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review 2017-12-09 09:47
Healing
You Never Know - Mary Calmes

Hagen already had to learn to live without Mitch once.  With him back in town, he was telling everyone who would listen there would never be that happening again.  He still has Ash telling him to give him a chance. 

 

Mitch knows he has grown up and is not the same person he was at high school graduation.  He now understands that living without Hagen - is not really living.  Can he convince him to forgive, and show him he is ready to finally begin their life together?

 

This story was so sweet.  I felt every emotion and character development as I read.  I eagerly turned the pages, and was not disappointed.  I hope to see these characters again.  They had such great chemistry, and the heat together was scalding!  I give this book a 5/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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review 2017-12-03 02:27
Release Day ARC Review: High Test by Elizabeth Noble
High Test (Dreamspun Desires Book 47) - Elizabeth Noble

Fluffy romance between a grad student and a rich, older man of Indian descent with hints of Cinderfella.

 

Hayden, the grad student, is working an alumni/sponsor event for his university, where he meets Neal, the rich guy. There's some apparent assumption on Neal's part that Hayden's last name, Owens, means he belongs to the Owens family of coffee house fame. Hayden doesn't get a chance to correct that assumption, and after a dance at the event, he must rush to catch his bus. Cinderfella, right? Leaving after the dance?

 

And Hayden also forgets to exchange contact information with Neal. No matter, because Neal knows where Hayden works, so the coffee house, it is.

 

They have another date, and still don't exchange phone numbers.

 

The book continues in this fashion for a while, with Hayden thinking that Neal believes he's related to the owners of the coffee house chain, but not finding an opportunity to correct Neal and confess that he's just a poor grad student barely scraping by.

 

I liked that the author gave Neal an Indian background - diversity is appreciated.

 

There's just a lot in this book I didn't like. I don't mind an age gap, and that wasn't my issue here either, but Hayden sounded and in some instances acted younger than he should have, and Neal kind of steamrolled him toward the end - I didn't appreciate that.

The two explicit sex scenes allowed under the provision of the Dreamspun Desires titles felt clinical, robotic, and unemotional. I got Tab A inserted into Slot B, but there was just no chemistry and no connection to be felt. As a matter of fact, I was only told about their connection - I wasn't really shown that they had one.

 

The writing itself and the plot progression were fine for the most part. I didn't like the bitchy female (the jilted woman from the blurb, who wasn't actually jilted at all, because Neal never even had a relationship with her), whose only purpose was to cause trouble between Hayden and Neal, and I didn't like the ridiculous "meet-the-parents" dinner with Neal's parents. They were utterly rude, for no particular reason other than their homophobia and Hayden's age. Hayden's mom was a sweetheart, though. I liked both Hayden and Neal - they were both nice, kind, thoughtful people.

 

Overall, 3 stars, primarily for the writing which was engaging, except the intimate scenes, as well as the overall flow of the story. YMMV.

 

 


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

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review 2017-11-28 03:50
Now
Tried & True - Charlie Cochet

This is book #10, and the final story in the THIRDS series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel, but why miss all the action and fun?  There is another series soon on the horizon.... you won't want to miss that one either!

 

Sloane & Dex are finally tying the knot.  Not before taking care of yet another terrorist problem.  While their team steps up for one more time together of getting the bad guy, the future Daley's have a lot coming at them.  Wedding plans, family, work, secrets, and so much more.

 

Dex is ready to marry the love of his life.  Only there are a just a few more surprises in store for him.  Sloane has no jitters at all, as he is excited to finally have his man be really his. As more of the story unfolds, we get insight as to the next books sure to come.

 

I will be sad to see this series put to bed.  These characters are so much a part of me now as I re-read them over and over.  I was so pleased to get this latest and final edition that gave me so many feels.  This was such an amazing story.  While action packed, this author knows how to tug on my heart as well.  Keep the tissues handy folks - it's a bumpy ride!  I give this book a 5/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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review 2017-11-28 03:18
Close
Gummy Bears & Grenades - Charlie Cochet

This is book #9.5, in the THIRDS series.  This book should be read in the order of series planned, as it will give serious spoilers.  This still can be read as a standalone, but not recommended.

 

This book jumps in as Dex & Sloan are planning to get married soon.  With all the planning going on, how do you get things done when urban terrorists are trying to interfere in the job?

 

On the brighter side, a crazy planned bachelor party is about to happen.  Will everyone show?  What surprises will there be?  

 

This is such a great series!  I was excited to read about more adventures with my favorite THIRDS!  These characters are so great with the humor, loyalty, and most of all conviction.  So exciting to see what it coming next for them.  This was a fast paced installment but worth every page.  I give this story 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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review 2017-11-24 22:05
Let's do this one story at a time...
Stocking Stuffers (2017 Advent Calendar) - Rick R. Reed

THE BLURB:

Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most….

The holidays are a time when bigger often means better, and meals are huge, decorations are over-the-top, and elaborate gifts and grand gestures are one way to show affection. But beneath all the pomp and ceremony, after the grandiose presents have been unwrapped, the stocking stuffers are still waiting to add that final sparkle to the perfect celebration. Even the tiniest trinkets can be gems when they’re chosen with love, and like a good love story, they are held close to the heart and treasured for years to come. The festivities don’t have to end after the feasts and gift exchanges. Dig a little deeper for romantic stocking stuffers both naughty and nice.

Enjoy a tale of men in love with men every day throughout December.

 

The following are my reviews for some of the stories in Dreamspinners Stocking Stuffer Collection (2017 Advent Calendar) For a full list of stories and their blurbs you can find them on the Dreamspinner Press website.

 

O Hell, All Ye Shoppers

Louisa Masters

~ 3 Christmas Stars~

Ethan’s plans for a lazy day at home away from the madness of last minute shoppers on Dec. 23 are set aside when his sister calls with a crisis that sends Ethan to the Australia’s largest shopping center and a specialty shop aimed at women and his kindness gets the better of him as he comes to the rescue of Ty the only other man in the store and while both men are desperate to escape the retail hell that is the mall at Christmas time, neither man is is in a hurry for their time together to be over. 

 

‘O Hell, All Ye Shoppers’ is a sweet story about two men who find the gift of love at a time of year known for it’s miracles. Ethan and Ty were an adorable pairing and there was a really nice twist to this one that wasn’t totally unpredictable but still added a nice touch to the story that I enjoyed. This ones sweet with some steam and just a hint of sexy times but it definitely left a warm spot in my heart.

 

The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament

Clare London

~3.5 Shining Holiday Stars~

Frankie Faraday’s got a crush on his boss, Bill Mason, but it’s going nowhere because they’re total opposites or, so it seems until Frankie and Bill find themselves trapped in the seasonal stockroom with nothing but candy, peppermint schnapps and time.

 

Frankie and Bill find that they have more in common than either of them ever realized as they get to know each other and discover that the solutions to their problems lies inside of themselves and each other.

 

Frankie and Bill’s time in the stockroom was cute, funny and held some steamy times. My one little niggle was the jump from Frankie and Bill in the stockroom to after they were rescued was a little abrupt for me and I really would have loved a bit more detail to transition them into being a couple. Otherwise this one was a fun, sweet, angst free holiday story. 

 

Pining for Perfect

Ki Brightly

~5 Hopeful Holiday Stars~ 

Stokely is solid and dependable, he’s got a respectable job and leads a quite life…he tries to always do the right thing but he really hates Christmas…well most of it…everything except listening to Asher Banks a the radio. He loves Asher’s optimism.

 

Asher’s the total opposite and he loves Christmas and schedules himself to the max with holiday fundraising and community events. It’s at one of Asher’s events that he and Stokely meet and make a connection.

 

I loved Asher and Stokely and their interactions were so sweet as they got to know each other. ‘Pining for Perfect’ was a warm, sweet story about two men finally being given the best gift of all…the gift of love. The holiday are a really lonely time of year for many and ‘Pining for Perfect’ holds a sense of that loneliness but it’s also tempered with the warmth and hope of the season as well.

 

Poison Marked

TJ Nichols

~4 Joyous Holiday Stars~

Nikko is the court poison master and his loyalties are to his king but it’s the king’s nephew, Lord Rodas who holds his heart. It’s the Solstice Festival a time of celebrations when the king orders Nikko to poison Lord Rodas destroying all he holds dear and placing the fate of a kingdom in the balance.

 

‘Poison Marked’ was a wonderful historical fantasy about faith, love and being true to who you are. Nikko and Rodas both struggled to follow their heart and their conscience in this one even when it felt like one would be the undoing of the other. I loved the author’s writing style with just over 50 pages the author has written a story that is fully fleshed out and totally enchanted me.

 

The Probability of Mistletoe 

J. Russell

~4 Happy Holiday Stars~

It’s been 10 years since Keith Trainor last saw his best friend Parker Mulvaney and now that he’s ready to start his software company there’s only one person that he wants for his partner both in his personal and his professional life…but how to make amends for a failed attempt at kissing Parker under the mistletoe at winter formal senior year.

 

Parker should have known that scheduling a high school reunion two days before Christmas was a bad idea but one text from Keith has everything looking better for Parker.

 

Nothing says ‘tis the season like a good friends to lovers, second chance, feel good story with two sexy nerds under the mistletoe at Christmas time.  I loved that the author gave enough background to give a sense of a connection from the past between these two as friends, without sacrificing the events of the story that was happening in the present.

 

The Puzzle Box

CC Bridges

~4.5 'Tis the Season Stars~

Cole Peters and James Carducci are childhood sweethearts they’ve been together for years but Cole’s facing a lonely Christmas this year James is deployed. What he’s not expecting is the puzzle box that James sends him as the beginning of a scavenger hunt that could end with a gift to exceed Cole’s fondest wish.

 

‘The Puzzle Box’ is a story about a gift that is truly from the heart. James takes Cole on a journey down memory lane as he leads him on a scavenger hunt that ends on Christmas eve when Cole receives his final gift.  C.C. Bridges has created a story that’s filled with love in spite of the fact that for most of the story the MCs aren’t even in the same country, not an easy task to accomplish in less than 30 pages but definitely well done.

 

I was really lucky in that I enjoyed all of my holiday reads from Dreamspinners 2017 Advent Calendar. While there’s definitely more steam than sex in these stories, they still all had me sighing with happiness and contentment.

 

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

An ARC of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar stories was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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