Release Day Review: Nova Praetorian by N.R. Walker

release day review

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42271990-nova-praetorian?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Quintus Furius Varus is one of the best lanistas in Rome. Tall and strong in build, fearsome in manner, and sharp of wit, he trains the best gladiators bound for the arenas of Rome. When Senator Servius Augendus seeks personal guards, he attends the Ludus Varus for purchase of the very best. He puts to Quintus an offer he cannot refuse, and Quintus finds himself in Neapolis, contracted as a trainer of guards instead of gladiators.

Kaeso Agorix was taken from his homelands of Iberia and delivered to Rome as a slave. Bought by a senator to be trained as a guard, his fate is handed to the man who would train him. Absent free will, Kaeso knows his life is no longer his own, though he soon realises the gods have favoured him when he learns his new master has a kind heart.

Quintus and Kaeso forge a bond that far exceeds the collar at Kaeso’s neck, and together they discover the senator’s move for promotion has an ulterior motive. Thrown into a world of politics and conspiracy, of keeping enemies close, they move against time to save Rome before traitors and the gods themselves see to their end.

And in doing so, see the dawn of the nova praetorian—the new guard—rise.

Review

Wow!!! What a read!!! I have always been drawn to ancient times, add in romance and its absolutely perfect. The language is the most difficult part of this book but luckily N.R. has a glossary at the beginning of the story that really helps.

Quintus is a kind yet stern man who ends up getting sort of blackmailed by Senator Severius into becoming his personal guard against an unnamed threat. Kaeso is a newly captured slave who has trouble accepting his new circumstances. The Senator gives Kaeso to Quintus to train and keep under control. Quintus is a man who prides himself on his control yet with Kaeso he struggles to reign in that control. Kaeso can tell that while a hard task master, Quintus is also a kind man who treats the slaves like people.

The attraction between the two men grow strong but Quintus refuses to make any unwanted advances toward Kaeso, due to his circumstances of being a slave. Eventually the two men figure out that the attraction they feel towards each other is mutual.

This book really kept me wondering what the Senator was up to. Is he up to no good?? Or is he really just that much of a jerk. I loved how the story all came together in the end. I believe that Nova Praetorian is one of those books that each time you reread it you will pick up on something you missed the first time. This isn’t an easy read by any means, the language is pretty confusing but stick with it because it is an amazing story!!!

5 Stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta

 
I really enjoyed this epic action packed new book by N.R Walker, if you liked watching Gladiator and Spartacus you will LOVE Nova Praetorian. This book has everything a history romance lover will enjoy, with well researched and well-rounded world building, writing style fitting the time period and a thrilling story of lovers facing impossible odds. Kaeso is owned by the slippery senator Servius, a man that Quintus despises and knows better than trust. Placing him temporarily in Quintuse’s care as his slave while he guards the senator is a move meant to weaken him, and he must stay alert if he wants a future with Kaeso by his side.

Kaeso and Quintus banter and quip at each other, they are a great couple and fun to read even if danger lurks at every turn. Quintus also has a group of 20 men and women trained at his Ludus, and they are almost like family. Their connection is lovely to read and some of them are so well rounded as they take center roles in the story I enjoyed reading about them immensely. As the plot twists in unexpected ways, it is both thrilling and intriguing, and keeps you at the edge of your seat as it SLOWLY unfolds and reveals its depths.

If I have to say anything I would change in this story is a slight dragging in the halfway mark, the days seem endless and similar, and considering the amount of times Quintus and Kaeso have sex (nothing wrong with that on its own) I felt like maybe that part of the story could have moved faster. Yes, there is A LOT of sex in this book as passion burns and scorch these men to the bone! Again, no issue with it on its own, but at some point it was slightly repetitive, and I applaud their stamina and ability to train a full day after each night, but maybe we could have gotten to the excitement at the end a bit sooner.

Once you get to the ending though, you are not going to put it down! The odds are against Quintus and his men (and women) yet they manage to save the day with honor and skill. The ending was very satisfying, providing the epicness you crave and a HEA that will leave you smiling.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Daniel by RJ Scott

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26156429-daniel?from_search=true

Blurb
Daniel worked hard at college, using coping strategies to shut himself off from any situation that might hurt. But, persistent nightmares and fears for his future drive him to revisit the past. Now Legacy might be the only place to give him a chance at peace.

After the tragic loss of his parents, Corey is head of the family now, and the welfare of his three younger sisters are what matters the most. Corey is desperate to find Daniel, tell him the truth and somehow convince him to keep secrets. Even if this leads to heartbreak.

When the world crumbles around Corey, and Daniel is running scared, Legacy ranch is their only hope.

Review
RJ Scott knows how to squeeze your heart until it’s aching. Daniel and Corey certainly put me through the wringer. To get the full background about Bar Five and the events that occurred there I recommend reading the other Legacy Ranch books. However if you read this as a stand-alone you can still get a good idea of what the boys went through there. Daniel is making the best of his life despite the nightmares and anxiety. Corey had the perfect family life ripped away from him. To get some answers he visits Daniel. This is the start of a slow building relationship where b of them need to come to terms with their feelings and trust one another. So many emotions. I couldn’t put the book down. I read it straight through. Wonderful way to end the series. So full of emotions but ultimately satisfying.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Recent Release: Leaning into Forever by Lane Hayes


Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40238840-leaning-into-forever?from_search=true

Blurb
Geordie de la Rosa is a legend among wine lovers in Napa Valley. His ultra-fabulous style paired with a penchant for leading impromptu sing-a-longs has made him a star attraction at Conrad Winery. Co-owning a well-respected winery was never Geordie’s aspiration but he likes the niche he’s made for himself. He won’t deny that his job and his friends have helped ease his heartache and grief after the death of his longtime partner.

Levi Yeager excels at the art of reinventing himself. He’s been a minor league baseball player, a college coach and now a restaurant owner. The problem is he doesn’t know anything about the food business. And when his chef quits unexpectedly, he’s afraid his new venture is doomed. But Levi isn’t a quitter. It may be the only thing he has in common with the beautiful, sassy man from the neighboring winery who agrees to help get his new business up and running. Neither man counts on their fast friendship or the wild attraction they feel for each other. However, they know they won’t stand a chance until they let go of the past and lean into forever

Review
I’ve been waiting for Geordie’s story and I love it just as I knew I would. Geordie has been grieving over the loss of his long time love Mike for four years. Hers never considered that there could be anyone else to capture his heart until Levi. Levi is completely different from Mike. He is drawn towards Geordie. This is such a beautifully sweet romance about patience and learning to starting again. The way Geordie’s grief is so sensitively portrayed touched my heart. I truly believe that a loved one never truly leaves us but neither would they want to see us pining away forever. It was good to see Geordie’s vitality fierceness and humour come alive with Levi’s care and attention. Lane Hayes has written a book that’ll stay with me for a long time. The story takes you on highs and lows of emotions before giving you a happy ever after.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Audiobook Month: The Long Way Home by Z.A. Maxfield, narrated by J.F Harding

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Long-Way-Home-Audiobook/B01MQGGZ71?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4GVDMJXBB991JR8MT96Z&

Blurb:
Ever since the accident that cost him his job on the Seattle police force, Kevin Quinn has been living with psychic abilities he refers to as the ‘gift that keeps on taking’. His attempts to use his talents to help the police have been met with limited success. Yet, when teenage boys start going missing from the beach cities of Southern California, Kevin gets on a plane.
Connor Dougal has every reason to believe all psychics are fakes and charlatans. He’s still numb from the disappearance of his first love, a boy who went missing 10 years earlier. Everything he aspires to is a direct result of that tragedy, even the acquisition of his detective shield. The irony of having to babysit Kevin Quinn is not lost on him.
These two suspicious men must develop trust and respect for one another to solve the case and, on the way, maybe fall in love.

Review:

A good story with great narration.
Kevin is a reluctant psychic (the ‘gift’ manifests after an accident). He’s asked to work on a missing persons case where he meets Connor. Connor is assigned to assist Kevin in the investigation; at first they don’t get along, but very quickly they develop a rapport which leads to a mutual attraction. As they grow closer, the mystery of the disappearances unfolds. There is quite a bit of wit and humour in the story that kept me engaged throughout.

Story: 4 of 5 stars

Narration:JF Harding was really good! This was my first time listening to him after which I bought a couple more books that he’s narrated. His pacing, inflections and timing was spot on for the characters. The subtle humour and wit of the prose was nicely voiced and he portrayed the dynamics and chemistry of the 2 MC’s very well.
Definitely a story I will listen to again.

 

5 of 5 stars

 

Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Time to Go Dark: Living Out Loud by Nyrae Dawn and Christina Lee

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36046796-living-out-loud?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Ben Emerson has lived by his minister father’s rules most of his life. Born into an ultra-conservative church community, he’s finally brave enough to break free and move to San Francisco. Distancing himself certainly helps create a new mindset, but living as an openly gay man takes some getting used to. When he reaches out to Xavier, a childhood friend who lives in the city, Ben isn’t sure how he’ll respond given their thorny history. Ben hopes the familiar connection will help him right some wrongs as well as provide the solace he’s been craving.

Xavier Ramos is who he is, and he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. Whether it’s eyeliner, nail polish, tattoos or his love of hooking up, he uses his body as a form of self-expression but doesn’t let anyone get too close. When Ben reenters his life, Xavier helps him experience the city and feel comfortable in his own skin. Seeing the world through Ben’s eyes, he begins to wonder if he’s also not living as freely as he thought.
When Xavier challenges Ben’s beliefs about sex, it becomes explosive—for both of them. Xavier breaks apart Ben’s sheltered world and shows him what it’s like to live out loud. The more time they spend together, the more Xavier begins to long for Ben in a different way—one that both surprises and scares him. But real life doesn’t fade into the background, so when Ben’s past comes knocking, old habits are hard to break. Testing the foundation of their deepening connection will take a trust that will either bind them…or tear them apart.

Review: This story broke my heart a little. Ben endured a lot as a young teen. His religious parents (dad is a pastor), believed that conversion therapy could ‘cure the gay’ out of Ben. Xavier just wanted to belong, and when he showed his feelings by kissing Ben, Ben pushed him away.
Fast forward several years later. Ben has moved away from his family and wants to reconnect with Xavier. Xavier, is now living openly as a gay man. He has a bit of a bad boy persona, complete with tattoos. What starts out as a rebuilding of a friendship, turns into a slow, heat-building exploration of their attraction to each other.
The story is well written, especially the romance. Both men learn a lot about each other as their friendship moves to something more intimate. I think I was just as surprised, (in a good way) as they were, when they finally let their barriers fall and they fell in love ☺

4.5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Time to go Dark: Corin’s Chance (Avanti Chronicles Book 1) By Hannah Walker

Blurb

Posted to some stars awful cruiser, Dr. Corin Talovich hoped to serve his time quietly and get on with his life, but fate stepped in and decided otherwise. 
Crashing into an unknown planet was the last thing Corin expected. With only his friend, Lieutenant Commander Tate Riven, by his side, they face the unexplored world and new enemies bravely, leading them to the Derin Clan, where they’re welcomed by the leader’s son.
Kel isn’t sure about the strange men, but he isn’t about to send them away, especially when the bond between Corin and himself is something he can’t ignore. 
When another clan wages an attack, Kel is forced to make some hard choices which nearly costs him everything he holds dear. Together, with their allies, Corin and Kel fight, focusing on the future they desire, knowing failure not only dooms their love, but also those around them. Side by side, they work to destroy the evil threatening to keep them apart and becoming the family both men desire.

 

Review

When I first read this book, I had no idea that the author had a whole series planned out for this storyline. But after rereading it I saw how well she created the world her story is set in. Descriptions are detailed without being boring and all lead into the story one way or another.

To start with we are introduced to all 6 of the Avanti Team each a different form of humanoid, and each with a different defensive trait. This group was trained to be warriors. Corin is on the same spaceship and has fallen in with the group. When the ship comes under attach the only escape pods available are 2 man pods so Corin as a fully trained surgeon is paired with Tate, the injured man of the group. They land on a planet that is ruled by clans with a central King.

There are subplots and intrigue, Love and lust, humor and war, and a type of fated mates. And while the story ends in a HEA, it is a part of an ongoing series that should be read in order.

Hannah Walker has created a wonderful world that will have you entertained, laughing heartily, holding your breath, all while rooting for the good guys and a HEA!

5 of 5 stars!

 

Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Laugh: Stay with Me (The PI Guys, #1) by S.E. Harmon

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/stay-with-me-by-se-harmon-2808-b

Blurb:

The PI Guys: Book One
Private investigator Mackenzie Williams’s newest client is everything he’s looking for in a guy—charming, beautiful, intelligent, and successful. There’s only one itty bitty problem—the guy’s not exactly gay. In fact, Jordan Channing is looking for a PI to follow his fiancée. The smart thing would be to thank Jordan for his time, turn Mr. Perfect away (don’t let the door hit you on the rump, thank you very much), and forget he exists.
Of course, Mackenzie has never been accused of doing the smart thing. Being a smart aleck is more his MO. Relationships aren’t up his alley, never have been. So why’s he so inexplicably drawn to his new client?

Jordan has always been the high achiever, a man who lives in a focused, controlled, and carefully constructed manner. But for the first time in his life, he has to admit the impossible—another man is getting his engine running on all cylinders. Despite Jordan’s denial, it’s not long before he can no longer resist the strong undercurrents pulling them together. Now Jordan must decide if he can go against everything he’s ever known to have the only love he’s ever wanted.

Review:

I loved the overall story – GFY done right, but I didn’t like Mac much until half way in. He just seemed a bit childish … but I did like his snark. Mac eventually grew on me, (I ended up really liking him when he popped up in ‘So into You’).
Mac is a PI who is still hurting from being dumped from a long-term relationship. To make matters worse, his ex decided to be with a woman AND the he took the dog. (This creates a funny secondary storyline as Mac schemes to get the dog back.)
Jordan hires Mac to watch his girlfriend for signs of cheating. Mac is immediately attracted to the straight man but knows nothing can come of it. Yet, as they spend time together, Jordan becomes attracted to Mac (and conflicted about his feelings for another man). Mac doesn’t make it easy either and is not without faults – he tends to push people away, he doesn’t believe love is for him and he hides behind his sarcasm. However, they manage to start a relationship but it’s not plain sailing. They have a big fight (both men are to blame), but in the end, they get it together and work it out.
It’s a really good story, once it gets going and by the end, I had a good sized smile on my face ☺

4 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for Review

 

Release day Review: Crocus by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/crocus-by-amy-lane-9524-b

Blurb

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart

Review
In my opinion you really do need to read or listen to book 1, Bonfires, before starting Crocus. Bonfires is the story of how Aaron and Larx meet and fall in love with all the complications of joining two families. It ends when Larx’s eldest daughter Olivia comes home from college and tells them she is pregnant. This book takes off from that point. We learn that not only is she pregnant she also has Depression. Amy Lane handles this very difficult subject very well. There is no miraculous recovery just because it suited the storyline. We go through Olivia’s struggles to move out of the dark place she is in and Larx’s struggles as a parent to help her. At the same time his rock, Aaron is injured whilst on duty, one of his students is suffering from domestic abuse and is missing in a snowstorm. In amongst this two brothers need his support. There is so much to keep you on edge desperate to know more and wanting everything to work out. I love the dose of reality and practically Amy Lane has in these stories. By the way the book ended I am certain there will be a third book, can’t wait.

5 of stars out of 5

5-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Recent Release: Bad Seed by Gareth Vaughn

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38901778-bad-seed?from_search=true

Blurb
Dane’s a Decrypter down on his luck — after accidentally dispatching the wrong creature, he’s sent to a small town where the cryptids he hunts are sparse. Crypt Coffee becomes his business front, but instead of a thrilling new mission on the side, he’s stuck sending ghosts back to where they came from. Dane can annoy customers, at least, and tries to scare off Professor Sean Sanderson when he starts poking around too much. But Sean isn’t about to stay away. Not when he hears about the murder of a former student, and definitely not if young, exciting Dane has information about it. But the more he allows himself to get dragged into this supernatural world of monsters and ghosts, the more the danger escalates. And if Sean and Dane aren’t careful, tracking down a murderer who can use magic might just get them killed

Review
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this book. I love the idea of a kind of supernatural enforcer keeping rogue elements in line. But this book just didn’t settle with me. Both Dane and Sean start with an antagonist type relationship and it pretty much stays that way. Dane is very prickly, bitchy and short tempered. I’m not sure if that’s because he doesn’t want to be in bleu falls (he was sent there as a Decrypter) or he is always that way. Sean keeps coming back. If this is a start of a series featuring them that might explain it, they’ll have time to grow. There were also a few loose ends. Sean was initially looking into a student death by what he thought was a werewolf. This is never mentioned again. The investigation diverted on to another who it turns out was poisoned. Another is the all powerful Order Dane works for. We are left wondering if they do come to wipe Sean’s mind because he’s seen to much or not. Is this the start of an investigative/ supernatural peacekeeping partnership? I don’t know but this book hasn’t gripped me enough to want to know.

2.5 of stars out of 5

2.5-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review