Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Stuck with You by Jay Northcote

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42930903-stuck-with-you?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Patrick has been single since he broke up with his cheating ex almost a year ago. With Christmas looming, he’s resigned to spending it alone with only memories of happier times for company. When a business trip with a co-worker leaves them stranded in the Lake District due to heavy snow, it seems Patrick will have company for Christmas after all. It’s a shame his companion is Kyle, who’s undeniably attractive, but annoying as hell.
Aware of Patrick’s reluctant admiration, Kyle basks in the attention even though Patrick isn’t the type of man he normally goes for. Averse to relationships after being hurt in the past, Kyle enjoys the occasional hook up, but has given up on seeking anything more meaningful.

Stuck together, their antagonism escalates along with a heavy dose of sexual tension until it finally ignites. What starts as a Christmas fling soon feels like something special; but will their tentative connection melt away as the snow thaws? If they’re going to take a chance on finding happiness together, they’ll have to put their differences aside and learn to trust one another.

Review: This is one of the few times I didn’t fully like or connect with a character, in this case, Kyle.
The two men, Patrick, (older, somewhat staid) and Kyle, (younger, bratty) do not get along at work. Their boss sends them on a business trip, telling them to work out their differences. They get stranded near a small village and have to cohabit while waiting out a snowstorm. During this time, all the two MCs do is snark and bicker back and forth, until they admit their attraction to each other. They go from enemies to intimate in 5 seconds flat, with a little spanking thrown in. I have to admit that I didn’t feel that there was much chemistry between the Patrick and Kyle, at least not until near the end. There were some nice moments when they weren’t being defensive – both men have been hiding past hurts – especially when they celebrated Xmas.
This is not my favourite by Jay Northcote, but the author is a master at his craft, making it an overall good story.

3.5 stars out of 5


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Release Day Review: Romancing the Undercover Millionaire by Clare London

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/romancing-the-undercover-millionaire-by-clare-london-10016-b

Blurb

Romancing The…
Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?
Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.
Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.
While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?

Review

Alexandre is your typical spoiled playboy rich kid. He gets the bright idea to go undercover to reveal who is causing trouble in the family business warehouse. He meets his boss Tate. Tate is essentially a single parent of his three siblings and occasionally his grandmother when her arthritis is bad . The twins add great humor to the book. The attraction is instant. It was funny to read how easily Tate sees through Alex. Both are guarded. Alex, because he’s never tried for relationships and wanting to keep identity secret until mystery is solved, and Tate, because he feels that anyone he loves will eventually leave him plus the responsibility he feels to his siblings. The mystery incidences added great drama to the book. I enjoyed reading the family dynamics and know personally how tough it is maintaining a family in poverty. Alex gets hurt and shortly after the truth about him comes out. The sex scenes were hot without being detailed. The bond between them was great to read. All background characters were fun to read also. Overall fantastic read.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 


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Time to Celebrate the Holidays: The Law of Miracles by KC Wells

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42759300-the-law-of-miracles?from_search=true

Blurb
The sequel to A Christmas Promise…
Joshua Trant is doing his best to support his son Micah and Micah’s partner Greg as they approach the trial of Greg’s attackers. This was never going to be easy, especially as Greg wants them prosecuted for a hate crime, but County Attorney Alexander Rycliffe assures them he’ll do his utmost to make sure the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions. Joshua hopes that whatever the outcome, Greg will be happy. What he’s finding more difficult to deal with, is the way he’s feeling about Alex. Joshua has loved two people in his life – Hayden and Rachel – and lost them both. The chance of him being lucky a third time is so slim, the thought doesn’t even cross his mind, until Love – and his kids – give him a push in the right direction…

Alex knows what it is to have loved and lost, and he thinks he’s done with men. Then Joshua Trant walks into his life. Alex soon learns there’s more to Joshua than just a handsome face, and the men finally have what both of them need – a friend. But as the months go by, it becomes obvious to everyone concerned that their friendship has the potential to develop into something deeper – if they let it.

One man who thinks he’s had his chance at love.
One man who has to let go of a past betrayal and learn to trust again.
And both are about to be shown Christmas is indeed a time of miracles. All you have to do is believe

Review
Seriously what’s not to love about two older guys finding love. Both of them have their own baggage that they have to come to terms with over this wonderful slow building romance. And that’s what I love about KC Wells stories, there’s real life but with a lot of hope and magic. Alex and Joshua start by becoming friends helping each other out, cooking and companionship I suppose. Each of them believing they are done with love only to find love hadn’t finished with them yet. It was great that everyone else could see it but they couldn’t. I loved the slow build it let me get to know and come to love Joshua and Alex. Joshua being so happy he managed to cook meatloaf for the kids endeared me to him right from the start along with Alex’s humour about having two titles. The two of them together making a white chocolate cheesecake, made me smile. The length of time before they even kissed was well worth the buildup. There is so much more to the story, good times and bad, bittersweet moments. It’s one I will definitely read again and become a Christmas favourite
I know this book is a sequel, and it can certainly be read on it’s own but I would wholeheartedly recommend reading A Christmas Promise first.

5 of stars out of 5


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Time to Comfort the Hurts/Release Day Review: Strays and Lovers by John Inman

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/strays-and-lovers-by-john-inman-10003-b

Blurb

Forty-six-year-old Eddie Hightower has a problem. He’s all alone. The only thing that saves him from facing that stark reality is the fact that he isn’t really alone at all. He has a house full of pets and a refuge full of stray unwanted animals he spends every waking hour trying to place in homes. While he loves what he does with all the joy in his heart, that same poor aging heart is still missing something. And Eddie knows exactly what it is. Romance.
But wait. Cue the music. Suddenly, beyond all hope, it happens. In the small desert town of Spangle, California, where Eddie lives, comes a sad young stranger with piercing gray eyes. They are the palest, most stunningly beautiful eyes Eddie has ever seen. Poor Eddie Hightower is swallowed up in their silver depths and disappears without a gurgle. The stranger’s name is Gray Grissom. Gray, like his eyes. Without hesitation Eddie opens his doors—and his heart—to the lost young man. After all, that’s what Eddie does. He finds homes for strays. But this is one stray Eddie intends to keep for himself.

Review

Eddie is a lonely man who spends his days caring for the animals at his rescue. He longs for the love and companionship of another person. He ends up meeting an unknown man named Gray at the hardware store he used to work at.

After a less than warm first meeting, Gray comes out to the animal sanctuary to help Eddie with building a new dog run. The two men spend the day working together and feelings start to form but then Gray leaves and Eddie is again alone. The next meeting between the men has Gray acting cold and callous once more.

Eddie leave Gray alone feeling rejected once more. Time passes and Eddie still thinks about Gray but instead of happiness, he feels considerable sadness at the loss of a potential friend.

Eddie eventually breaks down the walls Gray has built up around himself. Gray finally opens up about his past and both men admit to the attraction that had been stirring between them.

While their romance slowly starts to develop, Gray also starts opening up to Eddie more and more.

Eddie is a character that you can’t help falling for. He has devoted his life to helping unloved animals. Gray on the other hand was harder to get a feel for. His attitude changes are abrupt and at first, we don’t know why he is acting out that way. A lot of the secondary character are animals and they are all just as interesting as the humans in the story. This is a great, low angst love story!

4 Stars



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Audiobook Review: P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon Narrated by Noah Michael Levin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ps-i-spook-you-by-se-harmon-8565-b

Blurb
SSA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency’s golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one slight, tiny, itty-bitty paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden he’s the agency’s embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself—go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him.

Cold-case detective Daniel McKenna’s latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Five years earlier, high school student Amy Greene went missing after leaving her part-time job and was never seen again. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help that his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex.

It doesn’t help that Rain is pretty sure he’s falling in love with Danny all over again—if he ever stopped. Add to that the frustration of seeing ghosts at every turn while he works a case that’s stalled in its tracks, and Rain is starting to wonder if second chances and happy endings are just for fairy tales

Review
I reviewed the book when it came out and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad that I didn’t remember the story at all. Good in the sense that I was able to come to it fresh, but bad that it obviously was not memorable in the least. Having said all that I completely enjoyed this story which was mixture of ghost and reluctant medium with a good dose of second chance romance. Paranormal stories have always intrigued me. This one was about Rain both coming home and coming to terms with his powers. The ghosts, particularly one called Ethan, are hounding him to help them find peace and cross over. However returning home means meeting with his ex Danny. Rain never got over Danny despite being the one to break up with him. Rain and Danny do get their happy ever after but for me it felt like the medium side of his story was just beginning. I would love a second book, or even a short story about how they are getting on. Especially as Rain’s family are wonderfully quirky characters and would certainly make the story very interesting. But at this stage I doubt a sequel will be forthcoming. I mustn’t forget the mystery side of the story which turns out to be a murder. This kept me guessing until near the end when it all fell into place.
I’ve not listened to anything by Noah Michael Levine before. He has a smooth voice very easy to listen to and absorb into the story. He acts out the story line well ensuring all the characters stand out with their own voices and personalities. Overall a good listen but I’m not sure if it’s going to stick in my mind.

Number of stars out of 5
4 out of 5 for both the story and narration


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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


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Recent Release: Bishop Ridge by Cate Ashwood

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42776179-bishop-ridge?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: They found exactly what they weren’t looking for.

Logan:
I had almost everything I’d ever wanted—career, friends, my own easy life in Sawyer’s Ferry, Alaska. I’d given up on filling in the missing pieces long ago. Now, I was more than satisfied with the perfectly practiced, perfectly predictable routine I’d created for myself. At least until Jackson Daley walked into my clinic.

Jackson:
Working the rigs is temporary. Everything in my life is. Jobs, cities, and the guys I take home—nothing sticks, and that’s exactly the way I like it. After four years in Alaska, I’m itching to pick up and leave. I’m ready to move on and start over someplace new, until a one-night stand I can’t seem to shake has me breaking all my own rules.
Now as I get closer to walking away, my reasons for leaving seem blurrier than ever, and for the first time in my life, there could be something worth staying for.

Review: This was a quick read. Logan is the one of the doctors at Sawyer’s Ferry, (met him in Alaska). He’s resigned himself to being alone for the foreseeable future and this is his mindset when he meets Jackson on one of clinic his trips. When they meet, the attraction is immediate and they hook up, neither thinking that it would go anywhere beyond another potential hookup. What they didn’t factor in was how compatible they were in and out of bed. While Logan is on board with a relationship, Jackson is a self-professed nomad and already has a job lined up in New Mexico.
The story unfolded very quickly (sort of felt more like a novella) – they meet, they hookup, they realise that they are getting too attached to each other, and then Jackson tries to distance himself. It takes an incident to make them see that they can be together if they have faith in their feelings.
It’s a fun read with some really hot times, but overall, it seemed a little rushed.

3.5 stars out of 5


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Release Day Review: Cops and Comix By Rhys Ford

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cops-and-comix-by-rhys-ford-10013-b

Blurb

A Murder and Mayhem Short
It’s all fun and games until someone leaves a dead body on the floor.
Life for comic book store owner Alex Martin usually runs to the mundane. Sure, he has a regular influx of geeks and freaks, but for the most part, it’s a familiar weird. That all changes when he opens up Planet X Comics one morning and finds a corpse in the middle of his shop.
When Detective James Castillo is called in to investigate, Alex is torn between wanting to climb the man like a tree and giving him a wide berth. Luckily for Alex, the handsome detective is just as interested in him—as a suspect in the murder.

Review

This novella starts with a dead body, and you assume most of it will revolve round that drama and the struggle between Alex being extremely attracted to James and fearing he will be accused of murder.

I like that Ford chose to put enough of the romance and solved that conflict sooner than expected. I actually really liked Alex and James, they sort of had a slow buildup and it was very refreshing, considering most full length books jump right into the steam on the first date/meeting. There is a heaping amount of humor and a splash of bad Karma/Murphy’s Law mixed in and it makes for a truly fun read. And surprisingly (or not so much when you consider the talent of the author) you get well rounded characters in such a short story, James is a big softie and I liked his lack of macho ego. Alex is just the right amount of shy and geeky without turning into a total introverted outcast like some books tend to portray geeky/nerdy characters.

This short novella leaves you with a craving for more, written in Rhys Ford’s signature humor and fantastic writing style. The only reason I gave it 3.5 stars is that I felt it was a bit too short or rushed in some parts. Despite that it was just the kind of teasing taste to get you hooked on the series and I am definitely going to get the next ones and dive in.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


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Recent Release: Hawaii Five Uh-Oh by ZA Maxfield


Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hawaii-five-uh-oh-by-za-maxfield-9969-b

Blurb: A Plummet to Soar Story

Sarcastic cop Theo Hsu returns home to Hawai‘i after realizing he wants more from his life, and also, less. He hopes to reconnect with his past and make amends with his mother, who remarried a cool, distant man, leaving Theo unsure where he stands.
It doesn’t take him long to figure out where he wants to stand, though: right next to his childhood best friend, tattooed detective Koa Palapiti. Theo would like to upgrade their relationship, but Koa is putting out some seriously mixed signals. It’s a mystery Theo can’t let go, but just as they start to connect, kidnapping, murder, and a deadly game with international stakes get in the way. Koa wants to keep Theo out of it, and if it comes to a choice between him and Koa’s partner, Freddie Ortiz, Theo doesn’t like his chances.
But even if Koa wants to push him out of the investigation, and his life, Theo still has a few tricks up his sleeve. It’ll take all his special gifts, ingenuity, risk-taking, family ties—and even some kinky undercover work—to save the day… and the man he never should’ve let get away.

Review: This is the second in the Plummet to Soar series. It’s a standalone story, (I didn’t need to read the first book to enjoy this). It starts out simply – Theo returns to live in Hawai’i, reconnects with his family and meets up with his old friend, Koa. Then things turn mysterious, starting with Koa and his strange relationship with his work partner, Ortiz and ending with a crime family feud.
The story has lots of twists and turns, keeping you guessing as to what’s going to happen next. There is the budding reconnection between Theo and Koa – the latter blowing hot and cold; the mystery case that Theo inadvertently butts his way into; and Theo’s own relationship with his mum and her new family.
This is a complex and interesting story, with elements of BDSM – not full blown scenes – but enough to know that both MCs like that kink. The blurb isn’t kidding with the sarcasm! The humour is sometimes subtle and always funny as heck ☺
I would describe the story as more of a suspense/mystery with a bit of romance thrown in.

4.5 stars out of 5


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Time to Comfort the Hurt: Boy Shattered by Eli Easton


Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42272771-boy-shattered?from_search=true

Blurb

Brian
You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?

Landon
Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.

Review by Karen
This is a book that really got under my skin. An amazing story of loss and grief, but also of love, friendship, hope, perseverance and unity in the face of senseless violence and ignorant hatred.

I think Eli Easton did an outstanding job, taking her characters and readers alike on a very intense, sadly realistic, and emotional journey. The lines between fiction and reality get blurred, making this a very powerful story.

Landon and Brian are so clearly meant to be. The way they connect during the shooting was incredibly moving. Such a great scene, terrifying and heartbreaking though it was.

Brian is an wonderful MC and so utterly shattered by the horror of what happened to him. It was devastating to read. I hate that there are actual Brian’s out there. And Jake’s that are no longer with us…
Brian had a hard time coping with his fears when he returns to school and doesn’t get a ton of support at home. Landon is his rock.
I was so happy, though, that in the end, Brian found a way to be a savior to Landon as well.

I loved Brian’s poems and the way they gave us more insight into his feelings. The Lion poem and 18 Chairs were especially poignant.

I think this is a story that needed to be written. I’m very thankful to Eli Easton for sharing it with us.
Number of stars out of 5: 5


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Review by Morgan

 

I think Eli was pretty gutsy writing this.  I bet that she gets some flack for this but what’s ironic – is the way she portrayed Brian’s family is so realistic and the hypocrisy we see regarding “life” and “guns” is absolutely amazing.  I myself cannot see their side of the story and I’m glad I don’t have to try.

 This was a hard story to read but so good and such a page turner! My only complaint was Landon’s folks and how they handled themselves as well as Brian’s mother – both seemed not as plausible as the rest of the story.

 The other thing I really wanted for Brian was a direct path to a psychiatrist and do not pass go.  I think his level of PTSD would have needed some more intervention than he got.

 

4.5 of 5 stars


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