Time to Get Scared: A Hymn In The Silence by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40517607-a-hymn-in-the-silence

Blurb
Since graduating from Whisperwood School for Boys, William has found a sense of normalcy in his life with James. He has a steady (albeit secret) relationship, a home, and a job—even if it doesn’t pay the greatest. Nevermind that he lacks James’ reckless bravery when it comes to dealing with spirits; he does his best and it hasn’t killed him thus far.

When a new client calls on their expertise in solving a grisly multiple homicide, William resists. They’re spirit hunters, not detectives. But the money is too much to pass up when they don’t know when their next meal will be, and soon they’re arriving at Evenbury Manor, nestled in a close-knit rural community, ready to investigate.

They’re in over their heads, but in very different ways than William could have anticipated. The hills are filled with creatures far more dangerous than any they’ve ever encountered, and their usual tactics aren’t working. On top of his renewed struggles with his addiction, William is left to fend for himself against the dead to protect not only the community, but the person in the world that’s most important to him.

Review
This is an amazing ghost story! A great mix of suspense, adventure, friendship and romance!

The change in pov with regards to A Light Amongst Shadows, from James to William, serves as a lovely way to gain more insight into William’s thoughts and feelings this time. His anxiety comes across far more, same for his opium addiction and how it effectively holds him hostage, it’s a crutch but a dangerous one.

William and James are hired to solve a mystery that may or may not involve supernatural culprits. Either way, they soon have reason to fear they are in over their head. Time to call in reinforcements! We get to reconnect with Virgil and meet a wonderfully brave and intelligent new character, Adelia! Loved her!

William and James are marvelous together as always. It was wonderful to see how they have come along since their time spent at Whisperwood. Their banter is fun to read, but their more emotional moments will tug at your heartstrings something fierce.

I loved how they included so many historical details, in the subtlest of ways, sometimes by using certain quaint words and other times by casually mentioning everyday facts of life of the 19th century. Going from the more banal stuff like fashion choices and horse-drawn “cabs’, to the more peculiar practice of taking memento mori photographs, which seems a rather morbid custom from a 21st century perspective.

This is a beautifully written story and a joy to read thanks to the authors’ eloquent and expressive writing style. I also very much enjoyed the quirky humor that they incorporated throughout the story with, among other things, the never-ending quest for a “company name” for these two fearless spirit slayers.

Kelley York and Rowan Altwood really understand how to tell a tale in a way that’s so clear and compelling that as a reader you are completely sucked into the story. It almost seems to play out before you like a (scary) movie. So it wasn’t always the most relaxing read… things have a way of going bump in the night in ghost stories, after all. I swear I almost jumped right out of my seat a couple of times. Don’t read this book in bed, you’ll be scared to death imagining what might come crawling out from under it…

I also loved the mystery, or rather mysteries, that needed solving. It was exciting to try and figure it out ahead of the characters. Emphasis on try. The plot was well-thought out and there was plenty of suspense and danger, with ghosts and other threats lurking in the most unexpected of places.

So recommend this!!

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time to get scared: Gray’s Shadow – Kings of Hell MC Book 4 – K.A. Merikan

Good Reads link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41052468-gray-s-shadow?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
— There can be no shadow without the man to cast it. —

Gray. Lost his twin. Will never be complete. Works alone.
Shadow. Monster? Human? Exists to be Gray’s one true companion.

After losing his twin brother, Gray has devoted his life to the Kings of Hell MC. He will do anything to protect his family and that means anything.

Even sell his own shadow to the devil.

Following a fire that left him without one arm, Gray feels pushed to the sidelines. In order to prove to his club that he is still capable of completing dangerous tasks, he will have to team up with the strange creature from the Other Side. Tall, inhumanly strong, and menacing despite the handsome exterior, Shadow is just the tool Gray needs.

The moment Shadow lays his eyes on Gray, he wants to crawl under Gray’s skin and make the human his.

Gray on the other hand isn’t willing to get attached to a monster destined to do the devil’s bidding and disappear once his time is up. Rejected, Shadow has to do everything in his power to convince his human that they belong together.

But as the clock ticks away precious minutes of Shadow’s existence, Gray will have to choose between his loyalty to the Kings of Hell MC and responsibility for the creature he brought into this world.

Review
Yet another fantastic story from K.A. Merikan! They never fail to deliver an in-depth story with strong characters and pack it full of emotion.
This book is continuing the overall story arc of the Kings of Hell MC series but we have our own story for Gray and Shadow. I’d recommend reading the books in order, or at minimum the first, Laurent and The Beast, to understand the basics of the demonic side of the story. It’s been a really interesting ride so far with some…..quirky characters but they are all worth reading and book 4 just continues that trend. All members of the MC are included and are there through the tough times for Gray.
Whilst a serious and, at times, creepy story we are treated to some funny moments with Shadow learning about the world around him. I think those moments’ help to pull us through some that are quite tough with Gray reminiscing about his dead twin and losing his arm, as well as the tasks that they carry out on behalf of the club.
As Gray is the quiet, reserved man of the club, you never really expect much but we are given complete access and he has suffered for so long in silence about several things. He just proves himself a winner for the strong, silent type award but Shadow soon puts his limits to the test. He’s very much a man willing to do his part for the club but doesn’t take anything for himself.
Initially, Shadow is creepy and we’re unsure of his abilities. A scene not far in may be hard for some to read as Shadow attempts to become one with Gray without the man’s permission. He learns the hard way what Gray will accept but as a newly formed person, he has no understanding of the world without instruction from others. Reading him learn about the world and people around him is endearing as he always wants to know more but there’s always the underlying edge of what he’s capable of. What endears him the most is his steadfast adoration of Gray, of which Gray is very much deserving but he never quite goes about things the right way.
The story moves along at a good pace with our introduction to the characters and story line diving right in and from the outset, I was fully engaged! Needing to know what was going to be happening next, everyone’s involvement with the demon and the club’s plans moving forward. K.A. Merikan do such amazing work in building a world that you feel really engaged in, I find it so easy to imagine everything around the characters wherever they are as they describe/visualize the surroundings. Our MC’s are treated with the respect they deserve and earn their places at each other’s side by the end.
I cannot recommend this series enough. This is yet another of their books that I have fallen in love with and I’m really looking forward to book 5, the last in the series.

Number of stars out of 5
5

Provided by author

Recent Review: Elemental Magick (The Donovan Coven #1) by Jacki James

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42189743-elemental-magick?from_search=true

Blurb

For most of Aaron’s life, things have been uninteresting, boring, safe–just the way he likes them. He makes his decisions based on logic and reason and he doesn’t believe in paranormal mumbo jumbo like crystals and tarot cards and witches.

When he sees an ad for an estate sale at the old house on the edge of town, he doesn’t see any harm in going and buying some things like an old book with odd symbols on the front for his antique shop. Who cares if the old woman who owned the house was rumored to be a witch; everyone knows witches aren’t real.

After accidentally raising a demon by goofing around with a spell from the book, Aaron realizes that there are things in this world that logic and reason can’t explain. That witches are indeed real, and that he just might be one too.

Malakai has been searching for the Coughlan Grimoire for years, knowing there are spells in the book that can be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. Securing the book so his coven can protect it is of the utmost importance.

He isn’t prepared for the adorable rookie witch with the curly red hair and incredible latent power. But to his surprise, keeping Aaron safe and close by his side quickly becomes more important than the Grimoire. More important than anything.

Before Malakai and Aaron can be together they will have to battle vampires, wolf shifters, and one very powerful warlock. Malakai can’t do it alone; it will take, friends, family, and for Aaron to figure out just how powerful he is if the two of them are going to protect the book and make their new found bond last forever.

Review

This was a lot of fun. Insta love. Fated mate. LOTS of magic.  Great world building.  Fun characters.  I thought the conflict was nicely balanced with the romance but… My only complaint was the bad guys were SOOOO easy to kill.

Highly Recommended! Can’t wait for the next installment.

4.5 of 5 stars

Release Day Review: Truth Will Out by KC Wells

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/truth-will-out-by-kc-wells-9933-

Blurb

Jonathon de Mountford’s visit to Merrychurch village to stay with his uncle Dominic gets off to a bad start when Dominic fails to appear at the railway station. But when Jonathon finds him dead in his study, apparently as the result of a fall, everything changes. For one thing, Jonathon is the next in line to inherit the manor house. For another, he’s not so sure it was an accident, and with the help of Mike Tattersall, the owner of the village pub, Jonathon sets out to prove his theory—if he can concentrate long enough without getting distracted by the handsome Mike.

They discover an increasingly long list of people who had reason to want Dominic dead. And when events take an unexpected turn, the amateur sleuths are left bewildered. It doesn’t help that the police inspector brought in to solve the case is the last person Mike wants to see, especially when they are told to keep their noses out of police business.

In Jonathon’s case, that’s like a red rag to a bull…

Review
This is a wonderful cosy whodunnit mystery set in an English village. Full of classic armature sleuthing and village secrets. Lord of the manor is found dead but despite what it looks like it wasn’t an accident. Now the question is who done it. The two main characters are the heir, Jonathan de Mountford and Mike Tattersall, a former London Police Detective, now retired to the countryside. I found this to be a very easy going book to read. Despite the subject there was very little angst. I had an inkling who the murderer was earlier on but loved the way events played out. The story reminds me of tv murder mystery shows like Midsummer murders or Murder she wrote, with the gentle yet intriguing way events unfold. Where we see underneath the respectability of village life and all the secrets come scurrying out. I’m hoping there’s more books with Mike and Jonathan’s sleuthing exploits. They make a great pair. The way they slowly got together and any action is off the page which completely fits with this type of story. With this book KC Wells has shown what a range of talent she has.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
This is a very enjoyable whodunit, set in the English countryside and with a hint of romance, though the focus is very much on the murder mystery.

The author leaves around clues and plenty of misdirection for the reader, and the two MC’s, to sort through. Always with a light touch, nothing too obvious or easy.
We meet a lot of secondary characters, all milling about and muddying the waters for Jonathon de Mountford, wannabe sleuth and nephew of the victim. Jonathon is lucky enough to get help from Mike Tattersall, now a pub owner, but formerly a policeman and a very useful Sherlock to Jonathan’s Watson. His connections sure come in handy!
There are a lot of viable suspects, some very unexpected ones even. But nothing seems to pans out…
And of course, we also have the typical incompetent “copper”, an arrogant Detective Inspector, bumbling about in the story, who is more of a hindrance to the investigation than anything else. DI Gorland isn’t in town to make friends. Mission accomplished, I say.

I love the subtlety with which K.C. Wells brings the romance into the story. Nothing much happens on page, but the small things that do, make the budding relationship very believable and help the reader get a better feel for who the two MC’s are. Their connection and trust in each other is important to the development of the detective plot. I also really liked the storyline centering around Mike’s sister, Sue.

The story continues along smoothly, almost cozily, without too much suspense or danger, but that suddenly changes when Jonathon and Mike get too close to the truth … and the murderer.
The denouement is tense and surprising, with an added element of tragedy. Very well-written!

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Knowing Me, Knowing You by Renae Kaye

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/knowing-me-knowing-you-by-renae-kaye-9931-b

Blurb

Loving You: Book Four

Can friends turned occasional lovers move beyond past mistakes and wrong assumptions to build something that can last?

Quiet bookworm Shane has a big secret—one he’s kept for fifteen years. AFL superstar Ambrose Jakoby grew up next door to Shane. They were close friends, and Shane supported Ambrose through school.

One night, everything changed.

Before Ambrose left Perth as a scared eighteen-year-old to head to Melbourne and take up his new footy career, Ambrose and Shane slept together.

For the next nine years, they continued a secret friends-with-benefits situation whenever Ambrose was in town. Shane never knew exactly where he stood or how to define Ambrose’s sexuality—and Ambrose didn’t know either. Then last Christmas, everything changed again, and a disagreement strained their friendship. Shane vowed to get over his unrequited love.

But Ambrose is back, recovering from an injury and hoping to make amends. He claims he’s ready for a real relationship. But Shane has to decide whether Ambrose means it and whether his Hufflepuff soul can take the chance.

Review by Aerielle

When I saw that Renae Kaye was writing another installment in the Loving You series I was very excited. While this book is a very good “friends-to-lovers” story it was lacking the pure joy and light heartedness that the first three books had.

Shane has always been in the background in the other stories, so coming into this book he was a complete blank page. He seems to have very little self-esteem and self-worth. He tends to calls himself “wallpaper Shane”.

Every few chapters there is an “Interview”, which is Shane asking his friends how long it took them to know they were in love. I really enjoyed getting these little insights.
By the end of the book I still felt like I didn’t really know much about Ambrose and only slightly more about Shane which is a real departure from all of Renae’s other books. This can be read as a stand-alone since there is a lot of explanation about the previous couples and their stories.

Overall this is a fairly decent story about two long-time friends who occasionally slept together coming to realize that they each mean the world to each other.

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review:  Jay and the gang are back! This time they make their appearances in Shane and Ambrose’s story.

I loved this addition to the series, especially 1 page ‘interviews’ with many of the cast from the previous stories.

Shane and Ambrose have been friends for years – Shane knows he in love, Ambrose appears to be straight. Until he’s about to leave for a professional football career in Melbourne (they live in Perth).

When Ambrose returns home to recover from an injury, the truth of his feelings for Shane comes out.

This ‘in the closet’ story could have been angsty and fraught with unnecessary misunderstandings; instead it is delightful, funny and warm.

As always, Renae Kaye writes warm personalities for her characters – Shane is the caring, self-deprecating (to a fault), snarky best friend. Ambrose is a bigger, but kind guy, looks out for his friends and still goes home to his mum.

This is a standalone story, but honestly, not reading the prior books would be a shame since they’re so good. There are references to 2 other characters from another author’s (Sean Kennedy) books which had me smiling, (I have the books).

 

Loved this story and I hope Hiram gets his own story.

 

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

I really enjoyed the first three books of the series but I have some reservations about this one. Mainly, I could not get over how much I disliked the way their relationship was manipulated by Ambrose. I felt like he put too many terms, and did not give enough back to Shane. Shane is a character that is sometimes hard to like, and he treats himself so poorly, despite Ambrose’s claims of his worth, that Ambrose’s treatment of him just grated on me more.

It was mainly the undefined friends-with-benefits situation going on, were it seemed like Ambrose was the only one really gaining anything out of it, and believing that Shane should be with him because he has undefined, but strong feeling towards him he never spoke about. And in the end Shane did what Ambrose needed, because it was good for Ambrose’s career at the time, and I could just not get over how much I felt it was not equal between them, and Ambrose taking what he needed when it was right for him. And Shane’s job is constantly treated as something he dislikes. Like it’s not worth anything, and so he can leave it and just be a kept man/do something else in Melbourne because he was not attached to it anyway. It was hard to care about a character that seemed to be designed to be rootless and motiveless, aside from pining after Ambrose and getting some action when he was around. I also felt like the author did not deal with the issue of Ambrose’s sexuality (him being Demi, perhaps) and the issue with is native roots. It felt like a side note when it should have been a bigger part of the story to me.

Their relationship felt off, more so when you realize the amount of time they hid this undefined thing between them. It hurt to read and was unsatisfying when Ambrose turned out to be the one who’s feelings and needs needed to be considered and not the other way around and heir HEA did not satisfy me at all.

The things I liked were mainly the other couples from previous books showing up and the friendship they share in their group.

Number of stars out of 5
2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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