Retro Review: Shattered Secrets (In the Shadow of the Wolf #1) by R.J. Scott , Diane Adams

Blurb

Rob is a cop and has just passed his thirtieth birthday, being promoted to a special police task force specializing in wolf / human cases. He sees it all. The seedy underbelly of city life, the fights, the murders, and the parts of human / wolf interaction that people would rather ignore. He meets a young man, Jamie, at a club and embarks on the hottest one night stand of his life. Little does he know that his lover is a shifter. He has no worries with wolves, but interspecies relationships are not on his to-do list.

When a case involving kidnappings of young werewolves lands on Rob’s desk the ugly face of the werewolf sex trade is something he has to deal with. With Jamie seemingly at the centre of it all can Rob push past his prejudices and keep his lover alive?

Review

I’m not sure why I hadn’t read this before but I love RJ Scott and have enjoyed Diane Adams work in the past and I ran across a mention of this somewhere… you get the picture.

 

In any case I really enjoyed this!  There are a few plot holes – like the “I don’t want to date a shifter because we wouldn’t be equals” that are small and don’t really interfere with my overall enjoyment. 

 

There is a fair amount of hot smexy times and “mine” / mate feelz.  There is an exciting crime to solve and some shifted times as well.

 

Overall I read through this quickly and can’t wait to move on to book 2!

 

Highly recommended to shifter fans!

4.25 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: Static by LA Witt Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

audiobookreview

Audible link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Static-Audiobook/B07MG5SS4N?qid=1548287456&sr=1-47&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_3_7&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=2GJDG2GPF838QPYS7GM7&

Blurb
After two years together, Alex has been dreading the inevitable moment when Damon learns the truth: that Alex is a shifter, part of a small percentage of the population able to switch genders at will. Thanks to a forced implant, though, Alex is suddenly static—unable to shift—and male. Overnight, he’s out to a world that neither understands nor tolerates shifters . . . and to his heterosexual boyfriend.
Damon is stunned to discover his girlfriend is a shifter, and scared to death of the dangers the implant poses to Alex’s health. He refuses to abandon Alex, but what about their relationship? Damon is straight, and with the implant both costly and dangerous to remove, Alex is stuck as a man.
Stripped of half his identity and facing serious physical and social ramifications, Alex needs Damon more than ever, but he doesn’t see how they can get through this.
Especially if he’s static forever.

Review

Book reviewed previously

WOW!

This ranks as one of my all time favorite books in this genre.
I can’t say enough good things about this – but I’ll try!

First – it’s sort of a unique shifter book. Instead of shifting into animals, in this world that LA Witt has created, some people can change their sex at will. Not just the important pieces, but their entire bodies. So they become more masculine, larger, muscular, etcetera for male and smaller, more delicate, etcetera for female. But like fraternal twins, they still retain that look about them so you can see the resemblance.

In this case Alex (both female and male version) is dating Damon as a woman. Damon doesn’t know about the male Alex and this causes a lot of worry as to how to go about telling him. The point becomes moot when Alex’s parents decide to force her to stay permanently male, or “static” by injecting an evil chip into her spine. Of course they have no knowledge of Alex’s female love-life, only a desire to have a son and NOT to have someone who can shift genders.

There is the possibility of removing the chip but it has the potential for disaster, paralysis, death, dismemberment – ok not really – but also continuing the static state. Some people choose this treatment voluntarily but not Alex. S/he has always enjoyed the huge freedom allowed by being able to be one then the other gender. And since she thinks she may be in love with her straight boyfriend, being stuck as a man is particularly harsh.

But… the time comes when Alex must show Damon the truth of the situation. And here is where things really get to be interesting on both a plot level and a sociological level. (This is what makes this book spectacular IMHO – the bringing in so flawlessly the social construct of gender identity and the breakdown of what it means to be woman or man – especially when – in this case – it’s the same person wearing a different “skin”.)

Damon really does care for – maybe even love Alex – so he’s willing to at least try to work through this crisis and see it through. He doesn’t know what he wants. For Alex to go through with the reversal surgery? To try to be with a man when he’s only ever identified as straight? To give up and let Alex do this alone? But no, he’s an amazing person and sticks with it.

The story is so full of social questions. There’s prejudice. There’s the discussion of what if feels like to be in the “wrong body”. There’s the gay/straight/person centric version of sexual attraction. There’s – Gah! So much!

In the end the two lovers must make a decision. Should Alex attempt the surgery and is the risk worth it.

I won’t tell you the final decision but it is thought provoking – to say the least.

LA Witt won some awards for this – as she should have – and I can see why. It’s so amazing, her ability to hit you with these social question while still weaving a beautiful and touching and sometimes erotic love story. Superb!

If you have any interest in transgender and gender fluidity or gender ID this is right up your alley. It also fulfills something for those GFY fans. But it’s still, at it’s heart, a love story and a story of knowing one’s heart – so truly, any fan of romance will be entranced.

I can’t recommend it highly enough!

6 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Michael does an absolutely fantastic job with this.  He handles the women’s voices, the angst, the drama, the timing all perfecutly.  He contributed to keeping this wonderful story one of my number one books/audiobooks of all time!

Highly Recommended in this format as well!

Copy purchased for review

 

Release Day Review: Second Hand (Tucker Springs #2) by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/second-hand-by-marie-sexton-and-heidi-cullinan-10079-b

Blurb

Paul Hannon flunked out of vet school. His fiancée left him. He can barely afford his rent, and he hates his house. About the only things he has left are a pantry full of his ex’s kitchen gadgets and a lot of emotional baggage. He could really use a win—and that’s when he meets El.

Pawnbroker El Rozal is a cynic. His own family’s dysfunction has taught him that love and relationships lead to misery. Despite that belief, he keeps making up excuses to see Paul again. Paul, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s talented and kind and worthy. Paul, who’s not over his ex-fiancée and is probably straight anyway. Paul, who’s so blind to El’s growing attraction, even asking him out on dates doesn’t seem to tip him off.

El may not do relationships, but something has to give. If he wants to keep Paul, he’ll have to convince him he’s worthy of love—and he’ll have to admit that attachment might not be so bad after all.

Review by Karen

This was a really sweet out for you story, very competently written. It builds up slowly, allowing the MC’s to truly get to know each other and gravitate towards each other very naturally before taking that leap of faith together.

Paul is incredibly innocent and naïve. He doesn’t think too highly of himself and as a result he’s completely oblivious to any attempt at flirting made by El or anyone else for that matter. He’s the kind of nice guy that borders on being too nice for his own good. His attempts to hold onto his failed relationship, and his willingness to put up with the horrible way his ex-girlfriend treats him, was a bit hard for me to swallow. I really wanted him to have a little more pride or backbone. Though of course, a lot of that was probably because of his fear of coming out (even to himself) and his low self-esteem. It takes Paul a long time to accept himself and let go of his vision of what he thinks his life should be like.

For a guy who wasn’t looking for a relationship and commitment, El is amazingly patient and understanding with Paul, even when he’s scared himself of opening up and taking a chance on love. He’s such a family guy, which is always heartwarming to read, even if his family is not exactly the Brady Bunch. My heart ached for El and his mother especially. Her clutter addiction is hard on both of them, and rooted in such heartbreak.

This was an enjoyable read with a very satisfying happily ever after. I loved seeing Paul come into his own and choose El above all others.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Aerielle

Paul and El are one of my favorite couples in this series. Paul is so oblivious to everything, not just romance stuff but to life in general. El, who grew up with a hoarder has learned to keep himself from forming attachments to not just things but people.

After his break up with his long-time girlfriend, Paul longs to be someone’s first choice. That is a great sentiment but once Paul and El become romantically involved, Paul is still thinking about whether he wants to be gay or have the “easy life” of a straight man. This inevitably causes a blow up between Paul and El.

Sometimes books written by dual authors have flow issues, but this book is seamless. Second Hand is two men’s journey of acceptance. It’s a great addition to the Tucker Spring series!

4.5 Stars of 5

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recently Released: Fae on a Roll (Kontra’s Menagerie #25) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42092323-fae-on-a-roll?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

On the Road: When a serious fae warrior stumbles across his soul-mate in a fun-loving, paralyzed human, he discovers the hardest task in his life is learning how to connect.

Prudhoe Rison is a specially trained fae enforcer and had been sent to the human realm to search for a missing prince. After completing that task, he should have returned home, but feeling a pull to stay, he’s remained for several weeks. Wandering the town to discover the source of the sensation has proven fruitless…until he drives past the library. The pull he’s been feeling intensifies, and he follows it into the building. There he meets Korvyn Peruke—his paramour—the other half of his soul. Prudhoe is drawn to Korvyn’s friendly disposition and outgoing personality. Even though the human is wheelchair-bound, it doesn’t stop Korvyn from enjoying life.

At first, Korvyn doesn’t understand why the serious and handsome Prudhoe is taking an interest in him—until he puts two and two together. A visit from a fae enforcer alerts Prudhoe that people in his own realm are talking about him. It also tells Korvyn—who already knows about paranormals—that Prudhoe is something other. Can Prudhoe keep Korvyn safe when trouble from the fae realm comes calling, or will he have to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep Korvyn safe?

Review

While helping rescue a fae prince, enforcer Prudhoe senses his paramour (mate) in the area. After completing his mission he stays in the area searching for him. He eventually finds Korvyn working in the local library. Korvyn can tell that there is something different about Prudhoe and having grown up knowing about shifters and paranormals he is more open to the concept of fated mates.

Sadly, this story didn’t have much of a storyline. There was promise of a good action or confrontation scene when Prudhoe’s brother shows up to make trouble, but it ended up being a pretty lackluster scene. The ending was very abrupt and unsatisfying. I’ve been a big fan of this whole series therefore I am used to the quick ending stories Charlie usually writes but sadly this one falls really short.

2.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time to Comfort: Love Me Louder by Christina Lee

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40663475-love-me-louder?from_search=true

Blurb
Noah Dixon is damaged goods. After an accident leaves him physically scarred and emotionally vulnerable, dating isn’t in the cards, so he throws himself head-first into his retail job. When he’s obligated to attend his best friend’s engagement party on Fire Island, it dawns on him he’s about to spend yet another weekend feeling totally invisible and alone among a swarm of gorgeous men.

That’s when the idea of an escort comes in.

After Will Crossen was forced to put his theater major on hold in favor of two jobs to tackle his ailing mother’s hospital bills, he tells himself becoming an escort isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just another form of acting, right? He doesn’t expect his newest customer to be the cheery, overconfident sales associate he avoids like the plague at his day job. Talk about awkward.

But what happens on Fire Island stays on Fire Island…especially when a smoldering attraction sparks into flames. Will doesn’t feel so alone anymore, and for the first time, Noah realizes someone is seeing him behind all the scars. But between their jobs, Will’s massive familial responsibilities, and Noah’s vulnerabilities, they don’t stand a chance unless they find a way to let love speak louder than their demons.

Review
I enjoyed this story immensely!!

It had everything I want in a romance: emotional depth and a real connection between the MC’s, great chemistry and a lovely slow-burn hurt/comfort theme.
Throw in the excitement and angst that comes with falling for a fake boyfriend and I knew I was in for an allnighter because no way was I putting this book down!

Noah feels inadequate and has a very low self-image, especially with regards to his appearance. Initially, this skews his view on the world, read Will, and he has a difficult time accepting that Will might be genuinely attracted to him.

Will takes care of his mother and works two jobs to make ends meet, giving up his dream of a career in the theatre. I love his sense of responsibility and family.

Noah and Will dance around each other and their true feelings for quite some time, afraid to give too much away and get hurt, hesitant to believe that what they share between them could be real.

I love how the fake boyfriend trope was written here, with the closed-off colleague turning out to be an escort! The author didn’t take the easy way out by turning the route of insta-lust, but slowly let the feelings build, raising the emotional stakes bit by bit.

We get to reconnect with some of my all-time favorite characters as well, which was a delightful surprise!
Tate & Sebastian are such an adorable couple and I loved that Tate’s alter ego, Frieda Love, was the one to give Noah and Will that final little nudge to help them confess their true feelings to one another!

As is the case in all her books, Christina Lee surrounds her MC’s with engaging, three-dimensional secondary characters, be they family, friends or co-workers, drawing us into the wonderful fictional world she created. If only there was a portal the reader could step through to make their acquaintance!

I loved the title of this book so much!! Its message is incredibly apt and feels so true to these two amazing characters.
The extraordinary Frieda Love sums it up marvelously:

“Sometimes people need you to love them a little louder!”

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Review copy provided by Author

 

 

Release Day Review: Fire and Agate by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fire-and-agate-by-andrew-grey-9959-

Blurb
When Chris Anducci is moved off jail duty and into the sheriff’s office, he doesn’t expect his first assignment to be protecting a witness against a human trafficking ring. Knowing the new sheriff doesn’t abide screwups, Chris reluctantly agrees to work the case.

Pavle Kasun has spent the last four years of his life at the mercy of others. When an opportunity presented itself, he took it, resulting in his rescue. Now the safe houses he’s placed in are being threatened and he needs protection if he is to have any sort of chance at a life.

Chris opens his home to Pavle, but he doesn’t expect Pavle and his story to get under his skin… and stay there. Soon they discover they have more in common than either of them thought. Slowly Pavle comes out of his shell and Chris finds someone who touches his heart. But as the men looking for Pavle close in, they will stop at nothing to get him out of the way. Even if Chris can keep him safe, he might not be able to protect his heart if Pavle moves back home.

Review
There are some very heavy topics included in this story, human trafficking, PTSD, organised crime, police corruption, but none of it has much weight. The story focuses on Chris and Pavel and is told from Chris’s point of view. I found it a little hard to accept that as Pavel had been held prisoner for four years and subjected to who knows what kind of treatment would be so quick and seemingly comfortable with entering In to a physical relationship with someone so soon. Putting that aside the story focuses on Chris and Pavel’s relationship and the criminal investigation part is in the background. There is very little realism in this story but I was quite glad of that. I enjoyed the positivity that Pavel was strong enough to fight the trauma of what he had been through not only to testify against his captors but to find love.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Release Day: Trex or Treat by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/trex-or-treat-by-tara-lain-9979-b

Blurb

Josh Harris is all dad all the time. A busy college professor and devoted single father, Josh tries to be happy with only his son for company. But then Bradley “Trex” Trexler moves in across the street with his stepbrother, Bogo, and takes advantage of their empty home, making it into a haunted house for Halloween.

 

 

Review
This is a short, cute Halloween story and it’s really entertaining.
Tara Lain is great giving us interesting characters that you can get involved with really quickly, which is obviously a bonus in a short story.
Josh reads as a great parent in need of some companionship and Ernie is the most adorable and energised boy. The attraction between Josh and Trex shines through and it’s an enjoyable read. I love how involved both men are with their boys but also take the time to be with each other. I found this to be an enjoyable little story that was quick to consume but also touched the heart.
I definitely recommend this quick, Halloween romance. Always a winner with a Tara Lain story!

Number of stars out of 5
4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time To Get Paranormal: Untouchable Beauty (The Cubi #1) by Meraki P. Lyhne

 

Good Reads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32192419-untouchable-beauty?from_search=true

Blurb
Business school is not for Daniel. Not after making the cover of Teen Model. The only problem is that his parents don’t agree, and Daniel skips school to set his plans for fortune and fame in motion. Meeting the award-winning photographer Heimli will change his life, but not in the ways the nineteen-year-old young man expects.

At the age of four hundred thirty-six, Seldon has fed on more beautiful men than he can remember. Living in seclusion from the human world, humans are brought to the Incubi and Succubi as slaves to feed on. Amongst these slaves are the rare Untouchables. When Seldon is entrusted with the safekeeping of one, he has his work cut out for him—especially since this Untouchable gets on his nerves. And under his skin.

Review
Untouchable Beauty…….a Paranormal read (not my first choice but I don’t want to have limitations)
Well that was totally not what I expected. Didn’t read much blurb so it did surprised me
Very nice written!
Daniel an at first look shallow guy. He follows his heart and will become who he want to be. As long he is young and beautiful he wants to be a model. After making the choice between the schoolbus and the skyscrapers he find an advertise from a photographer who is looking for models. And there he goes…..following his dream….

It all runs sooo different After the make up session before the photo shoot he wakes up and find himself in a cell on a train. There are some creatures and other young people on board. What’s the destination?

When he meets his beautiful trainer and guardian and Master Seldon for the next three years he still has no idea what lies for him and what will happen.
And o there are things to happen….

He is disciplined by his master, bruised and slapped in the face. He is very afraid of his master.

He is an ‘untouchable’ and if that’s something to be pleased at….?

There is a lot a lot of sex. Sex is what drives ‘them’ what holds them alive….and ohhh did I say a lot of sex? Holy shit It’s one big orgy
I was really really surprised by this book! I don’t want to detail the story but it’s in another part of the world with creatures you will love and hate. There are all sorts in the hierarchy and a little confusing it is. But all very entertaining.
And damn there is a sort of open end and I cant stand that. Can’t wait to read the next one.

Number of stars out of 5
5 stars

 

 

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review