Recent Release: Seer (Soulmates #2) by Erin M. Leaf

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42429170-seer?from_search=true

Blurb

No one knows that Nick Auspex is a Seer, but his power is very real—that’s why he knows he’ll always be alone. Since childhood, he’s seen visions of his soulmate caught in the midst of a terrible fire. So when he’s assigned to protect Jeff Wright, he knows their mutual attraction is destined to go nowhere.

When Jeff opens the door to find the Craft Council’s security expert on his doorstep, his first instinct is to send Nick away. Jeff is human, but Nick is a powerful Crafter, and everyone knows relationships like that never work. Jeff needs to figure out who murdered his parents, not screw around with some random guy when he’s never even dated another man before.

Of course, neither of them can control fate—and when two soulmates meet, destiny trumps fear. Will fire destroy lives or illuminate the truth hiding in the darkness?

Review

I loved the amazing bonding and magic and self discovery . The fire and danger got a little old. But I loved the connection these guys had with each other.  Really recommended to fans of magic and insta love/mate bond.

Much better than book 1 and I really enjoyed book 1.

5 of 5 stars

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

 

 

Recent Release: Sanctuary (Mercy Hills Pack #5.5) by Ann-Katrin Byrde

Good reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36395933-sanctuary?from_search=true

Blurb

“Omegas for alphas and betas for betas…”

Ori and Patton have been best friends since they were pups. But growing up changes everything—Ori must settle on an alpha to mate, while Patton takes on the beta’s work of maintaining the walled enclave their pack lives within. They try to make the best of it, until a wealthy suitor comes calling for Ori, and they realize neither of them can face a future without the other. And on a moonless night, Ori and Patton escape over the enclave walls, breaking both shifter and human law in their determination to reach the sanctuary of Mercy Hills.

Hunted by their own people and forced into a dangerous masquerade among the humans, their original plan–so simple and direct—turns into a twisted path toward a promise of freedom that might not even exist. Because Mercy Hills doesn’t know they’re coming, and the trouble they’re bringing to the enclave’s doorstep may be more than those already beset shifters are willing to bear.

Finding out Ori is pregnant makes their mission that much more urgent. Omegas never mate with betas, let alone have pups with them. If their pack finds the two lovers, they’ll be separated forever.

But the pack never reckoned with the determination of a beta in love, or the stubbornness of an omega determined to keep his mate and his baby.

Review

I like this series quite a bit but I do find some of the detail a bit too tedious. I’ve never been a huge fan of “dystopian” and I sort of lump these types of stories as dystopian. In this world, the knowledge of shifters is out there and they are subsequently treated very poorly and kept in enclaves.

I really hate this type of story but I so admire the love stories the author is capable of giving that I wade through the sadness and despair to find the happy and the sweet.

Our two MCs have a truck load of misery to over come in this book and I have to admit I skimmed the entire first half as it was entirely too “difficult” and way too long – for me – but I really enjoyed the part where they finally made it to the Mercy Hills Pack and found their beginning to be really touching as well.

I think this is another author who could benefit from a stiff editing ☺

I think this is good for fans of the author and the series but I wouldn’t start with this – I think they need to be read in order.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Review: Running Blind (Havoc #2) by S.E. Jakes

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22094535-running-blind?from_search=true

Blurb

An ATF agent who lives for danger finds what he craves from an outlaw biker.

It’s impossible for a one-percenter motorcycle club member to simply walk away—and no one knows that better than undercover agent Bram, who’s almost killed for trying. His cover isn’t blown—yet—but it’s only a matter of time. The Heathens won’t be satisfied until he’s dead, so he decides to lay low and heal.

But when his younger brother’s disappearance throws a wrench into his plan, Bram ends up in Shades Run, a town ruled by the notorious Havoc MC. In less than twenty-four hours, Bram finds himself at the mercy of Sweet, Havoc’s president, as he throws himself into the undercover role of a lifetime: himself. A man who’s never belonged anywhere, and who will do anything to protect his younger brother.

When finding Linc seems impossible, Bram is torn between Sweet, Linc, and revealing his true identities . . . and there appears to be no way out. Once again, he risks it all trying to save it all. Only this time he’s got no backup to save him if he falls.

Review

(Some spoilery type info – not to ruin the plot though.)

Honestly I had thought SE Jakes had stopped writing.  It’s taken literally FOREVER for her to publish another book in this or her other series (m/m).  As a result I sure had some high expectations for this…

On the one hand – she delivers the rough love we’ve come to expect from her.  Very damaged people with questionable moral compasses doing what it takes to survive in their hard worlds.

We get to see a bit of some of our favorite MCs from previous books.

There is a LOT of very kinky sex.  A lot.  Kinky.  This absolutely lowered my rating.  At one point I’m not sure there was consent and it there was I wasn’t sure it was for multiple partners or fisting.  This didn’t sit well with me and as a result I won’t be buying the audio or reading this again.  I barely finished the first time.

I know that’s very person dependent so if that’s your thing – awesome!

I did love the HEA and how it came back around again to trust – it just never felt comfortable and I never felt the connection between these guys that I did the MCs from book 1.

Somewhat recommended – but read some reviews and read her other stuff before this.


Purchased for Review

Time to Comfort: A Chosen Man (The Men of Halfway House #6) by Jaime Reese

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41885577-a-chosen-man?from_search=true

Blurb

For Wall McCormack, actions speak louder than words. He’s giving and protective, loyal to his friends, and devoted to his job. While confident and powerful enough to conquer any challenge, his greatest strength lies in his calm nature. Until an unexpected assignment sends his world into a loud and colorful chaos he never could have anticipated.

Rejection. It’s something Dylan Vaughn has known his entire life. But he’s a tough nut to crack and refuses to break. Armed with a sharp tongue and brutal honesty, he pushes through life and at anyone who attempts to take him on. Except for the quiet guardian who piques his interest and dares him to want…more.

When Dylan’s past comes back with a vengeance and jeopardizes their growing connection, Wall will stop at nothing to protect the younger man and remain by his side. But convincing Dylan that someone accepts the real man behind the cocky facade might prove to be Wall’s greatest challenge yet.

With his freedom on the line, Dylan must trust the strength of their bond and confront the forces threatening their future. Only then will he realize the dream of acceptance is real and finally have a place to call home.

Review

This is such a lovely series. I totally respect the time the author takes in between books, because each story is so fully developed and rich. Just like her visual art, her written words are evocative and descriptive without being wordy or purple.

In this case, our guys are no less broken than the previous couples we’ve met – but these two are maybe a bit “lighter”. It’s a welcome reprieve and I enjoyed the humor, closeness and emotional times we got to share with these guys and Wall’s mother.

As in the other books in this series there is a crime to be solved and in this case some danger of life and limb. It doesn’t overshadow the romance and moves along easily.

I can’t say enough positive things about this – other than – you should read it! It’s best as part of the series but each is fine on it’s own.

5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Honest Review

Recent Release: A Deeper Blue (The Game #2) by S.E. Harmon

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-deeper-blue-by-se-harmon-9928-b

Blurb

A year ago, Kelly Cannon couldn’t imagine he’d end up with his formerly straight best friend. It’s hard to believe he can finally kiss Blue any time he wants… as long as they’re in private. And there’s the rub. Despite Kelly’s promise to wait until Blue is ready to come out, he’s tired of sneaking around. The cracks in their relationship are starting to show, and there might not be enough spackle in the world to fix them.

Britton “Blue” Montgomery may not be the physics brainiac his boyfriend is, but he’s not stupid. He knows Kelly isn’t completely happy. But he’s not ready to be the poster boy for bisexuals and gays in the NFL. He just wants to keep his head down, play the game he loves, and go home to the man he adores. Is that too much to ask?

With the truth slowly coming to the surface, Blue must make a choice. If it means losing Kelly, there’s no decision to make…. He has to find enough courage to face the music and hope they’ll survive the fallout.

Man. Happily-ever-afters may not be just for Disney princesses, but they sure are a lot of work.

Review

So here’s the thing. If you loved book one, if you love this author and their style of writing, you will love this sequel.

It’s full of SE Harmon’s sense of humor, flair with sexual chemistry and attention to minutia (I mean detail- ahem.)

One thing I’ve felt about each SE Harmon title was that it was good but too long and needed a fierce hand with an editor and it’d be tight and wonderful. As it is, though there is a lot of interesting stuff happening, it isn’t needed IMHO. I felt like I understood the importance of Kelly’s career without having to go step by step with him through his teaching process. I get that the foot ball guys are jerks without having to sit through each moment of practice.

So, for me, I found myself wanting to skim a lot and though I found the sex hot – it got skimmed as well.

I definitely needed this book to close up what we started in book 1 and so – to that extent – I was happy to have read this – but I’m still left with that feeling of wishing it’d been shorter and more to the point.

I think fans of the author will disagree but I give this 3.5 stars.

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Rivals (Gaymer Guys #1) by Alison Hendricks

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42183978-rivals?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Finn:
The Cyclones are more than just a team to me—they’re my family. As captain, I give my all to make sure they’re taken care of. Sure, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for me, but I’ve always been able to ignore my own needs. Until Ryker.

I know he’s all talk. But it’s such dirty, distracting talk that it costs me and my team qualifying points. I shouldn’t let him get to me, but I want him in the worst way, and a hookup at a gaming convention seems as good a place as any to get over him.

But when he earns a spot with the Cyclones, all my hangups over this guy are brought to the forefront, 24/7. I expected to give in to my attraction again, but I never thought he’d become an integral part of my team… and my life.

Ryker:
Beating the Cyclones isn’t just about bragging rights for me. It’s about proving to my dad—and myself—that I’m worth more than the internship he’s oh-so-generously offered me.

There’s only one problem: I’ve been low-key obsessed with their captain, Finn, for the better part of a year. He’s everything I want, and everything I want to be—driven, talented, passionate. He also hates my guts, which honestly only makes me want him more.

But it only takes one insanely hot encounter to tell me I won’t be getting him out of my system anytime soon. And when I finally have the opportunity to join the Cyclones and pursue my dream, the one thing I want most of all is him.

Rivals is the first book in a brand new series! While all these books feature gaming and geekery, you don’t have to be a self-professed gamer to enjoy them. If you like the idea of hot, adorkable nerds falling in love, you’re in the right place.

Review

Funnily enough… there was way too much sex in this IMHO. I had to bump this down a notch for that alone.  I wanted more relationship and less humping.  They thought about having sex.  Had sex.  Then thought about how they had sex.  It was too much.

I was very captivated by the enemies to lovers, but sometimes the ages of the MCs felt off – at times too young and others too mature. Inconsistent definitely.  But – maybe – some of that was them growing… hard to tell.

However, the gaming stuff sounded legit and fascinating and I’m stoked for a new series!  Sometimes I was overwhelmed by all the gaming jargon, but it was mostly done in a way that non gamers cold follow.

Recommended!

4 of 5 stars

Recent Review: Elemental Magick (The Donovan Coven #1) by Jacki James

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42189743-elemental-magick?from_search=true

Blurb

For most of Aaron’s life, things have been uninteresting, boring, safe–just the way he likes them. He makes his decisions based on logic and reason and he doesn’t believe in paranormal mumbo jumbo like crystals and tarot cards and witches.

When he sees an ad for an estate sale at the old house on the edge of town, he doesn’t see any harm in going and buying some things like an old book with odd symbols on the front for his antique shop. Who cares if the old woman who owned the house was rumored to be a witch; everyone knows witches aren’t real.

After accidentally raising a demon by goofing around with a spell from the book, Aaron realizes that there are things in this world that logic and reason can’t explain. That witches are indeed real, and that he just might be one too.

Malakai has been searching for the Coughlan Grimoire for years, knowing there are spells in the book that can be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. Securing the book so his coven can protect it is of the utmost importance.

He isn’t prepared for the adorable rookie witch with the curly red hair and incredible latent power. But to his surprise, keeping Aaron safe and close by his side quickly becomes more important than the Grimoire. More important than anything.

Before Malakai and Aaron can be together they will have to battle vampires, wolf shifters, and one very powerful warlock. Malakai can’t do it alone; it will take, friends, family, and for Aaron to figure out just how powerful he is if the two of them are going to protect the book and make their new found bond last forever.

Review

This was a lot of fun. Insta love. Fated mate. LOTS of magic.  Great world building.  Fun characters.  I thought the conflict was nicely balanced with the romance but… My only complaint was the bad guys were SOOOO easy to kill.

Highly Recommended! Can’t wait for the next installment.

4.5 of 5 stars

Release Day Review: Knowing Me, Knowing You by Renae Kaye

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/knowing-me-knowing-you-by-renae-kaye-9931-b

Blurb

Loving You: Book Four

Can friends turned occasional lovers move beyond past mistakes and wrong assumptions to build something that can last?

Quiet bookworm Shane has a big secret—one he’s kept for fifteen years. AFL superstar Ambrose Jakoby grew up next door to Shane. They were close friends, and Shane supported Ambrose through school.

One night, everything changed.

Before Ambrose left Perth as a scared eighteen-year-old to head to Melbourne and take up his new footy career, Ambrose and Shane slept together.

For the next nine years, they continued a secret friends-with-benefits situation whenever Ambrose was in town. Shane never knew exactly where he stood or how to define Ambrose’s sexuality—and Ambrose didn’t know either. Then last Christmas, everything changed again, and a disagreement strained their friendship. Shane vowed to get over his unrequited love.

But Ambrose is back, recovering from an injury and hoping to make amends. He claims he’s ready for a real relationship. But Shane has to decide whether Ambrose means it and whether his Hufflepuff soul can take the chance.

Review by Aerielle

When I saw that Renae Kaye was writing another installment in the Loving You series I was very excited. While this book is a very good “friends-to-lovers” story it was lacking the pure joy and light heartedness that the first three books had.

Shane has always been in the background in the other stories, so coming into this book he was a complete blank page. He seems to have very little self-esteem and self-worth. He tends to calls himself “wallpaper Shane”.

Every few chapters there is an “Interview”, which is Shane asking his friends how long it took them to know they were in love. I really enjoyed getting these little insights.
By the end of the book I still felt like I didn’t really know much about Ambrose and only slightly more about Shane which is a real departure from all of Renae’s other books. This can be read as a stand-alone since there is a lot of explanation about the previous couples and their stories.

Overall this is a fairly decent story about two long-time friends who occasionally slept together coming to realize that they each mean the world to each other.

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review:  Jay and the gang are back! This time they make their appearances in Shane and Ambrose’s story.

I loved this addition to the series, especially 1 page ‘interviews’ with many of the cast from the previous stories.

Shane and Ambrose have been friends for years – Shane knows he in love, Ambrose appears to be straight. Until he’s about to leave for a professional football career in Melbourne (they live in Perth).

When Ambrose returns home to recover from an injury, the truth of his feelings for Shane comes out.

This ‘in the closet’ story could have been angsty and fraught with unnecessary misunderstandings; instead it is delightful, funny and warm.

As always, Renae Kaye writes warm personalities for her characters – Shane is the caring, self-deprecating (to a fault), snarky best friend. Ambrose is a bigger, but kind guy, looks out for his friends and still goes home to his mum.

This is a standalone story, but honestly, not reading the prior books would be a shame since they’re so good. There are references to 2 other characters from another author’s (Sean Kennedy) books which had me smiling, (I have the books).

 

Loved this story and I hope Hiram gets his own story.

 

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

I really enjoyed the first three books of the series but I have some reservations about this one. Mainly, I could not get over how much I disliked the way their relationship was manipulated by Ambrose. I felt like he put too many terms, and did not give enough back to Shane. Shane is a character that is sometimes hard to like, and he treats himself so poorly, despite Ambrose’s claims of his worth, that Ambrose’s treatment of him just grated on me more.

It was mainly the undefined friends-with-benefits situation going on, were it seemed like Ambrose was the only one really gaining anything out of it, and believing that Shane should be with him because he has undefined, but strong feeling towards him he never spoke about. And in the end Shane did what Ambrose needed, because it was good for Ambrose’s career at the time, and I could just not get over how much I felt it was not equal between them, and Ambrose taking what he needed when it was right for him. And Shane’s job is constantly treated as something he dislikes. Like it’s not worth anything, and so he can leave it and just be a kept man/do something else in Melbourne because he was not attached to it anyway. It was hard to care about a character that seemed to be designed to be rootless and motiveless, aside from pining after Ambrose and getting some action when he was around. I also felt like the author did not deal with the issue of Ambrose’s sexuality (him being Demi, perhaps) and the issue with is native roots. It felt like a side note when it should have been a bigger part of the story to me.

Their relationship felt off, more so when you realize the amount of time they hid this undefined thing between them. It hurt to read and was unsatisfying when Ambrose turned out to be the one who’s feelings and needs needed to be considered and not the other way around and heir HEA did not satisfy me at all.

The things I liked were mainly the other couples from previous books showing up and the friendship they share in their group.

Number of stars out of 5
2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Never By Tara Lain Narrated by Kale Williams

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/never-by-tara-lain-8971-b

Blurb

A Pennymaker Tale
Wendell “Wen” Darling lives in a world of shoulds and musts. Left to care for his brother and sister by his dull drudge of a father and wacko irresponsible mother, he suppresses his creativity, slaving in an ad agency seventy hours a week, letting his no-talent supervisor take the credit.
Then his bosses blow the campaign for their biggest client and Wen gets a chance to shine—but only if he can find the artist who painted a wild, glorious wall of graffiti in the subway. Hiding behind a pillar at 2:00 a.m., Wen comes face-to-face with the scarlet-haired, elven-faced embodiment of his divergent opposite—Peter Panachek, the flighty, live-for-today painter, singer, and leader of the rock group the Lost Boys. Everything Wen takes seriously, Peter laughs off, but opposites attract, even if their kisses always lead to battles. Peter’s devil-may-care persona hides a world of secrets, self-protection, and hidden fears, until the day a drug dealer, Vadon Hooker, threatens everything Wen holds dear. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Pennymaker, Peter has to choose between facing responsibility or burrowing even deeper into Neverland.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously by Mary)

I so very much enjoy Tara Lain’s reimagined fairy tale series with Mr Pennymaker, the fairy godfather, appearing in each one. I think this take on Peter Pan is my favourite so far. I loved Peter’s vibrancy. He is carefree, an artist and the lead singer of the Lost Boys. Peter lives for the moment. Wendell on the other hand was thrust into responsibility at a young age caring for his sister and young brother. He has to keep his job. Tara Lain does an excellent job of bringing you into their lives and caring about them all. I could feel how tired and stressed Wen is and how spirited and alive Peter is. Together they provided a balance for each other. The only problem being their past. Both of them let past experiences cloud the chance of happiness. This is one of the best opposites attract stories I have read. They want each other but are convinced it’ll never work until a certain Mr Pennymaker helps them see the error in their thinking. The character for Hook is extremely clever and so appropriate for today. All the other characters are included, Tink, the lost boys (each with their own personalities and part to play in the story) smee and a small reference to the crocodile. Such an enjoyable book and one of the best reimagined fairytales I’ve read. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
5 stars out of 5

Review by Morgan

I definitely admire the way Tara Lain is able to make these old fairy tales over into m/m romances! What an imagination! Some of the tales are more transmutable than others and this one – while ridiculously clever – didn’t resonate with me as well as some of the others.

I found the names and the people cute but I didn’t feel the spark between Wen and Peter as well as I have in some of her other tales.

If you’re a fan of the author and the series – I think you’ll love this as much as you did the others – but if you’re new to either the series or Tara Lain in particular this wouldn’t be where I’d start.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Kale Williams did a fantastic job with this! He gave everyone unique voices, made the humor ring loud and clear and managed to carry it all off with a good amount of panache. Recommended in this format as the best way to experience this story.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

 

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review