Audiobook: Love and Payne by Charlie Cochet (THIRDS Book 13) narrated by Mark Westfield

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-and-payne-by-charlie-cochet-10194-b

Blurb:
When THIRDS agent Osmond Zachary foils an assassination attempt on an anti-Therian politician his life is in danger. Austen Payne, a lonely and lethal TIN operative, must keep Zach alive. Thrust together with Zach’s plethora of relatives, can Austen keep him safe while struggling with his feeing for Zach and guarding his own heart?

Review of book by Neta (posted previously)

I have to confess I only read the first THIRDS book, Hell & High Water, so I read this book almost as a stand-alone. In regards to that I did not feel like I was missing too much information and even though I am sure reading all the previous books would have given me more background I can definitely say reading it on its own is no issue.
I do have to say that despite the popularity of this book series I did not get into it when I read the first one and # 13 did not change my mind even though I am a big Paranormal/Fantasy/Shifter fan.

I would say the biggest issue I have is believability, mainly in the world of the book. I like the background and evolution of Therians, as explained at the beginning, but when it comes to the various government agencies I feel like they are more prop then substance. I also think the mystery of the assassination attempt, and the subsequent hiding Zach was just not detailed enough. You have skilled agents, and advanced technology and yet the discovery of the perp is delayed and only comes as an afterthought. It’s almost like they intentionally miss the clues so it can prolong the ending. I feel the plot writing is underdeveloped and unbalanced, in a way that does not let me fully get into the story.

I enjoyed Austen and Zach as characters, but I feel the growing attraction between them took too much of the story. Sure it was fun and sexy at times but I felt the story needed more action and more emotional depth. They have known each other for four years, and while Zach is very interested, Austen has been keeping his distance but could not seem to stope checking in on Zach and coming to his aid whenever something happened to him. You do get the feeling of an almost Friends-To-Lovers (my favorite trope) vibe though they are not truly friends as Austen repeatedly pushes Zach away. I just kept going back to thinking I wish I believed the plot itself, and not have it as some sort of stage setting for Zach and Austen to get together. Because when you have these elements in a story they must work together with everything else. I feel like had the action and thrill been better and the world more complex this would have been a 5 Strat book for me.

Number of stars out of 5: 3 of 5 stars

Audio Review by Morgan

 

 

I still like this series quite a lot.  It doesn’t have that hook that it did but I really enjoy the shifting and the world Cochet has built is still full of funny lines and neat powers.  I’m a bit tired of the drama – so that makes the story more of a 3 than a 4 for me. 

The romance was nice and I loved the growly “mine!” in bear language this time around.

The audio by Mark Westfield is definitely the best way to appreciate this entire series.  He does such a nice job with the “sound effects” and doing his best to give everyone a unique voice and character.

I was glad I waited for the audiobook!

3 for the story and 5 for the narration – 4 overall

 


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Release Day Review: Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper by Carole Cummings

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-fear-the-not-really-grim-reaper-by-carole-cummings-10083-b

Blurb

When unassuming college student Emery Sutton wakes up in the morgue, it takes him a few minutes to remember he has magic (superpowers, damn it!) and free himself from the refrigerated drawer. And the body bag. (God.) It doesn’t take long, though, for him to remember the hot guy with wings he ran into just before a city bus ran into him.

Junior Reaper John must explain to his supervisor how his first solo assignment went so wrong. All he knows is that he happened upon Emery quite by accident, that Emery saw John when he shouldn’t have been able to, and when they accidentally touched, a bus came out of nowhere and plowed Emery under. (John really does feel bad about that.)

Hot angels, annoying demons, hijinks, absurdity, drunk siblings, a dash of silly romance, an inordinate attachment to wings, and a highly disorganized bid for world domination—Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper follows Emery and John down the rabbit hole where they find that moms are scarier than demons from hell, a goat is not a puppy no matter what Emery’s sister says, and awkward romance can happen anywhere.
Review by Dee
This is a delightful, fun story. It’s a cross between a YA story, a Monty Python sketch all rolled into a Terry Gilliam or Prachett plot.
Emery keeps getting killed – unsuccessfully. Now, this would not be funny under normal circumstances, but this is a comedy so roll with it. It turns out that a junior Grim Reaper, John accidentally ‘kills’ Emery. John is full of remorse, reports this to his superiors, only to find out that Emery has not ‘transitioned, that is to say there is no record of his dying. More worrisome, there is no record of Emery at all. John is sent to investigate. The investigation leads to hijinks, meeting of demons, minions, family (Emery’s) and 2 young men falling in love.
The story is unique, funny, with a fun pop references, a close knit family and a formidable mum who will not tolerate evil in any of her kids!
If you like fantastical farces that’s not afraid to poke fun, this is definitely a good choice.

4 stars out of 5


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Review by Rebecca

This book drew me in instantly. Character rambling at the beginning, but it’s very humorous and shows the sense of humor and awkwardness of Emery. Movie references that made me smile. John is a Reaper that just wanted to do things right. It’s funny how he’d tiptoe around what really happened on his solo mission. So much nerd humor is in the book, very exciting. Enjoyed Emery’s family and the humor they brought to the book. Poor John is lost as to why he keeps being unsuccessful, yet doesn’t mind being around Emery more. The mutual attraction is overlooked by both. The demons were an amusing addition to the drama. The book isn’t centered on a relationship between Emery and John, but the attraction is there. All around enjoyable book.

Number of stars out of 5

5


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Recent Release: Frostbite (The Gifted Ones #1) by J.M. Wolf

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42433191-frostbite?ac=1&from_search=true

Photo of a men body

Blurb

Cyrus Winters, an omega wolf and an ice mage is dangerous to others. After running away from his birth pack at an early age, Cyrus traveled from place to place in hopes of finding a pack that would accept him. But once they realized that he was no ordinary omega wolf, they quickly turned their backs on him. Alone and shunned as a monster, Cyrus has kept himself hidden at the top of the Wichita Mountains where nobody would reach him. That is, until he hears the song of his fated mate.

Dorian Lovell once had the family he’d always dreamed of, but after the death of his son, his whole world fell apart. When he begins having dreams about a white wolf at the top of a mountain, howling for him, Dorian realizes that he may have found his fated mate. Joining his friend Tobias’ pack in the Wichita Mountains, Dorian sets out to find the wolf from his dream; but once he meets Cyrus, he quickly realizes that mating with the frosty omega won’t be as easy as he thought it’d be.

An omega with a heart of ice, and an alpha who’s destined to thaw him out. With a threat to Cyrus’ life approaching, the two must learn to come together as one. Can Dorian’s pack accept the gifted omega, and can Cyrus trust his life and future to his new pack, and the alpha the fates paired him with?

TRIGGER WARNING:
This book contains sexual and verbal adult content, MPREG, violence, bloody gore, death, and talks of loss and heartache. No babies were harmed in the making of this book.
*** This is Book 1 in the series, but can be read as a standalone story – no cliffhangers ***

Review

This is another great new (to me) author with an exciting new series! It’s very engaging and creative and I was grabbed from the first page!

I’m a sucker for the “ugly duckling” type trope where the seemingly bad stuff in one’s life turns out to be awesome and that’s what we’ve got here. I thought this was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to this series!

What kept this from being 5 of 5 stars was that sometimes the world was a bit harsh and sometimes I wasn’t always sure about the “rules” for this world … but I’m hoping it’ll pick up steam as the series progresses.

4 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review:Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/devouring-flame-by-ej-russell-10077-b

Blurb

An Enchanted Occasions Story
Reunited and reignited.

While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith, half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads seeing again: the ifrit, Hashim of the Windrider clan.

On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith, stupidly besotted, revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word? Message received, loud and clear: Thanks but no, thanks.

Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free.

When their attraction sparks once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name—which would be a hell of a lot easier if they didn’t have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood.

But if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes.

Luckily Smith is the guy who gets shit done. And Hashim is never afraid to heat things up.

Review
This was very cute. I love EJ Russell’s imagination and way with character dialog.
I didn’t enjoy this as much as her other series but as this looks to expand further I’d totally read more from this series – well- pretty much anything by this author goes on my TBR list ☺
I can’t put my finger on it – but I think the thing – for me – that makes it less enjoyable is that they’d already met and we have a misunderstanding to get around first. I’m just not a fan of that trope.

I did really love the “powers” and their combined effects on one another – very romantic and wonderful. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the author, fans of paranormal romance and fans of romance with humor.

4 of 5 stars


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Release Day Review: Gabriel and the Devil by Robert P. Rowe

release day review

Dreasmpsinner

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/gabriel-and-the-devil-by-robert-p-rowe-10074-b

Blurb: Flirting with the devil can lead to a helluva good time.
Gabriel is a regular angel. The former altar boy plans to graduate from college, become an accountant, get a good job, find a wife, and live a faithful Catholic life.

But one Halloween night, the devil pops in out of nowhere, challenges everything he believes, and heats up Gabriel’s lonely life.
Marcello is full of the devil. He’s lusted after Gabriel forever, but what he really wants is Gabriel’s eternal soul. Still, his mischievous sense of humor, along with his tricks and jokes, leads to a misunderstanding that could condemn him to hell on Earth. Only the truth will let these souls find true love and happiness.

Review: Overall, this was a fun read – the good, religious boy and the not so good, devilish tempter. I thought the story was cleverly done – without giving the twist away – there is a bit of sleight of hand that works quite well.
My biggest complaint is how quickly Gabriel fell for Marcello; one moment he’s resisting Marcello’s tempting ways and almost as quickly, he’s fallen in lust/love. This is a story that could have been longer in order to fully stretch out the fantasy and fun. But the ending is nice, complete with a satisfying epilogue.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Recent Release: Prince For Sale by Caroline Gibson

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43130391-prince-for-sale

Blurb

Freed from slavery, trapped by magic.
Vell once was a powerful sorcerer and a prince of Otharn. By the side of his father, King Covl, and his beloved brother, Lonn, worlds fell at his feet. Now, he is a slave, cast out by his father, sold, used and abused. Being delivered to Earth may be his last hope for freedom.

David Thomen, scientist, inventor, defender of Earth, is living a lonely life with his inventions. Responsible for opening the gateway from Earth to Otharn, he must come to terms with his role as Vell’s newest owner, and face up to Otharn’s plans for Earth.

Forced into an intimate relationship against both their wills, can Vell and David break the bonds of magic joining them together? And when the time comes, will they want to?

Note to readers: This book is for a mature audience, it contains dubious consent, memories of past rape, as well as consensual sex scenes. No graphic violence, mild descriptions of injuries.

Review

I definitely need to warn the readers that the “ little bit of possibly non-consensual sex” is actually the whole book. I’m not sure the prince ever consented until the very end. This made me incredibly uncomfortable.

The only reason I kept reading is that the story itself is unique and imaginative and I wanted to see what happened – but in the end I’m not sure I can recommend it as a “good” romance because it really isn’t. It’s an interesting paranormal story. I’ll leave it at that.

If you’re looking for rape fantasies then this will definitely appeal.

2.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: Fox and Wolf By Julia Talbot

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fox-and-wolf-by-julia-talbot-10064-b

Blurb

Apex Investigations: Book One
Werewolf PI Dylan Weems is a hired to solve the murder of a client’s customer. As an ex-cop, Dylan is the perfect man for the job, but he doesn’t expect the complication of alluring fox shifter Rey.
Ever since finding the dead body of one of his clients, Rey Mercier’s life is a mess, and he needs help desperately. He has no idea why he’s the target of some ruthless people or what he did to anger them. Hopefully Dylan and his motley crew of shifters at Apex Investigations can help him find out, but first Dylan and Rey have to deal with literal corporate tigers and dire crocodiles shifters… all while deciding what to do about the mate bond that’s becoming undeniable. And is that even possible between fox and wolf?

Review

This was a very enjoyable shifter romance with an interesting mystery subplot. A quick and entertaining read.

 

Rey is a bit of a mess at first, and obviously in way over his head with big bad dire … creatures out to get him. He hires a PI to help him investigate and hopefully solve the mystery of the sudden threat against his life. Dylan, the PI in question, doesn’t need long to become totally smitten with Rey, though both men are thrown by their unexpected connection. Dare they think the M-word (mate)?

 

I loved Dylan’s protective side and his use of endearments when addressing Rey, which he does very quickly. They are super sweet together. Dylan and Rey have a bit of an opposites attract vibe going, with emphasis on the attract. I was glad that their relationship was balanced, and that Rey could also be there for Dylan and help him out, so it wasn’t just a case of the bigger shifter protecting the smaller, seemingly more vulnerable one. The investigation itself didn’t always hold my interest, but I did really like how the bond between the two MC’s built up as well as the interactions between Dylan, Rey and Dylan’s pack.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, and prejudices muddled the waters for a while, but love, and the good guys, win in the end.

 

The world-building is a bit unclear, though I do like that there are all kinds of shifters with different abilities and characteristics in this universe. There also seem to be some racial prejudices between the different animal shifters, which makes “inter-species” relationships slightly more challenging, as Dylan and Rey find out. Dylan belongs to an atypical pack, led by an alpha wolf, but with members from different shifter species. So it’s a kind of chosen family story.

We get to know and care for the entire pack, the author doing a wonderful job of creating interest in the stories that are to follow in this new series.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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Recent Release: Boyfriend Cruise by Deanna Wadsworth

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-boyfriend-cruise-by-deanna-wadsworth-10060-b

Blurb

A Pride of the Caribbean Getaway
The Pride of the Caribbean is a cruise ship unlike any other. Paranormals working on board the enchanted ship hide in plain sight, under the benevolent protection of a demigod captain and his fairy husband.
And this is a shipboard romance unlike any other.
Josh Gilbert’s well-meaning family booked a gay-friendly cruise for Christmas in order to find Josh a boyfriend. Hoping to escape the constant parade of bachelors—and the collapsible fishing rod dangling mistletoe his mom keeps in her purse—Josh takes solace in a growing friendship with the ship’s photographer, Nathan. Though Josh is falling for Nathan, he worries it will never be more than a shipboard fling.
Nathan recently became aware of his incubus heritage and has finally learned how to control his demon side. But Josh has awakened more than just the demon’s need for orgasms—Josh has awakened Nathan’s heart. What’s developing between them is the real thing, but can Josh ever accept Nathan’s promiscuous past… and love a sex demon?
Amid lush tropical settings, family hilarity, holiday costume parties, sexy snorkeling adventures, gingerbread martinis, and mythical creatures, will Josh get his Christmas wish and finally find the true love he’s wanted for so long?

Review

This was very cute and I enjoyed it’s mix of holiday charm, paranormal surprise and new to sex romance.

It was a little goofy at the beginning but after about 30% it settled down into a lovely story with some heat and sweetness.

Recommended for fans of paranormal romance!

4 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: A Wish Upon the Stars By TJ Klune Narrated by: Michael Lesley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-wish-upon-the-stars-by-tj-klune-10278-b

Blurb

Sequel to The Consumption of Magic
Nearly a year ago, blinded by grief and betrayal, Sam of Wilds made a desperate decision to follow the Great White into the Dark Woods. Now, he emerges to a world changed.
The City of Lockes is a prison. The King has been locked away in the dungeons. The Kingdom of Verania has fallen, and the Dark wizard Myrin sits on the throne.
But soon after his return, Sam learns of a resistance fighting in his name, led by a courageous knight, a defiant prince, a pissed-off unicorn, and a half-giant who wants to smash everything in sight. If he has any hope of defeating the villains who have taken their home, Sam must face the consequences of his choices—and the friends he left behind.

Review:
This has got to be one of the best series in all fiction, period!
I was going to compose my thoughts and write a somewhat regular (staid) review about how much I enjoyed it, how good the final installment was, etc. But screw that! I am going to say exactly how I felt about the story and narration.
It was absolutely, brilliant ☺ TJ Klune wrote a fitting series finale – with all the humour, all the suspense and all the feels! Small disclosure – I have not read any of the books in the Verania series – I have all as ebooks – but never got past the first chapter of The Lightning Struck Heart. And that is due to TJ’s ‘CORNERSTONE’ Michael Lesley (and yes, it’s captalised so it’s true!). He channeled the magic of TJ Klune’s book and made the audiobook a masterpiece of its own.
Michael Lesley makes it impossible for me to read the books. In the finale that is AWUTS, he holds nothing back. It’s a glorious performance with our favourite characters – Sam, Justin, Tiggy, Gary, Kevin, Randall; some bittersweet times as Morgan is remembered and suspenseful as Myrin and Sam square off at the end. The liberal use of sound effects serves to make the performance pretty much perfect ☺
I won’t go into the story, except to say that while Sam has grown, he is still the same and the end is spectacular, with events that I didn’t see coming.
I will happily listen to this book again and again – the 18+ hours fly by with this excellent performance.
Honestly, this is one of best books and performances out there – entirely due the magical combination of TJ Klune and Michael Lesley.

6 out of 5– Out of this world!


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

First off, I have to say FINALLY!!!!!! I was stalking audible relentlessly for most of November waiting for this release and I devoured it in less than 2 work shifts!!

Story wise, A Wish Upon the Stars goes back to light-heartedness that The Lighting Struck Heart had. It is ridiculously funny, while being sweet, sexy and surprising. Sam, while he is now a full-fledged wizard, is still as immature as ever. His on-going feud with Lady Tina is hilarious. One my favorite things about this series is Sam’s ever-growing bond with the dragons, especially Kevin. While 99% of what Kevin says is gross and over the top, he has these moments of pure brilliance. There is so much that goes on in this story but the message is one of love, friendship and sacrifice.

Michael Lesley’s narration of these stories is beyond amazing. Normally I’m not a fan of special effects and sounds used in audiobooks but listening to this series has changed my mind. The range of voices Michael has is outstanding. There has to be 80 billion characters in this book alone and I don’t think he reused a single voice. If you aren’t normally an audio listener, do yourself a favor and get these books, you will not regret it!!

P.S.
Do yourself a favor and don’t skip Michael’s sound effect credits, there are some hilarious moment there as well.
6 stars!!


Copy Purchased for Review

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Twenty-Nine Hours to Eternity (2018 Advent Calendar Daily – Warmest Wishes) by Elizabeth Noble

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Being gay and pagan can make for a lonely holiday season, as Ian knows well. He’s used to celebrating alone. The last place he expects to meet a like-minded guy is at LAX during a twenty-nine-hour layover.

Ian’s never felt so comfortable or compatible with another man, even if there is an air of mystery to Race.

Race is no stranger to holiday isolation, and he decides they should seize the opportunity they’ve been given and observe the Saturnalia the way it was meant to be. A grand celebration ensues, where every moment is special and every meal a feast. The ancient traditions take on new meaning as the men find meaning in each other. But each of them has a destiny and for their paths to continue together, it’ll take a kind of magic that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

Review

 

I like my holiday romances sweet, mushy even, with a lot of family and friends surrounding the MC’s and most of all, with an optimistic, if not realistic, outlook on life. It’s the season of hope and peace for all. Sappy as that may sound. So a terrorist attack wasn’t really what I’d been hoping to find…

The story centers around Ian, a human, and Race, an enigmatic stranger, slightly less human. Both men are pagan, though exactly what that means, is left a bit vague. They meet at an airport and spend a day together waiting for their flights. They fall into like, into lust,… and then things take a turn for the worst. Not just for the characters, but sadly also for the story.

I find it very strange that Race lets the man he supposedly loves walk away from him straight into a violent and painful death. Doesn’t scream love to me. Perhaps a clearer explanation of what being a “timekeeper” entails would have helped to make sense of that. So they get to spend eternity together, yay, not so the other people who died in the attack. Where is their silver lining? Ian and Race don’t spare them a second thought but immediately go on their merry way to their happily-ever-after.

Though this wasn’t badly written per se, the plot and the MC’s did not appeal to me at all.

Number of stars out of 5: 2

 

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review