Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert book and audiobook narrated by Sean Crisden

Audible Link:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Better-Not-Pout-Audiobook/1488206163?qid=1544021897&sr=sr_1_2&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=PRD1FWTW48ZYY2KE8E7Z&

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40242604-better-not-pout?from_search=true

Blurb
One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

Review
This holiday romance is cute and uplifting, befitting the holiday spirit, but it also has that typical emotional intensity that I’ve come to look for in any book by Annabeth Albert. I was expecting something light and maybe a bit mushy, an easy read to get into the right frame of mind for the holidays. This was so much more than that, though.

I adored Teddy from the beginning and his good cheer and positive attitude to life make him a perfect match for Nick, who very much needs what Teddy has to offer. Even if he doesn’t realize it.

Nick is also a great character, very steady and competent, though somewhat emotionally closed-off and grumpy at first. He’s not really feeling the holiday spirit, santa claus suit notwithstanding.
Nick’s at a point in his life where he needs to find a new direction, and is feeling a bit lost.
Enter Teddy… who makes Nick feel again and pushes him to reassess how he wants to live his life. Go Teddy!

Nick and Teddy are very different in age and outlook, but they have both known loss and as a result are similarly playing it safe in some way or other. Nick more obviously so than Teddy. These two characters are just so right together, they complement and inspire each other in the very best of ways and have a great connection, both emotionally and chemistry-wise.
I felt like knocking some sense into Nick though, because he seems hell-bent on throwing away his chance at love and happiness. Stubborn man.

I love May/December stories and this was an exceptional take on that trope.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Provided for Review

Review by Morgan – audiobook

I totally agree with Karen about the story and Sean Crisden’s narration was perfection! A totally enjoyable holiday experience! Highly Recommeded!

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Santa Daddy by Keira Andrews

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42904546-santa-daddy?from_search=true

Blurb

Mall Santas aren’t supposed to be hot.

Hunter Adams is hopelessly adrift after college. He’s still a virgin, can’t find a real job, and has no clue what to do with his life. In desperation, he returns to his humiliating old job as an elf at the Santa’s Village in his hometown’s dying mall. The Santa on the job is an unexpectedly sexy lumberjack, twice Hunter’s size and age. He makes Hunter feel very naughty—too bad he’s grumpy and intimidating.

Years after the tragic death of his partner, Nick Spini has his beagle and long, hard days on his Christmas tree farm. That’s plenty. But he can’t refuse a loyal friend’s plea for help and finds himself filling in as Santa at the local mall. Despite Nick’s attempt to stay aloof, the beautiful, anxious young man playing elf brings out his long-dormant daddy instincts.

When a surprise blizzard traps them alone in Nick’s isolated forest home, their attraction burns even brighter. Will they surrender to the sizzling connection between them and find the release and comfort they crave?

Santa Daddy is a holiday gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring an age gap, steamy m/m first times, daddy role-playing and light spanking, Christmas romance feels, and of course a happy ending.

Review

This is just the right kind of book to get snowed in with! Nick is just the right kind of grumpy lumberjack you want to cuddle with and hunter is so awkwardly sweet and insecure- the work perfectly together.
I loved the emotional depth Keira put into Nick’s past, and it really emphasized his reclusiveness and unwillingness to be around people. That made him being roped into playing Santa in the mall so very funny and charming. He and Hunter have instant attraction that is off the charts, you can definitely save up on your heating bills with this books.
I usually do like light kink in books, but I shy away from the more structured BDSM club themes and plotlines. Full time alternative lifestyle is not my preferred reading material. What I liked about this book is the balance, the kink is there but it is much more about the dynamic between the two then the props and rules and contracts like in other BDSM/heavy kink books (not that there is anything wrong about them, just my personal preference). It made the sex between them smoldering hot without being the main focus of the relationship. It is the perfect balance in my opinion and I was kind of sad it didn’t go on longer so I could have more of their hotness (there is plenty there, I’m just greedy).

I also loved Hunter’s relationship with his mother, and his own struggle with fitting into the “adult role” he thinks society expects his to uphold as a collage graduate. It is something I think many people can identify with, and showed that not everyone have to walk the same pre-designed path.

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories this season, and you should definitely check it out (Keira’s Christmas story last year, In Case of Emergency, was also fantastic) if you are looking for some holiday cheer with a heaping dose of “Yes daddy”.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Comfort the Hurts: Oz by Lily Morton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42840413-oz?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Blurb: What happens when temporary becomes forever?

Oz Gallagher does not do relationships well. Bored and jobless after another disastrous hook up, he decides to leave London for a temporary job in the wilds of Cornwall. Surely managing a stately home on a country estate will be easier than navigating the detritus of his relationships at home. Six months there will alleviate a bit of his wanderlust and then he can come back to London as footloose and fancy free as the day he left it.
However, when he gets there he finds a house in danger of crumbling to the ground and a man who is completely unlike anyone he’s ever met. An earl belonging to a family whose roots go back hundreds of years, Silas is the living embodiment of duty and sacrifice. Two things that Oz has never wanted. He’s also warm and funny and he draws Oz to him like a magnet.
Oz banks on the fact that they’re from two very different worlds to stop himself falling for Silas. But what will he do when he realises that these differences are actually part of the pull to one another? Will falling in love be enough to make him stop moving at last and realise that he’s finally home?

Review:
This book ticked all my boxes: snark/banter, engaging characters in Silas, Oz and old friends – Henry and Ivo and potentials for a future story –Niall and Milo.
It’s a hilarious story right from the start, when Oz comes home to find his soon to be ex BF in bed with someone else. The snark starts there and pretty much continues through the whole book.
Lily Morton has a talent for making her characters fun, yet flawed and a bit vulnerable, but not overwhelmingly so. Oz has a penchant for well-to-do blokes who tend to look down at his working class roots. He fully expects that things will be the same with the earl, (his new employer), but he’s so wrong ☺
Which brings us to Silas, Henry’s brother (and no, you don’t have to read Risk Taker, but why wouldn’t you?). Silas (aka the earl), is a veterinarian. He doesn’t stand on ceremony and is currently preoccupied with saving his ancestral home. When he and Oz meet there is an attraction that they both try to ignore, (considering their track records), but they fail epically!
What I loved about the story is that it’s a straightforward romance – the MCs meet, they get to know each other, and while they may have doubts about their feelings, they don’t give up trying to make their budding relationship work. There’s no drama –except with Silas’s mother, no stupid misunderstandings. And the epilogue is so good –loved seeing them in their future.
I do hope that we get to see Niall and Milo have a story and see more of Oz and Silas.

I highly recommend this story.

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Beat Of Their Own Drum (Book 3 in the Replay series) by K.M. Neuhold

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42530502-beat-of-their-own-drum

Blurb
Jude
Every rock band needs their bad boy, right? That’s me. Hookers, drugs, DUIs— been there, done that. I’m in a Downward Spiral and proud of it (see what I did there?). When the band manager, Archer, hires Bennett to keep me from screwing up while the band is on hiatus, I may have finally met someone who won’t take my attitude lying down. With the three of us cooped up together for weeks on end, I have a feeling things might get interesting.

Archer
Downward Spiral is my baby. Not only am I the band manager, I discovered them ten years ago when they were nothing but a bunch of high school kids playing in a hole in the wall bar on the weekends. But it’s obvious I haven’t done a great job because they’re falling apart. If the lead singer isn’t trying to kill himself, it’s the bass player telling me he can’t write any new songs. And no one gets under my skin more than Jude, who seems determined to snort and drink himself into an early grave. There’s only one man I can think of who might be able to get Jude back on the right track, Bennett Schmitt. Unfortunately, he’s also the man I let get away sixteen years ago and haven’t gotten over since.

Bennett
If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s taking control of a situation. In fact, control is kind of my thing. Which is probably why I’m the best in the business when it comes to getting out of control celebrities back on track. When my ex calls and tells me he’s desperate for my help, I can’t turn him down. Between the infuriatingly sexy drummer with no idea what kind of trouble he’s asking for, and my ex looking better than ever, there’s no way this isn’t about to get messy.

Review

A kinky mmm romance with three wonderful and complex main characters, each one well-rounded and interesting. Together they were simply irresistible!

Bennet and Archer have a past together and still love each other despite having broken up years ago, so that could have put them on an uneven footing with Jude, but that doesn’t happen. The author makes sure that they are all equals in this relationship, every man bringing something unique to it and finding love and care with the other two in equal measure. There are several very moving moments in the story, and all three men have moments of weakness and vulnerability. It was great to see them learn to trust one another and give in to their growing feelings, or acknowledging feelings that were there all along.

The only thing that I would have liked to have seen developed a bit more fully is the emotional bond between Jude and Bennett. I’d have preferred them to get to know each other better before dropping the L-word, outside of their D/S connection, that is. I did really like the way the author incorporated the bdsm-aspect of Jude’s and Ben’s relationship into the story, as well as how she made Archer fit into it too. I think this is one of the best daddy kink stories I’ve read so far and I loved the way both Archer and Jude slowly discovered that part of themselves.

I found it a bit unrealistic that Jude shrugs off his drug addiction so easily. I’d have expected that part of him getting his act together would have been harder. It didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story one bit, however.

The occasional flashbacks were a great way to explain certain things and really brought home what these characters have been through.

We get glimpses of what’s happening with the other band members during their “vacation”, which was great. Not enough to distract us from the MC’s of this book, but still plenty to be able to fully appreciate the importance of the connection between the band members and how their rise to fame impacted their lives. For better and worse.

I was struck by the significance of the book’s title and really liked the play on words. Jude is the heart, the linchpin in the relationship between the three men, and they definitely have to follow their own path in order to find happiness.

I absolutely loved this story and I can’t wait to find out what happens next in this series!

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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

 

 

 

Time to Comfort: Belonging (Firsts and Forever #8) By Alexa Land

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25368856-belonging?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Can two damaged men build a future together from the shattered pieces of their lives?

Gianni Dombruso’s life was altered forever at the age of four, when his parents were murdered and he and his brothers went to live with their grandmother, the irrepressible Nana Dombruso. Now almost thirty, Gianni has spent his life bouncing from relationship to relationship, seeking but never finding the security and stability he so desperately craves.

Alexzander Tillane was one of the biggest pop stars in the world when he walked away from it all in the middle of a concert in 2002. Almost destroyed by the pressure of fame, Zan retreated to a life of quiet solitude in an effort to heal. But the cure backfired, leaving him with more issues than answers.

Zan knows he can’t give Gianni the stability he’s looking for, not with all his problems. He can’t even imagine why the beautiful younger man would want to get involved with someone so damaged, but the heat between them can’t be ignored. Giving in to it could be a huge mistake. Or maybe both men might end up right where they belong.

Approximately 98,000 words. Please note: contains explicit language and graphic sex. For ADULTS ONLY.

Review

First off this book is a part of a series, and while it can be read as a standalone, there are a lot of secondary characters that appear in previous books. I highly recommend reading the entire series for most enjoyment.

Zan is a former famous musician who walked away from everything when life became too much. He lives in complete isolation with only his son for company. Unfortunately, his son Christian is sick and unable to care for Zan any longer. Christian asks his good friend Gianni to fill in for him while he recovers. Gianni is a complicated character. He comes off as a very put together young man but in reality, he is a vulnerable, sensitive man who has poor self-esteem and is ok with being mistreated by past lovers because he feels like he deserves it. Zan has his own issues as well. He suffers from mental illness, which is now keeping him a prisoner in his own home and preventing him from living. When both men finally meet they are attracted to each other but neither one of them has any experience with healthy relationships and seem to be waiting for the other to make the first move. Gianni ends up thinking Zan hates him and his feeling of self-worth diminishes even further. He ends up leaving Zan in the care of one of his brothers and decided to go to New York to be with another man who treats him horribly. This is the push Zan needs to make the move. He ends up following Gianni to the airport and one of the hottest kisses happens here. Now Gianni is in an unfamiliar situation of becoming the caretaker in the relationship. With Zan’s mental issues, Gianni must become more aware of his moods in order to prevent Zan from sliding into darkness.

Belonging is a very much a fluffy enemy to lover sort of romance. There is very little angst and the romance between Zan and Gianni is sizzling. The character development in this book is amazing and you can’t help but falling in love with all of them. This is a beautiful story of two broken men overcoming their insecurities in order to be with each other. This is book is full of crazy, zany characters and it will have you laughing out loud.

5 Stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day Review: A Dom and His Artist by Xenia Melzer

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-dom-and-his-artist-by-xenia-melzer-9503-

Blurb

Sometimes the perfect man can be found in the most unexpected place….

Martin Carmichael owns a security firm and is part owner of Club Whisper. He’s a Dom in search of the right guy, and when his car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road, he thinks he might have found him.

Artist Collin Malloy is talented, easygoing, but somewhat insecure. Still, he has a big heart and is quick to offer help when he sees Martin in need. To thank him, Martin invites Collin to dinner, where the attraction between them becomes harder to resist.

But what will become of their budding relationship when Martin reveals that he likes his men bound, submissive, and in pain? Is it something Collin can accept… and possibly enjoy exploring? Even if he can, Collin has a secret of his own—a secret he doesn’t even realize he’s keeping

Review
Another winner from Xenia Melzer. I started this book on Sunday morning and finished it that evening, well I had to stop to cook lunch. I was hooked. Martin has to revise everything he had thought about being a Dom after meeting Collin. I really liked that through his guidance of Collin in BDSM and learning about submission Martin learns more about himself. He had been very strict but now it didn’t feel right. Collin is a wonderful character. A free thinker that lets ideas grab him and Martin has to adjust to his new sub. The evolving relationship is the main thrust of the story but running in the background is the betrayal of Collin’s friend and Agent. This shakes Collin’s world as he understands it and needs Martin’s support. The scenes between them are gentle and loving. Martin introduces him to different things taking it very slowly given Collin’s inexperience with sex let alone BDSM. these scenes were lovely to read so romantic and caring. We also get to meet Richard and Dean from book 1 again. It was great catching up with their lives but they are not central and this book can be read on it’s own. Another book in the series is planned and I am looking forward to it.

5 of stars out of 5

5-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

o BDSM
▪ Pain
o Exploration
o Gay
o Virgin

• Themes
o artists
o protection/security

• Time Period
o Contemporary

• Trope
o Billionaire Dom
o Cinderella/Cinderfella
o Hurt/comfort
o Secret Identity

Recent Release: Switching Places by Morticia Knight

Pride Publishing

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/switching-places

Blurb
Tai wishes Master Lucas wasn’t such an adamant Top, but he’s also crushing on the sweetly submissive Elliot. Could he have it both ways?
Tai has hit a wall in life. From all outward appearances, he’s the guy who has everything—looks, personality and money. But the modeling gigs are drying up and he still hasn’t found that special someone to call his own. The part-time work at Kiss of Leather is quickly becoming full-time to prevent the drain on his dream-business savings.
Elliot fell for the stunning Tai from almost the moment he met him. If he wasn’t so self-conscious about the weight he’s recently put on, maybe he could work up the nerve to make a move. However, not only is he a virgin who’s never done a scene before working in a BDSM club, but he’s also sure that Tai has a thing for Master Lucas. There’s no way he could ever compete with the handsome silver fox.
When Master Lucas confesses to Tai that he doesn’t only see him as a hookup and offers him a contract, there are a ton of considerations. They both realize that serious compromises would have to be made for them to have a relationship. But what if they found a third, a sub who could bottom for Tai and also do TPE with Master Lucas? Once the idea takes hold, Tai knows just the perfect boy for them both. Even better? He’s right there at Kiss of Leather, and Tai can’t wait for Elliot to turn them all into a throuple.

Review
Tai is the spark between Lucas and Elliott. He is written so well, snarky, vocal and flamboyant. Lucas is solid, dominant and reserved. Elliott is shy, quiet and awkward. This story shows how the three men need each other to balance out a relationship that won’t work unless all three are in it.

Morticia Knight has brought character development and storytelling to a great level. She leads us through the 3 men learning to live and love together and does it in a way that keeps you turning the pages. All 3 men grow into the relationship as the story progresses and as a reader I was totally on board with how it all fit together.

The playroom scenes were hot and definitely keep your interest. But the emotional connections are what I really enjoyed.

4 of 5 stars

4-stars-small

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review