5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Karen, Xavier Mayne

Review: Bachelors Party by Xavier Mayne

TNA Page Turner Resized

Title:  Bachelors Party (A Brandt and Donnelly Caper: Case File Five)

Author:  Xavier Mayne

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count:  280 Pages

At a Glance:  I think the way Xavier Mayne takes a theme, or an idea, and is able to emphasize and intertwine it between two stories is amazing.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  Med student Oliver Mitchell has discovered a way to make more tips as a bartender—put on ripped workout gear and serve drinks at the hip new gay club, Burn. The only catch is Oliver is straight. The staff and patrons don’t mind, though, and Oliver fits in well—until he meets James Buchanan Whitford, a local politician with a secret: he’s married. When James’s scheming wife attempts to catch him in flagrante with Oliver, they flee the city for the refuge of James’s cabin in the woods. There, Oliver faces a new challenge—he’s starting to feel more for James than friendship. Their new relationship must survive political intrigue and small-town politics before they can be together.

With their wedding two months away, it’s time for Troopers Ethan Brandt and Gabriel Donnelly to have a bachelor party. Ethan’s older brothers are excited, but Ethan is not. As a straight guy who fell in love with another man, the whole ritual is fraught with complications, and he struggles to reconcile newly granted marriage equality with old traditions. Brandt and Donnelly work to help James and Oliver find their way to happiness while pulling off the bachelor party of the year.

Dividers

Review:  It is now time for the Bachelors Party!  No problems and everything will go smoothly…right?  Of course not. It is Brandt and Donnelly after all, and of course, there is going to be some kind of chaos.  Brandt, being unsure of how to have a bachelor party that will make everyone feel included, and his feeling unsure about himself because he doesn’t fit into a specific box, made my heart hurt.  That was, until he talked to his brother.  That may have been one of my favorite scenes I have read in a book in a long time.  The idea that as humans you should be able to love whoever it is you love without having to identify it or label it, that you’re falling in love with the person and not that you have to fall in love with a man or a woman, but that you love the person that completes you, is how it should be.  I have to say that as much as I love Brandt and Donnelly, I am pretty sure Bryce is still my favorite. I don’t think there has been a moment while reading any of this series that if Bryce was there, I wasn’t smiling. He is so much fun!

Of course, there is a story within Brandt and Donnelly’s story…Oliver and James’s.  I think the way Xavier Mayne takes a theme, or an idea, and is able to emphasize and intertwine it between two stories is amazing.  Watching Oliver and James let go and fall in love was kind of intoxicating, and I couldn’t put the book down.  There is really nothing about this series that I haven’t loved; the entire series, including Bachelors Party, is insightful, funny and super sexy.  Can’t wait for the wedding!

TNA_Signature_Karen







 

You can buy Bachelors Party here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Karen, Xavier Mayne

Review: Spring Break at the Villa Hermes by Xavier Mayne

Title:  Spring Break at the Villa Hermes

Author:  Xavier Mayne

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  246 Pages

At a Glance:  This story was sweet, funny and hot, while still bringing up and addressing serious issues.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  A Brandt and Donnelly Caper: Case File Four

Troopers Ethan Brandt and Gabriel Donnelly celebrate the one-year anniversary of their engagement by flying south for a week of calm relaxation at the Villa Hermes, a gay boutique hotel on the beach. But when the rest of the guests turn out to be college guys on spring break (unwittingly booked into a gay hotel by a passive-aggressive travel agent), their week turns out to be anything but calm.

Ted, one of the spring breakers, has harbored a crush on his roommate and best friend, Bark, since they met freshman year. Now, on their fourth and final spring break, Ted knows they must soon say good-bye. A lacrosse star and ladies’ man, Bark has no idea Ted has fallen for him—until a storm forces the entire group underground for twenty-four hours of stress and truth-telling. Bark doesn’t want to say good-bye to Ted at graduation either. He just didn’t know how to put his feelings into words or if he could face the consequences of speaking them. Brandt and Donnelly help the college guys through their crisis by showing them what love between best friends can grow into.

But Ted and Bark aren’t the only spring-breakers with secrets.

Dividers

Review:  Brandt and Donnelly are just as in love and as sweet as we remember them in the previous installments of this series.  When “Spring Break” begins, Brandt and Donnelly decide to spend a week on vacation to celebrate the one year anniversary of their engagement.  At the beginning you also get a little interaction with some of my favorite characters from the previous books—just a little bit of Bryce, Nestor, Jonah, Casey, and Mal—but just that little bit puts you right back into the lives of these guys.

Once at the Villa Hermes, we meet Winnie and Vic, the owners of the fine establishment, who are unquestionably still head-over-heels in love, but are fun and flirty and have no shame in having all the boys naked at the pool.   Then, the college boys check in for spring break….and all the craziness begins.

Although this is a Brandt and Donnelly book, and there is definitely a great story about them throughout this book (some seriously hot and loving scenes), and they are involved and weaved all through the story, to me this is more a story about Ted and Bark.  They are like the younger, mini-me versions of Brandt and Donnelly, were they to have met in college.  Brandt and Donnelly become, for these guys, not only someone look up to but are the ones to help Ted and Bark figure out what they truly want in their lives; Brandt and Donnelly are their angels.

One of the things I have loved about this series is how Xavier Mayne builds all of the characters, so whether they are the primary characters or secondary, by the end you feel as though you know them all.  Story time was amazing, and at parts had me cracking up and laughing out loud.  Thor’s story about the floppy, one eyed slug, and looking another man right in the anus, had tears running down my face I laughed so hard.

This story was sweet, funny, and hot, while still bringing up and addressing serious issues such as being honest and true to yourself, and the struggle for equal rights.  Looking at the different characters, you can almost follow the changes and steps forward that have been made from generation to generation—from Winnie and Vic, to Brandt and Donnelly, and now Ted and Bark and the other guys who spent their week-long spring break learning about themselves and having their lives change at the Villa Hermes.

TNA_Signature_Karen






You can buy Spring Break at the Villa Hermes here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Jackie, Xavier Mayne

Review: A Wedding to Die For by Xavier Mayne

Title: A Wedding to Die For

Author: Xavier Mayne

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

At a Glance: Once again, Xavier Mayne has won me over and entertained me

Blurb: A Brandt and Donnelly Caper: Book Three

When a high-profile gay celebrity couple asks two of the city’s most established vendors to provide cake and flowers for their wedding and they refuse, a resulting boycott threatens to shut them down. It’s up to the next generation in the family-owned businesses to save them from ruin. Justin Capella, baker’s son, and Roman Montgomery, floral scion, work together to plan the gay wedding of the year.

Justin and Roman haven’t seen each other since that fateful day in third grade when a single kiss shocked Justin and sent Roman to boarding school. As fate would have it, Justin and Roman rediscover love while working on the wedding. But disaster might pry them apart again.

Troopers Brandt and Donnelly are working with a statewide task force for the rights of LGBT citizens—all while searching for a killer wedding planner. As guests at the “wedding of the year”, they are the first responders when all hell breaks loose. In investigating, the troopers are led to a shadowy figure they believe seduced Roman into doing his bidding. But the real murderer will cover his tracks at all costs, including Roman and Justin’s lives.

Dividers

Review: With a plot taken directly from headlines around the country, Xavier Mayne has brought to light some of the issues marriage equality has brought to our attention. One thing that doesn’t get a lot of attention in the media is the group of people in the LGBT community that don’t want marriage equality any more than the strictly conservative faction do.

The story begins with a proposal, two young professionals, who have their whole lives in front of them, are in love. Since they are both rather big names in the community, they want their wedding to be THE event, so they set out to get the best cake, flowers and wedding planner in the city. This is where the beautiful story of their fairy tale wedding begins to go south. They go to the best florist and baker in town, but these businesses refuse to be party to something so “unnatural”, claiming their religious beliefs. As it should, this sets the couple on a course of legal battles and Twitter wars and boycotts.

Being high profile in their own way, Brandt and Donnelly are brought in to try to smooth the ruffled feathers by trying to talk the baker and florist into doing the wedding. Thankfully, the next generation of Capella (the baker) and Montgomery (the florist) realize that they have to bring their families’ businesses into the 21st century if they don’t want to lose what they have built for generations. With both of them agreeing to do the wedding, it also brings the two men back to one another. Justin and Roman have been separated by their families since third grade, but the time seems irrelevant once they rekindle their attraction.

What would a Brandt and Donnelly story be without a mystery, right? Well, there is a doozy of a mystery in this one. When the big wedding day comes, everything goes well until the entire wedding party and the guests are poisoned. With Brandt and Donnelly on the case, there are definitely twists and turns and a ton of laughs. All of my favorite characters made an appearance in this book, and some great new ones also. The two troopers, of course, get the bad guys, and all while planning their own wedding and meeting every crazy wedding planner in the city.

When the crime is solved there are some secrets and lies revealed that could threaten Justin and Roman’s future, as well as cost them the love and support of their own families.

Once again, Xavier Mayne has won me over and entertained me. Parts of this book were darker than I am used to from this author, but it was definitely one of my favorites of his so far. There is a very real portion of the LGBT community that believes marriage equality is not necessary, and they don’t support the change. I would definitely hope these people wouldn’t go to the extremes portrayed in this book, but the reality is out there. It was eye-opening to me and gave me another point of view I hadn’t thought of before.

No matter how heavy some of the subject matter of this book got, though, it was still very entertaining, and the love story between Brandt and Donnelly is still there and getting stronger all the time. I hope this isn’t the end of their journey because I could read about these two for a long, long time.






You can buy A Wedding to Die For here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Jackie, Xavier Mayne

Two Young Men Learn Who Their True Friends Are In Xavier Mayne’s “Wrestling Demons” – Reviewed by Jackie


“It’s not how many friends you can count, it’s how many of those you can count on.” ― Anthony Liccione


Title: Wrestling Demons

Author: Xavier Mayne

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 276

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: A Brandt and Donnelly Caper: Case File Two

Jonah Fischer’s high school wrestling career has been stellar, but now he’s the unwilling star of a series of videos that have hit the web. The whole world may have seen the evidence that his best friend turns him on. Jonah’s conservative family wants him cured, and his conventional town and school want him normal. The only person who still wants him just the way he is is Casey Melville, the same best friend who turned him on for all the world to see. Meanwhile, Casey begins to wonder if there’s more to his feelings for Jonah than he thought.
Continue reading

Standard
5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Kim, Xavier Mayne

Kim Recommends You Give A Listen To Xavier Mayne’s “Frat House Troopers”


“So I learned two things that night, and the next day, from him: the perfection of a moment, and the fleeting nature of it.” ― Margaret George


Title: Frat House Troopers (Audiobook)

Author: Xavier Mayne

Narrator: Peter Brooke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 10 Minutes

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: A Brandt and Donnelly Caper: Case File One
Continue reading

Standard
Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Jackie, Xavier Mayne

Romance Meets Reality Television In Xavier Mayne’s “Husband Material”


“Maybe they’d turn every program on television into one of those reality shows.”

“That’s mostly done already, Harry.”

“Oh. Well. I’ve got to believe that the world is worth saving anyway.” ― Jim Butcher


Title: Husband Material

Author: Xavier Mayne

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 350 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Husband Material is a long-running reality show, where eighteen lucky guys compete for the hand of one lucky lady. Meet contestant number one, Riley. Since being left at the altar, he’s hit the gym to get into the best shape of his life. Now he’s in it to win it. Contestant number two, Asher, doesn’t really want the bachelorette; he needs the prize money for his sister’s cancer treatment. Asher’s upbeat personality brings Riley out of the funk he’s been in since his breakup. They make a formidable team, with one complication: Asher’s falling for Riley.
Continue reading

Standard