Review: “Love Wanted” by John Inman

TITLE: Love Wanted
AUTHOR: John Inman
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Maria Fanning
GENRE: Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 270 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 19, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $16.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

When it rains, it pours. Not only has Larry Walls been evicted from his apartment, but his hours have also been cut at the department store where he works, leaving him facing homelessness.
Meanwhile, Bo Lansing, a total stranger to Larry, toils at a dead-end job as a fry cook while attending night classes to become a certified chef. When the school closes its doors without warning, leaving Bo in the lurch for thousands of dollars in tuition, his dream of becoming a chef is shattered and his financial troubles spiral.
Desperate for a new beginning, each man answers an ad for live-in help posted by a wealthy recluse, and wonder of wonders, they are both hired! Just as their lives begin to improve, a young Kumeyaay Indian named Jimmy Blackstone joins the workforce at the Stanhope mansion.
When Mr. Stanhope’s true reason for hiring the young men is discovered by one of the three, a fourth entity makes its presence known.
Greed.
With all these players vying for position in a game of intrigue orchestrated by one lonely old man and a mischievous ghost, can a simple thing like love ever hope to survive the fray?


This book simply blew me away. The writing and storytelling were outstanding, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it once I started. Don’t get me wrong, it did take me quite a few minutes to get everything straight in my head because there was a lot going on right at the start and when the characters were introduced. But as soon as I got it all sorted out, I was taken on an adventure that was beyond what I would have ever imagined from reading the blurb.

Roger David Stanhope is 93, he lived with Jeremy, his partner of over seventy years, in their mansion on a mountain, but two years ago Jeremy died after a long battle with cancer. Roger knows that he also doesn’t have much time left, but with the help of his live-in housekeeper, Mrs Price, who’s close to her own retirement, he begins his plan to bring two younger men to the estate to work as cook and housekeeper. The only stipulation is that they must be single, gay and looking for a new beginning. Roger has hidden security cameras set up all over the house and estate because his plan is to put the two men together to see if they can be almost manipulated into falling in love with each other, with Roger watching it all unfold. Except Roger isn’t watching alone because when Jeremy died, he didn’t really leave Roger. His spirit is still in the house, and every now and again makes his presence known, sometimes by being a little mischievous, but mostly by giving Roger the love and support that he misses.

Larry Walls is 23-years-old, he’s not having an easy time of it lately. He’s very short on money, his hours at work have been cut, and he’s returned home to an eviction notice on his door because he’s late with his rent yet again. When Larry sees the help wanted ad in the newspaper, he knows it would be the answer to all his problems, so decides to take the chance and go for the interview.

Robert ‘Bo’ Lansing works as a short order cook at a Naval Station. He was also a part-time student at a culinary school, but that has just closed down suddenly, and the owner has taken all of the money. With no chance of completing his chef course, no money and no future as a short order cook, he’s told about the help wanted ad by a friend. Bo decides this fresh start might just be what he needs.

When Larry and Bo arrive at the mansion on interview day, there are more applicants than they thought there would be. But when the two men meet and start talking to each other they hit it off straight away, they both agree that working together would be perfect as they’re already getting along, but neither believe that they’ll both have the luck and get hired by Mr Stanhope. Little do they know that Roger had been watching them since they arrived, and he’s already decided that they would be perfect for his plan/experiment.

Larry and Bo have a great time working together and also form quite a close friendship. Bo is actually very attracted to Larry, and Larry to Bo. When they finally give in to the attraction, Bo believes it will be the start of a serious relationship between them, but Larry isn’t as keen and tries to distance himself from Bo a little, which causes some problems and friction in the house. When the new and extremely handsome estate gardener, Jimmy Blackstone, arrives at the house, a spanner is thrown in the works, and all of Roger’s best-laid plans are ruined.

I loved absolutely everything about this book and story. It totally surprised me, there was an unexpected twist. I laughed on more than one occasion, but I was also filled with joy and happiness seeing love expressed in the words I was reading. It was the perfect story.

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

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Review: “It Could Happen” by Mia Kerick

TITLE: It Could Happen
AUTHOR: Mia Kerick
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; MMM
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Three misfits, mismatched in every way—Henry Perkins, Brody Decker, and Danny Denisco—have been friends throughout high school. Now in their senior year, the boys realize their relationship is changing, that they’re falling in love. But they face opposition at every turn—from outside and from within themselves. Moving to the next level will take all the courage, understanding, and commitment they can muster. But it could happen.

Henry is a star athlete and the son of religious parents who have little concern for the future he wants. Brody is a quirky dreamer and adrenaline junkie, and Danny is an emo artist and the target of bullies. Despite their differences they’ve always had each other’s backs, and with each of them facing a new and unique set of challenges, that support is more important than ever. Is it worth risking the friendship they all depend on for the physical and romantic relationship they all desire?

In this unconventional new adult romance, three gay teens brave societal backlash—as well as the chance that they might lose their treasured friendship—to embark on a committed polyamorous relationship.


It Could Happen was a surprisingly sweet and emotional coming of age story about three 18-year-old high school best friends—Brody, Henry and Danny—who decide to take a chance to see if they can build a three-way relationship from the very close friendship that they have.

Brody’s the blonde-haired All-American boy. He’s the youngest of seven boys, and his conception was not planned. His parents are older and tend to live their own lives and leave Brody to get on with his. He gets anything he could want from them without question, except the love and attention he craves. Brody is a risk taker and loves nothing more than getting his adrenaline pumping by pulling some crazy and often dangerous stunts.

Henry’s one the very few African-American kids in the school. He’s 6′ 3″ of muscle and looks like the typical jock. He takes part in almost every sport in the school, but his specialty is cross country. His parents are fanatically religious and extremely strict. Henry has to obey their every rule, and is rarely allowed to think for himself or make his own decisions. But he has a very kind and sweet heart which makes him want to please everyone, even if it means denying himself of something.

Danny’s the only out gay kid in the whole school. He’s also the stereotypical emo-goth. With his long black hair, black clothes, love of art and brooding but fiery personality, he often gets picked on by his not-so-pleasant classmates. His mother is an alcoholic who usually puts her latest boyfriend before him, so when he meets a guy who seems interested in him, he clings to the relationship because he just wants to feel that there’s someone who wants him and who will care about him.

The boys have made a plan to all attend Prospect University together. Brody knows his parents won’t care which college he picks, while Henry knows his parents won’t approve because it’s not one that they have chosen for him, and Danny doesn’t believe he’s got enough talent to get the scholarship he needs to be able to attend in the first place. But they send the applications anyway because they know that they want to do it together. When Henry suggests what they have is more than just a friendship and he thinks they should try being in a relationship together, at first he’s met with some scepticism from Brody and Danny because it’s not something that’s normally done. Especially amongst people of their age, but after a discussion they decide what they have is worth taking the chance on to see if they can find love and happiness with each other. It’s not all plain sailing though. They have to deal with a violent ex of Danny’s who seems to still have a hold over him, Brody trying to keep them together even though he has a few moments of uncertainty himself and Henry’s parents being their overbearing and controlling selves.

I enjoyed this story a lot. I liked that we got the points of view of the three characters, but just wish that there was more from Danny’s point of view than just his poetry. I would have liked more of an insight of what he was thinking and feeling, and I felt that the poetry just didn’t get this across a lot of the time unlike Brody and Henry’s parts. This was the first time I had read a NA book involving—as Brody would say—a threelationship and I’m pleased to say that I hope it won’t be my last. It was beautifully written, and I really felt a connection to the characters and their emotions, especially Brody. NA isn’t normally a sub-genre that would be my first choice, but I think that this book has shown me that it’s worth taking the risk, even when you have doubts. And I don’t mean just with choosing a book.

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

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Review: “Blue” by B.G. Thomas

TITLE: Blue
AUTHOR: B.G. Thomas
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 15, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Blue McCoy has lived on the streets for a long time, surviving by his wits and doing what he must, and he’s not above using his youthful appearance and air of innocence to his advantage. It’s not an easy life, but he’s happy. He has everything he really needs: the clothes on his back, a house to squat in, a sweet dog. Everything except that special someone to love him.

Six months ago, John Williams’s wife left him because she was bored. “Even your *name* is boring” were her last words to him before she walked out. Now he’s by himself in a big house, trying to figure out what direction his life should take. He’s never been so alone.

A chance encounter sets John on a new path, a path that becomes clearer when loneliness sends him to a local animal shelter to get a dog—and he finds an angel instead. An angel named Blue. A crisis brings them together, but it is something else that keeps them there. Could it be love? A love that can forever end two men’s deep loneliness and bring them the support and sense of belonging they’ve searched for all their lives?


Reading the blurb, I was excited about this book because it sounded really interesting and definitely showed a lot of promise, but for me, it just didn’t hit the mark or fulfill the potential I thought it could’ve had. Although the plot and characters were quite sweet, I felt that they needed more depth, because even at 240 pages long, the story just felt as though it was lacking in some way. I wouldn’t say that I disliked it, it just wasn’t one of my favourites.

Blue is 23 years-old, and lives in an abandoned shack of a house with no heat or electricity. He shares the house with three friends, who are also his occasional sexual partners, and his recently acquired stray Labradoodle that he named Chewie. Blue essentially has nothing and no one. He works various odd-jobs to get money to live and eat, but they are never permanent. And on occasion, when he’s been really struggling for money and hungry, he’s resorted to sleeping with strangers for a meal, or a place to stay for the night. No matter what life throws at him, Blue nearly always sees the positive side, and is mostly a happy guy. But he has a brain that works at a million miles a minute, so people often find him to be a little weird, which normally makes it hard to form a special connection to someone. So he’s resigned himself to the fact that it’ll probably just be him and his dog alone in the world. Then one day disaster strikes, and Blue has to rush Chewie to the animal shelter to see the vet after he’s knocked down by a car.

John is the President of a bank. He’s always been attracted to men, but pushed it to the back of his mind, and was basically in denial. As far as he’s concerned he loved his wife and was happy with her, the sex may not have been earth-shattering, but he was never tempted to look elsewhere. At 45 years-old, he’s suddenly alone after his wife leaves him to travel and have a bit of adventure and excitement in her life. John’s feeling kind of lost, he was so used to doing things with his wife, that he doesn’t know how to fill his time now, she even took their dog when she left him. John decides he needs to fill the emptiness of his house so goes to the local animal shelter to get a new dog. This is where he meets Blue for the second time. A few months previously, he encountered Blue when he almost hit him with his car, and he found that in the time that passed since that day, he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the young man. When he enters the animal shelter, he sees a young man in the waiting area visibly upset and shaken. When John goes over to make sure he’s ok, he’s surprised to find that the man is the person who has been filling his thoughts and dreams, and who has been making him question everything he thought about himself and his relationships. From this point, the two men come together to nurse Chewie back to health and explore what it means to have happiness, acceptance, understanding and love.

For me, the writing style was too chaotic. I felt as though it was a little disjointed, and I had to really concentrate on what I was reading, or I’d get a bit lost. Characters were introduced, and I thought they would have been expanded upon, but then they were never really involved again which did disappoint me. The story just didn’t flow as well as it could have, especially when switching between POV’s. Also, there was quite a lot of brand and name dropping that made it feel like it was some sort of advertisement. These issues are what affected my enjoyment of the book. I liked John and Blue, they were really loveable characters with personalities that made you want to get to know them more, I just wish I was able to feel more of a connection to them through this story.

So overall, this book didn’t exactly push my buttons, but that may just be personal preference, there’s nothing to say that you won’t love this story. It’s the first book I’ve read by this author, but it won’t put me off reading other titles.

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

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Review: “Patterns” by Suede Delray

TITLE: Patterns
AUTHOR: Suede Delray
SERIES: Patterns
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Martine Jardin
GENRE: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 136 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $6.00 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Ever since he’d met Dominick Cortez unexpectedly on the subway, Rob had been gripped by powerful memories. The intense feelings of desire he felt as soon as Dominick spoke his name, had taken him completely by surprise. He was perplexed. After all, he’d moved on, hadn’t he?

A homicide detective, Dominick’s marriage to his job had saved him, helping him to leave his feelings for Rob in the past. Or so he’d thought. Then he ran into Rob on his way to work. But ever since their impromptu meeting, Dominick couldn’t stop thinking about the past. Then a suspect in a murder investigation leads Dominick to the Martindale Institute, the very place Rob Dewhurst works.


This is the first book I have read by new-to-me author Suede Delray. I think it helps that the first book you read by a new author is also the first of a series or stand-alone, as it really gives you a feel for their writing style and storytelling, and what to expect for future releases. In this case, there were some things I really enjoyed, and some things that slightly irked me, but I’ll get to that soon enough.

The story centres around the two main characters, Rob Dewhurst and Dominick Cortez. Rob is the recently promoted assistant director of the Martindale Youth Detention Centre, he lives with Kyle his boyfriend of seven years. Dominick is a detective with the local Police force, he’s single and isn’t interested in being in a relationship. Rob and Dominick have a history together, and its big. They first met around 13 years earlier when Rob was working as a dancer/prostitute at a club called Mirror Palace, which was owned by Dominick’s uncle and Rob’s boss/pimp, Danny. Rob was a homeless teen, selling himself on the streets when Danny found him and took him in. He offered Rob food to eat and a place to stay, Rob earned his keep by sleeping with the men Danny set up for him. Dominick comes from a powerful Italian mafia family, but when his father found out he was gay, Dominick was cast out. He then became a police officer as he didn’t want to follow in the family footsteps. To his father, this was the ultimate betrayal, and they didn’t speak again. When another crime family began making moves to take over the family territory, Dominick went to his uncle’s club to try and talk him into getting word to his father to get the women and children in the family out of town to safety. He first noticed Rob dancing on a platform next to the bar in the club, and as he moved to go to the the stairs to get to his uncle’s office, they accidentally collided. This was the moment that changed everything for both men. From there, they became closer and started a relationship. Rob went to college with Dominick’s support and got the job at the detention centre, but then there was a big fight, where things were said, and which left both men with broken hearts. Rob and Dominick had not seen each other in 12 years when another accidental meeting brings them together again and into each other lives. Both men soon discover that the feelings from 12 years ago are still as strong as they were, and maybe together was how they were meant to be, and this was just another little push in the right direction by fate.

So, on to my thoughts. I really liked the plot of the story, I found it really interesting and entertaining, and I read the book through in one sitting because I was excited to see what was going to happen next. I liked how the author integrated the other characters and showed us Rob and Dominick’s back story, while still keeping a nice flow to the book. Now for the little things that let the book down a little. This may just be an issue of mine because I am very picky and notice things that a lot of people would probably let go, but to me, they stick and I just can’t seem to forget them once they’ve been seen. The first issue was that when Rob and Dominick meet in the club, we are told it was 2004, and a Lady GaGa song was playing when Dominick walked in. I may be wrong, but I’m sure Lady GaGa wasn’t around at this time, and it was a few more years before she was well known enough to have her songs played in clubs. Also, when Dominick’s detective partner Betty is discussing how he knows Rob, she asks if it was the same Rob from the club massacre in 2005, when again we’ve already been told it happened in 2004. There were also a couple of minor spelling mistakes, but these weren’t really much of an issue as the factual errors.

Overall, I did enjoy the book even with the little bugbear’s, and I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series because the characters and story have caught my attention and peaked my interest, and I feel like I need to follow their journey to see what adventure the next part of their lives takes me on.

I will warn you though that there are multiple occasions when cheating either takes place or is mentioned, so if this is something that is a no go area for you, then it may best best to give this book a miss.

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

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Review: “Scar” by Baylin Crow

TITLE: Scar
AUTHOR: Baylin Crow
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Baylin Crow
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 122 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 19, 2016
PRICE: $2.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

Beard

I just wanted to be left alone. After the disastrous turn my life took four years ago, I swore that I’d never let my guard down for anyone ever again. I left everything I knew behind and started over again. Things were going just fine until nearly six feet of pure temptation walked through the doors of my bar. It’s been a year and I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding him. Things change when his friends get him drunk and leave him stranded on his birthday. I shouldn’t have given him a place to crash because now I can’t shake him.

Soccer

He intrigued me from the moment we met, and I haven’t exactly been subtle about wanting him. The green-eyed bartender seems to want nothing to do with me, but I don’t miss the way he watches me when he thinks no one will notice. I’ve let him pretend long enough, and it’s definitely time to make my move. On the field, I face tough competitors every week, but this one will make me work harder than I ever have before. If I want to win, I’m going to have to up my game because he is a pro at pushing me away.

This is a standalone novella with no cliffhanger.


As a debut book, this story has set a high standard for the author to meet with future releases. It was a very sweet and incredibly sexy little romance that had me smiling from ear to ear, but also needing a fan to cool down (it’s pretty hot). Written in first person with dual POV, it grabbed my attention from the minute I saw the cover and read the blurb. As soon as I started reading the book, I just couldn’t stop. Football (soccer) is my joint favorite sport, so any book that includes it as part of the storyline then I’m going to read it, and this one definitely didn’t disappoint.

In this story, we have the two main characters, Beard (nicknamed because he has a thick and longish beard and no other reason) and Soccer (because he plays college soccer). The two men gave each other the nicknames because Soccer refused to call Beard by his proper name, even though he knows it. Beard played along with the game, and also refused to call Soccer by his name, now it’s a battle of wills, and they won’t back down or give in. Beard works at and owns a bar that used to belong to his grandfather where Soccer and his friends go mostly after playing their game on match-days. The team have become regulars at the bar, and Beard loves this, yet hates it at the same time.

Beard has quite a brooding and serious personality, and although he’s had a crush on Soccer since they first met, he tries to avoid him as much as he can to try and hide the attraction. He knows and accepts he’s gay, but due to an incident that occurred 4 years before, he’s in the closet and plans on staying that way. Soccer is almost the exact opposite of Beard, he’s happy and outgoing, yet fiercely competitive and determined. He’s also out to everyone he knows and is not shy about trying to get Beards attention. When Soccer’s friends hatch a plan to try and set the two men up, it doesn’t exactly work out as expected, but it ignites the spark of the smouldering feelings and chemistry that Beard and Soccer have. It gives Beard the little wake-up call he’s needed to face up to his past, and to move on with his future.

This was a fantastic little story to read. It was well written, flowed perfectly and there were no loose ends. The characters were well developed with just enough back story to fill you in, but not take over the main plot of the book. This is an author that I will definitely be looking out for from now on, if this book is anything to go by, I’d say we’re in for a real treat.

***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***

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Review: “Every Breath You Take” by Robert Winter

TITLE: Every Breath You Take
AUTHOR: Robert Winter
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Catt Ford
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.
Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.
But young gay men in Washington, DC, are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.


In the words of Oliver Twist, “Please Sir, can I have some more?”

When I first read the blurb for this book it really caught my attention. Straight away I knew it was my kind of story, and I’m so pleased to say that it certainly didn’t disappoint. From the very first page, we are thrown straight into the deep-end, we see a killer stalking his prey, and a man is murdered. The story and excitement just ramps up from there, and keeps you completely mesmerised until the very last word.

I don’t really know what I can say about the story that hasn’t already been said in the blurb without giving any of the plot away. This is definitely the type of book you need to read for yourself to really enjoy and experience all of the twists and turns that the author has laid out for us. It’s a brilliantly written book with two main plot lines running simultaneously. We have the path that follows Thomas and Zachary’s mutual lust and attraction―that Thomas forces himself to fight against, even though he accepts that Zachary is the first man he’s actually wanted for more than one night. Then there’s the other path that follows the murders that are taking place and the investigation into them, and how these connect to Thomas and the people in his life.

All of the characters–main and supporting–were very realistic, you can really imagine seeing/meeting these people in day-to-day life. One of my favourites was Joe, an ex-monk in his 60’s who runs the local LGBTQ shelter. He was very sweet, but also funny, and you can’t help loving him and his big personality. Thomas and Zachary were great, both as individual characters and together. Thomas works as a lawyer for the Senate Committee, so the confidence just oozes from him. He knows he can get anything or anyone he wants without really trying, but at the same time he’s also very generous with a good heart, so doesn’t come across as arrogant or obnoxious. Zachary is a small-town boy in the big city. For the first time, he can be himself, no hiding who he is, or his desires. At first, he seems quiet and almost shy, but he’ll also stand up for himself, and won’t be intimidated by anyone. He is definitely the kind of man who wears his heart on his sleeve. When the two men meet in the bar there is serious chemistry between them, and when they go back to Thomas’s the sex is extremely hot, and more than either of them could have imagined. This encounter has consequences that will change both men’s lives for better and worse.

I absolutely loved this book. It was edge-of-your-seat intrigue and suspense, with some epic sex scenes that will leave you a little hot and bothered *winks*. The author has done a fantastic job with the storyline, it’s really well thought out and grips you from the start, a real page-turner that I couldn’t put down once I’d started.

There is a brief mention/description of child abuse, both physical and sexual, and also some sadism involving adults. If these are triggers or an issue for you then it may be best to give this one a miss.

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

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Review: “The Perils of Intimacy” by Rick R. Reed

TITLE: The Perils of Intimacy
AUTHOR: Rick R. Reed
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 1, 2017
PRICE: $8.32 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Jimmy and Mark make an adorable couple. Jimmy’s kindness and clean-cut cuteness radiate out of him like light. Mark, although a bit older, complements Jimmy with his humor and his openness to love.

But between them, a dark secret lurks, one with the power to destroy.

See, when Mark believes he’s meeting Jimmy for the first time in the diner where he works, he’s wrong.

Mark has no recollection of their original encounter because the wholesome Jimmy of today couldn’t be more different than he was two years ago. Back then, Jimmy sported multiple piercings, long bleached dreadlocks, and facial hair. He was painfully skinny—and a meth addict. The drug transformed him into a different person—a lying, conniving thief who robbed Mark blind during their one-night stand.

Mark doesn’t associate the memory of a hookup gone horribly wrong with this fresh-faced, smiling twentysomething… but Jimmy knows. As they begin a dance of love and attraction, will Jimmy be brave enough to reveal the truth? And if he does, will Mark be able to forgive him? Can he see Jimmy for the man he is now and not the addict he was? The answers will depend on whether true love holds enough light to shine through the darkness of past mistakes.


Just WOW! This book was simply outstanding. The storyline was so powerful and filled with raw emotion that I had trouble sleeping because I couldn’t stop thinking about it and playing it over in my head. I was completely wrecked from everything my mind and heart went through while reading this story, it really was an emotional roller-coaster.

Written in the first-person narrative with dual POV, I was immediately spellbound from the first paragraph. I felt as if each character was speaking only to me. It was like I was transported into their lives, and was experiencing every smile and every pierce of the heart as if it was actually happening to me personally, not just words that I was reading in front of me. Yeah, this book was something special.

The story is set in Seattle, and is about the two main characters Jimmy Kilpatrick and Marc Kelly (I know the blurb has it spelled as Mark, but all through the book it is written as Marc). Jimmy is a 23-year-old recovering meth addict, who works as a waiter in a diner. Jimmy has been clean for two years, but holds a lot of guilt and shame for the things he did while deep in his addiction. He lives with his friend/roommate Kevin, also a recovering meth addict, in a not too desirable part of town. Jimmy has completely turned his life around, he looks and acts differently now, and will do whatever he can to keep his life straight. With the help of his sponsor and regular NA meetings, he’s getting by one day at a time, and although he doesn’t have much, he’s happier now than he’s ever been. Marc is only a few months away from reaching forty, he’s a shy and introverted man who has very few friends. He works in the communications department for a healthcare company, and sits in his little cubicle all day writing newsletters and updating websites. Marc, although quite handsome, is very socially awkward, and is not good at meeting or speaking to new people. He uses hookup sites to meet guys so that he doesn’t have to speak to them face to face. This hasn’t always gone too well for him, and there have been a few occasions where he felt hurt and betrayed by the actions of some of the men he has met up with, so now he has a few trust issues. When Jimmy and Marc meet in the diner where Jimmy works, there is a connection that both men feel instantly, and although its surprises them, it’s something that they both feel is right, and that they need to pursue. The more time they spend together, the deeper the feelings go, but Jimmy remembers Marc from his past, even if Marc doesn’t remember him. The question is, does he tell Marc everything and risk losing his one chance at love and happiness, or does he stay quiet and hope Marc never recognises that he was the person who destroyed the trust he once had?

I had obviously heard of this author before but never got around to reading any of his books. Now I want to kick and scream at myself for waiting so long because I really feel like I’ve been missing out. Rick R. Reed is now on my list of authors that will be one-click buys whenever there’s a new release. I’m in complete awe of the way his words got under my skin, and how they made me think and feel. There’s one quote from the book that stood out for me the most, and even as I sit here writing this, it is still staying with me, so I thought I’d share it because it’s probably one of the most poignant paragraphs I have ever read.

“We all make mistakes. But I always remember what my sponsor told me—mistakes are the soil we grow from. Every mistake, every bad thing we did shouldn’t be a regret, because everything we do is simply one more step on our journey. Without the mistakes, we’d never grow.”

An absolute must read if you like a book that pulls at the heartstrings, but can also make you smile.

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

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Review: “Just Add Argyle” by KC Burn

TITLE: Just Add Argyle
AUTHOR: KC Burn
SERIES: Fabric Hearts
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 204 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 21, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Tate Buchanan is a troublemaker who can’t keep a job, no matter how many times his lucky argyle sweater gets him hired. Add to that a learning disability and an impetuous nature that sends him into altercations to protect the defenseless, and he hardly manages to make friends, let alone find a man who’s interested in him for more than one night.

Most people think EMT Jaime Escobar is a player, but the truth is he wants a serious partner—he just can’t justify wasting time on guys he knows aren’t a match. But when he treats a gorgeous redhead after a fight, he finds the spark he’s spent so many years looking for.

Jaime wants to take the next step with Tate, but it’s clear Tate’s not going to curb his impulsive behavior—his next fight sends him to the hospital. Jaime’s relationship with a near criminal isn’t something his family is ready to accept, not any more than Tate is willing to be kept a secret. Jaime will need a lot of understanding—and some luck of his own—to keep them both. But this is one fight he’s going to see through to the end.


Just Add Argyle is a stand-alone story, but the third book to be released in the Fabric Hearts series. Characters from the other two books are also involved in this story, but they are integrated well without any issues or making you feel like you’ve missed something.

Tate Buchanan has a hard life. He lives with his alcoholic, drug addict mother, who simply doesn’t give a damn about him. Tate has been taking care of himself since he was a child, but can never seem to catch a break no matter what he does. He dropped out of high school because he couldn’t grasp what he was being taught, and was never able to pass any tests. Thinking he was stupid—just like his mother kept telling him—he decided to just give up. We find out throughout the story that he actually has a type of number dyslexia. Tate works in low-paying, unskilled jobs that he keeps getting fired from, so spends most of his time at the library or wandering the streets to avoid going home to his mother. One night, after being fired from his latest job, Tate goes to the mini-golf course where he used to work to hide out for a while. When he arrives, he discovers someone he used to work with being assaulted by two men, Tate steps in to stop the attack and ends up taking a bit of a beating in the process. The police and ambulance soon show up, and Tate comes face to face with the man that will change his life and everything he has ever thought of himself.

Jaime Escobar is an Army veteran, who now works as an EMT. He has seen and been through a lot over the past few years, and as a result of fighting in Afghanistan, Jaime suffers from PTSD. He comes from a big family, where everyone gets involved in everyone else’s business, but Jaime always tries to change the subject or deflect whenever they try to interfere in his love life. He wants to settle down and find a long-term partner and not just a one-night stand, but the only person who ever made him feel this way—even though they were never romantically involved—died in his arms in the desert. When Jamie answers a call-out for assault, he doesn’t expect to meet a man who lights a fire in him that he thought had long died out, even if he does have to break down some barriers to get to a place of peace and happiness.

When I first started this book, I really struggled to get into the story and seriously considered giving up a couple of times. I felt that the first few chapters dragged on more than they needed to and that there were parts that seemed to go off on unnecessary tangents, but I stuck with it, and I’m so glad I did. When we finally get into the story where Tate and Jaime meet and then get to know each other, the whole feel and flow of the story changes. It becomes a much more enjoyable read that touches on some serious issues, and does so in a very sympathetic way. Tate and Jaime’s love story found a place in my heart that I couldn’t imagine it would have when I first began.
The ending was so utterly adorable and perfect that I need to give huge credit to the author for turning the book from something that I thought I was going to dislike, into something that had me beaming with joy.
Now I need to go back and read the previous two books because I’ve kind of fallen for these characters and want to know a little more.

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

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Review: “Runaway” by Nic Starr

TITLE: Runaway
AUTHOR: Nic Starr
SERIES: World of Love
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 86 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

Dr Nathan Powell is ready to settle down near his family, and hopefully find the man of his dreams. He returns to the small coastal town where he grew up, but while life is simpler than it was in the city, there are also complications—like patients’ reactions to an openly gay doctor. And like running into Nate’s first love, Damien, an out-and-proud local business owner who is unwilling to be any man’s dirty secret. The reunion reignites old desire even while it stirs up Nate’s guilt over the way things ended with Damien.

When Nate’s nephew runs away, Damien accompanies Nate on his mission to find the young man. The drive to Sydney, and the search of the city, gives Nate time to reconnect with Damien—and to wonder if he made the right decision years ago—when he determined a future for them was impossible. Is a fresh start realistic for two men in their forties? But before he can ponder the second chance they’ve been given, Nate must locate his nephew.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe


How can I even begin to describe the way my heart feels after reading this book? I loved this story so much, and Nate and Damien even more. I need so much more of these two characters because I was in no way near ready for their story to end. I could easily read a whole series of books about these two men and their lives. It was a wonderfully beautiful second chance love story that had my head and heart seduced from the prologue. I fell completely in love more and more with each word I read.

Nate and Damien were friends/boyfriends as teenagers, their relationship was a secret to everyone who knew them, and after being caught kissing Damien in the park by one of the gardener’s, Nate decided that no one in his hometown would ever know about his sexuality. Fast forward to almost twenty years later, and Nate has recently moved back to Forster from Sydney to be closer to his sister, niece and nephew, and to settle down now that he’s in his early forties. When his sister tells him that her 17-year-old son Jackson is having a hard time, Nate offers to spend some time with him. Nate decides to take Jackson fishing, so they head to the local tackle and bait shop, where Nate unexpectedly comes face to face with Damien—who is now the owner of the shop—for the first time in almost 9 years. At first, the meeting is awkward because Nate realises that even after all the time that has passed, he’s still very attracted to Damien, but he also harbours a lot of guilt about how things ended between them. The men decide to give their friendship another go and to see where it leads, but Damien makes it clear that he is an openly gay man and will not hide in the closet for anyone. When Jackson runs away from home, Damien goes along with Nate to Sydney to try and find him. It’s on this journey that they finally get a chance to talk about the past and their regrets, but also rediscover their feelings for each other.

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I cannot compliment the author enough for writing such a fantastic and heartwarming story that gave me all of the feels. It was a brilliantly thought out story of self-acceptance and following your heart. Although it was quite a short read, everything was covered, and nothing felt like it was rushed or glossed over, but as I said at the start, I want/need more. I need to see what happens next between these two amazing men and also with Jackson as he played quite a big part in the story. This book is really more of an emotional rather than physical romance. There is only one sex scene and a couple of kissing scenes, but I felt like that was completely right for the characters and the story. It didn’t need anything else to make you feel that connection to the characters and their emotions.

This book was an absolute pleasure to read, and my heart literally feels like it could burst from happiness. Highly recommended!

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

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Review: “Leap of Faith” by Jackie Keswick

TITLE: Leap of Faith
AUTHOR: Jackie Keswick
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Garrett Leigh
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 125 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

Close friends and partners at FireWorks Security, Joel Weston and Kieran Ross know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They have each other’s backs, make a formidable team, and carefully ignore their volatile chemistry.

When Kieran struggles with the aftermath of an assignment gone wrong, Joel is there to help. When Joel is caught in an explosion, Kieran jumps into a burning marina to rescue the man who means so much to him. But they never discuss what’s closest to their hearts, not prepared to risk their friendship for the mere possibility of something more.

Faced with bombs, assassins and old ghosts, Joel and Kieran must find out why they’re targets, who is after them and—most of all—how each would feel if he lost the other. Can they continue as best friends, or is it time to take a leap of faith?


This book was a surprising little page-turner of a story. I was totally captivated from the start and was pretty gutted reading the last page because I wanted there to be more. It was almost everything I could have wanted in a book. There was action, mystery, edge-of-your-seat suspense and romance. A perfect little package really.

Joel Weston is an Army veteran who works for FireWorks Security, which is owned by his dad and uncle. His partner, Kieran Ross, an ex-DEA agent, has worked for the company for the last 4 years. Kieran is suffering from emotional distress after an innocent woman is killed by a suspect who had taken her hostage when he was trying to escape. Kieran blames himself for not being able to save the woman and hasn’t coped well since the incident. Joel’s father sends Joel to keep a close eye on Kieran to make sure he doesn’t come to any harm. Joel decides one of the days at Kieran’s house that enough is enough and Kieran needs to sort himself out, he suggests that they meet up with some other members of their team for lunch and an afternoon of fun. During their day out, the two men are passing the marina when they hear a woman scream and a man shouting. They run towards the commotion and see that the man is holding a child at gunpoint and pulling him towards a yacht in what looks like a domestic dispute. Joel doesn’t hesitate and chases the man on to the boat, almost as soon as he steps onto the yacht there’s an explosion which sends him and a lot of debris flying into the water. Kieran sees this and is consumed by worry and fear for his partner and friend. Without a second thought, he jumps into the water to try and rescue Joel and the young boy.

Kieran has been attracted to Joel for a long time, but has always hidden his feelings for the other man and has no intention of ever acting on them as he doesn’t want to lose or ruin the very close friendship and bond that they have. This brush with death brings out a very protective side of Kieran, and he doesn’t want Joel out of his sight and refuses to leave him on his own, even at the hospital. What Kieran doesn’t realise, is Joel has been having the same feelings and desires for him too, and is also scared of doing anything that would take their friendship to the next stage. The men and their team soon discover that everything is not as it seems, and what they thought was an accident at a marina is actually a complex plot that involves drugs, smuggling, assassination attempts and the cartel.

This book was the first I have read from this author, and I really liked it. It was well written, with a very interesting plot/storyline that wouldn’t be out of place on any well-known TV cop show. I was a little disappointed that sex scenes were short and that there were only a few but as it isn’t marketed as erotica then I guess I can’t really make a big deal of it. What I will say is that the book has an open ending, most questions are left unanswered for what I can only assume will be follow up books, even though it doesn’t state that it’s the first book of a series. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, which is good because I don’t think I could have waited in suspense for however long it takes for the next one to be released hehehe. A very enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it if you like stories with a little bit of action and adventure along with the romance.

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

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