Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: Christmas Ghosts by Jenn Moffatt

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-ghosts-by-jenn-moffatt-11562-b

Blurb

Dealing with the unexpected loss of his mother isn’t how carpenter Steve Browning planned to spend his Christmas. Hoping her costume jewelry can bring some happiness to others, he takes it to the local community theater, where he runs into his first love, Troy Baxter.

Troy’s trying to help his sister put on a gender-fluid version of A Christmas Carol, but no one on the cast or crew knows which end of a hammer to hold let alone use a power tool. Then a face from the past brings a present-day miracle… one that could lead to the happy future they both thought they gave up back in high school.

Review

This is a mellow second chance at love story, and I wasn’t blown away by it or the MC’s. The story builds up very slowly and the actual relationship-part of it felt sudden and rushed to me. I didn’t quite feel the magic between Troy and Steve.
I also didn’t much care for the fact that Troy had been back home so long, yet he didn’t reach out to Steve, not even when he was dealing with a devastating loss. It doesn’t really help sell the strength of their friendship or the love that supposedly still exists after all these years apart.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Heartward by Andrew Grey

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/heartward-by-andrew-grey-10879-b

Blurb
He doesn’t know that home is where his heart will be….

Firefighter Tyler Banik has seen his share of adventure while working disaster relief with the Red Cross. But now that he’s adopted Abey, he’s ready to leave the danger behind and put down roots. That means returning to his hometown—where the last thing he anticipates is falling for his high school nemesis.

Alan Pettaprin isn’t the boy he used to be. As a business owner and council member, he’s working hard to improve life in Scottville for everyone. Nobody is more surprised than Alan when Tyler returns, but he’s glad. For him, it’s a chance to set things right. Little does he guess he and Tyler will find the missing pieces of themselves in each other. Old rivalries are left in the ashes, passion burns bright, and the possibility for a future together stretches in front of them….

But not everyone in town is glad to see Tyler return….

Review
Another winner by Andrew Grey!!!

Heartward is a wonderful story. I adored the characters in this story. Tyler has come back to town to try and make a home for his young son Abey. After taking his father’s position on the town council, Alan is determined to help improve life in town for all members of the community. Alan and Tyler weren’t friendly as kids but when they reunite as adults the attraction is mutual and luckily neither let their past hold them back. I absolutely loved the story surrounding Tyler’s son Abey. I was happy to see Geoff and Eli from the Love Means…series show up. There is a little drama in the background in the form of Tyler’s boss who may or may not be up to no good.

I highly recommend this heartwarming story!!

5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Interpretive Hearts by Amanda Meuwissen

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/interpretive-hearts-by-amanda-meuwissen-10886-b

Blurb
Love is easy once you learn the steps.
In the competitive world of dance, Teddy was a flawless performer and hardass choreographer who students feared and admired in equal measure. But hip surgery ended the glamour and drama, and now Teddy is recovering at his beach house, lost and listless.
Until he meets Finn, his neighbor, who is too perfect, gorgeous, and kind to exist—but very ill timed. In a seaside town as small as theirs, they can’t avoid each other, especially since Finn is also Teddy’s new physical therapist. But Teddy isn’t the man he used to be, and though Finn flirts shamelessly with him, Teddy can’t believe a has-been dancer is worthy of someone so young and full of life.
Finn’s sunny smile is also hiding heartache. Pursuing Teddy challenges both his professionalism and his self-preservation, but if he can convince Teddy to trust him, maybe they both can heal.
Review

An enjoyable and easy read, well written, with interesting MC’s and a likable cast of secondary characters. I liked the hurt/comfort aspect in the story and the atypical dynamic, with the younger man being the one to help his more mature love interest heal, physically that is.
I wasn’t entirely swept off my feet though. The emotional connection between Teddy and Finn was certainly there, but the push and pull, hot & cold routine on both sides didn’t help matters any in creating that “meant to be” magic that I tend to look for in a romance. I’d also have liked more scenes with them in a relationship and growing closer, whereas now the story mostly focused on their will they/won’t they dance.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: First Impressions by Jay Hogan

Dreamspinner

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/first-impressions-by-jay-hogan-10864-b

Blurb:
Auckland Med.: Book One
Michael:

Two years ago I made a mistake—a big one. Then I added a couple more just for good measure. I screwed up my life, but I survived. Now I have the opportunity for a fresh start. Two years in NZ. Away from the LA gossip, a chance to breathe, to rebuild my life. But I’m taking my new set of rules with me.

I don’t do relationships.
I don’t do commitment.
I don’t do white picket fences.

And I especially don’t do arrogant, holier-than-thou, smoking-hot K9 officers who walk into my ER and rock my world.

Josh:

One thing’s for certain: Dr. Michael Oliver is an arrogant, untrustworthy player, and I barely survived the last one of those. He might be gorgeous, but my daughter takes number-one priority. I won’t risk her being hurt again. I’m a solo dad, a K9 cop, and a son to pain-in-the-arse parents.

I don’t have time for games.

I don’t have time for taking chances. I don’t have time for more complications in my life.
And I sure as hell don’t have time for the infuriating Dr. Michael Oliver, however damn sexy he is

Review

Enjoyable enemies-to-lovers story with a bit of suspense.
Josh is a policeman with a young daughter. He’s estranged from his family except for his sister. Michael is a trauma doctor who seems to be under a bit of stress.
Both men are polar opposites – Josh is the relationship type, Michael, not so much. The first few times they meet, they are definitely not impressed with each other. Josh comes off as an arrogant, somewhat judgy person, Michael decides he’s going to needle Josh any way he can.
Their relationship evolves from antagonistic to a more passionate relationship, especially when each man decides to accept the other as is. There is a bit of a separation (which I didn’t like – hate the non-communication plot).
The other supporting characters, including Josh’s daughter are also well written.
The crime/mystery sub-plot is interesting – we get to see another side to New Zealand that’s not shown on travel shows ☺ Throw in Josh’s homophobic family and there is more than enough to keep one engaged in the story.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Something Wild By Anna Martin

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/something-wild-by-anna-martin-10842-b

Blurb
The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.

But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.

Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.

With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.

Review
There was a lot I liked about this story. The world building was fantastic. I also really liked the two main characters, Kit and Logan. Even though they have known each other for years, they are pretty awkward around each other due to secret crushes. They end up rescuing and rehabbing a baby dino that they name Dizzy. She is a wonderful secondary character, even though she is a dinosaur. She plays an important part in the story. Where the story fell flat, was the whole issue with poachers. The resolution to that problem was a bit lackluster. The ending also felt a bit rushed. This was a fun read for dinosaur and romance lovers!

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review: Another ‘feel good’ pick me up story from Anna Martin  Bonus points for the dinosaurs and their descriptions; (I’ve always loved dinosaurs and although these were fictional animals, they were a pleasure to read about).
The MCs, Logan and Kit, are really just grown up nerds living their dream. Both men work at the dinosaur research island – Logan in the field, Kit in the lab – and each one has a crush on the other. They eventually bond over rescuing a baby dinosaur, Dizzy.
This is another well thought out, well written story, including the adventure, suspense and descriptions of the island and New Zealand.
The other characters – Leilani, Kit’s mums and Dizzy – were all great additions to the story.
This was an interesting, scientific (though mostly fictional), fun story with a solid storyline that left me with a satisfied feeling 

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Coast to Coast (Arizona Raptors #1) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46688754-coast-to-coast?from_search=true

Blurb

When opposites attract, it’s not just the team that’s in for a shake-up.

When a stipulation in his father’s will throws Mark back into a family that disowned him, he has only two things on his mind; buying his way out of contractual obligations and running in the opposite direction as fast as he can. When neither option pans out, he finds he is now a one-third owner of the struggling Arizona Raptors hockey team, and that is just about the worst thing he could have happened to him. Not only does he hate hockey, but the Raptors are a bottom-of-the-league team, rife with jealousies and anger in a locker room that only knows self-pity. How is he supposed to help turn things around when the only way to start fixing things is to form an alliance with the estranged siblings he’d run from fifteen years earlier?

Then there’s Rowen Carmichael, a stubborn, opinionated, irritating man with superiority issues and questionable taste in music. Butting heads with Rowen, who he’d never even wanted to hire in the first place, is one thing, but there is no way in hell that he will allow the growing attraction to the new coach become anything more. Until with everything on the line, he has to make decisions that will change his life forever.

After years of collegiate coaching, Rowen is given an offer that he simply can’t refuse, although perhaps he should. When he’s presented with the chance to take one of the worst teams in the league and mold them into a future cup contender, the challenge is just too alluring to pass up. He leaves his beloved Ontario behind and moves west to the arid city of Tucson where he is faced with a broken team, shoddy management, and players overflowing with resentment and bigotry.

Never in his twenty years of hockey has he ever seen such a raging dumpster fire of an organization. Yet there’s something about this team and this city that compels him to roll up his sleeves and start dismantling. He has his eye on a new associate coach that’s bound to make waves and several key players who should be sent packing. Now all he has to do is convince the new owners of the team that his choices are for the best. If only Mark Westman-Reid, one of three siblings who now own the Raptors, wasn’t so damned rock-headed, so damned snooty, and so damned appealing his job might be a bit easier.

Review

I super loved this! This was so much fun! We get back to lots of hockey and quirky characters doing stuff that I bet really happens! Well maybe a bit exaggerated but still…

 

Fans of the series, hockey and humor will love this. There are some villainous villains who get their “what’s coming to them” and some true love and some shiny new MCs I can picture in future books.

 

We’ve got some women’s rights advocacy and some appropriately ridiculous goalie tantrums.

 

Highly recommended!

4.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Nova Praetorian by N.R Walker; narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Nova-Praetorian-Audiobook/B07WS2N77M?qid=1569968539&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=Q1QT0RJF87DG33HJCM8E&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb: Quintus Furius Varus is one of the best lanistas in Rome. Tall and strong in build, fearsome in manner, and sharp of wit, he trains the best gladiators bound for the arenas of Rome. When Senator Servius Augendus seeks personal guards, he attends the Ludus Varus for purchase of the very best. He puts to Quintus an offer he cannot refuse, and Quintus finds himself in Neapolis, contracted as a trainer of guards instead of gladiators.
Kaeso Agorix was taken from his homelands of Iberia and delivered to Rome as a slave. Bought by a senator to be trained as a guard, his fate is handed to the man who would train him. Absent free will, Kaeso knows his life is no longer his own, though he soon realizes the gods have favored him when he learns his new master has a kind heart.
Quintus and Kaeso forge a bond that far exceeds the collar at Kaeso’s neck, and together, they discover the senator’s move for promotion has an ulterior motive. Thrown into a world of politics and conspiracy, of keeping enemies close, they move against time to save Rome before traitors and the gods themselves see to their end.

And in doing so, see the dawn of the nova praetorian – the new guard – rise.

Review:
Story already review previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/?s=nova+praetorian

A historical romance from one of my favourite historical periods – Roman times, coupled with an absolutely epic performance by Joel Leslie! What’s not to love?? ☺
This story is a product of is time – one of the MC’s is a slave, there is blackmail, political back-stabbing and political villainy; but there are shining moments, like the fairness of Quintus, the affection and bond between Quintus and Kaeso and the backdrop of general Roman life (which appealed to my inner history geek ☺

The narration was nothing short glorious! Joel Leslie is one of the best audiobook performers in the business. He has the knack of knowing how to channel the characters, first by getting the right accent, then their personalities and then their emotions. This is all tied together in the overall tone of the story – in this case, a more somber tone – since some of the topics are serious.
Throughout Joel Leslie’s performance I could visualise the gladiator training area, I could ‘see’ the villas of the senators, feel the decadence of the time. I could also feel the treachery, and the love and affection between the 2 MCs.
This is a well crafted story, with a tour de force performance by Joel Leslie!

Narration: 6 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Recent Release: Hope (Forbes Mates #4.5) by Grace R. Duncan

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47897953-hope?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Miguel Garcia and Luis Rodriguez have been best friends all their lives. For the last year, they’ve been hiding the fact that they’re also destined mates. When Luis’s family finds out, they kick him out. Miguel’s family would keep them… except their alpha has been known to be downright violent against gay wolves.

With the help of Miguel’s mother, they set out to find a pack that will accept them. They run into more that a few obstacles before they end up in Denver, at the national wolf headquarters, meeting the alpha prime. They’re stunned to find, not only offers to join more than one pack, but that their struggle can shine light on a bigger problem–and make things better for LGBT wolves across the country.

Review

This is a super short and sweet addition to the awesome Forbes Mates series. I am not penalizing it for being too short but… I sure wish it’d been longer. The relationship between our MCs is already developed when we meet them it is merely finding it’s home throughout the book.

 

It’s lovely to see some familiar faces and it’s great to see these two sweethearts find their forever home.

 

Recommended to fans of the series and it’s probably ok for newbies too!

4.5 stars



Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Tallowwood by N.R. Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47997473-tallowwood?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
Cold cases, murder, lies, and an unimaginable truth.

Sydney detective August Shaw has spent the last decade of work solving cold cases. Since the death of his boyfriend eight years ago, August works alone, lives alone, is alone — and that’s exactly how he likes it. His work is his entire life, and he’s convinced a string of unsolved cold-case suicides are linked to what could be Australia’s worst ever serial killer. Problem is, no one believes him.

Senior Constable Jacob Porter loves his life in the small town of Tallowwood in the middle of the rainforests in northern New South Wales. He runs summer camps for the local Indigenous kids, plays rugby with his mates, has a close family, and he’s the local LGBTQIA+ Liaison and the Indigenous Liaison Officer.

When human remains are found in the camping grounds at Tallowwood Reserve, Jake’s new case turns out to be linked to August’s cold cases, and Jake agrees they’re not suicides at all. With Jacob now firmly in August’s corner, they face one hurdle after another, even when more remains are found, they still can’t seem to gain ground.

But when the body of a fellow police officer turns up under the same MO, it can’t be ignored anymore. August and Jake must trace the untraceable before the killer takes his next victim or before he stops one of them, permanently.

Review
Tallowwood is one of those rare books that completely sucked me in! Once I started this book I could not stop! Like most of NR Walker’s stories, you never really know what you are getting into.
After the loss of his boyfriend, August has shut himself off from the rest of the world. He immerses himself in solving cold cases. Jake, on the other hand is almost the complete opposite. Jake and August come together to try to prove a string of suicides are actually murders. The slowly unfolding case matches the pace of the budding relationship between Jake and August. Both men end up learning a lot from each other.
The mystery part of this story was fantastic. After reading hundreds of mysteries, I can usually figure out the “bad guy” before the big reveal but this one had me guessing until the end.
This was an intense story full of mystery, life, death and romance. I recommend this to everyone!!!
5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: I’ve Got This by Louisa Masters

Dreamspinner

Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ive-got-this-by-louisa-masters-10788-b

Blurb:
A Joy Universe Novel

Derek Bryer loves his life. His job as an assistant director at Joy Universe, the second-largest theme park complex on the planet, makes him indirectly responsible for bringing joy (pun intended) to millions of people. So what if none of his relationships are that close? Everyone he meets loves him.
Except Trav Jones. For some reason, the visiting Broadway performer would rather Derek just go away. He appreciates Derek’s work ethic, though, and after Trav steps up when Derek desperately needs someone to fill in for his sick staff, Derek seizes the chance to convince Trav he’s not such a bad guy.

Falling in love while distracted by a murder at the park, food poisoning, and colleagues placing bets on their relationship won’t be easy, but between the two of them and with the magic of Joy Universe, they’ve got this.

Review: I loved Derek and his running commentary on things going on in his life and around him. He had a slyly snarky tone which made the overall story fun to read. The story is also told from Trav’s POV, so we get to understand why he’s the way he is.
Derek is somewhat of a workaholic, driven to excel at his job. He’s well-liked by all, so he’s pretty shocked when he meets one person who doesn’t (like him). On top of that, there’s a murder to solve and half the entertainment at the resort have fallen ill.
Trav is not impressed by Derek –at all ☺ But when Derek needs help, he offers his services and helps Derek out of a bind. As both men work together, they get to know each other – Derek loosens up about being work-driven and Trav learns to trust Derek.

This is a really good story with nicely developed characters, the humour (Derek ‘talks’ to the reader, breaking the 4th or 5th wall (I forget!)) and some description of the inner workings of a theme park. I would have like a bit more about the murder as an ongoing thread through the story, but as a romance, this was a really good story! I hope Dimi, (the PA), gets a story – I liked him ☺

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review