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

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

Amazon

Amazon

TitleCross & Crown

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher:  Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  6 hours and 50 minutes

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

Reviewed By:  Karen

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Cross & Crown here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
4 Stars, Amber Allure, DJ Manly, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: On Bryson by DJ Manly

Amazon

Amazon

Title: On Bryson

Author: DJ Manly

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 39k Words

At a Glance: On Bryson makes for a fast paced, action packed, murders and secrets crime story.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A few years ago, Soren became involved with the wrong man, and all he wanted to do was get away from a life connected to the mob. But now, here he is yet again, right back in that world, running a nightclub called The Sand Dune for the Gambini crime family. Never does he expect to meet the love of his life there, let alone that the man who comes into his nightclub is a cop on a rampage trying to discover who shot his cousin.

But now that Sergeant Bryson Accurso’s at The Sand Dune investigating, Soren’s been given orders to “be on him” at all times. And after one look at the sexy lawman, Soren immediately realizes his orders will be far too easy for him to follow…and he intends to follow those instructions to the letter.

Dividers

Review: Sgt. Bryson Accurso is like a dog with a bone. He just can’t leave Sidney Gambini, drug lord, alone. His cousin Rickie was shot at his place of business, owned by Gambini’s godson, and Bryson is sure Sidney Gambini’s behind a lot of the events going on. Even though the shooter has been caught, Bryson finds it all suspicious and takes time off to strike out on his own to solve the crime. Bryson is very dedicated to his Italian/Irish family. With the loss of his mother, he has close ties with his father, Aunt and Uncle, and I loved the caring and rhetoric between Bryson and his father, who thinks everything is unnatural.

Soren’s character is sort of sad in a way. He came from a strict family environment, and was kicked out by his father at a young age. Soren was swept off his feet by Marco Gambini, which became yet another downfall for Soren. Soren is hot on Bryson’s heels, at Sidney Gambini’s orders. But Soren is hiding a secret from both Gambini and Bryson.

Bryson and Soren are just the best characters, they seemed destined to be a couple, though there are some snags along the way that kept them apart. I really liked Bryson’s character. DJ Manly gave him a really fun sense of humor.

On Bryson makes for a fast paced, action packed, murders and secrets crime story, with a touch of humor. For being a short story, it had a good plot and enough going on to hold my interest.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy On Bryson here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Jacob Z. Flores, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Karen, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Soul Struck by Jacob Z. Flores

Amazon

Amazon

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

Author:  Jacob Z. Flores

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  224 Pages

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

Reviewed By:  Karen

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

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

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Soul Struck here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: X Marks the Spot by M.J. O’Shea

Amazon

Amazon

Title: X Marks the Spot

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Send reality packing and just enjoy the ride.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Jack Hunter is always on a quest for lost art, ancient manuscripts, and anything else that’ll romance the millions of viewers who watch his show each week. He hasn’t always hit pay dirt in his searches though, and a string of empty global treasure hunts has left his show on the brink of cancellation. Jack needs a white whale, a holy grail, nothing less than a miracle to revive his career.

Aloysius “Alo” Green likes his ivory towers. He’s content to study from the comfort of a university library and publish papers nobody other than academics will ever read. But coded letters pointing to hidden Nazi treasure fall into his hands, and while colleagues warn him to keep them to himself, Alo can’t stop obsessing. He makes a huge mistake and publishes a paper on his find, ignoring the danger doing so will bring.

Jack is sure he’s struck gold when his assistant brings Alo’s paper to him. Alo wants nothing to do with Jack or his televised treasure hunt. But after Alo is threatened, it appears Jack is his best bet to silence those who seek to use him to find the vast wealth first.

By trusting Jack, Alo might’ve saved himself… or made his worst decision yet.

Dividers

Review: Alo is an academic—if he has his way he will stay in college forever, living at home and publishing papers on medieval history that no one but other academics will ever read. Working on his PhD, he longs for a job in some university’s ivory tower as far from everyday life as he can possibly get. Then his grandfather moves into an assisted living facility, and leaves Alo a stack of letters which hold a mystery no one has ever been able to solve. Alo’s life is tossed upside down when he publishes a paper on the letters, and all of a sudden, his life is in danger and apparently, there is stolen Nazi treasures to find. Alo may be a nerd, but he is a clever nerd and puzzles are a specialty of his.

Jack Hunter is an adventure seeking TV personality on a once popular show on the History Channel. If he doesn’t come up with a hook for a new show soon, its lights out for his onscreen persona. A quest for Nazi treasures is just what his career needs, and if it comes with the quirky Alo, more the better. Convincing Alo to search for the treasures is a whole different matter, but when Alo is confronted with bullets from the people who want to steal his letters, he decides finding the artifacts may be the only way to keep his family safe.

And this is where you send reality packing and just enjoy the ride, much as you do in an Indiana Jones film. Creative license is used in its entirety in X Marks the Spot, as the quest for the treasures takes you to country after country filled with iconic landmarks and old world charm. The treasure hunt is by far the most enjoyable part of this book, as I felt Alo could have been a bit more mature and embrace the opportunities and excitement around him. Instead, Alo went to all these wonderful places and experienced the thrill of the quest, all the while wishing he wasn’t there.

I didn’t really connect Alo and Jack Hunter together – the chemistry just wasn’t there for me. Take out the romance and you have a nice little adventure book. I generally love M.J. O’Shea’s work, but this book just fell a little flat for me. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a follow up of these characters, with Jack forcing Alo more out of his shell, and Alo uncovering more mysteries out there that need to be solved.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

 

You can buy X Marks the Spot here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4.5 Stars, Amber Kell, Love Lane Books, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Angel, RJ Scott

Review: End Street: Volume One by Amber Kell and RJ Scott

Amazon

Amazon

Title: The Case of the Cupid Curse/The Case of the Wicked Wolf (End Street: Vol. One)

Author: Amber Kell & RJ Scott

Publisher: Love Lane Books

Pages/Word Count: 201 Pages

At a GlanceA fun and often sweet twist on the paranormal genre.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Dragons, vampires, werewolves, fae, witches and one very confused human.

Sam, 100% human (no, really) inherits a crumbling building and a private detective agency from his Uncle.

Bob, a brooding stubborn and ancient vampire turns up at his door and refuses to leave.

Before Sam can say ‘I only want human cases’ he’s knee deep in werewolves, dragons, vampires and witches.

Book 1 – The Case of The Cupid Curse

Sam Enderson is a human detective who inherits a building from where his Uncle used to run a detective agency. He finds himself working for paranormal creatures despite his resolve to stick with humans only. To supplement his income as a new PI Sam rents out rooms in the large house.

Bob is a vampire and turns up on Sam’s doorstep to rent a room. Sparks fly and Sam is attracted to the vampire despite himself.

Sam is cursed by a witch, and has two cases landing on his desk. Werewolves, annoying ghosts and a grumpy gargoyle are enough to drive Sam mad. But somehow in amongst all of this he has to find a missing fae and a missing shifter child.

Book 2 – The Case of the Wicked Wolf

Naiads, humans, sirens and a challenge for Alpha make up the intricate story in the race to rescue the missing children.

Sam and Bob have more than just the case of one lost child to handle. Not only is Shelby Hartman missing, but other paranormal children have disappeared. The race to rescue the children is hampered by naiads, humans, sirens and a challenge for Alpha.

Hartman Hunter is desperate to find his daughter. He turns to the demon Danjal Naamah for help. The problem is that Danjal is the only person Hartman has ever loved—the man he let go for the sake of the pack…

Dividers

Review:  I really enjoy both Amber Kell’s and RJ Scott’s individual works, so finding this book, where both are involved, thrilled me. They have a similar writing style, and this joint project reads seamlessly. I almost don’t want to know who wrote which chapter, or how they did it, because I just loved the world they created.

The paranormal really isn’t out of the ordinary in this verse created by these two authors, and I loved how it meshed with the reality of the world. It was not a big deal to have a werewolf dance club as well a human one right in the same town. I also really enjoyed that the prejudices between the species weren’t glossed over. A few had made it past the boundaries to mix well with others, but there was still the stigma found in associating with other paranormals or even humans. There is also a message of tolerance and acceptance, too.

I almost felt really bad for Sam as he tried so hard not to get involved in the paranormal aspect of being a P.I., but he’s drawn in because his uncle was a bit unscrupulous. He handles it with panache, though, and doggedly pursues his cases to the end while adjusting to life with a cranky ghost assistant and a persistent vampire suitor.

Looking forward to the next cases, ladies, and thank you for an enjoyable read.

TNA_Signature_Angel

 

 

 

 

You can buy End Street: Volume One here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Historical Romance, Jordan L. Hawk, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Paranormal, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Release Day Review: Maelstrom by Jordan L. Hawk

TNA Page Turner Resized

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin: Book Seven)

Author: Jordan L. Hawk

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 268 Pages

At a Glance: Once again I am completely in awe of the talent and imaginative genius of Jordan L. Hawk.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Between his father’s sudden—and rather suspicious—generosity, and his own rash promise to help Christine plan her wedding, Percival Endicott Whyborne has quite enough to worry about. But when the donation of a mysterious codex to the Ladysmith Museum draws the attention of a murderous cult, Whyborne finds himself in a race against time to unlock its secrets first.

Griffin has a case of his own: the disappearance of an historic map, which quickly escalates to murder. Someone is sacrificing men in dark rituals—and all the clues lead back to the museum.

With their friends Christine and Iskander, Whyborne and Griffin must discover the cult’s true goal before it’s too late. For dark forces are afoot at the very heart of the museum, and they want more than Whyborne’s codex.

They want his life.

Dividers

Review: “Widdershins knows its own.”

Trying to write this review in any kind of linear fashion is proving to be impossible. I’m trying to stick to some kind of organized format, but my brain keeps jumping to the brilliance, the sheer brilliance, of chapter fifty-seven. Once again I am completely in awe of the talent and imaginative genius of Jordan L. Hawk. The entire book is extraordinary and mind-blowing – but chapter fifty-seven is indescribable. One thing I do know is that I don’t want to come down from this high; I want to wallow in this one for a bit. I truly think Maelstrom is my favorite of the series to date.

In this seventh book of the series, Widdershins, with its maelstrom of energy lying beneath the earth, is a hotspot for cultists far and wide, and our heroes once again find themselves smack in the midst of the goings on. The latest batch of books donated to the museum has brought all the crazies to the yard, and Whyborne and Griffin must, of course, work together to foil them before all is lost.

It should come as no surprise that one of the things I love most about Maelstrom is the continually growing relationship between Ival and Griffin. They are as in tune to each other as ever, and must draw on that closeness throughout the story. In parts of Hoarfrost, Griffin was in a rough place, and needed Whyborne to keep him from breaking apart – here, however, it is Whyborne who largely needs grounding and clarity. I love that turnabout and all of the different ways we get to see their love for each other. The tender, poignant moments toward the end (*cough* chapter fifty-seven *cough*) are magnified a hundredfold because of their ever-strengthening bond.

So, of course the love story is amazing…but you better believe that all the other Jordan L. Hawk trademarks are there as well. Action, peril, creepy creatures from the Outside, humor, and a razor sharp wit. Not to mention perhaps the hottest sex scene in the series yet. I actually thought my brain was going to explode. No joke.

I already mentioned the humor, but want to touch on it a bit more specifically. The magic of these books is obviously in the world building and the storytelling – but a part of that magic also has to do with the delivery. And Hawk nails the delivery every time. Whyborne has tons of great one-liners. Griffin has a new motor car, which is an endless source of comic relief. The wedding prep and talk that is peppered throughout the book is fabulous. And, I absolutely had to share this gem, from our dear Christine:

“We’re going to be married, damn it, and Whyborne is going to walk me down the aisle…It’s going to be perfect, even if I have to kill every one of these bastards myself!”

In short, Maelstrom is fantastic. I don’t know how the hell Hawk keeps making each book better than the last, but she does. She’s kept the series fresh through seven books, and I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve for the eighth! Coolest. Books. Ever.

TNA_Signature_Jules

 

 

 

 

You can buy Maelstrom here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Scotty Cade

Review: Veiled Loyalties by Scotty Cade

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Veiled Loyalties (Bissonet & Cruz Investigations: Book Two)

Author: Scotty Cade

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 148 Pages

At a Glance: Veiled Loyalties is a great sequel to The Royal Street Heist!

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Halloween is Beau Bissonet’s favorite holiday, from carving pumpkins to decorating his yard to donning a costume and scaring the neighborhood kids. But this year his Halloween is about to take a different turn, one that will challenge his skills as a detective and his commitment to his partner in work and love.

A year since Beau and Tollison solved The Royal Street Heist, found love, and formed Bissonet & Cruz Investigations, they are thriving personally and professionally. That is until Tollison’s ex, Bastien Andros, shows up out of the blue. Naturally, Beau’s suspicious, but two days after Bastien’s arrival, he goes missing, and Tollison worries his past may catch up to him.

A mysterious package makes clear who has Bastien and what’s at stake. With both Bastien and Beau’s lives now at risk, Tollison has only one option: travel to Zurich, Switzerland, secure and deliver the ransom, keep both men safe, and stay true to himself at the same time.

Dividers

Review: Montgomery Beaumont Bissonet, former Detective of the New Orleans PD, and Tollison Eduardo Braga Cruz, former art thief and Lloyds of London insurance investigator, have now opened their business—Bissonet & Cruz Investigations in New Orleans. Tollison’s thieving past comes back to haunt him when his ex, Bastien, shows up, and Heinrich Fussli DeMatteo contacts Tollison.  DeMatteo has threatened Beau’s life and is holding Bastien hostage for the return of a historical painting. Tollison feels a heavy responsibility to protect Beau and save his ex. Along with Tollison and Beau, Auggie and Bruce are off to Zurich with a plan to steal the Titania erwacht, von aufwartenden Fairies.

Scotty Cade takes us on a whirlwind adventure to Zurich, and into the intricate planning of the theft of the artwork.  Cade provides us with historical facts about the painting, and we see Tollison’s brilliance and expertise as a former thief, along with the support he gets from Beau, Auggie and Bruce. There are some very emotional moments from Beau and Tollison as their views of trust, lies, and past decisions threaten their relationship. Cade also gave Beau a “big kid” persona, as it’s his favorite time of year, and Tollison is just confused and amazed at Beau’s excitement. Iona Ball is back too, as assistant to Beau and Tollison. She is quite the character!

Veiled Loyalties is a great sequel to The Royal Street Heist!

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy Veiled Loyalties here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, L.B. Gregg, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa, Riptide Publishing

Release Day Review: With This Bling by L.B. Gregg

TNA Page Turner Resized

Amazon

Amazon

Title: With This Bling (Romano and Albright: Book Three)

Author: L.B. Gregg

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 264 Pages

At a Glance: Dan Albright and Caesar Romano are back and better than ever!

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.

Almost.

Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.

But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.

Dividers

Review: Oh, Caesar Romano, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1.) ALL OF THEM

It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for Ce and his big ol’ sexy Private Investigator lover Dan Albright to return to an e-reader near us, doesn’t it? The humor, the sex in somewhat super conspicuous places (Dan and Ce are just a wee bit kinky that way), the mystery and danger—did I mention the hilarity?—they’re all back and then some in With This Bling, and I’m beyond ecstatic to say it was worth the wait. Okay, a little less waiting would’ve been nice, but who’s happy now? Me.

Ce is now out of the art business and contentedly ensconced at Posh Nosh with his pregnant BFF Poppy (my grumpy spirit animal), who happens to be carrying the offspring of Ce’s cousin Joey. Why is this significant? Because a seemingly cursed (and kinda gruesomely acquired) ring, an appearance on a schmaltzy New York morning show, and the single most hilarious cooking segment on television all leads up to what was supposed to be an epically romantic wedding proposal. Supposed to… The thing is, where Ce’s involved, what’s supposed to happen and what does happen rarely are one and the same—so much shenanigans ensue, I swear. Trust me when I say it always makes for great reading, though, and this installment of the Romano and Albright series is no exception.

Of course, then there’s the woman who keeps rubbing her girly junk all up against Dan’s fine-ass form. What the oh-hell-no is up with that? Well, she’s a nasty blast from Dan’s past, and her hygienically challenged husband is a tad on the stalkery side—though the smell, well, that may just be a second hand stench Ce was smelling. At any rate, the Lutzes are a couple of putzes, and one of them is making it awfully easy for a certain someone to try to get his hands on Dan. The interaction between Caesar and Blair, though, it’s priceless! On a scale of one to snark, it’s a total verbal bitch slap:

Blair: “Caspar. We meet again.”
Ce: “Blade. Are you enjoying the show?”

Okay, you had to be there, but oh my god, the only thing missing from this scene was shoulder pads and a catfight. No one should go up against Caesar Romano in a battle of snits, let me assure you, especially when that someone is trying to get with Ce’s man. But there’s so much more to the story than Blair Somerset-Lutz, skank extraordinaire, trying to sink her claws into one Dan Albright. I can’t tell you what it is, though, or it’d spoil all the fun. Just suffice it to say that L.B. Gregg is in top form here, and she did nothing but make me realize how much I missed her guys, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Romano and Albright back on my e-reader. This book doesn’t start off with quite the bang of the other two in the series, but that’s okay because it doesn’t take long before all hell breaks loose, and this time Ce gets to be the hero in the uber-tight suit. That poor suit… God.

For us dedicated fans of this sexy couple, Gregg also gives us a pretty sweet payoff in the romance department, and I loved every minute of it. Listen, our heroes aren’t ones for the shmoops and candy conversation hearts, that’s definitely not their M.O., but still, they find themselves in uncharted waters by the end of the story, and it was completely fabulous, and now I can’t wait for book four, just on general principle alone, but also to see how this new development develops.

With This Bling may have been a long time coming, but have mercy, it was worth the wait. I’m still cackling over that cooking scene. Comedy gold.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

You can buy With This Bling here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4.5 Stars, JMS Books LLC, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, W.S. Long

Review: Love and Pain by W.S. Long

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Love and Pain

Author: WS Long

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 45000 Words

At a Glance: Overall, a well done mystery/romance!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Sequel to Love and Murder

After their too-thrilling courtship that included capturing his former lover’s killer, Jake Chandler has started a new life for himself with FBI agent Xavier. Living together is wonderful, but moving to Washington D.C. has resulted in temporary jobs that don’t last long. When Jake finally lucks out on a too-good-to-be-true position with a big law firm, Xavier suspects Jake’s new boss is crooked.

With some sleuthing, snooping, and close calls, Jake gets deeper into trouble at work, and conflicts with Xavier make his world start to crumble. When a key witness is shot to death in front of Jake, they both begin to realize how high the stakes are. Can Jake and Xavier get through these threats and find happiness with each other?

Dividers

Review: Love and Pain picks up a few months after Love and Murder, when the main characters, Jake and Xavier, are starting their new life together. You don’t have to read the first book, but it would help a great deal as this book is tied to it and can be a tad confusing in the beginning if you do not know the backstory from the first novel. This book takes a while to get going, but is highly enjoyable once it does.

Xavier is an FBI agent, taken out of the field because of his last case (Love and Murder), and he practically itches to return to field work. Jake is a lawyer, taking short term assignments while looking for a permanent job in Washington, DC. When a law firm hires Jake and the offer seems too good to be true, Xavier gets suspicious and soon discovers that old cases for the both of them are coming back to haunt them. Above it all, though, this is a romance, and the mystery surrounding these men is there as a complement to their love story. How far are you willing to go to keep someone you love safe? Jake and Xavier each answer that question in this book, and it’s amazing. The way the mystery plays out is totally believable, and I give credit for that to the fact that the author is a lawyer. The way the pivotal characters are all linked together is credible and makes the story a believable crime drama played out on the page.

Love and Pain can be a little flat in places, like the author’s writing style is a work in progress: things are stated baldly, almost stilted in places where you wish he would use a few more words and make the imagery flow instead of stating facts. However, this is not the case for the entire novel, and the places where he allows more nuance of these characters makes them come alive and become real, and it is these incredible places that make the rough spots seem not so significant.

I am always on the lookout for really good crime/mystery stories, and I really enjoyed this book and will look for more from this author, as I think he holds great promise in this genre. Overall, well done!

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

 

You can buy Love and Pain here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Aisling Mancy, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Shira Anthony

Review: A Solitary Man by Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy

Amazon

Amazon

Title: A Solitary Man

Authors: Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 304 Pages

At a Glance: Solitary Man is action packed, suspenseful, has lots of dangerous moments, and it deals with important subject matter as well.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Sparks fly when Chance meets tall, sexy Xav at a Wilmington bar and they have the hottest one-nighter of their lives. But Chance doesn’t do repeats, Xav seems detached, and they go their separate ways without a word. Later, when closeted Assistant District Attorney C. Evan “Chance” Fairchild meets Dare’s Landing’s newest deputy sheriff, Xavier “Xav” Constantine, Evan isn’t only wary. He’s irritated as hell.

Xavier is a former FBI agent turned deputy sheriff who is hot on the trail of a South American child prostitution ring. Evan is fighting to put an end to rampant cocaine trafficking and chafing under the thumb of an election-hungry boss. When someone tries to kill the eleven-year-old witness who holds the key to both their investigations, they’re forced to work together as they put their lives on the line to protect him. As Chance and Xav collide in the heat of a sweltering North Carolina summer, dodging bullets and chasing bad guys isn’t the only action going on.

Dividers

Review: After the DEA causes the death of two young boys, Xavier Constantine makes a career change, from FBI agent to Deputy Sheriff.  He heads up the Crimes Against Children Task Force in Dare’s Landing. While dealing with the loss, he finds himself educating his team about child sex rings and drug trafficking.

Chance Evan Fairchild, Assistant District Attorney, is still dealing with dark issues from his youth. He’s a loner and doesn’t let anyone get close to him, and is more than satisfied being closeted. He doesn’t like that drug trafficking has come to his corner of the world, and he vows to get to the bottom of it.  He’s not real happy about Xavier, the new deputy sheriff, though. But after a heartbreaking end to a stakeout, Chance’s eyes are opened, and he finds himself teaming up with Xavier to protect a young boy and help to put an end to trafficking.

I think Xavier is a great character. Even though he’s out, he still has to face some intolerance, but he wasn’t portrayed as the “tough guy” character. He’s just a man standing up for what he believes in. I liked the banter with his mother and siblings, even though it was brief. He also shows patience and understanding with Chance, and never put pressure on him to reveal his issues. Sadly, I didn’t get the feeling that this is the beginning of a series, so I would have liked this story to end a little differently.

A Solitary Man has a solid group of characters, including John Carson, Twyla Faye, Sheriff Winston, Ridley, and Billy, who become a top notch team. The story is action packed, suspenseful, has lots of dangerous moments, and it deals with important subject matter as well: child and drug trafficking, and psychological damage that is caused by confinement. Greed plays a big part of this story too, and what sick and perverted people will do for money. Anthony and Mancy did an exceptional job of bringing these issues to the forefront.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy A Solitary Man here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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

Release Day Review: Fish Stick Fridays by Rhys Ford

TNA Page Turner Resized

Amazon

Amazon

TitleFish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay: Book One)

Author:  Rhys Ford

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  200 Pages

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

Reviewed By:  Karen

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

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

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

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Fish Stick Fridays here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Genre Romance, Jocelyn Drake, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Rinda Elliott, Self-Published

Review: Shiver by Jocelyn Drake and Rinda Elliott

TNA Page Turner Resized

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Shiver (Unbreakable Bonds: Book One)

Authors: Jocelyn Drake and Rinda Elliott

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 301 Pages

At a Glance: I seriously think this will be an exciting series. It left me hungry for more!

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Lucas Vallois is always in control. He’s building an empire in the glittering city of Cincinnati and created his own family from his three close friends. The self-made millionaire has everything he wants within his tight grasp. But his world starts to crumble after he’s jumped by a trio of thugs late one night after leaving a club. The warning is clear—give up his new property venture or end up dead.

Caving to the demands of his friends, Lucas accepts the help of bodyguard, Andrei Hadeon, as he hunts for the source of this new threat. But as Lucas gets closer to uncovering the danger, he realizes the sexy Romanian bodyguard poses an even bigger risk to his carefully constructed world. Trapped by a need he never expected, Lucas must find a way to deny the shiver of longing he cannot control.

His brother. His warrior. His heart. Four friends. Unbreakable bonds.

Dividers

Review: In Shiver, we meet four interesting and somewhat mysterious men:  Lucas Vallois, businessman; Dr. Ashton “Snow” Frost; Ian Pierce, chef; and Rowe, security. Lucas and these men have a very unique bond, and they are all the family he has. We find that Lucas is the strength and the glue that holds them all together, and with these men he can let his guard down. He also has a dark dangerous side that no one can control.  Lucas is willing to invest his money in giving back to the run down parts of Cincinnati, but someone is making a great effort to stop him.

Rowe steps in and demands Lucas have a bodyguard, Andrei Hadeon, former professional martial arts fighter. Lucas is by no means happy with the bodyguard situation, or with Andrei. He doesn’t do dating, repeats, or straight men, but he does know that he wants Andrei. Andrei has some things to figure out about himself, and I thought the conversation that he and Ian had made him look at things more clearly. The chemistry between Lucas and Andrei leaps off the pages, not just physically but emotionally. They both struggle with whether they are right for each other. Their story doesn’t seem to end with a HEA, but they do agree to work on it.

And I can’t forget to mention Detective Hollis Banner. He’s a thorn in everyone’s side, especially Lucas’. He’s going to be one character who will rock the boat.

Shiver was a surprise, a fast paced page turner filled with danger, suspense, wild fight scenes, and a crazy descriptive car chase. And, was not without humor. Oh, and the passion will tug at your heart strings. Jocelyn Drake and Rinda Elliott are just amazing with the written word. I seriously think this will be an exciting series. It left me hungry for more!

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy Shiver here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Drama, Genre Romance, HelenKay Dimon, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Stranded by HelenKay Dimon

StrandedTitle: Stranded

Author: HelenKay Dimon

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 155 Pages

At a Glance: Oh heavens, this was a good book!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Brax Hughes lived hard and retired young to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Well, that was the plan, but before he can hang up his sniper rifle, he has one last mission: win back Kyle Cabe. Brax wants another chance, wants to come clean, but after months of lying to Cabe, he knows he could face a bullet — or worse — when they meet again. And they will meet. Brax made sure of that.

With a storm moving in and someone lurking outside the cabin, time is running out. Brax needs to talk fast and keep his weapons ready. And his best weapon is the truth.

* * * * * * *

NOTE: Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Dividers

Review: Do you like military style men with intriguing stories to tell? Then you will love this book like I did!

How do you describe Cabe and Brax… They are intense, male, alpha, dominating, controlling, broken, fierce, passionate, powerful, and consuming. These two men NEED the truth they find in each other, but they both have trust issues and control issues, and it is painful but oh-so-worth-it to watch them work through them.

Kyle Cabe was a product of the foster system; if it taught him anything, it taught him not to trust anyone. Ever. It was that lesson that makes him such a great operative and keeps him alive. That is, until Brax Hughes, another operative, wormed his way inside Cabe’s walls. Of course, then Brax shot and tried to kill him. Now Cabe is retired, as retired as a man can be from the business, and he wants to fade into anonymity and find peace.

Brax wants to retire also. After all, he is supposed to be dead. But Brax has one last mission, and that is to make sure that Cabe knows the truth of what happened that day he shot him. How does he convince the only man he has ever loved that he shot him in order to save him? These men’s lives are built on carefully crafted lies, and to get to the heart of them is a convoluted story full of intrigue, with missions gone bad and good intentions gone wrong. The passion between the two is never in question and, oh my, the sex is hot, but these two men have big obstacles to overcome, and the largest obstacles are inside themselves. I highly recommend this book!

HelenKay Dimon has dipped her toe into the M/M genre before, even though she mainly writes M/F, but all of her books are intense romances about intense people, and the attention to detail is what makes them so freaking good. I hope she produces more for the M/M genre, as it is greatly enhanced with her presence.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

 

You can buy Stranded here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4 Stars, Edward Kendrick, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Reaper by Edward Kendrick

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Reaper

Author: Edward Kendrick

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 208 Pages

At a Glance: Reaper has action, suspense, and two very likable MCs.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Leading a double life can be challenging, as Reaper well knows.

Take one self-styled vigilante—Reaper. Add his alter ego, successful forty-one-year-old, investment counselor, Zack Ward. Then throw in Dallas Comstock, thirty-two, a beat cop, Zack’s lover and the only person who knows Zack is Reaper. The result is men on a mission. They protect homeless kids living on the streets while trying to find a new building for a soon-to-be demolished shelter belonging to Zack’s mentor, Brian Foster—the man who helped Zack get off the streets.

Someone seems to be kidnapping streetwise young girls. Reaper pulls together a team of street kids—Zip and his boyfriend, Colly, Raven and Sway—to stop the predator. At the same time Zack, with the help of his business clients, sets up a charity ball to raise money for the new shelter, Off-the-Street.

What happens next may strengthen Zack’s and Dallas’ love—or destroy it.

Dividers

Review: Edward Kendrick’s Reaper is a unique story that I could see as a graphic novel that would appeal to young adults, with a few minor changes. Reaper and Wrath are definitely the superhero types, and the setting seems to take us to another place and time, even though the Rockies are mentioned. This story has action, suspense, and a sense of safety and empowerment.

There are two very likable MCs, Zack Ward and Dallas Comstock, and there’s lots of warmth, humor and love shared between them.  Zack is an investment counselor during the day, and has a very comfortable life, but growing up wasn’t anything like it is now. He lived on the streets as a young teen, and did what he had to do to survive. With the help and encouragement of Brian, he got his life together, and now strikes out to help others who are less fortunate.

Dallas comes from a different family lifestyle.  He’s a police officer and is dedicated to his job. He worries but also understands Zack and his plight to take care of the homeless and the young people who have to survive on the street. There are very few people that know that Dallas and Zack are partners in more ways than one.

There are a lot of supporting characters in this story, especially all the young teens who befriend Reaper and Wrath.  We get to meet these colorful characters:  Zip, Colly, Raven, Sway and many others. Our superheroes also have a special friend in Brian, who runs “Off-the-Street” a shelter for homeless youth, where Reaper recruits Nate Brown to teach self-defense to the young people and helps to empower them to also be protectors for others.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy Reaper here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Damon Suede, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lynn

Release Day Review: Pent Up by Damon Suede

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Pent Up

Author: Damon Suede

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 290 Pages

At a GlanceI enjoyed the little twists and turns the story gave me. And the great reveal…well, I didn’t even see it coming. I loved it.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: PENT UP: Mix business with pleasure and take cover.

Ruben Oso moves to Manhattan to start his life over as a low-rent bodyguard and stumbles into a gig in a swanky Park Avenue penthouse. What begins as executive protection turns personal working for a debonair zillionaire who makes Ruben question everything about himself.

Watching over financial hotshot Andy Bauer puts Ruben in an impossible position. He knows zero about shady trading and his cocky boss lives barricaded in a glass tower with wall-to-wall secrets and hot-and-cold-running paranoia. Can the danger be real? Is Andy for real?

What’s a bullet catcher to do? Ruben knows his emotions are out of control even as he races to untangle a high-priced conspiracy and his crazy feelings before somebody gets dead. If his suspicions are right, Andy will pay a price neither can afford, and Ruben may discover there’s no way to guard a heart.

Dividers

Review: I literally threw myself at this book when I saw it up for review. Why? Well, it’s Damon Suede, duh. Having read everything by him, I was quite intrigued by the blurb and couldn’t wait to get reading. This story has a little something for everyone: action, mystery, a budding romance, and lots of soul searching. I loved it.

When we first meet Reuben, he’s down on his luck. A recovering alcoholic who’s recently divorced, he’s moved from Miami to live and work with his younger brother in New York City. Totally out of his element and having not quite come to grips with all that has happened, he finds himself taking a job as a bodyguard for uber rich Andrew Baur. Let the fun begin.

Even after reading this book and mulling over it for a few days, I’m not real sure how I feel about Reuben. My first impression was to feel sorry for him. Being in a new city, leaving all he knows behind, getting over his divorce, and on top of all that, trying to stay sober. That’s a lot for one person to handle. As the story progressed, I could see that Reuben can definitely hold his own. He’s not one to back down from anything. I loved being in his head as he questions what the hell is going on with Andy. I especially loved seeing him wonder why he’s fantasizing about Andy too. He’s straight for god’s sake, what is wrong with him?

Andy was even harder to figure out because we weren’t in his head; we can only go by his actions and Reuben’s impressions. To me, he came across as a spoiled brat who gets want he wants, no matter the cost. He’s got the money. He’s slippery, secretive and definitely hiding something. For most of the story I wasn’t impressed with him at all. As we get a little deeper into his situation, though, I felt he redeemed himself a little. Not to make me like him more, but I think I understood him a little better. And besides, Reuben has to live with him, I don’t.

I really liked the mystery aspect here. It wasn’t front and center, but was always lurking in the background. The further we get into the story the more layers are peeled away. With confessions, revelations, and a little snooping, it all comes to an action filled climax. I enjoyed the little twists and turns the story gave me. And the great reveal…well, I didn’t even see it coming. I loved it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I would definitely call Pent Up a GFY story. I loved going on the journey with Reuben as he comes to realize that, yes, he is attracted to a man. His struggle to keep sober was real and, at times, heartbreaking. I really liked seeing two men at total opposite ends of the spectrum getting together and literally saving each other. It may be cliché, but it worked.

On a final note, my new favorite saying is “cock snot”. Thank you Damon.

TNA_Signature_Lynn

 

 

 

 

You can buy Pent Up here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
4.5 Stars, Anne Barwell, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell – Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Shades of Sepia (The Sleepless City: Book One)

Author: Anne Barwell

Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 59 Minutes

At a Glance: I have now read the book and listened to the audio, so whichever you choose, I think you will be pleasantly entertained.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A serial killer stalks the streets of Flint, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire.

Simon Hawthorne has been a vampire for nearly a hundred years, and he has never seen anything like it. Neither have the other supernaturals he works with to keep the streets safe for both their kind and the humans.

One meeting with Simon finds Ben Leyton falling for a man he knows is keeping secrets, but he can’t ignore the growing attraction between them. A recent arrival in Flint, Ben finds it very different from his native New Zealand, but something about Simon makes Ben feel as though he’s found a new home.

After a close friend falls victim to the killer, Simon is torn between revealing his true nature to Ben, and walking away to avoid the reaction he fears. But with the body count rising and the murders becoming more frequent, either, or both of them, could be the killer’s next target.

Dividers

Review: Shades of Sepia is a novel set in modern times, where we meet Ben Leyton in Flint, Ohio. He meets Professor of History, Simon Hawthorne, which leads us to the introduction to Boggs Castle. The castle is home to Detective Jonas Forge, Coroner Lucas Coate, and Boggs, an old southern gentleman. There they live and try to coexist with each other, which is humorous and serious at times, but they all remain friends, no matter what.

This audiobook is narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo, and I thought he did a really good job with the different emotions and voices for each of these characters. I liked his English accent for Simon, and the slight New Zealand accent for Ben. I also felt he did great with Boggs and the old southern gentleman’s drawl. He did a fantastic job with John’s vocals too, as you can just feel the evil dripping off this character. I felt Ferraiuolo narrated the story at a good pace and with the creativeness inspired by Anne Barwell’s storytelling. He really brought the story and characters to life. I have listened to other narrations by Michael Ferraiuolo, and I am becoming a fan.

Jackie’s review of this e-book was posted at TNA in March of 2014, and I think it’s right on the nose, outstanding and a series worth following. I have now read the book and listened to the audio, so whichever you choose, I think you will be pleasantly entertained.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy Shades of Sepia here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
5 Stars, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Nicole Castle, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: The Inauspicious List by Nicole Castle

Amazon

Amazon

Title: The Inauspicious List (Chance Assassin: Book Three)

Author: Nicole Castle

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I have what could probably be described as an unhealthy love for this series, and The Inauspicious List only reaffirms it!

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: With a new handler and Silva’s book of hits, Frank and Vincent’s marital bliss is only interrupted by the occasional spat over whose turn it is to kill. But when their jobs stop going according to plan, a detour takes them down a path that could bring the end of their careers. And their lives.

Dividers

Review: So, if you haven’t started reading this series yet, let me catch you up: Everyone in it is certifiably insane. There. Now you’re caught up.

After a brief respite to allow Bella and Casey to have their say in Les Recidivists, Nicole Castle has brought two of my all-time favorite assassins back for book three in the Chance Assassin series, The Inauspicious List. Just to catch you up even further on what exactly the list is, it’s a book full of names…which doesn’t sound all that exciting until you know those who are named in this book are people who someone has hired our assassins to kill. Fun, right? Well, the “Inauspicious” part of the title means not so much fun for our hitmen and hitwomen (Bella <3), but it adds up to loads of entertainment for us readers.

Frank and Vincent are our happily wedded couple, blissfully come out of retirement after V was forced to take some time off to recuperate, having sustained some serious head injuries whose aftereffects still haunt him but for which Frank made the kidnapper pay dearly. One of the most absolutely awesome things about these characters, I must say, is their hunger for violence—yet they’re so damned likeable. They live for the kill, and I know that adoring them sounds crazy, but it’s nonetheless true. These guys barter hits like kids trading baseball cards, and their gleeful anticipation of wreaking havoc is infectious, to say the least. That’s how lovely Nicole Castle’s storytelling is: she’s created this band of social and psychological misfits who kill for fun and profit, who, outside of these books, would be considered irredeemable (at best), and she makes them completely lovable…in a pathological and twisted and joyful sort of way.

In an even lovelier addition to this installment of the series, V’s narration of certain events which occurred with our sweet and loopy Miko in The Result of a Straight Razor (book two in the Mako Shark companion series about a rival set of assassins), have now overlapped into Chance Assassin. One of the things I loved about getting these particular scenes from Vincent’s point-of-view was not only the effect the encounters had on Frank and V, but also seeing Miko through someone else’s eyes. The beauty in this is that had we only seen our oddball outsider assassin via V’s storytelling, Miko wouldn’t be nearly as wonderful and sympathetic as he is in his own books. Honestly, it made me love him a li’l bit more. He’s sincerely broken and somehow a little bit smishable too.

I’d also be somewhat remiss not to add somewhere in here how beautifully warped Frank and V’s relationship is, so I’ll say it now. Looking for a non-traditional romance? This is it. These two men met after Vincent had been stabbed during a job-gone-wrong he’d been set up for. V was only a teenager at the time, though he had an unfortunate amount of experience with sex by then, and he set about seducing Frank in a rather comical and tenacious way. Let me assure you, though, that Frank waited until Vincent was of legal age to consummate their relationship. So even with their age difference and in spite of the way they met, even in their twisted “yes, of course I shot you on purpose because, hello, you shot me on purpose years ago” way, these two guys just fit like a custom tailored straight jacket. I love every single one of their interactions because they’re so sincerely in love with each other. They just so happen to show it in a different way. When these two men said “‘til death do us part,” they meant it. Probably in a hail of gunfire.

So, in the end, the merde has hit the ventilateur. I’m trying that out in French in honor of Frank. For the rest of us, that means the shit has hit the fan. Seems there’s an assassin war on the horizon, one Miko may factor into in an interesting way, and based on the final sentence of this book, holy merde, it’s already underway. And I can’t wait to see what Nicole Castle has in store for us next.

This series has quickly become an absolute favorite, what with its quirky characters and sharp dialogue and plenty of laughs to go along with the killer bits, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re looking for something just a little bit different and a lot cuckoo for cocoa puffs. I felt like this installment started off a little slowly, but it didn’t take too long to get moving, and once it did, it was another fun ride on the crazy train to Murdertown.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

You can buy The Inauspicious List here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Standard
4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jenna Byrnes, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: VanDoren’s Vice by Jenna Byrnes

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: VanDorens Vice (Kansas City Heat: Book Seven)

Author: Jenna Byrnes

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 115 Pages

At a Glance: Murder, Danger, and lots of suspects makes for a fast-paced read.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A detective and the head of security at a casino have something in common, don’t they? Perhaps more than one thing.

Detective Mike VanDoren isn’t much of a gambler, but the ongoing embezzlement at Kansas City’s newest casino definitely has his interest. So does handsome Cole McKinney, the head of security at the Time and Tides. Mike dives head first into the case and a relationship with Cole, who can’t believe that any of his trusted employees and friends could be guilty. Mike knows differently, and it’s up to him and his team to figure out who’s behind the elaborate scheme. When a casino employee turns up dead, the case takes a bizarre twist, leaving Mike scrambling to save the people he cares about most.

Dividers

Review: VanDorens Vice is the seventh book in the Kansas City Heat series by Jenna Byrnes, where the author takes us into the interesting and fast-paced world of the casino and security operation. Murder, danger and lots of suspects, along with the creative use of the looping technique from Speed, are all built into an embezzlement scheme.

The two MCs, Detective Mike VanDoren and Cole McKinney, hit it off quickly and the attraction between them is powerful. They both have strong feelings about the jobs that they have to do, and hit some bumps along the way as the embezzlement scheme becomes entangled with murder. Cole’s character is trusting of certain staff members and believes no one would commit such crimes, but Mike has to consider everyone a suspect, even Cole. Eventually, doubt and suspicion start to take a toll on their relationship.

As supporting characters go, Ms. Byrnes developed a great partner for Mike in Lisa Chen. She’s not only smart but has a really fun sense of humor. There is an abundance of characters in this story, as many of the characters from the Kansas City Heat series are brought back, which I really enjoy.

VanDorens Vice can be read as a standalone, but the author does give enough tidbits about the other characters that it may tempt you to read the previous books in the series.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

You can buy VanDorens Vice here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, MLR Press, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Neil Plakcy, Reviewed by Lana

Review: Children of Noah by Neil Plakcy

TNA Page Turner Resized

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Children of Noah (Mahu: Book Nine)

Author: Neil Plakcy

Publisher: MLR Press

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

At a Glance: A must read!

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: A few months after the birth of his twins, openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka and begins a temporary assignment to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Kimo and his HPD partner Ray Donne are quickly thrown into an investigation into threatening letters sent to a U.S. Senator. Are these screeds about racial purity related to an escalating series of attacks against mixed-race couples and families on Oahu?

When arson at a day care center on the Windward Coast brings Kimo’s partner, fire investigator Mike Riccardi, into the case, Kimo worries about the future of his and Mike’s newborn twins on an island falling prey to hate and a cult leader bent on death and destruction.

Dividers

Review: Kimo Kanapa’aka is back in Children of Noah, and I’m just beside myself! I can’t stress enough how much I loved this book. Fans of Neil Plakcy will not be disappointed. If you are new to the Mahu Investigation series, I highly recommend that you please read all the books before this one to get the breadth of Kimo’s world—because it’s big and colorful. You’ll probably guess from the above that I’m a huge fan. Reading Children of Noah just reinforced the fact that Mr. Plakcy can write a story that will totally draw you in and not let go.

I’m not going to go into the plot of the book, but I will say that all the strings get tied up nicely in the end. It’s a satisfying story that’s juicy and is in line with Kimo’s development as a character. We grow with him from the first book, where he’s kicked out of the closet, to this one, where he is in a committed relationship with Mike. And, by the way, I love Mike. Kimo is taking on a new assignment with the FBI, and most importantly, he is a father. It’s great to experience his expanding ohana, family. Reading this book felt like visiting with my favorite friends, seeing their success and feeling their insecurities. I just can’t say enough how much I loved this book.

I also have to mention that besides Kimo and Mike, another character is featured here, and that’s Hawai’i. The island just comes to life through the people, the landscape, the ocean and the spirit of the islands. In reading the Mahu books, I’m always surprised how diverse and multi-cultural Hawai’i’s population is. This diversity is always a major part of the plot, but there is always this dangerous undercurrent to the island. The contrast between the beautiful, pristine image and the ugly is striking.

Children of Noah is a great addition to the Mahu series. I hope it’s not the last because I want more Kimo adventures. A must read!

TNA_Signature_Lana

 

 

 

You can buy Children of Noah here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, DSP Publications, Ethan Stone, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Closing Ranks by Ethan Stone

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Closing Ranks (Flesh: Book Four)

Author: Ethan Stone

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 244 Pages

At a Glance: Closing Ranks is an extremely well written mystery/romance story.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Internal Affairs investigator Jeremy Ranklin is looking into corruption within the Reno Police Department when he’s ordered to examine the suspicious death of the Chief of Police. The assignment partners Jeremy with Detective Cristian Flesh. Though they spar at first, Jeremy earns Cristian’s trust, and they work well together.

Deeply closeted, Jeremy fights an attraction to fellow cop Kipp Mosely. The investigation brings Jeremy and Kipp together, but lies and secrets prevent things from going any further. Jeremy will need both Kipp’s and Cristian’s help to discover how deep the corruption runs—and to stay alive when the danger hits close to home.

Dividers

Review: Suspense, danger, murder and so many suspects, Closing Ranks is another wild ride from Ethan Stone, fast paced and full of so much information that it keeps you turning the pages from beginning to end. Yes, Cristian Flesh is back and has teamed up with Jeremy Ranklin, of Internal Affairs, to investigate the suspicious suicide of a mentor, as well as corruption inside the Reno police force.

Besides the twists and turns of the suicide and corruption, we also get to know Jeremy. He has to deal with personal issues, with being gay and closeted, with a young man who has a crush on him, an ex’s return, and an uncontrollable attraction to Officer Kipp Moseley. I really felt bad for him. He carries guilt about being gay and over what would happen if he came out to his parents and sister-in-law. He believes it would kill his father if his secret were to be found out.  He also has a six-year-old nephew he loves dearly, and is afraid of never seeing him again.

Jeremy is trying hard to keep his mind on the case, but no matter what, he keeps coming in contact with Officer Moseley. Kipp is out and doesn’t hide his sexuality. He’s not sure if he’s willing to get involved with Jeremy because he’s not about to be anyone’s “dirty little secret”. There is no insta-love between Jeremy and Kipp. In fact, they have to work at it because neither one wants to have to change who they are. But when danger arises, Kipp has Jeremy’s back.

Flesh play’s a big part in this story, and he’s all business and snarky, as usual. Colby only has a brief part, and Reg, Flesh’s partner, is also back. There are also two newbies, Leif and Rafe…hmmm, very interesting!

I have to say, Closing Ranks is an extremely well written mystery/romance story. It’s hard to choose which book in the Flesh series I liked best, but this one is a favorite.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

You can buy Closing Ranks here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

OmniLit/ARe

OmniLit/ARe

Standard
4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Victor J. Banis

Review: A Prayer for the Dead by Victor J. Banis

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: A Prayer for the Dead (A Tom and Stanley Novel)

Author: Victor J. Banis

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I was entertained by the entire series, and I look forward to the next mystery from Mr. Banis to see what he has in store for Tom and Stanley.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Does murder follow Tom and Stanley around, or do they follow the murders?
After a hospital stay, Stanley is invited by Father Brighton to convalesce at St. Marywood, an isolated monastery on the ocean cliffs of Big Sur. Upon arrival, Stanley finds Father Brighton dead. The order’s doctor writes it up as a death by natural causes, but those seem to be quite prevalent at the monastery. The recent demise of a young brother who fell from the cliffs is described as an accident, but Stanley’s nose is twitching. Plus the order’s finances have taken a sudden, mysterious turn for the better. Is something rotten at St. Marywood?
Stanley and Tom can’t resist digging around even if it means testing their tumultuous relationship against a gaggle of handsome, young, virginal, and—they are told—gay men.

Dividers

Review: Before I could begin A Prayer for the Dead, book seven in the Tom and Stanley Mystery series, I dug into the vault of and read the first six books. Each of the books are page turners, with danger, humor, a variety of murder suspects, and unique plots. If you really like murder mysteries, this series offers everything from drag queens to friars in monasteries, and a lot more in between. Even the first book, Deadly Nightshade (which suffered from horrible editing), held my attention to the very last word (but don’t worry, the editing has gotten better).

But the reason I mention the previous six books in the series is because this isn’t only a continuing series about Tom Danzel and Stanley Korski. Stanley’s best friend Christopher Rafferty, and Carl Hunter from a previous book(s), finally get to meet in A Prayer for the Dead. In this book, we find Stanley and Chris making a trip to St. Marywood at the invitation of Father Brighton, a friend of Christopher’s. This in itself is different because Stanley and Chris do some investigating of their own when they discover Father Brighton dead. I was impressed by how well Stanley and Chris did as a team. When Stanley finally gets to fill Tom in on all his findings, they put their heads together about the murders and find themselves on a road trip to Mexico. They come up with several possibilities, but are really surprised by the outcome, just as I was.

What I find extremely interesting in this series is Tom and Stanley.  Even though they are really good at solving mysteries, they really haven’t solved the mystery of their relationship. Tom still considers himself straight, but he loves Stanley. Stanley has been the only man that Tom has been attracted to, and he has a great need to protect Stanley, but he’s really “not interested in anything gay,” and the temptation for women still crops up at times. Stanley is gay and proud of it, but he always has his doubts that Tom will leave him for the straight life. Tom doesn’t want to go to gay clubs or hang with Stanley’s friends–Chris is the only one Tom has made a friend of–and both have walked the fine line of temptation.

Even though Tom has made some changes, I really like Stanley’s character best.  He has really grown throughout the series. Out of his love for Tom, he has come up against some hard decisions, and sometimes I question whether or not they will make it as a couple.

I was entertained by the entire series, and I look forward to the next mystery from Mr. Banis to see what he has in store for Tom and Stanley.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

You can buy A Prayer for the Dead here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Geoffrey Knight, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Jennifer, Wilde City Press

Review: The Cross of Sins by Geoffrey Knight

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Fathom’s Five #1: The Cross of Sins

Author:  Geoffrey Knight

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 233 Pages

At a Glance: A riveting adventure with danger, intrigue, and five sexy men.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Somewhere in the world is a statue so sinful that a secret sect of the Church wants it destroyed at any cost. Somewhere in the Turkish desert, in the streets of London, and in the depths of Venice, are the clues to find it. And, somewhere in the hearts of five sexy, daring, thrill-seeking gay men, is the courage and die-hard determination to unravel one of the greatest mysteries of all time.

Meet Luca da Roma, an Italian model and expert in art, both ancient and modern; Dr Eden Santiago, Brazilian biologist, physician and genetic engineer; Shane Houston, a Texas cowboy and an expert in cartography; Will Hunter, a San Diego college student and football star, majoring in ancient history; and Jake Stone, an adventurer-for-hire from New York and the newest member of Professor Fathom’s team of hot gay adventure seekers.

Together, they are Fathom’s Five, traveling the world, solving ancient mysteries, uncovering priceless treasures, and getting into hot, sticky and sexy situations, while thwarting danger at every turn! From Venice to Vienna, from Tuscany to Turkey, from the South Pacific to the seas off Sicily, join in the heroic adventures, hunky sex and hot, high-octane action of Fathom’s Five.

Dividers

Review: I first read this series years ago when it came out in print, but I could never find book one. After reading the rest of the series, I finally got my hands on a copy of the first book. And, years after that, I see the series is being rereleased by Wilde City Press with a gorgeous new cover. Of course, I snapped it up to see if the adventure series I loved so much still held up to my memory.

I’m happy to report that it does. If you’re a fan of adventure, you really don’t need to look any further than this.

Some reviewers have compared the series to Indiana Jones, and to be honest, it’s an apt description. Fathom’s men (Luca, Eden, Shane, Will, and Jake) are very different in their day jobs, but when it comes to finding adventure and missing treasure, they’re very much like Indy. Except, well, gay.

It’s impossible to pick just one favorite guy, as each one has his charms that adds to the story. They all have different backgrounds and such well-developed personalities. And, of course, then there’s the wonderful sex between some of them. Can’t argue with that, right? If I had to pick my favorite, though, it would have to be Will. There’s something so intriguing about him. Most of the time when you picture a football star, you won’t imagine his major being ancient history, but that’s Will for you.

One word of advice to readers: if you’re looking for romance, this book (series, really) is not for you. While yes, there is sex, it’s not of the romantic variety. If you go into this book expecting that, you’re going to be disappointed, but don’t let that keep you from reading it. Just go in with the mindset that this is an adventure, a mystery, and you’ll enjoy it thoroughly. This book will take you around the world, from London to Venice to the middle of the desert to an erupting volcano. Your heart will race as the boys get themselves into dangerous situations and back out by the skin of their teeth, and then tumble into bed together.

As far as whether or not the book has changed much from the first version, I honestly cannot tell. It was so long ago that I read it that while I remember the basic story and all of the characters, no place jumped out at me as being different. If you’ve read the story before, I’d say read it again. First, the new cover art is gorgeous, and second, who wouldn’t want to relive a Fathom’s Five adventure?

TNA_Signature_Jennifer

 

 

 

You can buy The Cross of Sins here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs by Charlie Cochrane

TNA Page Turner Resized

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 208 Pages

At a Glance: If you like period appropriate verbiage and staging, REALLY GOOD mysteries, and colorful and witty characters, then this series is for you.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Cambridge, 1921

When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?

But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.

And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.

Dividers

Review: It is now 1921. Jonty and Orlando are in their forties, and it has been awhile since that business with the wooden cat. While working at the University is challenging, Orlando is beginning to think they will never have another case to solve… But then Jonty goes to tea and a case is presented, along with a particularly good nosebag.

I knew from the opening salvo, “Inspired by the many mysteries in real life that defy solution.”, that I was in for a great mystery with this book, and it did not disappoint! How do you solve a mystery that isn’t really a mystery on the surface? A mercy killing by a doctor, who then takes his own life in regret, two suicide letters explaining it all, and the whole scenario happening behind a closed door which was locked from the inside. What’s left to know? Well, a lot it seems. What they find is a case that stretches them morally and emotionally, and the decision has to be made whether to publish their findings to the world, or just to let sleeping dogs lie.

Each of these books has not only a mystery which has to be solved but a personal battle which must be fought, and in this book the power is in Jonty’s hands to right an old wrong and to realize sometimes the truth can help old sleeping dogs to lie more comfortably. This book, while still being an intense mystery, was a little lighter than some of the others have been. Lessons for Sleeping Dogs is one of my favorites in the Cambridge Fellows Mystery Series. All of Charlie Cochranes books are amazing, but being historically accurate sometimes means the emotions of two men can be constrained. This book has a warmth to it between Jonty and Orlando reminiscent of some of the earlier books in the series when they were sorting through the beginnings of their relationship. The two men are celebrating the sixteenth year of their meeting, and in my opinion, the mysteries and the emotions just keep getting deeper and better. As the pair say,

“Happy Anniversary. May there be many more of them.”

“Amen to that. More anniversaries, more cases to solve, more mattresses to put through their paces.”

“I agree on all three counts. Especially the last.”

If you like period appropriate verbiage and staging, REALLY GOOD mysteries, and colorful and witty characters, then this series is for you. You do not have to read these mysteries in order, just pick one up – it will not disappoint – and then you will go back for more!

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

You can buy Lessons for Sleeping Dogs here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
5 Stars, Historical Romance, M. Keedwell, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Samhain Publishing

Review: Dark Economy by M. Keedwell

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Dark Economy

Author: M. Keedwell

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 287 Pages

At a Glance: Dark Economy is a jolly good story. This is my first time reading this author, and I was very impressed.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Love can’t stay buried.

Medical student Cadell Meredith has been known to acquire “volunteers” from the occasional pauper’s grave in order to improve his surgical skills. While the legality of this practice is a bit murky, he wouldn’t go so far as to call it out and out robbery.

His latest acquisition, however, is different. The body on his table was obviously healthy, wealthy—and murdered. Cadell feels compelled to seek justice for the dead man, but while dissection comes naturally to him, crime investigation is unfamiliar territory.

Furthermore, he’s caught the attention of one of those new police officers, Blaine Breton. A handsome, sentimental fool who insists Cadell is a criminal. A criminal! Cadell is the first to admit he’s no saint, but he’s no killer.

A marvelous game of cat and mouse ensues as Cadell seeks to expose the truth while hiding his own secrets. A task that grows ever more difficult as his desire for Breton grows…and the danger deepens.

Dividers

Review: Dark Economy is set in London, in 1829, and the author has really brought this time period to life. The writing style, settings, and the old English accent give the book its historical feel. We find that it’s also a time of indecision in the medical field, as well as intolerance toward gay men. It’s quite the page turner, full of suspense, danger and humor.

As Cadell Meredith is a medical student, you will find an abundance of medical terms (you may find yourself checking the dictionary—I know I did) and an autopsy or two, so if you’re a little squeamish, you have been warned. Cadell is a fascinating character, and we find his emotions in a whirlwind over not only Blaine Breton but an old acquaintance, a new acquaintance, his medical studies, and sleuthing! He’s a brilliant medical student and artist who has connections to the burial sites of paupers. He does a little grave robbing in order to get hands-on practice, which, of course, is against the law, but he feels justified because his passion is medicine, and he strives to be the best. He uses his artistic talent to draw diagrams for his professor to use at lectures. When he acquires a particular body, and discovers a murder, though, he sets out to find justice for the individual.

Blaine Breton is a policeman, staunch in his belief that Cadell is grave-robbing criminal. They both have different opinions on grave robbing, and of each other, which causes hostility between the two. At almost every turn, Blaine is there to just make Cadell as miserable as possible. In fact, they are driving each other crazy! But, Blaine also has a soft side, and even though he tries to be tough, there’s also a shy side to him. Blaine is still a little bit of a mystery to me.

When tragedy strikes, the first person Blaine runs to is Cadell. That’s when the emotions and respect between them start to come through. After Cadell spends some time with Blaine, he decides to share information he has about the possible crimes and murders that have been happening. Blaine and Cadell team up with other fellow policemen to go after the suspects and try to solve this complicated murder mystery.

M. Keedwell’s Dark Economy is a jolly good story. This is my first time reading this author, and I was very impressed.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

You can buy Dark Economy here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard