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

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Oil and Water (The Wildcatters Book 1) by B.A. Tortuga

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/oil-and-water-by-ba-tortuga-10084-b

Blurb

Oilman Max inherits a passel of trouble when his boss passes away, leaving him a house in England and a heck of a lot of money. He’s thinking London is the worst place on earth… until he meets Morgan.

Colorful, carefree, and a little crazy, Morgan is just what Max needs, and the two set out on the adventure of a lifetime, chasing pleasure wherever it takes them, learning that together they can make anything fun… and sexy.

Too bad reality has to set in, and Morgan’s multimillionaire father has a lot to say about what reality looks like. Will their different worlds conspire to separate them like oil and water?

Review

This was different from what I’m used to reading. The writing style is very distinct, bringing to mind stream of consciousness a bit. It’s a well-written story, but the pace was a tad too slow and meandering for me.

Our main characters, Max and Morgan, hit it off almost instantly and spend the biggest part of the book happily making out on what seems like one long extended vacation, going to various exotic locations. Money is no object for either man, so no pesky roadblocks from something like reality or work. It was a bit difficult for me to believe in the strength of their connection, because they were so constantly removed from anything real. When it’s all fun and games, how do you go from infatuation to a deeper emotion like love?

They do have one big threat to overcome, Morgan’s dad. Who seems to come straight out of the 19th century with his Bedlam antics and makes Mr. Rochester seem like a benevolent angel for only keeping his mad wife locked up in the attic. This part felt a bit contrived to me, but what was good about it, is that it tested both men’s feelings and their determination to be together.
This is Max’s moment to shine and he takes it.

I found myself losing interest a bit in the middle of the story, but the final chapters caught my attention again and I liked how the author wrapped things up. With a perfect stand-in for the proverbial bow.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


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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

 


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Recent Release: BFF: Forever (BFF book3) by Devon McCormack

Good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43224645-bff?from_search=true

Blurb
JESSE:

It began with his electric touch and a hurricane of frenzied passion that ravaged my body, my mind, my soul…my entire life.

We both knew where the line was, yet we crossed it because it was the only way we could be close to one another. We told ourselves it was nothing more than a fantasy–a beach vacay we could treat like a dream, cherishing it in our hearts, but evading the real life repercussions of our actions.

If only it had been that easy…

We couldn’t keep away from each other, and one lust-filled encounter after another birthed a connection, which turned into so much more.

Now I’m head over heels for my best friend’s father.

Oh, Eric Westright…you’ve changed me. I’m addicted to your touch. I’m a servant to your desires.

I kept telling myself it was nothing more than a dream, but now the thought of awakening from our life together terrifies me. I can’t bear a world where I never knew what it was like to be lost in those magnificent blue eyes, to feel his caress against my face, his lips against my own…him loving me deep inside.

Oh, please, if this is all a dream, don’t let me wake up. Let me have this. I know I messed up, but I can fix everything I’ve broken. I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’ll make it right.

I’ll do whatever it takes. Just please let me have him FOREVER.

Review
All the love for this amazing couple!! What a wonderful and inspiring love story. I’m still on cloud nine, this is going to be an awful book hangover.

It’s been a long time since I anticipated the release of a book the way I have this one. I’ve just been so curious about what else was in store for Jesse and Eric. It didn’t feel finished, or maybe I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. Honestly, my expectations were so high, I was almost afraid to start reading. I held back for about five seconds and then I was all in. And it was everything I hoped for and more.
All the romance. All the love. All the feels. Absolutely worth the wait.

The love these two characters have for each other just feels so all-encompassing. It goes way beyond the bliss of the initial attraction and early butterflies straight into the deeper joy that comes when you’ve gotten to truly know each other, the bliss and comfort you find in being there for your partner through the good and the bad, and the peace that comes with knowing that the reverse is true as well.

The author did an amazing job at describing how utterly gone Jesse and Eric still are on each other. Their devotion, the sheer magnitude of their love was an immense pleasure to read. I soaked up every word. Each time I read the words “my Eric”, I about melted on the spot from the sweetness of it all. Jesse’s humor, his limitless patience and understanding, Eric’s bravery and the vulnerable side he shows in this book… It was all just … wow. No words can do this story justice.

I was so happy about the way all the “loose ends” were resolved. Just so glad how it all worked out for Eric, Jesse and Ty especially. There were quite a few family moments that were very emotional, a bit painful, and a lot teary, but full of love and hope for the future.

I very much enjoyed all the wonderful secondary characters like aunt Connie, Charlotte and Stan, and even Tricia. Not to mention the loyal bands of friends both Eric and Jesse have. A lot of potential there for other future stories! So I’m happily readying myself to play the waiting game again.

Number of stars out of 5: 6


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Recent Release: Elias By Erin E. Keller

Good Reads

https://www.jms-books.com/erotic-romance-c-29_94/elias-p-2635.html?zenid=bt9b4JSEAEyjiUt7gDzs80

Blurb

Detective Thomas Doyle has been living a lonely, compartmentalized life ever since the death of his life partner, Aiden. He vowed never to let anybody get close to him again — the pain of losing a loved one is too much to bear. Despite his vow, Thomas is lonely, and has a number of one-night stands, sexual encounters with unnamed men he doesn’t care to remember. Then he meets Elias.

Elias Byrne knows the pain of abuse and rejection intimately. Unable to escape the clutches of his older brother, Elias dreams of someone to love, and of being loved in return. He admires Thomas, but the detective never pays him any notice. In a desperate attempt to get closer to him, Elias steals his wallet, then gives it back the next day.

Pretty soon, Thomas feels a strong attraction to the fiery, arrogant, younger man. Elias intrigues him, but he resists his growing feelings because he doesn’t want to get hurt again.

When Thomas rescues Elias from his abusive brother, can he also rescue them both from the loneliness that threatens to consume them? Can Elias conquer the detective’s hardened heart and find the love he always longed for? Or will Thomas stubbornly refuse to give himself another chance at love?

Review

Thomas has been nearly existing the past 2 years after the death of his partner Aiden. One day while on his way to work he feels a panic attack starting and ends up meeting a young man who ends up bringing him back to life. Elias has a hard life. He feels indebted to his older brother and because of this he allows his brother to prostitute him out. Elias see Thomas and becomes infatuated with him. He sees Thomas as a savior figure.
At first, I didn’t think I would like this book. I like for characters to be able to save themselves instead of waiting for someone to come do it for them. At first this is what the book seemed like but in the end, Thomas helped Elias become strong enough to help himself.
There are some difficult scenes in this book. Physical violence and an attempted rape scene so readers with triggers should be cautious. This story does end on a lighter note but hopefully there will be more to Thomas and Elias’ story down the road.
4 Stars


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Recent Release: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42931944-home-for-christmas?from_search=true

Blurb

Can Connor show River a real family Christmas?

When Connor finds River on the roof of the campus admin building, he doesn’t know what to do. His friend is drunk, and shouting into a snowstorm, a bottle of vodka in his hand. The easy part is getting River down; the hard part is insisting River comes home with Connor for Christmas.

River doesn’t have a family, or any place outside of college that he calls home. Not that it matters to him; he’s happy being alone for Christmas in his budget motel, watching reruns of Elf. Only, Connor keeps telling wildly improbable stories of the perfect family celebrations at his parents’ ranch in Texas, and it’s wearing River down. He didn’t ask to be kidnapped. He didn’t want to fall in love with the entire Campbell-Hayes family. But he does.

From one Christmas to the next. This is Connor’s year to rescue River, and himself, for them both to mess things up, make things right, fall in lust and finally, for Connor to show the man he loves what being part of a family can mean.

Review

I was a big fan of the Texas series when it first started… I’m not sure I’ve actually read every book in the series – but most of them?

In any case, this is the next generation and it’s Jack and Riley’s college aged kid. I’m not sure – but this feels like soap opera aging – where you see the child born and then in 2 years they’re a teenager! LOL or I’m just getting too old to remember everyone’s age!

In any case this was really sweet and it was fun seeing Jack and Riley again as parents.

If you’re a fan of the series you’ll love this, if you just want a sweet holiday hurt/comfort – this is for you, too!

3.75 (rounded to 4) 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: The Victorian (Lavender Shores book 9) by Rosalind Abel

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42104359-the-victorian

Blurb
Sexy bartender Seth Marino is the epitome of the allure and sophistication for which the town of Lavender Shores is known. For twenty years, Seth has found contentment and happiness as co-owner of the Blue Blossom Bed-and-Breakfast. Seth’s kind heart, good looks, and humor charm both locals and tourists—except the one person who despises him.

Charley Perez began building the life of his dreams a few years before Seth moved to town. Just as his hard work was about to pay off, Charley saw his hopes for building a restaurant worthy of his abuela’s recipes slip through his fingers when Seth arrived. Sure, maybe Charley has a temper, perhaps he should smile more, but does the whole world have to lay out the red carpet for the slutty bartender while never giving Charley a break?

When Lavender Shores welcomes a star-studded food-and-wine celebration, Seth and Charley are forced to work together, leading to an explosion of anger and passion. Both men find the heat and fire of hatred morphing into an irresistible attraction. But even as Seth sees a different side of Charley, the hurt and anger of the past simmer below the surface, threatening the future. And a lifetime of struggle isn’t easy for Charley, who must find the courage to show his true self in seeking help and reaching for his dreams.

Review

Genius! I think I have a new favorite couple in Lavender Shores.

As enemies to lovers stories go, this one is full on. These characters loathed each other and had done so for about two decades. Their mutual animosity ran so deep, I wondered how they would ever get over that. What could possibly get these men to reevaluate their opinions and start seeing each other in a different light? Not to mention forgive past hurts? Because some of their exchanges were incredibly vicious.

But the author managed it brilliantly, turning from enemies to lovers to hurt/comfort with a twist I didn’t see coming, but which tore at my heart. All at once, it became a very different story. Deeply emotional and heartbreaking.

Seth and Charley are both complex and wonderful characters. Their chemistry is off the charts, but what really got to me the most were the little things like Seth showing up on his birthday to be there for Charley, without any expectations, the tentative hand holding which is so much more revealing than angry sex ever could be… They aren’t the most “conventional” couple, but the love they feel for each other is so strong and true. It was absolutely inspiring. I also loved that it wasn’t an easy thing, for either of them. They are tested from the onset and that made every little step they took closer to each other even more rewarding.

I loved the bond between Charley and Mabel & Sapphire, it was so good to see him have those two in his corner. Same for his connection with Alex, the way he stands up for her and supports her…those were some of the best scenes in the book.

The epilogue was amazing, incredibly touching and romantic while still staying true to who these characters are. The perfect feel-good ending where we leave our MC’s in a happy, hopeful place.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


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Release Day Review: A Whole Latte Sass By Marguerite Labbe

release day review

Dreamspinner: 

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-whole-latte-sass-by-marguerite-labbe-10070-b

Blurb

Geek Life: Book Two

It’s no secret cosplayer Felipe Suero is looking for his happily ever after—in his love life as well as his career. He’s getting his degree so he can quit his miserable job and start his own costume business. Now he just needs to land the sexiest silver fox to ever attend a con.

Trask Briscoe’s life revolves around staying clean and sober, running the Magick Den, and attending local cons. His rules haven’t left much room for romance. But he can’t deny Felipe has caught his complete attention. He’s just not sure what he can offer a man so full of joy and sass.

When Trask finally accepts Felipe’s offer for a cup of coffee, he soon finds himself on a second date and a third. Between cosplay projects and roleplaying games, they discover a deeper connection than either of them expected. And Trask realizes that sometimes rules are made to be broken.

Now Felipe just has to convince his family—and Trask—that Trask has more love to offer than he ever dreamed.

 

Review

This book was an unexpected delight and I immediately ran to buy book 1 in the series because the cameos of those characters just captured me.  Marguerite has fantastic writing and I am so happy I got to know her, as now I have a new author to follow.
The gaming and geeky world described in the book is very accurate, as someone who was part of it many years and have friends who still are very into it I enjoyed how detailed it was- yet not too much for someone who is not really in this scene. I learned some new things on the way, mostly about roleplaying. Trask and Felipe are such fun, interesting and complex characters, I felt like their relationship, with all its hardships and Felipe’s family not always supporting it, was very mature, even if Felipe has a tendency to dramatic outbursts and storming off- they work it out and in no place is there a time where they just give up because of a misunderstanding. Feeling get hurt, yes, but in the end they always try to talk about it and figure out how to make both happy.

I think one of the things I liked the most was that when they did finally start dating and had their first kiss, there was no ‘explosion/electricity/shivers’ and all those other over the top descriptions we so often get in Romance and M/M Romance. It was very refreshing to see them act on their mutual attraction in more real-life way. It make it that much more interesting, and I liked that they took time to get to know each other more, in the romantic aspect. Despite some parts of the story that might have been a touch slow for me, the author wisely added POV’s of characters from book 1 and ones I assume will be in book 3. It was quite unique, because it gave just enough insight into these other characters, tempting you to read more about them (like Morris and Theo from book 1) and gave you an outside view of Trask and Felipe. I don’t think I have ever come across a book that had this kind of POV in M/M before and I really liked it!

Number of stars out of 5

4.5


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Time to Celebrate the Holidays: The Captain’s Cornish Christmas by Catherine Curzon, Eleanor Harkstead

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42392361-the-captain-s-cornish-christmas

Blurb

For a lonely Cornish lifeboatman and an author who’s more used to crime scenes than love scenes, this Christmas is going to be very merry indeed!

When Jago Treherne agrees to man the Polneath lifeboats one snowy Christmas, he knows he can forget turkey and all the trimmings.

Yet when he boards a seemingly empty yacht and stumbles upon sexy Sam Coryton enjoying an energetic afternoon below decks, Jago soon realizes that he might be unwrapping a very different sort of Christmas gift this year!

Publisher’s Note: This book is related to the Captivating Captains series.

Review

This was a cute Christmas novella revolving around two men who’ve known each other for years. Jago is a lifeboat captain who goes out to check on a missing boat, which is manned by Sam. This brings both men back into each other’s orbit and the romance flies.

I really enjoyed the opening scene between the two men. Jago seems to have given up on finding love because of how demanding his job is. Sam is tired of the fast past of the big city and just wants to retire to the quiet countryside. Jago is shy and awkward (my favorite type of hero) and Sam is more relaxed and confident. Sam has wanted Jago for year’s, but the timing never seemed to be right. He sets out to woo Jago from the get-go. Jago can’t believe a man as wonderful as Sam would be interested in him but Sam has no problem proving that his feelings are genuine.

While this is apart of a series, each book is a stand alone and can be read and enjoyed in any order. While I wish these stories were a bit longer, I highly recommend them !!

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review