5 Stars, Caitlin Ricci, Cari Z., Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Angel

Review: Worth the Wait by Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Worth the Wait (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z

PublisherDreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 32 Pages

At a GlanceWorth the Wait is a sweet coming together story for the holidays.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: When Tate promises his niece Addie he’ll get a book signed by her favorite author, he never expects to end up in a line four blocks long with sleet coming down around him. It’s three days until Christmas and he’s cold and miserable, but Addie will be devastated if he gives up.

A cute guy who offers him an umbrella is just the encouragement Tate needs to stick it out, especially when Brandon brings him something hot to drink. But the signing ends before Tate can get to the front of the line, and Tate is sure he’s ruined Christmas for his niece. Luckily Brandon gets him in to see the author, who happens to be his mother.

A simple thank you isn’t enough for Tate, and neither he nor Brandon wants to end things there. For two men unused to such an instant mutual attraction, the Christmas season just got a little more merry.

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Review:  I’ve read Cari Z before and loved the stories, but Caitlin Ricci was a new-to-me author. I’ll be looking into more of Ricci’s work now too, because I absolutely enjoyed this gentle coming together story.

I think I have said before that I love holiday stories, and Worth the Wait is no exception. I will be adding this one to my permanent re-read holiday list. The writing on this was seamless, and I couldn’t tell where the authors had switched off, if they had done so. Fantastic job on a short story and not one word wasted.

Tate seems like a loving and cool uncle to his niece, and I loved the way he and Brandon hit it off. Brandon reading to Addie melted my heart. I also really liked the fact that they had this attraction between them, but there was no insta-love or jumping right into bed. It wasn’t rushed, just some sweet kisses, coffee and dinner—two guys figuring out a way to be together for one another, and for the holidays, without the introduction of immediate sex. In fact, I’d let my teenage daughter read this one with no qualms whatsoever.

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3.5 Stars, Caitlin Ricci, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: To the Highest Bidder by Caitlin Ricci

Title: To the Highest Bidder

Author: Caitlin Ricci

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Even though there were some questionable moments in To the Highest Bidder, I could see the strength of this author’s ability to weave a fascinating story.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: The Intergalactic Star Pilot Academy has accepted Thierry Leroux into the elite class of sky year 2231. But the academy comes with a hefty price tag, and there’s no way he, a poor Sythe orphan, has the credits the academy requires. Thierry’s brother, Corbin, a high-class companion, suggests Thierry sell his virginity for the cost of tuition. It seems like a ridiculous idea, but it may be Thierry’s only shot, so Thierry asks Corbin to arrange a meeting on the pleasure planet of Wish.

On Wish, Thierry meets Corbin’s boss, Monroe, and they agree to auction off Thierry’s virginity. Thierry is grateful to the masked buyer he knows only as “Dragonfly,” and Dragonfly is gentle, making Thierry’s first time a good memory. When Dragonfly requests to see him again, and pay for the pleasure, Thierry returns to Wish. But in this game, falling in love is dangerous for the heart, and Thierry might not like the man behind the mask.

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Review: Caitlin Ricci is a new author for me, and while I felt that her novel To the Highest Bidder had some questionable moments, her writing voice was so strong I truly felt compelled to read this one to the end. Was it as fully developed plot wise as I may have liked? No, but still the bones of this story were very strong, and after reading it, I knew I would be checking out other work from this author.

Corbin and Thierry are brothers and, essentially, orphans. Losing their parents many years before, the two brothers now live a spartan life, relying on Corbin’s work as an aspasian—effectively a high-class paid companion. Thierry has one dream—to become a pilot—but the money it will cost is far beyond any Corbin or Thierry ever hope to earn; until Corbin comes up with an idea. He suggests to Thierry that he sell his virginity—and since Monroe, Corbin’s boss, is able to set up the bidding, Thierry finds himself auctioned off to a masked man for one night of sex. At least, that was the idea. Before long, Thierry finds himself falling in love with the man he has nicknamed, “Dragonfly,” and it seems as though the gentleman is smitten as well. However, in a moment of passion, Thierry decides to remove the mask hiding his lover’s face and is shocked and angered to see just who his lover really is.

There were moments in this novel where I was absolutely hooked. For instance, the interactions between Dragonfly and Thierry were terribly intimate despite the fact that the older man never spoke. Then the letters back and forth between them while Thierry was at the academy really gave the story cohesion and allowed the reader to see the developing relationship. Thierry was so young—younger than his age of twenty—and I felt that was always present and clear, which made room for certain allowances when it came to his naïveté and his childish emotions.

Unfortunately, there were also some major gaps in this story. Why didn’t Corbin, who was already working in the brothel, prepare Thierry more for his first encounter? Why didn’t Thierry have a job as well? It didn’t make sense that Corbin did all the work to keep them fed. Corbin and Thierry were a special race called Sythe, and many times we read about how they possess a heightened awareness sexually. In fact, many of the students at the academy Thierry attends will not spar with him in the training classes for fear he’ll become some raving sexpot. Based on that, I really thought the rare times Thierry “opened “ himself up to feel all the emotions and physical pleasure he had with Dragonfly would have been amazing—intense, even out of control. Instead, while there was some passion, those scenes were more about the growing relationship rather than the heights of passion Sythe were supposedly capable of having. Why, then, refer to this special gift as often as the author did if there was not going to be a realization of it somewhere in the novel?

Perhaps the real nugget that left me a bit disappointed was the ending. Set several years in the future, Thierry finally gets the man he has loved all along, but their reunion was so abrupt that I was left wondering how the two of them remained in touch all those years. I felt the novel needed more meat to it—more explanation or perhaps a few scenes that took place during that decade or so that showed how these two remained involved and in love with each other. Sweeping past those years with a page or two of backstory did not really do the love story element justice.

To the Highest Bidder seemed like a partially formed story to me with serious need of further development. The author established her world so effectively and clearly and infused her novel with the makings of a wonderful love story. Even though there were some questionable moments, I could see the strength of this author’s ability to weave a fascinating story, and that is why I can assuredly say I will be checking out more of her work in the future.

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3 Stars, Caitlin Ricci, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Jackie

A Horse Brings Two Men Together In Caitlin Ricci’s “Country Strong”


Title: Country Strong

Author: Caitlin Ricci

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 112 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: With only three months left on a lease-to-own agreement on a quarter horse Wyatt’s worked hard to own, a thunderstorm spooks General and he throws Wyatt, changing both their lives forever. Luckily, Kellen, a friend of the stable owner, calls for emergency medical attention, and Wyatt comes out of the hospital with a broken wrist and a concussion.
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Caitlin Ricci, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Jackie

Caitlin Ricci’s “Rescuing Jack” Is The Beginning Of A Beautiful Paranormal Romance – Reviewed by Jackie


“Heroes make us smile because they not only rescue us outwardly, but inwardly too.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich


Title: Rescuing Jack

Author: Caitlin Ricci

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Werewolves are real. Marius enjoys the irony that everyone calls him a dog whisperer, not just because he’s a werewolf, but for his work at the local animal shelter. He has a unique talent for pairing families with their perfect pets upon first meeting them. But he’s still looking for acceptance and a forever family of his own. Then Jack comes into the rescue looking for a big, mean dog. To prevent Jack from making the wrong choice, Marius convinces him to adopt a needy spaniel mix instead. But when Marius learns Jack is tormented by horrible memories while at his apartment, he opens his home to the sweet, scared man. As their relationship grows, Jack feels comfortable telling Marius about the horrors he suffered. Marius hopes his steady presence, protection, and love can help Jack reclaim the pieces of himself broken on that terrible night.
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