3 Stars, Daisy Harris, Genre Romance, New Adult, Reviewed by Sadonna, Samhain Publishing

Review: Twofer by Daisy Harris

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Twofer

Author: Daisy Harris

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 176 Pages

At a Glance: Not my favorite book by this author, but an interesting take on two guys who want to play the same role.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Bottoms up!

If a college freshman can’t get laid in sun-drenched Miami, he’s doing something wrong. Frankie Perez is determined to help his roommate get some man action in any way possible.

When Frankie’s arsenal of dating apps, fashion advice, and playing-hard-to-get lessons doesn’t work, he realizes Jeremy needs remedial help. Except tutoring Jeremy in the art of sex gets steamier than Frankie expected—and it scares the hell out of him.

Jeremy’s not sure why he’s wasting his time hooking up when he’s only got eyes for the slinky, sexy roommate he comes home to at night. But the hotter their chemistry simmers, the quicker Frankie dances away.

In near desperation, Frankie suggests the two of them team up to find a third to top them both, forgetting that two bottoms aren’t immune from lusting after each other. In a world where every man is an option, choosing one to love can be the sexiest risk of all.

Warning: Contains questionable morals, copious immature hijinks, an X-rated photo shoot, and disastrous threesomes. Sex toys were misused (but not harmed) in the making of this book.

Dividers

Review: Twofer is the thirteenth book I’ve read by Daisy Harris. I just loved her Men of Holsum College series and her Ivory Tower series as well. Both of those series also featured college guys who are figuring things out for themselves and making their way in the world, so I thought I would enjoy this one too.

This story, however, was a bit different than the others. Frankie and Jeremy are about as different as two people can be—background, personality, you name it. The one thing it seems they do have in common is that they are both bottoms. Jeremy, however, is a pretty sheltered guy and has zero experience with any guys. Frankie is VERY out and has a very active sex life, but he’s not into relationships at all. He does feel bad that Jeremy seems to not be any closer to finding a boyfriend, though, so he decides to help.

This is a case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions. The advice that Frankie gives Jeremy and his “help” seems to cause even more problems than Jeremy had to start with. Things get a little steamy and then a lot awkward between them thanks to Frankie’s ill-advised “help.” Frankie also becomes aware that maybe he’s not that interested in finding somebody else for Jeremy.

There are a few things in this books that some people won’t like, including additional partners for Frankie and Jeremy that they sometimes like to include. For those who want only the primary couple in their books and no extracurricular playmates, then this book is not for you. Personally, I had no issue with the way they conducted themselves because there was total honesty and agreement in their pursuit of fulfillment in their relationship. I also thought that part of the story was handled well.

The only niggling issue that I had with the story was Jeremy’s character. I felt like we don’t get to know him as well as Frankie, and I would have liked to have seen more of his story. With Frankie we get his family and his jobs and his social life, and with Jeremy we pretty much get school and his time with Frankie and his attempts to find a toppy boyfriend.

Overall, while not the strongest work from this author, Twofer is still an enjoyable read, particularly for the adorable Frankie.

 

 

 

 

You can buy Twofer here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
3 Stars, Charlie Richards, Extasy Books, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Not a Line of Bull by Charlie Richards

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Not a Line of Bull (A Loving Nip: Book Six)

Author: Charlie Richards

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 89 Pages

At a Glance: An interesting tale of a shifter that has been sequestered by an alpha who has very strange ideas about how to lead – and his rescue by his beloved.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Just a little love bite: The instinct to please your peers should never be stronger than your conscience.

Cassium Jones is closing in on his fourth century mark and over the years has held many roles, from farmer to soldier to vampire enforcer. Now, he’s ready to settle down in moderate relaxation…if working a cattle ranch can be considered relaxing. He loves the wide open spaces, the fresh clean air, and even tending the animals. Handling the maintenance and care for the Angus cows in the northern pastures offers plenty of solitude, and he should have been left pretty much alone. Instead, Cassium stumbles upon an injured Angus bull amongst the livestock, and realizes the bull is not only a shifter, but his beloved, his soul mate. Cassium learns Garth has been driven from his herd for disobeying a controlling alpha, leaving behind two young children. While Cassium is happy to help reunite the bull shifter with his kids, is he ready to take on the role of parent when all he wanted was to retire?

Dividers

Review: Note: Not a Line of Bull is book six in the A Loving Nip series, and while it’s helpful to have read the other stories in the series, this novella can easily be read as a standalone.

We met Cassium Jones in a previous installment of this series, when he becomes the unlikely hero in A Rose for Paul’s Protector and rescues the beloved of his cover master as he is going into “retirement” so that the humans don’t notice how he doesn’t seem to age.

As he’s repairing the fences in the pasture near his cabin, he sees and smells blood and recognizes it as not fully animal. He’s convinced it’s a shifter, and he locates the seriously wounded animal hiding in the herd. But, he knows he’s not a bull only, and he convinces the guy to shift, though he’s so injured that he can’t even remain conscious for the short trip back to Cassium’s cabin.

Cassium is somewhat adept at first aid, so he bandages up his guest as best he can. During bouts of consciousness, Cassium manages to get out of the bull shifter that his name is Garth, and he’s from a herd that is close by, but he’s obviously not in any shape to do much more than talk. It’s pretty apparent, really quickly, that Garth has been injured by his own herd’s enforcers, on orders from the alpha. Also, as Cassium gets to know Garth, he determines that he’s been very isolated from his herd and has some pretty farfetched ideas about not only shifters but other paranormals as well. He’s also very, very young compared to Cassium.

But the real surprise is that Garth has children, and he is extremely worried for them. Cassium explains to Garth a good deal about paranormals and the mate bond, and also confesses that he’s much older that Garth. Cassium decides he definitely needs backup, and contacts the head enforcer for his coven, and also their doctor since he’s still concerned about Garth’s injuries.

Of course, Garth’s herd is not content to just let him go, and once Cassium and his coven know children are involved, there is a concerted effort to make things right for Cassium and Garth.

These two are very sweet, and it was nice to see Cassium change as he realized what his life could be after all his years without his beloved. Garth is a sweet and naïve character who is a good man and a good father, and who knows a good thing when he sees it. :) Another enjoyable addition to this series.

 

 

 

You can buy Not a Line of Bull here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Poppy Dennison, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Dogwood Days by Poppy Dennison

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Dogwood Days

Author: Poppy Dennison

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 129 Pages

At a Glance: With snappy dialogue, cleverly written characters, a small town warmth and a blossoming love story, Dogwood Days is a delightful journey down America’s main streets.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Jefferson Lee Davis is happy with his life in the city until his favorite uncle has a bad fall and he rushes to Holly Creek to make sure Uncle Sherman is okay. Jefferson Lee knows how to navigate small Southern town’s politics and the residents greet him with open arms. Everyone but the town’s sheriff, Zane Yarbrough, that is.

Dogwood Days, the town’s biggest festival is looming, so Jefferson has to step up and take over his uncle’s job as the town blogger, even if that puts him right in the sheriff’s path. Quirky neighbors, meddling family, and a sassy best friend all come together to make Jefferson Lee’s life in Holly Creek a full-time adventure. When he loses his job back in the city, Jefferson Lee has to start a new job search that will take him away from the town he’s learning to think of as home. Will this big city boy find sweet romance in the arms of a small town sheriff or will the allure of the city call him back?

Dividers

Review: Jefferson Lee returns to his roots in order to help his beloved uncle after an accident left him with a broken leg and concussion. While his hometown has a definite place in his heart, the small town gossip and lack of privacy tends to drag a bit on Jefferson’s nerves. However, he agrees to help his Uncle with the town blog and the upcoming dogwood festival, and begins to settle in for the short term. Little does he account for a determined Sheriff who is clearly smitten, and a town who wants nothing more than to hold onto one of its own—especially since that one is Jefferson Lee, himself.

Author Poppy Dennison is a wizard at creating a sweet little town and inhabiting it with all manner of colorful people. We are not just given Jefferson Lee to discover, but his Uncle, his best friend Clover, the local diner owner, the town Sheriff, and the list goes on and on. Each one of these characters is so delightfully written, from nosy busybodies to fiercely loyal friends, and in the midst of them all is Jefferson Lee, who takes up the mantle of his hometown with grace and ease.

At its heart, Dogwood Days is a slice of Americana, with Holly Creek being the quintessential small town that turns out to be a sweet, close-knit community waiting to lure the reader in. Inhabited by delightful people who want nothing more than one of their favored sons to settle in and make his home there once more, Holly Creek becomes a clever little side character in this tender love story. It was so easy to understand why Zane would fall for Jefferson Lee. He was part crazed, part overfed, and part romantic all rolled into one. In essence, completely lovable and just down right nice to boot.

With snappy dialogue, cleverly written characters, a small town warmth and a blossoming love story, Dogwood Days is a delightful journey down America’s main streets. Don’t be surprised if you want to stay.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

You can buy Dogwood Days here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Charlie Cochet, Dreamspinner Press, Historical Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Release Day Review: Between the Devil and the Pacific Blue by Charlie Cochet

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Between the Devil and the Pacific Blue

Author: Charlie Cochet

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 60 Pages

At a Glance: A bittersweet tale from a favorite author that has all the elements I love about her writing: mystery, romance, style, history and above all, true love.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: For the last six months, Detective James Ralston has worked the nightshift as security for the Pacific Blue Hotel, and every night at 2 a.m. his rounds lead him to the radio room where the handsome and mysterious Franklin Fairchild sits listening to waltzes as old as the hotel itself. James is drawn to Franklin, but Franklin is a man at the end of his rope, and James has no intention of getting caught up in whatever trouble Franklin is in. A heated encounter late one night sends James down a disturbing path and has him questioning everything around him, including his very sanity.

Dividers

Review: Oh my! This is a delicious little nugget from Charlie Cochet that is full of surprises.

James Ralston is a former soldier and a former detective who is now in private security at a hotel in New York City that is long past its prime. The Pacific Blue no longer shines, but evidence of her former glory can still be glimpsed among the faded paint and moldings and furniture from days gone by. James patrols the hotel at night under the less than watchful eye of the manager – son of the original manager. Every night he stops in the radio room where the handsome but melancholy Franklin Fairchild listens to old music from the heyday of the Pacific Blue. James doesn’t want to offend the man, but he’s also worried that he’ll get drawn into something he doesn’t want to be if he engages with him.

Until the night that Franklin is NOT in the radio room. James gets worried and goes to look for Franklin – much against his better judgement. Once he finds Franklin, he discovers that he is more drawn to him than he ever thought. He also finds some things about Franklin quite disturbing – like the obvious abuse he has suffered at some point, which has left visible reminders. He tries to find out more about what he has uncovered of Franklin’s past, and why he’s resigned to his fate – only, he’s actually more confused by what is revealed. James is then convinced that he is losing his mind, and the more he tries to figure out what’s going on, the more baffled he becomes. He knows Franklin is the key, but he’s not sure how to resolve his questions.

I realize this review is a bit cryptic, but truly I can’t reveal any of the surprises, or it will ruin the story. Just suffice to say that nothing is what it seems and that there are reasons for what happens that are not at all apparent to James until the very end of the story.

Charlie Cochet adds some beautiful touches of old New York style and the beauty that once was the Pacific Blue, as well as her signature romantic style. Above all, this is a love story that will hopefully leave each reader with a little sad smile in the end.

 

 

 

You can buy Between the Devil and the Pacific Blue here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Genre Romance, J.H. Knight, Reviewed by Sadonna, Self-Published

Release Day Review: Another Shot by J.H. Knight

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Another Shot (Heartsville)

Author: J.H. Knight

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 74 Pages

At a Glance: Definitely recommended for fans of shorter works with some angsty moments and a happy ending.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: The town of Heartsville means something different to everyone who lives there. For Aaron Forester, it’s a gay-friendly buffer between himself and the rest of the world. After being outed in high school and bullied to the point of violence, his family uprooted their lives and relocated to the small hamlet. He’s moved on from all that and now owns a popular café in the bustling shopping district. But after twenty years of happy living, Aaron’s past creeps up on him in the most unexpected way.

Brad Collins only has one regret and he’s carried it with him since he was a teenager. When he moves to Heartsville and gets set up on a blind date with the most adorable, engaging man he’s met in a long time, he couldn’t be happier. But Brad didn’t expect the guy to be the person he outed in high school—whom he’s now falling in love with.

Aaron and Brad hit it off instantly—in and out of the bedroom. But after a long overdue apology and a small serving of resentment, is their fledgling relationship worth another shot?

Dividers

Review: Another Shot is another winner for author J.H. Knight. I had the pleasure of meeting her at GRL a couple of weeks ago and slightly gushed over The Last Thing He Needs. On the strength of that initial offering, I jumped at the chance to review another story.

Aaron is pretty happy in his life. Despite being outed as a teenager, which resulted in bullying so harsh his family moved, he’s made a good life in his adopted hometown. He has a loving family – mom and dad and sister Mandy. He has a profitable business. What he doesn’t have is a partner, but he’s been relatively okay with that. But now his BFF Justin is settling down, and Aaron thinks maybe he’s missing something.

His sister Mandy wants to fix him up, and while reluctant, he agrees. When he meets Brad, he thinks he’s died and gone to heaven. Brad is just his type and appears to be a good guy. He even likes children! They begin dating and Aaron is happier than he’s ever been. You know that means a shoe will have to fall. ;)

When Aaron’s parents are cleaning out their house, requiring their children to get their old belongings, Aaron stumbles on the thing that cost him his happy high school life. After Aaron and Brad spend the night together, we eventually discover that Brad is connected to this incident. When Brad confesses that he was there, Aaron does not react well.

I don’t want to be spoilery, so I will just say that there are some nice twists and turns in this story that lead to a very satisfying resolution. In a slightly unexpected way. There is an HEA, but both men have to work for it. It’s not necessarily about forgiveness, but it is about letting go and acknowledging the past without forgetting its impact.

Definitely recommended for fans of shorter works with some angsty moments and a happy ending.

TNA_Signature_Sadonna

 

 

 

You can buy Another Shot here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna

Audio Review: Sultry Sunset by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Audio Gem

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Sultry Sunset

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 1 hour and 57 minutes

At a Glance: My favorite installment of the Mangrove stories so far, which the narrator perfectly brought to life – a sweet and poignant story on many levels.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Hutch Crowley is well-liked in the small resort town of Mangrove—he’s got friends in his new neighbors, he’s the owner of the town grocery, and he’s building a community center—but he’s still unlucky at love. Every man he’s attracted to is either taken or simply not interested, including his best friend, Mike Rojas.

When Mike came to Mangrove two years ago, Hutch gave him a job and a place to stay in his guesthouse, where Mike has remained ever since. Despite the rumors circulating about them, Hutch knows Mike is straight and looking for the right woman. But his friends disagree, and after some hints to the contrary, even Hutch finally has to admit that maybe the rest of the town sees something he’s been missing. If Hutch wants to spend each sultry sunset with the man of his dreams, it might be time to figure out what’s going on with his best friend’s heart.

Dividers

Review: Hutch has been my favorite character in this series. I loved him in Blue Days, when he gets owned by Takeo and called off Dwyer. I loved him in Quiet Nights, with his almost date with Cosimo and his conversation/confrontation with Kelly. But I am so happy he gets his own story in Sultry Sunset. :)

Hutch Crowley is the owner of a local grocery – but it’s not your average grocery. He’s not your average guy either. One morning he wakes to hear someone crying on the porch of the house next door. He discovers it’s a young girl (his new neighbor, Ivy Dodd), and she is dejectedly sitting on the porch, locked out of her house by a thoughtless relative who has taken off and left her alone—with her father out of the town, her mother recently deceased, and, oh yeah, she’s just gotten her first period. To quote Eugene Levy from Splashed!, her reaction should have been “What a day I’m having!”

Luckily, Hutch is a very easy going guy, who was raised with lots of sisters, so he is in the know about what to do for Ivy and her issues. He helps her get back in her house, takes her to his store to get supplies, introduces her to Mike Rojas, his best friend and assistant manager, buys her a coffee, takes her to the local Wiccan store, and gets her lunch. Then, her dad calls. Seems her dad is the new Fire Chief, and he’s moving from Miami to Mangrove. He’s quite upset that his young daughter is running around town with a stranger, but once he hears her laugh, he’s okay with Hutch looking after her.

Hutch and Mike are best friends, but lot of people assume they are a couple since they are always together. We get the backstory on Mike’s up-to-now hetero life and the loss of his wife, his subsequent depression, and Takeo’s plotting to get him to stay in Mangrove by enlisting Hutch’s cooperation. I loved this part of the story – the “how they got to be such good friends” story.

There are so many perfect little moments in Sultry Sunset that really give the flavor of small town living. My mom grew up in a town of about 700 people, and my grandma continued to live there the rest of her life. She never lived more than 15 miles from the place she was born, and this is what it was like. I would love to visit this place. :)

Ivy’s father, Essien, returns to Mangrove and becomes friends with Hutch and Mike. He’s a good guy and he’s a good fit for the town. There is, however, some drama over Hutch’s pet project, the community center. This leads to a confrontation, and Hutch is briefly in a bit of hot water with the local constabulary. But, of course, Mike comes to his rescue – at the police station and beyond.

I seriously loved this story – just everything about it. There are appearances by characters from the previous books as well as some new characters that will hopefully be fodder for further stories in this world. I thoroughly enjoyed the narration of this story and look forward to more from this talented voice artist. I thought Mr. Tremblay did a perfect job of bringing this story to life.

Note: While this is the third in a series, it’s not absolutely necessary to have read the other stories, but it might add some context.

 

 

 

You can buy Sultry Sunset here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
3 Stars, Genre Romance, Jay Northcote, Reviewed by Sadonna, Self-Published, Short Story

Review: All Man by Jay Northcote

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: All Man

Author: Jay Northcote

Publisher: Self-published

Pages/Word Count: 44 Pages

At a Glance: Another cute and flirty story of an opposites attract variety, with enough surprises thrown in to keep us guessing.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: “You’re the sleek little sports car to my Land Rover.”

From the moment Gareth walks through the door of the salon to fit some new sinks, Jules can’t take his eyes off him. Jules has always been attracted to men who are his polar opposite, so burly Gareth is Jules’s fantasy man.

At the weekend, Jules gets into a tough situation with another bloke in a gay club and Gareth comes to his aid. Gareth rejects Jules’s subsequent advances but leaves him with the hope that his attraction isn’t completely one-sided. Fantasy could become reality.

With Gareth’s work at the salon nearly done, he’ll soon disappear from Jules’s life for good. Time is running out. Jules needs to prove to Gareth that he’s tougher than he looks and that his feelings run deeper than gratitude.

Dividers

Review: This story is a spin-off of Top Me Maybe? (published a few months ago). Julian, or Jules, as he prefers, is a coworker in the salon with Tyler from the previous story. He is a little bit envious of Tyler’s hot butch policeman boyfriend. But then he is distracted by Gareth, the guy who has come to fix the sinks at the salon. He is everything that Jules likes: big, hairy, muscles, etc. He flirts a little with Gareth on a Friday and then offers to trim up Gareth’s buzz cut. When Gareth leaves, Jules sighs but looks forward to his weekend out dancing and clubbing with his roommate Sacha, and hey, he’ll get to see Gareth on Monday when he returns to the shop to finish the job.

But over the weekend, Jules happily runs into Gareth at the club he goes to with Sacha. While Gareth doesn’t dance with him, they do run into each other again at a very fortuitous time. Won’t spoil the surprise, but it turns out Gareth and Jules have more in common than they ever thought they would.

This is a really sweet (but not sappy) story of two guys who are attracted but may be a little bit apprehensive about the reaction they might get. Both are willing to be somewhat vulnerable and honest and, in this case, that is a good thing. Recommended for a short story with a happy ending. :)

 

 

 

You can buy All Man here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

Standard
3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mel Bossa, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Where You’ll Find Him by Mel Bossa

Title: Where You’ll Find Him

Author: Mel Bossa

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 206 Pages

At a Glance: A compelling May/December story that has a lot going on, from an author who can write multiple generations and complex stories convincingly.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: During Pride week in Montreal, Wolfe learns the board is threatening to shut down the YBR queer community center. He can’t let this happen, not while he’s the director and responsible for everyone there. They tell him he’s just a kid, too young to handle these responsibilities, but Wolfe is determined to prove to everyone, including the rich family he left behind, that he’s strong enough to do the job, even if it leaves him with little time for love.

But then devastatingly handsome Gaspard walks up to the YBR stand on Pride community day. Freshly divorced and father to two grown children, Gaspard is finally out of the closet as bisexual, and single for the first time in thirty years. Gaspard falls for Wolfe in a way he’s not prepared for. But as relationships unravel, Gaspard resists his passion for a man young enough to be his son.

Wolfe has spent his life fighting for what he wants. And what he wants is Gaspard.

Dividers

Review: I was first introduced to Mel Bossa several years ago by my friend Laura, who convinced me to read a book called In His Secret Life. That book was compelling and tragic and convinced me that this was an author to watch. I have a few more of her books in my TBR pile, and they will be coming up very soon. :)

I really like that this story had both gay and bi characters. Both Gaspard and his ex-wife are bisexual, and they had negotiated a relationship that allowed them to explore their sexuality with same-sex partners within the context of their marriage – until his wife fell in love with another woman. Gaspard is devastated because his had been a happy marriage, and he has two children, Malena and Curtis, who deal with this revelation in very different ways – and for very specific reasons. Gaspard’s daughter lives with him. She worries that he isn’t happy and that he won’t allow himself to find anyone to be happy with. His son has a whole host of issues that have Gaspard tearing himself up with guilt.

On Pride day, Gaspard and Wolfe meet when Gaspard stops by the booth Wolfe is manning, and something about Wolfe sparks Gaspard’s interest. Wolfe is having a tough day, though, and he kind of blows Gaspard off even though he is definitely attracted. He’s got a lot going on in his head – from difficulties with his job, a troubling encounter with a coworker. Some old issues with his family, a relationship, and other bad experiences are plaguing him.

Malena gets a job in her field, and, lo and behold, Wolfe is her boss. So Gaspard and Wolfe “meet” again. She also begins to build relationships with her co-workers, including Zach, who has more than enough on his plate. But Malena also works on getting Wolfe and her father together. Finally, Wolfe accepts an invitation for dinner from Gaspard, and they have a great time.

As their relationship develops, they are both dealing with pretty big issues. Wolfe is trying to come to terms with an event in his past and trying to keep the YBR centre open, against all kinds of funding cuts and difficulties with the staff. Gaspard is working on his book and dealing with a myriad of issues with his wayward son, who doesn’t seem to want to grow up or tell the truth about much. As the story progresses, it seems that while Gaspard feels tremendous guilt, Curtis is a master manipulator who uses the situation to his advantage. Needless to say, I did not like Curtis at all in this story.

Things go from bad to worse with Wolfe’s job situation, his family, and then with Gaspard as well. The wayward son returns and completely throws a monkey wrench into everyone’s life. He really is a completely unlikeable character. While he does have some history, at 25, it’s a bit much to take, but I digress. The secret eventually comes out and we understand (though, don’t necessarily agree with) Gaspard’s guilt and Curtis’s borderline abusive behavior. Patterns are repeated – running away, sacrificing happiness, caving to manipulation. Finally, Wolfe and Gaspard get to a breaking point. But the question is whether or not the breaking point will separate them forever or bring them together for good.

In reading this book, I once again appreciated the author’s ability to let us empathize with characters who feel tremendous guilt for wanting to pursue their own happiness. For some reason, these characters feel that sacrificing themselves and their potential for fulfillment is somehow a betrayal of someone else – whether it’s a lover or a child – and somehow their own happiness is undeserved anyway. Personally, I’ve also struggled with this issue throughout my life, so maybe that’s why it resonates so much with me. Bossa also is able to write manipulators in a very convincing way. Having dealt with this personality type forever, I can feel it coming from miles away. Those characters are very distasteful to me – and that is certainly true about the son in this story. While some behaviors I might forgive in a child, once adulthood is reached, my patience runs out, and that was the case here. Maybe because I was old when I was 12, I have a very hard time with those characters who don’t take responsibility for their own lives. To me, it’s the sign of a good author and storyteller when I have visceral reactions – be they positive or negative – to characters.

That being said, there is a LOT going on in this story. There are many secondary characters that contribute to the mix, and I’m not sure that all of that additional background was necessary to the underlying story of Gaspard and Wolfe. I think I would have enjoyed it even more had it been tightened up a little, editorially, in the middle. Where You’ll Find Him is definitely recommended for Mel Bossa fans, and for those who like a character driven story with some angst.

 

 

 

You can buy Where You’ll Find Him here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Samhain Publishing, Z.A. Maxfield

Review: Crossing Borders by Z.A. Maxfield

Title: Crossing Borders (2nd Edition)

Author: ZA Maxfield

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 316 Pages

At a Glance: A delightful story of an unlikely couple who make us believe in the possibility of true love.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Two dudes walk into a bookstore…

Tristan knows he’s got issues. His latest ex-girlfriend knows it too. He can’t blame her for dumping him—even though she gets her brother to do it for her. Since he can’t stop staring at said brother’s package, he figures it’s about time to put a label on those issues. He likes guys.

He heads to a local bookstore with what he’s sure is a foolproof plan to find someone to show him what he’s been missing. But who should crash his little adventure? Officer Michael Truax, who gave him a really expensive ticket back in high school for skateboarding without a helmet.

Michael has been trying to catch Tristan for years…to give him a second ticket. Suddenly faced with “Sparky”, all grown up and looking to get laid, Michael’s protective instinct kicks in—and presents him with an opportunity that’s hard to resist. After all, the kid must know what he’s getting into, so why not?

But when a man with a plan connects with a man with a hunger, the result is nothing short of explosive.

Dividers

Review: So, first of all, I’ve already taken a LOT of crap from my friends because I hadn’t read this book until now. I know, I know *smh*. What can I say??? I have thousands of books in my library, literally, and my life keeps getting more and more chaotic, so I’m just doing what I can these days. :) In my defense, though, I have read eleven other Z.A. Maxfield books and I’m a HUGE fan. I knew I would love this book – even more than I loved the late lamented Borders. :(

When we first meet Tristan, he’s figuring out that maybe he has some exploring to do – as in, maybe he should be exploring guys and giving the whole girl thing a rest, since it doesn’t seem to be working for him. His grand plan involves setting up at the local Borders and trolling for a perspective “date” who can maybe show him the ropes, or at least a good time. The last thing he expects is to be co-opted by Officer Helmet – his nickname for the officer who gave him a very expensive ticket when he was in high school for skateboarding without one. A helmet, that is.

Turns out Officer Michael Truax (aka, Officer Helmet) has a nickname for Tristan too – Sparky – and not because of Tristan’s bright red hair. Michael is onto Tristan’s plan pretty quickly, and he’s not sure it’s such a good idea. He has a feeling Tristan has no clue what he is potentially setting himself up for, and he doesn’t like it. Especially when maybe Michael has another plan in mind.

Tristan is completely blindsided by Michael’s interest in him and at first, he’s really skeptical. But as he gets to know Michael, he cannot believe that this is the guy for him. They are incredibly hot together. Tristan may be a beginner, but he’s a smart guy and learns quickly. After spending a couple of nights and days together, it’s pretty obvious that this is really something special. While there are a few bumps in the road, mostly they get it right.

But Tristan has to be honest with his family – especially his mom, who is trying to hold everything together since her husband’s tragic and sudden death a couple of years before. The whole “Thanksgiving with the families” day is hilarious. There are some really funny moments with Tristan’s younger siblings, as well as some touching moments with his widowed mother, who is doing her best to keep moving forward.

Then a new tragedy strikes that casts a pall over Michael and Tristan’s love affair. There is a bit of interference from someone outside the relationship that may or may not be well-intended. Tristan is definitely overwhelmed by so many things that he’s not sure he can risk a future with Michael. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and plenty of support. And, he has Michael.

*Sigh* ZAM is truly a master of writing intimate family dramedy. As usual, her dialogue and the emotional IQ in this story is spot on. I so loved these characters and Crossing Borders sucked me in from the first page. Tristan and Michael, and their families and friends, feel like people you’ve known forever – and in a good way. :) If you haven’t read this yet, I highly recommend you do it right away. I mean, you don’t want to get crap from all your friends for being the LAST one to read this book, do you? ;)

 

 

 

You can buy Crossing Borders here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, N.R. Walker, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Book Blast Review and Giveaway: Cronin’s Key III by N.R. Walker

Cronin's Key Banner

Title: Cronin’s Key III

Author: N.R. Walker

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 193 Pages

At a Glance: Another gripping and wild ride for Alec, Cronin and their friends that has them hopping around the globe to once again save the world from the creatures that go bump in the night. :)

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: History isn’t always what it seems…

Twelve months after his change, Alec MacAidan is still getting used to his many vampire talents. While most vampires would give anything to have more than one supernatural power, Alec craves nothing more than peace and time alone with Cronin. But when Alec meets entities from outside this realm, he’s left powerless in their presence.

Zoan are half-lycan, half-dragon creatures that have slipped through time and reality, seemingly undetected by man and vampire. Or have they? They bear an uncanny resemblance to gargoyles, leaving Alec’s view on all things weird to get a whole lot weirder.

This new quest leads Alec, Cronin, and their band of friends to Paris, Rome, and Moscow, where they learn that gargoyles aren’t simply statues on walls. In the underground pits beneath churches all over the world, Alec discovers the Key’s true destiny. Facing the Zoan might take every talent he has. And he may need help from the dead to get them all out alive.

Dividers

Note: This is the third book in a series, and, as such, pretty much the whole book is spoilers for the previous installments. Not recommended to read these out of order.

Review: This story begins about a year after the events of Cronin’s Key II, and Alec, now the most powerful vampire ever in existence, is still trying to come to terms with all of his amazing powers that seem to manifest themselves. While cataloguing his many talents is getting pretty tedious, he understands the need to do so. He just wishes he could have some peace and quiet and more time on his own with Cronin – which he manages every once in a while. :) Everything seems to be going smoothly – until it isn’t.

In the midst of his own home, Alec is suddenly visited by 5 creatures who call themselves Zoan. But they are able to stop time, and no one besides Alec can see them because they are also frozen in time. This is very disconcerting for everyone, especially Cronin, because he perceives this as a great danger to Alec, particularly when the Zoan declare Alec to be their enemy.

Alec now has many gifts that come in handy – especially since he seems to be the only one who is able to see the Zoan when they stop time. But, by projecting what he sees to his friends, they are better able to help him formulate a plan to try to discover what and who the Zoan are, and, perhaps, how to stop them.

As usual, we have globe-hopping vampires who visit a number of historical places that may or may not have meaning and importance to the appearance of the Zoan. We hit Paris and Rome and Moscow, and my favorite place, Turkey! Turns out there are a lot of magical places on earth covered up by other things so that most of the humans are unaware of the deeper levels. And these levels seem to be portals that allow these creatures to emerge.

We also get a lot of mythology/history explained as remnants of old stories that are based in the earlier encounters with these monsters. They have wreaked havoc before and are back to somehow use Alec to claim a final victory. But our intrepid friends have a devil of a time trying to figure out how and why and where this will take place. Luckily, with his merry band of vampire friends – as well as some new friends – Alec and company race to the final confrontation with the Zoan, in a battle for control that is not to be missed.

I have to say that I for one am sad to see this series end, and I’m hoping we at least get some little visits along the way with Alec and Cronin – and their friends – because they are a great couple and I will miss them. The way the author has woven history and mythology together throughout the series, along with creating such an interesting cast of characters in these vampires (with a couple of humans thrown in), it has been really fascinating. I still think these would make great movies, with Alex O’Loughlin playing Alec. :)

Once again, well done and highly recommended for a guaranteed great time reading a fun, interesting and exciting story.

 

 

 

You can buy Cronin’s Key III here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Dividers

About the author: N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.

She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

Where to find the author: Website || Facebook || Facebook Author Page || Facebook Fan Page || Twitter

Dividers

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

One e-book from backlist, including Cronin’s Key III

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Dividers

Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Just Love Romance, Divine Magazine, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, My Fiction Nook, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Full Moon Dreaming, Bayou Book Junkie, MM Good Book Reviews, SA McAuley, The Blogger Girls, V’s Reads, The Jena Wade, BFD Book Blog, Carly’s Book Reviews, Reviews by Jessewave, Nephylim, Inked Rainbow Reads, Jessie G. Books, Iyana Jenna, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Molly Lolly, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Amanda C. Stone, Prism Book Alliance, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Kimi-chan, Up All Night, Read All Day, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Charley Descoteaux, Multitasking Mommas, Ogitchida Book Blog, The Novel Approach, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Velvet Panic

Dividers

The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*No residency restrictions 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

Standard
3 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna

Audio Review: Love Means… Patience by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Andrew McFarrin

Title: Love Means… Patience

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 5 Hours and 52 Minutes

At a Glance: Another in Andrew Grey’s beloved Love Means series, which introduces us to new former military characters and a new set of obstacles to overcome.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Years after his discharge from the Marines under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Cody Culver lives in a PTSD-induced world all his own. On a mission, under misconceptions that Geoff and Eli are the enemy, Cody breaks into their farmhouse but is quickly brought back to his senses by a frying pan to the head. After receiving much needed help in the hospital, Cody has nowhere to go. Luckily, kindhearted Eli knows just where to turn.

When Eli asks former Marine Brick Hunter to help, Brick isn’t sure he wants to get involved. But Brick has worked through his own PTSD, and like it or not, he owes Eli a favor. With Cody struggling to rejoin the real world and Brick agreeing to take him in, they discover they have more in common than either of them thought possible.

Though Cody tries to stay in the here and now, he sometimes flashes to unexplainable traumatic events—events that don’t fit his usual war zone delusions. As the “delusions” grow more frequent, it becomes apparent they might not be delusions at all. Cody may have actually witnessed a murder.

Dividers

Review: Note: This is book seven of a series, and while it’s not absolutely necessary to have read the previous books, it’s helpful for context of the setting and characters.

I have been addicted to this series since I discovered it over four years ago now. I read the first four books back to back, and have read each subsequent release. I love Geoff and Eli, and I’m always interested to see who will join the crew next.

Cody is a former Marine who has been discharged under DADT. He’s also suffering from a severe case of PTSD. He thinks Eli and Geoff are the enemy, and he’s on a mission. He’s cold and hungry and goes into the house to try to find food and defend against the enemy – but instead, he gets a frying pan to the head.

When he comes to, it’s obvious that he desperately needs both medical and psychological assistance, but as a homeless and rejected vet, he doesn’t have any resources. Eli, however, has a plan. He thinks Brick, a former military man himself, who has successfully dealt with his PTSD, may be able to help.

While Cody doesn’t have any real farm experience, Brick can certainly use help around his family farm, which he’s been able to keep running on his own – but just barely. Cody still has trouble discerning when he might be slipping out of reality, but Brick’s experience comes in handy. What Brick doesn’t tell Cody right away, though, is that he is also interested in guys. Brick is attracted to Cody but doesn’t want to take advantage of him in his current condition. He does want to help him get stronger, and if something else develops… well, that would be okay too.

Cody also keeps having flashbacks of something happening in an empty house that he’d bunked in sometime during the past winter, but with his PTSD and his inability to confirm a timeline, he’s uncertain if what he remembers is real or imagined. When it turns out to be real and there is danger for Cody, Brick, and their friends, it’s all hands on deck to the rescue.

I especially like the little details in this story that include a puppy, fun with Jakey, and nice cameos from the rest of the regulars in this series. This is a solid addition to the Love Means… series that fans should enjoy.

This is the first audiobook of this series that I’ve listened too, and I had previously read this book – although, it was over a year ago. I was pleasantly surprised by how the narrator brought out details that I had forgotten from when I’d read it. I especially liked his characterization of Brick. I wasn’t sure about his characterization of Geoff – he seemed a little bit too “Southern” to me, but truthfully, I don’t know too many people from that area, so he may be spot on and it’s just me.

 

 

 

You can buy Love Means… Patience here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
3 Stars, Charley Descoteaux, Dreamspinner Press, Paranormal, Reviewed by Sadonna, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: The Pinch of the Game by Charley Descoteaux

Title: The Pinch of the Game

Author: Charley Descoteaux

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 98 Pages

At a Glance: A really interesting, if slightly confusing, paranormal mystery and love story that read like a combination road trip/hot pursuit/screwball comedy.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Being a witch doesn’t mean one can beat the devil forever.

Jeffrey Overton, unemployed IT professional turned poker player, pushes his luck once too often and runs afoul of the host of an illegal card club. The man sent to escort Jeffrey to a “meeting” about his supernatural winning streak arrives at Jeffrey’s crappy North Portland apartment, lock-picking tools in hand and a charm to block Jeffrey’s magick.

Head muscle for said host, Mike Wells, is a Daisy from Daisyville. He isn’t a witch. What he lacks in magickal talent he makes up for in brawn, so he doesn’t expect the guy he’s after to overpower him. But once Mike renders Jeffrey helpless, he’d rather seduce him than bring him in.

Jeffrey and Michael ditch the “meeting” and end up hunting some of the same people they ran from, trying to get Jeffrey back into his own body. And that’s only part of the adventure. The pair travel halfway across the country on the quietest road trip in history and find missing people, empire-building witches, and maybe even the families they’d both thought lost to them

Dividers

Review: This is a different story than the other stories I have read by this author, in that it’s really a paranormal mystery/romance. It’s kind of a combination road trip/one long chase scene/screwball comedy in some ways.

Jeffrey has gotten himself in trouble by using his magic to win at cards. The house does not like this and sends the muscle to bring him in. But, the muscle, Mike, flips all of Jeffrey’s switches, and he’d really rather spend time with Mike than anything else. When they end up on the run together, Jeffrey makes a terrible miscalculation that poses great risk to both himself and Mike.

While on the run and trying to figure out just how to fix the terrible situation they find themselves in, Jeff and Mike end up hiding out temporarily with Mike’s family. There is also the little issue of Jeffrey’s missing mother, more muscle on their tails, and a possible double-cross.

The chase leads halfway across the country, from the home ground of Portland, and draws a bunch of other bad guys (and bad magic) along with them. They aren’t sure who to trust, who is after them, or who is really calling the shots. There are a lot of near misses and some big surprises. Overall, things got a lot more confusing before they became very clear.
I really enjoyed this story, but I wish it had been longer, with additional blanks filled in. The relationship between Mike and Jeffrey is really the heart of the story, and their interaction and dialogue is always energetic. But, at times, I felt like I was missing a couple of chapters here and there. I don’t like a big info dump, but I did feel confused when various characters just “dropped in” to the action, and there wasn’t enough detail for me to figure out what they were doing there, or who they were tied to, or what their part of the game was. It was kind of like walking into a movie 15 minute after it started, where the action that occurs that kicks off the whole movie has taken place and you’ve missed it. I felt like I eventually caught up, but at times the ride wasn’t smooth.

I have enjoyed Charley Descoteaux’s writing in the past, so I welcomed the opportunity to read another longer story. I feel like the author has a unique voice and perspective, and also bases a lot of the stories in my favorite US city, Portland, Oreg0n. Overall, I’d recommend for those who enjoy a good mystery with some romance and magic on the side.

 

 

 

You can buy Pinch of the Game here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
3 Stars, Charlie Richards, Extasy Books, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Driving Borscht Batty by Charlie Richards

Title: Driving Borscht Batty

Author: Charlie Richards

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 103 Pages

At a Glance: A cute story of a vampire and a bat (I see what you did there, Charlie ::heh heh::) discovering they are mates, and another adventure rescuing more captive shifters.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Out of the Cage: Sometimes dealing with unexpected events can drive you crazy…but that isn’t always a bad thing.

Borscht Kuznetsov is the master of his vampire coven. He likes his donors silent, his people obedient, and his life orderly. When an alarm on the northern outskirts of his property alert him to intruders, he leads the charge to drive the humans from his land. To his surprise, Borscht discovers they were chasing an Egyptian fruit bat. Confused by his sudden onslaught of protectiveness, he realizes the little creature is a shifter…who refuses to shift.

With his only memories that of his time spent in captivity, Sekani doesn’t know much. He can’t even understand the words of the people around him after he escapes from his prison. Still, one of them smells really good…and the man saved him from the hunters. When the man finally says a few words in halting English, Sekani learns that his world is so much larger than he could ever have imagined.

Can Borscht handle his beloved’s overabundance of excitement, especially when he learns that Sekani has friends that need rescuing?

Dividers

Review: We first met Borscht Kustenov in The Vampire’s Geek, number twenty-six in the Wolves of Stone Ridge series. Borscht’s younger brother Tullion is the protagonist in that story, but we meet the whole Kustenov clan when Tullion turns to them for help. We know that Borscht is a good guy who is happy that Tullion has found his beloved – despite him being a human male. Not all of the family is so understanding, however.

In this story, Borscht goes out to confront a disturbance on his property, and he discovers men hunting. He finds a small bat is their intended quarry. He’s overwhelmed with wanting to protect the little guy, and as he returns to his home, he realizes that the bat is a shifter and that he is most likely his mate – his beloved. But Borscht doesn’t even know what kind of a bat he’s found, and his little bat won’t shift.

After trying to communicate with him in English rather than Russian, it appears that the bat is finally understanding him, and he shifts. Turns out he’s an Egyptian fruit bat named Sekani, who has basically spent his whole life in a cage and been the subject of the scientist’s experiments that entire time. His only friends are other shifters who were also captives. Even though he’s obviously a mature bat and human male, he has no concept of many things – like eating with utensils, a refrigerator, a bed, many foods, etc. He doesn’t like many clothes, and he is very nervous around people and Borscht’s family at first. Borscht’s brother and sisters are kind to him, offering to teach him about all the things he missed out on, but mostly he just wants to be with Borscht. He doesn’t understand his desire or his reaction to Borscht either, and has to have sex explained to him.

Borscht is so kind to Sekani, and he doesn’t want to push him in any way. He adores his little bat, and he desperately wants to protect him. Sekani is worried about his friends, who were being moved at the same time he escaped, and so Borscht calls in the Stone Ridge team and we get to see Jared (YAY!) and company come to the rescue. We also get cameos by some of the other Stone Ridge pack, including Raul, Lyle (the monitor lizard shifting human), and Dr. Carmichael. There are some really intense moments as the scientists and hunters try to get to Sekani, but you know if Jared’s on the case, they’ll never win.

Borscht and Sekani are cute together, and there is a lovely little surprise with Sekani’s taste in clothing. Borscht also puts up with no crap from his homophobic brother, and determines that he’ll do whatever is best for his mate. All in all an enjoyable, quick, cute and quirky read about our paranormals; and any story that has any Jared in it is full of win for me!

For fans of this series, this is a fun one.

 

 

 

You can buy Driving Borscht Batty here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
3 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kim Fielding, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Phoenix by Kim Fielding

Title: Phoenix

Author: Kim Fielding

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 44 Pages

At a Glance: A poignant and ultimately uplifting story of second chances and renewed courage to experience love.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: First a soldier and then a diplomat, Juberi now spends his solitary days on a single ambition: trying to resurrect the phoenix, which has been extinct for centuries. He’s not pleased when he is obligated to attend a public ceremony in memory of an elderly friend and former colleague. But at the ceremony, Juberi meets the friend’s beguiling son, Desen. Despite being from a markedly different culture, Desen has much to offer. But after decades of denying his own desires, Juberi fears there is no alchemy that will reopen him to love.

Dividers

Review: I have to say I am a big fan of Kim Fielding’s writing – regardless of whether it’s fantasy, contemporary, historical, dystopian, short story, novel, or novella. I am always surprised by something, and happy that I decided to spend my time with her words, and this story is no exception.

Juberi is a retired diplomat and former soldier who now spends his days in his home lab trying to reanimate a phoenix. He pretty much keeps to himself and his house staff, and doesn’t have much of a social life. But he is required to attend a ceremony honoring a former colleague from his diplomat days, so he begrudgingly goes. After the ceremony, he meets Desen, the son of the former colleague. He is intrigued by Desen but also a little apprehensive because of the cultural differences.

Desen has heard much about Juberi from his deceased father, and flatters Juberi with his remembrances. He asks to see Juberi privately after the ceremony and although he’s still a little nervous, Juberi agrees. Desen is interested in a more private audience with Juberi to ask him a favor, so invites him to his residence. While he feels he can’t do what Desen asks of him, all of this sets Juberi to remembering his time in Desen’s land. He feels he is too old and too set in his ways to be of any use to Desen, or anyone else, really. But that doesn’t mean that he might not still be convinced.

I so enjoyed the interplay between Desen and Juberi. Their conversations and interactions were sweet and filled with longing and desire. It seems that maybe this meeting was destined after all. I also enjoyed Juberi’s relationship with Saura, his longtime servant. She truly has Juberi’s best interest at heart and takes good care of him.

I recommend this story for those who enjoy a short hot and sweet story about mature characters getting a second chance at finding something good.

 

 

 

You can buy Phoenix here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna, Tere Michaels

Audio Review: Cherish & Blessed by Tere Michaels – Narrated by J.P. Handler

Audio Gem

Title: Cherish & Blessed (Faith, Love & Devotion: Books Four & Five)

Author: Tere Michaels

Narrator: J.P. Handler

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 5 Hours and 46 Minutes

At a Glance: Two wonderful and insightful stories giving us more glimpses into the life and family that Evan and Matt (one of my favorite characters of all time) are building together.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Cherish

After several years of happy coupledom, Matt and Evan can relax in the knowledge that their little family has survived the worst of it. The two older girls are away at college, the twins have yet to fully hit teen angst, Matt is doing well with his part time security consulting, and Evan is about to be promoted to captain—it seems like things are calm and bright.

Until they aren’t.

As the holidays approach, Evan and Matt get a shock no parent is ever prepared for: feisty Miranda, Evan’s eldest, has a new boyfriend, Kent, and they are talking marriage after just three months together. In fact, Miranda wants to bring him to Thanksgiving dinner—along with his parents, Blake and Cornelia.

Blessed

Lives are in transition as everyone gathers at the stunning Hamptons beach home of Daisy and Bennett to celebrate the christening of their new baby. Griffin and Jim—secretly growing tired of their rootless lifestyle—are in a rocky spot in their relationship. And as the godfather, Griffin finds himself yearning for something he’s sure Jim won’t be interested in.

Fatherhood.

Matt and Evan are looking to reconnect during the long weekend, as their respective careers pull them in separate directions. With less time spent together, Evan grows concerned about what will happen when the last two kids leave the nest.

Dividers

Review: This combination of two shorter episodes in the lives of Evan and Matt gives us more insight into how they are adjusting to combining their households and lives. Once again, Matt is the standout character for me in this series. He is the real glue that holds this couple and this family together, much to the chagrin of Miranda. He calms Evan, takes charge when needed, backs off when things get too hot to handle and pretty much absorbs the shockwaves of this family.

Matt and Evan have moved to a new house and have settled pretty comfortably into their lives together. Matt’s got his work and he still takes on the bulk of the household and child care responsibilities. His relationship with the twins is good, and he’s still closest to Katie. Of course, Miranda continues to be a thorn in everyone’s side. But never has she purposely tried to ruin everyone’s holiday and, in the process, potentially sacrifice what might be a solid relationship. As someone who has been through some pretty tense family holidays, I couldn’t help but shake my head at her antics (well, more like throttle her – not unlike my reaction to my own family, at times) and congratulate Evan and Matt on how they handled the whole situation. The other kids all get gold stars for doing their best to diffuse the uncomfortable circumstances. Comic relief is once again provided by Evan’s partner, and she definitely has some of the great lines in this story.

In Blessed, we get to visit not only with Evan and Matt but also Jim and Griffin as they all visit Daisy and Bennett’s beach house for the christening of their daughter. Evan and Matt have taken their relationship to a new level and are looking forward to a weekend sans children! The packing for this trip is hilarious, and I continue to adore Matt.

Jim and Griffin are at a bit of a crossroads in their relationship and they are having some trouble expressing their desires to each other. Evan and Matt see this and try to help by talking to their respective friends. Matt helps Jim sort out what he’s feeling, and Evan helps Griffin realize that he has to be honest with Jim. In the end, everyone has a great time, big decisions get made, and there will be new plans on the horizon.

Finally, we also get to enjoy a weekend away for Matt and Evan with no distractions, no kids, no commitments to anyone else – just a focus on themselves. They get down to the heart of their relationship, and it’s really sweet. Evan still struggles with expressing his feelings, but he’s come a long way. These guys are so fun to watch grow together, and it’s nice to see them work through their relationship and continue to move forward together.

I continue to love this series and while I still hear some Canadianisms in the narrator, I really enjoy his characterizations. I especially loved it that at one point he pronounced khaki like cocky. ;) I’m guessing he must have taken Geoff Knight’s pronunciation course!

 

 

 

You can buy Cherish & Blessed here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
3.5 Stars, Clare London, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Dancing Days by Clare London

Title: Dancing Days

Author: Clare London

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 60 Pages

At a Glance: A lovely short story with characters who have made mistakes but are both older, and hopefully wiser, the second time around.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: The day Glen Carson loses his wallet is the day that changes his life. The wallet is returned by Aston Walsh, a man he hasn’t seen for twenty years. He and Aston had a passionate and intense romance when they were in their late twenties, and Glen thought their love would last forever. But his dreams were horribly shattered by a shocking confession from Aston, and they parted for good—or so Glen assumed. Now, two decades later, they’ve lived many years apart, created new histories, and built successful lives. Yet the spark between them is still there. Aston wants a second chance with Glen, but Glen is more cautious this time around. He has to decide if Aston’s regret is genuine, and if surrendering his heart to Aston again is worth the risk.

Dividers

Review: Glen is content with his life. He’s got a job at the local DIY shop he enjoys and is good at. He’s got a productive vegetable garden and a large, loving family. Sure, he still sometimes gets a twinge and misses Jack, his Kiwi ex-boyfriend, but he’s in for a real surprise when he forgets his wallet at the hairdresser’s, and it’s returned by none other than his closeted ex-lover from twenty years ago.

Aston and Glen, as it turns out, had an affair years before – while Aston was married and already the father of two – and the breakup had left Glen heartbroken. He’s also a doctor, who has returned home from London to clear up his mother’s estate, and he’s taken a local job for the time being. He’s finally gotten divorced, and his children are grown and on their own. He’s in need of a friend, and he convinces Glen to spend time with him – dinner, movies, plays.

Things seem to be going fine…until they aren’t. Aston doesn’t mean to hurt Glen, but he still doesn’t understand the impact of their first relationship and what their breakup did to Glen and his sense of self. With Glen’s well-meaning family, and some well-placed declarations, hopefully Aston and Glen will make the right decisions this time around.

I love stories about second chances – especially when the characters are of a “certain age” – not unlike many of us in the real world. Such is the case with this little gem from Clare London. While it’s disappointing to be somewhat invisible after certain milestone birthdays, maybe there are second chances out there for some of us. ;)

 

 

 

You can buy Dancing Days here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
3.5 Stars, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Sadonna, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Valentina Heart

Review: Two Hearts One Voice by Valentina Heart

Title: Two Hearts One Voice (Mending the Rift: Book Three)

Author: Valentina Heart

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 95 Pages

At a Glance: The long-awaited ending to a series that should satisfy fans of Merin and Rin.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: They are at war, fearing for each other, both carrying the upbringing of their children and the survival of their country. They are kings.

With the future of the throne secured, Rin and Merin still have little time to rejoice for their children or the unity of their kingdoms. Stuck in the middle of a battlefield, their lives prove to be once again at risk, Rin heads out on a long journey home with his heirs, leaving Merin to lead their army.

Rin receives his rightful title of a king from the Kari council and for once feels as if he belongs on the throne without Merin there to guide him. Missing his husband, he raises their children the best he can, but there’s no end to the war in sight and, after months of futile conflicts, Rin sees Merin cut down in battle.

Distraught and with no patience for his council, Rin threatens the Riki, making even his own men fear him.

Can Rin cope alone and still win the war, or will his sorrow mark the end of his reign?

Dividers

Review: Note: This is the final book in the Mending the Rift series. It is definitely recommended that they be read in order.

Finally! I remember when I read the first book in this series – I was having a 7 hour test at Northwestern Hospital to determine if I would have to have surgery, and between the times I was strapped to a machine I had time to kill, so I started this series. I had totally missed the part where it was the first in a series, and was so mad at the ending! But then book two came along, and I was somewhat mollified. Then the long wait – but not the author’s fault. This series was left in limbo, thanks to the original publisher going under and leaving a huge mess in its wake. Luckily, Pride Publishing came to the rescue, and we finally have an ending to this saga.

Two Hearts One Voice takes place immediately after the end of Owner of My Heart, the second book in the trilogy. Rin has finally given birth to the new heirs, and they all seem to be thriving. While the birth takes a toll on Rin, he is recovering nicely and has help to care for the children. Rin has needed to stay close to Merin during the pregnancy and birth to recover his health and strength, but now there are too many dangers as they remain in the battlefield, and it’s time for Rin to take the children back home.

Once Rin and the children arrive home, Rin assumes his rightful place on the throne and truly serves as an admirable ruler. His daily communications with Merin, raising the children and dealing with the running of the kingdom at home, seem to agree with him, and he is more confident than ever. The children are adorable and a handful, but he does have competent help.

While Merin continues to lead his men in battle, things are never stable at the front, and when Rin sees Merin wounded during their daily communication, he cannot get through and has no idea if Merin is dead or alive. This drives Rin into action, and he vows to either broker a peace or engage in a scorched earth policy. He demands a meeting with the Riki king, and won’t take no for an answer. His power and his magic seem to surge with his fury over Merin’s attack, and he simply refuses to accept defeat. However, he’s unprepared for the price of the potential peace, and he’s not sure he can make the required sacrifice for his husband, his family, or his kingdom. I don’t want to spoil the story, so I will leave the synopsis here, because it’s an interesting dilemma that is best not revealed too soon.

I really liked seeing more of Rin on his own, with his children, and running the kingdom at home. He’s been through so much, and with the love and confidence gained through his true marriage to Merin, he finally is comfortable with the mantle of power that he has rightfully earned. Merin is, as usual, pragmatic and thoughtful and still deeply in love and full of admiration for the strength and beauty of Rin. He dotes on his children and never forgets his duty to his kingdom. He is in awe of the steely determination he sees in Rin. They are a perfect combination and deserve every happiness together.

I’m a little sad that the series is over because I’d really love to see what happens with the next generation. Maybe we’ll get a new series starring those characters sometime in the future.

 

 

 

You can buy Two Hearts One Voice here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
3 Stars, Genre Romance, Jay Northcote, Reviewed by Sadonna, Self-Published, Short Story

Review: Top Me Maybe? by Jay Northcote

Title: Top Me Maybe? (BFP: The Secrets Collection)

Author: Jay Northcote

Publisher: Self-published

Pages/Word Count: 33 Pages

At a Glance: Cute short story that has characters acting against type, and loving it.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Duncan has a secret fantasy, but is Tyler the right man for the job?

Tyler’s new policeman boyfriend, Duncan, is gorgeous. Tall, broad, and über-masculine, he’s the epitome of the dominant top—in appearance at least.

When they discuss their sexual fantasies, Duncan confesses to a secret desire that surprises Tyler. Luckily for Duncan, Tyler’s happy to oblige and is determined to give Duncan a night to remember.

Dividers

Review: I have enjoyed Jay Northcote’s writing thus far, and this is no exception. Top Me Maybe? is the story of Duncan and Tyler. It’s a bit of an opposites attract sort of story in that Duncan is a tall, dark and handsome, brawny policeman who is rather freshly out of the closet, and Tyler is a hairstylist with blonde hair and a slender build. Together they have a lot of fun in their month of dating, and Duncan is a sweet and gentle man who is a wonderful top for Tyler.

One evening, as they are sharing, Duncan confesses that he does fantasize about being topped, and to Tyler, who has always been versatile, this is music to his ears. But will this work? Is Duncan serious about it, and what if he doesn’t like it? Tyler has a few fears, but he’s willing to put them aside to give Duncan what he needs and move their relationship to the next level.

Both characters are sweet and gentle with each other. They communicate in a warm and honest way that makes us root for them. They show genuine caring for each other and want to give each other what they need. I found them to be delightful together. It’s definitely a short and angst free read – recommended for anyone who needs a quick fix of the happy.

 

 

 

You can buy Top Me Maybe? exclusively at Amazon:

Standard
3 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Hollis Shiloh, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: The Sea Calls My Name by Hollis Shiloh

Title: The Sea Calls my Name

Author: Hollis Shiloh

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 70 Pages

At a Glance: A sweet and slightly angsty fantasy of young love and destiny.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: He lost his magic. How?

Returning to the bookstore by the sea, Daniel worries about how to tell his father that the money he saved to send his gifted son to magic school was a waste.

Daniel buries his secret under the pretense of coming home for a vacation. Then he meets Leaf Springfield, a beautiful young man who’s been systematically beaten down by his uncle.

Irresistibly drawn to one another, they learn they share more than a love for raw fish and the ocean—both have lost a mother, and their ties to the ocean may be more fantastic than they can imagine.

Passion explodes between the two. It terrifies Daniel how quickly his feelings for Leaf grow. There may be more here than meets the eye—about both of them

Dividers

Review: I enjoyed this sweet and slightly angsty story of young love between Leaf and Daniel.

Daniel returns from school feeling like a disgrace and disappointment because he seemed to have lost the magic that had him leaving home to learn and train. He does, however, feel much better once he is home and close to the ocean again. The taste of raw fish and the comfort of the ocean smell and breeze and sound bring him comfort, even though he is ashamed to tell his father that he is home for good. Daniel’s father is happy to see him and have him home, and doesn’t press him about school.

Daniel meets Leaf at the fishmonger’s and then discovers his father has hired the boy. They hit it off right away and are drawn to each other and the sea. Leaf’s uncle beats him, and Daniel is bereft when Leaf leaves at night – something he doesn’t really understand. He manages to get Leaf back, but not without doing something that will bring them trouble.

Leaf moves in with Daniel and his father, and both of them go to work – Daniel with his father at the bookstore and Leaf with a fisherman. They spend all their free time together and can’t seem to bear being apart. But, of course their happy idyll is broken by the arrival of the authorities, who accuse Daniel of misusing his power. That might be the end of everything for Daniel and Leaf, and the wizards are confounded by what they find out. The stress of the situation pushes Daniel to say things he regrets, and Leaf takes matters into his own hands. Luckily, Daniel’s father is a very smart man, and he keeps Daniel on track and they are able to make things work together.

There are a lot of sweet and romantic moments in this story with just a small dose of fantasy elements to make things interesting. Leaf and Daniel are two young men who in many ways are quite sheltered and so their instant and nearly overwhelming attraction is shocking to them. How they deal with that very fast bonding and the reality of their situation makes for an engaging tale.







 

You can buy The Sea Calls My Name here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
2.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Karen Stivali, New Adult, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Moment of Clarity by Karen Stivali

Title: Moment of Clarity (Moments in Time: Book Three)

Author: Karen Stivali

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 114 Pages

At a Glance: A slightly disappointing final chapter to this story that I wish I had enjoyed more.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Spending the summer together on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, challenges confront them at every turn.

As they search for their new normal in their old environment, Collin’s brother Sean surprises them with help when they need it most. But when word about their relationship gets out, trouble erupts with friends and family. When Collin’s relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brother’s custody battle and Tanner struggles with his feelings for a heartbroken Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone he cares about would be better off without him in the picture.

In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear to Collin that their love for each other is all that matters.

Dividers

Review: Note: This is the final installment of a three novella arc, and as such, is full of major spoilers for the first two books. Definitely not recommended to read out of order.

In this last chapter of Collin and Tanner’s story, the boys return from their angst-ridden summer on Fire Island. They have spent some time at Tanner’s mom’s place and haven’t been alone for a week! Then, they get to their college and discover that they will not having housing for a couple of weeks because of a fire. They really don’t want to be stuck in a crowded gym on cots, and it just so happens that Collin’s brother, Sean, decides to reach out to him. He is experiencing a marital separation and along with having plenty of room, feeling guilt over how the rest of Collin’s family has treated them, and needing some help with his kids, he volunteers a place for the guys to stay until their dorm is ready.

All is well until the wife who cheated on him decides she hasn’t made Sean and Collin suffer enough, and decides to try to turn the situation to her advantage. I found this character to be a bit cartoonish, and she is only a vehicle to move the story along with the guys once again facing a housing crisis. Wendy has not forgiven them for the events on Fire Island (which I had a hard time with her blaming them, anyway), but she does come through.

Eventually the guys make their way back to the dorm, and then, of course, there is some overblown drama there as well. Honestly, unless it’s a Bible College, I found this kind of reaction from fellow students did not ring very true to what I am led to believe to be the case (by my nephew and other college students of my acquaintance). Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I kind of was rolling my eyes at the events of the dorm confrontation. Most colleges have a nondiscrimination policy, and if ANY student reacted this way, they would be asked to leave. Even when I was in college – back in the dark ages – and granted I went to a music and liberal arts college (although there was also a big science and business colleges as well), it wasn’t a big deal and everybody got on with their lives.

As a result of the some of the backlash, then Collin decides that he has to do something to try to make things right. This is where I had the most trouble with the story, I guess. No spoilers here, but Collin’s plan and Tanner’s reaction just seemed pretty trite to me. I did, however, love Tanner’s mom. She’s a lovely character and I would have liked more interaction with her and the boys.

I’ve really struggled with this entire series. I’m not a fan of these novellas being strung together over the space of several months. I also think with the pricing of $4.99 for each, it’s a lot to pay for what is essentially one novel length story told in three parts. When you compare it to something like Amy Lane’s Beneath the Stain, it rather pales in comparison from a volume/price standpoint.







 

You can buy Moment of Clarity here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Isabelle Rowan, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Snowman by Isabelle Rowan

Title: Snowman

Author: Isabelle Rowan

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 276 Pages

At a Glance: An enjoyable if rather slow paced and unexpected romance between two very different men who each need to break out of the ruts they find themselves in.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: We all find ways to run away. Some do it in seclusion, others in the arms of lovers.

Since the death of his long-time partner, Caleb Maguire lives a quiet life in Australia’s Victorian high country with only his dog and horses for company. Each day is the same. There are no surprises—good or bad—until a major snowstorm hits his mountain and Caleb is called out to rescue a stranded tourist. The late night snow brings with it a lost soul who forces Caleb to reassess his solitary life.

Paul Turner is a barista in the trendy Melbourne suburb of Carlton. He lives life totally in the moment, but a life of no commitments is about to change for this city boy. Three days is all it takes for Paul to fall hard for Caleb, and Paul returns to the city with a promise he’ll be back after turning his life around… but only when all the roads are clear.

Dividers

Review: I requested Snowman for review based on my love for Isabelle Rowan’s story A Note in the Margin, which to this day is one of my very favorite first M/M reads. I see a lot of the same quality of writing in this story, which is also not an easy one for her characters.

In this novel, two vastly different personalities are thrown together for a few days when Paul leaves his friends in a snit and drives off the road in a snowstorm, and Caleb literally rescues him from probable, if not certain, death by hypothermia. Caleb can tell that Paul is much younger than he is, and that he lives a very different lifestyle. He tries not to be too judgmental, but frankly, Paul is a bit of a sullen and spoiled prick who needs to figure out a few things in life. But they are stuck with each other until the weather clears and Paul can get down off the mountain and away from Caleb’s remote spread.

For his part, Paul is not too thrilled to be away from the party lifestyle and most certainly, his roommate and other mates for his weekend away. Caleb expects that Paul will make himself useful, although to be honest, Paul is not sure he is very useful at first. He is a barista and doesn’t really have much experience in life doing much except his job and partying and picking up guys. He does, however, have a dream; although he’s not very confident that he’ll ever achieve it. He really loves to cook and would like to be a chef someday. He determines that he’ll pay Caleb back for his hospitality by cooking for him. Caleb is pretty impressed and encourages Paul to follow his dream.

Paul figures out that Caleb is gay as well, but he sees no evidence of anyone else in Caleb’s life. He also observes a pervading sadness around Caleb. Besides his dog and his horses, Caleb keeps daily interactions with any other people to a minimum. When Paul steps over a line, he must find a way to make amends with Caleb and get him to understand that he meant no harm and really is interested in Caleb.

Eventually the weather clears, and Paul must return to his life down the mountain and back in the city. He vows to be back, though, when he’s gotten his life together. Caleb doesn’t want to dare to hope. He is still reeling from the loss of his partner, and he’s not sure he has the will to go on and get close to anyone else.

The second part of the book is told largely in parallel, with Caleb still on his mountaintop and Paul back at sea level. We learn a great deal about both during these chapters, including Caleb’s epic love story that ended tragically, and Paul’s devotion to his friend and roommate Stewart. Caleb’s family tries to help him move on, but he’s not convinced that Paul is the one. Stewart wants an epic love, and he’s willing to endure almost anything to get it. Paul really wants to try with Caleb, but he’s not sure he’s up to the task.

Several tragedies and missed communications occur that serve to drive a wedge between Paul and Caleb just when it looks like their fledgling relationship might be getting off the ground. It takes the intervention of family and friends to help them both recognize what is going on, and they are each going to have to take a huge leap of faith if they want to try to be together.

All in all, I enjoyed this story. These two guys really had to work for their HEA. I wish the section of the book where Caleb and Paul were separated was a little shorter because it felt like it took forever for them to be back in the same place and the same time. But, I really liked the portrayal of the fear and insecurity of both men. After the loss of an epic love, it’s fitting that Caleb is afraid to try again. Never having experienced a real adult love, it’s also understandable that Paul is a bit lost and nervous about how to proceed.

I loved Caleb’s sister-in-law and family! Sarah totally hits it out of the park. It was really rewarding to see these guys evolve and get past their issues. Recommended for anyone who enjoys a thoughtful and slower paced love story between two very different men.







 

You can buy Snowman here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, N.R. Walker, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Self-Published

Review: Cronin’s Key II by N.R. Walker

Title: Cronin’s Key II

Author: N.R. Walker

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 195 Pages

At a Glance: Another wild ride with Alec and Cronin and the rest of the vamps. This is what the Indiana Jones movies would be like if Indy were a gay vampire!

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: History isn’t always what it seems.

With the battle of Egypt behind them, Alec and Cronin are enjoying the thrill of new love. Though fate doesn’t wait long before throwing them back into the world of weird.

They know Alec’s blood is special, though its true purpose still eludes them. And given Alec’s inability to be changed into a vampire, Cronin is free to drink from him at will. But the ramifications of drinking such powerful blood starts a ripple effect.

With the help of Jorge, a disturbing vampire-child with the gift of foresight, Alec and Cronin face a new kind of war. This time their investigations lead them to the borders of China and Mongolia—but it’s not what lies in the pits beneath that worries Alec.

It’s the creator behind it all.

In the underground depths of China, amidst a war with the Terracotta Army, they will find out just what the Key is, and what Alec means to the vampire world.

Dividers

Review: Note: this is the second in a series, and it’s recommended to read in order as much of Book I is a spoiler for Book II.

This series is a madcap romp of paranormal action/suspense and romance! Alec and Cronin have survived one near-miss in Egypt that nearly cost them a very good friend and their own lives. They return to Cronin’s Manhattan condo to luxuriate in their new relationship, but, of course, that can’t last long.

When out for a night of fun with other vampires, it seems that something strange is happening to Cronin, and it looks like it might be traced back to his new life with Alec and Alec’s blood. In addition to the changes in Cronin, it seems that there are more mysterious occurrences around the world that lead them to suspect the work of rogue vampires. Yet another historical figure turns out to be a long dead vampire who is brought back to seek Alec’s blood in order to wreak havoc on the world.
Along the way we meet some more vampires with incredible gifts. Cronin and Alec and their friends must solve the mystery of Alec’s purpose and what the true meaning of his blood and what exactly he is the “key” to, all the while dodging the assassins and kidnappers who seem to dog their every move. Everyone near and dear to Alec is in danger during this adventure. Cronin is distraught at the possibility of Alec being in mortal danger. They are so attuned to each other that it’s obvious that any harm to one will result in catastrophic harm to the other. Cronin wants nothing but to protect Alec and Alec wants nothing more than to resolve the problem in a way that will save both of them. Once again the climactic scene brings us full circle, with astonishing surprises and unforeseen revelations about Alec and his past.

This story had even more surprises than the first installment, in my opinion. I really liked how Alec and Cronin’s relationship changed in this book, and, as a result, led them to being an even stronger couple. The mysterious child vampire, Jorge, really added a fascinating and unexpected component to the story. His gifts and talents were amazing! In addition, there were more history lessons and creative twists on the known accounts of the Chinese terracotta army that made the story just that much more fun.

This series is highly recommended for those who like action, adventure, history, creative paranormal elements and hot, hot smexiness. I cannot wait for the next chapter!







 

You can buy Cronin’s Key II here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna, Tere Michaels

Audio Review: Duty & Devotion by Tere Michaels – Narrated by JP Handler

Audio Gem

Title: Duty & Devotion

Author: Tere Michaels

Narrator: JP Handler

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 5 Hours and 21 Minutes

At a Glance: A really engaging and enjoyable follow-up for Evan and Matt from Faith & Fidelity, as they – and their relationship – continue to evolve.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: After their happily ever after in Faith & Fidelity, Matt and Evan move forward to a new chapter of their lives — inside the bedroom and out — with some surprises in store for both. Evan struggles with labels and feelings, even as he wants to give in to his baser desires. Matt, now the ideal househusband of Queens, New York, has his own set of struggles — who is he now? What does he need and want?

A visit from his friend, and one-night stand, Jim Shea (of Love & Loyalty), throws everything into disarray as Evan’s jealousy and unease push Matt’s buttons — and not always in a good way.

Dividers

Review: Note: Duty & Devotion is book three in what is, so far, a five book series. I don’t recommend reading/listening to this one until you’ve at least read book one, as there are numerous spoilers. It’s not completely necessary to have read book two, but I would recommend reading that one before reading/listening to book four.

Let me start by saying that Matt Haight is one of my favorite characters in the genre. I love, love, love his personality. The contrast between Matt and Evan is part of what makes this couple so much fun. Evan is still, in some ways, very uptight, but Matt, with his wit and charm and ability to push Evan, keep them going. While I think both of them have some fears about their relationship and what it means – for their careers, the kids, the future – Matt is able to sense Evan’s reluctance and help him over the humps of living.

In this book, Matt and Evan are together, they have moved to a new house, Miranda is in college, and Katie and the twins are at home and taking the majority of Matt’s focus. He has built pretty solid relationships with these kids. Evan continues to work too much, and in some ways he takes Matt for granted – realizing, even as he’s doing it, that he is repeating the patterns of his relationship with Sherry. He also seems to have a pretty jealous streak that comes to the fore when it comes to Matt and his friendship with Jim Shea. He can sort of deal with it when Jim stays on the West Coast, but when he comes to town with his boyfriend Griffin, this brings up all kinds of issues for Evan.

While he agrees to dinner with Jim and Griffin, he definitely doesn’t deal well with the situation. He’s jealous of Matt’s relationship with Jim, and finds himself dealing with other very new emotions when he’s around Jim and Griffin. A crisis that confronts everyone leads to a lot of revelations and epiphanies for Matt and Evan – some that will change their relationship entirely.

There continues to be a lot of humor and warmth in this series – mostly centered around Matt and his relationships – with the kids, Evan, his friends and new friends. Evan’s coworkers are still supportive and also add a good dose of reality checks and humor. Heavy moments, and especially Evan still dealing with so many mixed emotions, the chief of them being guilt, add to the drama of the story. But, as usual, there is a great balance of light and dark, humor and pathos, and fun and games.

The narrator continues to do a good job with the characterizations in this series. I particularly like his way of conveying Matt’s playful side, but he also imbues him with both serious and realistic traits as well. Highly recommended for lovers of this series.







 

You can buy Duty & Devotion here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
4 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Short Story, Vivien Dean

Review: Wild Fragile Vines by Vivien Dean

Small Gems

Title: Wild Fragile Vines

Author: Vivien Dean

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 13000 Words

At a Glance: This is a really beautiful and touching short story of a love that one man can’t let go, and the other can’t accept.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: When his boss’s twenty-year-old son announced he wanted to be more than friends, Tim Kammerling told him no. He wasn’t ready to have a relationship with someone more than ten years younger than him.

Devin, however, knew he couldn’t stick around Napa and honor the status quo. Instead, he left town, and he and Tim became long-distance friends.

Now, through the letters he’s kept over the years, clippings he’s collected, and the memories he’ll never shake, Tim stands on the threshold of a new beginning.

Yes, a lot can happen in eighteen years. Letters are sent. Calls get made. And lives are changed…

Dividers

Review: There is nothing better than a good short story that is emotional without being melodramatic. This is such a story.

Tim has had a rough life – always taking care of his loser father. He’s finally got a good job he loves and that he’s really good at. There is just one complication that comes up—Devin, the young son of the vineyard owner who is home from Berkley on holiday, declares his love for Tim. While Tim won’t lie about his orientation, he doesn’t advertise it either, and he certainly isn’t ready to take up with the boss’s son. They can be friends but nothing more. Devin is a musician, and he decides to drop out of college and moves to Seattle to get his career started.

But he keeps in touch with Tim, no matter where his life and music take him. This story is told largely in epistolary form, starting with Devin’s letters and, as the years go by, cell phone calls, texting and eventually emails to Tim.

What a beautifully poignant story of a love that smolders for many years before it can burn brightly. Wild Fragile Vines is highly recommended as a wonderful example of a complete short story.







 

You can buy Wild Fragile Vines here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard