Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: The Edge of the World by Garrett Leigh, narrated by Dan Calley

audiobookreview

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53298839-the-edge-of-the-world

Blurb

Shay Maloney is living his dream—on tour with his pirate/folk-rock band. But you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’re from, and that’s where moody filmmaker and researcher Ollie Pietruska comes in.

The band’s management persuades Shay to let a television company film a documentary about his roots beyond his adoptive Irish family, and Ollie comes into his life knowing more about Shay than Shay’s ever known about himself.

But while Ollie holds the key to Shay’s past, he’s also hiding deep scars. Even as the hardships of the tour bring them closer, Ollie’s demons threaten the blossoming romance. They might both reach the breaking point before Ollie realises he’s been standing on the edge of the world for too long, and it’s Shay who holds the key to his future

Review

This was a mellow hurt/comfort story with a very promising premise, up and coming rock star falls for the reporter digging into his past while hiding secrets of his own. I had trouble connecting to the story and the MC’s though. It just wasn’t completely clear to me why exactly they fell for each other and Ollie is less than straightforward in his dealings with Shay. I understand why it’s hard for him to be open and vulnerable, but I wasn’t enamored of the mixed signals he kept sending Shay’s way. He didn’t always seem to grasp how his decisions impacted the other man. The research into Shay’s past didn’t feel very relevant to the story and though it ended in something of a shocking revelation … even that fell a little flat. An okay read, but I’ve come to expect more from this author.

Narration: Dan Calley did a great job with his performance of this story, and drew me in more than I’d have been by just reading the book. I really like the timbre of his voice, the accents and his interpretation of the characters. He made the MC’s sound very genuine and authentic.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: Get Lit by K. Fielding

Dreamspinner

Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/get-lit-by-kim-fielding-11590-b

Blurb: Uri Kessler is a bit of a klutz. Recently divorced from a guy he married too quickly and yearning to have a holiday that feels special, he decides to make Hanukkah candles. The results are literally a blazing disaster. But Uri’s mishap helps him get to know Oscar Cortez, his sexy new neighbor, and the two men instantly hit it off. While Uri finds himself drawn to Oscar, he’s also afraid to make a mess of their budding relationship. It’ll take a small miracle to make things work between them.

Review: A nicely written story of a mishap leading two men to the beginnings of a relationship.
Uri and Oscar are very nice characters – simple, but three-dimensional. The author does a good job of blending the season’s celebrations by having each man help the other gather the things needed to celebrate their different traditions.

3.5 stars out of 5

Copy generously provided by author

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: Christmas Ghosts by Jenn Moffatt

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-ghosts-by-jenn-moffatt-11562-b

Blurb

Dealing with the unexpected loss of his mother isn’t how carpenter Steve Browning planned to spend his Christmas. Hoping her costume jewelry can bring some happiness to others, he takes it to the local community theater, where he runs into his first love, Troy Baxter.

Troy’s trying to help his sister put on a gender-fluid version of A Christmas Carol, but no one on the cast or crew knows which end of a hammer to hold let alone use a power tool. Then a face from the past brings a present-day miracle… one that could lead to the happy future they both thought they gave up back in high school.

Review

This is a mellow second chance at love story, and I wasn’t blown away by it or the MC’s. The story builds up very slowly and the actual relationship-part of it felt sudden and rushed to me. I didn’t quite feel the magic between Troy and Steve.
I also didn’t much care for the fact that Troy had been back home so long, yet he didn’t reach out to Steve, not even when he was dealing with a devastating loss. It doesn’t really help sell the strength of their friendship or the love that supposedly still exists after all these years apart.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Hometown Christmas by Garret Leigh

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48399133-hometown-christmas

Blurb

Yani Nicolaou is sworn off love for good. After fleeing a bad break-up in London, the only blood, sweat, and tears he has left are for his gyro stall at the Christmas market. Rebound fling? No thanks. He’s sticking to one-night-stands.

Ex-army vet Gavin Richie has even less capacity for romance. Managing a homeless shelter while recovering from injury keeps him far too busy. So what if he’s often alone? He’s content being single, or so he thinks until a chance meeting lights a spark he can’t ignore.

Yani is the warmth and affection Gavin hadn’t known he was missing. As Christmas lights up the city, their lives entwine in more ways than one. Falling for each other is easy. Holding on is harder, unless a hometown Christmas proves their love can last longer than the festive season.

Review

A nice, heartwarming read, perfectly in tune with the season. I did sometimes have a bit of difficulty remaining invested in the story, as there is not that much conflict or obstacles to overcome for the MC’s and I didn’t completely grasp Yani’s reservations with regards to pursuing a relationship with Gavin. Throughout most of the story it’s very much a hook-up/friends with benefits dynamic and the jump from new friends to love happened a bit too sudden for me. I did really like those final, revealing scenes between Gavin and Yani though.
I loved the writing, especially the colloquialisms, which really helped give that lovely English flavor to the story.

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Interpretive Hearts by Amanda Meuwissen

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/interpretive-hearts-by-amanda-meuwissen-10886-b

Blurb
Love is easy once you learn the steps.
In the competitive world of dance, Teddy was a flawless performer and hardass choreographer who students feared and admired in equal measure. But hip surgery ended the glamour and drama, and now Teddy is recovering at his beach house, lost and listless.
Until he meets Finn, his neighbor, who is too perfect, gorgeous, and kind to exist—but very ill timed. In a seaside town as small as theirs, they can’t avoid each other, especially since Finn is also Teddy’s new physical therapist. But Teddy isn’t the man he used to be, and though Finn flirts shamelessly with him, Teddy can’t believe a has-been dancer is worthy of someone so young and full of life.
Finn’s sunny smile is also hiding heartache. Pursuing Teddy challenges both his professionalism and his self-preservation, but if he can convince Teddy to trust him, maybe they both can heal.
Review

An enjoyable and easy read, well written, with interesting MC’s and a likable cast of secondary characters. I liked the hurt/comfort aspect in the story and the atypical dynamic, with the younger man being the one to help his more mature love interest heal, physically that is.
I wasn’t entirely swept off my feet though. The emotional connection between Teddy and Finn was certainly there, but the push and pull, hot & cold routine on both sides didn’t help matters any in creating that “meant to be” magic that I tend to look for in a romance. I’d also have liked more scenes with them in a relationship and growing closer, whereas now the story mostly focused on their will they/won’t they dance.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Love and Linguistics by Tara Lain

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-and-linguistics-by-tara-lain-10895-b

Blurb

In his neighborhood, El Martin stands out, and that can be life threatening. Against the odds, he’s managed to graduate high school and then master IT. Now he’s desperate to get a good job to free his drunken dad and himself from the control of gang leader M2 and the drugs he sells. But with his piercings and his slang-ridden speech, El looks and sounds like a Bronx gangbanger, and potential employers won’t give him a second look. So when El hears about Henry Fairhaven, PhD, linguistics researcher and wealthy New York socialite, El takes his life in his hands to escape from M2 and ends up sleeping in the stairwell at Henry’s building, hoping to learn how to speak.

To Henry, who wants to prove himself as a scholar and not merely a rich dilettante, El isn’t only the most beautiful man he’s ever seen—he’s also the key to getting a paper published on Henry’s ground-breaking linguistics methods before a competitor beats him to the punch. But Henry doesn’t tell El the truth, and El thinks Henry’s helping him because he cares.

El’s dreams collide with Henry’s ambitions at the elegant Met Gala, where El captivates a prince of Silicon Valley. But the real collision comes when M2 tracks El down and Henry has to choose between the validation he craves and a future with the man he’s come to love.

Review

Delightful m/m retelling of My Fair Lady with some darker elements added to the plot, bringing a sense of danger and tension to the story that isn’t there in the original.

El Martin is an amazing character, very driven to make something of himself, hardworking and just the sweetest, unassuming guy underneath the tough boy exterior he’s trying to shed.
Henry is very much the oblivious scholar, too focused on his paper & career to take into account the feelings of actual people like El. He’s quite smug and a bit of a snob, but when he falls in love, he falls hard and it’s easy to forgive him for his imperfections.
I liked how the relationship between El and Henry was written, the misunderstandings and the mutual longing. The secondary characters were great too and it was wonderful to see El gradually making new friends and even a new life for himself.

All in all, an enjoyable, sweet read.

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: From Brussels, With Love by Amy Calirel

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/from-brussels-with-love-by-emy-calirel-10834-b

Blurb

Dispirited after a recent breakup, Irish project manager Trevor is guilted into a trip to Brussels with his best friend. A chance meeting with cute and funny tour guide Jerome turns into a weekend of sex and friendship. Forgetting his phone at Jerome’s apartment shifts their fling into a long-distance relationship held together by postcards, texts, and stolen weekends. But distance isn’t the only thing keeping them apart—Trevor is a workaholic who values his success, while artistic Jerome is carefree but insecure.

Starting a life together means facing major challenges, but the loving words they’ve shared build a bridge across the sea—one that might let them meet in the middle.

Review

This was an okay read, but I think both the characters and the plot could have been a little better developed. I didn’t feel the magic between the MC’s and their romance fell a bit flat for me. A couple of weekends don’t a relationship make. Their annoyances and differences are glossed over, allowed to fester and throw a wrench into things at far too late a stage in the story. Some of the writing also felt too over the top, with overly dramatic, cliché plots and reactions from the MC’s and even sometimes from the secondary characters.

I’m from Belgium so I was curious to see how the author would incorporate Brussels/Belgium into the story, but unfortunately I didn’t get much of a Belgian feel from either the setting or the Belgian characters, apart from a little name-dropping of touristy places and a little bit of French thrown in. The setting didn’t feel authentic to me.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: I’ve Got This by Louisa Masters

Dreamspinner

Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ive-got-this-by-louisa-masters-10788-b

Blurb:
A Joy Universe Novel

Derek Bryer loves his life. His job as an assistant director at Joy Universe, the second-largest theme park complex on the planet, makes him indirectly responsible for bringing joy (pun intended) to millions of people. So what if none of his relationships are that close? Everyone he meets loves him.
Except Trav Jones. For some reason, the visiting Broadway performer would rather Derek just go away. He appreciates Derek’s work ethic, though, and after Trav steps up when Derek desperately needs someone to fill in for his sick staff, Derek seizes the chance to convince Trav he’s not such a bad guy.

Falling in love while distracted by a murder at the park, food poisoning, and colleagues placing bets on their relationship won’t be easy, but between the two of them and with the magic of Joy Universe, they’ve got this.

Review: I loved Derek and his running commentary on things going on in his life and around him. He had a slyly snarky tone which made the overall story fun to read. The story is also told from Trav’s POV, so we get to understand why he’s the way he is.
Derek is somewhat of a workaholic, driven to excel at his job. He’s well-liked by all, so he’s pretty shocked when he meets one person who doesn’t (like him). On top of that, there’s a murder to solve and half the entertainment at the resort have fallen ill.
Trav is not impressed by Derek –at all ☺ But when Derek needs help, he offers his services and helps Derek out of a bind. As both men work together, they get to know each other – Derek loosens up about being work-driven and Trav learns to trust Derek.

This is a really good story with nicely developed characters, the humour (Derek ‘talks’ to the reader, breaking the 4th or 5th wall (I forget!)) and some description of the inner workings of a theme park. I would have like a bit more about the murder as an ongoing thread through the story, but as a romance, this was a really good story! I hope Dimi, (the PA), gets a story – I liked him ☺

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: The Evolution of Love by Phillip William Stover

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-evolution-of-love-by-philip-william-stover-10763-b

Blurb:
When a charming but misguided account manager gets stuck on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands with his hunky zoologist ex, he might rediscover his true passion—in and out of the bedroom.
After art school, Mike Davis gave up on his dream in favor of a stable job. But when he gets an opportunity to teach wealthy travelers how to paint stunning sunsets, it seems like the perfect break. Until he finds out he’ll be sharing a suite with his ex, charismatic Benton Aldridge—a British scientist cuter than the baby animals he studies. Mike makes it clear he has no intention of getting back together with Benton, but sharing a suite makes it almost impossible keep his distance.

As they climb over volcanic peaks and swim with manatees through sparkling jade-colored water, can they also heal past wounds and take the next step in the evolution of love?

Review: Mike has pretty much given up his dream of being an artist – he has a ‘proper’ job and this was one of the main reasons he and his then boyfriend, (Benton), broke up. When a chance arises for Mike to visit the Galapagos as the cruise artist, he jumps at the chance. Little does he know that his aunt Penny has a surprise – in the form of Benton being the resident scientist!
I really liked this second chance at love story. Benton was still trying to push Mike to be an artist, which still hurt Mike, but in the end, Mike realised that was where his true passion lay, (as well as with Benton ☺).
There’s not a lot of steam to the story, but it wasn’t really wasn’t needed. The story is fun, humourous and sweet, with fun characters like Penny, as well as some of the passengers.
I enjoyed the story and will look for more from this author.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Gazes Into You by Alex Jane

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34880901-gazes-into-you?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb:

Ex-detective John Right likes to watch.
There’s no harm in it.

The latest object of his obsession—a twenty-something stranger who chains his bike outside John’s office—doesn’t feel the weight of John’s eyes on him, doesn’t know about the secret recordings or what John does with them in the dead of night. Except when the kid disappears, John finds himself doing far more that just watching.

Reluctantly, John has to start thinking like a cop once more as he frantically tries to track down his mystery man. Although when he finds him, John is left with more questions than answers. And the more he learns, the more he wishes he’d never started looking in the first place.
Can John get to the bottom of the mystery without giving away his own dirty secret? And without giving in to his urge to do more than simply watch?

Well…nobody’s perfect.

Review:

The story has an interesting premise: John, a former detective, works as a security guard; he also happens to be a voyeur. I was a tad put off by this at the beginning of the story, especially as he watches Jason and pleasures himself to Jason’s images. But when Jason disappears, I had to find out what happened to him (and see if John’s character could be redeemed).
When John tracks Jason down (at a hospital), the mystery really begins. Who wants Jason dead and why? John transforms into Jason’s protector and, as their friendship develops into more, his lover.

The story has good bones and the secondary characters were interesting, (especially Chris), but it needed to be edited a little better. There were missing words, misplaced commas and other punctuation issues; enough to pull me out of the story at times.
Overall, the story was good, and I would read the next book in the series.

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review