Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: Finding Yuletide Karol by L.A. Merrill

Dreamspinner:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2019-advent-calendar-homemade-for-the-holidays-full-set-11522-b

Blurb

Fifty years ago, during the Vietnam War, Lee Elbridge fell in love with an Army cook nicknamed Yuletide Karol, but they haven’t seen each other since.

Now, led by a clue in an old cookbook, Lee sets off on a road trip to find his lost love. He arrives on Karol’s upstate New York farm to find preparations for a handfasting in full swing, and is mistaken for the wedding planner’s assistant. As Lee is roped into folding hemp napkin goats and mashing fresh sweet potatoes, he is welcomed by Karol’s large, eccentric family of witches and pagans. When Lee and Karol finally get a moment alone, Lee tells him the truth, but it will take more than a little Yuletide magick to bring them together again after almost a lifetime.

Review
This was an amazing read! Lee’s is suffering through another work Christmas party, when he is given an old cookbook, which just so happens to contain the one thing he has always wanted….the last name of the man he fell in love with 50 years ago. He, then embarks on a quest to find this man.
I haven’t read a novella in a long while, if ever that touched me as much as this one did. Finding Yuletide Karol is an absolutely beautiful story.
5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Twice Baked by Andrew Grey

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/twice-baked-by-andrew-grey-10815-b

Blurb
When the pickiest eater in America is tapped to judge a cooking competition along with his chef ex-boyfriend, will it be a recipe for a second chance… or disaster?

Luke Walker’s humor about foods he can’t stand made him an internet celebrity and his blog, The Pickiest Eater in America, a huge hit. He plans to bring that same lighthearted comedy to the show—but he won’t be the only host.

Meyer Thibodeaux might be a famous chef, but he’s solemn, uptight, and closeted. He’s also Luke’s ex. As different as they are, the sparks between Luke and Meyer never really went out, and as they work together, each begins to see the other in a new light, and the passion between them reignites, hot as ever. But secrets, gossip, and rumors on the set could sour their reunion.

Review
Another enjoyable story from Andrew Grey. Luke and Meyer attempted a relationship in the past but Meyer’s refusal to be out caused the relationship to fail. Fast forward a few years and Luke is asked to be a judge on a popular cooking show, that Meyer just happens to also be a part of. You can pretty much guess the rest of the storyline. There is a little awkwardness between the two as they struggle with seeing each other again. Throw in a little drama from an unknown source. The only surprise in this book was the reveal of the “bad guy” totally not who I thought. This isn’t the most original of stories but it was enjoyable never the less.

4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Heart Strain (Interlocking Fragments #1) by Michele Notaro , Sammi Cee

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47088882-heart-strain

Blurb

Holden~
When I get a call that my twin brother’s been shot, I’m in shock as I head back to Baltimore to be with him. Seeing him in a coma is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do; sitting here not knowing whether he’s going to live or die is the worst thing I can imagine. But at least Jameson is with me—he makes it more bearable, and I don’t feel like I’m in this alone. With everything going on, I probably shouldn’t be checking out my brother’s work partner, but I can’t seem to help it. Jameson’s been so sweet and kind and considerate; not to mention he’s so sexy I can’t keep my eyes off him.
Jameson~
My partner getting shot and ending up in a coma brings everything in my world to a screeching halt. He’s not only my partner on the police force, but my best friend and confidant. When I see his twin brother, Holden, sitting in the waiting room, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that he neither blames me nor pushes me away. Now I’m doing my best to take care of him and support him; if only I’d stop noticing how his emotions reflect in his eyes and wondering how it would feel to touch him.
Will the bonding that takes place during their long bedside vigils become more than they expected? Can they be honest enough with themselves and each other to take it to the next level? And if they do, will Holden be willing to sacrifice the life he loves for the brother he’s kept at arm’s length for almost ten years and the man who could end up being his everything?
Heart Strain is the first book in the Interlocking Fragments series, but is a standalone novel. Each book in the series will feature a different couple, but the couples will show up throughout the whole series. This is a contemporary romance intended for 18+.

Review

This was a tremendously sweet book. While there was a little bit of angst (worry –really) about the fate of Drix, the relationship happens very smoothly and with little angst.

There was loads of feelz, a fair amount of smexy times, and a fairly even pace. If anything, it moved a bit slow for my liking, but was generally very good.

Recommended.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Mating of Convenience Second Chances, Book 1 By: Ann-Katrin Byrde Narrated by: John Solo

audiobookreview

https://www.audible.com/pd/Mating-of-Convenience-Audiobook/B07N8HYTH6?ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_9_B07N8HYTH6&pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=QAYDWY42QXAKVE3F90J3&

Blurb
Money problems? Marry your best friend!
Nathan and Raphael were friends first, then lovers, then…nothing when Raphael left to pursue his dreams of becoming a tattoo artist. But only one year after Raphael makes it out of his small-town home, bad news descends on him. His useless father has gotten their family into debt so deep , it would take 1,000 years to dig them out. With his siblings on the brink of becoming homeless, Raphael turns to his estranged but wealthy grandmother for help and receives a deal: If he settles down and marries, he’ll free his siblings of the debt.
When Raphael asks Nathan for a favor – to enter a marriage of convenience – Nathan agrees. After all, he’s doing it so he can start his own pet shop, right? Wrong. Nathan just can’t say no to the man who used to be his best friend – the man he’s still secretly yearning for, even as he’s doing his best to hide that fact. After all, he knows better now than to fall for Raphael again.
Haunted by the loss of their past relationship, Raphael regrets breaking Nathan’s heart. Scars from the past are never easy to heal, though, and the more time he spends with his new husband, the harder it gets for Raphael to deny the sparks that Nathan ignites in him. Except, this is just a pretend relationship, isn’t it?
While this audiobook is part of the Oceanport Universe, knowledge of that series is not required to enjoy this story.

Review
I really enjoyed this audio for the most part. The only issue I had was with all the secondary characters, I felt a bit lost, and I have read all the Oceanport books too. This is a solid friend to lovers/second chance at love story. We have soft spoken and easy-going alpha Nathan and the omega Raphael who while he loved Nathan, he felt he had to give him up so Nathan could eventually have his dream family. This book was a fairly easy listen but there was a difficult scene dealing with miscarriage that may be a trigger.

John Solo has long been a favorite narrator of mine. I loved all his voices, he keeps the story moving at a nice pace. He is a master of his craft!
4 stars for story and 5 stars for narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates Narrated by Colin Darcy

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rocking-the-cowboy-by-skylar-m-cates-9800-

Blurb
Opposites who go together like country and rock ’n’ roll.

Long before he was a superstar, Remy Sean had a secret crush on Jed Riley. But Jed sees Remy as a spoiled pop rocker and an extension of his father’s control. Still, Jed is willing to let Remy hide from the press on his ranch—but only as a way to get his father out of his life and business for good.

Used to being admired and fawned over, Remy keenly feels the sting of Jed’s dismissal. Can he make Jed see him as more than a pain in the ass? Or is Jed too tangled up in his ranch to see past his old hurt?

Jed doesn’t believe someone desired by so many fans could want him, a simple cowboy. But Remy is determined to change Jed’s mind and steal his heart….

Review
Opposites attract stories have always been a favourite of mine. I love the way seemingly insurmountable obstacles are overcome and bridges built bringing a couple together. Even better that it’s a Cowboy and a Rockstar with a history. This story is a wonderfully easy listen. The Ranch is Jed’s whole life. His father walked away for the glitz of the music industry and Jed has to keep the ranch afloat without interference. Remy feels burnt out and has no inclination to write songs. When Remy gets to the Ranch it reawakens the unrequited love he felt for Jed as a teenager. It’s lovely how they grow to care and love for each other. Jed puts others himself, making decisions he thinks are for the best but he doesn’t actually find out first if that’s what they want. This leads to misunderstanding and nearly risking everything he has with Remy. Until Remy realises what is happening and sorts it out. There’s great chemistry between them and I was happy for the happy ever after ending.
Colin Darcy does a great job narrating this story, he gives right voices to Jed and Remy brining out their personalities. And the secondary characters of Jed’s father and family are portrayed really well. All the characters are believable and he pitched his tone just right for the mood of the story. I’ll watch out for others narrated by him.

4 of stars out of 5 for the story
4 of stars out of 5 for the Narration


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Release Day Review:Devouring Flame by E.J. Russell

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/devouring-flame-by-ej-russell-10077-b

Blurb

An Enchanted Occasions Story
Reunited and reignited.

While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith, half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads seeing again: the ifrit, Hashim of the Windrider clan.

On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith, stupidly besotted, revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word? Message received, loud and clear: Thanks but no, thanks.

Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free.

When their attraction sparks once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name—which would be a hell of a lot easier if they didn’t have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood.

But if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes.

Luckily Smith is the guy who gets shit done. And Hashim is never afraid to heat things up.

Review
This was very cute. I love EJ Russell’s imagination and way with character dialog.
I didn’t enjoy this as much as her other series but as this looks to expand further I’d totally read more from this series – well- pretty much anything by this author goes on my TBR list ☺
I can’t put my finger on it – but I think the thing – for me – that makes it less enjoyable is that they’d already met and we have a misunderstanding to get around first. I’m just not a fan of that trope.

I did really love the “powers” and their combined effects on one another – very romantic and wonderful. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the author, fans of paranormal romance and fans of romance with humor.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

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


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Book Bullying Dreamspinner Gay Gay m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

Audiobook: Bad to the Bone by Nicki Bennett Narrated by Colin Darcy

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-to-the-bone-by-nicki-bennett-9442-b

Blurb

A second chance at first love—if he has the courage to take it.
Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again.
Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom.
But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

While I don’t usually like “second chance” books, I really enjoyed this one.

This was very heart-felt, with a real-ish type setting but enough “fantasy” elements to make it feel a bit like Cinderella.

I loved the added touches of making Ricky Native American, as well as rich. The “bad guys” were super bad and I definitely felt like I was reading an old timey romance – with a gay twist!

I thought Alex and Ricky Lee had great chemistry and their story was mostly sweet and little hot. I loved Sam – especially the end scene!

Overall this was exactly what you’d expect for the genre, well-written and a quick sweet read.

 

Audiobook

I found the narrator, Colin Darcy, to be good but not great.  He definitely makes the attempt to give everyone a unique voice and does his best to “act” out the emotions.  However, there are times when his narration is rather sing-song and while I appreciate his attempts, he doesn’t always give a good match in terms of tone or tenor to the emotions that he is reading.

Those are definitely “icing of the cake” type issues and the main body of his narration is good and solid and easily a perfectly fine way to enjoy this story.

Overall 3.75 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
4.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Book Bullying Dystopian Dystopian Dystopian Fated Mates Gay Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild level angst Monthly Theme Neta Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series PTSD Purchased Scorching/high heat Shifter Standalone TIme to get Paranormal zombie

Time to get Paranormal: Chasing Destiny (Silver Tip Pack book 2) By Megan Erickson

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33795022-chasing-destiny?from_search=true

Blurb
Bay has had his fair share of hardships, as brother to the Alpha of the Silver Tip Pack. He almost died when a usurper took the opportunity the alpha was away on a rescue mission to try and take over. Upon his brother’s return he discovers the one person he cannot forget, his best friend Nash, was still alive all these years after he disappeared when they were boys. The news is as unsettling as the fact Nash has been lost again, with no hope of returning, sacrificing his life to buy Dare and his team time to get back to safety when the Noweres attacked.

Now Bay is restless, choosing to go outside the safety of their compound for Reese’s long though dead tribe. New intel says there are possible survivors there and Dare. As alpha, must see if they can be allied with, for the sake of his mate. Bay expects to find some lost wolves barely hanging on and not the small, yet strong, community who is more that capable to defend itself. And he was not expecting to find Nash again, after mourning him twice and giving up any shred of hope, the one person he has always loved. But the years Nash was away have damaged his body and soul, and unlocking the secrets of his past might lead to an enemy much worse than the Undead Noweres and their single minded need to kill.

Review
This was a book I was anxiously anticipating after book one, and Nash and Bay’s story was as thrilling and emotional as it was hot. I loved the expansion of the world Megan created with the addition of Reese’s tribe and their leader Pace. I also adored how intricately she wrote Nash’s back story, it’s raw and sad but also adds a whole new dimension and a ruthless enemy for our group of heroes. We also get a look as how they live in this dystopian future after all the humans died in the virus and the Noweres appeared.
Bay and Nash share an unbreakable bond, one that time and pain could not erode, and the Friends-to-Lovers theme is strong in this book. The added bonus of the shifter dynamics, the pack bond between them makes their love almost visceral. Nash has been found and is slowly getting his strength back, but the past scars he carries are deep and he keeps pushing Bay away. Bay, the fun loving optimist that he is, doesn’t let him get too far despite his attempts of running away. They are fun to read about with an air of longing in every touch and moment between them, and they are smoldering hot together.
When Nash’s fate in those lost years is revealed Dare has to reevaluate the world he lives in and what he thought to be facts. Nash is not the only one holding secrets, Pace has some of his own and in order to survive they have to work together and trust each other, not an easy feat when testosterone and egos are at play. I loved them so much, especially when the horrors of Nash’s live are discovered. You just feel so much for him, for all of them really- thrust in a cruel violent future fighting against bloodthirsty monsters and evil beyond human comprehension.
This book is almost like a detective story, were you gather tidbits of information and try to put the puzzle pieces together. I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, an MMF according to Megan’s FB group post and more of this world.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5 stars

 

Purchased for review

 

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Book Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Mary D Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series PTSD Purchased Shifter TIme to get Paranormal

Time to get Paranormal: Home is Where You Are by Alex Jane

 

Good Reads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30348934-home-is-where-you-are?from_search=tru

Blurb
By the winter of 1870, Caleb Fletcher has carved out a sheltered existence for himself in a simple cabin, outside a small town in the backwaters of Nebraska, resigned to living out his days as a solitary wolf. But his quiet life is interrupted when another werewolf lands on his doorstep on the eve of a snowstorm, brutalized almost beyond repair, with nowhere else to turn.

When Caleb reluctantly welcomes Jacob into his cabin, and eventually his bed, it forces him to face up to the traumas he’s been running from; the shame that made him leave his pack behind, and the horrors of war he endured.

As the weeks pass, it seems that Jacob’s arrival might not be the coincidence it first appeared. Jacob has an agenda. One that involves Caleb. And if Caleb agrees to it – if he can let go of his past and his prejudices – it will change Caleb’s whole world. Maybe even for the better.

Without a mate – a family, a pack – a wolf has no home.
But what if home finds you

Review
Home is where you are is one of the shifter books that I will come back to over again. It’s different. It’s the kind of story that has a realism about it, if Shifters existed that is. First it’s set in 1870’s not long after the Civil War. I love this world Alex Jane has built. The werewolves are mistrusted by humans but they are willing to use the werewolves abilities when it suits them. The werewolves have their own communities and businesses, so there is an element of segregation. We meet Caleb after he has returned from war serving in a specific werewolf battalion. He feels the need to isolate himself from his pack, not just because of what we now recognise as PTSD but also shame he feels over being attracted to other male werewolves. The narrative evokes a picture of a lonely soul cutting himself off from the world. That is until Jacob comes into his life in quite a dramatic way. I love the way the story is about the culture in the old west, finding family, his home and giving himself absolution for his mistaken beliefs. If you think you’ll enjoy this book I encourage you to look at the rest of the series, following this family through many major events in their life.

5 of stars out of 5

 

Purchased by reviewer