Time to get Scared: Abercrombie Zombie by KZ Snow

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11719825-abercrombie-zombie?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Dead folks are the best friends of Quinn McConnell and Hunter Janz. Dead folks pay the bills for this team of psychic mediums . . . but just barely. To make it into the financial comfort zone, they need to outshine their competition.

Quinn needs even more than that. He’s been infatuated with his partner for the nearly three years they’ve been together, and if he can’t either get over his crush or make something happen with Hunter, they’ll have to split up. Sexual tension and unrequited love can wreak havoc with a psychic’s reception.

Salvation comes hobbling along in the form of a well-dressed but ravaged-looking man who can clearly see and converse with the dearly departed. Why? Because, he claims, he has something in common with them: He’s also been dead. The zombie who calls himself Dustin DeWind needs the psychics’ help in finding the man who made him what he is. In return, he promises to steer them toward the often elusive spirits that are their stock in trade.
But something more goes on when Quinn and Hunter forge an uneasy alliance with Dustin DeWind. It seems he’s also nudging them toward each other.

Review:

A totally different take on zombies – well, this zombie anyway.
The blurb gives the bones of the story, but it doesn’t prepare you for the murder/mystery, subtle humour, some pop culture references or the life lessons you get out of the story.
The humour and some of the pop culture are intertwined; the zombie is called Dustin DeWind – I didn’t know it was the name of a song, instead I thought it a tongue-in-cheek reference to zombies being dead (dust to dust …). Still thought it was amusing☺.
The way Dustin became a zombie is different, which makes him a different type of zombie – one that doesn’t eat brains – for starters ☺
When Dustin meets up with Quinn and Hunter, Dustin inadvertently stirs up a mini drama between the 2 psychics, especially with Quinn who’s been in love with Hunter for some time. Quinn has managed to keep it to himself until circumstances change to bring those feelings up front. The way the unrequited love angle is handled really well – hardly any angst, but you feel Quinn’s hurt.

When all 3 men get better acquainted, it turns out they all need each other – and this is the meat of the story. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the story evolved, and because the story is so unique, it’s best you read it to see how it progresses and ends.

I really enjoyed it.

4 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Release: Any Given Lifetime by Leta Blake

 

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41733251-any-given-lifetime?from_search=true

 

Blurb

Neil isn’t a ghost, but he feels like one. Reincarnated with all his memories from his prior life, he spent twenty years trapped in a child’s body, wanting nothing more than to grow up and reclaim the love of his life.
As an adult, Neil finds there’s more than lost time separating them. Joshua has built a beautiful life since Neil’s death, and how exactly is Neil supposed to introduce himself? As Joshua’s long-dead lover in a new body? Heartbroken and hopeless, Neil takes refuge in his work, developing microscopic robots called nanites that can produce medical miracles.
When Joshua meets a young scientist working on a medical project, his soul senses something his rational mind can’t believe. Has Neil truly come back to him after twenty years? And if the impossible is real, can they be together at long last?

 

Review by Karen

One of the most original love stories I’ve ever read! A great twist on the popular May/December trope and an incredibly unique second chance at love story. It nearly broke my heart, but luckily the author stitched it back together!

 

Leta Blake has an incredible gift with words and shows true excellence in weaving together Neil and Joshua’s almost epic tale. The emotions in this story soar to great heights, but there is also a lot of sadness and loss to overcome. And it’s all written in such a beautiful and moving way, as if she’s writing on our hearts instead of on the pages of the book.

I don’t think anyone could read this story and not feel touched by it.  

I love the way she uses dreams and their symbolism to help the characters deal with everything that happens, and also gives them a way to connect with each other when that doesn’t seem possible in real life.

Neil is a strange and complex character, in both his lifetimes. He doesn’t make friends easily, so I was glad to see him form a friendship with Derek. Neil’s so intense and focused, so dedicated to his research, and to Joshua’s happiness. Absolutely amazing guy. I was so impatient for him to grow up so he could finally reconnect with Joshua. But the author knew better than to rush that, and she builds up the tension and emotion very skillfully.

Joshua has built a life for himself, though he never really stopped loving Neil or grieving for him.

I loved how the author gave him a way to be (mostly) happy during the years it takes Neil to grow up, again. A bittersweet interlude, that afterwards connects with Neil in the most wonderful way. Can’t say more about that, but absolutely loved it.

Alice, Neil’s “second” mother, is amazing. She loves her little boy with all her heart, knowing and accepting who he truly is, however far-fetched it must have seemed. She struck me as really special and precious, and I was glad to be given a glimpse of her HEA as well. I simply adored that we got scenes from her perspective too.

This is a truly extraordinary love story.

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta

I was ready for some heart ache reading when I started this book, but like any other Leta Novel I read to date I was grossly unprepared for the emotional weight of it.
Neil and Joshua’s story is a heart wrenching tale of humanity and love, and I was overcome with emotions about life in general while reading.
First, you start out with Joshua in pain after losing Neil, missing out so many things they never did together because of fear. And the way he slowly built his life, picked himself up and met Lee a few years after that was awe-inspiring. I loved how Leta wrote his emotions, his love for both men, how their lives were interwoven and connected through Neil and because of his death, or should I say his life. This book really got me thinking ABOUT life and what the near future might hold for me and my loved ones, because it dealt with all that in Joshua’s life. Also, through the advancement of the nanite technology in the years 2019-2032 (the future of our present-day the book takes place in) Leta also talks about how technology evolved in our lives. Some of it is amazing and saves lives, other parts of it are too rushed and end up doing more bad then good, or changing how we live irrevocably. It is a very relevant topic in our time today, I think, and I liked that this book, despite it being a Romance, managed to enfold so many real emotions and feeling/fears readers face now or might face in the future.

The non-linear timelines are interesting, and really emphasized the convoluted nature of their lives, of Neil’s very existence. They show glimpses into the past and expose the nature of the characters, not just details from their past.

Second, the reincarnation theme has been written about, and the concept of finding yourself stuck in a too-young body is often referred in a humoristic way in books and film. Not here, Leta brought the truest- most painful depiction of a reincarnated reality in Neil. Having been born with the full knowledge and most of his memories he is in a constant state of loss and longing for the Joshua. And his mother, god bless her soul, is such a wonderful character, a true image of motherhood and limitless love. Neither one asked to be in this situation, her expecting her dead boyfriend’s baby, and Neil to simply die and not be stuck in a child’s body, desperate to grow and meet Joshua again. It was such a twisted way to live, and you can’t help but want them to be together while liking Lee and Joshua as a couple too. And they are also surrounded by mazing friends, Derek and Chris who are accepting and supporting through thick and thin.

When Neil, now aged 20 again, and Joshua meet for the first time in this lifetime, it is an explosive, erotic expression of love and longing. They ARE meant to be together, and the strength of their love is incredible. Especially as Joshua keeps talking about Neil’s faults when he remembers him, Neil is not an ideal, a sweetened memory made better by time. He is as much alive in Joshua’s heart as he is in the future Neil’s soul.

This book is about life, in all its forms, and love, of the purest kind. It deals with humanity, is about setting up your goals in life, about the journey as much as the ending. About taking chances, knowing what you need and want, and I found myself grateful for friends and family, thinking about the years to come while reading. Only Leta can take you through such a journey while you read about two men in love longing to be together. I kinda wanted to re-read it straight away, but my heart needs some room to expand before I can do that again. An amazing book by an author I admire, go read it if you like May/December, Second Chance and are just plain looking for a book unlike any other. You won’t be disappointed.

 

5 magnificent stars.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: 415 Ink: Savior by Rhys Ford

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/savior-by-rhys-ford-9856-

Blurb

A savior lies in the heart of every good man but sometimes only love can awaken the man inside a savior.

The world’s had it out for San Francisco firefighter Mace Crawford from the moment he was born. Rescued from a horrific home life and dragged through an uncaring foster system, he’s dedicated his life to saving people, including the men he calls his brothers. As second-in-command of their knitted-together clan, Mace guides his younger siblings, helps out at 415 Ink, the family tattoo shop, and most of all, makes sure the brothers don’t discover his darkest secrets.

It’s a lonely life with one big problem—he’s sworn off love and Rob Claussen, one of 415 Ink’s tattoo artists, has gotten under his skin in the worst way possible.

Mace’s world is too tight, too controlled to let Rob into his life — much less his heart — but the brash, Filipino inker is there every time Mace turns around. He can’t let Rob in without shaking the foundations of the life he’s built, but when an evil from his past resurfaces, Mace is forced to choose between protecting his lies or saving the man he’s too scared to love.

Review by Mary
Wow Rhys Ford doesn’t hold the punches in this sequel. The book is different but just as terrific as the first in the series, Rebel. It can be read on it’s own but in my opinion you get a better sense of this family by reading starting with the first book. We met both characters in Rebel but in Savior we get to understand them better and see through their eyes. All the brothers have created their family through a strong bond of surviving the system and the worst childhood imaginable. In this book both Rob and Mace have overcome adversity to get to where they are now. Mace however is still struggling with a past that haunts him and it only gets worse. Because of the abuse he suffered as a child he has built strong barriers which he believes protect others from him, what he believes his father made him. Both of them are attracted to each other but hold back for various reasons. Mace’s control slips and they both give in to their desire. It’s tempting to see Rob as Mace’s savior but I see them as saving each other. Both have to face fears, it’s just that Mace’s fears come back to challenge him and he has to face them head on. This is a slow building romance. It has to be because of their misunderstanding in the beginning, they seem to, I would say, dislike each other rather than hate and to break through Mace’s defences. For me it would not be believable if they rushed into a full hot and heavy relationship. The very fact that Rob is steadfastly there for Mace all the way shows the potential strength of their relationship. I was on such an emotional rollercoaster with this story. What Mace went through as a child broke my heart. I think the first book has the drama and this book is a lot more emotional. I can’t wait for book 3, looks like Ivo has met his match.

5 of stars out of 5

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Review by Xanthe

Book 2 in the 415 Ink series and its a fantastic follow up to Rebel. It’s not necessary to have read the first one but I think it will enhance your enjoyment of the overall feel and knowledge of the characters and their self made family.

In Savior, we follow Mace and Rob. They first met when Rob started work at the tattoo shop and both men felt the instant attraction but deny it for a long time.

However, Mace’s past comes back to haunt him and he finds himself surprisingly leaning on Rob when it all gets too much. With what happened in his past and now his present, will Mace make the stand for himself and for a live he deserves.

Man, these guys break my heart! First with Gus and now Mace. What makes it so much easier to read and to deal with such emotion is the family unit that they’ve built for themselves. You know that the 5 men who call themselves brothers are there for each other through life, death and all of the in between. It also helps that Rhys’s writing just pulls you in from the beginning, not letting you go until you’ve ridden the roller-coaster of emotion along with the MC’s off the book.

Mace stands strong and supportive, pushing his brothers to be better men but never expected more for himself. The secrets he holds within himself are things that would break others and comes close with him. It’s hard to read and think about the history of character and what they fictionally went through.

Rob’s character is perfect with Mace’s as he won’t be pushed around and will stand up for himself and others when the need arises. He is emotionally invested in Mace, even before anything happens and its heartwarming to read someone caring about the wellbeing of another without needing something in return, just needing to know that they’re ok, or at least going to be. I love how passionate he is about his art and work as a tattooist, having to fight for it amongst younger guys but smart enough to take good advice when he hears it.

Another mark for Rhys’s writing is how involved it gets you in the story overall but invested in the goings on of characters.

The emotional parts of the story involving Mace’s past, and when it reappears in his present, bring a tear to the eye and make you so grateful for the family that he got to join in the end.

It’s great that whilst we’ve moved on to another couple in the 415 Ink world, we still get to read about the others brothers and some of their goings on, especially with Chris now running amok in a house full of man childs!

I highly recommend this book and I’m thoroughly enjoying this series, looking forward to book 3!

I received an ARC from the publisher and am happily giving a review.

 

 

4 of 5 stars 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Home Skillet by Cate Ashwood and Sandra Damien

Goodreads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40215810-home-skillet?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Sometimes the only way to move forward… is to go back.

JAMES
I don’t know what’s more shocking—the sudden end to my marriage, or the fact that I’d married a woman at all. But now I’m broke and homeless, kicked out of my Upper West Side apartment while my ex-wife walks away with everything we’ve ever worked for.
So what’s an executive chef stripped of his dignity gonna do?
Go back to Jersey with his tail between his legs, that’s what.
BEN
I can’t say that spending a decade pining after my best friend was the best use of my time. While I’d pretty much become an expert at the whole unrequited love thing, I’d resigned myself to the fact that Jimmy and I were never gonna happen. But when Jimmy turned up on my doorstep in his hour of need, I jumped at the chance to offer him my bed—er, couch. I mean, what are friends for, right?
Now that he’s released from the shackles of matrimony, I can’t wait to show him exactly what he’s been missing out on all these years.
What I didn’t anticipate was him showing me that maybe I’d been missing out too.

Review: I liked this friends-to-lovers, slow burn story, despite the few issues I had with James (Jimmy).
Jimmy and Ben had been friends with benefits whilst in college, when out of the blue, Jimmy announces (to Ben) that he’s getting married (issue #1); to a woman (issue #2). The marriage, in name only (issue #3), is to further his culinary career (issue #4). When said marriage fails, Jimmy heads back to his bestie, Ben who offers him a place to stay. Of course their feelings for each other are rekindled (Ben’s feelings never really went away), and they find their way to being back together. However, Jimmy is still in the closet and plans to stay in it for the foreseeable future (#5). I was not a fan of Jimmy.
Eventually Jimmy is outed. He and Ben work through the issues resulting from the outing and Jimmy’s divorce settlement to get to their HEA.
A nice story set in the 90’s; good for a sweet, uncomplicated read.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Daily Dose Short Story: Quiet as a Mouse by Asta Idonea

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/quiet-as-a-mouse-by-asta-idonea-7139-b

quiet-as-a-mouseBlurb
Upon moving to a new town, shy shifter Paul is instantly smitten with local choirmaster Cale. Wanting to spend as much time with Cale as possible, he becomes the proverbial church mouse so he can enjoy Cale’s music without revealing his feelings. But when Cale sees him and traps are set, Paul faces a difficult choice. What does he want out of life, and does he have the courage to go after it? Will he be a man… or a mouse?

Category: Paranormal, Werewolf/Shifter
Pages: 25

 

Review

This is a very sweet short story about mutual attraction and being too scared to admit it.

Since Paul is a shifter who becomes a mouse, his personality matches that. In his shifted state he has some advantages but a lot of risk, too. He thinks that there’s no hope of finding a human lover and hasn’t found a shifter he likes so he’s resigned to unrequited love and friendship, but even that is difficult with his shyness.

When Paul gets caught by the object of his desire, Cale, in his shifted form, he has a lot of tough choices ahead.

**

This was very sweet, well written and sentimental. There was no steam, but it wouldn’t have felt appropriate anyway.

I enjoyed this a lot.

4 of 5 stars

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Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Provided by Publisher for Honest Review