Audiobook: Mating of Convenience Second Chances, Book 1 By: Ann-Katrin Byrde Narrated by: John Solo

audiobookreview

https://www.audible.com/pd/Mating-of-Convenience-Audiobook/B07N8HYTH6?ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_9_B07N8HYTH6&pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=QAYDWY42QXAKVE3F90J3&

Blurb
Money problems? Marry your best friend!
Nathan and Raphael were friends first, then lovers, then…nothing when Raphael left to pursue his dreams of becoming a tattoo artist. But only one year after Raphael makes it out of his small-town home, bad news descends on him. His useless father has gotten their family into debt so deep , it would take 1,000 years to dig them out. With his siblings on the brink of becoming homeless, Raphael turns to his estranged but wealthy grandmother for help and receives a deal: If he settles down and marries, he’ll free his siblings of the debt.
When Raphael asks Nathan for a favor – to enter a marriage of convenience – Nathan agrees. After all, he’s doing it so he can start his own pet shop, right? Wrong. Nathan just can’t say no to the man who used to be his best friend – the man he’s still secretly yearning for, even as he’s doing his best to hide that fact. After all, he knows better now than to fall for Raphael again.
Haunted by the loss of their past relationship, Raphael regrets breaking Nathan’s heart. Scars from the past are never easy to heal, though, and the more time he spends with his new husband, the harder it gets for Raphael to deny the sparks that Nathan ignites in him. Except, this is just a pretend relationship, isn’t it?
While this audiobook is part of the Oceanport Universe, knowledge of that series is not required to enjoy this story.

Review
I really enjoyed this audio for the most part. The only issue I had was with all the secondary characters, I felt a bit lost, and I have read all the Oceanport books too. This is a solid friend to lovers/second chance at love story. We have soft spoken and easy-going alpha Nathan and the omega Raphael who while he loved Nathan, he felt he had to give him up so Nathan could eventually have his dream family. This book was a fairly easy listen but there was a difficult scene dealing with miscarriage that may be a trigger.

John Solo has long been a favorite narrator of mine. I loved all his voices, he keeps the story moving at a nice pace. He is a master of his craft!
4 stars for story and 5 stars for narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Recent Release: Stallion Mage: True Mates (Stallion Mage book 2) by A.O. Spade

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43587581-stallion-mage?from_search=true

Blurb

As an earth mage, Alvarr is the only stallion who can survive outside the tribe’s territory. And this is exactly what he must do to find out what has been affecting the land so terribly. Most of the stallions believe that the lack of rain is just a bad season, but Alvarr’s trusted advisor, Elder Mastok, fears that Nature has abandoned them due to a terrible event from their people’s distant past.

Whatever the cause, Alvarr knows he must get answers before the tribe starts to starve. His journey takes him far beyond the stallion territory into the lost land of their ancient people. There, Alvarr discovers not only secrets about the way they once lived, but himself as well.

When he returns to leader Laren and the tribe, he is bearing more than ancient knowledge. It is only a matter of time before his secrets become known to all: he, a stallion, is with child, and Laren is his true mate.

Review

This book picks up right where we left Alvarr in the first one, alone and on a mission.

Romance takes a backseat and this is much more of an adventure story with Alvarr going on a solitary quest to find out more about the “Rift” that has brought such imbalance to the world of the horse shifters. The horses have lost so much of their history and knowledge, even worse, they have lost their hearts with stallions living apart from the mares and foals. I love that it’s this particular “imbalance” in their society that causes Nature to lose its way.

Laren is rather inflexible in his way of thinking and his distrust of all things unknown, and thus unsafe until proven otherwise, almost proves stronger than the draw to claim and protect his mate. Foremost in his mind is always the safety of his tribe though, and he comes through for Alvarr when push comes to shove. Eventually.

Alvarr is a wonderful character and I loved how he came into his own in this story. He grows so much on his journey, and surprises even himself with his new-found resourcefulness and inner strength. The Elders and Barron make for amazing secondary characters, and even Thane and Nassor, the villains of the tribe, are well-written and nuanced characters.

The mpreg aspect of this universe is done differently than in most omegaverse stories I’ve read so far and I really like this new angle. I also love the sense of urgency throughout the story (doomsday is coming for the tribe, after all) and the way physically weaker members, like Alvarr, Barron and the Elders, get to play such an important part in saving their brethren.

I’m very curious to see how it will all play out in the end.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook: The Dragon Boss by Anna Wineheart ; Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Blurb

What happens when you send an accidental dick pic with your resume?
On the run from dark-web criminals, Lucian Bolt has given up on a permanent safe place – all he needs is a temporary one, so he can earn some quick cash and run again. Better to flee than linger in the truth: Because of his electronic whispering abilities, his family has been murdered. A person like him doesn’t deserve happiness.
Then Lucian meets Knox, and things change.
As the boss of Whole Fish Seafoods, Knox has everything – except a family. Fifty years ago, wolf-shifters murdered his mate and child. Believing himself a failure, Knox has sworn off taking another mate…until he meets the job applicant that stumbles into his office.
Lucian smells like wolves. Suspicious, Knox frisks him and plants his seed in Lucian. Only to find out a week later that Lucian’s not the non-magic human he claimed to be. And that Lucian is now pregnant… with a dragon child.
With Knox, Lucian glimpses what a happy future could be like. And with Lucian, Knox has someone to protect again. As the sparks between them grow, and as the dark tendrils of their pasts coil ever closer, can Lucian and Knox find their way to a future together?
The Dragon Boss is a stand-alone dragon-shifter novel with sentient shopping carts, a kraken, and a dragon who will not fail his mate. No cheating, no cliff-hangers, but there definitely is a happily ever after.

Review

On one hand this was really creative with a sort of “normalized” magic in society setting but there are still plenty of secrets.  I really thought the computer whisperer idea was fantastic and the “alive” shopping carts interesting.

On the other hand there some pretty big plot holes that kept me from loving this more.  The computer whisperer can’t figure out a way to get his dick pic back and he sent it in the first place.  Then the Dragon Boss doesn’t take precautions even though he knows the guy is magic.  And they sleep together right away and often despite not really liking one another and being in constant danger.  Then there is the kidnapping… that plot line made me crazy.

So… I did read all of it and was happy for the HEA – but I was bothered by these plot issues that kept this from being unique and well crafted.  I’d definitely take a look at the next book in the series.  Dragons are awesome and Lucian’s magic was cool.

Audio

John Solo is just not my favorite. He’s fine. He’s acceptable but I don’t enjoy him like I do some of the others. It might be just a personal thing.  He does a fair job of telling the story and it’s a nice way to enjoy this if you can’t read it.

Overall for both the story and the audio 3 of 5 stars.

 


Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Stallion Mage: secret omega by A.O. Spade

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43130979-stallion-mage?from_search=true

Blurb
In a tribe of stallion shifters, Alvarr is smaller and more delicate than the rest of his tribe-brothers. But he is also a rare stallion mage, a male shifter who can perform magic… a talent only found in mares.

The other tribe members mistrust Alvarr and his powers over the earth. Though the Elder stallions view the mage as something precious, they are the only ones who value him. Even the strong, commanding lead stallion, Laren, keeps his distance.

The leader’s rejection of the smaller mage hurts, until the Time of Mating brings them together. Two nights in the woods change the course of their lives forever.

Review

This was a highly original shifter story that really took me by surprise. One of the more unusual things about it is that the shifters main form is actually that of their animal self with the characters only occasionally shifting into their human form.

We follow the story from Alvarr’s point of view, who is a bit of a misfit in the stallion shifter tribe he lives with. He’s very inquisitive and has a gentle, loving heart, but physically he seems to be lacking as he is far smaller and more delicate than all the other stallions. This underdog makes for an unlikely hero, though what he lacks in stature he will make up for in courage.

I really enjoyed Alvarr’s conversations with the Elders as well as all the scenes to do with Nature’s magic and how that affects Alvarr and those around him. Laren, the leader of the tribe, is a bit of a (conflicted) enigma still. The well-being of his tribe is clearly very important to him, but he’s at a loss to figure out how Alvarr is supposed to fit into it.

I love that the story is set in a Stone Age like world, which really helped to create a mood of wonderment and magical possibilities in a civilization that is steeped in superstition and which has lost a lot of its own history. This universe is so far removed from our daily reality that the author has a lot of leeway for his world-building, hinting at an intriguing mythology though not unlocking all its secrets yet. This is only book 1, of course, and it appears the best is yet to come which is very promising. I can’t wait to see how the story will unfold further.

There were a few small editing mistakes here and there or an unlucky word-choice that didn’t quite fit the stone age atmosphere, but nothing too irksome.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Frostbite (The Gifted Ones #1) by J.M. Wolf

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42433191-frostbite?ac=1&from_search=true

Photo of a men body

Blurb

Cyrus Winters, an omega wolf and an ice mage is dangerous to others. After running away from his birth pack at an early age, Cyrus traveled from place to place in hopes of finding a pack that would accept him. But once they realized that he was no ordinary omega wolf, they quickly turned their backs on him. Alone and shunned as a monster, Cyrus has kept himself hidden at the top of the Wichita Mountains where nobody would reach him. That is, until he hears the song of his fated mate.

Dorian Lovell once had the family he’d always dreamed of, but after the death of his son, his whole world fell apart. When he begins having dreams about a white wolf at the top of a mountain, howling for him, Dorian realizes that he may have found his fated mate. Joining his friend Tobias’ pack in the Wichita Mountains, Dorian sets out to find the wolf from his dream; but once he meets Cyrus, he quickly realizes that mating with the frosty omega won’t be as easy as he thought it’d be.

An omega with a heart of ice, and an alpha who’s destined to thaw him out. With a threat to Cyrus’ life approaching, the two must learn to come together as one. Can Dorian’s pack accept the gifted omega, and can Cyrus trust his life and future to his new pack, and the alpha the fates paired him with?

TRIGGER WARNING:
This book contains sexual and verbal adult content, MPREG, violence, bloody gore, death, and talks of loss and heartache. No babies were harmed in the making of this book.
*** This is Book 1 in the series, but can be read as a standalone story – no cliffhangers ***

Review

This is another great new (to me) author with an exciting new series! It’s very engaging and creative and I was grabbed from the first page!

I’m a sucker for the “ugly duckling” type trope where the seemingly bad stuff in one’s life turns out to be awesome and that’s what we’ve got here. I thought this was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to this series!

What kept this from being 5 of 5 stars was that sometimes the world was a bit harsh and sometimes I wasn’t always sure about the “rules” for this world … but I’m hoping it’ll pick up steam as the series progresses.

4 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day: Blackwood (Perth Shifters #1) by Pia Foxhall

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42362013-blackwood?from_search=true

 

Blurb

In a world that is still getting used to shifters, where everyone thinks omegas are second class citizens, nature photographer and omega Braden Payne lets everyone think he’s a beta. That way no one gives him a hard time and he doesn’t have to live a repeat of his failed relationship. But when his car breaks down in the remote Blackwood forest in Western Australia, without the medication that lets him hide who he is, he’s faced with what he fears most: an unmated alpha.

Government forest guardian and alpha Coll MacDubhar is tired of illegal loggers, foolish tourists and people who underestimate the wilds of Western Australia. He discovers Braden lost and in need of medical assistance in the forest he protects and knows something’s not right.

But there’s hidden depths to Braden that capture his interest, and no decent alpha would walk away when Braden’s unwelcome past comes to visit.

Review

This was really more “deep” than the blurb leads one to believe. It’s about the recovery of Braden in a world that absolutely demoralizes Omegas. (Anyone see a correlation? Hmmmm?)

Braden is virtually told that as an Omega he has practically no rights in respect to an Alpha. So – he’s leery. He does finally concede that not all Alphas are alike but it’s with understandable reluctance.

If I have any problems with this it’s that there is a lot of the “heat” that is really drawn out and maybe not that important to the story.

I also wanted to see these guys together more often in non emergent circumstances.

I really loved the deep understanding we get of Braden’s point but we missed out on getting to know Coll. He’s still a bit of a mystery.

I also felt like the shifting aspect – again – was really neglected. These guys don’t seem as connected to their wolves as I’d like to see. This read more like a non shifting alpha/omega story.

In any case it was still quite good and I give it 3.75 rounded to 4 stars.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to comfort the hurts: Capital Assets by Cecelia Storm

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42282486-capital-assets?from_search=true

Blurb

For years I’d avoided omegas. They were too tempting. In heat, they pulled alphas like me across a hot, dangerous line. I couldn’t risk hurting another one…

Until I caught his scent on a cold Manhattan night. My extravagant world crashed around us as our bodies and hearts collided. His taste brought me to my knees.

All this time I thought I was different. I thought I could change this city, choked by corruption and greed. But one omega, struggling to find his way, showed me the frailty of authority, and the power of acceptance.

Now we fight. We stand up to those who seek to break us; but how much pain can we endure? Is our love and future worth the blood and bruises? How can life possibly spring from the ashes around us?

“It was a kiss I’d never felt before; it was the slow, gentle taste of a person who holds a piece of your heart, and whom you have greatly missed.”

Help us as we try to see the world around us for what it is, and find the love we know is in our broken hearts.

Review

A split-second decision can change so many lives. Archer and Jeremiah learn this lesson the hard way. Both men find their lives falling into chaos because of one night. Archer has always carried the burden of his past and has constantly locked himself away from any kind of temptation but on that one night he comes across Jeremiah in heat. No one knows what the consequences of his actions will be. Jeremiah and Archer are meant to be together, but both of their pasts come in to the picture and the two must find a way to work through it all if they want any kind of future together.
Archer and Jeremiah’s story is an emotional read. The two men might be from different worlds but the pull to each other is strong and hard to resist. Each man has his own demons to slay and they must learn to trust and open their hearts if they want their happy ever after. I enjoyed seeing the way their relationships takes shape, it is truly a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It was nice to see both men grow and find a way to fight for what they want. The author weaves a good story with characters full of angst and emotions. It is full of characters that you will love and those that you will hate. Archer and Jeremiah go through so much to find their happy ever after. Not only do the main characters have something to say but the supporting characters let themselves be known as well. This story moves at a good pace and I was pulled in right from the start and engaged all the way to the end.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to comfort the hurts: Falling for the Omega (Hobson Hills Omegas #1) by C.W. Gray

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42396684-falling-for-the-omega?from_search=true

Blurb

Story takes place in the Omegaverse. Book One in the Hobson Hills Omegas series:

Carter Benson is a lonely, scarred mess of an alpha. Honorably discharged from the army after being injured, he is left with very little that really matters. All he has is a Trust fund he refuses to touch, burns on his face, and a brand new prosthesis. He doesn’t have his family, he isn’t near his friends, and his face makes small children cry. So, he goes to Maine, finds a tiny town, and starts a business as a plumber. It doesn’t help his loneliness, though. Until a little girl hunts him down and forces him to be her new best friend.

Elijah Wilson has lived in Hobson Hills his whole life. So what that most of the townspeople think he’s a whore because he’s a single omega and got pregnant at eighteen? So what if they think he takes advantage of his grandparents by living on their property? Elijah and his large extended family know better. They know that he hasn’t dated anyone since before Olive was born. They know he works hard in the family business and is great with investments. They know the truth, but it can be hard living in a town that doesn’t care about the truth. It can also be really lonely. Until his daughter makes a new best friend.

When the two men meet, sparks fly. Their lives change for the better, but life isn’t always easy. Narrow-minded townspeople and greedy parents can cause a lot of trouble. But there’s always hope. There’s always love.

Author’s Note: 30,000+ words. This is a m/m, non-shifter, mpreg love story with no angst and no cheating, just a HEA. There are a few potty mouths, so beware. 18+ readers only, please.

Review

This book is set in the Omegaverse. You meet Carter, an Alpha military veteran. He’s a plumber and due to an accident in the military is disabled. He’s left with a prosthetic limb and scarring. Next you meet Omega Elijah. Single dad to an adorable girl that makes you smile every scene. He works on an apple orchard for a family business. Carter and Elijah hit it off right away, with less than subtle pushes from his daughter. The progression was very fast between them. The families were so funny to read, loved the banter. Good drama from meddling individuals that involves gossip, phone threats, and some arson. You feel for Elijah by the end. A few minor grammar and incorrect names used, but not enough to be distracting. Fast paced romance, family shenanigans, adorable kid, mpreg, and an omega that giggles and dances a lot.

Number of stars out of 5

4.5

 

Purchased for review

 

 

Audiobook review: Alpha Heat by Leta Blake, narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Alpha-Heat-Audiobook/B07JFPNMPT?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=8YC23T2BAR602CEFTRZK&

 

Blurb
A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.

Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy-ever-after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.

Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart—and so does he.

But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.

Review

Story:
I fell completely in love with Xan and Urho, who are both amazing, complex characters.
Xan is so filled with self-loathing and he has completely given up hope on ever being happy or deserving of happiness even. It was heartrending to read. I wasn’t prepared to feel such depth of emotion for a fictional character, but only a rock would fail to be moved by Xan’s troubles.

Urho was a perfect match for Xan.
I loved their connection and Urho’s acceptance and understanding of who Xan truly is. The first moments where Urho gets a glimpse of Xan’s true self, and his struggle to accept his own reaction to that truth were so intense! Loved that.

At first glance, Urho appears to be quite conservative and rigid in his thinking, but he bends and even breaks the rules when he needs to in order to be able to help others. He’s modest and brave and oh…be still, my beating heart! Just such a lovable, strong & silent type hero.
Xan throws Urho for a loop, because he doesn’t fit their society’s established gender roles and so Urho is required to rethink some of his long-held beliefs.

I was a bit apprehensive about how Caleb would fit in. But I needn’t have worried. He’s such an extraordinary individual. The bond between Xan, Urho and Caleb is not a romantic one, but it is a deeply loving one, just the same. They’re a family unit. The author totally makes it work.

This book also stands out to me because of the astonishing amount of detail that went into the world-building. The author raises some fascinating points about gender identity, sexual orientation and the danger of entwining politics and religion. There’s also a great set of secondary characters that surround the MC’s, friends we know already from Slow Heat as well as new characters that I hope to see again in future books.

Narration:
Michael Ferraiuolo is a brilliant performer. Simple as that. How he manages to do so many different voices and match them so perfectly to the characters, I’ll never understand. I’m so glad that he did this sequel to Slow Heat as well, because it was absolutely wonderful to hear Jason and Vale’s voices again too. I must confess that I’m something of a Xan and Urho fangirl and I was so excited and curious to hear their story in audio! It was everything I hoped for and more.
I loved hearing Michael Ferraiuolo’s interpretation of their voices and interactions. The nuance and emotion which he brought to these fictional characters took the entire book to a whole new level.
And it was already pretty amazing. I’m awestruck.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


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