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review 2018-02-20 01:16
Release Day ARC Review: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor
Teaching Ben (Dreamspun Desires Book 52) - Shae Connor

Ben Cooper put in his time with the military, but at 24 is now looking for a fresh start, using his GI bill to attend college in Savannah, GA. And finally step out of the closet. 

David Powell is a TA in Ben's class, same age as Ben, but obviously off-limits due to his status. David also had some struggles in his past, but has tried hard to stay away from temptation and stay the course. 

The attraction is immediate, but neither can act on it, thus there is lots of UST in this book, and the romance is super slow burn. David and Ben become friends, and as they learn more about each other, and secrets are revealed, their friendship, while platonic, becomes even stronger. 

I liked how the author gave Ben room to expand his horizons, how she let him spread his wings, away from his commandeering father, away from the rigors and structure of the Air Force, building the life he wants to live. 

David made a huge mistake once and it cost him dearly. He's making up for it, but he also knows that he cannot step a single foot out of line, no matter how attracted he is to Ben. The author did a fine job fleshing out his character and giving him a background story that felt realistic and believable in how much it still impacted his life. 

Told alternatively from Ben's and David's point-of-view, we get a well-rounded story with a believable plot that even had a bit of suspense, though the villain of the story was rather clear from the get-go and the suspense was more in how this particular piece of the plot would unfold and impact their budding relationship. 

As with all the books in this series, there is little explicit steam on page, which is fine as far as I'm concerned. I much rather read about the relationship development, and how the two MCs get to their HEA than about what they do in the bedroom. I much rather see an emotional connection develop more so that a romp in the sheets, and I got that here. Ben and David really clicked, like they were meant to find each other, with both of them having had to struggle to get to this point in their lives, which meant that they were more aware of what they found and thus more protective of it. 

I enjoyed reading this. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-02-02 01:10
Release Day ARC Review: Swann's Revenge by Shira Anthony
Swann's Revenge (Dreamspun Desires Book 51) - Shira Anthony

This book uses the Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan trope, with a bit of a twist.

When Jimmy Zebulon was 15, he was a bit of a band geek and a little on the short and chubby side, in love with Danny Parker, the hot and straight football player, who unknowingly broke Jimmy's heart when he stood idly by, allowing his teammates to reduce Jimmy to snot and tears with their torment and taunts.

Fifteen years have since passed and Jimmy is now J. Graham Swann, successfully attorney and co-owner of his very own law firm. The years have been good to Graham, who now sports movie-star looks and has left Jimmy, the band geek, in his past.

But of course the past comes back to haunt him - in the form of Danny, now Dan, recently widowed and moving back to North Carolina to be closer to his parents. 

Graham recognizes Dan, though not until after an almost hook-up, but Dan has for the longest time no idea that his super hot new boss is his former classmate. 

Graham is standoffish and almost rude, but then remembers to be a professional.

As the story unfolds, we see Dan and Graham become friends and then more, though Graham keeps his past identity to himself. Of course, I knew this would come back to bite him. Graham is not willing to tell Dan the truth - that he's Jimmy - and things are complicated a little bit further when Dan reveals he has a young daughter named Lacey.

And then Graham finds out that Dan, his secret high school crush, is gay and came out not long after leaving high school, met and married a man and adopted a child. 

I adored this story. I loved both characters, and I loved how well the author brought across Graham's hang-ups and his pain from the past, and Dan's confusion when Graham blows a bit hot and cold for a while. I loved how easily the story unfolded, how seamlessly each scene flowed into the next, how Graham and Dan go from employer and employee to friends and then to lovers.

And then... well, you read this for yourself. I don't think you'd regret it. The book has two great MCs, a lovely little girl that pulls them together, and an excellent supporting cast that rounded out the story. 

Seriously, read this. This was a perfect addition to the Dreamspun Desires series, and I utterly adored it.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-01-19 00:51
I love it when a series just gets better...
Model Bodyguard: Haven Investigations, Book 2 - Dreamspinner Press LLC,Lissa Kasey,Brian Hutchison

I really enjoyed 'Model Citizen' the firs book in Lissa Kasey's 'Haven Investigations' series this one has definitely stepped things up a notch or two.

 

While 'Model Citizen' was about Ollie's POV this time around we're given Kade's POV on life with Ollie and I loved it. Kade loves Ollie there's zero doubt about that but he also sees Ollie in a very realistic way which is really, really good for Ollie because Ollie's got some issues that need to dealt with in a realistic way. I just love that I don't feel like Kade views Ollie as a burden to be taken care of. For Kade, Ollie's issues are just a part of Ollie and need to be dealt with in a positive and constructive way which is what Kade does.

 

Things are going good for Ollie and Kade. As a couple they're on fairly solid ground and the PI business is doing a lot better with the addition of Kade.  Plus the house that Ollie bought for him and Nate to build a family in is getting renovated by Kade as well and even this task shows Kade's love for Ollie with how sensitive he is to how much the house means to Ollie and that there are areas of the house that he knows Ollie's not ready for him to tackle yet because they were meant to be Nate's space and Ollie's still grieving for his brother. He's trying to get on with his life but it's hard and it gets a little harder when questions start arising surrounding Nate's death.

 

Kade's POV not only gives us a closer look at Kade's life before he came to Haven Investigations but more detail as to how he came to be at Haven Investigations...he had some scary stuff going on and we're not talking PTSD from the war here, ok? 

 

Ironically it's once again Ollie's past that brings a mystery back to their door along with Jacob...Ollie's ex and a definite contributor to Ollie's issues. Nate's a rock star and a playboy he doesn't do relationships just sex and kink but somewhere along the way he's picked up a stalker...one who's decided that he needs to be punished in a permanent way and there's no limit to the suspects in this one. Jacob's whole family is at the top of the list. This is one serious group of users and leeches and getting to the bottom of things and figuring out who wants Jacob punished may be impossible since Jacob's loyalty is pretty extreme in that he feels that his family is above reproach and would never hurt him...did I mention that Jacob might be a little delusional...trust me he is because I wouldn't trust any of them as far as I could throw them.

 

Kade's got his hands full as he tries to keep contact between Ollie and Jacob to a minimum because honestly interacting with Jacob really isn't in Ollie's best interest and Kade's got his own insecurities where Ollie's ex's are concerned because Ty...who is also an ex of Ollie's seems to be around a lot more as well, thankfully though this is because he's seeing Tomas so his presence is far less stressful and concerning for Kade. Also let's not forget Kade's still dealing with his own physical injuries and a past that doesn't want to let go of him and may not be over yet.

 

I loved seeing things from Kade's perspective and I really loved how much Ollie and Kade's relationship has strengthened. Kade is so good for Ollie and good to Ollie. I also felt that Ollie was truly beginning to get past his grief from losing his brother Nate and make a real effort to move forward with is life. I loved seeing Ollie as a capable, contributing partner in Haven Investigations and not some damsel in distress who needs constant rescuing.

 

Kade and Ollie's relationship may be fairly solid but that doesn't mean that having Ollie's sexy rock star ex in their lives isn't going to be a test for them and sadly for the ready because...holy hell!!! did you see the size of that cliff that the author has left us sitting on? It's a biggie and while I know I could pop the next e-book onto my e-reader to find out what happens I've really been enjoying this series on audio. While the first one was narrated by Mike Pohlable this time around we've been treated to the narrations of Brian Hutchison and I've really enjoyed this one. While I liked Ollie's voice in the first book pretty much everyone else except the annoyingly whiny Donovan was just ok and while this is only my second audio book narrated by Brian Hutchison I have to admit that from an audio standpoint I enjoyed this one a bit more.

 

I'm really enjoying this series on audio and I admit I'm hoping, really, really hoping that the third audio book isn't too far off but in the meantime because I can't wait to see what's going to happen next with Kade and Ollie but until it arrives I'll just be sitting here over on the cliff's edge...you know that really, really steep cliff that Ms Kasey has left me on passing the time with some more audio books or an e-book here and there...who knows I may even have a DTB or 2 lying around to pass the time with.

 

**********************

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

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review 2018-01-16 01:04
Release Day Review: The Hockey Player's Heart by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss
The Hockey Player's Heart (Dreamspun Desires Book 50) - Jeff Adams,Will Knauss

I liked this story about an out hockey player who in his teens nursed a crush on his older sister's best friend who was also his geometry tutor. Who's now a teacher at the same school where his sister is the principal. 

After an injury, hockey player Caleb Carter returns to his home town of Foster Grove to recuperate and hang out with his sister before going back to NYC to play for the Rangers. He doesn't realize that his one-time teenage crush Aaron Price now works as a teacher for his sister, but is shook when he finds out. That teenage crush he thought he was over - yeah, not so much. So Caleb pursues Aaron - inviting the slightly older man on a date and makes his interest clearly known. 

Aaron is a bit gun-shy to date another athlete after one broke his heart back in California, but Caleb is persistent, and every argument Aaron brings up that a relationship between them wouldn't work, Caleb counters. And obviously, there's a spark for Aaron too. 

The plot doesn't have any big misunderstandings nor any obvious miscommunications, and both men are open and honest about their interest, even if Aaron isn't convinced this thing between them will be anything more than a short-lived romance. 

We get a glimpse into Aaron's life as a teacher, and Caleb's life with his hockey team (gotta love Dimitri, what a great friend), and also the school's hockey team. The kids were an added bonus, and I enjoyed watching Caleb and Aaron interact.

The drama in this story comes primarily from Aaron, shy, cautious Aaron, who doesn't think he fits in with Caleb's life as a star hockey player, so he finds excuse after stupid excuse to not fully give the relationship a real chance. 

I liked Caleb a lot. He was so honest and straight-forward, and so open about how he felt and what he wanted, but also not pushy - he gave Aaron time to come around to his way of thinking. And really, three hours drive isn't a deal-breaker for most people, especially since there's an off-season to consider. Aaron is just gun-shy, which I could understand, but I also didn't think it was fair of him to think that all athletes are alike. Aaron had some self-esteem issues too - again, understandable, after being treated like so badly by the California jerk. 

There is definitely chemistry between the two men, and we are treated to some steamy yet emotional scenes between them. This being a Dreamspun Desires title, I expected a grand gesture toward the end - and yeah, I got that. Lovely scene, that.

The entire story and relationship development takes place in just a few weeks' time, which might be too fast for some, but in this case, I believed the timeline from meet-cute to HEA, because the two men knew each other from high school, and both had a bit of a crush on each other - it was easy to see how that spark might be kindled to burst into flame. 

This was my first read by this author team, even though I own the Hat Trick series by Jeff Adams in paperback, which obviously I need to read. Apparently, there will be another book which will be about Dimitri, Caleb's friend and teammate. And judging by how Dimitri feels about romance and long-term relationships in general, I cannot wait to read that one!

Give this a try. While there's a lot of hockey in the book, the romance and relationship take center stage.


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

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review 2018-01-09 18:24
Schatten und Licht - Vergangemheit und Zukunft
Aus dem Nichts - Roan Parrish

Inhalt: Die einzige Sache, die Colin Mulligans Leben Sinn gibt, ist das Auseinandernehmen und wieder Zusammensetzen von Autos. In der Werkstatt, in der er zusammen mit seinem Vater und seinen Brüdern arbeitet, versucht er ohne Panikattacke und Wutausbruch durch den Tag zu kommen. Trinken hilft. Ebenso wie Laufen und Gewichtheben, bis er sich kaum noch auf den Beinen halten kann. Nichts davon kann jedoch die Tatsache, dass er schwul ist, ändern – ein Geheimnis, das er vor allen verheimlicht. Rafael Guerra hat einen Weg gefunden, mit seiner Vergangenheit, für die er sich schämt, zu leben. Sein Leben hat er der Sozialarbeit und der Hilfe von Jugendlichen, die wie er aus ärmlichen Verhältnissen stammen, gewidmet. Für Liebe hat er keine Zeit. Verflucht, er hat kaum Zeit für sich selbst. Irgendwie zieht ihn alles an dem unglücklichen, selbstzerstörerischen Colin an. Der Weg dorthin ist jedoch mit den Schwierigkeiten gepflastert, die Rafe mit so viel Anstrengung hinter sich gelassen hat. Als ihre Beziehung tiefer wird, sind Rafe und Colin gezwungen, Geheimnisse ans Licht zu bringen, die jeder von ihnen gerne weiterhin im Dunkeln gelassen hätte.

(Quelle: Dreamspinner Press)

 

Meine Meinung: Mitten im Irgendwo hat mich vor einigen Wochen komplett begeistert und tut es immer noch. In der Geschichte gab es mich genau einen Menschen, den ich "gehasst" habe. Und ausgerechnet diesen Menschen hat sich Roan Parrish für ihr 2. Buch der Reihe ausgesucht! Warum nicht Leo und Will? Warum nicht Daniels Kollegen - nein ausgerechnet mein Must Hate musste es sein. Vielleicht ist das auch der Grund, das ich dem Buch nur 4 Sternchen geben konnte. Denn so sehr sich die Autorin auch bemüht hat, ich konnte mit Colin nicht so warm werden, wie ich es vielleicht ohne das 1. Buch geworden wäre.

 

Zeitlich spielt Aus dem Nichts neben Mitten im Irgendwo. Auf diese Weise bekam man einen guten Einblick, wie Daniels und Colins Leben in Philly. Doch hat die Autorin den 2 Brüdern, eine gänzlich andere Richtung im Leben gegeben. Während einer irgendwann eingesehen hat, das seine Familie nicht zu Anerkennung neigt, ist ein anderer Bruder sein Leben lang auf der Suche nach genau dieser Anerkennung seiner Familie. Dabei verleugnet er sich, bis er sich selbst nicht mehr kennt. Doch wenn man immer nur auf dem eis balanciert, wird man irgendwann einbrechen.

 

Als das Eis für Colin bricht, wird er von Rafe gehalten. Doch ein Loch in der Eisfläche ist meist nur der Anfang und am Ende besteht das Risiko, das beide in der Dunkelheit ihrer Vergangenheit versinken. Natürlich lässt die Autorin, das nicht zu. Doch sie macht es Colin definitiv nicht leicht und sorry, aber das hat er verdient. Na ja vielleicht hat es die Autorin auch geschafft, das ich ein wenig Mitleid mit ihm habe, aber mein Lieblingscharakter wird er nie werden.

 

Zum Glück gibt es da noch Rafael. Er ist ein Engel - mit Vergangenheit. Doch er versucht die Dummheiten seiner Vergangenheit hinter sich zu lassen und andere davor zu beschützen. Er rettet Colin und das nicht nur einmal. Gerade als alle Zeichen auf Zukunft stehen, gerät alles durch seine Vergangenheit in Gefahr und Rafe gerät aus der Bahn.

 

Aus dem Nichts ist deutlich düsterer als sein Vorgänger Mitten im Irgendwo. Ihm fehlt auch fast gänzlich die humorvollen Auflockerungen, die seinen großen Bruder ausmachten. Gerade einmal die Nebenfiguren schaffen dem Leser das ein oder andere Schmunzeln zu entlocken. Allerdings schadet dieses dunkle Image der Geschichte nicht wirklich, wenn man sich erst einmal darauf eingelassen hat. Allerdings muss man Band 1 gelesen haben, da einem sonst, wohl die ein oder andere Szene nicht einleuchtet.

 

Fazit: Aus dem Nichts ist ein würdiger Nachfolger von Mitten im Irgendwo, auch wenn nicht wirklich vergleichbar. Colins Geschichte ist der Schatten zu Daniels Licht. Beides ist wichtig und braucht den anderen.

Source: schnuffelchensbuecher.blogspot.de/2018/01/roan-parrish-aus-dem-nichts.html
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