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: 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


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Fearing Fate By C.C. Dado

release day review

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fearing-fate-by-cc-dado-10033-b

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book Three
He is a fearless protector by nature and in his heart. But nothing’s ever simple with love… or fate.
At nearly seven feet tall, Zeus’s role had always been to protect the pack—but his newest charges need him more than most. Kimber and Kron are transplants from another pack, and they have a dangerous stranger on their tails. Zeus is determined to do his duty and drive the human out of town. But when he confronts Toren, his wolf has other ideas….
Something isn’t right, but should a huge, tattooed wolf with a secret soft heart fear his fate—to love a man with secrets of his own?

Review

This was my favorite book of the three in this series. It’s plot was less meandering and since all the world building had already occurred it felt more like a story should be with more showing and less telling.

The romance was super cute and at the same time touching and full of warmth and humor.

I really enjoyed this and I think you can definitely read this on it’s own – no need to read the others necessarily.

Highly recommended for fans of shifter romance.

4.5 of 5 stars


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Audiobook: Under a Blue Moon (CAMP H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker Narrated by Dorian Bane

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/under-a-blue-moon-by-bru-baker-9642-b

Blurb

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?

Review

Story:

When Nick and Drew meet at the airport, they hit it off immediately and sparks fly, but they both have planes to catch and places to be… Nick is unaware that human Drew knows about the existence of werewolves and pegged him for a wolf almost from the get go. Imagine his surprise when he finds out Drew is one of his new co-workers at Camp H.O.W.L.!
FYI, he doesn’t handle surprises well. It wasn’t his finest hour.

Nick doesn’t think a relationship with a human and a were can work, so he keeps Drew at a distance. His concerns are valid, I think, and I liked that he didn’t just put them aside because of his attraction to Drew. That being said, he does test Drew’s patience, and the reader’s, when he starts sending out mixed signals and refuses to let go off his prejudices. Even when Drew proves him wrong, again and again.

Drew’s a great guy, competent, understanding and patient, which he needs to be to deal with headstrong Nick. I also loved his playful side and competitive streak when he goes all out to show Nick a thing or two about what he’s capable of.

Emotions start running high and when disaster strikes, Nick finally understands how much Drew has come to mean to him. But is he too late? I loved the tension and emotional highs and lows that we get near the end of the story, which contrasts nicely with the almost mellow storyline that went before. There’s a lot of humor too, which I liked, and the secondary characters are well-written and help create a warm sense of pack & family around the MC’s. Always a big part of the charm of shifter romances for me.

I very much enjoyed this story. A lot of shifter romances focus on the fated mate connection and are far more insta-lust/insta-love than this one, but I actually really liked that the author took her time to get Nick & Drew there and the real life worries that snuck in.

Narration:
I very much enjoyed Dorian Bane’s performance, his warm voice and the emotions he brought to the story. He makes Nick sound a bit more gruff than Drew, and I loved how Nick’s inner turmoil came out in the narration. Drew’s buoyancy and zest for life shine through as well and I also liked the voices the narrator came up with for the secondary characters.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Release Day: Blackwood (Perth Shifters #1) by Pia Foxhall

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42362013-blackwood?from_search=true

 

Blurb

In a world that is still getting used to shifters, where everyone thinks omegas are second class citizens, nature photographer and omega Braden Payne lets everyone think he’s a beta. That way no one gives him a hard time and he doesn’t have to live a repeat of his failed relationship. But when his car breaks down in the remote Blackwood forest in Western Australia, without the medication that lets him hide who he is, he’s faced with what he fears most: an unmated alpha.

Government forest guardian and alpha Coll MacDubhar is tired of illegal loggers, foolish tourists and people who underestimate the wilds of Western Australia. He discovers Braden lost and in need of medical assistance in the forest he protects and knows something’s not right.

But there’s hidden depths to Braden that capture his interest, and no decent alpha would walk away when Braden’s unwelcome past comes to visit.

Review

This was really more “deep” than the blurb leads one to believe. It’s about the recovery of Braden in a world that absolutely demoralizes Omegas. (Anyone see a correlation? Hmmmm?)

Braden is virtually told that as an Omega he has practically no rights in respect to an Alpha. So – he’s leery. He does finally concede that not all Alphas are alike but it’s with understandable reluctance.

If I have any problems with this it’s that there is a lot of the “heat” that is really drawn out and maybe not that important to the story.

I also wanted to see these guys together more often in non emergent circumstances.

I really loved the deep understanding we get of Braden’s point but we missed out on getting to know Coll. He’s still a bit of a mystery.

I also felt like the shifting aspect – again – was really neglected. These guys don’t seem as connected to their wolves as I’d like to see. This read more like a non shifting alpha/omega story.

In any case it was still quite good and I give it 3.75 rounded to 4 stars.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: You’ll be the Death of Us (A Loving Nip #17) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42092262-you-ll-be-the-death-of-us?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Just a Little Love Bite: A long-awaited-for vacation ends in disaster, forcing one man to make the ultimate life and death choice.

Eric Young and Daren Creston met when both attended a pride parade in Denver with friends. They’d immediately hit it off. Three months later, city-dwelling Eric moved in with small-town living Daren, and they made their home in Colin City. Seven years later, they are still very much in love. After years of saving, Eric and Daren head to a dude ranch for a little sun, fun, and sexy cowboy roleplay in the bedroom. The place has amazing reviews, is run by vampires, and was recommended by their wolf shifter buddies. After a tragic riding accident leaves Daren’s life hanging perilously by a thread, Eric is willing to do anything to save his lover. Death, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, hears Eric’s cries. His interest is piqued. When Death makes the pretty human an offer–the price, Eric and Daren’s souls–will Eric take it? And if he does, will Daren ever be able to forgive him?
Reader Advisory: This is a M/M/M menage.

Review

Daren and Eric are a human couple who have appeared sporadically throughout the Wolves of Stoneridge series. They decide to vacation at a vampire ranch based on the recommendations of their paranormal friends. Sadly, while there tragedy befalls Daren and Eric not willing to his love begs for help stating he will do anything. Death, one of the Four Horsemen, over hears Eric’s pleading and decides to intervene and offer his assistance, but both men will need to tie themselves to Death for eternity.

Anybody familiar with this series knows that these books are easy, light reads. So far there are over 100 books in the connecting series and each story has managed to be unique (granted there are still a few I haven’t read). The one thing I don’t like about most of the newer books is that they tend to have very rushed endings. The same happened in this one. After searching for one of Death’s missing demons, they find him with the help of alpha’s Declan and Kontra and the warlocks Draven and Tim. The ensuing “battle” is over in a page or two but then so is the book. We still don’t really know who or what was behind the capture, but it looks like it will be resolved in future books. This series is still a favorite of mine. Death and his two human mates made for a great, steamy little story.

4 Stars


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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

 

 

 

Recent Release: Sanctuary (Mercy Hills Pack #5.5) by Ann-Katrin Byrde

Good reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36395933-sanctuary?from_search=true

Blurb

“Omegas for alphas and betas for betas…”

Ori and Patton have been best friends since they were pups. But growing up changes everything—Ori must settle on an alpha to mate, while Patton takes on the beta’s work of maintaining the walled enclave their pack lives within. They try to make the best of it, until a wealthy suitor comes calling for Ori, and they realize neither of them can face a future without the other. And on a moonless night, Ori and Patton escape over the enclave walls, breaking both shifter and human law in their determination to reach the sanctuary of Mercy Hills.

Hunted by their own people and forced into a dangerous masquerade among the humans, their original plan–so simple and direct—turns into a twisted path toward a promise of freedom that might not even exist. Because Mercy Hills doesn’t know they’re coming, and the trouble they’re bringing to the enclave’s doorstep may be more than those already beset shifters are willing to bear.

Finding out Ori is pregnant makes their mission that much more urgent. Omegas never mate with betas, let alone have pups with them. If their pack finds the two lovers, they’ll be separated forever.

But the pack never reckoned with the determination of a beta in love, or the stubbornness of an omega determined to keep his mate and his baby.

Review

I like this series quite a bit but I do find some of the detail a bit too tedious. I’ve never been a huge fan of “dystopian” and I sort of lump these types of stories as dystopian. In this world, the knowledge of shifters is out there and they are subsequently treated very poorly and kept in enclaves.

I really hate this type of story but I so admire the love stories the author is capable of giving that I wade through the sadness and despair to find the happy and the sweet.

Our two MCs have a truck load of misery to over come in this book and I have to admit I skimmed the entire first half as it was entirely too “difficult” and way too long – for me – but I really enjoyed the part where they finally made it to the Mercy Hills Pack and found their beginning to be really touching as well.

I think this is another author who could benefit from a stiff editing ☺

I think this is good for fans of the author and the series but I wouldn’t start with this – I think they need to be read in order.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Clutch (Forbidden Desires #1) by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42208487-clutch

Blurb

Bookish, snarky, and fiercely independent Nate Boudreaux leads a solitary life. Between teaching classes at the university and working toward his PhD, he doesn’t need a partner to occupy his time, and he certainly doesn’t need a man like Alistair Drake complicating his future.

Alistair Drake, black sheep of the tremendously wealthy Drake family, is more interested in adding another notch to his bedpost than another zero to his bank account. When a Grindr message brings him to Nate’s doorstep, then straight to his bed, he has no reason to believe that what they share will be more than a simple hookup, until, three months later, a tug on his soul informs him otherwise.

For the Drake family has a secret—one that will force Nate and Alistair together as much as it will demand that they be torn apart. One that Alistair and his brothers have carried all their lives… and one that Alistair and Nate’s future children will carry, too.

Bound to each other by the three precious impossibilities, Nate and Alistair have no choice—no matter the consequence, they will fight for their forbidden clutch.

Review

This book gives a different quirky twist to the usual mpreg alpha/omega story.
Both Nate and Alistair are likable characters who fit together well. The relationship between them moves along at a fast pace, with both snark and vulnerability balancing out the romance.
The comedy elements had me laughing out loud more than once through the story and the way Alistair takes off hand comments literally adds to the charm of the book.
The cast of secondary characters were a great addition, with an obvious set up for a following story that I look forward to reading.

4 stars out of 5

 

Purchased by the reviewer

 

Release Day Review: Fangs for the Memories by Julia Talbot

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fangs-for-the-memories-by-julia-talbot-9965-b

Blurb: One wolf lost his memory, but they’ll both lose their hearts.
Bitten werewolf Tom owes the folks at the Dead and Breakfast big for saving his life. So when they ask for help with a rogue wolf on the premises, he’s happy to do his part….
Though he isn’t quite prepared for what he’ll find.
Werewolf Nathan lost everything to a sadistic kidnapper—his freedom, his memories, and maybe even his ability to be human. But as soon as he meets Tom, he knows he might be able to reclaim his life. And even a turned wolf like Tom feels the mating call. The trouble is, Tom isn’t the only one who wants Nathan, and they’ll need help from all their supernatural friends at the D & B to defeat a powerful enemy and keep their love—and themselves—alive.

Review: This is a standalone sequel to Fangs and Catnip, this time the pairing is between 2 wolf shifters. The story is sweet, with an almost childlike feel to the dialogue, which fit within the storyline.
Tom, (we met him when he was bitten in book 1), is a made wolf. He runs a sort of animal rescue centre that includes helping shifters. The owners of the B&B have noticed a wild, distressed wolf and ask Tom to help. He helps the wolf, learns his name – Nathan and discovers that he’s a shifter.
Nathan has run from a horrid situation and is understandably traumatized. The way Tom and the others look out for Nathan makes up the bulk of the story. We also get to see past characters like Carter and meet new ones like Ed, a magpie shifter.
There is very little angst, some suspense – (when the cause of Nathan’s trauma reappears) – and humour. The suspense piece may have been a tad rushed, but it brings some new faces to the series.
This is a cozy read, like the satisfaction one gets putting on one’s favourite pair of slippers.
And it was my pleasure to read.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review