Categories
adult - 18+

Shortbread and Shadows Author: Amy Lane

 Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/shortbread-and-shadows-by-amy-lane-11686-b

Blurb
Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club: Book One

When a coven of hedge witches casts a spell for their hearts’ desires, the world turns upside down.

Bartholomew Baker is afraid to hope for his heart’s true desire—the gregarious woodworker who sells his wares next to Bartholomew at the local craft fairs—so he writes the spell for his baking business to thrive and allow him to quit his office job. He’d rather pour his energy into emotionally gratifying pastry! But the magic won’t allow him to lie, even to himself, and the spellcasting has unexpected consequences.

For two years Lachlan has been flirting with Bartholomew, but the shy baker with the beautiful gray eyes runs away whenever their conversation turns personal. He’s about to give up hope… and then Bartholomew rushes into a convention in the midst of a spellcasting disaster of epic proportions.

Suddenly everybody wants a taste of Bartholomew’s baked goods—and Bartholomew himself. Lachlan gladly jumps on for the ride, enduring rioting crowds and supernatural birds for a chance with Bartholomew. Can Bartholomew overcome the shyness that has kept him from giving his heart to Lachlan?

Review
I don’t always know what I’m going to get with a book written by Amy
Lane but I know I am going to enjoy it. With this book Amy has given us love and magic, what a potent combination. I fell in love with timid, shy, naive Bartholomew who turns out to be a hero in this story. Lachlan is determined that Bartholomew will pay attention to him and realise how much he is attracted to Bartholomew. Here’s where love and magic get sticky because you can’t fool magic. Magic knows Bartholomew’s true hearts desire is Lachlan. Now the fun begins in the book. Such a wonderful comedy of errors occurs as
Bartholomew, his coven and Lachlan try to appease magic and put things right. True love blossoms in amongst the mayhem and Bartholomew realises he can rely on Lachlan to back him up and support him.
Whilst Bartholomew and Lachlan’s story comes to a wonderful happy for now ending there was a tiny cliffhanger. I do hope the next story is out soon this coven grabbed my heart with their spell and I don’t want to break free from them just yet.
Number of stars out 5 of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Soul to Keep Author: Garrett Leigh Narrator: Dan Calley

audiobookreview

Publisher and link to book (i.e. Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36291180-soul-to-keep

 

Blurb
Stand-alone second book in the LAMBDA nominated Rented Heart series.

Recovering addict Jamie Yorke has returned to England from California. With no home or family to speak of, he sticks a pin in a map and finds a small town in the Derbyshire Peak District. Matlock Bath is a quiet place – he just needs to get there, keep his head down, and stay clean. Simple, right? Until a chance meeting on the flight home alters the course of his so-called life forever.

Ex-Army medic Marc Ramsey is recovering from life-changing combat injuries while pulling nights as a trauma specialist at the local hospital. Keeping busy is a habit he can’t quit, but when Jamie – so wild and beautiful – bursts into his life, working himself into the ground isn’t as compelling as it used to be.

Marc falls hard, but chaos lurks behind Jamie’s fragile facade. He’s winning his battle against addiction, but another old foe is slowly consuming him. Both men have weathered many storms, but the path to the peace they deserve might prove the roughest ride yet.

Review
This book worked as a stand-alone for me. I have never read of listened to Rented Heart and whilst characters do cross over a little I did not feel like I was missing something. This story is all about Jamie and Marc. I absolutely loved their meeting, it was like fate was giving them a push knowing they would be just what each other needed. As Jamie fights to control his addiction his OCD comes more to the front as a way to take control of his life. Such a powerful battle he is going through. Marc is there for him, really they are there for each other. There’s a lot in this story without it feeling overwhelming. I love the realism in Garrett Leigh’s writing. There’s aren’t any cinderfella moments. Everyone has to work hard to get what they want or to be with, without a too heavy load of angst.
Dan Cally’s narration adds a perfect amount of grit with his gravelly voice. He is able to convey Marc’s tired determination of an NHS Doctor and the frenetic worry that drives Jamie. Perfect for me.

Number of stars 4 out of 5 for story
Number of stars 5 out of 5 for narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Deadman’s Hand By: Cindy Dees

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dead-mans-hand-by-cindy-dees-11680-

Blurb
Temptation, peril, and dirty poker.

Love is a high-stakes game.

When Collin Callahan, British secret agent, goes up against math genius turned surfer bum Oliver Elliot, the battle is epic—and so is the attraction. They’re pitted against each other in an exclusive, ultra-secret—and ultra-illegal—poker match in Gibraltar, but when players start dying and they could be next, they find a common goal: catch the killer before it’s too late.

Evenly matched at poker and romance, they each wrestle personal demons that threaten to consume them as the stakes climb. It’s an all-or-nothing gamble with both life and love on the line as they fight to be the last seven-card studs standing.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Seven-Card Stud by Ava Drake, November 2016

Review
I pondered how to write a 3 * review for a book I really liked. In book 1 Wild Cards Inc provides personal security. In this story their operative Colin Callahan is an inexperienced undercover agent. The story is a mix of suspense, who done it, and thriller. Colin is pretending to be an expert card player in very high stake game. It did keep my at I really wanted to know what happened next. Colin meets Gun (Oliver) and falls for him but can he trust him. I enjoyed the way the story played out up until the end. This is where my review drops. I want to know what happens next. I don’t have the imagination of an author to create the rest of the story myself. I had hoping that since this is a republished series the ending was fleshed out or if not another book is added that gives Colin and Gun’s next adventure bringing down the Consortium. Fingers crossed that happens.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Poker Face by Cindy Dees

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/poker-face-by-cindy-dees-11661-

Blurb
Surveillance, seduction, and extra-dirty politics.

Christian Chatsworth-Brandeis has a problem. A huge one. The US senator he works for has run away with his latest mistress on the eve of a make-or-break fund-raising event, and it’s up to him to cover his boss’s irresponsible tracks.

Stone Jackson, the senator’s new bodyguard, looks enough like the senator that, with some extensive grooming, he might pass for Senator Lacey. Christian and Stone hatch a plan to fool everyone by substituting Stone for the senator, but Miami madness and the incendiary heat between them are throwing obstacles in their way. It’s a race to find the senator and pull off the con of the century before the attraction between them spins completely out of control

Second Edition
First Edition previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Ace in the Hole by Ava Drake, July 2016

Review
I found Poker Face to be a delightful story. I loved the way the hard disciplined body guard caves in to Christian to take on the persona of Senator Lacey. This story could easily have become slapstick comedy but the author controlled the events brilliantly. It was easy to see the events unfolding, wondering where it was going. I was hoping the Senator gets his just deserts after skipping of with his current mistress. I didn’t see the ending coming, wonderful.
The characters are well crafted and totally lovable, even Jack Lacey is the kind of character I love to hate. Throughly enjoyable story.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Spotless: a box set by Bailey Bradford

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/series/125914

 

Blurbs

1 – Hide When you think you’ll never fit it, never be whole, love can show you a truth you’ve never seen.
2 – Hunt Steven was on a mission he knew could cost him his life, but instead he might find himself truly living for the first time.
3 – Home Solomon wanted nothing more than to stay at home and raise his siblings, until he’s kidnapped and everything in his world changes.
4 – Heart Rolly has waited ten years to claim his mate. Now the wait is over, and he’s coming home.
What happens when shifters are born of two different breeds? Nothing good as far as the pumapards can see. With a parent who is a leopard, and another who is a puma, they have a hard life and are scorned by either of the full-blooded breeds.
But there’s more to their existence than they know. Why were they even allowed to be born? Why did their parents breed in the first place, when no one wanted the offspring?
And how do they survive when one man in particular—their father—wants them to suffer as much as possible?

Review

This is a box set of 4 stories that continue events set in motion in the Leopard’s Spots series. I love shifter romances and I think the author did a great job with the world-building and fated mates trope in this series. There’s enough crossing over of the characters from other books to keep everything linked, while never upstaging the main couple.

Hide is the story of Adal, a character we first got to meet in Isaiah, book 4 in the Leopard’s Spots series. Adal and his brother Steven are “aberrations”, mixed breed shifters that were never supposed to exist and have been abused and poisoned by their psychopath father. Adal never thought he could have a mate, and his world is turned upside down when he finds Dorso. Dorso is a bit rough around the edges, and more than a little surprised by the reality of shifters and fated mates, but his rapidly growing devotion to Adal, and vice versa, makes for a captivating read.

In Hunt we finally get to discover what happened to Steven, Adal’s protective brother, who is on a suicide mission to rid the world of their horrible father. Steven is a tough cookie, he’s had to be in order to survive, and it takes two very special men to help and love him. Two mates? It is unheard of apparently but it works beautifully. Cole and Shaun have grown up loving each other, but were never able to be honest about the true depth of their feelings, waiting for a mating bond that didn’t materialize…until they find Steven. The three men are explosive together, so much angst and passion. I like that it’s not that instantly easy, there’s tension and disbelief amidst the butterflies, an edge that makes it all the sweeter once they are finally together, the three of them.

Home takes place a couple of years after Hunt, aligning with events in the third box set in the Leopard Spots series. Solomon, one of the newly-discovered siblings of Steven and Adal, has been a father for his younger brothers and sisters, raising them within Bobby’s wolf pack, though not truly daring to become a part of it. Solomon is kidnapped and finds love with one of his kidnappers, though this is not a forced proximity story. Azil, the mate in question, has been put down his entire life and treated like he’s worthless. In a way, he is as much a prisoner as Solomon. Azil has trouble standing up for himself and shaking of years of indoctrination, but is a genuine sweetheart. Azil’s pack brings a new threat to Solomon’s doorstep, scarier and more powerful than anything he and the other shifters have ever faced before.

Heart is perhaps the most heartwarming of the four stories, as the MC’s face a different type of challenge when learning about themselves and their mate bond. Edie, formerly Erdwin, is one of Solomon’s sisters, and transgender, which is not easy under the best of circumstances, but even less so when you are shifter and have the self-healing powers that come with that. Rolly, a powerful shaman, is completely in love with his mate and accepts her for who she is. The only thing that I thought a little strange is that he appears to be adamant about being gay while his one true mate is a woman, though stuck in a male body. Certainly their story shows the importance of love and acceptance. There’s no room for stereotypes or toxic masculinity when it comes to Rolly and Edie. We get to see more of Edie’s younger siblings too, most especially Rhea, and I can’t wait to see how her path will go, as it doesn’t promise to be very easy either.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5

Reviewer Name: Karen M.

Provided by publisher.

4.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Sticky Fingers by Davidson King

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50665726-sticky-fingers?from_search=true&qid=w97pllIB6p&rank=1

Blurb
When the desperate needs of his family must come before his dream of finishing his degree, Kyle, feeling both guilt ridden and heartbroken, knows what he needs to do. But when his help isn’t enough, a shady idea offered by his even shadier friend proves the only saving grace.
Mergers, acquisitions, and philanthropy consume Maddox’s days and nights prompting an overdue visit to his best friend’s luxury resort. Finally enjoying some R&R, he meets an adorable botanist working there for the summer. But a surprise visit from his ex and a shocking theft from his suite turn Maddox’s trip into chaos.
Trusting his gut, Maddox strikes a deal to help Kyle make up for his sticky fingers. But when his heart gets involved and his ex refuses to let go, Maddox’s plan starts to unravel. A summer of romance, deceit, and greed have both men navigating emotional waters, leaving them to wonder if true love and their happy ever after will come to pass.

Review

I felt like this book was really rushed, much of it was just too silly and the plot evolved fast with not enough believability to me. The beginning especially, felt to me like there was a need to get characters into a certain position in the plot and there was little care into how they got there. Kyle was too gullible in an annoying way, and the issue with his parents needing money felt like just a thing thrown in there. The story has a bit of Beauty and the Beast vibe, Kyle is indebted to Maddox who manipulates everything on a gut feeling to set Kyle up in his mansion to pay off his attempted theft. Maddox was very immature, at one point Kyle tells him “your acting like a 5 year old” and I couldn’t help but think how true that was, and not just that part of the story. There is also a bit of a thrilling twist, but it was very obvious to me what was going on and was a bit too cliché in my opinion.
I don’t know what it was about it, but towards the last 30% I was skimming most of the pages to just get it over with. Some parts where funny, but I am sad to say I was disappointed with this book.

Number of stars out of 5
2.5



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Tough Guy by Rachel Reid

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47795450-tough-guy

Blurb

They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?

Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.

Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.

Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.

Review

This took me FOREVER to get into. I just wasn’t as compelled as I had been with books 1 and 2. I’m not sure exactly why – but I didn’t gel with the couple as much as I had with the others. The chemistry was just off for me I guess.

I do enjoy a good hockey player book and Rachel Reid is a great author – so if you enjoyed books 1 and 2 I’d take a look at this – but it wasn’t my favorite.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Promises Part 2 (Bounty Hunters #2) by A.E. Via Narrated by Aiden Snow

audiobookreview
Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Promises-Part-2-Audiobook/1515949974?qid=1578788149&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=PD91JH3Q2A55KCE87V32&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb

Roman “Quick” Webb is one badass bounty hunter on the crime-filled streets of Atlanta. He’s fearless when it comes to carrying out his dangerous job alongside his longtime best friend and business partner, Duke. However, there is one thing that has begun to cause Quick concern and it’s the dreadful thought of living out the rest of his life alone. Seeing his best friend and his son fall in love and sharing the special connection that only true soulmates can, has made him all the more aware of what’s lacking in his life.

Love.

Dr. Cayson Chauncey has been wildly attracted to the big, tattooed hunter for almost a year, ever since he performed the surgery that saved Quick’s best friend’s life. Cayson must’ve mistaken Quick’s gratitude for something more, because the one time he tried to make his desires known, he was harshly rebuffed and left on the man’s doorstep feeling stupid for hitting on an obviously very straight man.

Cayson never dated a man who was willing to come out of hiding and be with him. Now at almost forty, Cayson is intent on no longer being anyone’s dirty secret. Having experienced countless disappointments, and having taken a stand not to fall for any more tricks, Cayson is more than a little skeptical when Quick comes around asking for a second chance to prove himself. The gorgeous man had already made it clear that he was not interested in Cayson… or so he’d thought.

Dr. Chauncey stirred up Quick’s suppressed, most carnal desires from a place deep down inside of him. He’d reacted so badly the first time that now his sexy surgeon wanted nothing to do with him. It was going to take a fair amount of patience and a whole lot of wooing involved as Quick sets out to convince Cayson that he’s worth another chance and that he is the brave lover who Cayson has been looking for.

With a scorned ex and a very dangerous job thrown into the mix, Cayson’s happiness and all of Quick’s promises may not be as easy to keep as they’d hoped.

Review

This couple was my least favorite in the series. I think that at least part of my issue with them is that they spend so much time apart from one another in the book. I really like when the MCs are engaging with one another right away and in almost every scene. That’s not the case here.

In the end I’m not sure I “bought” their relationship as well as I did the other couples either. Though they are definitely cute together, I’m just not sure I see the connection as all enduring like the others. AE Via is sooo good at giving us these hard-boiled men and showing us their soft sides and maybe there just wasn’t enough of them together for me to believe these two wildly different souls have what it takes to go the distance.

In any case, I enjoyed it and I thought the narrator – as always was wonderful!

3 of 5 stars for the story
5 of 5 for the narration
Overall 4 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: The Wrath of Wolves (Dark is the Night #3) by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48839327-the-wrath-of-wolves

Blurb
Preston Alexander has wanted to see the world for as long as he can remember. Now, an opportunity has presented itself. A supposedly haunted item needs transporting clear across the Atlantic. James and William can’t take it, so Preston jumps at the chance. He may not know nearly as much about the dead as his friends, but surely it can’t be that difficult. Besides, he won’t be alone: Benjamin will be at his side, and together, they’ve always been able to handle anything.

After abandoning his new job and the strained relationship with his father, and still grieving the loss of his mother, Benjamin Prichard is eager to figure out his place and purpose in life. He isn’t keen on the idea of travelling across the world, but if it means staying with Preston and keeping him out of trouble, he’s willing to give it a go.

But their trip isn’t exactly the holiday they’d hoped for. Not only is their cargo possessed, but it’s also sought after by a mysterious group led by a man with supernatural abilities far beyond what either of them thought humanly possible.

They aren’t just being trailed; they’re being hunted.

This time, the true danger is as much the living as it is the dead.

Review
The Wrath of Wolves is a perfect, suspenseful, scary, and scarily amazing addition to the Dark is the Night series! It answers some questions about all the things that go bump in the night and some other threats out there, but raises even more and introduces several intriguing new secondary characters (please pretty please can we have more N & S?). The reader is mercifully spared a cliffhanger ending, but still left so so needy for more stories in this universe.

This is the first full-length story that doesn’t revolve around James and William, but it holds up beautifully next to A Light Amongst Shadows and A Hymn in the Silence. I liked Preston and Benji fine before, but I utterly adore them now. They were a bit of a surprise, so different from James and William, but just as strong in their devotion and love for each other and absolutely wonderful characters in their own right. I’d be hard put to name a favorite MC at this stage.

In The Wrath of Wolves Benji and Preston are faced with mysteries and threats on different levels, some of this world and some… decidedly not so. And perhaps even more dangerous for it. I loved the suspense and the scary, threatening atmosphere throughout the story, as well as the action scenes, which were excellently paced and very, very bad for my blood pressure.

The love story builds up very slowly, though we are never in any doubt about the strength of Benji and Preston’s feelings for each other. The longing and intense emotion these two young men feel for each other is only hinted at for the longest time, but picking up the clues left by the authors was the sweetest torture. Preston’s feelings are slightly more obvious than Benji’s which makes everything even more of a tease for the observant reader. Will they, won’t they…? And when?! The moment they finally cross that line was just…everything! Such a pivotal scene, a shot to the heart.

Loved this and need more!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Purchased for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: A Boyfriend For Christmas by Jay Northcote


Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48915871-a-boyfriend-for-christmas

Blurb

Archie’s posh parents want him to meet a nice girl–how can he tell them he’s fallen for a bad boy instead?

Closeted, innocent and lonely, Archie Arandale longs for someone special in his life. A Christmas party organised by his wealth management company is the last place he expects to meet the man of his dreams.

With his leather jacket, tattoos, and piercings, Cal Turner turns heads the moment he walks through the door. He definitely isn’t looking for a boyfriend, but Archie’s hesitant charm captures his attention, and sneaking off during the party to have a little fun can only make a dull evening more interesting.

After their reckless and thrilling encounter, Archie is keen for more experience and Cal is happy to oblige. The need for secrecy means this can only be a casual fling, yet as they spend time together in the run up to Christmas, their feelings become more intense than either of them had bargained for. How can Archie find the courage to tell his family about Cal, when Cal’s the exact opposite of the ‘nice girl’ they’ve been hoping for?

Contains: A closeted virgin, a tattooed biker, class differences, a dramatic coming out, a very inappropriate Christmas gift, and a happy ending (of course).

Review

This book left me feeling giddy and optimistic. It’s a hopeful and fun read, very heartwarming, and surprisingly naughty…

The author brilliantly captures those first nervous moments of falling for someone, wondering if they’ll like you back, the excitement as well as the awkwardness that can come with firsts of any kind, and most especially the passion and delicious rush you get when falling in love.

Archie and Cal are, at first glance, an unlikely, but utterly adorable pair. The posh rich kid and the tattooed, slightly older, biker… how can anyone resist reading this story 😉 I loved that despite the small age gap, Cal and Archie are always on an equal footing and feel incredibly at ease around each other, almost from their first meeting.

Jay Northcote has a knack for writing real-life characters who seem completely genuine and authentic, and he pulls it off here too. He always makes me feel as if I could meet his MC’s just by setting foot in a pub in England, or maybe during a hike in Wales. A Boyfriend For Christmas is a light-hearted holiday romance with a great set of secondary characters, even those that make a rather awful first impression, and a great epilogue. Loved the humor and the inspirational gag gifts!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review