Review: “A Fool and his Manny” by Amy Lane

TITLE: A Fool and his Manny
AUTHOR: Amy Lane
SERIES: The Mannies
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
LENGTH: 230 pages17, 2018
RELEASE DATE: $4.99 e-book / $9.99 paperback


Seeing the truth and falling in love.
Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan’s friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.
At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

Dustin Robbins-Grayson meets Quinlan Gregory at fourteen when his parents hired the young man as their manny.
Seven years later, at 21, Dustin isn’t the surly teenager that he was anymore, but a strong, handsome young man who wants Quinlan…but not as his manny.

Quinlan has spent the last seven years taking care of the Robbins-Grayson’s kids and the entire family by extension. He lives just on the outside frame of the family pictures, vacations, and events. He doesn’t know how to be part of a family without being scared to losing them.

Dustin has one mission—make Quinlan his. His to love. His to take care of and his to have a family with. He just has to convince Quinlan that he’s more than the teenager he used to be and Quin more than the manny.
A Fool and his Manny by Amy Lane is book 4 of the series The Mannies.
Dustin is a handsome young man. He’s strong, confident and dominant. He knows what he wants, and he wants Quinlan, and he will have him. I loved Dustin. I saw him grow up through the books, and I was proud to see what a beautiful, mature, and strong man he became. His focus on Quinlan, his wellbeing, and Dustin has one mission, love Quinlan with everything he has…and me, I totally loved him and wanted to do things to him (sexy things).

Quinlan is broken. Yes, he takes care of the kids and the other members of his adopted family, but deep down, Quinlan is lonely and broken. He’s terrified to be a full member of this family, to accept his role and place at their table, and to be loved by them. But Quinlan doesn’t understand that he didn’t stand a chance against them and especially Dustin. I loved Quinlan, but he broke my heart. I wanted to hug him because he’s so beautiful inside and out, so kind and so sensitive. I completely melted for him.

I love this book and this entire series. I have the feeling of being a part of the Robbins-Lowell / Robbins-Grayson families, so I was happy to read Dustin’s story. It was like coming back to visit family and getting caught up with them about their lives. That’s the feeling I have each time I read one of the books of this series. The author gives us news about the members of the family and the previous heroes of the previous books.

This book can be read as a standalone, but you’ll want to know more about them, and you’ll read the entire series. I’m sure of it because that’s exactly what’s happened to me!
It’s good, sweet, full of fun, happiness and love story. It’s like eating a little piece of chocolate while you have a bad moment, instantly you feel better and a smile appears on your face. That’s the Mannies series for me!

I happily recommend this beautiful and lovely book.
4 OptimuMM’s for The Manny and his Caretaker

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Night Owl and the Insomniac” by J. Leigh Bailey

TITLE: The Night Owl and the Insomniac
AUTHOR: J. Leigh Bailey
SERIES: Shifter U
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: New Adult; Shapeshifter; Paranormal;
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 3, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback


A Shifter U Tale
Long nights lead to intrigue… and infatuation.
Chronically ill with a mysterious condition, Yusuf “Joey” Franke escapes his smothering family and doctors by moving halfway across the country to enroll in Cody College. Not long after arriving on campus, some of his symptoms disappear, only to be replaced by debilitating insomnia. Joey spends his nights wandering the halls of his dormitory and hanging out with gregarious and affable Owen, who works the night shift.
When he suddenly shifts from a sick college kid to a massive Asiatic lion, Joey discovers another side to Cody College—it’s a haven for shifters like himself… and like Owen, a part-time great horned owl. And being a shifter is hereditary, which means his parents have some explaining to do.
When Joey and Owen investigate, they discover more than they bargained for—a family deception, a dangerous enemy with international connections, and a love that might be too new to survive the backlash.

The Night Owl and the Insomniac by J. Leigh Bailey is the third book in the Shifter U series and the twenty-third book in the Dreamspun Beyond series. I have read the other books in the Shifter U series, and this book while taking place at Cody College like the rest of the series, is a standalone book. There are cameos of Simon and Ford from the second book Chasing Thunderbird, but you do not need to have read the other books to understand what’s happening in this book. The Night Owl and the Insomniac is well written. I enjoyed the plot and that all of my questions were tied up by the end of the book. And I loved that Yusuf and Owen get their happy ending.

I like the attention to detail that the author gave to her characters. Both Yusuf and Owen’s characters fit the animal half of their personalities. Owen is a great horned owl and is both intelligent and extroverted. He loves to talk and also loves to mother hen people. Yusuf, on the other hand, is an Asiatic lion. Because of health conditions, he’s grown up isolated from society, which has resulted in him being introverted and socially awkward and figuring out his sexuality.

I really liked Yusuf “Joey” Franke. He has grown up being chronically ill with ever-changing symptoms, which has resulted in him being a Guinea pig for all kinds of test and treatments. Finally, fed up with it he escapes by enrolling in a college halfway across the country and moving there. Not long after arriving on campus, some of his symptoms disappear, only to be replaced by debilitating insomnia. With nothing else to do, he spends his nights wandering the halls of his dormitory and hanging out and playing chess with Owen, who works the night shift.

I also liked Owen. He was such a happy, upbeat person. Always including Joey in his activities like getting lunch with the guys and just hanging out. And forcing him to try new food combinations. I loved all of the little things he does each day to remind Joey that he’s thinking of him and there for him while they are apart. I also like how Owen has a grounding influence on Joey’s lion and is able to keep him calm and collected so that he doesn’t shift when he gets stressed. I liked how Owen was there for Joey when he shifted for the first time and helped him uncover his past to find the answers that he needs. I like how he complements Joey. They are just perfect together.
Overall, another great book in the Shifter U series and so far my favorite of the series. And another book in the Dreamspun Beyond series that hasn’t let me down. They are fast becoming a favorite of mine to review.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “In the Desert” by Elliot Joyce

TITLE: In the Desert
AUTHOR: Elliot Joyce
SERIES: States of Love
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Brooke Albrecht
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
LENGTH: 106 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 4, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book


Can a Navajo trans teen and a nerdy Catholic find the place they belong… and maybe themselves? In the desert, anything is possible….
When Wren came out as transgender before his senior year, it cost him most of his friends. His father hopes joining a Boy Scout troop might help Wren meet other young men his age and be accepted for who he is.
Felipe Nieves wants the new guy in the troop to feel comfortable, and he reaches out to Wren. They become fast friends… with something more beneath the surface. Those feelings confuse Felipe, since his religion considers this a sin—and he’s always assumed he was straight—but he can’t help pining for Wren. Asking him out will take courage, and getting together won’t be easy… but through their friendship, both young men might find their identities… and learn to embrace them in a unique coming-of-age story set against the beauty of the American Southwest.

In the Desert by Elliot Joyce is a look into the life of a female-to-male transgender teen called Wren.

Wren used to be Danielle, and he used to be the oldest of three sisters and has a younger brother. Now he’s the oldest brother to two sisters and a younger brother, and it’s been a big adjustment for all of his family members getting used to saying a new name and new pronouns when referring to Wren. Wren is also at a new high school after being bullied and chased after using the guys’ locker room and bathrooms after coming out as trans. He’s lost most of his friends when he came out and so his dad has the idea that Wren should go with his younger brother to his Boy Scout troop to help make new friends that will accept him for being just another guy. It helps that there’s already another trans guy that’s part of the troop and so it shouldn’t be a problem that Wren is trans.

I liked the troop and how they treated Wren. They didn’t treat him any differently than the other guys. I really liked Felipe for reaching out to Wren and trying to get him to interact with the troop. And Wren ends up with three friends from the troop, Felipe and by default his two best friends in the troop also, one of which is the other trans teen. I liked getting to see how Wren gets more comfortable with himself and with how other people treat him. He really comes out of his shell, and it’s beautiful to see.

He has a crush on Felipe, but he thinks that he’s straight, so he’s just happy to be his friend. Felipe thinks that he’s straight until he meets Wren and finds himself developing feelings for Wren, but will he have the courage to tell Wren his feelings and ask him on a date? Felipe doesn’t even know if Wren is gay but with encouragement from his friends, he’s going to find out. The story is a slow burn, hand-holding and light kissing kind of a story that works great for a new-adult themed story. I liked the story for what it was—a look into Wren getting comfortable with who he wants to be and finding friends that will accept him for who he is.

I would have loved to see a prequel to this story about when Wren came out to his family and how he was bullied in school which led to him changing schools. I wanted to see all of the struggles that Wren had to go through to get to where he is now. I know that he still has a long way to go, he still has to convince his parents to allow him to start hormone injections and decided on whether he will have top or bottom surgery. But I just wish that I had gotten to see the struggle from the beginning of his coming out instead of having skipped that part.

I hope that the author will continue Wren and Felipe’s story. I would love to see how their relationship progresses as Wren continues through his transition.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “When Everything is Blue” by Laura Lascarso

TITLE: When Everything is Blue
AUTHOR: Laura Lascarso
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance / New Adult
LENGTH: 216 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback


When they were kids, Chris Mitcham rescued Theo from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed feelings for his best friend that arise at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take.
When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and his stunted, tenuous relationship with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery?
In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with awkward firsts and a few haters, but also the unexpected comfort of a friend turned lover.

Theo is 16 years old, gay and in love with Chris, his straight best friend and tries desperately to forget him. But when a picture outs him in front of all his school, Theo has no other choice than to reveal who he really is and deal step by step with the diverse reactions.
I liked this book; it was a great story.

Theo tries to understand who he is, how to deal with his sexuality, and his desire for Chris. He’s terrified to admit to him that he’s in love, scared to lose his only real friend. He’s also scared to come out to his dad. Theo and his father haven’t had a good relationship, and the communication between them is difficult. I loved Theo, this kid is lost at first, he tries to understand himself before coming out, but when his choice was taken from him, he decided to be himself, and not to hold back or change.

Chris is adorable. I love this kid because he’s there for Theo no matter what, and doesn’t hesitate to fight for him, literally. He’s so sweet. I so want to hug him for hours.

I love how the author tries to explain all the first times. First kiss, first sexy times, and first love. How those two young men, discover themselves, but also their sexuality and feelings together. I also love how she explains the difficulty of how young gay kids meet. Not only do they have to deal with their desires and hormones (like every teenager in the world), but also, they have to come out in front of everyone just because they love another boy, or girl, when straight teenagers don’t have to do that. They have to fear that their family will disown them, or worse, kick them out on the street.

The author did a good job with all of this palette of feelings, and she served them perfectly throughout the book.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs for all the Theo’s of the world.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “An Island in the Stars” by Susan Laine

TITLE: An Island in the Stars
AUTHOR: Susan Laine
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anna Sikorska
GENRE: New adult; Sci-fi
RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 –paperback


Sam, a geeky college freshman, has bigger problems than lusting after Marcus, sexy jock, college junior, and his big brother’s best friend. Chasing after a beanie caught in the winter wind turns into a tumble down the rabbit hole for them both—science fiction style.

Sam and Marcus find themselves trapped on a tropical island in the middle of a strange ocean on an alien moon. The sole structure is a ruined temple devoted to the art of love. Flustered, confused, and unable to return home, they need to figure out a means of escape from a hostile jungle teeming with dangerous life-forms.

In this tale where opposites attract and secret crushes are revealed, two very dissimilar young men discover they actually have a lot in common after all, but it will take their differences as much as their points of connection to survive on an island in the stars

One day, when they were heading home after college, Sam and Marcus fell in a rabbit hole which leads to an Island on a Moon.
Sam is a “geek” in love with Marcus, his brother’s best friend for years. Too shy, too unsure and too scared to confess his feelings, Sam, spends most of his time in defense mode or running away from Marcus.
Marcus tries his best to gain Sam’s attention but fails each time. He is crazy in love with the young geek but doesn’t know how to gain his trust and love.
When they end up on an Island on an alien moon, they don’t have other choices but to stick together in order to survive and find a way to come back to their home.
It was a sweet love story between Sam & Marcus. They are adorable together especially Marcus.
I like this big guy, he is sweet, brave and fights for what he wants. And he’s wanted Sam for years, when he has the opportunity, he takes it. I like his devotion for Sam too. I had a little crush for Marcus.

Sam is really smart, like super mega smart, and his brain sure helps them on this alien Island, but he has difficulty interacting with people, and especially with the guy he is in love with, Marcus. But this island will help him to face his fear, to surpass himself and fight for his life and that of Marcus.
The author mixes different genres, adventure, Sci-fi, Romance, the whole sprinkled with a dose of humor.

It’s a mix between Jules Verne, Daniel Defoe and Lewis Carroll. A fall in a rabbit hole that leads to an extraterrestrial room that leads to an island on an alien moon, populated with extraordinary alien creatures, add 2 gay men, horny and in love, and you have this sweet novel.

I recommend this book for younger people 14-18 years old.

****The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****