Review of: The Captain’s Mate by C.W. Gray – Audio

TITLE: The Captain’s Mate – Audio
SERIES: Blue Solace # 6
RELEASE DATE: October 30, 2019


Welcome back to Charybdis Station and the crew of the Blue Solace: (Sixth Book in the series)
Draif Ando started life as a slave on Vextonar. When he was fifteen, he met his best friend, Leti Ando, and life got a lot better. Now he’s a Charybdis Station captain and works closely with the Lord Admiral of the Station. He is a free man, finally has a purpose of his own, and has the the best lieutenant in the galaxy by his side. If he’s so content, why does he yearn for more, and why is he suddenly picturing children with his eyes and Lucas’ ears and tail?
Lucas Meluth knew that Draif was his life mate from the moment they met. He also knew that Draif was demisexual and wasn’t attracted to Lucas. Not at first. Now, Lucas notices the way Draif’s eyes follow him and the way Draif’s innocent touches are suddenly not so innocent. Has the time come for their friendship to turn into more?
Draif and Lucas may finally be figuring their relationship out, but their enemies are approaching and it’s time to protect Charybdis Station and rid the galaxy of Humans First, once and for all.
Author’s Note: 55,000 words. This is a sci-fi/fantasy, m/m love story with no angst and no cheating, just a HEA. There is lots of action, a little sex, mpreg, and a few potty mouths involved in the story. 18+ readers only, please. It is also the sixth book in a series that is best read in order. Read “The Mercenary’s Mate,” “The General’s Mate,” “The Soldier’s Mate,” “The Lieutenant’s Mate,” and “The Engineer’s Mate” first!

Narration: This was the first book narrated by Connor Brown I’ve listened to. There are parts that he read a bit fast in some places, and I’d wanted to ask him to slow down. Other places it was perfect, and I fell right into the story again. He has a nice deep voice where needed but can lighten it when the character calls for it.

Story: I love this series as a reader. I love the characters and the storyline that runs through the series. It’s a twisted tale that works to pull the reader in. It has some head-hopping that, as an editor, I can get past because I love the story that much. But also as an editor, that was my only catch while reading these. The story is just what the author promises—MM love with little relationship angst and action…oh and potty mouths!

In this installment, we get Draif and Lucas’ story….FINALLY! LOL I love these guys. I’ve been cheering for a HEA for Draif since book 1, and we met him and Leti.
Draif was born a slave, and at the age of thirteen, he was sent for sex-slave training. I won’t go into too much because of spoilers. Leti’s dad had bought him after he was disfigured at age 15, and they became brothers. He’s also a genius in almost anything he attempts. He’s asexual, so there isn’t a lot of sex in this one, but it’s not really missing because it’s not called for.

Lucas is just amazingly patient with Draif. He’s laid back when needed and a supportive Lieutenant for Draif. He lets Draif just be Draif. He was orphaned as a child, but he’s found his family on Charybdis Station. I was so happy to see him recover and get his HEA.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: An Uncommon Whore by Belinda McBride

TITLE: An Uncommon Whore
AUTHOR: Belinda McBride
SERIES: Uncommon Whore, book 1
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
RELEASE DATE: August 27, 2019


“As a general rule, you won’t find the love of your life while you’re on your knees under a table.” — Helios Dayspring
Pasha is a slave, whoring for travelers at the most dangerous bar on Warlan. He has no memory, no future of his own, yet deep inside Pasha knows that that he is meant for better things. The day that Pasha spots the dangerous pirate in the bar, he knows that he mustn’t let the stranger slip away, regardless of what he must do to attract his attention.
Captain Griffin Hawke spent the greater part of a decade searching for his lost king, only to find Helios Dayspring crouched between his knees, swathed in the robes and shackles of a whore. Though he is appalled by the downfall of his king, the hardened officer finds himself falling for the allure of the sensual creature who has taken his place. Returning Helios to his position on the throne is the only right thing to do, yet Griffin knows that in doing so, he risks losing his lover forever.
“A whore is a whore is a whore, unless he’s something else completely. I guess I must be an uncommon whore.” — Helios Dayspring

I thoroughly enjoyed reading An Uncommon Whore by Belinda McBride. This is the first time that I’ve read a book by this author, but it won’t be the last. I loved the world-building that is done in this book and how the foundation was laid for the storyline and plot arc for this book and the other books in the series, which I can’t wait to read as soon as they are released.

I enjoyed how the story unfolds and how we get tidbits into what happened in the past and how the lost king, Helios Dayspring, ends up as Pasha, a slave, whoring for travelers at the most treacherous bar on Warlan. How he’s found by Captain Griffin Hawke, who has spent the better part of a decade searching for his lost king, only to find him crouched between his legs, swathed in the robes and shackles of a whore on a planet they only stopped on because they needed supplies. It wasn’t one of the planets that they were going to be searching for their lost king.

But just finding there lost king and reuniting him with his subjects isn’t going to be as easy as Captain Griffin Hawke had hoped. Helios has an implant that keeps him subservient and keeps him from remembering who he was before he became a slave. Grif has also always believed that there were traitors in their midst during the invasion with an underlying agenda to get rid of Helios and the other people that were in line to rule since Helios was, I believe, third in line to rule. Grif uses caution in letting people know that he has found the lost king and returning him to the new planet that the survivors have inhabited.

As Grif recounts what’s happened and reminds Helios of what he has forgotten, Helios is horrified. He is horrified to find out that the council has taken over leadership of the government instead of the guard like it should have been in times of war until a new ruler could be established, which should have been his sister and then his son. I really felt for him as he had to go through reliving all of the tragedy that had befallen him and his family and his countrymen and the grief that came with it.

I loved getting to know Grif and Lios and reading about how they get reunited and rekindle their love for each other. They had been first-time lovers before they each got married and had a family, and they had remained best friends since then.

The author did a great job fleshing out the main and supporting characters and setting the story up for the next installment. I can’t wait to see if Lios gets his memories back, how they deal with the traitors, and how Grif and Lios’ relationship progresses. I especially loved getting to read the prologue and first chapter that was at the end of the book for the next book in the series. It was so good that I can’t wait to read the next book in the series when it comes out. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait too long.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Spark in the Stars by Foster Bridget Cassidy

TITLE: Spark in the Stars
AUTHOR: Foster Bridget Cassidy
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
RELEASE DATE: Jun 21, 2019


A case of mistaken identity could lead to love for an aloof starship captain and a brilliant if underappreciated mechanic from the sticks—if they can survive the dangerous mission assigned to them.
Ginnovi Oshwald just needs someone to give him a chance. He can keep anything running, despite the “spark” his body produces that sometimes wreaks havoc with electronics. Gin gets his chance when Captain Lian Hartford comes to Tallahassee in search of a mechanic. The trouble is, he’s looking for Gin’s sister. But since he only has a name to go by, Gin tells a little white lie. What could go wrong?
Lian loves his ship and his work as a diplomat but has difficulty connecting with others—only partly because of his mixed human and alien heritage. Something about the eccentric mechanic intrigues him, though, and their easy friendship could become more… if they live long enough to broker peace between humanity and a hostile race while pacifying a crew that thinks Gin belongs in prison.

When Ginnovi deliberately presents himself as his sister, he has one goal in mind. To get away from this place and starting over with more opportunities than he was ever going to get from his sister. But before we judge the sister, we must know that she took over their late father’s garage and raised Ginnovi by herself, that led her to seeing her younger brother as a kid, who has the tendency to blow up electronic devices.

It’s not really his fault. It seems that he’s charged with this static electricity, and in the most inconvenient times, it discharges. He can’t help it, and he can’t control it, no matter what he does.

After their latest fight, sitting in the local pub with the intention of downing his sorrow in alcohol, a chance appears to him in the form of Captain Liam Hartford.

Lian is looking for the very famous mechanic of Tallahassee. Despite the fact that everybody’s telling him that Oshwald is hard to convince, he finds no resistance and whisks the mechanic away in no time. So what if they get the wrong gender in the description. It was probably a bureaucratic mistake.

After their departure, he soon finds out that Gin lied to him, putting their top-secret mission at risk. But there might be a chance that the captain could help Gin with his sparkling problems. Also, it seems to Liam that Gin is more to him than just a brilliant mechanic.
I liked the plot and the romance between our two MCs, but there were minor details that I can’t see happening in real life. And while we know this is sci-fi, things like identification for a top-secret mission shouldn’t be lousy. I can understand some misspelling of the name, but gender? How can you mistake that?

We learn about new species, inter-species relations, and offsprings.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Innocence and Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp

TITLE: Innocence and Carnality
AUTHOR: J. Alan Veerkamp
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
RELEASE DATE: April 23, 2019


Innocence is his only currency.
The gilded cage of propriety where Nathan grew up as a member of the Deilian aristocracy became a true prison when, at fifteen, his homosexuality came to light and created a terrible scandal. His parents see only one way to preserve their reputation amongst the other noble families: fit Nathan with a chastity belt to increase his value to a potential partner and marry him off as soon as possible.
The recipient of that prize is Lord Rother Marsh Delaga III. After a hasty wedding, Rother whisks Nathan away to the strange and seductive land of Marisol, where Nathan will begin a new life, free to explore the pleasures of the marriage bed, though his life is still not his own.
But Rother’s Delaga House is a place of secrets, dangers, and depravity Nathan can scarcely comprehend. Where friends are few and peril waits around every corner, Nathan must employ all the manipulation he learned from high society, along with his talent for clockwork. Most of all, Nathan must adapt, compromise to survive, and cast off the preconceptions of his homeland.
Because only he can orchestrate his freedom, and it’ll come at a cost.

I loved reading Innocence and Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp. It’s the first time that I’ve read a book by this author. I can tell you that it won’t be the last time that I read a book by this author. I was captivated by the cover. It reminds me of the covers for steampunk books with the gears being in it and that it had a historical feel to it. Like the Harlequin romances that I liked to read before I got into reading primarily MM books. And I will admit to one-clicking more than a few books just by how much I like the cover. And the blurb when I read it only made me want to read it more. Who doesn’t like a nobleman that’s been made to stay in a chastity belt to ensure his innocence when in the era of dowries and advantageous marriages? I know that I do. One of my favorite movies is Men in Tights, and Maid Marian wears a chastity belt to ensure her innocence before her marriage. Which was a good thing because she was a horny young woman when she meets Robin Hood. But I digress, back to the story.

I loved Nathan and how he grew up as a member of the Deilian aristocracy. At age fifteen, they have their blood tested by the apothecary to have their futures read in a manner of speaking. It comes out that Nathan is a homosexual and it created a terrible scandal. He’s kept in a gilded cage of propriety and fitted with a chastity belt and given lessons that are normally given to the females of the house instead of the lessons given to the males of the house. And as soon as his parents find him a potential partner, they marry him off. The Deilian aristocracy is very much about sex for procreation only after they had a virus that wiped out most of their race. So Nathan has no other value being unable to reproduce than finding a marriage from somebody that is not a Deilian. That recipient is Lord Rother Marsh Delaga III from the land of Marisol. Which is very much different from what Nathan is used to on Deilia. I loved that Nathan got to take his valet and personal servant, Harston with him. I loved Harston and would love to see him find his happy ending.

I liked Lord Rother at first. He came off as being possessive of his new husband, but he gave the impression that he was someone that Nathan could fall in love with. But the more Nathan got to know him the more he was able to see just what kind of person Lord Rother was and the only person that Lord Rother can love is himself. I did love Alexandra and Blythe, and I hated Vivian, and I am so glad she got what was coming to her in the end. Such a manipulative, nasty, vindictive person. I didn’t like Blythe at the beginning of the story. I found him vulgar and common and kind of a brutish man, which makes sense since he’s Rother’s bodyguard. He did grow on me, and I fell in love with him and his loyal heart.

I loved watching Nathan as he came into his own person and all of the twists and turns that happened in the book. There is cheating in this book, so if you don’t like to read a book that has cheating in it, then this book is not for you. I found the cheating to be justified in this book since both parties in the relationship are cheating. There is also BDSM used by a secondary character on another secondary character.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Dissolution by Michele Notaro

TITLE: Dissolution
AUTHOR: Michele Notaro
SERIES: Taoree Trilogy
RELEASE DATE: Jan 13, 2018


Oh god, no! Oh god help me… how am I going to save them? There’s just so much… blood… everywhere…
I was supposed to protect them. I was supposed to keep them safe, but wherever I go more and more people are losing their lives, and nothing I do can save them. After so much loss, my family is breaking apart at the seams.
The Taoree Legion is winning this war. No matter what we do or how we fight back, we can’t seem to gain any ground. They’re one step ahead of us at every turn. The world is crumbling before my very eyes, and I can’t seem to stop it.
I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I swear with everything I am that I will kill Emperor Thelonious Serparla for what he’s done to us, to my family, to the human race, to the entire world. By god, I will take him down, or I will die trying.
Dissolution is Book Three in the Taoree Trilogy and is meant to be read as part of a series. This book brings the conclusion of the series, and the happy ending we’ve all been waiting for.

The war is raging between the Independents and the Legions. Thelonius’ army seems to win every fight, seems to know what their enemy is going to do. Jeremy and his family need to find the mole hiding among them because they need to find a way to bring Thelonius down and end this war.

They didn’t expect to discover something that will probably help them, but also a new threat that can change the end of this war and the future of their people—Taoree and Human.

Dissolution is the last book in the Taoree Trilogy by Michele Notaro. I loved this book, and I was sad to let them go.

Jeremy and Orrean are bonded, they are balu and crazy in love. Even if the war keeps killing their friends, brothers-in-arms, they still have hope to win. They’re a united front, even when they’re mad at each other, they’re unit and ready to do anything to protect the people they love. I adored these two guys—they are beautiful together. I love how united they are, even when things aren’t easy for them. This book was the culmination of their story, of their love and it was breathtaking and beautiful.

I cried a lot…again. We lost someone…again. It broke my heart, but it was consistent with the story and the plot. The MCs are all fabulous, and I loved to see their evolutions, from teenager to survivor, to soldier to adult.
This book is the last one in this trilogy, and finally, we have the end of the war, how they fight Thelonius and a big twist at the end that I didn’t see coming at all. Well, actually, we learn two major things that I didn’t see coming, but that explains a lot of things. The rhythm is different from the first two books, it seems slower and less dynamic, but it made sense to me. In the first two books, they were on the run and trying to find their feet in this war. In this book, the MCs are installed in their role, embraced their fate and planned how to win, not to survive this time. The author transcribes this really well, and even if the rhythm was different, it was consistent in the whole series.
I adored this trilogy, I’m usually not a fan of dystopia, I most of the time find it depressing, but this series is really good, and even If I cried a lot of the time, I couldn’t stop my read. It gives me a lot of feelings from sadness to fear to excitation to love. It was really good and well written.

Now I can only wait for The Taoree Chronicle series to start with Wes’ book. It’s my favorite character, and I can’t wait to read about him.

It’s a huge 5 stars for this incredible family!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis