How to Walk Like A Man by Eli Easton *Dual Review*

Eli Easton - How To Walk Like A Man Cover t43494Title: How to Walk Like A Man

Series: Howl at the Moon 02

Author: Eli Easton

Genre: Paranormal, Shape shifters

Length: Novel (267 pages)

ASIN: B0176KQPH8

Publisher: Pinkerton Road (13 Nov 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer’s: Prime & Shorty

Blurb: Deputy Roman Charsguard survived Afghanistan where he lost his best friend—his K-9 handler James. Roman was a military dog until two years ago when he developed the ability to shift into a human. It’s not easy to learn how to be a man. He found a place to live in Mad Creek, a haven for the secret world of dog shifters. Finding a reason to live has been harder. That is, until a certain human walks into the Mad Creek Sheriff’s office and starts making trouble.

Matt Barclay has the worst luck. First he was shot in a SWAT drug raid, then he was sent as DEA investigator to Mad Creek, a little town in the California mountains. Matt’s job is to keep a lookout for illegal drug farms, but nobody in the town wants him there. And then there’s Roman, Matt’s erstwhile baby-sitter. He’s the hottest guy Matt’s ever seen, even if he is a bit peculiar. If this job doesn’t kill Matt, sexual frustration just might.

The town is counting on Roman to prevent Matt from learning about dog shifters, Matt’s counting on Roman to be his work partner and tell him the truth, and Roman’s trying to navigate love, sex, and a whole lot of messy human emotions. Who knew it was so complicated to walk like a man?

Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Prime’s Review: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

How to Walk Like a Man is the second book in Eli Easton’s Howl at the Moon series. While I hadn’t known what to expect when I started book one, I was really excited to read book 2. I strongly recommend reading this series in order, not only is it a fun, charming and sweet series, it is also totally unique. Also, there are a number of sub plots that are directly linked to book one and I think it would difficult to appreciate this book on its own.

After reading book 1, I couldn’t wait to start How to Walk Like a Man after I read the blurb. We me Roman, one of the MCs of this book, while reading Lance and Tim’s story in book 1. Roman had instantly intrigued me in the first book, he had such a gentle, firm but protective nature that I wanted to know more about the man and the dog that he was. After all, Roman is quickened, meaning that he had been born a dog but the love and emotion from his human owner meant that Roman received the spark that caused him to transform after his owner died.

Roman’s back story is one that will appeal to most readers. He was a military dog and had complete adoration for his handler, of course this affection was returned him. He was in Afghanistan with his handler, sniffing out bombs and the like. I won’t spoil and give the full back story, but it’s easy to figure out even reading the book. I loved the emotional connection I felt to this story line.

But now that he lives in Mad Creek and over the past couple years has learnt to be a man, he finds a new place in life. His military training makes him perfect to help the sheriff and has been recently made a deputy. With drugs threatening to encroach, Roman now has the job of babysitting the human DEA agent who has come to scope out Mad Creek for drugs.

In fact, the human DEA agent, Matt Barclay had also appeared in book 1, albeit very briefly. He had been shot in the cross fire and Roman had saved him then. Again, I won’t go into it because this all ties in with Roman’s backstory. But trust me, it is all very sweet. Matt knows that there is something different about Mad Creek, and he also knows that Roman is keeping him away from the town, which puts him on alert. The fact that the two men have a lot of chemistry is just another added layer for Matt.

This story is everything that is sweetness with the added strength of characters that are from law enforcement. Roman is naïve when it comes to human love and physicality, so he is learning a lot along the way. It is this naivety that adds the charm into the story, while Matt is more worldly but isn’t about to storm Roman’s defences. Once again, I loved this story. This is an excellent series I recommend to those that love a good shape shifter story.

Shorty’s Review: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

I loved this story about Roman and Matt. Keeping a secret from Matt was hard for Ro as he was such an honest and open person but keep it he did. With the threat of possible drug being grown in their town Lance and Roman attend a meeting where they learn a DEA agent will be assigned to their town. It’s up to Roman to keep the man from learning the truth about them.

Roman’s back story is both happy and heartbreaking. He was a brave German shepherd and served his country well while in the service. He had a hard time adjusting as a human which was to be expected. Matt suspects things are going on but does not report the strange things he see’s to his superior. As the investigation continues he and Roman grow closer.

I found this story to be dramatic, humorous and intense at times. I liked the way the story flowed and progressed. Amazing addition to the series.

Fantastic read and highly recommended.

Forbidden in Uniform by W.S. Long

W.S. Long - Forbidden In Uniform Cover s q3kj83Title: Forbidden in Uniform Box Set

Series: Forbidden in Uniform

Author: W.S. Long

Genre: Contemporary, Military

Length: Collection (Novel + Novella, 306 pages)

ISBN: 9781634869485

Publisher: JMS Books LLC (6th March 2019)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖 3 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Two of W.S. Long’s best-selling gay romance stories are now available in a box set! Fall in love with Pad and RJ’s love story. Contains the stories:

Ask and I’ll Tell: Raised by his aunt, after his mother died, Pad McLaughlin enlisted in the Air Force to see the world, and save money for college, but he didn’t expect to fall in love with his supervisor, RJ Davis, a handsome, dashing officer. Rather than return home right away after his tour of duty in Saudi Arabia, Pad gambles on love by joining RJ in Bangkok, despite the government’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” When Pad realizes RJ doesn’t love him, he returns home broken-hearted only to be distracted by Wayne, another hunky airman, who keeps secrets from Pad.

When RJ finally realizes after Pad’s gone what Pad means to him, is he too late? Will Pad choose the officer or the airman? Set in 2008, this love story takes place before the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” when gay men who loved each other were forced to remain in the closet and deny themselves happiness.

Splendidly Ever After: Seven years after they meet, and more than four years since RJ initially proposes, RJ and Pad are back. The wedding invitations have been sent again and the date is set. This time, both men are more committed than ever to each other and willing to make their relationship work.

But old issues surface that cause conflict before their big day. Will RJ’s recent diagnosis of sexual addiction disorder tear them apart? Can they weather the growing disapproval from their families over same-sex marriage before they walk down the aisle? Will RJ and Pad finally tie the knot?

Purchase Link: JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Forbidden in Uniform Box Set is the collection of the two books that make the Forbidden in Uniform series, Ask and I’ll Tell and Splendidly Ever After, by WS Long. This is my first encounter with WS Long, so I had no idea what to expect, but I was attracted by the fact that this was a military type romance. I’m a bit of a sucker, even when (or especially because) of those based around DADT, where the romance holds a forbidden element (hence the name of the series, I suppose).

I’m going to give a quick review for both the novel and the novella which is featured in this collection. However, I’ve not rated them individually because for me they both get the same rating, whether individually or bundled together.

To me they weren’t really individual stories as such, the second book carries on from the first (about the same couple) and is completely dependent on the reader having read book 1 first (lucky it’s a box set). With that in mind, I find it really easy to make a number of overall comments about the story and treating it as one.

The first book starts when your two MCs meet. This is the romance between enlisted Air Force person, Pad McLaughlin, and Pad’s supervisor/commanding officer, RJ Davis. Pad has had a crush on his supervisor while they have been both stationed in Saudi Arabia, but DADT means that Pad could never act on his feelings. Not only that, he has no idea if RJ would be receptive. A little bit of scheming on Pad’s part and they end up in Thailand, indulging in a wild time of sex. But things get messy when emotions become involved. RJ, as an officer is in a difficult place, too, as any misstep could spell the end of his career. Meanwhile, Pad is moving to the base in Tampa, Florida and desperately wants to make a relationship with RJ work. However, when Pad realises RJ doesn’t love him, he goes back to Florida alone and picks up the pieces. Obviously the story doesn’t end here, because RJ has to get his shit together and the bumpy journey to a full fledged relationship continues.

The second book, Splendidly Ever After, picks up seven years later. RJ and Pad are still together and they are on their way to get married, with the stressful lead up wreaking havoc on their relationship. They’ve already been engaged and almost married once, but they broke up and got back together and (I hope) they’re stronger than ever. This is another serving of angst. Once again it seems that RJ is the cause of conflict, he suffers from sexual addiction disorder and his addiction to porn put a strain on their relationship.

I’m going to be upfront. While I didn’t dislike the book and didn’t have any trouble finishing it, I felt a little disappointed by the general feel of the book. I’m not sure if it is writing style or if it comes down to the details that were given to the reader throughout the book. However, I really struggled to feel the emotion between the two men, as well as struggling to get a firm hold of the attraction between them. Don’t get me wrong, the attraction was there but I felt there was something missing. I don’t think the fact that this is very much an insta-love type of situation helped, because I felt as though a lot of emotions, besides anger and heart break, were being muted by the fact that things seemed to be glossed over and told. In the end I feel I didn’t know the MC’s all that well.

The other thing is, I think it’s an interesting angle and I liked the struggle between the characters. However, I felt that it was a missed opportunity that the author did not go into further detail. The disorder wasn’t explained properly and the mental issues that RJ has gone through were not really brought out well. I know that sounds like an odd criticism, BUT I recently listened to an audio book of an MC who suffered sex addiction and used his work as an escort to help his treatment, that was pretty awesome.

TL;DR: I easily felt all the negative emotions and struggled to feel more out of the positive emotions.

This is probably the type of book for someone that likes insta-love, angst, heart break all rolled up into a military romance.

Tigerland by Sean Kennedy ~ Audio Review

Sean Kennedy - Tigerland Audio Cover 345jhdTitle: Tigerland

Series: Tigers and Devils 02

Author: Sean Kennedy

Narrator: Dave Gilles

Genre: Contemporary, Sports

Length: 8 hrs, 31 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 15th 2014)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: After an eventful and sometimes uncomfortably public courtship, Simon Murray and Declan Ty-ler settled into a comfortable life together. Now retired from the AFL, Declan works as a football commentator; Simon develops programs with queer content for a community television station.

Despite their public professional lives, Simon and Declan manage to keep their private life out of the spotlight. Their major concerns revolve around supporting their friends through infertility and relationship problems – until Greg Heyward, Declan’s ex-partner, outs himself in a transpar-ent bid for attention.

Though Simon and Declan are furious with Greg and his media antics, they can’t agree on what to do about it. Declan insists they should maintain a dignified silence, but both he and Simon keep getting drawn into Heyward’s games. Simon and Declan will once again have to ride out the media storm before they can return their attention to what really matters: each other.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Tigerland is the second book in Sean Kennedy’s Tigers and Devils series. Book 2 picks up a little down the track after the end of the first book, so it is important to read – or listen – to this series in order. I adore this series and have read it as it has been published. Being an Australian, I was attracted to a book that talks about something I am familiar with (although I don’t follow AFL it is impossible not to know something if you come from Australia – unless you’re New South Wales or Queensland, that is). It also sounds exactly like an Australian, it’s funny how much I realise Australian English is just sas ridiculous as US English. However, Kennedy writing, quirky and very well developed characters led to me falling in love with the first book of the series.

If you read my review for the audio book of the first book, it was clear that while I listened to and enjoyed the book, which I already knew I loved, to say I had a lot of problems with the narration is an understatement. However, with book 2 we have a new narrator, Dave Gilles. I’ve heard Gilles’ accent for a number of Renae Kaye’s books (set in Western Australia), so I knew what to expect and looked forward to his work. While he isn’t Australian he does an excellent accent and he has clearly done his research when it comes to pronunciation. Overall, it was a great performance and I honestly have nothing bad to say. Gilles did an awesome job giving voice to Simon and Declan, as well as their friends Roger, Fran, Abe and Lisa, as well as Nyssa, newcomer Cobie and Simon’s arch nemesis from book 1, Jasper Brunswick (real name Jon Brown). We are also introduced to a new character, the villain of the piece

Fans of the first book will not be disappointed with this sequel, Simon is as snarky as ever and Declan has come a long way from a closeted to openly gay football god to retired openly gay football god. Since injuries that have been plaguing Declan since book 1 forced his early retirement, the pain was too raw to go into coaching and so went to being a commentator and panellist for many of the numerous footy shows for a commercial television network (trust me, there’s A LOT of those IRL, and in my head it’s Channel 9 or 7 that he’s working at, haha). Simon has also had a career change, from being director of an indie film festival to a content producer for a LBGTQI community television station. However, after being together for three years Simon and Declan have to deal with their next big storm in the shape of Declan’s ex while he was still in the closet, a fellow AFL player. Simon and Declan go through their own ups and downs with Greg Heyward causing trouble with his media frenzy, maliciously dragging Simon into the mess and making him the bad guy. On top of that, we also see Simon’s pain and need to help his friends financially when he sees Fran and Roger go through hell when it comes to infertility preventing his best friends from starting a family.

It’s not difficult to feel for Simon as he tells the story. He gets a lot of shit thrown at him. And despite having the support of Declan, as well as Simon supporting Declan throughout the Heyward saga, Declan’s media silence over the various claims does hurt Simon. These guys still have and do a lot more growing as characters and as a couple throughout this book. The ups and downs make the guys really relatable and makes the relationship feel real.

Like the first book, this is great for fans of the sports romance genre. Although for fans of Simon and Murray and Declan Tyler, this a great continuation of their story.

Chef on Top by M.J. O’Shea

M.J. O'Shea - Chef On Top Cover s rebh0Title: Chef on Top

Series: Sizzling in the Kitchen 03

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (126 pages)

ASIN: B07V6FRDNZ

Publisher: M.J. O’Shea

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖 3 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Chef Jake Casey has never been what you’d call… liked. By anyone. He was the odd outcast son of the town drunk, and he’s spent his adult life doing everything he can to be nothing like his father. If that meant stomping on a few dozen toes, so be it. But contrary to popular belief, he is human. It gets a little old being alone all the time. When he lands a new job on the other side of the country, Jake decides he’s going to change. New city, new restaurant, new Jake.

It’s going pretty well until his first and only friend’s ex shows up with a fiancé in tow. Ty is horrified. Jake might not have much practice with the friend thing, but he decides he’ll do what everyone in the movies always does – he offers to be Ty’s fake boyfriend. It can’t go wrong. Right?

Ty Caldecott knows better. His life isn’t a teen rom-com and situations like these always end up in humiliation. But the prospect of seeing Taran every day with that ring shining on his finger makes Ty want to vomit. Ty doesn’t want to look like a pining loser, so he tells Jake he’s in.

Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Chef on Top is the third book in MJ O’Shea’s self-published series, Sizzling in the Kitchen. Unfortunately, at the time I read this series I read another series (Recipe for Love by Ari McKay), and so I mixed things up and only just realised that I did a review for one series and not this one. Which sucks, because this won’t have as much detail as I usually try to put in reviews since it’s been almost two months since I read these books.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt that there was a certain spark missing from the story that meant that I did not enjoy this one as much as I had thought I would, or as much as I had wanted. It wasn’t so much that there was a HFN end, instead of an HEA (that doesn’t bother me so much, especially if there is meant to be a fourth book). It was more that the end seemed rather abrupt. This also felt odd because this book is significantly shorter than previous two books. No idea if that makes sense or any difference, but there you have it.

This book follows the man who was originally introduced in book 1 as celebrity chef Baldwin Powell’s arch-rival, Jake Casey. Things aren’t all what they seem when it comes to Jake Casey, though he has a great passion for food which led him to be one of the biggest chefs in New York, he wasn’t exactly happy. The most recent development was when Baldwin offered Jake a job in his new restaurant in Las Vegas. Jake grabs the opportunity and is ready to turn his life around. The next big shift in his life is when his best friend in world, Ty, needs help. Jake takes it upon himself to save Ty from humiliation when he has to face his ex, suggesting to be fake boyfriends.

This is a really light and breezy type of romance, there isn’t too much drama or angst, and despite the story not having a heck of a lot of spark, Ty and Jake have got enough chemistry bringing the story along. I strongly recommend reading this series in order, while each book features a new couple the story picks up after the previous book and there are a lot of references that require knowing the background to fully get the storylines.

How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton *Dual Review*

Eli Easton - How to Howl at the Moon Cover 348herTitle: How to Howl at the Moon

Series: Howl at the Moon 01

Author: Eli Easton

Genre: Paranormal, Shape shifters

Length: Novel (323 pages)

ASIN: B00T12QQOW

Publisher: Pinkerton Road (28 Feb 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewers: Prime & Shorty

Blurb: Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.

Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Prime’s Review 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts:

How to Howl at the Moon is the first book in Eli Easton’s series, Howl at the Moon. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, Easton is not an unknown author to me and I’ve always enjoyed her writing style. I can’t think of a book that I haven’t either liked or loved. The thing that I wasn’t sure about was the shape shifting part, as I don’t think I’ve read anything by Easton that involves paranormal themes.
However, all these concerns were for nothing. Other than an excellently written book that was easy to follow and had be completely engrossed from start to finish, this was a really different take on the whole shape shifter thing. While it wasn’t dark and gritty, this is a rather light hearted series that is great to read when you don’t want to go full angst, this was a creative and unique look at how shape shifters come about. It’s fascinating because I love that the creation/emergence of shifters gets a back story. To put it simply, that is really cool.

The story starts with Sheriff Lance Beaufort, from the little town of Mad Creek nestled in the Californian mountains. He, like his father and grandfather before him, protect the town from any threats and discovery by humans. Lance and much of Mad Creek are called “quickened” or “quick”. A quickened is a dog, an actual pet dog, who was so loved that they received the ability to shape shift, becoming half man and half dog. This transformation is called receiving the “spark”. Lance is a third generation quickened, which means that he was never a pet, instead he was born with the ability to change.

For Lance, life is not smooth, trying to help the newly quickened as they arrive in town, and adding the danger of discovery caused by humans with increasing drug trade Lance is on alert. When a new human moves into town, Lance is concerned especially since he appears to be an adept gardener. Despite his physical attraction to the man, Lance can’t do anything with the human – not until he sure that man is not growing and distributing marijuana. But the other obstacle of having a human around, until there is complete trust Lance cannot betray the town and his family and reveal the secret of the quickened.

When Tim Weston moves into a house in Mad Creek, looking for a safe place to regroup. After losing the rights and trademarks of the hybrids he had created from the boss that he had trusted, he has nothing and the opportunity for free rent while working on new hybrids is an enticing offer which he takes. He likes Mad Creek and begins to fix things so that he can start creating his hybrids. The problem is that when he arrived, he attracted the interest of the sheriff and not in a good way.

This is a totally unique story and a lot of fun. The characters have a bit of a slow burn chemistry, but they are also completely endearing. Loved this book, can’t wait to move onto the next book.

Shorty’s Review 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts:

I loved Lance and Tim together even though Lance screw things up at first by deceiving Tim. This story is about a misunderstanding leading to investigating an innocent man and the antics of several characters that lead to anger and an attack by people who have ill intent.

I loved everything about the story. It progressed beautifully. there was the right amount of sexual tension, shyness, frustration, humor, and suspense to make for a well written book that fully immerses the reader in a quaint little town and it’s inhabitants.

The explanation behind quicken was intriguing to say the least. I loved all the characters and am looking forward to getting know more of them as the series continues.

Fantastic read and highly recommended.

Chef vs. Chef by M.J. O’Shea

M.J. O'Shea - Chef vs Chef Cover bhw93Title: Chef vs Chef

Series: Sizzling in the Kitchen 02

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novella (167 pages)

ASIN: B07SPJJ9V6

Publisher: MJ O’Shea (June 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Bobby Diaz has worked his whole life to get where he is – running a restaurant with his two closest friends, no boss, no stress. When his best friend Baldwin gets the opportunity of a lifetime, he asks Bobby to take over the restaurant while he’s gone. Bobby will miss his friend, but he’s excited to put himself to the test. He can’t believe he’s getting the chance to finally be in charge.

Cal Mayer is thirty and starting over. His last relationship was a failure. His job went down the drain. So when his cousin Pete, a.k.a Baldwin Powell celebrity chef, offers him a gig in his restaurant, he can’t help but to jump at the offer to reinvent himself.

Bobby and Cal don’t exactly hit it off—to put it lightly. Bobby resents getting Cal dumped in his lap. Cal doesn’t appreciate Bobby’s frosty attitude. They’re stuck together day and night, and their chemistry is undeniable… but will it be sweet summer love or a case of too many chefs in the kitchen?

Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Chef vs. Chef is the second book in MJ O’Shea’s self-published series, Sizzling in the Kitchen. Unfortunately, at the time I read this series I read another series (Recipe for Love by Ari McKay), and so I mixed things up and only just realised that I did a review for one series and not this one. Which sucks, because this won’t have as much detail as I usually try to put in reviews since it’s been almost two months since I read these books.

Bobby Diaz is more than happy with his life now. After head chef, and friend, Baldwin Powell was unceremoniously fired and eventually found his own HEA with the love of his life and a small-town restaurant, Bobby was more than happy to follow. And it has become a dream, helping his friends run their restaurant and out of the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. But life is getting better for Baldwin which leaves Bobby with the dream opportunity to be more independent and run the place while Baldwin and Murphy are gone, something that his friends trust him to do but know that it will take more than just Bobby to keep the place going. Bobby probably understands this on some level, but it annoys him that a stranger wants to disregard his history and expertise with the place.

This is where Cal Mayer enters the story. His cousin is none other than celebrity chef Baldwin Powell, real name being Pete. Cal’s own world has just gone to hell, with heartbreak from a broken relationship as well as losing his job (in some ways his story echoes his cousin’s in book 1). Not really knowing what to expect, he went to his cousin’s restaurant expecting to fully be in charge, not just share the duties with a man that knew that place as well as Baldwin and Murphy do.

So, it unsurprising that Bobby and Cal do not start on the right foot. They get along as best they can for a few weeks while they learnt about each other and Cal learnt about his cousin’s restaurant. I wouldn’t go as far saying that this is an enemies to lovers type of romance, but it is certainly slow burn fraught with two headstrong men that won’t give into anything without a fight.

I strongly recommend reading this series in order, while each book features a new couple the story picks up after the previous book and there are a lot of references that require knowing the background to fully get the storylines. Much like the first book this a slow and sweet romance. I recommend this for anyone who loves a bit of romance in the kitchen.

Saved by His Demons by Camellia Dawn

Camellia Dawn - Saved by His Demons Cover n393Title: Saved by his Demons

Series: Under Demon Rule 02

Author: Camellia Dawn

Genre: Paranormal

Length: Novella (105 pages)

ISBN: 9781642438642

Publisher: Siren Publishing

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Bishop Cyre has denied Ervyn Bauer is his mate since finding him on death’s door four years ago, and Ervyn has had enough. Either Bishop moves past his fears and claims him, or Ervyn is giving up for good.

Ervyn Bauer goes to a club to let loose, but he never expects to meet Mykel Leon. It’s bitter-sweet that Mykel turns out to be his mate, when he loses control and almost claims Ervyn against his will.

Mykel can’t believe he finally found his mate only to discover he already belongs to somebody else. After almost ruining everything, he decides to do whatever it takes to fix their mating, even if that means sharing Ervyn with the handsome demon that takes his breath away.

When Ervyn is kidnapped, Mykel and Bishop must overcome their differences and work togeth-er to find Ervyn before the worst happens, and maybe find a little love along the way.

Purchase Link: Siren-BookStrand | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Saved by His Demons is the second book in Camellia Dawn’s Under Demon Rule series, it is also the second book by the author that I have read. I’ve been looking forward to this book after enjoying the first book, as well as getting insight to who was going to be the involved into the next book, and I really wanted to know what was going to happen next.

While I can’t say that this was a totally awesome and amazing book, I still found this quite enjoyable and I’d be more than happy to read any more additions to this series. This is an MMM book where the thruple is two demons and a human. You have one reasonable demon, one demon that has a protective complex that keeps him from claiming his mate, and one human who is a lot stronger than his demons realise.

Like the first book in this series the plot is quite simple and so I don’t want to go into too much detail and spoil the plot.

Ervyn was found, pretty much dying, by demons a little over four years ago. The demon who found him, Bishop knew that Ervyn was his mate when he saw the broken human and decided that he would break the man if he ever claimed him. Bishop kept this knowledge to himself but four years later Ervyn now knows that his attraction for the demon is more. Since he has been rejected from the man destined to be his mate, Ervyn has decided that the best course of action is to move on with his life. Which brings him to a club where he meets Mykel, another demon who also happens to be Ervyn’s mate and a demon that wants to claim him. To Mykel, finding his mate is his every dream come true. But with danger taking Mykel on a dangerous scouting trip and Bishop so angry that he doesn’t see that Mykel is also his mate, the trio are in for a rough ride.

As I said, over all this was an enjoyable book. The guys are interesting, distinct characters and like how they fit together as a thruple. I particularly liked Mykel and Ervyn, although I also liked Bishop I found him a little to brutish and pig headed for my liking. If you’re into paranormal romances that are based in their own worlds (i.e. not sure if we’re on earth or in another realm), particularly recommended for those that like a bit of demon lovin’!

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy ~ Audio Review

Sean Kennedy - Tigers and Devils Audio Cover 2wb36vTitle: Tigers and Devils

Series: Tigers and Devils 01

Author: Sean Kennedy

Narrator: Paul Morey

Genre: Contemporary, Sports

Length: 15 hrs, 51 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (7th March 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: The most important things in Simon Murray’s life are football, friends, and film – in that order. His friends despair of him ever meeting someone, but despite his loneliness, Simon is cautious about looking for more. Then his best friends drag him to a party, where he barges into a foot-ball conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler – unaware that the athlete is present. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other’s lives forever.

Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca for serious fans. There, players are treated like gods – until they do something to fall out of public favour. This year, the public is taking Declan to task for suffering injuries outside his control, so Simon’s support is a bright spot.

But as Simon and Declan fumble toward a relationship, keeping Declan’s homosexuality a secret from well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media becomes difficult. Nothing can stay hidden forever. Soon Declan will have to choose between the career he loves and the man he wants, and Simon has never been known to make things easy – for himself or for others.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Tigers and Devils is the first book in Sean Kennedy’s series of the same name. I’ve read this whole series a few years ago and absolutely adored it. I also absolutely adore Kennedy’s spin-off series, Get Out. The narration of this book was performed by Paul Morey, not a narrator that I am able to recognise by name, but according to my audible app and my reviews, I’ve listened and enjoyed his narrations in the past.

I feel a strong connection to these books, because this is an Aussie author, from a football (AFL) obsessed state (Victoria). I am originally from the equally AFL obsessed state, South Australia, but I get the feeling. Living in New South Wales (and recently seeing this discussion in one of by Facebook groups), I know New South Welshmen and Queenlanders won’t believe the AFL fever written in these books as being accurate but trust me it is real. Every other state other than Queensland and NSW are AFL mad, those other two heathens are obsessed with Rugby League and Rugby Union. (Jokes, I don’t follow any sport codes, but living in NSW for 3 years I hear no AFL and am absolutely sick of NRL in a way I used to hate hearing about AFL). So yes, call me obsessed with this series and I am also one of those weirdos that doesn’t like sports IRL but am a total glutton for sport romances. Add to that, the scenery of Melbourne and the feel of it is so familiar and authentic to me. Yet, unfortunately, I shake my head at how horrible culture is in the AFL that I think if any player was outed or came out, even in 2019 it would be as prickly as Declan’s journey as penned by Kennedy in 2013.

So… I guess I’m here to talk about the book.

Firstly, I’ll explain my review. Needless to say after the above outpouring, this is a 5-star book for me. However, the narration for me left a lot to be desired, which I give 3-stars, hence the 4-star overall rating.

I’ll get the unpleasant part out of the way, my opinion on the narration. And it’s a long story that I have to tell because I can be a drama queen. Ultimately, though I know it is down to an American narrator butchering the pronunciation of many words and places horribly, the saving grace was at least the butchering was done in the said American accent and not in a false Aussie accent. Since this is a long book and I was making a long flight to one of these said AFL obsessed states recently, I decided this would be the perfect way to pass time – I love the story so if I lost some details because of the noise of the planes or airports it wouldn’t matter. So, at the first airport I press play as I wait for my plane to board. I lasted less than a minute. Within the first few sentences, as main character Simon explains Aussie Rules Football and the league, I hear Melbourne pronounced Mel-born (we say Mel-ben) and Brisbane pronounced Bris-bane (we say Bris-ben). Yes, I know Australians are lazy with their talk, as a South Australian I ridicule NSW for not pronouncing all the letters and syllables in words, but… and I’m stepping down from my soap box. And so I switched to another audio and left it for 2 weeks before trying again. It took me a bit to get used to the narration and ignore the pronounciation hiccups but I am so proud that I persevered because for me the story was completely worth it.

Anecdotally, I can tell you that I know of two other Australians, both from Melbourne, who hold the same opinion as me (to the point I had to convince one of them to move onto book 2 because the narrator does change). But you can take what you will from my opinion, I would say that this is like times I read English people get annoyed at non-English narrators butchering the local accents but I listen and like the performance well enough.

As for the story itself – oh, there was a story, I hear you say? Because I feel like and have been complaining for the past 350 words.

The story is about Simon Murray, a Melbournian who works as the managing director for a local indie film festival who loves his football that this is the only conversation he happily gets involved in when his best friends, Roger and his wife Fran, drag Simon to a party against his will. It is at this part he meets AFL God, Declan Tyler (Trademark Pending), who betrayed his Victorian fans by moving to the island state Tasmania and is now on the injuries list more than the playing list.

Simon is a prickly sort of a man, his got a quick wit and a sharp tongue. He’s not antisocial I feel he’s just particular in who he hangs out with. And while he marvels at Declan Tyler on the footy field, he sees the man as a stuck-up arsehole. Declan, who is very much in the closet being that he is a professional AFL player with a multi-million dollar contract, is intrigued and he forces himself into Simon’s life. Turning Simon’s world and his heart upside down. Their relationship starts out as a secret, with only their best friends knowing about them. However, life gets complicated in so many ways, especially when you’re a football god in the public eye.

They are a quirky couple and are the epitome of the saying that opposites attract. Simon and Declan have a wonderful chemistry, which I don’t think is diminished by there not being not many (if any) actual sex scenes. I feel that there is a great intimacy reflected between the characters by the little touches and the passionate kisses which Simon describes. I really liked it and is one of those cases for me that shows you don’t need useless and seemingly never-ending sex scenes in a book to make a romance. These guys have a lot of depth and they develop so much throughout the course of the book. It felt real and for me that made the characters more relatable.

The secondary characters also have a life and depth of their own. They aren’t token characters and I loved them all as much as I love Simon and Dec. Simon’s assistant, Nyssa, his best friends Roger and Fran, as well as Dec’s best friends Abe and Lisa, all bring as much soul to the book as the MCs.

This is a great read for those that love a sports romance, I just love the fact that it has the Australian setting.

Here Comes Trouble by A.E. Via ~ Audio Review

A.E. Via - Here Comes Trouble Audio Cover s 3847hnTitle: Here Comes Trouble

Series: Nothing Special 03

Author: A.E. Via

Narrator: Aiden Snow

Genre: Contempoary, Crime, Thriller, Suspense

Length: 8 hrs, 30 mins

Publisher: A.E. Via

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Detectives Mark Ruxsberg and Chris Green are very good at their jobs. Being the enforcers for God and Day’s notorious Atlanta PD Narcotics Task Force causes the crazy duo to get into more trouble than they can often get out of. The pair never misses out on an opportunity to drive their lieutenants crazy with their dangerous, reckless, and costly stunts, landing them in the hot seat in front of God…often.

Ruxs and Green love their jobs and they don’t mind the very demanding schedule that leaves them little time for socializing or dating. It’s fine with them, they enjoy hanging out with each other anyway.

However, most of the men in their close circle of friends and colleagues are pairing off and set-tling down. God has Day, Ro has Johnson, and their Sergeant Syn has Furious.

For the past several years, Ruxs has only sought out the advice and company of one person, his partner and best friend Green, and vice versa. Both of these alpha males are presumed straight, but neither can deny the heat that’s building in their once-“just friends” relationship.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Here Comes Trouble is the third instalment of AE Via’s Nothing Special series, which is based around the action and romance of Atlanta PD’s elite narcotic team, lead by partners, both in personally and professionally, God and Day. This series can be read out of order, however, I would say that that there could be some confusion when it comes to the two couples from book 1 and 2, as well as a third couple which had formed in book 1 and featured somewhat heavily though it. Being that these characters are a team and how Via has written it, these guys lives intertwine significantly.

I’ve absolutely loved this series so far and I’ve loved Aiden Snow’s narration throughout of the series so far as well. His voice has the right tone and timbre that just goes so well, pulling off the rush of emotion combined with the danger of the job that these men do.

I looked forward to book 3, which is the story of two of the detectives, who do a lot of the leg work on the streets for the team, Mark Ruxberg and Chris Green. I think it’s because of Green’s name, but I kind had these two guys cast in my head as the two cops from the movie Boondock Saints – Greenly and Duffy. However, if you know what I’m talking about, then you will also find out that I am very wrong. Rux and Green are as strong and tough as their bosses, Lieutenants Days and Knight. These guys work hard and live hard, although lately they spend most of their free time together just hanging out eating pizza and drinking beer. Yet, despite all that even despite having openly gay bosses, Rux and Green don’t know everything about each other. When talk of dating brings tension between the two men, we begin to learn that there is even more to these guys. As it is they have complicated families, like most people, but there is a new level of emotion at play in their friendship. Add the danger from their jobs and these guys have to navigate an emotional minefield. And being tough, manly men, they aren’t super good with being honest with their feelings.

Fans of the series will not be disappointed. There is action, hot sex and so much sexual chemistry I wouldn’t have been surprised if the characters had imploded before their story started (I know, that makes little sense, bear with me). For those that like hot cops, a lot of action and deadly adventure, I think that this is the book and series for you to get into.

Chef in the Wild by M.J. O’Shea

M.J. O'Shea - Chef In The Wild Cover eb3n83Title: Chef in The Wild

Series: Sizzling in the Kitchen 01

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (202 pages)

ASIN: B07R6ZB245

Publisher: M.J. O’Shea

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Chef Baldwin Powell has everything he could ever want … until he doesn’t. Fancy parties, celebrities, magazine write-ups, his own little empire of stainless steel and fire – he thought all of it was forever. It only takes one awful meeting for everything he’s worked for to be yanked out from underneath him. And one fateful meeting with the owner of food truck, of all things, to realize maybe what he thought he wanted isn’t what he needs after all.

Murphy Haynes chose a different route. He decided right away that high-pressure kitchens weren’t for him so he took his skills on the road. If he happens to stop in a certain well known chef’s neighborhood more often than anywhere else on his route, sue him. He’s his own boss for a reason and there’s something about Baldwin Powell that he can’t resist.

They’re opposites in nearly every way – On paper it should be a disaster. But life and love in the wilds of Manhattan rarely work out the way anyone expects.

Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Chef in the Wild is the first book in MJ O’Shea’s self-published series, Sizzling in the Kitchen. This is the first in a four book series. Unfortunately, at the time I read this series I read another series (Recipe for Love by Ari McKay), and so I mixed things up and only just realised that I did a review for one series and not this one. Which sucks, because this won’t have as much detail as I usually try to put in reviews since it’s been almost two months since I read these books.

So quick rundown on the story:

Baldwin Powell is one of the most well known chefs in New York City. He’s at the top of his game and a chef at a 5 Michelin star restaurant. And then when he thought that his boss had called him in to offer him the next big opportunity in his career it all comes crashing down, and Baldwin loses his position to his archnemesis in the business. I will admit the boss’s move seemed a little silly but who am I to argue when it sets the scene and move the story forward?

After moping for weeks, Baldwin finally leaves his apartment and ends up at a food truck which makes all manner of gourmet wraps. All them made and sold by Murphy, who also has a massive passion for food and while he has the cooking skills to run his own kitchen, but at the moment all his passions are in the long hours required for him to run his hugely successful food truck. He’s certainly popular on the scene of New York foodies, which more than anything makes me want to make the marathon flight to visit!

There is a definite spark between the two men from the get go, and their friendship blossoms quite quickly as Baldwin finds both Murphy and his food truck fascinating. However, life leads Baldwin out of Manhattan and to his family, in the small town where he grew up. Baldwin’s recent career bombs along with getting to know Murphy has him thinking about his future and getting back to what he truly dreamed to do. The only problem is he’s not sure how Murphy fits into it at all.

I think the only thing that sort of disappointed me was relying so heavily on the whole miscommunication trope to help these guys through to the end. Otherwise they are fascinating and its so easy to see that they are written for each other.

This is a slow burn and exceedingly sweet romance. Baldwin and Murphy have excellent chemistry and it really comes up when it comes to their mutual love for food, which is what keeps them together long enough to get to know each other. In fact, for me it was the passion for food that made the book so real and relatable, in between all the romance and brooding on Baldwin’s behalf. I recommend this for anyone who loves a bit of romance in the kitchen and a bit of romance in New York.

Femme Faux Fatale by Susan Laine ~ Audio Review

Susan Laine - Femme Faux Fatale Audio Cover njwe93Title: Femme Faux Fatale

Series: Dreamspun Desires 70

Author: Susan Laine

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense

Length: 7 hrs, 39 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (2nd May 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Mystery. Murder. Men in silk stockings. Hollywood nights are heating up.

Hardboiled Los Angeles PI Cain Noble is hired by wealthy and gorgeous Camille Astor to find her husband and a priceless work of art, both of which have disappeared.

At the nightclub owned by Mr. Astor, Cain encounters the mesmerizing Lily Lavender, who has the body of a goddess and the sultry voice of an angel—but is really a young man named Riley who attracts trouble like a magnet.

What’s a private dick in the vein of LA’s bygone era and a cross-dressing burlesque starlet to do when faced with the hidden decadence and lethal dangers of the Hollywood Hills? They have their work cut out for them because they haven’t even scratched the surface of an elaborate scheme more twisted than anyone could ever have imagined.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Femme Faux Fatale is a standalone book by Susan Laine, published as part of the Dreamspun Desires line. The narration of this story was performed by John Solo.

I’ve read the story before, I already knew what I was in for the most part, and while I did have problems connecting with the MCs when I read the book, I had started the audio with the hope that Solo’s wonderful narration would add a depth to the story that I missed while reading. In fact, I had been somewhat disappointed that I didn’t enjoy reading the book more than I had because I have enjoyed almost all of Susan Laine’s books I’ve read in the past.

In the stereotypical way that seems to be the world of a PI in literature, we start with hardened and eternally tired PI Cain Noble. He’s a PI based in LA and the city serves up a constant stream of work for him. When we meet him he gets hired by Camille Astor to find her husband and a work of art. And let’s face it, when priceless art is involved you know that there is going to be some serious shit go down. Astor’s husband, Sheridan, owns a club and that is Cain’s first port of call and despite being gay, Cain finds performer Lilly Lavender strangely alluring. Only to then find out that Lily is in fact a man named Riley who seems to get in trouble at every turn, but more than anything wants to find Sheridan who he considers a friend.

As we make our way through the LA and the story, it feels like this could almost be the stereotypical 1930s-era PI tale where the hero solves the mystery and gets romanced along the way.

While I will admit that I really do think that Solo’s narration added to the book and I found myself dragged into the plot a lot more than I recall being pulled in by reading the book, I felt that I still lacked some connection to the main characters. I’m now wondering if it is also to do with the writing style, which is a little different to Laine’s usual and again I think that goes back to the whole 1930s private dick vibe. I liked Cain and Riley in terms of their personality, they were both a bit quirky, and they were certainly well developed with a definite spark between them that makes the romance natural.

I recommend this is for people that enjoy reading a dark, gritty, urban mystery where the city seems to become a wild jungle. It seems like a good metaphor for LA at any rate and makes me think of The Doors song LA Woman.

So Into You by S.E. Harmon ~ Audio Review

S.E. Harmon - So Into You Audio Cover 4gb48Title: So Into You

Series: The PI Guys 02

Author: S.E. Harmon

Narrator: Michael Stellman

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 11 hrs, 1 min

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (22nd August 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Screenwriter Noah Ashley has a few four-letter words for his agent when she suggests he im-prove his script by shadowing a PI. Still, because he’s an artist dedicated to his craft and she knows where the bodies are buried, he agrees. Then he spends a little time with the gorgeous PI, and suddenly it seems like a really good plan. The PI doesn’t seem to entirely love the idea, but Noah has never been afraid to go after what he wants.

PI Drew Rodriguez is used to people depending on him. He’s the classic rock for his family. Re-sponsible. Dependable. The classic rock would never succumb to the borderline sleazy tempta-tion of friends with benefits, no matter how sexy that temptation is. Drew is looking for some-thing enduring.

Despite Drew’s misgivings, it’s not long before they’ve got all the requisites for friends with benefits going. Friendly, good conversation? Check. Fun times in and out of bed? Check. Hot, electrolyte-sapping sex? Double check. Falling in love? Yeah. About that…

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: So Into You is the second book in SE Harmons series, The PI Guys. Since I’ve never read or heard the audio of the first book (and I couldn’t tell from my Audible App that this was book 2 of the series), I can say quite honestly that this can be read/listened to as a standalone book, or at least done out of order. Listening to the book and hearing about the couple that are the stars of book 1, I am intrigued and totally keen about getting the first book. I didn’t really know what to expect, as SE Harmon is an author that I’ve heard of but I’m not 100% sure if I’ve read anything by them.

The story starts out with Hollywood script writer, Noah Ashley, just as his personal life goes off the rails, endangering his professional life. Noah is a bisexual man whose ex-wife is still not only his friend but also his manager. He’s just found out his ex-boyfriend Marshall – well, now ex – who he penned a movie script to help further his career as an actor, has slept with another man to further his career. On top of that, the third movie in the popular action franchise may well be re-cast with another actor, Sean Fox who has more talent and unashamed when it comes to his sexual activities. After a proper bender on the booze, a one-night stand and a missed meeting for the new movie, he’s sent out of state, to Florida to get his shit together and get his script resembling a hit movie. While in Florida, his agent has set up a contract for him to shadow a PI, to help him get his script in shape. Noah also has a heap of baggage, after spending his life in the foster system, he found his biological mother a few years before. She is now a schoolteacher with tween twin girls, to almost step kids and a fiancé. She also happens to live in Florida and is the reason why Noah had brought a place in Florida.

That PI is Drew Rodriguez. He’s quite comfortable in his professional life. After being in the military he and his friend started a PI business, and despite being surly and snarky, he does love his job. He just holds people to a certain standard and many so easily disappoint him. On the personal front he’s not as lucky. His father, who has been in and out of jail for most of his life, swans back in and just like every other time his father gets out of jail, Drew tries to hold his family together. Because the painful truth is that every time the man leaves or goes to jail again, it is Drew keeping his mother and little brother going.

#As I said, these guys are complicated. They both have a lot of trust issues and their circumstances have affected them very differently. Drew craves love and romance and finding the one man for him, while Noah wants nothing to hold him down, he just wants friendship and fun sex.
The book was narrated by Michael Stellman. Like with Harmon, the name rings a bell but I can’t, from the top of my head name a book I’ve listened to the audio for narrated by Stellman, so I went into this not know what to expect from either the author or the narrator. The narration was performed well, though. I felt that Stellman had the right tone to convey the complicated feelings and baggage of both MCs. I liked the softer tones which he used for Noah, while a slightly harsher tone was used for Drew. It fit the characters so well and helped me connect to the characters, particularly to Drew.

These characters have great chemistry. They are basically two sides of the same coin, so similar and yet so different. Their romance is a rocky one, even if both guys can be persistent. I very much got emotionally invested in both characters’ journeys. I enjoyed how this played out, this wasn’t an insta-love or a romance where the wary parties change their mind in a minute and go headlong into commitment.

I recommend this one for people that like a little bit of Hollywood, a little bit of celebrity, as well as a some fun and action with a PI/cop-type character. I really liked how both characters were jaded in their own way and added to the relatability of both guys.

Truth Will Out by K.C. Wells ~ Audio Review

K.C. Wells - Truth Will Out Audio Cover ru74cTitle: Truth Will Out

Author: K.C. Wells

Narrator: Seb Yarrick

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs 58 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (11th April 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Jonathon de Mountford’s visit to Merrychurch village to stay with his uncle Dominic gets off to a bad start when Dominic fails to appear at the railway station. But when Jonathon finds him dead in his study, apparently as the result of a fall, everything changes. For one thing, Jonathon is the next in line to inherit the manor house. For another, he’s not so sure it was an accident, and with the help of Mike Tattersall, the owner of the village pub, Jonathon sets out to prove his theory – if he can concentrate long enough without getting distracted by the handsome Mike.

They discover an increasingly long list of people who had reason to want Dominic dead. And when events take an unexpected turn, the amateur sleuths are left bewildered. It doesn’t help that the police inspector brought in to solve the case is the last person Mike wants to see, espe-cially when they are told to keep their noses out of police business.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Truth Will Out is a standalone novel written by KC Wells – an author I am not familiar with and happy to read or listen to their work without barely reading the blurb. I connect with the writing style and for me that’s about all I need from an author – I am a tart when it comes to books. The audio of this book was performed by Seb Yarrick, a narrator that took me a bit to warm up to but now look forward to, especially when he gives a performance requiring some sort of British or European accent. In short, I looked forward to this book a lot. The fact that it involved the English country side and a Lord of the Manor type of thing and I was all set to be sucked into the story.

Overall, this was a really cool story and I think was greatly enhanced by listening to the audio. I feel that this is a book that I’ve got more out of it by listening to the audio – and the fabulous performances that brought the characters to life – than I would have reading the book.

There is a definite “British Mystery” feel to it, as in that there’s a murder in the small village but surely “it was nothing but an accident, I’m sure”. I probably have watched too many of said British Mysteries on television, and I’m not ashamed to say that Hot Fuzz is one of my favourite comedy movies. And not to mention that I figured out the plot of the story, mostly because I was thinking, “this reminds of the Doctor Who episode The Unicorn and the Wasp”. Yeah, I’m a nerd and I barely had to think to remember the name of the episode, whatever.

The story starts with Jonathon de Mountford. He goes to visit his uncle, the present Lord de Mountford at the family’s country seat/property. He has a lot of guilt for not seeing his uncle, whom he had been so close to as a kid. But the years and his career as a famous photographer sent him on a whirlwind journey that he has loved. Of course, his father, who heads the family law firm, is disappointed in Jonathon not only because he’s gay but also because he didn’t go into law and sees photography as nothing but a hobby. So clearly the guy has baggage and his life is about to get a whole lot more complicated, first when he meets local bar owner Mike Tattersall, and then goes to find his uncle and ends up finding him dead in his study.

Mike Tattersall moved to the quiet village of Merrychurch in the English countryside after losing his foot ended his career as a police officer in London. Now he owns the village pub (and oh my god! This just makes me think of watching Heartbeat with my mum when I was home sick from school). He moved to be closer to his recently divorced sister and has made something of a life for himself, even if he is lonely. Mike isn’t in the closet, though he doesn’t advertise his sexuality. He was also very much out when he was a policeman, and got his own set of baggage from that as well as dealing with his sister.

Jonathon and Mike have an instant connection. Their chemistry has been written perfectly. The sparks start to fly instantly, but they have a lot of learning to do together before anything can get too serious. On top of that, Jonathon and Mike can’t resist getting involved in the local to mystery, trying to piece together all the clues to solve what happened to Jonathon’s uncle.

I recommend this to anyone that wants a light-hearted romance with a good dose of adventure and mystery.

The Athlete and the Aristocrat by Louisa Masters ~ Audio Review

Louisa Masters - The Athlete and the Aristocrat Audio Cover yh3n38Title: The Athlete and the Aristocrat

Series: Dreamspun Desires 73

Author: Louisa Masters

Narrator: Seb Yarrick

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 38 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (4th April 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Sometimes love takes balls.

Newly retired championship footballer Simon Wood is taking on his next challenge. His plan for a charity to provide funding for underprivileged children to pursue football as a career has passed its first hurdle: he has backers and an executive consultant. Now it’s time to get the ball rolling.

Lucien Morel, heir to the multibillion-euro Morel Corporation, is shocked—and thrilled—to learn his father has volunteered him as consultant to a fledgling football charity. Better yet, the brains behind it all is heartthrob Simon Wood, his teenage idol and crush.

Although Simon and Lucien get off on the wrong foot, it’s not long before they’re getting along like a house on fire—sparks included. But with the charity under public scrutiny, can their romance thrive?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: The Athlete and the Aristocrat by Louisa Masters is the author’s most recent contribution to the Dreamspun Desires line by Dreamspinner Press. This is a book that I really enjoyed reading and so loved being able to relax, listening to the audio narration of this book.

Master’s writing is really appealing to me because it is the writing style just takes me in and I feel an instant connection to the characters. Although this book is not part of a series by Masters, we are brought back into the world of European elegance and riches which we first encountered in The Bunny and the Billionaire and even get to check in with three of the characters from that book. For me that was a bit of a thrill.

As for the narration, I really enjoyed it. The narration was performed by Seb Yarrick. To be perfectly honest it’s taken me a few books to fully get on board with Yarrick’s performance, although I wonder if it is just a case of perhaps me not being sold on Yarrick’s suitability for the ones that I didn’t really like. Regardless, I have absolutely no complaints about the narration. I enjoyed the voice he gave to both MCs and I really felt the emotion between the two men come through in the voice and tone.

The story itself is quite simple. A hot, rich, powerful, smart aristocrat and an equally hot, rich, powerful and smart athlete are thrown together when the titular athlete wants to set up a new foundation for children in need who do not have the access to equipment or their parents don’t have the time or money to allow kids to follow their dreams. It’s all noble intentions and I’m a complete sucker for it.

The Athlete and the Aristocrat introduces us to retired professional footballer Simon Wood and billionaire of the highly influential Morel family and their corporation, Lucien Morel. The little bit of cuteness in their background is that Lucien secretly had a crush on Simon while Simon was playing soccer and in fact convinced his father that Simon’s proposal for a charity had just as much merit as a charity for education and food for kids from struggling families. However, these guys have a bumpy road to their HEA, which is what kept me intrigued with this story. There is no doubting the attraction between Simon and Lucien, however, they did need to take time to get to know each other before taking the risk of mixing business with pleasure.

I think this story has a series of popular themes which will satisfy anyone who is attracted to these types of romances that include the whole fairy-tale ending for the brooding rich guy and the kind-hearted guy that steps into his life.

Recipe for Romance by Ari McKay

Ari McKay - Recipe For Romance Cover s m392h3Title: Recipe for Romance

Series: Recipe for Romance

Author: Ari McKay

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Collection, 4 Novellas (455 pages)

ASIN: B07TDP3JH5

Publisher: Ari McKay (28 June 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4 1/2 Hearts (Combined)

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Four couples, four different stories — and one spicy Recipe for Romance from author Ari McKay!

Welcome to Montgomery House, Charleston’s finest restaurant. When you walk in the front doors of the stately former mansion, you’ll be surrounded by true Southern charm. Owner Rhys Montgomery will personally welcome you, while the tantalizing scents of Executive Chef Stephen Pierce’s latest culinary masterpiece linger in the air. Enjoy a walk in the gardens or an elegant meal in the dining room, as you watch the love stories play out around you…

Bay Leaves and Bachelors — Clay Turner’s heart was broken by a wealthy man who said he was boring. When rich, outgoing restaurateur Rhys Montgomery sets his sights on the quiet academic, drawn in by Clay’s intelligence and sex appeal, he finds he has an uphill battle to win Clay’s trust. Can Rhys burrow his way into Clay’s heart, or will Clay’s insecurity become a wall between them that not even true love can break down?

Fennel and Forgiveness — Seven years ago, Max Boyd broke Darius Cooper’s heart. Darius wanted a commitment, and Max wanted to focus on his career in Georgia’s television industry. Their ten year difference in age and experience tore them apart, but fate throws them back together when Max arrives at the Montgomery House, where Darius now works. Will Southern Wedding Belles bring them a second chance for love or is Darius’s trust too shattered for Max to heal?

Ginger and Gentlemen — Ian Pierce has lived in his older brother Stephen’s shadow his entire life, always feeling second best. His best friend, Matt Davis, is the only person he trusts to be on his side. Despite being in dire financial straits, Ian wants to refuse Stephen’s request to film an episode of Mouth of the South at Ian’s restaurant, but the bonus money offered in the contract is too much to resist. He accepts without knowing the hefty bonus comes from Matt, not the production company. Will Ian feel betrayed by the one person he trusts above all others when he finds out, or will Matt’s desire to help Ian succeed even at his own financial risk take them from friends to lovers at last?

Cinnamon and Seduction — Chef Stephen Pierce has talent and a determination to succeed that is matched only by his fierce temper and prickly personality. Yet his long-suffering personal assistant, Robert Logan, has carried a torch for Stephen since the day they met. Everyone around Montgomery House knows Robert is in love with Stephen — everyone, that is, except Stephen himself. Can Rhys, Clay, Darius, Max, Ian, and Matt find a way to make Stephen see that Robert is the perfect man for him, or will even Robert’s legendary talent for matchmaking fail to win him the man he loves?

Purchase Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Recipe for Romance is a collection of the novellas that make up Ari McKay’s self-published series, Recipe for Romance. Set in the world of Montgomery House, Charlestown’s finest restaurant, which is run by some of the strongest, and maybe temperamental, men in the business. This is a successful establishment that owner Rhys prides for being authentic from the building to the food.

Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable series filled with passionate and relatable characters, who have their hearts on their sleeves and have great chemistry with their significant others. Since this is a collection of four stories, I’m going to do a brief review of each.

Bay Leaves and Bachelors

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Bay Leaves and Bachelors is the story of Clay Turner and Rhys Montgomery. Clay is a quiet and reserved man for the most part, he is passionate about history, though. He is a respected historian in Charlestown and is impressed with what he sees when he goes to historic Montgomery House. Rhys Montgomery, the owner and is just as concerned about fine food as he is about keeping the heart of the historic building. The sparks between the men are instant but Rhys has to work hard to show Clay that he isn’t just a spoiled rich guy who is just going to use him.

Clay has a lot of walls built up around his heart but there is so much about Rhys to love. I found it so easy to relate to both characters, in the world of old money they are totally relatable guys.

Fennel and Forgiveness

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Fennel and Forgiveness is a story about second chances. Some years ago, Max Boyd broke up with Darius Cooper. Cooper saw his happily ever after with Max, but Max wasn’t ready and instead wanted to focus on his career in the TV industry. But life has a funny way of throwing people together and after seven years they are pulled together when Max’s job on a reality TV show brings him back to Charlestown and Montgomery House, where Darius works.

These guys have a lot of chemistry and they have a lot going on between them. I was instantly pulled into their story as I hoped that they got the second chance that they deserved.

Ginger and Gentlemen

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

In Ginger and Gentlemen we meet the brother of one of the characters I’ve become most intrigued by, Stephen the head chef of Montgomery House and Ian Pierce his brother. Ian has been compared to Stephen his whole life and he resents everything about Stephen. Matt Davis, Ian’s best friend, has always been by Ian’s side and has helped him in his own business. However, unlike his big brother Ian is struggling and he needs to put aside his pride when his brother Stephen wants to film an episode of his new TV show at Ian’s place. Add onto that Matt has a bit of a knight in shining armour thing going on, he will do anything to help Ian and make him happy.

It’s not surprising that things begin to change between them. It’s a relationship that works really well, though I found Ian a little annoying and hard-headed at times, he learnt to let go.

Cinnamon and Seduction

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Cinnamon and Seduction is the story of Chef Stephen Pierce and his personal assistant Robert Logan. This has been the story that I’ve seen coming and was waiting for when I got about halfway through the first story in this series. Stephen, who has the reputation of being a hard-nosed head chef, hasn’t really had time for romance and hasn’t noticed that Robert, the man he depends on for so much in his life, is actually falling in love with him. Everyone at Montgomery House has a soft spot for Robert, after all the guy is a hopeless romantic who had a hand in the romances of his friends in the first three books of this series. The trick is showing Stephen, who has now taken off as a celebrity chef and has always taken pride in his work, that Robert is so much more to him than a personal assistant.

I was not disappointed by Stephen’s and Robert’s story and it was a wonderful way to end the story. Both characters are quite complex, having been present throughout the series. This is by far my most favourite book in the series.

The Blueprint by S.E. Harmon ~ Audio Review

S.E. Harmon - The Blueprint Audio Cover 73484hrjTitle: The Blueprint

Series: Rules of Possession 01

Author: S.E. Harmon

Narrator: Sean Crisden, Alexander Cendese

Genre: Contemporary, Sports

Length: 8 hrs, 24 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (30th June 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Kelly Cannon is satisfied with his life. He has friends, a wonderful family, and a great job. But his love life has reached a new level of pitiful. Why? Well, his heart decided to break all the rules. Don’t fall in love with a straight guy. And definitely don’t fall in love with your best friend.

NFL standout Britton “Blue” Montgomery has pressure coming at him from all sides: from his father, who’s only interested in Blue’s football career; from his coaches, who just want him to play without getting injured again; from the fans; from his agent; and from his mother, who has popped up on the radar after leaving his family years before. And now his relationship with Kelly is on shaky ground, and that frightens Blue more than anything.

When Kelly admits he’s in love with Blue, bonds are tested, and Blue has to decide what’s really important. He doesn’t want to lose the number-one person in his life, but the cost to keep Kelly close might be more than he’s willing to pay. It’s a good thing his nickname is the Blueprint – it’s time to draft a new set of plans.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: The Blueprint is the first book in SE Harmon’s series, Rules of Possession. I am sort of familiar with Harmon’s work but right at this moment, other than knowing that Harmon’s work doesn’t stick out in my mind as an author whose work I haven’t enjoyed in the past that was it. For me I was attracted to the fact that this was a professional sport MM romance, which I’m a sucker for.

The story starts with Kelly Cannon. He is happy with his life, except when it comes to his romantic life, because things are just not going right for him there. He can’t keep a relationship going and he knows exactly why, as do his exes. He has a boyfriend and while they are good together, he doesn’t see the man as his happily ever after, he already knows that the man tries to control him and doesn’t listen to him either. Things come to a head when Kelly is proposed to for the whole world to see and Kelly feels that he can only say yes, only to have the difficult conversation on their way home. And so, once again facing life as a single man and after an argument with the man who had so briefly been his finance, Kelly once more has to face the fact that he is in love with his best friend, a very straight NFL player. Kelly knows he needs to change his life because he knew that he would end up lonely and miserable if he keeps pining for a man that could never want him, ever. However, when he tries to make distance between himself and Blue, something in Blue snaps and he too makes some decisions about his life and Kelly’s place in it.

Blue, real name Britton Montgomery, is nicknamed Blue because his college football coach called him “The Blueprint” of the team. He is an amazing football player and even though he is getting older, he still has some years ahead of him. He is, in short, living the dream. But that changes when one night when he sees that Kelly’s boyfriend proposes to him very publicly and instead of congratulating his friend, he is left very worried about the man. Pushing himself back into Kelly’s lift starts a roller coaster that could end up very rewarding for both men, or it could the undoing of the men, professionally and/or personally.

I’ve left the narration to the end of the review on purpose. I really liked the production and the performances of this audiobook. Alexander Cendese, who I am not familiar with, narrated chapters from Kelly’s POV, while Sean Crisden, who I adore, narrated Kelly’s chapters. Both narrators did a fantastic job. Their voice and tones were matched perfectly to their characters and I happily listened to their performance all day at work. Cendese captured Kelly’s warring emotions as he tries to get himself together before things with Kelly start to change. Crisden then did an equally excellent job with the chopping emotions of Blue as he reassess himself as he comes to certain realisation regarding Kelly and how much he knows he did not want to lose Kelly from his life.

Overall, I really loved the book. It was fun, it was sexy and loved the chemistry between Blue and Kelly. I really felt the emotion and particularly felt connected to Kelly as he tries to navigate his way through love and facing the fact that he is in love with his straight best friend, before that changes once more. Yet I also felt Blue’s emotion as he is forced to reassess his personal beliefs about himself as a person. This wasn’t particularly intense or angsty, but I love how the characters have to traverse a somewhat rocky path before their happy for now ending. I look forward to the continuation of these two characters in the second book of the series.

This isn’t a gay for you book, per se, however, if you like a friends to lovers type of story, as well as the professional sports setting, this would be a great series to start.

Fire and Rain by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Andrew Grey - Fire and Rain Audio Cover wmek99Title: Fire and Rain

Series: Carlisle Cops 03

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Randy Fuller

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 19 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (24th February 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Since the death of their mother, Josten Applewhite has done what he’s had to do to take care of his little brother and keep their small family together. But in an instant, a stroke of bad luck tears down what little home he’s managed to build, and Jos and Isaac end up on the streets.

That’s where Officer Kip Rogers finds them, and even though he knows he should let the prop-er authorities handle things, he cannot find it in his heart to turn them away, going so far as to invite them to stay in his home until they get back on their feet. With the help of Kip and his friends, Jos starts to rebuild his life. But experience has taught him nothing comes for free, and the generosity seems too good to be true – just like everything about Kip.

Kip’s falling hard for Jos, and he likes the way Jos and Isaac make his big house feel like a home. But their arrangement can’t be permanent, not with Jos set on making his own way. Then a distant relative emerges, determined to destroy Jos’s family, and Kip knows Jos needs him – even if he’s not ready to admit it.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Fire and Rain is the third book in Andrew Grey’s Carlisle Cops series. You don’t need to have read the previous book in the series. I’ve read and listened to the two series Carlisle Cops and Carlisle Deputies completely out of order. And while the characters from previous books pop up and you know that they are together, there is nothing vital mentioned that I found difficult to put together on my own. But that being said, it’s such a great series, it probably would be easier to start from the beginning and work your way through. I completely arsed it up, but no reason why anyone has to do that. I honestly think I was just too excited about the book itself I didn’t care and am familiar enough with Grey’s writing to know I can usually read (or in this case listen to) his series out of order.

That leads into the fact that I am a massive fan of Andrew Grey’s writing and I’m not ashamed to admit it. He has a great knack for mixing romance with kids. I connect to his writing style and the great way that he manages to includes kids in many of his books, they are not there for decoration and are a very important character along with the two romantic leads. Much like the previous book in the series, Fire and Rain is a great book for anyone that loves a good romance mixed up with a cop drama and includes a heart wrenching story with kids.

The narration of this book was by Randy Fuller. I am not unfamiliar with Fuller’s work. Fuller has performed the narration for Carlisle Cops and Carlisle Deputies, so I have quickly become accustomed to him being “the voice” of the series. His voice has a gravelly timbre that really suits the dangerous and raw emotion aspects of the plot line. In addition, he has a very reasonable, well-paced tone in his voice when it comes to portraying level-headed characters. (It is actually the latter trait that makes Fuller’s narration of The President’s Husband one of my favourite books to re-listen to, but that is not the point of this review).

Since I listened to this book and then went back to book 2, I did note that there is some similarities in the overall themes of the book. However, Grey uses this to his advantage in how the main cop character interacts with his colleagues and gets advice. But that isn’t me saying that it is identical, because it isn’t.

Officer Kip Rogers is on patrol and takes a call about a homeless person loitering near a shop which is the best place for protection out of the rain. That man is Josten Applewhite and Kip is horrified to see that Josten has his little brother Isaac, who is barely a toddler. With the local shelters already full, in part because of the terrible weather Kip’s protective instincts kick in and he wants to help the handsome young man with his adorable brother. However, Josten, aka Jos, isn’t trusting. After the death of his mother and losing his job and then being evicted out his apartment, Jos is understandably suspicious of anyone who wants to help him and Isaac without getting anything in return.

Now that he has met Kip, though, it seems that the two men are fated to be thrown together. Kip is also mindful that he doesn’t want to take advantage of Jos’s situation and for a start just wants to keep the man and the little boy safe. Kip is kind and gentle, as well as being strong, he is everything that Jos needs before we even get to the romance. As they begin to fall in love and Jos begins to get back on his feet, a threat comes in the form of an estranged aunt with ulterior motive. The whole story with the aunt, admittedly, wasn’t hard to work out before it fully played out but it was still a well-executed aspect of the story.

As I said earlier, I really love this series and hope that there will be more in future. At any rate, I know I will happily re-listen to this audio.

The Demon’s Healer by Camellia Dawn

Camellia Dawn - The Demon's Healer Cover ben83uTitle: The Demon’s Healer

Series: Under Demon Rule 01

Author: Camellia Dawn

Genre: Paranormal

Length: Novel (38K words)

ISBN: 978-1-64243-811-6

Publisher: Siren Publishing (21st May 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: The Demon Prince, Brennen Vyskala, is dying and nobody can figure out why. If he doesn’t find a healer soon, he won’t live to see his 100th birthday, and his dream of final-ly uniting his kingdom will die along with him.

Aribel Tyre is a healer. Held prisoner in a secret room behind the Phantom Nightclub, he uses his gift to keep him and his brothers safe. When a group of demons come asking for him to come heal their prince, he finds himself facing a past that comes back to haunt him.

Brennen is thrilled when he discovers the beautiful healer is his mate, but he never ex-pects Aribel to reject him. His world shatters as his only chance at a happily ever after slips through his fingers. Can Aribel overcome his past abuse and learn to trust his mate before it’s too late or will Brennen die before he gets the chance?

Purchase Link: Siren-BookStrand | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: The Demon’s Healer is the first book in the series Under Demon Rule by Camellia Dawn. Dawn is a completely new author to me, so I didn’t know what to expect in terms of writing. However, the blurb indicated that this book was right up my alley. I had flagged this book to read it when it first came out but it dropped off my radar until recently.

The book follows Demon Prince Brennen Vyskala and timid human healer Abriel Tyre. The two couldn’t be any different. Brennen is a prince and with only months until his one hundredth birthday, he is under great expectations from his father when Brennen takes over as king after his coronation which is scheduled for short weeks away. The only problem is that Brennen is sick, on the verge of death and only his closest friends know that unless a healer can do something, Brennen wouldn’t make it to his coronation. That is when Brennen’s closest confidant finds a healer that could help Brennen. That healer is, of course, Abriel Tyre. He is being held against his will in the back of a club because of his talents – not only is he a healer but he is also an empath. Abriel finds out that he is leaving the club, but the only way he would do so is if he takes his brothers with him.

From the start things are not easy for Brennen and Abriel. Brennen knows that the human is his mate, however, past abuse and a terrible experience has Abriel running from his fate. Abriel is hot headed and is quick to jump to conclusion, which is a majority of the source of drama in this book. The only problem being he needs to get over his baggage before his mate dies.

I won’t go into things more. The plot is quite simple, but it was well written and was a fun read. I found that I liked the writing style and found it easy to sympathise with Abriel, despite the fact that if he was written slightly differently I would find him dislikeable for being so hard-headed. I also liked the chemistry between Brennen and Abriel, they work well together and I think that they give a certain hope for the future of the Demons. The other thing that is good is that we have now had the world and characters set up for the next books in the series.

Book 2 has recently been released and I am totally keen to read it, especially after I read the blurb and saw which characters that we in this book are involved.

I recommend this one for people that like paranormal romances, the demons and magic makes this a fun read.

Seeking Solace by Ari McKay ~ Audio Review

Ari McKay - Seeking Solace Audio Cover 234ierjkTitle: Seeking Solace

Series: Dreamspun Desires 69, The Walker Boys 03

Author: Ari McKay

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 55 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (6th November 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: All hands on deck for a shipboard romance—with a secret.

Like his cousins, Devin Walker aspires to be a chef, but he wants to indulge his wanderlust while feeding his customers, and working a cruise ship seems like the solution. Since he can’t find an opening in the kitchen, he’s happy to start out in a position behind the bar.

While onboard Poseidon’s Pearl, Devin is assigned to shepherd a visiting executive. Paul Bailey is quiet and unassuming, and a car accident that cost him his leg also shattered his confidence. He doesn’t think he’s attractive to other men anymore, and Devin is eager to show him just how wrong he is. Paul has a surprising secret that might sink their passionate affair before it even leaves port.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Seeking Solace is the third book in Ari McKay’s series The Walker Boys. It isn’t essential that you read the previous books, though it would probably make life easier when one of the MCs, Devin Walker, talks about his family back home in Buffalo Lick, Texas. Much like the previous two books, Seeking Solace is a sweet and simple romance at heart. Of course, there is a good dose of drama, mostly fuelled by miscommunication and running away from one’s problems, but it is a fun and adorable story.

I really enjoyed this story when I read it and looked forward to the audio. When I grabbed the audio from Audible, I was even more excited to see that the narration of this book was done by John Solo. I absolutely love Solo’s narration, he has the magic touch – the magic tonsils? – when it comes to bringing emotional depth into the characters with just the tone of his voice. Some of Solo’s performances are also so good that a book that I didn’t like when I read it, or pick it up to read after listening to audio, are far more enjoyable than just reading the written text. That is the sign of a good narrator, in my opinion. Seeking Solace is no exception in terms of performance, I loved it and connected to Devin and Paul so quickly, especially when the drama of the story comes into play.

The story is about Devin Walker, one of the famous Walker boys from Buffalo Lick, Texas. Unlike his many cousins, he had it a little tougher time growing up when people out of town hurled racial abuse at him. Like many others in Walker clan, he has the cooking bug. He wants to be a chef but before he can get there, Devin is working as a bar tender on a cruise ship, where he meets Paul Bailey.

However, Paul Bailey is Paul Mercer. He is on the cruise ship undercover, as he is in fact the heir of the cruise line company. He just wants to be seen as another exec who has to spend time on ship before settling into a job at head office. Devin becomes Paul’s staff liaison and the two quickly develop a friendship that becomes something a lot more meaningful.

The problem being, is that when Devin discovers Paul’s true surname, he feels betrayed and goes back to the only place he knows to recover. Paul is confused why he didn’t see Devin and again and when he discovers what has happened he is determined and sweet enough to take the biggest risk.

These guys are well suited. Their chemistry is strong but there is something deeper to it than their physical attraction, which does bring in something of an instalove aspect to the book. This is the perfect escape book for a relatable and relatively uncomplicated romance. Fans of the previous books in the series or fans of Ari McKay or people that simply love the romance and sappiness that comes from many Dreamspun Desire books, you won’t be disappointed. For anyone else, if you’re into simple and sweet romances then this is the book for you.

The Strength of His Heart by Victoria Sue ~ Audio Review

Victoria Sue - The Strength of His Heart Audio Cover nasjnh89Title: The Strength of His Heart

Series: Enhanced 04

Author: Victoria Sue

Narrator: Nick J Russo

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Length: 7 hrs, 22 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (8th April 2019)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: All Vance Connelly ever wanted to do was continue his family’s tradition and join the Tampa Po-lice Department, but his dreams were crushed the day he woke with the enhanced mark on his face. After years of struggling to adjust to life as an enhanced human, by a stroke of luck, he met Talon Valdez and became a proud member of the FBI’s Human Enhanced Rescue Organi-zation.

Samuel “Angel” Piper is eager to leave his DEA undercover work behind as he joins the HERO team as Vance’s regular human partner. But Sam’s painful past is ever present, just below the surface of the life he has built for himself as an ambitious young agent. When the team investi-gates rumors of a new drug using enhanced blood, the case’s mysterious connection to Sam threatens not just his life but Vance’s.

Trust doesn’t come easy for Sam, but Vance is willing to fight to convince his partner that the strength of his heart might be the salvation they both need.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Strength of His Heart is book 4 of Victoria Sue’s series, Enhanced.

Before I started this audio, I hadn’t realised that I hadn’t realised it was a series, but a couple chapters in when it finally clicked to me, I was too invested to stop and get to the other three stories. I was able to follow the plot without any problem, although I am sure that I missed some points when it came to some of the background characters, they were well developed and fleshed out by this point in the series, but again, nothing that I couldn’t piece together in my head.

This book is the first book I’ve read/listened to by the author, so I had no idea what to expect in terms of the writing and the depth of the world that had been created. However, I am very familiar with the work of Nick J Russo, the narrator. Normally, I have heard him perform contemporary books and I have found that he is well suited. But this book is best described as an urban fantasy. I was totally blown away by how well he narrated the story and conveyed the complex emotions of the MCs. Both MCs are tough, alpha type of males, however, one is a gentle giant and the other is a scrappy guy.

The series is called Enhanced after a group of people in the world who have been ridiculed and discriminated against because the men (because it’s only men) that are “Enhanced”, known for the scar on their face after transformation, develop powers which the rest of humanity can’t understand. I suppose it’s a kind of parallel to the LGBTQI community. I’m not explaining the enhanced very well, but basically think of Marvel’s X-Men but it’s only men. Some enhanced can mind speak, some have super strength, some have healing – you get the point.

Vance and Sam are partners in a special FBI taskforce. It aims to team up human and enhanced partners in order to show the world that the enhanced aren’t monsters to be scared of.

Sam is ex-DEA (and has a past which is revealed through the story) but soon after partnering with Vance on the FBI team is back helping the DEA for another mission. Sam was good at his job in the DEA but he wanted so much more. He wanted to be in the FBI and didn’t want to be dragged back into the DEA. He has been used of protecting himself and being pushed around by people bigger than him, so when he is teamed up with Vance, despite sexual attraction, Sam isn’t going to let Vance take control.

Vance has always wanted to be a cop – it’s in his family to serve in the Tampa PD, his father is now the lieutenant, one of his brothers is also a cop, while another is also with the FBI. But Vance always wanted to be a cop, a choice that was taken away from him when he woke up as a teen, enhanced and with the scar to prove. While his parents and siblings have always been supportive of Vance, there are many opportunities and people in the world that do not think of him as human because of his abilities. The man has such a big heart and all he wants to do is help people.

Vance is a very sweet man and extremely vulnerable under his tough exterior, while Sam is tough and knows only how to keep up shields to keep himself safe from any kind of affection. There is an attraction between the two men, but with the danger of their ongoing case which involves drugs and added is the mystery of how enhanced have been dragged into the situation, things are often left on hold. As the danger increases the feelings also increase and Sam can’t help but keep putting his foot in his mouth to protect himself. Which, honestly, had me a tad emotional for poor Vance who wears his heart on his sleeve.

I absolutely adored this book. The chemistry between Sam and Vance is on point, their emotions are complex but relatable. The secondary character, some of whom have already had their own book in the series, are equally as deep and complex as Sam and Vance, even the two guys who have been set up to be the next couple of the series. The world that Sue has created is an adventure from start to finish. Now, I need to go back to the start of this series and find out about the other guys!