Audiobook: His Consort by Mary Calmes Narrated by Scott Smith

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-consort-by-mary-calmes-9995-b

Blurb
A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: his quaint little store attracts a devoted staff and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He’s perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying… and utterly mesmerizing.

The prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, is visiting New Orleans when he finds out the man who once helped his counselor is there in the Quarter. He thinks to simply meet and thank Jason—until he lays eyes on him. Varic’s devoted himself to protect the honor of his race, and he’s never wanted a mate before… but he immediately knows he must have this man, and no one else will do.

Varic may want to bring Jason safely into his world, but someone who doesn’t like the human’s soothing influence on vampyrs has deadly plans that would disrupt Varic’s dreams. Now, unable to tell friend from foe, Jason finds himself wondering how to hold on to the prince’s heart when he’s fighting for his life.

Review by Karen (book reviewed here previously)

I don’t think anyone can bring the soulmate/fated mate vibe to a story as well as Mary Calmes can. There’s no doubting the all-encompassing, blissful feelings that well up between Jason and Varic. I loved that they are so drawn to each other from the first, but even more that it’s not just about chemistry or power, but true love and appreciation of the other person that makes them so strong together.

I’m impressed by the amount of detail that went into the world-building and the setting of this story, bringing into it such history and a great cast of secondary characters. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in a follow-up story! We get to know Jason really well from the first, whereas our prince remains far more enigmatic. It takes a while for him to make an appearance “on page”. The author sure understands how to build up anticipation!

Jason is an incredibly endearing hero, strong and capable, but with a soft heart underneath. Varic, he who has it all and has had it for what seems like an eternity, needs to swiftly adjust to what it means to have a modern-day man for a mate, and how vulnerable that makes him feel. It’s not as easy as he might have expected, but his devotion to Jason never wavers.

The story is excellently paced with various vampyr political intrigues to muddy the waters for our heroes. Danger lurks in unexpected places and it’s hard to know who to trust. I didn’t see the threat coming at all! It was brilliant! Though less so for our MC’s, of course…

This was such an enjoyable read, I was totally swept away by it. It was all so intense! Loved it!

Number of stars out of 5: 5

Audiobook Review by Morgan

Well- let’s just say that I wasn’t as enthralled by the story as Karen was. I’ve been a big fan of Mary’s in the past and have really enjoyed her paranormal stories as well as some of her contemporary romances. Lately I’ve been re-visiting them and I think that while I still quite enjoy them – I maybe don’t love them like I used to.

This story kind of exemplifies the good and the bad in a Calmes story. She’s amazing at world building and not afraid to use terms and words that are unique. These can totally make the reader feel like they’re reading about something real or historical or otherworldly because it’s so complex and thorough and well-documented. However, the odd names sometimes feel bulky and as a reader I sometimes faltered over them. As a listener it was certainly made more easy but it still brought me out of the story and that isn’t a good thing.

Another Calmes trait is her clueless “aww shucks, who me?” MC that everyone adores and yet never knows his own worth. On one hand I really love that guy, on the other the repetitive nature of this guy has grown a bit tired. His counterpart – the more aggressive/kinetic/powerful MC is also a familiar face and in this case I never warmed to Varic at all. He wasn’t nearly as much of the story as Jason and I never got to see the two fall in love or really to understand why they did (unless it was a vague paranormal mate/consort thing that they couldn’t control – it was confusing.)

The secondary characters in Calme’s stories are always fun and well developed and they were here as well. I was just not that enthralled by them as I had been in some of her other books – probably because they were expected.

Just as I felt with her Change of Heart series – I think the world building was too much and the violence was OTT and the relationship rushed and non-romantic.

I’m afraid I’d give this a 2 of 3 stars and I can’t really recommend it.

As for the Audio –

Well – Scott Smith is one of those guys – I can’t say I like him but I tolerate him and he’s easy enough to listen to. He definitely tries with the accents and he tries to say all those new words well – but he’s still not great at pacing or emphasis or non-dialog passages.

I’d give him a 3 of 5 stars.

Overall 2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Coming Soon! Making it Better by Lyss Em

January 21

Blurb
“You still mess me up after all this time, Luc.”
“Not my problem.”

Court’s forceful brand of dominance pushes Lucan’s buttons like nothing else, but he can’t forget how badly Court hurt him in the past. Their romance six years ago was heady, intense, and sizzling—and left Lucan with deep emotional scars. When he runs into Court at a fetish party, the spark is still there. But so is the pain.

For Court, Lucan is the mindfuck he never got over. He still doesn’t know why Lucan ended things, and when he sees Lucan in the flesh again, the desperate need to dominate comes rushing back. Court would do anything to have a second chance, but he won’t let Lucan mess with his head and break his heart again. Or so he tells himself.

“I’ll do it all right for you this time if you just teach me.”

When Lucan agrees to show Court how to be a good Dom, the two headstrong men toe a delicate line between restraint and uncontrolled passion. Will the same sick love that consumed their past destroy their future?

Making It Better is a standalone enemies to lovers, second chance, contemporary, BDSM romance with an HEA ending.

Review
My first thought starting this book was that Lucan and Court just don’t listen to each other. This is either going to be great or repetitive. Well I thought it was great. It’s not the kind of second chance story where they meet again and all their previous issues disappear. No, both Lucan and Court have to work at making it right. Lucan confronts his insecurities and comes to terms with the nature of his kink. Court has to understand where things went wrong the first time they were together. The journey they go on and the trust they build makes a great story. not to forget the kinks. The BDSM is very well handled and shows a good view of safe sane and consensual. There is a level of violence within some of the play and blood play which may be a trigger for some.

4.5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Coming Soon! Cash by Garrett Leigh

January 22!

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43188699-cash?from_search=tru

Blurb
Cash is a car mechanic with a secret. Head down, sleeves up, he hides from the past as much as his shattered heart, until a reluctant stumble into a Tottenham bar ends in the one night stand of his dreams.

Hunt saboteur Rae can’t believe his luck when he wakes up the next morning. Cash is gorgeous, and the hottest hook up he’s ever had. He doesn’t expect to see him again, until a twist of fate lands him on Cash’s doorstep a few months later.

United by a cause that’s broken Cash before, they are drawn together. They have more in common than they ever imagined, but with Cash haunted by the past, and Rae so tangled in the present, it’s not long before love isn’t enough to keep them alive.

Review
I wouldn’t say this was a romance story more a statement story, if there is such a thing. The emphasis is on fox hunting and the lengths the saboteurs go to to prevent foxes being harmed. I’ve never really known much about the hunt or that despite being illegal now it still goes on. Although it doesn’t surprise me. I did feel a bit conflicted in thatI don’t agree with the actions on either side but as part of this story it works so well. Rae and Cash’s relationship is complicated. Cash’s past is troubling him and makes it a rocky journey for them. Rae is caught up in his life with the saboteurs that he is single minded. The angst ebbs and flows throughout the story which kept me hooked. I wanted to know if they were going to have a chance. I was happy with the happy for now ending. It feels right.
I didn’t realise there was a previous book, Lucky, Lucky and Dom’s story. I am intrigued by them. I am also interested in the next book Jude.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Whiskey and Moonshine by Elizabeth Noble

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/whiskey-and-moonshine-by-elizabeth-noble-10086-b

Blurb

Drunk on love.

Like a well-aged whiskey, master distiller and old-money entrepreneur Malone Kensington is elegant and refined. Unfortunately he’s also a perfectionist who is more dedicated to the success of his generations-old company than his own love life.

That company needs a public spokesman.

What Colton Hale lacks in sophistication, he more than makes up for with the charisma that’s allowed him to survive on the street from a young age and charm his way into the lucrative—if overwhelming—public position at the Kensington Distillery. When Mal takes Colt under his wing, hoping to polish off his rough edges, opposites attract and a passionate romance blossoms despite the differences in age and background. But can it survive a Kensington Board of Directors who believe Colt is nothing but a gold digger and a kidnapper determined to profit from the love of Mal’s life—dead or alive?

Review

This is a quick and light read with a decent basic premise, enjoyable enough though the execution was somewhat lacking for me. The author had a whole bag of tricks at her disposal (boss/employee, cinderfella vibe, crime plot, potential for hurt/comfort, May/December), but I still didn’t really feel the magic between this couple.

Colt goes from a life on the streets to a successful career as spokesman, even making it onto a well-known tv-show, with incredible ease. He’s definitely the more interesting of the two MC’s and has some great scenes, especially in the beginning when he hasn’t shed all his conman ways yet. His honesty about his past is one of his redeeming features. Mal is a successful businessman, but not a great talker. And apparently his company is in great need of someone who can appear, and speak, in public. Enter Colt.

It’s basically an insta-love story, but I remained a little unconvinced by the tepid attraction between Mal and Colt and little happened to make me believe in deeper feelings than lust. Both MC’s were at times immature and hasty in their judgment of each other, the good and the bad. I could have done without some of the more theatrical, emotional outbursts. I especially didn’t care for Mal’s cavalier and irresponsible attitude towards potentially breaking contracts, his own financial security and even more importantly, that of his company’s employees whose livelihoods depend on him making clear-headed choices. Most of the things that bugged me about Mal were intended to show his romantic devotion to Colt, I think, but made a wholly different impression on me.

Mal loses himself too much in his infatuation with Colt, which turns into love at breakneck speed. There’s no obstacle that he can’t “break” or explain away. I’d have more easily believed in the strength of his love for Colt, if the obstacles in their path, like Colt’s unsavory past, had actually held any weight for Mal… if they’d made him pause, even for the slightest moment. But there is no doubt in his mind at any point, not even when they barely know each other. And I feel as if by the end of the book, they still do not know each other all that well, which made the eventual HEA rather unsatisfactory for me.

Number of stars out of 5: 3

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Is It Over Yet? by L.A. Witt

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43184087-is-it-over-yet?from_search=true

Blurb

Rhys Powell and Derek Scott are divorcing. Mistakes have been made, lines have been crossed, and there’s no going back. Both men are exhausted and ready to move on.

But their daughter is getting married soon. In the name of not putting a damper on her wedding, Derek and Rhys agree to keep the divorce on the down-low and show up as the happy couple everyone still believes they are.

And between a roller coaster of a road trip and the love and joy surrounding the wedding… Derek and Rhys just might remember why they fell for each other in the first place.

Are they only kidding themselves? Or can a rekindled spark really light the way to forgiveness?

Review

This was a difficult book to get through. Not because it was bad, because it wasn’t. It is actually a very good story but the anguish the two men, Rhys and Derek are going through just ripped through me. The couple have decided to end their marriage after one of the men cheated, but when their daughter’s wedding approaches they decided to try to pretend that everything between them is ok. The forced proximity of the drive to the wedding and the wedding itself really brings things into focus for both men.

The cheating occurs before the book starts and is only mentioned in conversations. The character who cheated, didn’t try to hide what he did but came clean right away. He doesn’t excuse what he did and readily accepts all the anger that is flung his way. It’s obvious to the reader that Rhys and Derek still love each other but there is so much anger still lingering between the two. The real question through the whole book is “is love enough”?

5 Stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Playing The Point by Ashley K. Broome

 

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36113607-playing-the-point?from_search=true

Blurb

In hockey getting traded was never easy. Henny knew his trade was coming but he wasn’t prepared to go from the Seattle Thunder to playing for what used to be his biggest rivals on ice, the Dakota Crusaders.
He planned to hide everything about himself that prompted the trade. With the preseason over and the regular season in full swing, Henny can only hope that the Crusaders will think he’s worth what they paid for him.
He wasn’t expecting the current captain of the Crusaders, Matthew Doherty to look past his former team and welcome him onto the team. The way they clicked on ice and how the entire team worked together made the trade easier. Now if he could stop starring at Doherty and focus on hockey, that would be great. He didn’t need a repeat of what happened in Seattle. He just wanted to play hockey.

Review

This is a fun hockey series. It’s got a lot of hockey feel to it with some medium steam romance and a lovely HEA.

I think this would be better as a short story – it would carry more punch – but it was an easy read and I was engaged throughout most of it.

I really hope the author gets an editor who can help them with the basic writing and some grammatical errors as there is a lot of potential there but the flow is a little ragged and there were some pretty obvious typos and other mistakes.

I’ve enjoyed reading from this new author and look forward to more from them.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Oil and Water (The Wildcatters Book 1) by B.A. Tortuga

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/oil-and-water-by-ba-tortuga-10084-b

Blurb

Oilman Max inherits a passel of trouble when his boss passes away, leaving him a house in England and a heck of a lot of money. He’s thinking London is the worst place on earth… until he meets Morgan.

Colorful, carefree, and a little crazy, Morgan is just what Max needs, and the two set out on the adventure of a lifetime, chasing pleasure wherever it takes them, learning that together they can make anything fun… and sexy.

Too bad reality has to set in, and Morgan’s multimillionaire father has a lot to say about what reality looks like. Will their different worlds conspire to separate them like oil and water?

Review

This was different from what I’m used to reading. The writing style is very distinct, bringing to mind stream of consciousness a bit. It’s a well-written story, but the pace was a tad too slow and meandering for me.

Our main characters, Max and Morgan, hit it off almost instantly and spend the biggest part of the book happily making out on what seems like one long extended vacation, going to various exotic locations. Money is no object for either man, so no pesky roadblocks from something like reality or work. It was a bit difficult for me to believe in the strength of their connection, because they were so constantly removed from anything real. When it’s all fun and games, how do you go from infatuation to a deeper emotion like love?

They do have one big threat to overcome, Morgan’s dad. Who seems to come straight out of the 19th century with his Bedlam antics and makes Mr. Rochester seem like a benevolent angel for only keeping his mad wife locked up in the attic. This part felt a bit contrived to me, but what was good about it, is that it tested both men’s feelings and their determination to be together.
This is Max’s moment to shine and he takes it.

I found myself losing interest a bit in the middle of the story, but the final chapters caught my attention again and I liked how the author wrapped things up. With a perfect stand-in for the proverbial bow.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

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

Recent Release: Chance at the Impossible (The Men of Canter’s Handyman #2) by J.M. Dabney

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43329992-chance-at-the-impossible

Blurb
Brent Canter lived forty-seven years content with his life to have it all disappear with one life-threatening diagnosis. Cancer without hope of survival, yet he’d beat the odds. He had a successful business and a family he loved, yet he was missing something. That something was an adorable, younger man, and he didn’t know what to do.

Miller Andrews loves the silver fox, Brent Canter. The older man is everything he’d wanted in a partner. Brent was smart, caring, affectionate, and sexy. He is damn near perfect. When he needed a favor, Brent was the only person he thought to ask.

Can one pretend kiss turn into the love of a lifetime for a man who thinks he only screws up and the other who questions if he can have a second chance at love with a younger man?

Review

This is a daddy kink book and I just wasn’t into it.

There was a lot of potential – sweet older guy who is befriended by his son’s friend while recovering from cancer – but it doesn’t always feel good and sometimes feels a little too much like a real father and son – to me.

I didn’t like how delicate Miller was and the chemistry just didn’t feel right.

Normally I’m a big fan but this was a miss for me.

2.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for 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