even bigger surprise still coming his way. Once Alvarr figures out how best to broach the subject, that is.

It was great to see them get the time to enjoy each other and learn what it means to be fated mates, in between trying to survive the rift, the harsh winter and the strife within their own tribe. I loved the scenes where they reconnect with the mares and the new discoveries they made while they were there.

I had hoped the shifters would have learned more about their history and former way of life, maybe even spend more time in their human shape but that was not the case. The story doesn’t yet cover that much ground and instead focuses on the healing of the rift between the mares and the stallion tribes.

I’m as impressed as before with the mythology and the universe the author created in this serie. I think it holds potential for still more stories.

We take our leave of Laren and Alvarr when they’re in a happy place and hopeful for the future, but with still a lot to discover and re-build.

shifter mpreg, m/m, fantasy, historical, fated mates

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Rapid Response (Hearts and Health #8) by D.J. Jamison

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44143237-rapid-response?from_search=true

Blurb

A confused straight guy and a gay hookup artist walk into a bar …

Firefighter Sean Connolly is straight — until one impulsive night changes everything. He tries to dismiss it as a fluke, but when a fire rescue leads him back to the guy who blew his mind, he’s thrown into a chaos of confusion and want. He gives in to curiosity, exploring a new side to himself — not just his attraction to a man, but his desperate need to please.

Paramedic Jace Gillespie is a hookup pro, never letting anyone get too close. When he meets Sean, though, he feels a connection right away. An ill-advised threesome seems to kill a friendship in the making, but when they’re thrown together by work, it doesn’t take long for passion to reignite. Sean calls to something in Jace he never knew was there, and together, they explore a dynamic that fulfills them both.

But as feelings deepen, doubts surface. Sean is in the closet, and Jace struggles to trust his promise that it won’t last forever. With family conflict and his career in the balance, Sean finds it difficult to picture his life without secrecy, but if he doesn’t find a way, he may lose the one person he most wants to please.

Review

This is a really wonderful OFY romance with a delicious dose of the required angst for this trope, but it’s also very moving and filled with deeper emotions. The story is written with D.J. Jamison’s typical sweet and light touch, and has a lot of humor and heartwarming moments in it. Although she doesn’t make it easy for Jace and Sean to find their HEA and there’s sadness and dark times for them to overcome, still it’s always done with a delicate touch and she never errs to the melodramatic side.

There were a couple of cringeworthy moments for our MC’s to endure, that I barely even dared to read, those are so not my cup of tea because I tend to empathize too much with the characters. I could have done without the threesome scene in the beginning, where Jace’s friend, Lena , especially rubbed me the wrong way, both during and after. I found her difficult to like and not at all a good friend to Jace in the aftermath of that particular debacle. Awkward beginnings aside, I really enjoyed Jace and Sean’s story.

I loved the surprising dynamic between Jace and Sean, so refreshing that it’s the built firefighter that longs to give up control. Sean is so giving and caring. I adored him for that. I also loved that he worked so hard to keep his family together and tried to (re-)build bridges for all those he loves. He doesn’t always get it right, however, and some of his decisions were like a train-wreck waiting to happen… the fall-out wasn’t pretty. Jace is every bit as much an intriguing character, longing for love, same as Sean, and discovering new truths about himself as well as their relationship develops.

For those who’ve read the other books in this series, reconnecting with some of the earlier characters will be great fun, but the book can be read as a standalone too.

I very much enjoyed this story. It had an intensity and emotional drive that I really liked.

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recently Released: Skin and Bone by TA Moore

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/skin-and-bone-by-ta-moore-10259-b

Blurb: Digging Up Bones: Book Two

Cloister Witte and his K-9 partner, Bourneville, find the lost and bring them home.
But the job doesn’t always end there.

Janet Morrow, a young trans woman, lies in a coma after wandering away from her car during a storm. But just because Cloister found the young tourist doesn’t mean she’s home. What brought her to Plenty, California… and who didn’t want her to leave?
With the help of Special Agent Javi Merlo, who continues to deny his growing feelings for the rough-edged deputy, Cloister unearths a ten-year-old conspiracy of silence that taps into Plenty’s history of corruption.
Janet Morrow’s old secrets aren’t the only ones coming to light. Javi has tried to put his past behind him, but some people seem determined to pull his skeletons out of the closet. His dark history with a senior agent in Phoenix complicates not just the investigation but his relationship with Cloister.

And since when has he cared about that?

Review: A really good follow up to Bone to Pick!
Cloister and Javi are still dancing around the relationship they started in book 1; both men have baggage that they seem unable to fully unload. Their relationship is slowly morphing into something more than monogamous hookups – they just have to work on their trust issues, among other things.
The mystery is solid (really good) – I wasn’t able to figure out the perp until the end ☺ And let’s not forget Bourneville – she is as much a part of the story and probably Cloister’s only friend (until Javi can admit he’s falling for him 😉 )
The mystery is solved, but there is the unfinished business of the romance –they get another HFN. I’m looking forward to seeing both men get their HEA.

Definitely recommend this sequel.

4 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Omega Released by Tanya Chris

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43815174-omega-released?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Growing up in the Hinterlands hasn’t prepared Benjy for life in North Leland where the alphas grow to an alarming size and he’s expected to get a job. He’s never been farther than running distance from his den until the morning his father drops him off in the city to be claimed by the first alpha who‘ll have him. Of all the things Benjy isn’t prepared for, finding his own mate is at the top of the list.

Fortunately, JT has all that covered—a bed to sleep in, a job at the library he’s in the process of opening, even matchmaking services. There might be wolves in North Leland who disapprove of JT’s wild omega ways, but he knows all the hottest alphas and he for sure knows how to take care of himself. He can take care of Benjy too, even when Benjy goes into his first heat. But could any of North Leland’s alphas really be good enough for his precious potato?

Review: This is the third in the Omega series, but this is the first one that I have read. It reads very well as a standalone, though I think I may have missed out on the world-building from the earlier books, (not enough to detract from the story).

Benjy is a very sheltered, naïve wolf shifter who is brought from his backwater village to a town to find an alpha mate. He was so adorably clueless about so many things, being so sheltered. He is paired up with JT, a more worldly omega, and his eyes are opened to a whole new world or freedom.
Once I understood the type of world the story is set in (half modern, half technologically behind), I really started to enjoy the interactions between Benjy and JT and the different couple pairings – 2 alphas, an alpha and beta, etc. There is also an interesting sub-plot involving the pack Alpha (Marta) and her sons Angel and Devin.
There is a bit of social commentary – e.g. people should be free to love/marry who they want and anyone can stand up for what they believe in – everyone has a right to their opinion. I didn’t find the messages are preachy; they are woven into the story seamlessly.

A unique story that I enjoyed it a lot.

3.75 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by Jay Northcote

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43717814-better-place?from_search=true

Blurb

Joe deserves better. Meeting Dylan helps him see that.

After a recent redundancy, Joe takes a few months off to try and make it as a writer. His partner, Harry, is less than supportive but Joe is used to that after ten years together, just like he’s used to Harry’s controlling nature and his drinking habit.

Dylan, a server at Rainbow Place, is fascinated by Joe as he sits in the café and works on his laptop. His attempts to flirt are met with awkwardness at first, but gradually Joe opens up. Dylan is disappointed when he learns Joe isn’t single. As their friendship develops he begins to worry about the nature of Joe’s relationship, especially when he witnesses Harry’s behaviour in person. Abuse isn’t always physical, and Dylan knows that from experience. His concern helps Joe see his relationship for what it is, and gives him the courage to end things with Harry.

Free to act on their mutual attraction, Joe and Dylan dive headlong into something that becomes serious fast. Joe revels in the passion and intimacy he’s been missing out on for so long, but Dylan is worried that Joe is on the rebound. He puts on the brakes, knowing that they need to slow down to make this last. For this new relationship to work, Joe needs to show Dylan that he’s ready to move on from the past.

Review

This book reminds me again of why I love Jay Northcote’s stories so much. This is a truly wonderful love story with two incredibly authentic MC’s, facing real-life problems.
What I always take away from his stories is that love, romantic, soul-deep and overwhelming love, can happen for everyday regular people. That’s where he shines and brings out the magic. Which is exactly what he did here.

I really felt a connection with these characters, Joe and Dylan, though Joe especially, and I was so moved by their story. Perhaps part of the reason is its slow and gentle build-up, with the focus on the emotional bond between the MC’s first, before any physical shenanigans take place. The story builds very gradually, because at the start of the book Joe is still in a relationship, albeit one who has seen better days with a partner who is very controlling, dismissive of Joe’s wants and needs, and who pretty much takes Joe for granted.

Joe and Dylan start out as friends and stay that way until Joe’s newly single. No cheating here.
I think the author did a really good job at describing Joe’s and Harry’s relationship, taking his time to give us a look into their lives and for Joe to do his utmost for their relationship to succeed even after he gains a new perspective on it. It makes Joe very easy to relate too. I also love that Dylan wasn’t “that guy”, breaking up a supposedly happy home, so to speak.

Dylan’s past experiences make him very well suited to understand what Joe’s going through and seeing him watch out for Joe was very touching. Dylan also has insecurities to face and I love him for his insight and courage, figuring out the best way for their relationship to make it long term.

The writing style is wonderful, fluent and very evocative with beautiful imagery. I especially loved the scenes at the beach which were so descriptive I felt as if I was right there too.

I also absolutely adored one of the new characters! Lady Gogo is just wow! I can’t help but feel that she’s been introduced to be a significant other for a certain someone… and I have to say I’m super excited for that pairing!! So fingers crossed!

m/m, gay, contemporary, friends to lovers, age-gap

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

This book is part of a series. I have not read the others, so it’s possible to read as standalone, but there’s probably side stories that are thrown in that only one reading series would appreciate, but it’s ok. Dylan is an artist on his off time and works at a LGBT café. There is where he meets Joe, an older man that he feels instantly attracted to. Joe is involved with someone else so they remain just friends, though attraction is still simmering beneath the surface. Joe’s relationship with his partner was rocky and very relatable. They were overly complacent and the other man took Joe for granted and was a bit of a jerk. Dylan could see the warning signs after witnessing an encounter because he had gone through something similar….and with a small scar to prove it. Even though Dylan was trying to help, he did come off way too brash in need to help. I also was iffy on how fast things progressed with Joe and Dylan. However, they had a fairly solid friendship before a relationship so I guess it makes sense to not hold back . Still. I liked how Dylan was supportive of Joe in ways no one else was and Joe was able to start building his life again. Also that Joe helped inspire and encourage Dylan with his art. Feel good book and I enjoyed reading. Will read previous books now.

Number of stars out of 5

5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
This book left me feeling slightly ambivalent, and I reckon part of it is due to the themes this book deals with. Joe is in a relationship that is already falling apart, and meeting Dylan helps him see the extant of it. As he falls for Dylan, and realizes he is no longer in love with his partner, you understand as a reader why this is happening, and that it’s not ‘cheating’. Yet there are some gray areas and even the breakup itself was not a very clean break. I say it left my ambivalent not as a bad thing, just that it had a very realistic feel to it. Life is rarely black and white, relationships are complicated, and Jay managed to get that across very well in this book (and all his books have the same quality, be honest). I still felt uncomfortable at times, that maybe they needed clearer lines when they became a couple. Yet, you see how they build a bond over the time they were friends so it’s not like Joe was bouncing from one man to another without any thought.

The book also has a somewhat slower pace, and it works well with all the heavy themes it deals with. Dylan and Joe are both interesting characters, and I liked getting a lot of the other MC’s from previous books and side characters in the action. This book to me feels more of a HFN then a HEA but it is a happy ending non-the less.
I am also really anticipating the next book, IF I guessed the MC’s correctly, it looks awesome!

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


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