Release Day Review: Fair isn’t life By Kaje Harper

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fair-isnt-life-by-kaje-harper-9973-b

Blurb

 

Luke Lafontaine survived the past year by not thinking about the father he lost, the dairy farm he couldn’t save from bankruptcy, or his way of life that vanished with the rap of an auctioneer’s hammer. Cleaning up city folks’ trash at the Minnesota State Fair is just another dead-end job. But at the Fair, surrounded by a celebration of farm life,  ambitions he’d given up on and buried deep start to revive. And seeing Mason Bell in the parade—gorgeous, gay, out-of-his-league Mason—stirs other buried dreams.

Mason left his hometown for college in Minneapolis without looking back. Student life is fun, classes are great, gay guys are easy to find, but it’s all a bit superficial. He’s at the State Fair parade route with his band when he realizes a scruffy maintenance worker is Luke, his secret high school crush. Luke should be safely home working on his dad’s farm, not picking up litter. Mason wishes he hadn’t fallen out of touch. He’s an optimist, though, and it’s never too late for second chances. Now he just has to convince Luke.

 

Review
Luke has gone through a lot, losing his father, his farm and home, and only narrowly escaping a life on the streets. He’s lost hope and I felt quite sad for him. All that loss really impacted him and continues to define him throughout the story. It’s more than a simple background story for the cliché “tormented hero”.
Luckily this is fiction, and Kaje Harper managed to give Luke a way to turn his life around with a little help from his former high school crush, Mason. Although reality intrudes when we are shown that Luke’s farm was no exception and that other dairy farms also struggle to survive, with no miracle to fix their issues.

Luke is physically more imposing than the smaller and more studious Mason, but their relationship doesn’t conform to stereotypes, which I loved! Luke looks to Mason for guidance and help to discover new things, like say make-up. The issue of what it means to be a real “man” is touched upon and handled in the best way. I really liked Luke and Mason as a couple, they are a great fit.

This story has an very realistic feel to it, with a “true story” kind of vibe running through it thanks to the incredibly authentic (not always likable) secondary characters and real life issues that crop up. Even the happy for now ending adds to that feeling.

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get paranormal: Equilibrium (Superpowered Love #1) by Katey Hawthorne

 

Less than three press

https://lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=123&products_id=1640

Blurb

Hansen has been hot for Sam since they first bonded over their secret superpowers—literally hot, since Hansen can produce fire from thin air. But Sam is always covered in girls, so Hansen keeps his feelings deeply buried and settles for being Sam’s best friend.

Then Sam’s electrical powers go haywire in public, and in the fallout a mutual attraction is forced to the surface—but bisexuality is new to Sam, and Hansen is afraid to admit he’s in love. And in the midst of trying to figure out themselves and each other, they have to face—and survive—the unfriendly witness to Sam’s explosion.

 

Review

This was really good! There is some amazing world building with really cool powers- the meet cute is absolutely wonderful! Our two MCs are at school when clueless Sam meets in the know Hansen but it’s Sam who is the jock and the popular kid – so Hansen having the upper hand is a lovely switch. This follows them throughout their lives and into exploring things sexually when it’s decided that they are more than friends.

There’s some frustrating “misunderstandings” that should go away with just some talking – but since these are two college-age-ish guys – it makes a bit of sense that they aren’t great at communication. (It’s still frustrating tho…)

I wasn’t super comfortable with Sam and the girlfriend and her family and all that transpired there. It kind of made things less authentic and more soap opera-y and I could have done without that.

Thus 4 of 5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed it but it did have some areas that made it a bit less than perfect.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Glacier Gold by Crystel Greene

release day review

Dreamspinner press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/glacier-gold-by-crystel-greene-9859-b

Blurb

Up in the Alps, a single night can change your life.
Struggling college student and self-taught graphic artist Justin Bennet isn’t the most self-confident guy, but he knows he’s good at two things: snowboarding and sex. Why does Andi, the hot instructor at the Tyrolean ski resort, pretend Justin doesn’t exist?
Justin becomes all but obsessed with the idea of scoring with the young Austrian. Because for all the man’s reserve, he made it quite obvious he likes Justin—at least from the neck down.
When Justin books a private heliboarding trip with Andi as his guide, he thinks he’s one step away from striking gold.
But then the forces of nature take over, trapping the men in a snowstorm, and things get real. What was supposed to be about some freeriding fun and inviting a closeted guy to start exploring his options suddenly becomes about survival—and the hidden truths of the soul.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Length novella 41140 words 113 pages

 

Review by Aerielle

This is a short but sweet instalove story. The story is told from Justin’s point of view and most of the story is him trying to get Andi to notice him. Desperate Justin books a private trip with Andi the day before he has to leave Austria. An accident and storm causes the men to have to stay the night up on the glacier and there they declare their feelings for each other. I liked the basis of this story. Justin is very arrogant at the beginning of the story but towards the end realizes how deep his feelings for Andi really are and he’s prepared to give up his life in the States to be with him.

4 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 
Review by Truus
This was just one delicious read. From annoying to sweet sweet tenderness.

Justin and his two best friends are on holiday at a ski resort. Snow boarding is something he is good at.
Justin is over his head when he sees the stunning Andi, son of the owner, instructor and member of the band who also plays in the resort.
Justin will have Andi in his bed in to time… that’s the plan… Andi does everything in his power to avoid Justin… not to be with him alone… and he succeeds.
This all brings Justin on the edge of insanity… he doesn’t understand it.
Then they are both on a risky sloop with bad weather …

Such a nice and funny read. Justin so confused by the cold shoulder from his obsession.
The circumstances they were in is excellent done. The environments ditto. I found it a really captivating read. Justin is even a bit annoying and embarrassing with his constant attempts to conquer Andi. In the cabin we meet a totally different Andi, and I loved it. Nice so see Justin change from a horny guy with only one purpose into a responsible caring sweetheart.
Nice fast paced read with a great end. It’s a short read and goshh I would love to see them in a more developed relationship. I think Andi could be an excellent dominant and Justin deeply in love kissing the ground Andi stands on.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Get Paranormal: Saved: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free Book 1) by A.M. Arthur

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35967286-saved?from_search=true

Blurb
He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…
Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.
Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”
The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.
NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. 67,000

Review

After running away from a “safe” Omega home, Braun is rescued by a beta couple and introduced to Tarek, an alpha. Mistrustful at first, Braun can’t help feeling the mate pull. Tarek is determined to prove that he is not like the alphas Braun is used to. I wouldn’t say this is an angsty story but there is definitely drama. There are some unresolved storylines that are setting up the next book in the series.
This is an emotional story that Is full of social injustices.There is a lot of talk about the physical and emotional abuse that the omegas and even some betas go through which can be difficult to get through at times, Especially when you find out what Braun’s brother went through. I found myself captivated and drawn into this world.

5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: Stand by Your Manny (The Mannies #3) by Amy Lane Narrated by Peter B Brooke

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/stand-by-your-manny-by-amy-lane-9516-b

Blurb
Learning to trust and falling in love.

Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy!

An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy.

Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life. Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

I absolutely loved these guys! The hurt/comfort between these two was off the charts in the sweet factor and I fell in love with them and their little extended family/ies.

I kinda wanted their “de-virgininzing” to be hotter – but I guess that’s more the Dreamspun thing than anything else. Book 2 was a bit steamier and so this was a bit of a let down.

The glimpses of previous MCs was appreciated and I’m looking forward to the next in the series very much.

I really hope Nick Russo gets to do the narration…. Just my hopeful hint!

For fans of the author and the series this is a must, if you’re new to the series this isn’t my favorite of the bunch but it’s Amy so it’s great!

4 of 5 stars

Audio

Sigh
Disappointed.  It’s not Nick Russo.

Peter B Brooke is just did not live up to my expectations.  His accents were good, but many times his voice lacked the emotional depth that this type of story really needs. This made it really frustrating to listen to. 

While his voice overall is enjoyable at the end of it all, the frustration won out.

I’d give the narration 3 of 5 stars and overall 3.5 of 5 stars.

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Steamy Romance: Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6562748-str8te-boys

Blurb

How far would you dare to go to win it all?

Maverick Holms and Duke Warren share almost everything a college soccer team, an apartment and the same extremely competitive nature. Thanks to that never-back-down spirit, they re about to share more than they bargained for.

The game is gay chicken . The rule: get as close as possible without kissing, and the one that pulls away first is the loser. The problem: neither of them likes to lose. It isn t long before the game becomes an excuse to touch and kiss in every possible forbidden way. And after they pose for a gay website to earn extra money, things really heat up.

Suddenly Duke is talking lifetime commitment, and Mav is backpedaling as hard as he can, not sure if he s ready to accept all his best friend is offering him. Or the truth about what he is.”

Review

Ok, ok. So this was one of my favorites… awhile ago. It’s not quite as “timeless” as I’d thought but… it’s still a lot of fun with a surprising amount of feelz. (And tons of hawt sex!) LOL

So these guys play “gay chicken” – which is pretty offensive when I think about it – but – for the sake of the story – is an effective tool to get these two guys – who are apparently realllllly clueless – in compromising situations that push the limit on believability – but are also pretty erotic.

If you close your eyes to the vaguely offensive and slightly ridiculous plot, and focus on the feels and the eventual results, it’s a quick, hot read about 2 frat boys finding love.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook Month: Complete Faith by Sue Brown Narrated by Aaron Pickering

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/morning-report-series-6498-

Blurb
For Tommy Bradley, a hand working on the Lost Cow Ranch in rural Texas, admitting his sexuality is impossible, even if his bosses, Luke and Simon, are gay—Tommy has spent his entire life hiding the truth from his homophobic parents. Then Tommy meets pastor Noah Taylor in Luke’s father’s hospital room, and his difficult secret becomes that much harder to keep.

Noah is unlike any man of God—or any man—Tommy’s ever met. For one thing, his congregation is made up primarily of GLBT individuals and their families. For another, he isn’t afraid of the attraction he feels toward Tommy, and he makes his intentions very clear. But Noah won’t hide his sexuality or his love from the world, and he won’t start a relationship with Tommy while Tommy hides his, either. Faced with the choice of losing Noah or coming out to his parents, Tommy takes his first steps out of the closet.

But Tommy isn’t the only one facing challenges. Thanks to an outpouring of hatred from Pastor Jackson and a group of ranch owners, Noah must cope with the possible loss of his church and his livelihood

Review
In the first book we met a young ranch hand, Tommy, who had to hide his sexuality before of his parents homophobic attitudes and religious beliefs. We also met another Pastor, Noah. He is also Gay and welcomes everyone who wants to worship in love to his Church. His congregation increased as people moved away from the hate the other Pastor was spouting. This is where he meets Tommy. I love the world Sue Brown has built around the Lost Cow Ranch. They are a wonderful family supporting each other through their troubles. Tommy gets a lot of support. Luke’s known Tommy was gay but never betrayed his confidence. It’s only when Noah comes into the picture that Tommy decides to come out completely. Together and with the support of the Ranch and some of the Town, Noah deals with the hatred directed at him to start anew.

On this second book I was more used to Aaron Pickering’s style of narration. The characterisation for Noah worked for me and so did Tommy. Tommy came across as young and insecure to Noah’s maturity and confidence. Both styles complimenting each other. The characterisation for Luke and Simon also seems to have settled down.

4 of stars out of 5

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Release Day Review: A Dom and His Artist by Xenia Melzer

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-dom-and-his-artist-by-xenia-melzer-9503-

Blurb

Sometimes the perfect man can be found in the most unexpected place….

Martin Carmichael owns a security firm and is part owner of Club Whisper. He’s a Dom in search of the right guy, and when his car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road, he thinks he might have found him.

Artist Collin Malloy is talented, easygoing, but somewhat insecure. Still, he has a big heart and is quick to offer help when he sees Martin in need. To thank him, Martin invites Collin to dinner, where the attraction between them becomes harder to resist.

But what will become of their budding relationship when Martin reveals that he likes his men bound, submissive, and in pain? Is it something Collin can accept… and possibly enjoy exploring? Even if he can, Collin has a secret of his own—a secret he doesn’t even realize he’s keeping

Review
Another winner from Xenia Melzer. I started this book on Sunday morning and finished it that evening, well I had to stop to cook lunch. I was hooked. Martin has to revise everything he had thought about being a Dom after meeting Collin. I really liked that through his guidance of Collin in BDSM and learning about submission Martin learns more about himself. He had been very strict but now it didn’t feel right. Collin is a wonderful character. A free thinker that lets ideas grab him and Martin has to adjust to his new sub. The evolving relationship is the main thrust of the story but running in the background is the betrayal of Collin’s friend and Agent. This shakes Collin’s world as he understands it and needs Martin’s support. The scenes between them are gentle and loving. Martin introduces him to different things taking it very slowly given Collin’s inexperience with sex let alone BDSM. these scenes were lovely to read so romantic and caring. We also get to meet Richard and Dean from book 1 again. It was great catching up with their lives but they are not central and this book can be read on it’s own. Another book in the series is planned and I am looking forward to it.

5 of stars out of 5

5-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

o BDSM
▪ Pain
o Exploration
o Gay
o Virgin

• Themes
o artists
o protection/security

• Time Period
o Contemporary

• Trope
o Billionaire Dom
o Cinderella/Cinderfella
o Hurt/comfort
o Secret Identity

Time to Laugh: Shiny! Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Tyler Stevens

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/shiny-by-amy-lane-5174-b

Blurb:
Will Lafferty and Kenny Scalia are both having sort of a day. Will gets fired for letting fifth graders read Harry Potter, and Kenny finds his boyfriend and his sex toys in bed with a complete stranger. When Will knocks over Kenny’s trash can—and strews Kenny’s personal business all over the street—it feels like the perfect craptastic climax to the sewage of suckage that has rained down on them both.

But ever-friendly, ever-kind Will asks snarky Kenny out for a beer—God knows they both need one—and two amazing things occur: Kenny discovers talking to Will might be the best form of intercourse ever, and Will discovers he’s gay.

Their unlikely friendship seems like the perfect platonic match until Will reveals how very much more he’s been feeling for Kenny almost since the beginning. But Kenny’s worried. Will’s new-found sexuality is bright and glittery and shiny, but what happens when that wears off? Is Will’s infatuation with Kenny strong enough to stay real?

Review:

You can’t have a month devoted to “funny” and not include Amy Lane.  I find her books to be some of the most consistently “clever” and thus funny and witty.

This is known as Amy Lane “Lite”.  Instead of her very angsty material, this is one of the sweet and happy books she gives us now and then. 

The story is a mix of Will exploring his sexuality and the developing friendship and work relationship Will and Kenny have and then later their coming together as friends turned lovers. There are some doubts – is Will just with Kenny because he’s his first or is it real? Where will Will work? What about Kenny’s being on the rebound? However… For those of us who love a sappy ending – the ending of Shiny will knock your socks off!
The secondary characters in Shiny are also great – Aunt Cara- the lesbian bride, Will’s mom – trapped in the 1960s, Kenny’s ex – the big, dumb cheater and Kenny’s ultra liberal family – trying so hard not to judge Will.

In the audio format Tyler Stevens does a really nice job. He does swishy voices fantastically and I adore his female voices as well.  I think he is a true “performer” rather than “reader” and as such we get a lovely performance to enjoy.  

This is one of those times where the narration adds to the story and makes it even better. I highly recommend this audiobook.

4.5 of 5 stars
4.5-stars-small

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Purchased for Review

Tags (whatever you can think of to describe the book in basic labels): teacher, GFY, virgin, weddings, comics, religion, cheating exes, friends to lovers