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+

Finding Armando by Joe Cosentino

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/finding-armando-by-joe-cosentino-11671-b

Blurb

Found At Last: Book Two

An investigative adventure in search of an elderly man’s first love brought Theo and Jamison together. Now they’re called to put their sleuthing skills to use once again and reunite Pocono resort manager Asher with his lost love, Armando. But the hunt through rural Pennsylvania won’t be easy with Jamison’s younger brother locking horns with the resort’s assistant manager and a shocking offer from the sous chef, Grace.

Review

Finding Armando is a story of found family, love and friendship. This is the second book of a series and not having read the first book I felt like I was dropped into the middle of an ongoing story but I still enjoyed this one. All of the characters, major and minor were very well written. Armando and Asher’s story was heartbreaking at times but they managed to pull through and get their happy ending.
I definitely recommend reading the first story first for better enjoyment!

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Ride the Lightning (Sinister in Savannah Book 1) By Aimee Nicole Walker

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54226440-ride-the-lightning?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=T0n02eFgxF&rank=3

Blurb

Truth seeker. Promise keeper. Guarded heart.

By day, Jonah St. John is a criminal analyst for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. By night, he produces Sinister in Savannah, an investigative podcast, with his two best friends. Jonah’s life revolves around three principles: a man’s word is his oath, friendships are priceless gifts, and love is for other people.

When the Sinister in Savannah team delves into the thirty-eight-year-old murder of a drag queen, they quickly discover that the story doesn’t end with the alleged killer’s confession in 1995. Continuing the investigation could have fatal consequences for Jonah and everyone he holds dear, including his irresistible intern.

To love is to lose: a lesson Jonah has learned the hard way. For a decade, he has embraced solitude as his penance for a past mistake. Then came Avery Bradford, a man whose warmth and sunshine infuses Jonah’s battered soul and challenges his resistance. Over the past eight months, Jonah has soared closer and closer to Avery’s flame until the thing he’s feared the most becomes the one he can’t live without.

The chill of danger merges with the heat of desire, forming a deadly superstorm. Will Jonah seek shelter or ride the lightning?

Sinister in Savannah series is a fictional podcast exploring the city’s most nefarious crimes with Southern-fried snark. The books explore friendship, love, loss, and the irrepressible human spirit. Ride the Lightning is book one of three. While each book is written about a different couple, the series should be read in order. Sinister in Savannah is an LGBT romantic suspense series with mature language and sexual content intended for adults eighteen and older.

Review

From start to finish this book had me enthralled. The suspense, the romance, the hurt, all the feelings. I loved getting to see Jonah on a more personal side. His devotion to Marla was unexpected. I enjoyed how his relationship with Avery unfolded. I was very shocked as the “bad guy” was reveled.
Great story! Can’t wait for the next book.

5 of 5 stars

 

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: Pieces of You by N.R. Walker

Blurb
Dallas Muller has everything he never expected he’d have. He owns a successful motorbike mechanic shop in Newcastle, and he’s madly in love with his boyfriend of four years, Justin Keith.

Justin has always struggled to find where he fit in, never realising his true worth or what it means to be loved—until he met Dallas. Living and working together might be too much for some, but Dallas and Justin wouldn’t have it any other way.

When a terrible accident tears their world apart, Justin’s left with no memory of Dallas or their relationship. Trying to put the pieces back together is almost impossible when some pieces are blank and some are missing altogether. Dallas has to let Justin find his own way back to him and just hope that their love will light the way.

Review
I really enjoyed the story about 85% through, but felt the ending was a bit too cut off. Even though it was a soft cliffhanger type of ending, I felt like I was missing pages and looked to make sure I had read through.
What I loved: The way the amnesia and hospital stay were described. It felt much mor realistic them any book I read with a similar plot, and it punches you in the gut that much harder because of it. The plot revolves around a few characters, and it feel small yet significant in its focus on them. The story flowed so well, and I adored how Dallas made sure to keep the boundaries so Justin could feel safe to recover and feel what ever he felt without pressure to remember the years he lost.
I did feel like towards the end it became a bit rushed to have a sort of HFN ending. And to me the Slow Burn, and the wonderful, gentle pace of the story were lost. I look forward to the next piece of the story to see how Dallas and Justin face the new challenges that will surely come their way.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Devil’s Hour (Zero Hour #2) by Aimee Nicole Walker Narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49198964-devil-s-hour

Blurb

Devil’s hour, noun: the hour when the demon or devil who leads hell is at its strongest.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks, Royce Locke is no stranger to scrapping and fighting for the things he wants. What he desires most is Sawyer Key—his partner on the force and the man he’s falling in love with. After asking Sawyer to take a chance on him, Royce will need to back up his pretty words with fearless action instead of being his own worst enemy.

Someone is harassing the mayor of Savannah, and Locke and Key are tasked with finding out who. The investigation quickly takes a twisted turn, leading them to an enemy who thinks purification by fire is the only way to save the city. Scarier than The Purists’ elusiveness is their ability to turn public opinion in their favor, creating unrest and threatening anarchy by fanning flames and fear. When you play with fire, someone is bound to get burned.

When menace becomes murder, the two detectives will race the clock against the devil to save their beloved city from becoming a raging inferno. Royce will need to draw on his grit now more than ever if he hopes to realize the dreams that are finally within reach. The rag is lit, the Molotov cocktail is tossed, and the zero hour is upon them. Challenge received and accepted.

Devil’s Hour is the second book in the Zero Hour series, which follows Locke and Key’s investigations and evolving relationship. This is a series that must be read in order. Devil’s Hour has a happy-for-now ending with no cliffhanger. It contains mature language and sexual content intended for adults 18 and older.

Trigger warning: Part of the storyline involves coming to terms with a friend’s suicide, which may be difficult for some people to read.

Review

I absolutely loved Devil’s Hour!!!! We finally get inside Royce’s head. I couldn’t really get a handle on his character throughout the first book. He is full of guilt over his friend’s suicide, he has a very rocky relationship with his family and is full of internal struggle and doubts.
The relationship development between Royce and Sawyer really hits the peak in this book. Royce jumps right into being out and open with Sawyer.
This book is full of funny and heartfelt moments. Its fast paced and has a good mystery weaved throughout it.

Number of stars out of 5

 

 

Audio

I agree with Aerielle about the story itself, this was a great sequel!

I really love Tristan James as a narrator and thought he did another really great job with the myriad accents and characters.

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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+

Audiobook: Ground Zero (Zero Hour #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48217288-ground-zero

Blurb
Ground zero, noun: the center or origin of rapid, intense, or violent activity or change.

Heat, humidity, and homicide are things veteran detective Sawyer Key expects to encounter on his first day with the Savannah Police Department, but the hostile reception from his new partner catches him by surprise. Sawyer isn’t a stranger to heartache and recognizes that Royce Locke is a wounded man who’s reeling from a devastating loss. Relentless and patient in all things, Sawyer is determined to make the new partnership work.

Savannah, Georgia is known for her quirky people, oak trees draped in Spanish moss, and antebellum architecture. Beneath the Southern charm and hospitality, festering hatred and violence is soaring with the summer temperatures. Locke and Key find themselves at the epicenter when their first case involves the death of a former shock jock who appears to be the victim of vigilante justice.

Opposites in nearly every way, the two detectives set aside their differences to take back their city and restore law and order. From this reluctant truce, an intense attraction grows that will either tighten or shatter their tenuous bond. Falling for his partner spells inevitable disaster, but Sawyer’s always been a sucker for wounded things. Sawyer could be the key to the life Royce has always wanted, if he’s brave enough to trust him. The fuse is lit, the clock is running, and the zero hour is upon them. Tick tock.

Ground Zero is the first book in the Zero Hour series, which follows Locke and Key’s investigations and evolving relationship. Ground Zero has a happy-for-now ending with no cliffhanger. It contains mature language and sexual content intended for adults 18 and older.

Review
What an amazing read!!! I adored everything about this book. It’s a bit more somber than what I’m used to from Aimee’s books, although there are some humorous moments. Both of the main characters are dealing with loss…Sawyer(Key) is dealing with the death of his husband and Locke(Royce) is dealing with the death of his partner. Locke is confusing at times, his past and issues remain a mystery for most of this book, although there is some light shed towards the end. I enjoyed the investigations that went on during the story. I was a little disappointed with the end of the big conflict though. This is a great slow burn story. Highly recommend this one!
5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audio

Tristan James is DELIGHTFUL!  He does the accents and the tension and drama to perfection!

 

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars