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review 2017-11-03 23:05
ARC Review: Game Point by M.J. O'Shea
Game Point (Dreamspun Desires Book 45) - M.J. O'Shea

Quinn Valenzuela, heir to the Sparta Athletics empire, has spent most of his life, first at boarding school and then traveling the world, playing on the yachts of the rich and famous, drifting his life away, pretending this is all he wants from life.

Porter Davis, COO of the same company, hasn't had a chance to even enjoy the fruits of his labor, working his way up from athlete using the product to basically running the company for and with Quinn's grandfather and mother. He lives with his sister because it's easy, and pretends he's not lonely.

The book is a little heavy early on as the characters deal with the grief of losing the old man. Both men are adrift in different ways, neither quite sure how to move forward. Quinn decides he wants to learn how to run the company, but needs Porter's help to do so. 

The relationship between the men progresses from reluctant acceptance to realizing that they work well together to developing a friendship to bedroom benefits, and the development felt natural and realistic within the confines of the plot. It was lovely to watch driven, workaholic Porter start to relax a little, and drifting, unsure Quinn find his footing and start to shine. Of course, it's not smooth sailing all the way, and the two men still have to figure out what they need long-term.

I liked the supporting characters as well - Quinn's mother and Porter's sister were two well-developed female characters who both supported and challenged our MCs as needed. 

The requisite relationship hiccup was visible from a mile away, and I liked how the author handled Quinn's obliviousness and panic, but also how it wasn't dragged out for too long. I also think that this needed to happen for the relationship to actually grow beyond what it had become at that point, and for Quinn to think about what he really wants. 

This is slow burn by design, though there's plenty of UST within. And tons of believable emotions, so that worked quite well for me.

It's a sweet romance and definitely worth your time.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-10-04 02:10
This was surprising little gem...
Out of the Shadows (Dreamspun Desires Book 40) - K.C. Wells,Finn Sterling

I have to admit I wasn't sure what to expect with this one  but it's K. C. Wells so I felt fairly certain that at the worst I was going to at least like this one. Well I did and I was even more pleasantly surprised to realize that I more than liked it. 

 

'Out of the Shadows' turned out to be a sweet story about a Christian Hernandez, a man who is left severely scared on the right side of his body...specifically his face and arm and how he comes to see that while the scars he was left with are a part of him they don't have to define him and Josh the sweet man who enters his life due to renovations that are being made in the apartment complex where he lives who sees beyond how Christian looks to the man he is. One of my favorite things about this story is the banter between Josh and Christian. From their first conversation I found them to be totally charming and adorable.

 

While there's not really any angst in this one neither does Josh's entrance into Christian's life magically fix things. This is a slow burn as Josh and Christian go from strangers to a very tenuous relationship as acquaintances and with time and patience they become friends as Josh slowly and persistently strives to bring Christian out of his shell and help him accept to reclaim his life...a life that can exist outside of the walls of his apartment.

 

I think for me this was a case of right story right time. I loved the simplicity of this story that was quite honestly filled with a whole lot of people who seemed really nice and had the ability to see beyond the surface and appreciate the person inside. I also liked that this was not a story filled with insta-love, insta-fix...insta-anything nor was it a story of overly complicated and convoluted solutions. Sometimes the solutions in life are straightforward solutions that just need time and effort which is how things felt in this story.

 

'Out of the Shadows' was narrated by a new to me narrator named Finn Sterling and I have to admit that not all of the voices he created for these characters matched what my mind conjured but I was ok with this because while they didn't match my imaginings they were unique and expressive to each character. 

 

This book #40 in Dreamspinner's Dreamspun Desires series and can easily be read or listened to on audio as a standalone story.

 

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An audio book of 'Out of the Shadows' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-10-03 01:59
Release Day ARC Review: The Bunny And The Billionaire by Louisa Masters
The Bunny and the Billionaire (Dreamspun Desires Book 43) - Louisa Masters

This is such a Harlequin-esque book. I mean, seriously, this one lays it on super thick, and as such fits the Dreamspun Desires series to a T.

Here we have Ben Adams, a nurse from Australia, who recently inherited a large sum of money (and when I say large, I mean LARGE) from the old lady whom he looked after for some time, and whom he still misses. Never having known wealth, Ben decides on a tour of Europe but still counting his pennies and saving money where possible. 

While in Monaco, he meets Leo Artois, the billionaire from the book's title, who's never known a day without wealth, seeing how his mother is a princess and his father is not only fabulously wealthy but also almost French royalty or something of the sort. 

Why Leo insists on calling Ben Bunny all the time escaped me. Leo, as well as his circle of friends, come across as the sort of people who never had to work a day in their lives and who think nothing of spending money whenever they please. 

Ben only planned to stay in Monaco for a few days before heading to Italy, but after meeting Leo, and the instant attraction he feels for the man, he decides to stay a while longer. 

What I liked about this book is that Ben isn't shy about pointing out to Leo how wasteful spending isn't impressive to him, and that Leo make concessions for Ben's point of view on money issues, but also teaches him that some things are worth the money they cost and introduces him to some of the finer things in life that most mortals will never be able to afford. 

Ben, despite his substantial inheritance, is still a normal guy and tries to impress that normalcy on Leo. 

I believed their holiday fling. Their attraction burned brightly from the start, and I bought that Leo was fascinated with Ben, and vice versa, but their HEA romance - nah. Didn't believe it. They had so little in common, and despite Ben's new wealth, their social circles and life experiences didn't really mesh for me at all. Ben was too normal whereas Leo was way more sophisticated and often came across as someone whose illusions of entitlement were showing. Ben came across as uncomfortable with the OTT displays of wealth Leo and his circle found normal, and that doesn't make for a life-long romance. I mean, obviously with this series, disbelief must be suspended most of the time anyway, but the romance should still be something that resonates. And here, it sadly didn't, for me. YMMV.

The writing was pretty good; the dialogue was believable (with some snark, yay) for how the two men were characterized, and I'm interested in reading more by this author.



** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-10-02 06:56
Snoozefest delight
Two for Trust (Dreamspun Desires Book 34) - Elle Brownlee
A Tag Team Review with Sara!

BROKEN HEART
--How to sum up Two for Trust?



I've been wanting to read something from this author for a while. And once I read the blurb and saw the cover... I rushed to read it.

After reading, it was not a great first impression of this author's work.

The elements are there for a winning story:

Finch - down and out dorky ginger ex-nurse who struck out on life in the work and love department
Benedict - a very stiff upper lip Brit with a mysterious air
A British countryside vacation filled with historical talking points

The air for romance while on vacation was there.

The thing is, neither main characters were interesting or charismatic enough to have a believable romance. I hesitate to call this a romance. There is a HEA and the right words showed up at times. But the delivery is so wooden, so stiff, so dry, so crusty.

My favorite part is stolen instant oatmeal. I think it was the highlight.

The book spends so much time on the English historical artifacts and research that the non existent romance and chemistry suffers from the boring and dry characters. Finch was pathetic and too similar in disposition to make any impact. Benedict... he was too "reserved". He just manipulated Finch and didn't share anything until it was too late.

And that ending? Please. *side eyes*

If you're new to the Dreamspun line, do not try this. I can't recommend. I do enjoy a quiet romance but this was too staid, too reserved and too boring.

So in closing, if you're having difficulties going to sleep or need something to start a nap, I'd give this book a try.




It worked wonders for me.



A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-09-26 04:33
Sometimes we just can't like everyone...
All In (Dreamspun Desires Book 38) - Ava Drake

'All In' is the third book in Ava Drake's 'Wild Card's' series and the 38th book in Dreamspinner's 'Dreamspun Desires' and I have to admit I wasn't exactly 'all in' on this one.

 

I liked the story line well enough. Zane Stryker is a fashion model who's career is on the downslide now that he's fast approaching 30 and with his return to New York he's hoping to score some runway jobs that will fund his retirement. What he's not hoping for is what happens and that's getting detained at customs with a suitcase devoid of his clothes and containing contraband of unknown origins and  a handsome but strange man demanding that he trust him if Zane wants to get out of the mess he's suddenly found himself in.

 

Sebastian Gigoni is retired British Special Forces and when he's asked to retrieve Zane and the contraband suitcase from the airport what he doesn't count on is the complications that are involved...things like trying to figure out where Zane's loyalties lie and what to do with the attraction that seems to be developing between the two men. 

 

At just over 6 hours of listening time this story moved right along and as I said I liked the story. I actually really liked Sebastian too. He was a bit of a mystery man and much to Zane's disappointment not the gullible fool that Zane needed him to be and for some reason that I couldn't fathom he seemed to be attracted to Zane and there you have it...the fly in my ointment...Zane. 

 

In a nutshell I did not like Zane. I found him to be shallow, self absorbed and just generally full of himself. I honestly had no clue what Sebastian saw in him and try as I might I never really felt the connection between these two men. So while the story worked for me and I enjoyed  it the relationship between these two pretty much tanked.

 

While 'All In' was my first book by this author when it comes to the narrator this is not our first dance at the rodeo...John Solo was the narrator for this one and from the audio side of things it was solid. I liked his voices for the characters, they were solid and I got the clarity and emotional expression that I enjoy in an audio book. But still even this just did not help me to like Zane. 

 

I admit it maybe I was just being a cranky pants when I listened to this one and another time I might like Zane, but in all honestly I doubt it. Zane's just not my cuppa' and I don't honestly see that changing any time soon.

 

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An audio book of 'All In' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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