Release Day Review: Femme Faux Fatale By Susan Laine

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/femme-faux-fatale-by-susan-laine-9982-b

Blurb

Mystery. Murder. Men in silk stockings. Hollywood nights are heating up.
Hardboiled Los Angeles PI Cain Noble is hired by wealthy and gorgeous Camille Astor to find her husband and a priceless work of art, both of which have disappeared.
At the nightclub owned by Mr. Astor, Cain encounters the mesmerizing Lily Lavender, who has the body of a goddess and the sultry voice of an angel—but is really a young man named Riley who attracts trouble like a magnet.
What’s a private dick in the vein of LA’s bygone era and a cross-dressing burlesque starlet to do when faced with the hidden decadence and lethal dangers of the Hollywood Hills? They have their work cut out for them because they haven’t even scratched the surface of an elaborate scheme more twisted than anyone could ever have imagined.

 

Review
The start of this story put me in mind of film noir, with the jaded PI meeting his dubious client for the first time. My initial reaction was that the characters were a bit caricaturist. This impression was strengthened the first time Camille Astor came into the picture. I think it’s intentional given that there are movie references included in the story. Once Cain met Riley that impression was less important and I put it to one side. Fireworks and good ole fashioned lust came into the story, yum. This is a tale that twists and turns. There are the obvious bad guys and the not so obvious worse guys which gave the story a pleasant edge. Some things I didn’t see coming and this kept me hooked. Overall good fast burn romance with murder-crime drama.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Seer (Soulmates #2) by Erin M. Leaf

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42429170-seer?from_search=true

Blurb

No one knows that Nick Auspex is a Seer, but his power is very real—that’s why he knows he’ll always be alone. Since childhood, he’s seen visions of his soulmate caught in the midst of a terrible fire. So when he’s assigned to protect Jeff Wright, he knows their mutual attraction is destined to go nowhere.

When Jeff opens the door to find the Craft Council’s security expert on his doorstep, his first instinct is to send Nick away. Jeff is human, but Nick is a powerful Crafter, and everyone knows relationships like that never work. Jeff needs to figure out who murdered his parents, not screw around with some random guy when he’s never even dated another man before.

Of course, neither of them can control fate—and when two soulmates meet, destiny trumps fear. Will fire destroy lives or illuminate the truth hiding in the darkness?

Review

I loved the amazing bonding and magic and self discovery . The fire and danger got a little old. But I loved the connection these guys had with each other.  Really recommended to fans of magic and insta love/mate bond.

Much better than book 1 and I really enjoyed book 1.

5 of 5 stars

Release Day Review: Cops and Comix By Rhys Ford

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cops-and-comix-by-rhys-ford-10013-b

Blurb

A Murder and Mayhem Short
It’s all fun and games until someone leaves a dead body on the floor.
Life for comic book store owner Alex Martin usually runs to the mundane. Sure, he has a regular influx of geeks and freaks, but for the most part, it’s a familiar weird. That all changes when he opens up Planet X Comics one morning and finds a corpse in the middle of his shop.
When Detective James Castillo is called in to investigate, Alex is torn between wanting to climb the man like a tree and giving him a wide berth. Luckily for Alex, the handsome detective is just as interested in him—as a suspect in the murder.

Review

This novella starts with a dead body, and you assume most of it will revolve round that drama and the struggle between Alex being extremely attracted to James and fearing he will be accused of murder.

I like that Ford chose to put enough of the romance and solved that conflict sooner than expected. I actually really liked Alex and James, they sort of had a slow buildup and it was very refreshing, considering most full length books jump right into the steam on the first date/meeting. There is a heaping amount of humor and a splash of bad Karma/Murphy’s Law mixed in and it makes for a truly fun read. And surprisingly (or not so much when you consider the talent of the author) you get well rounded characters in such a short story, James is a big softie and I liked his lack of macho ego. Alex is just the right amount of shy and geeky without turning into a total introverted outcast like some books tend to portray geeky/nerdy characters.

This short novella leaves you with a craving for more, written in Rhys Ford’s signature humor and fantastic writing style. The only reason I gave it 3.5 stars is that I felt it was a bit too short or rushed in some parts. Despite that it was just the kind of teasing taste to get you hooked on the series and I am definitely going to get the next ones and dive in.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook review: Alpha Heat by Leta Blake, narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Alpha-Heat-Audiobook/B07JFPNMPT?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=8YC23T2BAR602CEFTRZK&

 

Blurb
A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.

Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy-ever-after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.

Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart—and so does he.

But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.

Review

Story:
I fell completely in love with Xan and Urho, who are both amazing, complex characters.
Xan is so filled with self-loathing and he has completely given up hope on ever being happy or deserving of happiness even. It was heartrending to read. I wasn’t prepared to feel such depth of emotion for a fictional character, but only a rock would fail to be moved by Xan’s troubles.

Urho was a perfect match for Xan.
I loved their connection and Urho’s acceptance and understanding of who Xan truly is. The first moments where Urho gets a glimpse of Xan’s true self, and his struggle to accept his own reaction to that truth were so intense! Loved that.

At first glance, Urho appears to be quite conservative and rigid in his thinking, but he bends and even breaks the rules when he needs to in order to be able to help others. He’s modest and brave and oh…be still, my beating heart! Just such a lovable, strong & silent type hero.
Xan throws Urho for a loop, because he doesn’t fit their society’s established gender roles and so Urho is required to rethink some of his long-held beliefs.

I was a bit apprehensive about how Caleb would fit in. But I needn’t have worried. He’s such an extraordinary individual. The bond between Xan, Urho and Caleb is not a romantic one, but it is a deeply loving one, just the same. They’re a family unit. The author totally makes it work.

This book also stands out to me because of the astonishing amount of detail that went into the world-building. The author raises some fascinating points about gender identity, sexual orientation and the danger of entwining politics and religion. There’s also a great set of secondary characters that surround the MC’s, friends we know already from Slow Heat as well as new characters that I hope to see again in future books.

Narration:
Michael Ferraiuolo is a brilliant performer. Simple as that. How he manages to do so many different voices and match them so perfectly to the characters, I’ll never understand. I’m so glad that he did this sequel to Slow Heat as well, because it was absolutely wonderful to hear Jason and Vale’s voices again too. I must confess that I’m something of a Xan and Urho fangirl and I was so excited and curious to hear their story in audio! It was everything I hoped for and more.
I loved hearing Michael Ferraiuolo’s interpretation of their voices and interactions. The nuance and emotion which he brought to these fictional characters took the entire book to a whole new level.
And it was already pretty amazing. I’m awestruck.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time to Comfort: A Chosen Man (The Men of Halfway House #6) by Jaime Reese

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41885577-a-chosen-man?from_search=true

Blurb

For Wall McCormack, actions speak louder than words. He’s giving and protective, loyal to his friends, and devoted to his job. While confident and powerful enough to conquer any challenge, his greatest strength lies in his calm nature. Until an unexpected assignment sends his world into a loud and colorful chaos he never could have anticipated.

Rejection. It’s something Dylan Vaughn has known his entire life. But he’s a tough nut to crack and refuses to break. Armed with a sharp tongue and brutal honesty, he pushes through life and at anyone who attempts to take him on. Except for the quiet guardian who piques his interest and dares him to want…more.

When Dylan’s past comes back with a vengeance and jeopardizes their growing connection, Wall will stop at nothing to protect the younger man and remain by his side. But convincing Dylan that someone accepts the real man behind the cocky facade might prove to be Wall’s greatest challenge yet.

With his freedom on the line, Dylan must trust the strength of their bond and confront the forces threatening their future. Only then will he realize the dream of acceptance is real and finally have a place to call home.

Review

This is such a lovely series. I totally respect the time the author takes in between books, because each story is so fully developed and rich. Just like her visual art, her written words are evocative and descriptive without being wordy or purple.

In this case, our guys are no less broken than the previous couples we’ve met – but these two are maybe a bit “lighter”. It’s a welcome reprieve and I enjoyed the humor, closeness and emotional times we got to share with these guys and Wall’s mother.

As in the other books in this series there is a crime to be solved and in this case some danger of life and limb. It doesn’t overshadow the romance and moves along easily.

I can’t say enough positive things about this – other than – you should read it! It’s best as part of the series but each is fine on it’s own.

5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Honest Review

Recent Review: Lazy Sundays by K-lee Klein


Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41998052-lazy-sundays?from_search=true

Blurb
Scott Weston’s car is sensible, his suits are bland, and his job is stable but boring. Mundane routine helps keep his anxiety and obsessive tendencies under control. Socializing—especially dating—isn’t on his list of strong skills either, and, made worse with the echoes of his disapproving mother. So he’s content to stay at home with his lists and cleaning and wildlife documentaries, until a one-night stand goes unexpectedly right.

History has taught Devon DuCaine that dating can be uncomfortable, but there’s just something about Scott. He may be the opposite of Devon’s own long-haired, tattooed, free-wheeling spirit but he brings out the nurturer in Devon. Maybe it’s Scott’s surprising fascination with Devon’s motorcycle, or his shy surprise in moments of affection, but there’s more under those sensible suits than meets the eye. The most important person in Devon’s life, his mom, taught him love and compassion and that’s all he wants to share that with Scott.

Their one-night stand turns into a regular thing, but Scott doesn’t trust it to last. He’s pretty sure Devon is hiding something. He’s even more sure that once Devon gets to know him, the attraction will fade. And then there’s his mother. However many sparks fly between them, Devon will have his work cut out to convince Scott they can have their happily ever after.

Review
Originally this book consisted of two short stories, but the author re-wrote them into one book and added a lot of content. I never read the short stories, but as far as I can tell the added content serves mostly to make the story longer but not better, per se. Some scenes just felt too drawn out to me (how long can a Valentine’s day date drag on?) and the author also repeats certain points so much that it got on my nerves. I understand that Devon had a really good mother and that they were very close, however, I didn’t need to read it quite that many times. And yes, Scott has very low self-esteem, but Devon was constantly there to give him all the validation he could want, so when he continued putting himself down and doubting their relationship I felt he short-changed Devon with his negative attitude.

The story starts when the relationship has been going on for a couple of months, although they haven’t truly put a label or expectations on it yet. There’s something mysterious about Devon who is obviously hiding something, but Scott is slow to catch on. Once that particular cat is out of the bag, though, everyone they meet seems to know about Devon, so it’s a bit odd that Scott was oblivious for so long.

The best part of the book, for me, was when everything seemed to go to pieces because of the “big reveal”. Those scenes are, thankfully, very intense. Up until that time I didn’t feel very emotionally invested in this couple, maybe because everything was going almost too smoothly…uneventfully.

The scenes that deal with Scott’s anxiety and his panic attacks are well-written and feel very real. There is also a lot of playful banter between Scott and Devon, as well as good times with family and friends, which was fun to read.
As far as their relationship goes very little actually happens. I didn’t understand what they saw in each other. Not that they both weren’t likable characters, because they were, I just didn’t feel the magic between them.

So this was definitely not my cup of tea, but it might just be the perfect book for readers who like their romance easy-going, mellow and sweet. An easy read for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

This is a short story about Scott and Devon. Scott is a geek with low self worth, anxiety, and OCD. Devon is a sensual Alpha male with tattoos and versatile in the bedroom. Scott likes routine in his life and is thrown off by how someone like Devon would be with him. Little things get to Scott a lot. Having a child with OCD similar to Scott, I know how affected you can be when the routine is thrown off. Devon does seem to try to work with Scott’s routines instead of ignoring or being counterproductive. There is great chemistry. Heart clenching how Scott works himself into a panic over Devon. There was a good mix of angst and cute moments. Worth reading. There are moments of panic attacks, trigger warning.

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

On the whole I did enjoy this book, although in some ways it didn’t quite work for me.

Devon is a rock star and a nice guy, I just wasn’t convinced with his rock star status. It all seemed far too convenient and not totally realistic.

Scott is an accountant with anxiety issues. Again, I liked this character, but having read other books with similar themes, it felt the author had skimmed the surface rather than truly commit to the issues. Even the storyline with his parents was not totally explained and I still felt the situation with his mother was unresolved at the end of the book.

The banter between the two main characters was fun, and the relationship very sweet. I did find myself caring about both Devon and Scott, but I just feel that everything could have of had a little more depth to it.

Number of stars out of 3.5


Purchased copy

Recent Release: Czech Mate (Agents of C.L.A.W. #1) by Jane Wallace-Knight

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41958956-czech-mate?from_search=true

Blurb

Set in the Happily Ever After Mating Agency universe, C.L.A.W. is a secret subsection of MI6 dealing with shifter matters that the rest of the world can’t know about. Andrew Brady was proud to work for such an organization, working behind the scenes on his computer to help keep the world safe.

When the son of a prominent British politician, and a fellow fox shifter, goes missing in Prague, Andrew is forced to go out into the field for the first time. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact he was partnered up with Lane Roberts, leopard shifter, secret agent, and all round serial flirt.

The two men had been butting heads for two years, dancing around each other in a game of Lane’s making. Putting himself in danger, and having to pretend to be married to Lane Roberts would have been bad enough, but the deeper they go the darker their mission seems to get.

[Siren Classic ManLove: Alternative Contemporary Paranormal Romantic Suspense Romance, MM, shape-shifter, HEA]

Review

I’m sad to say this was pretty unremarkable. 🙁  I’m a fan of the author and this just didn’t make me laugh as much as some of her other material.

The shifter stuff was nice, but after having separated from this for a book or two I find myself struggling to remember what even happened.

I like this author’s works but I think I felt the secondary story took more center stage than the romance in this one and I was underwhelmed.

Still worth reading but not my favorite shifter story or my favorite by this author. I remember the first books in the original series quite fondly and was glad to see the MCs from that story make an appearance. https://www.goodreads.com/series/136848-the-happily-ever-after-mating-agency

Recommended for fans of the author.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: A Deeper Blue (The Game #2) by S.E. Harmon

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-deeper-blue-by-se-harmon-9928-b

Blurb

A year ago, Kelly Cannon couldn’t imagine he’d end up with his formerly straight best friend. It’s hard to believe he can finally kiss Blue any time he wants… as long as they’re in private. And there’s the rub. Despite Kelly’s promise to wait until Blue is ready to come out, he’s tired of sneaking around. The cracks in their relationship are starting to show, and there might not be enough spackle in the world to fix them.

Britton “Blue” Montgomery may not be the physics brainiac his boyfriend is, but he’s not stupid. He knows Kelly isn’t completely happy. But he’s not ready to be the poster boy for bisexuals and gays in the NFL. He just wants to keep his head down, play the game he loves, and go home to the man he adores. Is that too much to ask?

With the truth slowly coming to the surface, Blue must make a choice. If it means losing Kelly, there’s no decision to make…. He has to find enough courage to face the music and hope they’ll survive the fallout.

Man. Happily-ever-afters may not be just for Disney princesses, but they sure are a lot of work.

Review

So here’s the thing. If you loved book one, if you love this author and their style of writing, you will love this sequel.

It’s full of SE Harmon’s sense of humor, flair with sexual chemistry and attention to minutia (I mean detail- ahem.)

One thing I’ve felt about each SE Harmon title was that it was good but too long and needed a fierce hand with an editor and it’d be tight and wonderful. As it is, though there is a lot of interesting stuff happening, it isn’t needed IMHO. I felt like I understood the importance of Kelly’s career without having to go step by step with him through his teaching process. I get that the foot ball guys are jerks without having to sit through each moment of practice.

So, for me, I found myself wanting to skim a lot and though I found the sex hot – it got skimmed as well.

I definitely needed this book to close up what we started in book 1 and so – to that extent – I was happy to have read this – but I’m still left with that feeling of wishing it’d been shorter and more to the point.

I think fans of the author will disagree but I give this 3.5 stars.

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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

Audiobook: Love You so Madly by Tara Lain Narrated by Ry Forest

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-you-so-madly-by-tara-lain-9634-b

Blurb
A Love You So story.
Ben Shane has it all…and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.
Though Dusty is odd for a 23-year-old – no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive – the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus?
He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work. After all, Ben’s perfect…and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only mad in love.

Review

Story-Love You So Madly is the second book in the Love You So Stories but can easily be read as a standalone. This is a pretty short read/listen about a guy, Ben who works hard for a charitable foundation. He seems to have the perfect life. Rich, attentive fiancée Alan, who wants to give him the world. A job, that even though it requires long hours, he gets to help people, which he loves. But underneath the surface Ben isn’t as happy as he seems. He doesn’t want to be a trophy husband to his rich boyfriend, he wants to make a difference in the world. Ben has noticed the office handyman, the stunningly attractive Dusty for a while but has hardly ever talked to him. Eventually that all changed and Dusty starts to help Ben out with some renovation problems he’s been having. Ben starts to notice some weird quirks about Dusty as the two get to know each other. As the two men grow closer to each other Ben struggles with his attraction to Dusty and his failing relationship Alan. After Dusty has a health scare Ben finally realizes what he wants and goes about making the changes in his life.

I found this to be a very light, fast paced book. The two main characters were sweet and funny. I did at some points find Dusty’s mother to be a bit over bearing but after finding out about past issues I could kind of get why she was like that. The one thing I didn’t like was towards the end, when Dusty and Ben finally get together, they had sex after their “first” date. I don’t think it needed to be in the story. It felt rather rushed and out of place. I would have been just as happy not to have it there. Other than that I found this to be a delightful book and series so far.

Story-4 stars

Narration-Ry Forest seems to be a fairly new narrator. I have only listened to one other book he has narrated, and I have the same issue with both books. Ry has a very attractive voice that kept me enthralled. He puts a lot of enthusiasm in his narrations but at times this can be very over the top (like when he “voices” a moan or laugh). He keeps the story going and I didn’t have any other issues, except the moaning/laughing parts, but I will most like still pick up an audio narrated by him in the future.

Narration-4 stars

Overall 4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review