Relase Day Review: Reunited by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/reunited-by-andrew-grey-10179-b

Blurb

Back in high school, nobody noticed quiet nerd Kevin Howard.
But everybody noticed handsome, athletic, and ultra-popular jock Clay Northrup.
They had nothing in common and lived in different worlds.
But a lot can change in fifteen years, and when they meet again at their high school reunion, Clay is no longer the big man on campus, and Kevin isn’t hiding in a corner anymore.

Can they put aside who they were? Can one night really lead to forever?

Review

Cute second chance at love story with a high school reunion turning into an unlikely first date. I liked that we get quite a lot of backstory for our MC’s, even in this short a novella. Both MC’s have changed a lot since high school, but we still get that opposites attract vibe which is always fun. Kevin is a great guy, but came off a bit boastful sometimes and not as restrained or centered as he prides himself on being.
There’s certainly potential for these two MC’s, both in the romance and finding family department, but there are practical challenges to be faced if they are to make a success of a real relationship.

I would have liked to have had more of an answer to the final question on the blurb. The ending, though sweet and hopeful, still left quite a bit open.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/nomads-dream-by-august-li-10134-b

Blurb

Two men, each with a hidden destiny. Can they defeat a web of deceit and dark magic to ensure their fates intertwine?

Bedouin Isra al-Grayjaab’s dreams lead him to Janan, an amnesiac beggar on the street of Qena—one who steals his heart and starts him on a seemingly hopeless quest. With only their wits, Isra’s knowledge of the desert’s secrets, and the aid of a mercurial djinn, they must recover Janan’s past. But neither can predict his true identity or the lengths others will go to see that his mind remains broken and his true power out of his reach.

In a sweeping romantic adventure that takes them across the Eastern Desert to the modern streets of Cairo and on to the luxurious Red Sea Coast, Janan and Isra seek a truth that will either bring them into each other’s arms or tear them apart forever.

Review

To me this felt much more like a mystery/adventure story, and rather less like a romance. Though Janan and Isra fall in love and spend quite a lot of time together, I was left wanting more. As love stories go this one is rather more mellow than I like as far as feelings & passion go. It reads like an action-filled fairy tale and I prefer my romances a little grittier with MC’s who develop a deep emotional connection and build a life together as couple. We leave our MC’s before they get to do that.

This book has a peculiar mix of paranormal characters on the one hand and very religious characters on the other, which is certainly different from what I’m used to reading. I think the author did an amazing job in describing the Bedouin way of life and the beauty of the desert, and I also liked how she interspersed the story with Arabic terms & customs. Always with a light and respectful touch. I felt like I stepped into a tale of the Arabian Nights.

The story is set in modern-day Egypt which still has quite a way to go in matters like LGBT rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. These issues are important to the story and I was pleased to see our fictional characters come out on top and pursue a happy and hopeful life together. How that translates into their daily life stays vague, however, they are both still in the closet as far as I know.

The secondary characters are well-written. Flicker, the djinn who befriended and protected Isra, is intriguing and mysterious, and we also get two very strong and independent female characters, Sehrish and Nawra, which was a nice plus.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


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Audiobook: Tracker Hacker by Jeff Adams Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tracker-hacker-by-jeff-adams-10196-b

Blurb

A Harmony Ink Press Title

Codename: Winger One

Theo Reese is just an average high school student with a passion for hockey and an uncanny talent when it comes to computers… at least on the surface.

What his teammates, fellow students, and even his boyfriend don’t realize is that Theo leads a double life. When he’s not putting up his facade of normal, Theo is working as an agent for Tactical Operational Support, where his technical genius is more than just a hobby. At sixteen he is responsible for helping agents in the field and keeping the TOS network secure.

It’s a secret he has to keep—from everyone.

But secrecy becomes even harder when a hacker compromises the system TOS uses to track its agents and Theo’s dad goes missing. Theo must find him and stop the hacker, which means leaving the comfort of his computer screen and venturing into a very real and very deadly world.

And if that’s not enough to deal with, all the secrecy is really putting a strain on Theo’s love life.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Review

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Theo aka Winger is a 16-year-old technical genius. After hacking his parent’s phone, he finds out that they are a part of a covert organization. The organization brings Theo on board for a sort tech support role. Aside from that Theo seems to be a normal teenager. He plays hockey and has an adorkable boyfriend named Eddie. Theo struggles with keeping his two lives separate, especially with Eddie and I have a feeling that there will be a big blow up later on in the series.

The story was fast paced, and it held my interest the whole time. While I had trouble following some of the more complex technical lingo. Jeff did a good job explaining what was going on. I also enjoyed that hockey played a role throughout a good portion of the story. I eagerly look forward to reading the next book in the series.

John Solo did a great job with the narration. He has a great range and was able to give everyone a distinctive voice. One pet peeve of mine with YA audios are that the characters sound too old but John succeeded in portraying younger sounding voices for the teenagers.

4 stars



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Release Day Review: Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper by Carole Cummings

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-fear-the-not-really-grim-reaper-by-carole-cummings-10083-b

Blurb

When unassuming college student Emery Sutton wakes up in the morgue, it takes him a few minutes to remember he has magic (superpowers, damn it!) and free himself from the refrigerated drawer. And the body bag. (God.) It doesn’t take long, though, for him to remember the hot guy with wings he ran into just before a city bus ran into him.

Junior Reaper John must explain to his supervisor how his first solo assignment went so wrong. All he knows is that he happened upon Emery quite by accident, that Emery saw John when he shouldn’t have been able to, and when they accidentally touched, a bus came out of nowhere and plowed Emery under. (John really does feel bad about that.)

Hot angels, annoying demons, hijinks, absurdity, drunk siblings, a dash of silly romance, an inordinate attachment to wings, and a highly disorganized bid for world domination—Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper follows Emery and John down the rabbit hole where they find that moms are scarier than demons from hell, a goat is not a puppy no matter what Emery’s sister says, and awkward romance can happen anywhere.
Review by Dee
This is a delightful, fun story. It’s a cross between a YA story, a Monty Python sketch all rolled into a Terry Gilliam or Prachett plot.
Emery keeps getting killed – unsuccessfully. Now, this would not be funny under normal circumstances, but this is a comedy so roll with it. It turns out that a junior Grim Reaper, John accidentally ‘kills’ Emery. John is full of remorse, reports this to his superiors, only to find out that Emery has not ‘transitioned, that is to say there is no record of his dying. More worrisome, there is no record of Emery at all. John is sent to investigate. The investigation leads to hijinks, meeting of demons, minions, family (Emery’s) and 2 young men falling in love.
The story is unique, funny, with a fun pop references, a close knit family and a formidable mum who will not tolerate evil in any of her kids!
If you like fantastical farces that’s not afraid to poke fun, this is definitely a good choice.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Rebecca

This book drew me in instantly. Character rambling at the beginning, but it’s very humorous and shows the sense of humor and awkwardness of Emery. Movie references that made me smile. John is a Reaper that just wanted to do things right. It’s funny how he’d tiptoe around what really happened on his solo mission. So much nerd humor is in the book, very exciting. Enjoyed Emery’s family and the humor they brought to the book. Poor John is lost as to why he keeps being unsuccessful, yet doesn’t mind being around Emery more. The mutual attraction is overlooked by both. The demons were an amusing addition to the drama. The book isn’t centered on a relationship between Emery and John, but the attraction is there. All around enjoyable book.

Number of stars out of 5

5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story The Last Birthday Party by Mere Rain

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Their favorite holiday is going away. Will it take their friendship with it?

Since 1989, the birthday of the Emperor of Japan has been celebrated on December 23rd. But this is the last year; the Emperor is abdicating, and next year there will be no holiday.

For twenty-year-old Akihito, the holiday has always been special. It’s his birthday, too, and a perfect excuse for spending the entire day celebrating across Tokyo with his life-long best friend, Kenji. But now that they will no longer get the day off and will soon face adult responsibilities, will they drift apart? Or if Akihito confesses the secret love he’s held in his heart for years, will their closeness be ruined? One thing is certain: nothing will be same by the end of the day.

Review

This Advent Calendar short is such a sweet read. You have Akihito and his best friend since childhood Kenji. The memories of their antics together made me smile. Plus how sweet they are. I enjoyed the bits on the culture that are included in the book. Small moments of pining, nothing dramatic. I was so very happy with the ending. This is a great “feel-good” book to add some extra sweetness to your day.

Number of stars out of 5

5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Make a Circle by Elliot Joyce

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Pagan punk musician Lucas is fully prepared to spend this Yule with the rest of the band and his beautiful bass guitar when Oliver, his boyfriend of almost a year, asks if he wants to join the rest of the Han family for their annual winter celebration. It comes as a shock since Ollie has gone to great lengths to keep the two apart, and Lucas always assumed he was the reason. Since they’re planning to be together long-term, Lucas can’t say no to meeting Ollie’s parents, but he better brush up on his manners and his Mandarin because this is going to be a holiday season like no other—and it has some surprises in store for both of them.

Review

I liked this story. I wasn’t 100% sure I got the message, if there was one. The story centred around family and acceptance but in my naivety I thought Oliver has already been accepted by his family, well that was the impression I got from the way they treated him. It was more the case that the older members of his family were having a hard time breaking habits and kept speaking without thinking. I know that is hurtful but it doesn’t come across as malicious in the story. It’s not just that Oliver is gay there is another aspect his family had to understand and accept. I don’t want to give it away because it is an important part of the story. His family is big and loud with the usual family drama. Lucas is worried about fitting in because he doesn’t speak mandarin. For this reason he doesn’t realise that they liked him straight away. Just like with Oliver though the family members were thoughtless and did not think to include him in conversation by switching to English which left him feeling on the outside.

Overall it is a lovely story, with a warm family welcome for Lucas, even though he had to hear that through Oliver. Just a snapshot of a holiday moment in this couple’s relationship.

3 of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Cole audiobook by BG Thomas narrated by Paul Morey

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-cole-by-bg-thomas-6184-

Blurb
Javier Torres was a sweet, plump, and very unpopular child. But over the years, he turned himself into a gorgeous gym god. The problem is he’s also become an egotistical snob. But one day his arrogance pisses off the wrong little old lady, and he wakes up to find that, like the Prince in Beauty and the Beast, he’s been transformed into something from his personal nightmares. Javier has nowhere to go but back home, where to his surprise, he is greeted with open arms, not just by the family he remembers, but by his new brother-in-law, Cole. Cole suspects there might be a pretty heart to go with the pretty face locked inside that new body, but has Javier learned enough to earn Cole—instead of coal—for Christmas

Review
This title is part of the 2011 Advent Calendar: I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
I quite enjoyed this take on the beauty and the beast / it’s a wonderful life type of story. It’s also a moral lesson of judging people by looks rather than who they really were. And how shallow he had become. It took a harsh lesson before he was able to see what he had become. He didn’t really understand until he went home to see his family and meets Cole again. Javier’s partner Mark is a horrible person especially the way he treated Javier after he was transformed.Quite a message in this story but it is heartwarming. The love and acceptance of family and of oneself.
The narrator, Paul Morey, does a fair job but I felt that the emotions were missing. After all Javier did suffer his worst nightmare and was deserted by Mark at Christmas. The characters were portrayed well enough. I could make out who was who and there was some characterisation.

3 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story A Holiday Tradition by Chrissy Munder

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

 

3 of stars out of 5

 

Paul Carpenter has his life all planned out. Or at least his father does. The right school, the right degree, the right job. Paul is on track, until a bus accident has him sitting out a coveted internship, babysitting, or being babysat, by a grandfather he barely remembers during his holiday stay in a Florida RV park. His father’s reasoning? How much temptation can Paul find around a bunch of senior citizens playing bingo? There’ll be nothing to distract him from his studies.
It’s hard to muster his holiday spirit when Paul is used to snow and cold, not sun, surf, and plastic flamingos in Santa hats. But then Paul meets Kevin Lombardo, who offers to show him some new holiday traditions. Suddenly Paul’s fast track hits a curve.”

Review

A sweet story about priorities in life and finding what makes you happy.
Paul’s father is set up as the bogeyman. He is a single father who is determined Paul will have a career irrespective of what Paul actually wants. Grandpa is the fun one, to him life is for living to the full. Then we meet Kevin who cares about the people who live on the and his attitude towards life gives Paul a lot to think about not to mention his growing attraction to Kevin. The only niggle I’ve got is that it ends quite abruptly. There is a jump of a year at the end and it felt like a lot had been skipped over leaving me dissatisfied. I think this story is one that could be expanded in the future.

 

3 of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Once in a Lifetime by Cassie Decker

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb
All his life, astrophysicist Peter has dreamed of seeing the comet that last appeared on his birthday—and won’t be seen for another thirty-eight years. Since it could be his only chance, he travels to New Zealand. But his dream might be quashed after all when his rental car breaks down on the way to the observatory. He doesn’t even have a place to stay.

Fortunately a New Zealand native with a heart of gold offers assistance. But is kindness the only thing drawing the two men together?

Rangi can’t leave Peter stranded so close to Christmas, and his family has plenty of room—and love—to share. While Rangi is attracted to Peter, he’s seen too many of his friends get their hearts broken by tourists. Will they manage to see the comet on its decades-long journey across the sky… and take advantage of a rare opportunity that might never come again?

 

Review

 

This short was super sweet and I really enjoyed the addition of Maori culture with Rangi and his family. It was very interesting, me not being very familiar with New-Zealand and Maori culture. Peter was a very quiet kind of character and I found him very refreshing. He had the promise he made to his father to see the Comet, and his back story was sad but in a way gave him so much character depth, which was great in such a sort story where it’s often hard to achieve.
I enjoyed the chain of mishaps that brought Rangi and Peter together, and Peter was such a warm loving man it was very easy to fall in love with him, Peter and me both!

I also loved how well rounded the story felt, how there was almost a feeling of a full circle, a destiny that brought them to this place in time, together.
It was a very romantic, soft story full of character and love.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Mosquitoes and Mistletoe by Ren Holly

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

After Andrew’s boyfriend dumps him just before Christmas, he decides to take a job far, far away from city life. It’s a dishwashing job on a remote island off the coast of Georgia. Expecting sunshine, palm trees, and some quality alone time, Andrew is surprised to find alligators, mosquitoes, rattlesnakes, and Garrett—a devilishly handsome naturalist. Andrew desperately tries to resist Garrett’s charm, because a twice-broken heart before Christmas is just not an option. Besides, Andrew’s new friend Anna might already have a thing for Garrett.
But where do Garrett’s interests lie, and will Andrew find out before he’s surprised by a visit from his ex?

Review

What a cute story heartbreak to happiness. Lovely Christmas feel good story. It’s amusing the way poor Andrew get into so many situations Garrett has to rescue him from. They make a great pair. It seems that Garrett hasn’t questioned his sexuality before being attracted to Andrew, or at least not acted on it. There is a good cast of secondary characters who make the little island a family. All looking out for each other. This is the case when Andrew’s duplicitous ex turns up with his family, only for Garrett to get the wrong idea. Perfect short story giving me the meet, romance, misunderstanding and happy ending.

4 of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review