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Recent Release: A Dance Too Far by H. L. Day

Good Reads

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44027062-a-dance-too-far?from_search=true

Blurb: Valentin Bychkov, rising star of contemporary Russian ballet, appears to have everything: wealth, talent, success, and a face and body to match. Not that anyone can get close. Bypass the entourage and there’s still Valentin’s sharp tongue and acerbic wit to deal with. He may give his body freely, but his emotions are kept tightly locked away.
Max Farley’s life is a simple one. All he’s interested in is work, drinking, and picking up the latest in a long line of one-night stands. The way he chooses to live may not be to everyone’s taste but it suits him down to the ground. He’s never met anyone who’s made him want to confront the demons from his past. Until now.

A show in London brings the two together. Lust brings them closer still. But if rumors of Bratva connections turn out to be true, then dangerous men wait in the wings. One dangerous man in particular, who’s used to people following his orders without question.
Difficult choices need to be made on both sides. Valentin and Max need to stop playing with fire and let each other go, or face the consequences. But letting go isn’t that easy where love is concerned.

And some things are worth the risk.

Warning: This book contains a snarky ballet dancer with an aversion to clothes, a little too much wall sex and an overabundance of Russian heavies.

Review: Overall, a good romantic suspense story, but for some reason I didn’t really warm to either Max or Valentin. Max was a bit of a ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’ type, but without the charm; Valentin was a cold, haughty type, also a bit charmless. I think I may have (unfairly) compared this book to previous H.L. Day books where the MC’s are a bit more fun.
Anyway, back to this book. It’s well written with glimpses into the ballet world and a bit of mafia mayhem (Russian) thrown in. The prose is engaging, and I did enjoy the wit and banter between the characters. Max’s backstory was a little disturbing, and frankly I wasn’t sure about the whole affair with the teacher when he was underage. But it did explain he was wired to not do relationships.
I think I was expecting a lighter, more humourous story – that is on me. It’s a good story and anyone looking for complex characters a hard fought HEA will love this book.

3.75 stars out of 5


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Recent Release: Hell to Pay (Hellhound Champions #2) by Macy Blake

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44153603-hell-to-pay

Blurb

As a hellhound beta, Solomon has no complaints. Life is fine. His pack and his goddess-given duties as a protector of the human realm are enough. So what if he’s a little bored and a smidge lonely? Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. When his alpha’s mate suggests he pull his head out of his ass where one of their human pack mates is concerned, Sol cooks up a scheme to break through the wall between him and Cody, but it comes at the worst possible time.

Cody is convinced the bar he works in is run by a group of elite mob enforcers. Nothing else makes sense. The funny thing is: he doesn’t care. They treat him well and he’s come to consider them family, but like any family, there’s always someone who stirs up trouble. For Cody, that’s Solomon, the bouncer who is constantly glaring at him from the back of the bar. Something is going on, but Cody has a new distraction in the form of an anonymous online lover who knows how to push all the right buttons.

A magical attack causes havoc for their pack, dragging Cody into a world he didn’t know existed. His new family is involved in a much more dangerous life than he could ever have imagined. Hellhounds and humans must join together to stop a terrifying creature hell bent on raining destruction down on them. Solomon and Cody must step up and fulfill their destinies, or risk losing the one thing they desire most: each other.

Review

I was waiting for this book! It (mostly) didn’t disappoint.

The pairing isn’t exactly Fated Mates, so that was less appealing – but that’s about all. There is a lovely May/December feel to this, with a lot of hot smexy times and some very sweet feelz and Growls (lol)!

This didn’t have the same resonance as book 1, not as big of a pay off, if you will, but it was still really good.

If you enjoyed book 1 I’d recommend this too. I think you could read it as a standalone but it’s full of characters from book 1 and from the other series as well so I think it’s better read in a series.

4 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

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Retro Review: Game Changer (Game Changers #1) by Rachel Reid

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40601927-game-changer?ac=1&from_search=true

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!

5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

(tomorrow I review book 2!)

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Recent Release: In Safe Hands by Victoria Sue

Dreamspinner

Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/searchresults?q=victoria+sue

Blurb: Former helicopter pilot Maverick Delgardo’s injuries ended his Air Force career, leaving him bitter and one drink away from becoming an alcoholic. When his sister asks for his help on a private protection case to babysit a disgraced pop star, Mav reluctantly agrees.
Deacon Daniels, onetime lead singer and idol to his teenage fans, saw his career and reputation ruined when a reporter’s exposé led to a devastating scandal. Without money or a job, a heartbroken Deacon has lost custody of his baby niece. And just when he thinks his life can’t get any worse, a stalker’s threatening messages escalate to murder.
Mav only agreed to one meeting, but his protective instincts kick in, along with an attraction to Deacon. When the body count increases, however, Mav is unsure he is up to the task of protecting Deacon from a killer. But it is too late for Mav to step away, now that he’s lost his heart, and he must find the strength to reassure Deacon and his niece that they are in safe hands no matter the cost.

Review: This is a really good romantic suspense story. I really enjoyed it, especially the fact that I didn’t guess the killer until Mav did.
Mav, ex-military, disabled, bitter and one drink away from becoming an alcoholic – not the most lovable character, right? Wrong – underneath he’s really a good guy who doesn’t know how to handle not being a ‘complete’ man. Once he has a purpose, protecting Deacon, he finds himself. What I liked about his character is that he doesn’t become an ‘Alpha male’ once he gains more confidence – he still worries that he can’t protect Deacon, he worries about dropping Molly; but he does become a stronger person knowing that he can make a difference.
Deacon, he was so nice! I felt bad for all the things that had happened to him, and his horror of a mum! Yikes! But he persevered, didn’t really let life beat him down. He and Mav made a good couple. I enjoyed how their tentative attraction naturally progressed to something more – it’s a sweet romance with none of the cold/hot that could easily be added for ‘tension’. I really appreciated that ☺
The murder/mystery was really good – I liked reading from the murderer’s perspective as well.
Overall, a really good story!

4.5 stars out of 5


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adult - 18+

Recent Release: Rapid Response (Hearts and Health #8) by D.J. Jamison

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44143237-rapid-response?from_search=true

Blurb

A confused straight guy and a gay hookup artist walk into a bar …

Firefighter Sean Connolly is straight — until one impulsive night changes everything. He tries to dismiss it as a fluke, but when a fire rescue leads him back to the guy who blew his mind, he’s thrown into a chaos of confusion and want. He gives in to curiosity, exploring a new side to himself — not just his attraction to a man, but his desperate need to please.

Paramedic Jace Gillespie is a hookup pro, never letting anyone get too close. When he meets Sean, though, he feels a connection right away. An ill-advised threesome seems to kill a friendship in the making, but when they’re thrown together by work, it doesn’t take long for passion to reignite. Sean calls to something in Jace he never knew was there, and together, they explore a dynamic that fulfills them both.

But as feelings deepen, doubts surface. Sean is in the closet, and Jace struggles to trust his promise that it won’t last forever. With family conflict and his career in the balance, Sean finds it difficult to picture his life without secrecy, but if he doesn’t find a way, he may lose the one person he most wants to please.

Review

This is a really wonderful OFY romance with a delicious dose of the required angst for this trope, but it’s also very moving and filled with deeper emotions. The story is written with D.J. Jamison’s typical sweet and light touch, and has a lot of humor and heartwarming moments in it. Although she doesn’t make it easy for Jace and Sean to find their HEA and there’s sadness and dark times for them to overcome, still it’s always done with a delicate touch and she never errs to the melodramatic side.

There were a couple of cringeworthy moments for our MC’s to endure, that I barely even dared to read, those are so not my cup of tea because I tend to empathize too much with the characters. I could have done without the threesome scene in the beginning, where Jace’s friend, Lena , especially rubbed me the wrong way, both during and after. I found her difficult to like and not at all a good friend to Jace in the aftermath of that particular debacle. Awkward beginnings aside, I really enjoyed Jace and Sean’s story.

I loved the surprising dynamic between Jace and Sean, so refreshing that it’s the built firefighter that longs to give up control. Sean is so giving and caring. I adored him for that. I also loved that he worked so hard to keep his family together and tried to (re-)build bridges for all those he loves. He doesn’t always get it right, however, and some of his decisions were like a train-wreck waiting to happen… the fall-out wasn’t pretty. Jace is every bit as much an intriguing character, longing for love, same as Sean, and discovering new truths about himself as well as their relationship develops.

For those who’ve read the other books in this series, reconnecting with some of the earlier characters will be great fun, but the book can be read as a standalone too.

I very much enjoyed this story. It had an intensity and emotional drive that I really liked.

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


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adult - 18+

Audiobook: Love You So Special (Love You So Stories #3) by Tara Lain Narrated by Ry Forest

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-special-by-tara-lain-9894-b

Blurb

Can a man’s secret yearnings be revealed in a tank full of fish?

Artie Haynes knows he’s nothing special, with just-your-regular-brown hair, a solid plumber’s job, not much education, and a family that can barely get off the couch. But Artie has quirks—like his love of tropical fish, a landlord who’s a professor of existentialism, a passion for the amazing piano music he hears at a concert hall while he’s fixing the bathrooms—and the fact that he’s never come out as gay and probably never will. But when he’s hired to build a guesthouse for the pianist whose music enchanted him, Artie is swept up into an unimaginable world.

Francois Desmarais may be famous, rich, and revered as one of the world’s great classical composers and pianists, but he’s soothed and challenged by the inquisitive, stalwart, protective man in his back yard. When Francois’s terrible fear of crowds turns into a dangerous plot, Artie can stay in the closet or prove just how special he is.

Review

This was so awesome! The story is very sweet and very touching. I’m not always crazy about Tara’s dialog – her characters sometimes feel really old fashioned in their speech – but it didn’t bother me much with this one. She is really good at giving us the Blue collar meets white collar guy and this one reminded me a lot of her “Knight of Ocean Avenue” – which is one of my favorites!

I loved the music and color imagery as well as the surprising way everyone acted and turned out. It was a bit sugary sweet at the end with Artie’s family – but you know what? I loved it!

The narrator for this is new to me and I wasn’t super impressed. He did ok but his accent wasn’t great and 50% of the dialog is supposed to be French accent.

The non French parts were good – so I’d give him another chance in the future.

It wasn’t a hardship to listen to but I don’t know that he added a lot.

I’d give the story 4.5 stars
Narrator 3 stars

And overall 4 stars – recommended!


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adult - 18+

Recent Release: In His Sights by L.A. Bryce

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43680948-in-his-sights?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Meet two men who need each other’s help but don’t realize it until it’s almost too late.

Noah is gay and terrified someone might find out. So much so that when he was blackmailed with pictures of himself with another man, instead of coming clean, he left his SEAL team without a word.

The other man is openly gay Mason, a former Marine and now part of the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task force. It takes eight years after their first meeting in the desert for a chance event bring the two men together again. Now Noah must decide if he’s ready to accept who he is or if it’s easier to cut and run. Can they navigate the obstacles in their path to build a relationship? And why does the thought of that scare them more than investigating a group of terrorists?

Review

This book involves Mason, FBI and Noah, a former SEAL. There is an instant attraction. The way Noah struggles with his sexuality is something that some readers can relate to. It was a shame he was blackmailed. His “hot and cold” with Mason was frustrating, but understandable. Mason lives with guilt for not being able to catch the people responsible for terrorist attacks that affects him personally. The two meet in a bar, had seen each other briefly years ago, and grew close. The book has humor, mystery, action, and some steamy mm scenes. Both go through a lot in the book. It’s not a cutesy and sweet romance, there’s many aspects to the book. Some surprises packed in the book also. Highly enjoyed reading.

Number of stars out of 5

4.5


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adult - 18+

Recent Release: Dirty Laundry (#3 Tucker Springs series – 2nd edition) by Heidi Cullinan

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dirty-laundry-by-heidi-cullinan-10335-b

Blurb

Sometimes you have to get dirty to come clean.
When muscle-bound Denver Rogers effortlessly dispatches the frat boys harassing grad student Adam Ellery at the Tucker Springs laundromat, Adam’s thank-you turns into impromptu sex over the laundry table. The problem comes when they exchange numbers. What if Adam wants to meet again and discovers Denver is a high-school dropout with a learning disability who works as a bouncer at a local gay bar? Or what if Denver calls Adam only to learn while he might be brilliant in the lab, outside of it he has crippling social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Either way, neither of them can shake the memory of their laundromat encounter. Despite their fears of what the other might think, they can only remember how good the other one feels. The more they get together, the kinkier things become. They’re both a little bent, but in just the right ways.
Maybe the secret to staying together isn’t to keep things clean and proper. Maybe it’s best to keep their laundry just a little bit dirty.

Review

I always love an outwardly tough and physically imposing hero who then turns out to be a gentle giant, caring and kind. Even better if they have a vulnerable side and insecurities to bring into that mix. So needless to say, Denver swept me off my feet as easily as he did Adam.

Heidi Cullinan did an amazing job writing with so much insight and sensitivity about Adam’s mental health issues and his struggle to cope with his OCD and to find the right people to help him do so. The panic attacks, the anxiety and worries that constantly plague Adam were all described very convincingly and I constantly felt myself tense up right alongside Adam. One of the things that struck me most was the metaphor of the horses for his OCD. I was so happy for him when he managed to grasp control of the reins for a while.

Denver and Adam are the sweetest couple, even when they’re being surprisingly kinky. There’s always an element of care or gentleness in their interactions with each other, even when things get intense physically. Which they do, these two have amazing chemistry!

There are a some hurdles to overcome, of course, because true love doesn’t normally come easy, not in romance novels nor in real life. There’s quite some angst (yay!) in this story, because Adam and Denver both have hang-ups to overcome, but they help each other get there. With a little help from friends as well.

The secondary characters were well-written, the good ones and the other one (maybe he was just a tad too awful though). I loved Louisa especially, she’s such a good friend to Adam, loyal and wise. The scene where she takes Denver to task was incredible!

I very much enjoyed this story, it’s one of my favorite books by this author.

m/m – contemporary – opposites attract – hurt/comfort – mental health – angst – nerd/cowboy – bdsm

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Recent Release: Redeem by Christina Lee

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44152554-redeem?from_search=true

Blurb
Successful financial analyst Michael Walsh leads a picture-perfect life that anyone would envy—unless they caught a glimpse beneath the surface. Haunted by failed relationships and self-doubt, Michael harbors a soul-deep loneliness that no number of casual hookups can fulfill. So why can’t he stop thinking about his New Year’s fling with a man whose quiet desperation matched his own?

Barista Stewart Jenkins has an abysmal track record with relationships, and no matter how hard he tries to keep things tightly under wraps, his life is spinning out of control. His hookup with the gorgeous Michael was only supposed to be sex—hot, dirty, uncomplicated—but that small taste leaves him yearning for more.

Every no-strings encounter that follows between Michael and Stewart peels away more layers, blurring the lines, until they’re left with a raw tenderness and acceptance they both crave. A relationship seems out of the question—they come from drastically different lives and are plagued by inexcusable sins. Being vulnerable is sure to reveal old wounds, and forgiveness seems out of reach, unless they can find a way around their fears on the road to redemption.

Review
Both Michael and Stewart have both come out of relationships they have tried to cling on to. Both of them have been painted as the bad guys. It during this period of acceptance and introspection that they meet each other and the penny drops. They know of each other through their former partners. Small world. Both of them are carrying a lot of baggage and resist getting involved with anyone again. They are so drawn to each other that they dance around admitting that they want anything more than to hook up. Both of them grow so much during this story that it’s a captivating read. They are getting together at the right point for both of them, they are now receptive to understanding where things have gone wrong in the past and do not want to make the same mistakes again. Even though they don’t quite want to open up to each other in the bedroom Stewart and Michael are so hot together, phew what chemistry.
Although this book can be read as a stand alone I personally think you get a deeper understanding of exactly how far both of them have come if you’ve read, or listened, to the previous two books. West (Jonas) relationship with Tristan is in Reawaken and Elijah and Kam’s story is in Reclaim.

5 of stars out of 5



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adult - 18+

Recent Release: Exploring Limits by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/exploring-limits-by-nicki-bennett-and-ariel-tachna-10299-

Blurb

We could always share him….

After failing to capture the attention of their bicurious costar singlehandedly, Kit and Devon team up to seduce Jonathan, who plays King Arthur in the new miniseries Camelot.

The chemistry between the three actors is off the charts, and it brings out the adventurous side in all of them. Things heat up in the bedroom as the trio explores the pleasures of dominance, submission, bondage, toys, and anything else they can find to get the most out of their secret time together.

But a gay ménage presents problems without easy solutions—especially as they work closely together on set. For their threesome to survive and evolve into a true committed relationship, they’ll all have to test their physical and emotional limits.

This volume includes newly edited and expanded versions of the novellas:
Exploring Limits
Stretching Limits
Refining Limits

Review
I read these books along time ago when they were three separate books and I wanted to see if they tightened them up by putting them in two volumes. As I remembered it was a case of what felt lightning quick into very hot scenes. From this the physical attraction was evident but how was the relationship side between Kit, Devon and Jonathan going to be developed? Especially as Jonathan was supposedly straight, not even questioning. During these scenes they get to know each other in the context of what turns each of them on, rules of play, toys, role play etc but the book feels and reads like a series of hookups. I went in looking for more because as hot as it sounds I don’t think I can cope with 300 plus pages of sex. The pace changed about half way through when more BDSM comes into the picture but there’s still more sex than story.

I finished the book but It was slow going for me but that’s just my tastes it could very well work for you. I hope that the relationship side comes more to the front in the second book

2 of stars out of 5


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