Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Love and Linguistics by Tara Lain

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-and-linguistics-by-tara-lain-10895-b

Blurb

In his neighborhood, El Martin stands out, and that can be life threatening. Against the odds, he’s managed to graduate high school and then master IT. Now he’s desperate to get a good job to free his drunken dad and himself from the control of gang leader M2 and the drugs he sells. But with his piercings and his slang-ridden speech, El looks and sounds like a Bronx gangbanger, and potential employers won’t give him a second look. So when El hears about Henry Fairhaven, PhD, linguistics researcher and wealthy New York socialite, El takes his life in his hands to escape from M2 and ends up sleeping in the stairwell at Henry’s building, hoping to learn how to speak.

To Henry, who wants to prove himself as a scholar and not merely a rich dilettante, El isn’t only the most beautiful man he’s ever seen—he’s also the key to getting a paper published on Henry’s ground-breaking linguistics methods before a competitor beats him to the punch. But Henry doesn’t tell El the truth, and El thinks Henry’s helping him because he cares.

El’s dreams collide with Henry’s ambitions at the elegant Met Gala, where El captivates a prince of Silicon Valley. But the real collision comes when M2 tracks El down and Henry has to choose between the validation he craves and a future with the man he’s come to love.

Review

Delightful m/m retelling of My Fair Lady with some darker elements added to the plot, bringing a sense of danger and tension to the story that isn’t there in the original.

El Martin is an amazing character, very driven to make something of himself, hardworking and just the sweetest, unassuming guy underneath the tough boy exterior he’s trying to shed.
Henry is very much the oblivious scholar, too focused on his paper & career to take into account the feelings of actual people like El. He’s quite smug and a bit of a snob, but when he falls in love, he falls hard and it’s easy to forgive him for his imperfections.
I liked how the relationship between El and Henry was written, the misunderstandings and the mutual longing. The secondary characters were great too and it was wonderful to see El gradually making new friends and even a new life for himself.

All in all, an enjoyable, sweet read.

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Mastering the Flames (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer Book 4) by SJ Himes

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42974635-mastering-the-flames?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Guilt-ridden after the massacre of his family, Isaac Salvatore turned to binge drinking to escape the pain. Now twenty-four years old, Isaac is a recovering alcoholic woefully out of practice in the magical arts, leaving his fire affinity hanging on the edge of disaster. After a month of rehab, he returns to Beacon Hill and his family, determined to remain sober, learn to control his magic, and figure out a plan for his life that doesn’t involve drinking.

Constantine Batiste is the oldest, most powerful vampire in the city. Born in ancient Gaul, the bastard son of a Celtic king, his long life has been shrouded in tragedy and horrors. Recent mistakes have left him wary and determined to guard his clan from all foes. When two of his clan members fall victim to an ancient evil, he summons the Necromancer of Boston for aid. Accompanying his older brother to the Tower is the handsome young fire mage once wounded by Constantine’s arrogance, and their encounter reignites an attraction that burns within both Constantine and Isaac.

The answer to who is targeting the vampires of Boston is buried in the dark, early days of Constantine’s transition to an immortal life. Isaac finds himself saddled with a painful insight into the evil cutting a swath through the supernatural population of Boston. While his brother, Angel, takes over the hunt to find and stop the threat to the city, Isaac struggles to find a balance between helping his brother and finding his own purpose and place in the world, free from his brother’s shadow.

Falling in love wasn’t part of his plan, but mastering the flames that burn between him and Constantine soon becomes the most important thing in his life, even as an ancient evil seeks to destroy them.

Review: There are some series that are worth waiting for as long as it takes for the next story. This is one of those series and this book was worth waiting for!
This is not a standalone (and is not meant to be).
The excellent world-building continues – Isaac, Angel’s alcoholic brother, has finished with rehab. He’s still trying to find his purpose and relearning how to use his power – he’s a fire mage – but lack of confidence, self-blame and regret seem to be holding him back. One person he hasn’t forgotten is Constantine, the Boston vampire Master.
Ms. Himes gives us more of Constans, (as he was known in the BCE time period), background and how he became what he is. Constantine’s past is cleverly tied into the current mystery of the present day murders makes the story all the more interesting.
The romance between Isaac and Constantine develops naturally (they had kissed in the previous book), much to Angels’ annoyance. Both Constantine and Isaac work well together, and it’s nice to see them work their way to being a couple.
The story is well researched, well written and an excellent addition to the series; (it may tie as my favourite with book 1). Old friends/family like Angel, Simeon, Eroch, Daniel, Ruari all have prominent roles in the story, without overshadowing the main couple ☺
There is a hint that there may be another Salvatore making an appearance! I can’t wait!!!

4.5 stars out of 5
Reviewer Name: Dee


Copy Purchased for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: From Brussels, With Love by Amy Calirel

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/from-brussels-with-love-by-emy-calirel-10834-b

Blurb

Dispirited after a recent breakup, Irish project manager Trevor is guilted into a trip to Brussels with his best friend. A chance meeting with cute and funny tour guide Jerome turns into a weekend of sex and friendship. Forgetting his phone at Jerome’s apartment shifts their fling into a long-distance relationship held together by postcards, texts, and stolen weekends. But distance isn’t the only thing keeping them apart—Trevor is a workaholic who values his success, while artistic Jerome is carefree but insecure.

Starting a life together means facing major challenges, but the loving words they’ve shared build a bridge across the sea—one that might let them meet in the middle.

Review

This was an okay read, but I think both the characters and the plot could have been a little better developed. I didn’t feel the magic between the MC’s and their romance fell a bit flat for me. A couple of weekends don’t a relationship make. Their annoyances and differences are glossed over, allowed to fester and throw a wrench into things at far too late a stage in the story. Some of the writing also felt too over the top, with overly dramatic, cliché plots and reactions from the MC’s and even sometimes from the secondary characters.

I’m from Belgium so I was curious to see how the author would incorporate Brussels/Belgium into the story, but unfortunately I didn’t get much of a Belgian feel from either the setting or the Belgian characters, apart from a little name-dropping of touristy places and a little bit of French thrown in. The setting didn’t feel authentic to me.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Game Changer (Game Changers #1) by Rachel Reid Narrated by Tor Thom

audiobookreview

Audible:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Game-Changer-Audiobook/1541431626?qid=1572134542&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=7TJ5WG0S76CGPFKH47C1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb

New York Admirals captain Scott Hunter takes his pregame rituals very seriously. In this case, it’s not just a lucky smoothie he’s craving—it’s the man who made it.

Pro hockey star Scott Hunter knows a good thing when he sees it. So, when a smoothie made by juice bar barista Kip Grady precedes Scott breaking his on-ice slump, he’s desperate to recreate the magic…and to get to know the sexy, funny guy behind the counter.

Kip knew there was more to Scott’s frequent visits than blended fruit, but he never let himself imagine being invited back to Scott’s penthouse. Or kissed with reckless abandon, never mind touched everywhere all at once. When it happens it’s red-hot, incredible and frequent, but also only on Scott’s terms and always behind his closed apartment doors.

Scott needs Kip in his life, but with playoff season approaching, the spotlight on him is suddenly brighter than ever. He can’t afford to do anything that might derail his career…like introducing the world to his boyfriend. Kip is ready to go all-in with Scott—but how much longer will he have to remain a secret?

Review

First I want to say “How did I miss this when it first came out????”
I’m a huge hockey fan and I’ll tell you I get really annoyed when authors don’t know the sport or do a crummy job integrating the sport with the romance.

Rachel Reid does neither.

I read book 2 first, because that’s what I’d requested but I immediately turned around and read this because it was that good!

I can’t say if this one or that one is better because they are so different.

In this we have a “good boy” but closeted and another pretty “good boy” but out who meet. Kip has no real knowledge of hockey and doesn’t even recognize Scott as the star he is.

The author does a terrific job of giving us the regular NHL cities with probable NHL teams with different names. It allows her to lean on our own knowledge of the city and the fan base and the experience without having to infringe on rights or create an alternate world.

I was very impressed by this and her knowledge of the sport.

The romance is really sweet with some smokin’ hot smexy times and the sweetest HEA ever!

I really can’t say enough about this!

If you like Cinderfella stories, hockey, sports romances, coming out stories and sweet love stories – this is for you!

 

Audio

 

Tor Thom did a fantastic job with this.  He has a lovely deep voice and really tries hard to give all the characters a unique voice to match their persona.  He’s a relatively new narrator (to me) but I’ll definitely keep him on my radar for the future!  Recommended!

5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: First Impressions by Jay Hogan

Dreamspinner

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/first-impressions-by-jay-hogan-10864-b

Blurb:
Auckland Med.: Book One
Michael:

Two years ago I made a mistake—a big one. Then I added a couple more just for good measure. I screwed up my life, but I survived. Now I have the opportunity for a fresh start. Two years in NZ. Away from the LA gossip, a chance to breathe, to rebuild my life. But I’m taking my new set of rules with me.

I don’t do relationships.
I don’t do commitment.
I don’t do white picket fences.

And I especially don’t do arrogant, holier-than-thou, smoking-hot K9 officers who walk into my ER and rock my world.

Josh:

One thing’s for certain: Dr. Michael Oliver is an arrogant, untrustworthy player, and I barely survived the last one of those. He might be gorgeous, but my daughter takes number-one priority. I won’t risk her being hurt again. I’m a solo dad, a K9 cop, and a son to pain-in-the-arse parents.

I don’t have time for games.

I don’t have time for taking chances. I don’t have time for more complications in my life.
And I sure as hell don’t have time for the infuriating Dr. Michael Oliver, however damn sexy he is

Review

Enjoyable enemies-to-lovers story with a bit of suspense.
Josh is a policeman with a young daughter. He’s estranged from his family except for his sister. Michael is a trauma doctor who seems to be under a bit of stress.
Both men are polar opposites – Josh is the relationship type, Michael, not so much. The first few times they meet, they are definitely not impressed with each other. Josh comes off as an arrogant, somewhat judgy person, Michael decides he’s going to needle Josh any way he can.
Their relationship evolves from antagonistic to a more passionate relationship, especially when each man decides to accept the other as is. There is a bit of a separation (which I didn’t like – hate the non-communication plot).
The other supporting characters, including Josh’s daughter are also well written.
The crime/mystery sub-plot is interesting – we get to see another side to New Zealand that’s not shown on travel shows ☺ Throw in Josh’s homophobic family and there is more than enough to keep one engaged in the story.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Surrender the Chase (Grizzly Rim #2) by Mia West

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47169173-surrender-the-chase?from_search=true

Blurb

Coming Oct 7, 2019: Expanded Novel Edition!

For wolf shifter Dmitri Sernov, life bites.

His late-night hunts leave him winded, the twelfth rewrite of his novel is crap, and his last good lay was five drafts ago. He’s staring down forty with a creative well as empty as his bed.

The last thing he needs is a beautiful, intimidating, obnoxious pup bent on exposing Dmitri’s underbelly…

…and everything else that’s gone soft.

Thierry Marrou has burned every bridge from Montréal to Juneau.

Once a prospect for Canada’s Olympic hockey team, he’s just been kicked off a piddling local squad in Nowhere, Alaska.

But one whiff of the silver wolf on the opposing bench was enough to confirm that the dreams drawing Thierry across a continent have a very real source.

Now all he has to do is convince Dmitri Sernov to be his alpha. Très simple, non?

SURRENDER THE CHASE is the 2nd standalone novel in the GRIZZLY RIM m/m shifter series. Lace up for pheromone-charged hockey, dirty French lessons, a grumpy hero who thinks he’s past his prime, and a pushy young hothead determined to prove him wrong.

 

Originally published in 2015 & 2016 as novellas, the GRIZZLY RIM novel editions have been extensively revised and expanded for republication in 2019.

Review
(Previous novella)

In book one we met this amazing little town in Alaska where some unique shifters and a few humans live. Dmitri is a wolf shifter with a reputation as a slut, but conversely he’s a bit of a lone-wolf, too. He’s older, a bit gruff, and if you get to know him, a lot insecure.

Thierry is a flighty, flirty, fast-playing hockey player who finds himself “compelled” by dreams to find a man, Dmitri. He trusts his gut above all else and his gut tells him he needs to meet Dmitri, but it doesn’t tell him what to do next.
At first, beyond the initial attraction, there is doubt on both sides. Dmitri can’t trust that this beautiful, young, stranger has been having dreams about him. Thierry is also not sure what to make of these dreams and though he finds Dmitri fascinating and sexy he doesn’t know if he can make himself stay put when clearly Dmitri is a stay-put kind of guy.

**

Mia is an amazing author! I absolutely adore this series! I reviewed the first book, Launch the Hunt here: http://kimichanexperience.com/launch-the-hunt-grizzly-rim-1-by-mia-west/

I couldn’t wait for book two and it was worth the wait!

Mia’s writing is so fluid and effortless (though I’m sure she’d say it takes work, if Dmitri is any example!) that the reading of this story is so easy. I was expecting a story similar to book one and got none of that, but it was not a disappointment at all. Dmitri and Thierry have a very different story to tell. They still have that element of magic that connects them, but at their core they have this very human relationship story first.

Dmitri is getting older and doubting his attractiveness and purpose in the world. Thierry is still young, but also has questions about his purpose and future. I LOVED that both Dmitri and Thierry called Thierry’s mom for advice! So. Funny! Her little side story is interesting in it’s own right and I’m wondering/hoping she becomes a continual secondary character.

The use of French and Thierry’s adamant, “I’m not French I’m Quebecois!” was wonderful. So beautiful and touching then funny and heart-warming at the same time.

My heart absolutely ached for both of these guys and I’m always impressed with shifter stories who use the animal part as much as the human part to create their characters and their motivations. It was hysterical that Thierry’s mom asked him about his fur and skin and was he hunting enough! So cute!

The smexy times are very sensuous but also REAL feeling and authentic. Dmitri is older and nervous and that shows!

I can’t wait for book 3, I loved this as much as book 1 and can’t recommend it enough.

(re-read and 2nd edition)

I can see that there were some additional scenes – more hockey, more parental involvement- maybe some more romance building?

All in all I think both the longer story and the novella are good and I couldn’t really say I appreciated a lot of difference.

I still enjoyed these two characters a lot and I guess I felt a little bit more of their HEA with the novel than the novella.

Recommended!

(I liked the original cover better 🙂   )

4.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Suckerpunch (Hockey Gods and Monsters #1) by Elyse Springer

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/suckerpunch-by-elyse-springer-10800-b

Blurb

A rookie goalie with a secret and a handsome yet hotheaded defenseman clash in the locker room and on the ice—but their shared desire to make the playoffs might help them move from enemies to lovers.

When the goalie for the Seattle Cascades hockey team is injured while drunk driving and Alex Fanning is recruited to take his place, Alex thinks his dream has come true. But to hold on to his hopes, he must keep his vampire heritage secret as the sport moves to ban Paranormals. The sexy but infuriating defenseman Sasha Petrov won’t make that easy. The injured goalie was his best friend, and he resents Alex’s presence—maybe even enough to use his bloodline against him.

Tensions mount, but the realization that there’s more to their feelings than animosity hits both men like a punch to the gut. Alex and Sasha’s newfound friendship promises passion, but a shocking betrayal could cost them all the ground they’ve gained

Review

This was so much fun! It was great hockey with lots of authentic information that illustrated the author’s knowledge of the sport. It had a compelling alt universe that demonstrated a layer of bigotry that can be used to illustrate any number of biases that are surely occurring in the sport (and in our nation).

The romance was so sweet – slow burn, full of miscommunication and sexual tension.

I loved the HEA and I really hope this is the beginning of a long series because I can’t wait to see more from this world!

Recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: The Dragon CEO’s Assistant (Golden Kingdom #2) by Jenn Burke

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-dragon-ceos-assistant-by-jenn-burke-10855-b

Blurb
The heart remembers.

When Aidan Bishop staggers out of the woods, naked and suffering from amnesia, he needs to relearn who he is and where he fits in the world.

His boss, nearly five-hundred-year-old dragon Nassim, head of a successful tech company, hurries to claim his wayward assistant and guide him back into the life he disappeared from. As they get to know each other again, Aidan wonders if their relationship went deeper than employer and employee. But Nassim isn’t telling, and Aidan has a secret of his own… even if he doesn’t know it yet.

Review

I’ve always been a great fan of the amnesia trope, and this one was really well-written. The author had a couple of surprises up her sleeve and I really liked how she built up the mystery surrounding Aiden and Nassim. Aiden especially is quite the dark horse. There’s a trail of crumbs to (mis)direct the reader, which was a lot of fun to search out, trying to connect the dots. As the story built, so did unexpected outside threats to Aiden and Nassim, bringing a new level of tension and suspense to the story.

I’d have liked to have seen a bit more passion and romance between the main couple, but I still very much enjoyed their story. Both MC’s are complex, well-rounded characters and the strength of their bond and emotional connection shone through beautifully. Though this is a shifter story set within a fated mates universe, the mating here involves a degree of conscious choice that is usually lacking in this trope and that made for a nice change.

I loved the world and secondary characters the author created. The interactions between the MC’s and Nassim’s family and co-workers, as well as with the Gryphon court, were a delight and very heartwarming at times.

This was a great read that has definitely left me curious to see what’s next in this series.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Drawing the Prince (Stars from Peril #3) by Kim Fielding

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/drawing-the-prince-by-kim-fielding-10806-b

Blurb

Painting themselves a life together will be a royal ordeal.

Small-town boy Cal Walters doesn’t know whether he owes his phenomenal success as an artist to talent or to his connections to famous people. Doubt leaves him secluded—until a lost bet lands him on yet another blind date. But this one is different.

To Teofilo Vabriga-Kastav, playboy prince of the tiny nation of Porvunia and passionate art lover, Cal’s paintings are as intriguing as Cal himself. When Teo invites Cal to his country for an art competition, a whirlwind romance sweeps them up. But it can’t last—loyalties and obligations bind them to lives that are worlds apart.<

Cal and Teo might’ve found their perfect complements in each other, but to hold on to their happiness, they’ll have to get creative.

Review
This was an easy, quick read where our artistic Cinderfella gets his prince, is not saddled up with a stepfamily, horrible or otherwise, and goes on to live the dream in a slightly oversweet HEA.

I’ll confess that I’d hoped for a bit more tension and emotional depth in the story. I liked the book fine until it neared its ending and the MC’s came to the final hurdle to overcome, where things went a little downhill for me. The obstacles Teo and Cal ultimately faced shouldn’t have been as insurmountable as they made them out to be, which made me feel at least one of them wasn’t completely committed. I wasn’t impressed with the solution the author came up with either, which felt more than a little implausible, even for a book with a made-up country and royal family. I also didn’t entirely understand what initially caused Teo and Cal to be so drawn to each other, with Teo especially going out of his way to win Cal over.

The story had its moments though and will certainly do great for someone in the mood for something romantic and mushy to dream away by.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: I’ve Got This by Louisa Masters

Dreamspinner

Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ive-got-this-by-louisa-masters-10788-b

Blurb:
A Joy Universe Novel

Derek Bryer loves his life. His job as an assistant director at Joy Universe, the second-largest theme park complex on the planet, makes him indirectly responsible for bringing joy (pun intended) to millions of people. So what if none of his relationships are that close? Everyone he meets loves him.
Except Trav Jones. For some reason, the visiting Broadway performer would rather Derek just go away. He appreciates Derek’s work ethic, though, and after Trav steps up when Derek desperately needs someone to fill in for his sick staff, Derek seizes the chance to convince Trav he’s not such a bad guy.

Falling in love while distracted by a murder at the park, food poisoning, and colleagues placing bets on their relationship won’t be easy, but between the two of them and with the magic of Joy Universe, they’ve got this.

Review: I loved Derek and his running commentary on things going on in his life and around him. He had a slyly snarky tone which made the overall story fun to read. The story is also told from Trav’s POV, so we get to understand why he’s the way he is.
Derek is somewhat of a workaholic, driven to excel at his job. He’s well-liked by all, so he’s pretty shocked when he meets one person who doesn’t (like him). On top of that, there’s a murder to solve and half the entertainment at the resort have fallen ill.
Trav is not impressed by Derek –at all ☺ But when Derek needs help, he offers his services and helps Derek out of a bind. As both men work together, they get to know each other – Derek loosens up about being work-driven and Trav learns to trust Derek.

This is a really good story with nicely developed characters, the humour (Derek ‘talks’ to the reader, breaking the 4th or 5th wall (I forget!)) and some description of the inner workings of a theme park. I would have like a bit more about the murder as an ongoing thread through the story, but as a romance, this was a really good story! I hope Dimi, (the PA), gets a story – I liked him ☺

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review