4 Stars, Abigail Roux, Audio Book, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Riptide Publishing

Audio Review: Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux – Narrated by Brock Thompson

Amazon

Amazon

TitleCross & Crown

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher:  Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  6 hours and 50 minutes

At a Glance: I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: When Nick O’Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time. Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide.

The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity. Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

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Review: After listening to Shock & Awe, I jumped right in to Cross & Crown and was so excited to listen to it.  Maybe because I listened to them back to back, and because Shock & Awe is so focused on Nick and Kelly starting their relationship, I realized while listening to Cross & Crown that although they are together throughout the book and have some sexy times, it is definitely more mystery driven than Shock & Awe.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed and liked the mystery and treasure hunt aspect of the book, and trying to figure out if “JD” was a good guy or bad guy, but I love Nick and Kelly and wanted more of them than we got in this book.

As with Shock & Awe I think that Brock Thompson did a great job with the narration of the book. The dialog was clear, the voices were distinct, and for me, it fit with how I heard them in my head while reading the book.

So, overall, I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

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You can buy Cross & Crown here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, M.A. Church, M/M/M and More, Narration Rating - 1 Star, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Trouble Comes in Threes by M.A. Church – Narrated by Ronald Ray Strickland

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Trouble Comes in Threes

Author:  M.A. Church

Narrator: Ronald Ray Strickland

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  8 hours and 26 minutes

At a Glance: If you’re thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: A snowstorm in the South – on New Year’s Eve – is a perfect recipe for a catastrophe. After two soul-crushing bad breaks, Kirk’s waiting for disaster number three to strike when, naturally, two stray cats arrive on his doorstep during the storm and decide to make themselves at home. Tenderhearted Kirk lets them stay, even though there’s something decidedly odd about his overly friendly felines.

Out of the punishing weather and full of tuna, Dolf and Tal are happy to be snug in Kirk’s house. But then their human goes outside for firewood and suffers a nasty fall that leaves him unconscious. Now the two cats have no choice but to reveal themselves.

Kirk wakes up to find the two kitties are actually Dolf and Tal. They’re cat shifters – and his destined mates. Being part of a feline threesome is enough for Kirk to grapple with, but soon he learns they come from a clowder that doesn’t believe humans and shifters should mix. Kirk knew those two cats would be trouble. Little does he know the real trouble lies ahead.

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Review: I absolutely loved Trouble Comes in Threes when I read the book.  It’s sweet, funny and sexy, and I was so excited for the audiobook. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t even come close to doing this story justice.

Throughout the narration there’s no real difference in the character voicing. There were actually a couple of points where, in the middle of a sentence, it sounded as if the audio had been edited and although the same character was speaking, the voice changed, so it was hard to follow. Parts of the narration really were not enunciated very well at all, and then others parts were the exact opposite–way over-enunciated. During a lot of the narration, there were awkward pauses, as if Mr. Strickland was reading individual words instead of reading a story that flows. I did listen to the entire audiobook because I really do like the story that much, but honestly, at that point it was actually more amusing to listen to the narration than enjoy the story.

So, if you are thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

For a review of the e-book, see Janet’s full review HERE

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You can buy Trouble Comes in Threes here:

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4.5 Stars, Felice Stevens, Giveaways, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Self-Published

Review and Giveaway: The Greatest Gift Blog Tour with Felice Stevens

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Amazon

Title: The Greatest Gift (The Memories Series: Book 3)

Author:  Felice Stevens

Publisher: Self-Published

Page/Word Count: 86 Pages

At a Glance: You’ll smile through the tears as you watch this family grow into everything you hoped they would become.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: After five years, Alex Stern and Rafe Hazelton have what seems to be the perfect marriage. Alex is entering his last years of residency and Rafe’s veterinary business is busier than ever. For Rafe, all that is missing is a child, but Alex, afraid of ending up to be a man like his father, isn’t as sure. He doesn’t want to make any mistakes.

When a new patient enters the hospital, Alex is drawn to the young, desperately ill single mother, who shares her fears for the future of her young son. Rafe worries about the toll on Alex becoming emotionally invested in a patient, yet he too can’t walk away once he meets the little boy, and together they vow to help in any way possible.

Families are not always born of blood— love is a gift no one can plan for. And sometimes from the darkest of tragedies, the brightest light will shine.

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Review: If you are going into this book hoping for, or thinking, you are going to get a sweet, fluffy romantic holiday story, this isn’t that book. There are many things in The Greatest Gift that are tough to read, and sad, and will completely break your heart.

But in this story, you will also find things throughout that are endearing, selfless, and sexy, as well as countless examples of absolute unconditional love. You’ll find yourself on this journey with Rafe and Alex, and all those around them, and will smile through the tears as you watch this family grow into everything you hoped they would become.

I love Alex and Rafe and love that we got to spend more time with them. The Greatest Gift really is a great gift from Felice Stevens this holiday season.

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You can buy The Greatest Gift here:

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THE GIVEAWAY

Enter for the chance to win an e-copy of One Step Further & The Greatest Gift

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Author BioAbout the Author: Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

Social Media LinksTwitter || Pinterest || Goodreads || Instagram || Facebook Author Page || Newsletter

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Jacob Z. Flores, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Karen, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Soul Struck by Jacob Z. Flores

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Amazon

Title:  Soul Struck (The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge: Book Three)

Author:  Jacob Z. Flores

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  224 Pages

At a Glance:  It really is a toss up which book I like best in this series.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Like the electricity he commands, Pierce Blackmoor streaks through life on raw power and pure sexual energy. His conquests on the battlefield and in the bedroom form his foundation, but that bedrock crumbles when his younger brothers’ abilities surpass his own. Pierce finds himself at an all-time low, and clawing his way back to the top becomes his only concern.

Pierce’s plan to reassert his dominance, however, takes a backseat when he wounds Kale Aquilo, an emissary of the Beast King, lord of all shifters.

Kale’s beguiling nature shoots like a lightning bolt straight to Pierce’s soul, and when the soft-spoken Kale relays that a virus is killing his people, Pierce abandons his quest for power to do something he has never done before—protect someone other than himself.

As Kale, Pierce, and his brothers struggle to find the root of the magical virus spreading plague across Aeaea, the shifter island, they face a gauntlet of old and new foes. Soul struck, Pierce and Kale must uncover the truth behind the conspiracy gathering in the shadows.

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Review: Before I’d started this book, I was pretty sure that this was the one in the series I was going to like the least, since Pierce was nowhere near a favorite character of mine.  I mean, come on, he kind of came off like he was a power hungry jerk in previous books, and really, not at all that likeable.

But I was so wrong. Which really shouldn’t surprise me since any thoughts I’d had regarding what I was going to think of the other books in this series were all wrong too. I should have known better at this point… When Pierce finds Kale, then seeing his reaction to him, completely changed how I viewed this character. All of a sudden, being the most powerful wasn’t what was most important to him, and the journey with these two was amazing. You see almost a complete shift in how Pierce looks at things and in what becomes important to him.

With each new book we see another aspect of this world come to life, and it really is a toss up, now that I have read Soul Struck, which book I like the best so far, because honestly, the series wasn’t something I thought I would enjoy at all to begin with. After reading the first book on a friend’s recommendation, though, I now can’t wait to see what will come next.

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You can buy Soul Struck here:

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4.5 Stars, Felice Stevens, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Self-Published

Review: Betting on Forever by Felice Stevens

Amazon

Amazon

TitleBetting on Forever (The Breakfast Club: Book Two)

Author:  Felice Stevens

Publisher: Self-Published

Page/Word Count:  231 Pages

At a GlanceIf you’re looking for a sweet and romantic book without a lot of angst or drama, just a nice story about two guys falling in love, then this book is for you.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  A weekend fling in Atlantic City couldn’t be more out of socially shy Zach Cohen’s comfort zone, but a bet with his best friends forces him to put aside the humiliation he’s hidden for years and step away from behind his computer screens and online world. When he meets Sam Stein, despite their spark, Zach expects nothing more than a night of passion and a kiss good-bye. Yet weeks later, he can’t keep the man out of his head.

After a split-second decision with tragic results ends his twenty-year police career at the same time as his relationship falls apart, Sam Stein is drifting through life. At his best friend’s urging, he agrees to a trip to Atlantic City to clear his head. What Sam doesn’t plan on is meeting Zach Cohen, whose sweet nature and honesty has him thinking maybe he could move forward, until Zach leaves him without explanation, reinforcing Sam’s belief that people can’t be trusted.

Well-meaning friends refuse to let Zach and Sam hide from each other, forcing them to realize their weekend was much more than a one-night stand. Before that can happen, Zach must come to terms with his past and stand up for his own independence, while Sam has to learn to take a chance and believe in himself and people again. All bets are off when dreams become reality, and forever doesn’t seem to be long enough.

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Review: When I read the first book in this series, Beyond the Surface, it was Zach’s story that I was looking forward to the most. I have a fondness for and can relate to those characters who are a little geeky, shy, and quiet; those who sit off to the side, observing and hoping not to be noticed.  Zach certainly fit that bill, and Sam did too, in some ways.

Things aren’t all sunshine and happiness throughout Betting on Forever. There were misunderstandings and issues that needed to be worked through, but they are dealt with without a whole lot of craziness. You can sit back and are able to enjoy some of the simple things going on between Zach and Sam while they are falling in love—we get to watch them stroll down the beach holding hands, laughing and joking and letting go while flying kites, or just relaxing at home. And it’s nice that the other characters in the series are still around, and we get updates on what’s going on with them without it taking over the story.

While I loved Zach’s story, and it was nice catching up with Julian and Nick, now I can’t wait for Marcus’s story to see how his HEA will work out. If you’re looking for a sweet and romantic book without a lot of angst or drama, just a nice story about two guys falling in love, then this book is for you.

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You can buy Betting on Forever here:

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Kenzie Cade, Paranormal Romance, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Prickly by Nature By Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade

Amazon

Amazon

TitlePrickly By Nature (Portland Pack Chronicles: Book Two)

Author:  Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  260 Pages

At a Glance:  I really enjoyed this follow up to Prickly Business, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.

Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.

Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.

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Review: Dylan and Avery are a little more settled in Prickly By Nature, book two in the Portland Pack Chronicles, but there are definite differences that jump out between the two of them, especially when it comes to their mating and how they view things based on their animals. Dylan, being a wolf, is pack oriented, where family and pack are important; and then there’s Avery, who is more of a loner and doesn’t notice the distance he is putting between him and his mate.  Avery has an almost obsession with finding Lacey, and inadvertently fails to make time to spend with Dylan.  As dominant, growly and protective as Dylan is throughout this book, we also see a slightly sweet and vulnerable side to him as he struggles with worrying over and missing Avery.  In Prickly Business, it took me a while to warm up to Avery, and I found that in the follow up I had the same issue—it was frustrating to see his lack of awareness to what he was doing; although I get it, and once it was pointed out to him, he was more aware.

The mystery of what happened to Lacey, and the other side stories, at times was a little overwhelming to me. The story was good but I wanted more of the romance between the guys. In the end, though, I was happy with where things were left with Avery and Dylan and their relationship. I really enjoyed this follow up to Prickly Business, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here. I’m looking forward to what comes next.

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You can buy Prickly By Nature here:

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4.5 Stars, Abigail Roux, Audio Book, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Riptide Publishing

Audio Review: Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux – Narrated by Brock Thompson

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

TitleShock & Awe (Sidewinder: Book One)

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  3 hours and 59 minutes

At a GlanceBrock Thompson was a new to me narrator, and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet – after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.

Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part…or so he thought. But what should’ve been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address. Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other – friends and brothers in arms or something even deeper – before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.

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Review: I absolutely loved this book when it came out, and I’ve read it multiple times since then, so I was excited to listen to this audio. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the Cut & Run series audiobooks yet, but now I’m going to have to get them so I can listen to all of them in order.

Brock Thompson was a new to me narrator, and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. The different characters’ voices were distinct; I didn’t have any issue following along or knowing who was talking throughout the audio. I thought that the narration of the story was just as hot and sexy as the book itself—nothing was taken away from the story at all.

Usually I listen to audiobooks while I’m at work, not really my thing to listen in the car or at home, but some I just can’t stop listening to and have to have them playing wherever I happen to be, which was the case with Shock & Awe—I started listening at work, continued in the car, put my headphones on and listened while grocery shopping, then again in the car on the way home, and since there was only a little left at that point, I finished up sitting on my couch at home. In other words, I didn’t want to stop listening before I got to the end, and now I can’t wait to start Cross & Crown and continue listening to the guys’ story.

A highly recommended listen.

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You can buy Shock & Awe here:

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Karen, Rhys Ford

Release Day Review: Fish Stick Fridays by Rhys Ford

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Amazon

Amazon

TitleFish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay: Book One)

Author:  Rhys Ford

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  200 Pages

At a Glance:  As much as I love all of Rhys series, and I’m sad some are coming to an end, I’m thrilled at such an awesome beginning to a new one.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Deacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

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Review: I always forget, until I read Rhys Ford, how much the little details in a book can help paint the picture and add to the experience of reading. And yes, reading one of Rhys Ford’s books is an experience.

In Fish Stick Fridays (along with every other book I’ve read by this author), she does an amazing job with the details. While reading, you can almost see, feel, smell, hear and touch what’s happening around the characters you’re reading about, and she does it without being wordy or drawn out. Such talent.  I’ve decided that I can no longer say every one of her books is my new favorite. I think they are all amazing, and this is another to add to the list.

I wasn’t even a quarter of the way into the book and was already head over heels for Deacon; how he is with Zig, still on edge, bad ass, protective, patient, and she pretty much has him wrapped around her little finger. I mean, really, how can you not love him when he is willing to put on a tutu for her? I loved it!

Zig was probably my favorite character in the book. If I were ever to have a kid, I would almost hope they would be as awesome as Zig. Well, no, but I wouldn’t mind having a niece or nephew that awesome.

The relationship between Deacon and Lang is sweet and chaotic, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching them figure it all out one day at a time, amongst all the craziness happening around them.  As much as I love all of Rhys Ford’s series, and I’m sad some are coming to an end, I’m thrilled at such an awesome beginning to a new one.

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You can buy Fish Stick Fridays here:

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Mercy Celeste, Reviewed by Karen, Self-Published

Review: Out of the Blues by Mercy Celeste

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Amazon

TitleOut of the Blues

Author:  Mercy Celeste

Publisher: Self-Published

Page/Word Count:  219 Pages

At a Glance:  If you are already a fan of Mercy Celeste, you need this book. If you haven’t read her yet, I think this would be a wonderful place to start.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Whoever said you can’t go home again should change that to should not go home again. As in EVER!
Mason Foxworth swore on his grandmother’s bible never to return to the small Georgia town he sort of grew up in. And for eight years he’d succeeded in keeping that promise. Until his twin sister decided she needed to get married…back home…and she’d invited their parents. Wasn’t this going to be a just a fabulous weekend?
Since leaving the Marines, Kilby Adams rarely ever left his farm and now here he was in Georgia, as best man at his stepbrother’s wedding. Out of his comfort zone and with too many people that he doesn’t know Kilby has nothing to keep his mind off the past except the gorgeous brother of the bride.
And wouldn’t you just know it, there was only one room left at the Inn and Kilby would have to share it, with Mason, who was straight and….yeah, this was going to be one hell of a weekend.

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Review: Back in February I was gifted a book. It was one of Mercy Celeste’s books, and I loved it!  Since then, I have proceeded to buy every one of this author’s books that I could. I haven’t gotten them all yet, but I will get there. She is absolutely on my list of auto-buy authors.

I am usually not a huge fan of angst or tear-your-heart-out books—truthfully, I have enough tears in my real life and reading is my escape from that—but I can honestly say I have no problem picking up a book by Ms. Celeste, knowing it is going to rip me to shreds. The stories are really just that good, and Out of the Blues is no exception.

There is a lot of drama going on in this book, multiple difficult issues addressed, and crazy family to deal with, but it is done so wonderfully.  And, boy oh boy, can Mercy Celeste write some hot scenes. As much as I enjoyed all of the developments and the relationship between Mason and Kilby, the relationships they had with other characters were almost more enjoyable at times. The relationships with their siblings were sweet and made me even more grateful I am close to mine.

Then, when Mason’s dad shows up and he tells him about Cody, I was a hot mess. I was actually a hot mess through multiple parts of the book, but luckily I remembered to put my Kleenex next to me while I cuddled up on the couch for hours to read. I couldn’t seem to force myself to put this book down.

I don’t know what to say without giving away parts of the story, but really if you are already a fan of Mercy Celeste, you need this book. If you haven’t read her yet, I think this would be a wonderful place to start.

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You can buy Out of the Blues here:

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3 Stars, Bailey Bradford, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Retrograde by Bailey Bradford

Amazon

Amazon

TitleRetrograde (Southwestern Shifters: Book Eleven)

Author:  Bailey Bradford

Publisher:  Pride Publishing

Page/Word Count:  242 Pages

At a Glance:  I found myself skimming through some of the pages of Retrograde, and just couldn’t get into it for most of the story.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Letting go of the past to embrace the future…

Things are changing for Marcus and Nathan, in more ways than one. Nathan is still trying to deal with the action he took in order to save Marcus’ life. It isn’t easy to do, and sometimes he fears he’ll give in to all the doubts and fears plaguing him.

What they need is some time alone, without guards shadowing their every move, no one to interrupt. Because soon, they’ll be busier than ever.

A short vacation before the annual gathering of Alpha Anaxes at the compound, that’s what they decide to do. But their vacation isn’t so private when they discover a wild pack of young shifters barely surviving.

Changes are coming.

A strange young shifter with abilities neither Marcus nor Nathan have ever seen before. Alpha Anaxes and attitudes. An intruder in their midst. And with the help of Shania, the pack doctor, the most important event of Marcus and Nathan’s shared life is about to happen.

Changes are coming, and they’re coming fast.

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Review:  When I first found the Southwestern Shifters series (not that long ago), I read all eleven books back to back. I couldn’t get enough and was looking so forward to this one, but was somewhat disappointed. I love Marcus and Nathan, but as I was reading, I actually kept hoping for a little less of them. Retrograde isn’t my favorite book in this series. Actually, it’s probably my least favorite.

Things seemed so repetitive in this story, with a lot of details included from the previous book, and I found myself skimming through some of the pages and had a hard time getting into it.  Once we meet Asher and the other younger shifters, though, it got more interesting. But, then I found myself wishing they had been more of the focus instead of Marcus and Nathan.

Now, let me say that I enjoy sex in the books I read, and I have no issues, the majority of the time, if there is an abundance of sex, but as good as Bailey Bradford is at writing those scenes (each was awesome), there was a lot of Marcus and Nathan going at it. It was hot but there were just so many and I found myself wanting to skip them.

With it being close to the end of the series, there were some loose ends being tied up to set things up for what is coming in the final book, which I’m anxiously awaiting, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

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You can buy Retrograde here:

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5 Stars, Eli Easton, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Self-Published

Review: How to Walk Like a Man by Eli Easton

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Amazon

Amazon

TitleHow to Walk Like a Man (Howl at the Moon: Book Two)

Author:  Eli Easton

Publisher: Self-Published

Page/Word Count: 267 Pages

At a Glance: These are the books I turn to when I am looking for a book to make me smile and swoon.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb: Deputy Roman Charsguard survived Afghanistan where he lost his best friend—his K-9 handler James. Roman was a military dog until two years ago when he developed the ability to shift into a human. It’s not easy to learn how to be a man. He found a place to live in Mad Creek, a haven for the secret world of dog shifters. Finding a reason to live has been harder. That is, until a certain human walks into the Mad Creek Sheriff’s office and starts making trouble.

Matt Barclay has the worst luck. First he was shot in a SWAT drug raid, then he was sent as DEA investigator to Mad Creek, a little town in the California mountains. Matt’s job is to keep a lookout for illegal drug farms, but nobody in the town wants him there. And then there’s Roman, Matt’s erstwhile baby-sitter. He’s the hottest guy Matt’s ever seen, even if he is a bit peculiar. If the town doesn’t kill him, sexual frustration just might.

The town is counting on Roman to prevent Matt from learning about dog shifters, Matt’s counting on Roman to be his work partner and tell him the truth, and Roman’s trying to navigate love, sex, and a whole lot of messy human emotions. Who knew it was so complicated to walk like a man?

Dividers

Review: Although parts of How to Walk Like a Man will completely break your heart, Roman’s happily-ever-after is worth it. So sweet!

Roman is innocent and loyal, and the way that Matt interacts with him just warms your heart. All of the books that I have read by Eli Easton, this one included, fall into the happy book category for me. These are the books I turn to when I am looking for a book to make me smile and swoon, the kind of book that when you get to the end you feel like letting out a contented sigh…warm and fuzzy, comfy-cozy-type books.

Roman questioning Lance when things came up that he didn’t understand had me cracking up. Seeing Lance stutter and stumble through trying to help his friend, but being so embarrassed he had trouble getting the words out, and having to either hand the phone to Tim or find his pen fascinating, were some of my favorite scenes.

This was definitely a slow burning romance between Roman and Matt, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed…dare I say, even more than How to Howl at the Moon?

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You can buy How to Walk Like a Man here:

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3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Skylar M. Cates

Review: A Guy’s Thanksgiving by Skylar M. Cates

Amazon

Amazon

Title: A Guy’s Thanksgiving (The Guy Series)

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count: 126 Pages

At a Glance: I have mixed feeling about A Guy’s Thanksgiving, but I did enjoy the story for what it was.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb:  Two proposals. One giant dog. Reunited lovers.

Welcome to Glamour, Arizona, where the holidays are never dull. Glamour may be a small town, but the surprises keep coming.

Everybody’s looking forward to Thanksgiving. Only Mac Sharma is a reluctant guest. Even as Anthony and Dean make him feel welcome at the Carrino table, Mac feels awkward among the close-knit group of friends. Life gets even more complicated when Conor Harvey shows up in town.

Mac has been in love with Conor since his university days. Too bad Conor broke his heart—right before he fled to his hometown in Ireland without explanation. Conor’s still a wild artist and as sexy as Mac remembers. But they’re no longer kids. This Thanksgiving, Mac must decide if he can give Conor a second chance.

Dividers

Review: When I read the blurb for A Guy’s Thanksgiving, my first reaction was, “Awesome! We’re getting Mac’s story!” I really have enjoyed this series and was thrilled for whatever was next.  So, as soon as I received the book I jumped right in…and then my mixed feelings about the book started.

While we get Mac and Conor’s story, we also get follow ups and continuations of the relationships from the previous couples in the series. Now, I as did say that I really do enjoy this series, what is my issue, you may ask? The problem is I felt that the split focus took something away from Mac and Conor’s story and that they got cut short, so we missed out. I enjoyed what we did get with this book, but I just felt we could have gotten so much more if the storyline hadn’t been divided up among the other couples.

I was happy to get to see the proposal and the previous couples living their happily ever afters, though, and am not wishing we didn’t get those updates, because I do love a good follow up, but I wish it would have been separate from Mac and Conor’s book, as I felt the story bounce around a bit, and I couldn’t really focus on what was going on with the new relationship, not with so much else going on.

So, as much as I like this series and Skylar M. Cates’ writing, and I did enjoy the story for what it was, I was also left feeling a little disappointed in the end.

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Interlude Press, Melissa Graves, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Tainted Heart by Melissa Graves

Amazon

Amazon

TitleTainted Heart (Mi Corazón Sangrante Series: Book Two)

Author:  Melissa Graves

Publisher:  Interlude Press

Pages/Word Count:  244 Pages

At a Glance: I’m looking forward to the next book in the series to see how everything unfolds, but didn’t love this one as much as I did the first.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  A year after meeting and falling for a young, mysterious vampire, Dr. Brian Preston is now living and working side-by-side with Kyle Hayes for the agency guiding vampire-human relations at a secret underground facility. As the couple adapts to the demands of Brian’s career tending to vampires, Kyle’s return to school and the needs of their evolving relationship, a dangerous conspiracy puts everyone they know and everything they have been working for in danger.

Dividers

Review:  So, I saw something online about a free book recently, and since funds have been kind of low lately, I checked it out. That book was Bleeding Heart by Melissa Graves, and I loved it! Since I saw it was book one in a series, I immediately went right into Tainted Heart, but to be honest, I wasn’t all that happy with the first part of the book. I kind of wanted to maybe punch Kyle, but I got over it…well, mostly.

I liked that in this book we got more info about the world this group lives in, and some background and insight into some of the other characters we have met in the series. The only real problem I had with Tainted Heart was that it dragged at times.

I loved the interaction between Kyle and Brian, but there were a lot of subplots going on and on. Was it all interesting? Sure, but it was just a little too much for me, and a couple of times I found myself skimming a little bit. When I realized it, I forced myself to go back and reread just so I didn’t miss something, though what I found is that I didn’t really miss anything.

Overall, I am glad I read this book and will be looking forward to the next one in the series to see how everything unfolds. I just didn’t love Tainted Heart has much as I did Bleeding Heart.

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You can buy Tainted Heart here:

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4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Jessie G., Reviewed by Karen, Self-Published

Review: Safety in Numbers by Jessie G

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Safety in Numbers (Sizzling Miami: Book Five)

Author: Jessie G

Publisher: Self-Published

Page/Word Count: 241 Pages

At a Glance: I truly enjoyed the way Jessie G developed Safety in Numbers, a well-rounded story of the four guys, as brothers and friends, and as couples.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb:  “Bros stick together no matter what.”

When Chris and Liam made that promise, they had no idea how important it would become or how it would be tested in the most brutal way. Nine years later, their bond cemented in blood, that relationship is all they have to hold on to.

“No matter what happens, this friendship will be the one constant we can count on.”

When Billy and Owen made that promise, they knew exactly how dangerous the world could be. They survived prison by protecting each other and they survived freedom by holding that promise sacred. Now they want more than just to survive and they want it from the brothers whose bond is as strong as their own.

“We are stronger together than we’ll ever be apart.”

When Owen reaches his breaking point, Chris jumps at the chance to make things right for all of them. With the future in their grasp, will they realize their strength is in their numbers and finally become the family they crave?

Author’s Note: This is NOT a foursome, but the story of two couples that needed to be told together.

Dividers

Review: When I originally read the blurb for this book, I had some reservations about its focus being on two separate couples. Knowing what I did from reading the previous books in the series, I kind of got the reason for it, but I usually prefer the focus of my books to be on one relationship. I was afraid it would take something away from the storyline, or I’d feel as if I’d missed out on something, but that was really not the case with Safety in Numbers. It quickly becomes obvious that there was no way to tell these characters’ stories separately. Although not a foursome, as the blurb states, they really are a unit.

I truly enjoyed the way Jessie G developed this plot, a well-rounded story of Chris and Liam, and Billy and Owen, as both brothers and friends, as well as their relationships as couples. I honestly felt as though I got even more out of this story than I would have were the focus only on one pair. We also get little glimpses of characters we have already met and loved, as well as meeting a few new characters who all keep the story flowing.

This book ended with me being satisfied with where it took me, and looking forward to what is to come. Safety in Numbers is my absolute favorite in the series so far!

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You can buy Safety in Numbers here:

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, John Inman, Reviewed by Karen

Review: John Inman’s Greatest Hits Bundle

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Title:  John Inman’s Greatest Hits Bundle

Author:  John Inman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  978 Pages

At a Glance:  I am happy I gave this new-to-me author a shot and picked up the bundle.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Hit author John Inman presents five novels of romance, from tongue in cheek to seriously chic—Shy: Funny what a couple of guys can accomplish when they’re crazy about each other. Not even nine hundred chickens can stand in the way of true love.—Loving Hector: Hector’s evil ex is dead set on holding on—even if it means kidnapping Hector to keep him from Dill forever! Now Dill has to pull an army together to rescue Hector, and just where the hell is he supposed to find an army? Gads, if only Dill could write books this interesting!—Hobbled: Danny had plans to come out this summer—maybe even get laid! He doesn’t have time for ankle monitors and serial killers! Then ginger-haired Luke Jamison moves in next door. Gee. If Danny can survive it, this summer might not be so bad after all.—Serenading Stanley: Welcome to the Belladonna Arms, a rundown little apartment building perched atop a hill in downtown San Diego, home to the city’s lost and lovelorn. While Roger tries to batter down Stanley’s defenses, Stanley turns to his new neighbors to learn about love.—Spirit: Toss a murder, a hot young stud, an unexpected love affair, and a spooky-ass ghost with a weird sense of humor into Jason’s summer plans, and you’ve got the makings for one hell of a ride.

Dividers

Review:  I’ve had a few of John Inman’s books on my Amazon wish list for quite a while, but they kept being pushed back by others, and I just couldn’t seem to get around to them.  When this bundle came up, I realized that a couple of the ones on my wish list were included in the bundle and thought, well, now I can knock them all out at once.

I was a little worried at first since I hadn’t read anything by this author that I was going to start reading and not like the writing style or something, and then have five books to read. Lucky for me that was not the case.  As I was finishing each book I would think, I think I like this one the best…until I finished the next one. I will say if you aren’t a fan of insta-love, these might not be the books for you, but even if you aren’t a fan, I would give them a try because the writing is amazing. I was laughing out loud a good amount of the time I was reading.

The pace of all the books is pretty quick, so they were easy, fun, enjoyable reads. I am happy I gave this new-to-me author a shot and picked up the bundle. Now a couple more John Inman books have been added to my wish list, with the Belladonna Arms books moving right up to the top.

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You can buy John Inman’s Greatest Hits here:

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5 Stars, Draven St. James, Genre Romance, Loose Id, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Lost in the Fire by Draven St. James

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Title:  Lost in the Fire (Firehouse Six: Book Five)

Author:  Draven St. James

Publisher: Loose Id

Page/Word Count:  178 Pages

At a Glance: I’m greedy and love the series that much!

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Aaron Evans embodies every complication Wren Tucker knows he doesn’t need. The tempting go-go dancer refuses to leave him alone and his attempts to get into Wren’s bunker pants don’t stop at the club–even the walls of the Firehouse aren’t safe. Wren’s control is only so strong, and his desire for Aaron is turning into a clawing need that’s digging through the many reasons keeping Aaron at bay.

Aaron is two cold showers away from hypothermia if the hot fireman of his dreams won’t give in to the lust he sees blazing in Wren’s eyes. The only issue is, Wren is a forever man, and Aaron doesn’t have that in him to give, not with so many secrets locked behind the glitter and gold of his beautiful world.

As Wren begins to cave to Aaron’s delicious demands, he gets a deeper view of the tarnished landscape Aaron exists in. A murky pit of drug addiction that’s slowly dragging Aaron under, and Wren is going to have to fight like hell to save Aaron from it, to even have a chance at a new beginning with the man who brought him out of the shadows.

Dividers

Review: I held out on reading this series, wasn’t going to do it, but pretty much every time I went on Facebook, someone was commenting about it or recommending it, so I gave in and got the first book.   And then, later that night, I bought the second book…and then the third, so you get the picture.  I love this series.

I was so happy to get Wren and Aaron’s story, and it definitely took a different turn than I was expecting. They were so sweet together, but I think you get a little bit of everything with this book. It’s not only sweet but sexy, angsty, happy and sad—it pretty much took me across the board. I thought there were some situations in the book that maybe weren’t the most realistic scenarios, but honestly, unless it’s crazy-over-the-top (and even sometimes then), it is a book, and I am usually using it to escape reality.  So, as long as it flows with the story, I am alright with it, and in this case, until I saw other comments it didn’t really even cross my mind.

The only issue I really did have with any of the books in this series, including this one, is that I wish they were longer…not because the story isn’t complete but I just want more…so, not really an issue with the book. I’m greedy and love the series that much!

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Serena Yates

Review: The Model by Serena Yates

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Title: The Model (A Workplace Encounters Book)

Author: Serena Yates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count: 125 Pages

At a Glance: The Model is a cute, sexy, and quick read.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb: When successful fashion model Fabio Bonardi discovers his first wrinkle, he knows it’s time to move on to Plan B. He is tired of the loneliness and drama of the modeling world, so he enlists shy financial advisor, Edwin Zachary, to help him start a business. Edwin is the first man who sees something beyond a pretty face in Fabio, and the connection between them is immediate and surprisingly deep. But insecurity, fear of rejection, and the fact that they live on opposite sides of the country make pursuing a relationship challenging. Before they can figure out the details, a mysterious stalker tries to drive them apart. Then Fabio disappears after a photo shoot, and both men face an unexpected battle for the lasting relationship they both so desperately want.

Dividers

Review:  I have read four or five books in this series now, and I think they all kind of follow the same basic pattern; although, I will say that I did like the guys in this one a little more than some of the others.

I’ll be honest, there are quite a few things that I don’t think were really believable in this book, or seemed a little farfetched to me, but I find that the more I’m enjoying a story, and find myself cheering for the guys, the more I’m able to let the not so believable stuff pass. As with all the other books in this series (or at least the ones I’ve read so far), The Model is a cute, sexy, and quick read. Each of the books are complete standalones, so you can just breeze through them in any order when you’re looking for a good book and have an extra few hours to read.

These guys are super sweet, and I enjoyed watching them get their happily-ever-after. I’m looking forward to getting to the rest of the Workplace Encounters books.

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You can buy The Model here:

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3.5 Stars, Bailey Bradford, Paranormal Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Karen

Review: A Subtle Breeze by Bailey Bradford

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Title:  A Subtle Breeze

Author:  Bailey Bradford

Publisher:  Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count:  94 Pages

At a Glance: For me, there just wasn’t a whole lot that stood out one way or the other in this book.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Ezekiel Matthers and Brendon Shanahan are about to find out that sometimes all it takes is a subtle breeze to shift the winds of fate.

Ezekiel Matthers is a reclusive man, forcing himself into the exile of his ranch after a violent assault left him wounded. While the scars on the outside have faded, the damage inside is much harder to conquer. Zeke resigns himself to a solitary existence, aside from his sister Enessa and, of course, his mama’s occasional visits.

Brendon Shanahan has a very meddling cousin, Gloria, who is best buds with Enessa Matthers. When the two women convince Brendon that he should hook-up with the reclusive Zeke, a plan is hatched that sets a series of events into motion – with potentially deadly consequences.

Can Ezekiel conquer his fears and accept what Brendon is offering? Or will Brendon walk away, giving up on the love he has waited for? And will the visits from Zeke’s mama – deceased for four years now – help the two men find their way to each other?

Only time will tell, and that may be the one thing the lovers don’t have, because someone is out to destroy everything Zeke and Brendon hold dear – and this time, the bad guy just might succeed.

Dividers

Review:  Alright…so, this book wasn’t great for me. It was good, it was alright, I was entertained, and now, this is me struggling a little with the review because for me, there just wasn’t a whole lot that stood out one way or the other in this book. I finished it and was just kind of like, “Eh, okay, it was alright.”

If you don’t like the whole insta-love thing (that doesn’t really bother me much, so no issue there for me), then this book will definitely not be for you.  There is a lot of sex, like from two-and-a-half minutes after they meet, through the rest of the book…again not really an issue for me. Sometimes that’s exactly what I am looking for, and the sex was good.  The issue was that I don’t think we got enough background on the characters, especially Brendon, so I never really felt like I got to know him.

There were also a couple of things that came up that we don’t get answers for – like Zeke’s sister. She’s married to the preacher and is crazy. Okay, that works for me, but then her harassing the other sister her whole life, to the point she had to leave town…but harassing her about what? Was this to just point out that the sister has always been crazy and evil? It just left me confused.  And then there is the spirit, I thought it was done well, it isn’t crazy and over the top, but I guess I just expected that to be a bigger part of the story than it was.

With all that said, will I continue reading the series? I’ll probably give the second book a shot and see if it does a little more for me, but, unfortunately, I am just not as excited about it as I was before going into A Subtle Breeze.

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Mine by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Caleb Dickinson

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Amazon US

Title:  Mine

Author:  Mary Calmes

Narrator: Caleb Dickinson

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  7 hours and 8 minutes

At a Glance: I love when a good narration is able to bring a story I already love to life, making me love it that much more.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Trevan Bean has a job that’s going from illegal to frightening, a boyfriend who may not be in his right mind, and a guardian angel who might actually be evil incarnate. Add to that the reappearance of his boyfriend’s estranged family, death threats, kidnapping, and the struggle of saving money to realize a dream, and Trevan has a lot on his plate. But Trevan is up to the challenge: he promised Landry a happily ever after, and Landry’s going to have it if it kills him! It just might. Landry Carter was a broken doll when they met two years ago but has grown into a partner who can stand at Trevan’s side… most of the time. Now that Trevan’s life just got scary – and Landry just got himself kidnapped – Trevan has to hope Landry’s love stays strong through this newest challenge, because the happily ever after won’t happen if Trevan has to go it alone.

Dividers

Review: I have so much love for this story, it is absolutely one of my favorites by Mary Calmes. Mine is the first narration I have listed to by Caleb Dickinson, and I really enjoyed it. Well, for the most part.  There were certain parts where Landry’s voice made me cringe and pulled me right out of the story.  I get the crazy and dramatic way Landry is, and that the narrator was really trying to get that to come across, but I think Landry’s voice was maybe just a little overdone, dramatic and crazy in some parts. It seemed to happen more in the beginning of the audiobook, and I was a little concerned, but as it the story went on, it got better for me. Though, I’m honestly not sure if the over-the-top narration didn’t happen later in the story, or if I was just so into it by that point that I didn’t notice. I am glad I stuck with it, though.

On the other hand, Trevan was spot on and exactly how I’d heard him in my head when I first read the book. The secondary character voices were also distinct enough to let me know when one character was speaking as opposed to another.

I love when a good narration is able to bring a story I already love to life, making me love it that much more.

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You can buy Mine here:

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E-book review from March 7, 2012 can be found HERE

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2 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.A. Mitchell, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Put a Ring on It by K.A. Mitchell

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Amazon US

Title:  Put a Ring on It (Ready or Not: Book One) 

Author:  K.A. Mitchell

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  204 Pages

At a Glance:  I’ve really enjoyed other books by K.A. Mitchell, but unfortunately, this one just didn’t do it for me.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  Kieran Delaney-Schwartz—adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed-slacker IT guy—lives his under-the-radar life by the motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet, until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via an NYC Times Square flash mob.

Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms….

Dividers

Review: When I read the blurb for this book, I was really excited. I’ve enjoyed other books by K.A. Mitchell, but unfortunately, this one just didn’t do it for me. I found that I didn’t really like any of the characters…well, maybe not that I didn’t like them as much as I felt no connection to them. There have been a lot of books I’ve read where I found myself not liking a particular character, or even a main character, but I almost always come around. There is usually some kind of explanation behind the actions that turns it around for me, but I just didn’t get that with this book.

We are introduced to the four friends in the Prologue, and as I read on, there was nothing about them, other than a loyalty between them, that appealed to me. The back and forth about the marriage decision seemed to drag on, with no real explanation as to why the characters were acting the way they were, and the brief mentions of how they felt didn’t really put it into perspective for me.

There isn’t any real backstory about Theo and Kiernan’s relationship prior to the proposal, either, and it was hard for me to understand what it was they saw in each other. I didn’t feel invested in their relationship and kept waiting for everything to come together, but, in the end, Put a Ring on It just didn’t work for me.

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3.5 Stars, Kathryn Sparrow, Loose Id, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Alpha Coder by Kathryn Sparrow

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Title:  Alpha Coder (Geek Pack: Book One) 

Author:  Kathryn Sparrow

Publisher:  Loose Id

Page/Word Count:  251 Pages

At a Glance:  A lot of side-stories happening alongside the main plot were a bit too much.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: As the second son, Liam Reed never expected to be a werewolf Alpha. He preferred to develop software for Soft Corp, but when his brother Jason died in a car accident, their father forced Liam to assume leadership of the pack. Liam plans to govern with compassion, instead of ruling through fear, but pack member Bradley Karr undermines Liam’s leadership, biding his time before challenging for Alpha. Tired of pack politics, all Liam wants is to program and find his mate, but he fears that neither is in his future.

When his mate, werewolf Cody Jones, starts working at Soft Corp as Liam’s intern, sparks fly. However, a relationship with Cody could get them both fired for fraternization. And, that’s not the worst problem. Cody doesn’t seem to accept Liam as his mate.

Liam’s only chance at happiness is to win Cody over while keeping their relationship a secret. But really, Cody would never stay with an introverted geek like him, an ineffectual Alpha failing to live up to his brother’s legacy. Would he?

Dividers

Review: Alpha Coder was a pretty good story. I got through it quickly, and it held my interest from beginning to end. I thought Liam was great, definitely not what I would have thought of when they mention that he is a geek—with the exception that he does coding, he didn’t come off as all that geeky to me, but regardless, I liked him. I liked him even more once he got together with Cody, who was so sweet.  I think the two complemented each other, and I liked how the relationship between the two developed.

The issue I had with the book was that there were so many things happening as side-stories.  There was Alice, and there was Julie; there was Bradley and issues with Liam’s dad and brother; and, of course, the Tiger HR guy.  I thought it was all just a bit too much. I find this is has been happening more and more lately with the books I’ve been reading, though, so it is possible it’s just me and that I’m happier with a simpler story.

Alpha Coder was good, and I will definitely read more from this author, but it just wasn’t great for me.

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3 Stars, Evernight Publishing, Genre Romance, L.D. Blakeley, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Opportunity Knocks by L.D. Blakeley

Title: Opportunity Knocks (Laissez Faire: Book One)

Author: L.D. Blakeley

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Page/Word Count: 149 Pages

At a Glance: It seemed that just when I was starting to get into Opportunity Knocks, and Gill and Tommy were finally getting together, it was over and I was left feeling that I’d missed out on something.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb:  Small-town security guard, Gill Martin, has lived in Mystique Pointe his entire life. His dating prospects are non-existent and he doesn’t particularly like his job, but at least it’s better than unemployment. Besides, he hasn’t got any better ideas.

Big-city artist, Tommy Hearne, knows exactly what he wants out of life: a successful art career and a successful relationship. He also knows that living in Liberty City is his best chance for pursuing both. Unfortunately, for him, neither of these pursuits seem to be panning out quite to his liking.

When Tommy and his misfit band of friends roll into town for the Laissez Faire, Mystique Pointe’s annual music & art festival, worlds definitely collide. A fiery tryst sparks more than just a lust connection, but what happens when the weekend is over?

Dividers

Review: When I read the blurb and picked up Opportunity Knocks for review, it sounded like something right up my alley, but unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into the book and connecting to the characters together.

I enjoyed the writing, and there were definitely parts of the book that I thought were great, but I really wanted more of Gill and Tommy actually together.  Now, when they were together things were sweet and super hot, but I felt there were too many other things going on. With a distance between them, on top of those other things, it was just a little too much for me, and I struggled to connect.

Then, it seemed that just when I was starting to get into the story, and Gill and Tommy were finally getting together, it was over and I was left feeling that I’d missed out on something.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked the characters, even the ones that I didn’t at first. By the end I was hoping to learn more about them. With this being the first in the series, I look forward to reading more from L.D. Blakeley, and learning more about Gill, Tommy, and this group of friends.

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, N.R. Walker, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Taxes and TARDIS by N.R. Walker

Title: Taxes and TARDIS (2nd Edition)

Author: N.R. Walker

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 94 Pages

At a Glance: All in all, Taxes and TARDIS is a really cute story about how good it can be when opposites attract.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb: Brent is a jock, Logan a geek, these men are a world apart. But if opposites attract, maybe it’s the differences between them that make it worth the fight.

Brent Kelly is a laid-back tradesman whose only concerns are drinks with friends and which man to bed next. In need of a new accountant to sort out his nightmarish shoebox of tax receipts, he’s referred to Logan Willis.

He doesn’t expect to be intrigued by the science fiction-loving, geeky guy with dark-rimmed glasses and a TARDIS-blue shirt. So his fascination with the soft-spoken Englishman surprises him, and their mutual attraction is completely unexpected. He most certainly never expects to fall in love.

One a jock and the other a geek, both men know the differences between them are vast and could cause problems. But in this opposites-attract erotic drama, maybe it’s the differences between them that make staying together worth the fight.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released under the same title. It has been expanded, revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

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Review: Yup I am a sucker for a jock and a geek story, and this one is a sweet, entertaining and steamy little short.

There wasn’t a whole lot of drama or angst, which is just what I was looking for when I started reading this one, though the Doctor Who stuff was a little lost on me since, honestly, I have never seen a single episode. But, it didn’t take anything away from the story for me (although, now I do want to watch it. After I do will probably go back and do a reread of this book to see what, if anything, I may have missed out on).

Brent and Logan’s embarrassment and fumbling around each other was pretty adorable and made me like them together even more. I thought the epilogue was awesome and really brought the whole story to together, seeing their HEA. I haven’t read a lot of N.R. Walker, but I am sure I will be adding more of her books to my TBR list after reading Taxes and TARDIS. I am not really a huge fan of shorter stories since I read pretty quick and find myself, regardless of how good the story is, wanting more. It was no different with this novella, but, all in all, it’s a really cute story about how good it can be when opposites attract.

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Skylar M. Cates

Review: Lovers, Losers, and You by Skylar M. Cates

Title:  Lovers, Losers, and You (Sunshine and Happiness: Book Two) 

Author:  Skylar M. Cates

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  220 Pages

At a Glance:  I loved the first book in the series, and the second absolutely didn’t disappoint.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: How can you lose one dream and still find another?

Owen King is a lonely history teacher who wants to be braver. So when Owen learns about the deceased brother he never met, he breaks free of his safety net and risks answers. Despite his loving, adopted family, Owen wonders if there are missing pieces inside of him. Visiting the seaside town of Ocean Vista, where his brother lived and died, will be no vacation.

Andrew Teagan wants to be a winner. After being dumped by his last boyfriend, Andrew is through letting others dictate his life. To prove that dreams are possible, he’s going after his ambitions full force. Having signed on for a cooking reality show, Andrew’s ready to make his small café into a sizzling success.

When Andrew aids Owen on the beach, what starts off as an act of kindness turns into a hot temptation. But can a sweet budding romance survive when the time comes for Owen to leave town? Both men must learn to trust each other if their love will conquer the miles between them.

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Review:  In the first book in this series, Here for You, I got my heart broken, and watched as this group grieved and suffered and started again. Lovers, Losers, and You, I think, builds on what started in the first book, and brings more hope and healing to the group. Or, at least a start.

I loved the first book in the series, and the second absolutely didn’t disappoint. After the emotional ride we experienced in the first book, and after reading the second book, I think it was pretty brilliant to have this second story be about Andrew and Owen. They really were a little more detached from the trauma that occurred in the first book, and I think gives our other guys a little more time to find their way (hopefully not too long, because I really want their stories, soon! :-))

There is definitely some angst, and not everything works out how they want. Things aren’t all happy and perfect, but right from the beginning, you see that these two men are together through it all, standing side by side.  Although Andrew and Owen grew up differently, they share a strong loyalty to family that I think bonds them together even more, and shows even more how right they are together.  Oh…and OMG, the Skype sessions between these two are steamy…and when they are actually together, it’s pretty hot too.

My heart still broke a little for the others in the group, as some of this group of “brothers” fall in love, while others still seem to be falling apart, and I am looking forward to reading what will come next.

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