Categories
adult - 18+

How to Make the Perfect Man by Catherine Curzon, Eleanor Harkstead

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55290261-how-to-make-the-perfect-man

Blurb

PART OF THE SOME LIKE IT HAUNTED COLLECTION

Love isn’t science. It’s alchemy.

Needing a date for the hottest Hallowe’en party in town, scientist Aubrey Waldegrave sets to work creating his perfect man. Unfortunately, the Adonis who emerges from his laboratory is a free spirit who has no time for Aubrey’s brogues and tweeds.

Alchemist Trismegistus Nimlet can turn anything into gold, but when his apocathery’s alligator starts talking back and his werewolf allergy leaves him sneezing, it looks like Halloween might be a washout. Worse still, is Tris really about to lose the chap he secretly loves to a manmade surfer dude who’s more flash than Frankenstein?

With werewolves leaving fur in the ornamental fountains and a banshee making enough noise to wake the dead, Aubrey’s Halloween is going from bad to worse. All he wanted was to make his perfect man, but what if he was right there all along?

Review
This was a delightful story. It starts out a bit like Frankenstein, Aubrey creates “Adam”, a perfect man to be his date for the annual Halloween party. Things don’t go the way he plans. His perfect man ends up being a surfer boy who had an aversion to clothes and who wants to be called Kai. They are joined by Tris, Aubrey’s long-term friend, and the man Aubrey really pines for. The great mixture of characters and creatures really make this story. There are werewolves, banshee’s, sequin wearing frogs and a reanimated talking stuffed alligator. This is a very short story but so worth the read!

4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Paint by Number by Andrew Grey

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/paint-by-number-by-andrew-grey-11718-b

Blurb

When New York painter Devon Starr gives up his vices, his muses depart along with them. Devon needs a change, but when his father’s stroke brings him home to Alaska, the small town where he grew up isn’t what he remembers. Enrique Salazar remembers Devon well, and he makes it his personal mission to open Devon’s eyes to the rugged beauty and possibilities all around them. The two men grow closer, and just as Devon begins to see what’s always been there for him, they’re called to stand against a mining company that threatens the very pristine nature that’s helping them fall in love. The fight only strengthens their bond, but as the desire to pick up a paintbrush returns, Devon also feels the pull of the city. A man trapped between two worlds, Devon can only follow where his heart leads him.

Review
Paint by Number was another great story by Andrew Grey. This story, like most of Andrew’s books is sweet and full of feelings. I really enjoyed the two main characters, Devon and Enrique. I like that these two have a long history between them. Friends to Lovers is one of my comfort tropes. I thought that I might have a hard time with this book since Devon is a recovering alcoholic and that subject tends to be a touchy one for me, but Andrew handled the subject well. I also like the fact this this story took places in Alaska. Unlike the last few books I read from Andrew, this one really sucked me in. It’s written very well (not surprising), has compelling characters and beautifully described settings.
If you’ve never read a book from Andrew Grey and even if you have, I highly recommend this one.

5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote Narrated by Hamish Long

audiobookreview

https://www.audible.com/pd/Where-Love-Grows-Audiobook/B08FNHCYYJ?qid=1598094909&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=QJM4STCKDHFSPQ5A34ZW

Blurb
When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.
Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.
He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.
A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.
This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.
Review
Story: I think this might very well be the best book Jay Northcote has written so far. There’s just so much emotion in this story. And the writing… it’s simply incredible. Such a pleasure to listen to, especially the almost poetic, evocative descriptions of nature and some of the MC’s internal musings. A book to be savored and enjoyed, never rushed.
Luke and Stephen get off to a rough start, but I very much enjoyed the slow but sure way their friendship developed. Stephen is a tough nut to crack. His heart, health, pride and self-esteem have suffered countless blows. He’s lost so much: his parents, his health, a job he loved, … and he finds it nearly impossible to believe he can have happiness again. He’s super prickly and antagonistic as a result, but so vulnerable underneath his hard exterior. Luke, on the other hand, is very open about how he feels and tries his hardest to form a connection with Stephen. He’s such a sweetheart and has his own cross to bear, unfortunately. Luke and Stephen both tugged on my heartstrings something fierce.
This book has an almost magical “Secret Garden” feel to it, with a prominent role going to Nature, with all its beauty and promise of growth and resilience. The garden slowly blossoming under Luke’s care wonderfully mirrors the progress both Luke and Stephen make as well.

Narration: Hamish Long is the perfect choice for this audiobook. His honeyed voice and wonderful ability to capture every emotion, however small or subtle, make this into a mesmerizing listen. I love the voices he does for both Stephen and Luke, though Stephen’s slight accent is especially enjoyable to listen to.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 6


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Categories
adult - 18+

Starling’s Again by Aver Rigsley

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54138709-starling-s-again?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=WqRrPGnFsp&rank=1

Blurb:
October 1943. Manhattan, New York.

Peter Corcoran has been a Friday night regular at the Starling Club for so long that he has his own seat at a back table. From here, he watches the battalion of stunning single ladies take turns dancing with the most handsome man in the whole establishment. That attractive man is not only his best friend but also his roommate—and it won’t be one of the drop-dead-gorgeous women who Daniel Bennet goes home with at the end of the night.

When the closed apartment door cuts off the rest of the world, Danny gives him the first of a series of burning kisses—kisses that never cease to shatter Peter’s universe. But the tiny, cynical voice in the back of his head has him doubting their strange, secret charade and wondering if their romance could ever be more than just an indulgence at the end of the week, when prying eyes aren’t looking…

Review:
Short, but sweet story of two friends navigating around the romantic feelings they have for each other.
While Danny dances with ladies at the club they frequent – Peter can’t help wondering if Danny truly feels the same way about him, even though they go home together each Snight.
It’s sweet the way Danny reassures Peter of his feelings; showing him with gentle touches and telling Peter how he felt about him in the past, and how he feels about him now.
It’s a good story, just wish it was longer. It would have been nice to see if their plans for their future worked out.

3.5 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Abstract Love by: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher and link to book (i.e. Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53977278-abstract-love

Blurb
Sam never expected to move back to Cleveland.
Donovan never expected to be attracted to a man.
Well, shit happens.

After high school, Sam Shelby moved to New York. Eight years later, he returns to Cleveland and lands a job at the best ad firm in town. It would be the perfect gig, if his boss weren’t such an ass.

After his wife leaves, Donovan Cooper questions everything. The arrival of a young, arrogant, gifted graphic designer at Donovan’s firm is the last straw.

Tempers flare over office gossip, and following a nasty argument and scathing kiss, Donovan flails away from heterosexuality while Sam struggles to keep his “no relationship” rule intact.

Despite ugly socks, fiery fights, and their best intentions to not fall in love, these bullheaded coworkers can’t deny their chemistry. Donovan seeks happiness while Sam seeks success, but is there room for more?

Review
I had no idea what I was getting into when I chose this book. The blurb intrigued me. I am so very happy I did. This book is going on my read again list. Both Donovan and Sam are such real characters. Each of them are going through their own problems and never expected to be drawn to each other. The push and pull between them was captivating. Donovan realises he is stuck in a rut, so stuck he doesn’t know how to get out until he meets Sam. Sam is fighting old demons. What I like about this book is that neither of them is the answer to each other’s problems but together they make coping with them more bearable. I admit in the beginning I wasn’t certain about the gay for you aspect of the story but it completely works. The secondary characters of Zen and Monica provide humour making the story less heavy.
This book impressed me enough that I’m now going to check out other works by Sara Dobie Bauer, can’t believe I haven’t found her work before.

Number of stars out of 5 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Deadman’s Hand By: Cindy Dees

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dead-mans-hand-by-cindy-dees-11680-

Blurb
Temptation, peril, and dirty poker.

Love is a high-stakes game.

When Collin Callahan, British secret agent, goes up against math genius turned surfer bum Oliver Elliot, the battle is epic—and so is the attraction. They’re pitted against each other in an exclusive, ultra-secret—and ultra-illegal—poker match in Gibraltar, but when players start dying and they could be next, they find a common goal: catch the killer before it’s too late.

Evenly matched at poker and romance, they each wrestle personal demons that threaten to consume them as the stakes climb. It’s an all-or-nothing gamble with both life and love on the line as they fight to be the last seven-card studs standing.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Seven-Card Stud by Ava Drake, November 2016

Review
I pondered how to write a 3 * review for a book I really liked. In book 1 Wild Cards Inc provides personal security. In this story their operative Colin Callahan is an inexperienced undercover agent. The story is a mix of suspense, who done it, and thriller. Colin is pretending to be an expert card player in very high stake game. It did keep my at I really wanted to know what happened next. Colin meets Gun (Oliver) and falls for him but can he trust him. I enjoyed the way the story played out up until the end. This is where my review drops. I want to know what happens next. I don’t have the imagination of an author to create the rest of the story myself. I had hoping that since this is a republished series the ending was fleshed out or if not another book is added that gives Colin and Gun’s next adventure bringing down the Consortium. Fingers crossed that happens.


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent release: Love me Daddy by: Elouise East

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53845736-love-me-dadd

Blurb
Will their pasts stop them from striving for a future?

Being homeless makes finding a safe Daddy experience difficult, which is confirmed when Nathan is almost knocked out after calling out the word during a liaison. When Loren steps in to aid him, Nathan is ready to let the strong man take charge. But he won’t ask for what he really needs, not when the reaction could be so extreme.

With many failed relationships in his past, Loren yearns for the perfect boy to cherish, but it’s a fantasy in more ways than one as far as he can tell. Nathan’s vulnerability calls to his protective instincts, but he refuses to cross the line. And then he finds Nathan’s need of him is very real.
When Loren assumes control, it centres them both but as they explore their way through this new dynamic, Nathan needs to learn if he’s going to be Daddy’s good boy or Daddy’s little brat

Review
It was a nice surprise reading a uk based Daddy/boy story. The other aspect that I liked was that Nathan’s little side was about 6 or 7, I would guess. It made a nice change from ABDL. Although I was sceptical about their start. Loren was a Good Samaritan who helped Nathan when he was injured. The part I was sceptical about was leaving a stranger alone in his home. But that could say something about me rather than the story. It is a very sweet story where in essence soul mates meet. The difficult topics of homelessness and what is needed to be done to survive are handled lightly, possibly glossed over. This story has a very light feel good touch. Both Loren and Nathan had given up on meeting someone who would match their kinks. But a chance encounter made all their dreams come true. A chance for a fairy tale happy ever after.

Number of stars 3 out of 5

Reviewer Name: MaryD


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Poker Face by Cindy Dees

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/poker-face-by-cindy-dees-11661-

Blurb
Surveillance, seduction, and extra-dirty politics.

Christian Chatsworth-Brandeis has a problem. A huge one. The US senator he works for has run away with his latest mistress on the eve of a make-or-break fund-raising event, and it’s up to him to cover his boss’s irresponsible tracks.

Stone Jackson, the senator’s new bodyguard, looks enough like the senator that, with some extensive grooming, he might pass for Senator Lacey. Christian and Stone hatch a plan to fool everyone by substituting Stone for the senator, but Miami madness and the incendiary heat between them are throwing obstacles in their way. It’s a race to find the senator and pull off the con of the century before the attraction between them spins completely out of control

Second Edition
First Edition previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Ace in the Hole by Ava Drake, July 2016

Review
I found Poker Face to be a delightful story. I loved the way the hard disciplined body guard caves in to Christian to take on the persona of Senator Lacey. This story could easily have become slapstick comedy but the author controlled the events brilliantly. It was easy to see the events unfolding, wondering where it was going. I was hoping the Senator gets his just deserts after skipping of with his current mistress. I didn’t see the ending coming, wonderful.
The characters are well crafted and totally lovable, even Jack Lacey is the kind of character I love to hate. Throughly enjoyable story.

4 of stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Danny Doormat by Rowan McAllister

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/danny-doormat-by-rowan-mcallister-11698-

Blurb
It’s time to wipe his feet of the idea that he’s not good enough to be loved.

Danny Dorfmann is dependable, no matter what’s going on in his own life. So when widower Asa needs a sitter for his dog, Minion, Danny is the natural choice. Besides, Danny’s had a crush on Asa—a hot architect who’s way out of his league—for years.

Asa is just climbing out of his grief over the loss of his husband and trying to reclaim his life. Love and dating aren’t on his radar, but as one favor turns into another and he spends more time with Danny, romance sneaks up on them.

Friendly adventures gradually turn into something deeper, but a manipulative roommate and interfering family and friends want to douse the slow burn building between Danny and Asa. To keep the chances of a happily ever after going, Danny will have to take a stand—and to hold on to the man of his dreams, he’ll have to stop letting everybody walk all over him.

Review
This is a very slow burn friends to lovers story. I was attracted by the blurb. The story sounded different. It took me a while to get into the story. Danny keeps everything close to himself. Never letting anyone get too close, that is until ASA. I felt for Danny, he seemed to be in the mindset that he was a disappointment to his family. No matter that he’s a kind and caring soul. Asa thought he knew Danny but it takes his friendship with him to realise Danny’s kind nature means he’s taken advantage of. It was lovely to see their friendship evolving and ASA understanding Danny more. And Danny helping Asa find the fun in life, and I must not forget cute Minion a very important part of the family. Overall a very nice sweet story that I was able to get lost in rooting for both Danny and Asa to get together.

3 of stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Slow Pitch by Amy Lane

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51578714-slow-pitch?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=wiXkeuq7Pa&rank=1

Blurb: Tenner Gibson has a job he enjoys, a prickly ex-wife, and an adorable daughter he wouldn’t trade for the world. With no romance, no sex life, and no other hobbies, a rec league softball team is as close as he gets to hedonism.

But life throws him a curveball when cocky Ross McTierney sets his sights on getting under Tenner’s skin.
One explosion of lust later, Tenner wonders what possessed him to have a quickie with Ross, and Ross wonders how to do it again.

Tenner has eight weeks to convince his tiny modern family that Ross is what’s best for him. Ross has eight weeks to get used to the idea that complicated doesn’t always mean bad. Their sex life is moving at the speed of light, and everything in their relationship is coming at them too fast….
But together, they might make a connection and knock it out of the park.

Review: I loved this story! This is one of the few times I wish I could be more eloquent when reviewing a book.
Where to start: Tenner. Such a lovely guy, family man, still wants to be friends with his ex-wife, loves his daughter and baseball. Has a wonderful boss, a bit of a temper and a wry sense of humour. Ross: A bit of an over confident, fun guy who cares for the environment. Also brother in law to ‘wonderful’ boss and has never stayed in one place for long.
When both men meet they think it’s a one off (lust) thing, but somehow, they decide to meet again (against Tenner’s better judgement). As they get to know each other, their lives intertwine – Ross meets the daughter, Tenner realises that Ross is the BIL to his boss, they both love baseball and they’re both willing to believe in their budding relationship, all the while slowly falling in love. This is such a sweet, sometimes humourous (lots of dry wit  ), no angst story. Though sweet, it manages to lightly touch on some serious themes: bigoted parents, an angry ex-wife (she comes around) and how to broach the subject of sexuality to one’s kid or parent. Other characters include 2 lovely families – Ross’s sister’s and Piper (Ten’s daughter) all make up a truly lovely story!
Definitely going to be reread often!

5 stars out of 5


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