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

 

 

 

Recent Release: Sanctuary (Mercy Hills Pack #5.5) by Ann-Katrin Byrde

Good reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36395933-sanctuary?from_search=true

Blurb

“Omegas for alphas and betas for betas…”

Ori and Patton have been best friends since they were pups. But growing up changes everything—Ori must settle on an alpha to mate, while Patton takes on the beta’s work of maintaining the walled enclave their pack lives within. They try to make the best of it, until a wealthy suitor comes calling for Ori, and they realize neither of them can face a future without the other. And on a moonless night, Ori and Patton escape over the enclave walls, breaking both shifter and human law in their determination to reach the sanctuary of Mercy Hills.

Hunted by their own people and forced into a dangerous masquerade among the humans, their original plan–so simple and direct—turns into a twisted path toward a promise of freedom that might not even exist. Because Mercy Hills doesn’t know they’re coming, and the trouble they’re bringing to the enclave’s doorstep may be more than those already beset shifters are willing to bear.

Finding out Ori is pregnant makes their mission that much more urgent. Omegas never mate with betas, let alone have pups with them. If their pack finds the two lovers, they’ll be separated forever.

But the pack never reckoned with the determination of a beta in love, or the stubbornness of an omega determined to keep his mate and his baby.

Review

I like this series quite a bit but I do find some of the detail a bit too tedious. I’ve never been a huge fan of “dystopian” and I sort of lump these types of stories as dystopian. In this world, the knowledge of shifters is out there and they are subsequently treated very poorly and kept in enclaves.

I really hate this type of story but I so admire the love stories the author is capable of giving that I wade through the sadness and despair to find the happy and the sweet.

Our two MCs have a truck load of misery to over come in this book and I have to admit I skimmed the entire first half as it was entirely too “difficult” and way too long – for me – but I really enjoyed the part where they finally made it to the Mercy Hills Pack and found their beginning to be really touching as well.

I think this is another author who could benefit from a stiff editing ☺

I think this is good for fans of the author and the series but I wouldn’t start with this – I think they need to be read in order.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Fangs for the Memories by Julia Talbot

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fangs-for-the-memories-by-julia-talbot-9965-b

Blurb: One wolf lost his memory, but they’ll both lose their hearts.
Bitten werewolf Tom owes the folks at the Dead and Breakfast big for saving his life. So when they ask for help with a rogue wolf on the premises, he’s happy to do his part….
Though he isn’t quite prepared for what he’ll find.
Werewolf Nathan lost everything to a sadistic kidnapper—his freedom, his memories, and maybe even his ability to be human. But as soon as he meets Tom, he knows he might be able to reclaim his life. And even a turned wolf like Tom feels the mating call. The trouble is, Tom isn’t the only one who wants Nathan, and they’ll need help from all their supernatural friends at the D & B to defeat a powerful enemy and keep their love—and themselves—alive.

Review: This is a standalone sequel to Fangs and Catnip, this time the pairing is between 2 wolf shifters. The story is sweet, with an almost childlike feel to the dialogue, which fit within the storyline.
Tom, (we met him when he was bitten in book 1), is a made wolf. He runs a sort of animal rescue centre that includes helping shifters. The owners of the B&B have noticed a wild, distressed wolf and ask Tom to help. He helps the wolf, learns his name – Nathan and discovers that he’s a shifter.
Nathan has run from a horrid situation and is understandably traumatized. The way Tom and the others look out for Nathan makes up the bulk of the story. We also get to see past characters like Carter and meet new ones like Ed, a magpie shifter.
There is very little angst, some suspense – (when the cause of Nathan’s trauma reappears) – and humour. The suspense piece may have been a tad rushed, but it brings some new faces to the series.
This is a cozy read, like the satisfaction one gets putting on one’s favourite pair of slippers.
And it was my pleasure to read.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Recent Releases: Halloween Short Freebies!

Inn Love by Lucy Lennox

No blurb but a competition for a bed and breakfast pits two guys against one another in a haunted house.  But… they find love instead!

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36431512-inn-love?from_search=true

 

Review

This was an adorable little story about some meddling ghosts and a little boy who finally grows up to achieve his dream.

There were a lot of times that I was annoyed with Ryan and I got tired of the other “contestants” but it was a quick story that had some cute and sweet moments.

3 of 5 stars

Monster Till Midnight by E.J. Russell

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42509627-monster-till-midnight?from_search=true

Blurb

Brady dearly loves Halloween. But the haunted house extravaganza he staged in his new town–in a house that’s actually supposed to be haunted–is a total bust. But then, an unexpected visitor barges out of his corn maze…

Review

I wish this had been full length! I loved this so much! It was clever, with some fabulous twists in it and loads of laughs!

It was a minute to read, but I wish that we had more time with these characters and their discovery of love that is more hinted at than explored.

In any case – highly recommended for a quick, fun, Halloween read!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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: Nightfall John Inman

release day review

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/nightfall-by-john-inman-9854-b

Blurb
Joe Chase and Ned Bowden are damaged men. They each bear scars from surviving the world they were born in. Deep scars, both physical and emotional.

When fate offers its first kind act by bringing the two together, suddenly their scars don’t seem so bad, and their lives don’t feel so empty.

Yet that kindness comes at a price.

Just as Joe and Ned begin to experience true happiness for the very first time, the world turns on them again.

But this time it turns on everyone.

Review
This story was utterly sweet, sensual, emotional, intense and intimate.

The story is about Ned and Joe are neighbors and have unspoken deep feelings for each other. At the same time they get, very carefully, closer and closer… the world is acting strange.
When the sky turns dark and the temperature’s dropping ugly, most of the people turn dark and ugly too. It becomes the ‘Survival of the fittest’
Joe will protect Ned at all costs.

Ned so fragile, precious and sweet funny… Joe lonely and very protectively hovering over Ned.
I was holding my breath.. it was so fragile. Ned has a history of abuse and is very vulnerable.

“There had been a vacant spot inside him all along, it seemed—a spot that needed caulking; a spot that Joe had never known was there. Had never imagined was there. Until Ned came along.”

The parts where Ned and Joe are together and exploring each other were excellent. The journey they went through was good and original and sometimes angsty.
It was not really my kind of thing. Some parts I scrolled through… I know others will love those parts. I was more fixated on the moments they explored each other. The way of writing was really wonderful.
The love they feel for each other and their lovemaking is sweet and delicate.
Those parts did something with my heart.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Review: Sekani’s Stinky Escapade (Wolves of Stone Ridge #44.5) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40676135-sekani-s-stinky-escapade?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Out of the Cage: When a flight of fun goes awry, a bat shifter plays the damsel in distress.

Sekani just planned to stretch his Egyptian fruit bat’s wings a little while his vampire lover, Master Borscht Kuznetsov, sat through a conference call. Unfortunately, his short flight takes an unexpected turn when he runs into another bat…of the non-shifter variety. Sekani’s headlong rush puts him in unexpected peril. While Sekani can speak telepathically with Borscht, will it be enough for his vampire to find and rescue him?

Review

This was pretty silly and fun! Sekani and Borscht (not my favorite name ever) are one of my favorite couples in Charlie’s series. Sekani is pretty sweet and innocent still and Borscht is still his hunky savior.

Don’t expect anything to substantial, just a bit of fun.

4 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
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