Categories
adult - 18+

Hardwood (Four Bears Construction #3) by K.M. Neuhold

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54025139-hardwood?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=Hb9DpJP7yC&rank=1

Blurb

I’ve spent forty-four years of my life telling the world I’m a carpet man. Is it too late to admit to myself and everyone else that deep down I’m really all about the Hardwood?

It took me over thirty-five years to admit to myself that I’m gay, another seven to find the courage to say it out loud to anyone else, and exactly thirty seconds to develop a massive crush on my daughter’s music teacher. It’s really not my fault, have you even seen those cute bowties he wears?

After everything it’s taken to get here, am I going to work up the nerve to come out to my ex-wife and my best friends? Am I ready to shake up my comfortable, simple life and take a chance on Watson? Or am I going to throw a wrench in my own chance for happily ever after?

Review

Another great addition to this wonderful, funny series! The token straight guy in our lovable band of friends turns out to not be so straight, after all. Getting to know Everett better was great and I loved Watson for him. Watson is fun and flirty, secure in who he is, and has an incredibly big heart. I loved that he gets all the mushy devotion he’s dreamed of, even if there are some hurdles to overcome first. I really like the realism that sneaks in this otherwise lighthearted, romantic story with Everett’s struggle to come out and the sorrow he feels over the years he’s spent trying to be someone he’s not. It never gets too dramatic or dark, but it’s there and adds a touch of genuine emotion that resonated with me and made all the happy, sweet moments in the story that much more intense and appreciated. I also oved the heartwarming way in which Ev’s relationship with his ex is portrayed, not the stereotypical witch of an ex-wife, and how important his daughter Livi is throughout the story. And now… over to Ollie so he can finally, finally have his HEA too.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5



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Categories
adult - 18+

Hardwood (Four Bears Construction #3) by K.M. Neuhold

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54025139-hardwood?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=Hb9DpJP7yC&rank=1

Blurb

I’ve spent forty-four years of my life telling the world I’m a carpet man. Is it too late to admit to myself and everyone else that deep down I’m really all about the Hardwood?

It took me over thirty-five years to admit to myself that I’m gay, another seven to find the courage to say it out loud to anyone else, and exactly thirty seconds to develop a massive crush on my daughter’s music teacher. It’s really not my fault, have you even seen those cute bowties he wears?

After everything it’s taken to get here, am I going to work up the nerve to come out to my ex-wife and my best friends? Am I ready to shake up my comfortable, simple life and take a chance on Watson? Or am I going to throw a wrench in my own chance for happily ever after?

Review

Another great addition to this wonderful, funny series! The token straight guy in our lovable band of friends turns out to not be so straight, after all. Getting to know Everett better was great and I loved Watson for him. Watson is fun and flirty, secure in who he is, and has an incredibly big heart. I loved that he gets all the mushy devotion he’s dreamed of, even if there are some hurdles to overcome first. I really like the realism that sneaks in this otherwise lighthearted, romantic story with Everett’s struggle to come out and the sorrow he feels over the years he’s spent trying to be someone he’s not. It never gets too dramatic or dark, but it’s there and adds a touch of genuine emotion that resonated with me and made all the happy, sweet moments in the story that much more intense and appreciated. I also oved the heartwarming way in which Ev’s relationship with his ex is portrayed, not the stereotypical witch of an ex-wife, and how important his daughter Livi is throughout the story. And now… over to Ollie so he can finally, finally have his HEA too.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Tiramisu After Midnight By Mark David Campbell

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tiramisu-after-midnight-by-mark-david-campbell-11664-b

Blurb

If Enrico, who is gay, and his twin brother, Fabrizio, who is straight, can make a success of their B&B on Lago Maggiore in northern Italy, they can save their family home from their conniving half sister. Can good intentions and lots of heart make up for what they lack in money and experience?

On the other side of the Atlantic, in Syracuse, New York, Owen is buckling under an unrequited crush and the pressures of starting an event-planning business. His best friend Maggie books a last-minute getaway at the twins’ romantic villa—and insists Owen join her.

Even if the B&B is not quite as elegant as advertised, they are seduced by the stunning scenery, sumptuous foods, and luscious wines—not to mention their charming hosts.

Love is in the air, but before these four lonely hearts can make their dreams come true, they must overcome past obsession, half a world of distance, and false accusations.

When your tiramisu is only a soggy biscuit soaked in instant coffee and topped with spray cream, it’s time to take a chance on the real thing.

Review

Tiramisu After Midnight was an okay book. The story line isn’t very original, which is probably why I couldn’t really get into it, Owen is supposedly in love with his best friend, all is hopeless, so he runs off to Italy and in a short few days, his heart is healed by the cute Italian guy Enrico. Throw in greedy family members and some prejudice and that pretty much sums up this story.
I just had a hard time getting into this book even though there was a lot I liked. The characters were all well written. There was plenty of banter which I always like. The description of the Italian cities were fantastic.
3 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Bent Not Broken by Z. Allora

Good Reads

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bent-not-broken-by-z-allora-11668-b

Blurb

Stefano Rossi longs for the mystical—and so far unattainable—peace of reaching subspace. But can he accept that the person who can take him there is a man?

Riku Tao has given up on finding a sub who complements him. He’ll stick with doing demonstrations at the BDSM club the Edge. He certainly doesn’t have time for a closeted Catholic guy with internalized biphobia… and yet he cannot help but want to protect Stefano and give him what he needs. A history of physical and sexual abuse makes it impossible for Stefano to come out of the closet, and Riku certainly isn’t going back in.

Perhaps an arrangement of six months to explore their desires will be enough to satisfy them both.

Or it might break their hearts.

To take hold of his future with the man he’s coming to love, Stefano will need to move beyond the pain of his past, and he won’t be able to do it alone.

Review

Very moving and inspiring OFY romance with incredibly well-rounded main characters. High on hurt/comfort and genuine emotions, very nuanced story-telling. Riku and Stefano both need the connection and love they find with each other, but it’s not an easy road to happiness. Stefano has gone through so much when he was younger, and it still haunts him to the present day, preventing him from being happy or being able to truly connect with others. It was heartbreaking to read his story, so much raw pain… When he finds Riku and is almost astonished at being treated with gentleness and care… that just touched me so deeply. Riku is an amazing character. As I read this, I got incredibly invested into the well-being of Stefano and Riku both. Stefano struggles to accept himself for who he is, in more than one way, but seeing him get to a better place, step by small step, was wonderful. I loved that Stefano found it within himself to reach out for help and to recognize his own strength and self-worth in the process. Very satisfying HEA. Recommend.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Omega Replaced (Omega Reimagined #5) by Tanya Chris

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50996431-omega-replaced

Blurb
Alpha Donovan is certain about one thing. His work recovering missing omegas who’ve been separated from their protectors is a service—to the alphas who hire him and to the omegas themselves. What he’s less confident about is his unconventional desire to be dominated by someone as strong as he is. No alpha is supposed to want that.

When Donovan arrives in North Leland, he expects it to be just another job. Find the omega, bring her home. Then he meets Judge Tarek, the gorgeous alpha determined to thwart his mission. Tarek disapproves of his job, but not his fantasies, which he’s ready and oh-so-able to fulfill.

Everything is backwards in this strange town. Wanting another alpha’s teeth in your neck is okay, but returning an omega to their rightful place isn’t? Donovan has a lot to learn, and if he can’t change his way of thinking fast enough, he’s going to lose what he’s never allowed himself to believe he could have.

Omega Replaced is an alpha/alpha novella with BDSM components in the Omega Reimagined series. It can be read as part of the series or as a standalone. This is a non-MPREG omegaverse.

Review

Wonderful omegaverse romance. It had everything I wanted in this genre: well-rounded main characters, a strong attraction between the potential mates but an important enough conflict to make things difficult for them, intriguing secondary characters and a good storyline.
I really liked the world-building in this book and thought it was very interesting how the author played around with stereotypes and societal conventions based on gender and sexual orientation. Donovan has a hard time breaking away from the toxic ideas that were instilled in him at childhood, even though they go counter to his own needs and identity, and that inner struggle to me added a welcome sense of realism and depth to the story. The chemistry between Tarek and Donovan is absolutely sizzling, but I also liked the patience and vulnerability Tarek showed to Donovan. Tarek is very open about his feelings and intentions, but Donovan still has a hard time daring to trust in the possibility of a future where he can be himself, be happy. Very enjoyable read, definitely recommend it.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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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


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Fated Hearts by Garrett Leigh, narrated by Dan Calley

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fated-Hearts-Audiobook/B087CC3PL4?ref=a_library_t_c5_libItem_&pf_rd_p=13bed4e9-e83d-4210-8510-a695400e0d63&pf_rd_r=0KCH2687J8CNATEV6XYK

Blurb
“He’s not a wolf.”

Devastated by the death of his best friend, Zio is a soldier with one thing on his mind: revenge. Consumed by a conflict that’s raged as long as he’s been alive, he’s had little time or inclination to learn the legends of the shifter world he was raised in. And he certainly doesn’t have time to deal with a shifter of a different kind, even if it’s for the good of the war effort. For the good of his pack. The fact that he’s already crossed paths with the new face in his unit is almost irrelevant.

Almost.

Do no harm. Give life not death: it’s the oath Devan was reborn to live by, so when he’s sent abroad to embed with a wolf pack as their resident healer, he doesn’t hesitate. In the supernatural world, some bonds are instant—soldiers become brothers, pack become family. But others run deeper and before long, Devan’s at the mercy of instincts he can’t control.

Zio’s inner wolf is desperate to be with Devan, while Devan struggles to keep the pack safe. But as the war escalates, and new love is tainted by anguish and pain, the battles within might prove the toughest of them all.

“I won’t let him die.”

Review

There are a lot of shifter stories out there, and standing out isn’t always easy, but Garrett Leigh managed it effortlessly with Fated Hearts. I loved the detailed world-building, the action and danger in this dystopian society and the combination of magic and science.

All the characters were intriguing and complex, making this the perfect basis for a very promising series. I so hope there’ll be more to come.

I loved the angst in this story, and the incredible pull between the MC’s. Zio and Devan are wonderful together, when they get there, because obstacles abound.

Narration: Dan Calley did an amazing job with his performance of this story, the pacing and emotional intensity were great and he brought a wonderful array of voices for all the different characters. Is it just me or are British accents just absolutely yummie? I also really loved the accent he did for Devan.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Spotless: a box set by Bailey Bradford

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/series/125914

 

Blurbs

1 – Hide When you think you’ll never fit it, never be whole, love can show you a truth you’ve never seen.
2 – Hunt Steven was on a mission he knew could cost him his life, but instead he might find himself truly living for the first time.
3 – Home Solomon wanted nothing more than to stay at home and raise his siblings, until he’s kidnapped and everything in his world changes.
4 – Heart Rolly has waited ten years to claim his mate. Now the wait is over, and he’s coming home.
What happens when shifters are born of two different breeds? Nothing good as far as the pumapards can see. With a parent who is a leopard, and another who is a puma, they have a hard life and are scorned by either of the full-blooded breeds.
But there’s more to their existence than they know. Why were they even allowed to be born? Why did their parents breed in the first place, when no one wanted the offspring?
And how do they survive when one man in particular—their father—wants them to suffer as much as possible?

Review

This is a box set of 4 stories that continue events set in motion in the Leopard’s Spots series. I love shifter romances and I think the author did a great job with the world-building and fated mates trope in this series. There’s enough crossing over of the characters from other books to keep everything linked, while never upstaging the main couple.

Hide is the story of Adal, a character we first got to meet in Isaiah, book 4 in the Leopard’s Spots series. Adal and his brother Steven are “aberrations”, mixed breed shifters that were never supposed to exist and have been abused and poisoned by their psychopath father. Adal never thought he could have a mate, and his world is turned upside down when he finds Dorso. Dorso is a bit rough around the edges, and more than a little surprised by the reality of shifters and fated mates, but his rapidly growing devotion to Adal, and vice versa, makes for a captivating read.

In Hunt we finally get to discover what happened to Steven, Adal’s protective brother, who is on a suicide mission to rid the world of their horrible father. Steven is a tough cookie, he’s had to be in order to survive, and it takes two very special men to help and love him. Two mates? It is unheard of apparently but it works beautifully. Cole and Shaun have grown up loving each other, but were never able to be honest about the true depth of their feelings, waiting for a mating bond that didn’t materialize…until they find Steven. The three men are explosive together, so much angst and passion. I like that it’s not that instantly easy, there’s tension and disbelief amidst the butterflies, an edge that makes it all the sweeter once they are finally together, the three of them.

Home takes place a couple of years after Hunt, aligning with events in the third box set in the Leopard Spots series. Solomon, one of the newly-discovered siblings of Steven and Adal, has been a father for his younger brothers and sisters, raising them within Bobby’s wolf pack, though not truly daring to become a part of it. Solomon is kidnapped and finds love with one of his kidnappers, though this is not a forced proximity story. Azil, the mate in question, has been put down his entire life and treated like he’s worthless. In a way, he is as much a prisoner as Solomon. Azil has trouble standing up for himself and shaking of years of indoctrination, but is a genuine sweetheart. Azil’s pack brings a new threat to Solomon’s doorstep, scarier and more powerful than anything he and the other shifters have ever faced before.

Heart is perhaps the most heartwarming of the four stories, as the MC’s face a different type of challenge when learning about themselves and their mate bond. Edie, formerly Erdwin, is one of Solomon’s sisters, and transgender, which is not easy under the best of circumstances, but even less so when you are shifter and have the self-healing powers that come with that. Rolly, a powerful shaman, is completely in love with his mate and accepts her for who she is. The only thing that I thought a little strange is that he appears to be adamant about being gay while his one true mate is a woman, though stuck in a male body. Certainly their story shows the importance of love and acceptance. There’s no room for stereotypes or toxic masculinity when it comes to Rolly and Edie. We get to see more of Edie’s younger siblings too, most especially Rhea, and I can’t wait to see how her path will go, as it doesn’t promise to be very easy either.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5

Reviewer Name: Karen M.

Provided by publisher.

4.5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Happy Place (Rainbow Plave #5) by Jay Northcote

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52042563-happy-place

Blurb

A first kiss from a younger man leads to a sexual awakening…

George’s strict upbringing has left him ashamed of his sexuality. In his forties now, he’s yet to come out or even kiss a man—until he meets Quentin.

Quentin has had enough of bad relationships with men who won’t commit. Still raw from the last one, he’s not ready to try again. But George is sweet, and helping the older man get some experience might be a fun diversion.

Swept rapidly into a deeper connection than they bargained for, they face a dilemma. George isn’t ready to come out, and Quentin wants a boyfriend who isn’t afraid to be seen with him in public. Can they find a way to navigate the unpredictable waters of their new relationship and find happiness together?

Review

An amazing, well-written May-December romance with the perfect amount of angst, steam, starry-eyes and sweetness.

I loved the realness of this story, how everything wasn’t just perfect lust and connection from the first. This romance felt so genuine and authentic, like something that could happen to actual people, which made it a very appealing read to me. As a reader I got to cheer for Quentin and George as they stumbled, doubted or misspoke and sympathized with them as they struggled through some pretty awkward moments. And most importantly, I got to see them fall in love which was absolutely heartwarming.

George is a product of his upbringing, poor guy, and in some ways he’s in a prison of his own making because of that. He has carried around a big secret for most of his life and doesn’t appear to have any friends he can turn to in order to break free and be true to himself, which was pretty sad. I loved his bravery and how he handled his coming out though. Quentin is a wonderful character too. I could easily relate to his longing for a relationship, as well as his hesitancy to open himself up to heartbreak, again.

I loved how these two men fit into the Rainbow Place “community” and I especially liked Seb’s role in their story, though the glimpses we got of the other characters in the series were great fun as well.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Leopard’s Spots: Part Three: A Box Set by Bailey Bradford

Blurb

Leopard’s Spots: Part Three – a box set
9 – Nischal There are many ways a man can be held captive.
10 – Justice Recovering from his past might cost Paul Hardy his life.
11 – Sabin Sabin just wants his powdered sugar donuts, until he meets a man that tastes better than any sweets Sabin’s ever tried…
12 – Cliff Cliff thinks he’s too tough for love and too mean for a mate, but he has a lot to learn about the way the Fates work.
Snow leopards in Holton, Colorado-who’d have thought it? Yet on the large, sprawling acreage nestled between mountains, a family of snow leopard shifters not only lives but thrives. With little to no information about their past, how they came to be or what they are capable of, these shifters struggle to understand who and what they are.
Held together by the tough and loving matriarch, Grandma Marybeth, Levi and his siblings, along with their cousins, must find their way in the world.
Forgotten truths and familial ties are discovered as the snow leopard men find their mates.

Review

The final box set in the Leopard’s Spots series is all about saving the best for last. Emotions run even higher and the relationships & dynamics between the mates differ more than in the preceding stories, even with the continuing magic of the fated mate pull, which I really liked because it took away a little of the predictability of some of the storylines.

In book 9 we are introduced to two brothers, Nischal and Sabin, who are both imprisoned in their snow leopard form. Nischal is the first to be able to make his escape and he finds himself with a human mate who knows nothing about shifters. That introduction to a new reality was great fun to read. Preston is on a mission to revenge his own brother so he understands how important that bond is and goes all out to help Nischal. I really liked that Preston wasn’t your cliche specimen of physical perfection, but more of a regular Joe.

Book 10 continues in the hometown of our beloved snow leopard’s family with leopard shifter Justice and his human mate, Paul. Paul survived capture and abuse by shifters, and is understandably not overjoyed to find himself drawn to one. Their story holds more hurt/comfort than some of the others in the series, as Paul recovers from his ordeal and learns to trust his mate and newfound shifter family. Beautiful and heartwarming.

Book 11 is about Sabin, Nischal’s brother, who is treated like a helpless, younger brother by Nischal and Preston, in need of guidance and protection, even though he and Nischal are twins. When Sabin finds his mate, Emmett, who isn’t as outwardly cuddly and trustworthy as Nischal would like, tensions run high. Emmett is very much a dark horse and as he finds out more about himself, unexpected danger comes for him and brings a whole new level of challenging threats and ugly revelations.

In the 12th and final book, secretive and scary Cliff finds himself in a vulnerable position, very much in need of help and coming across his own mate, none of which suits him. Opposites attract though and Cliff’s about to find out! I loved his mate so much!! Talk about unexpected! This is definitely my favorite pairing out of the entire series! The only thing I was a bit disappointed by, was that we didn’t get to see more of Emmett and some of the others in this story. I need more closure, or maybe just some more time in this shifter world.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review