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review 2017-08-16 02:06
Release Day ARC Review: Out Of The Shadows by KC Wells
Out of the Shadows (Dreamspun Desires Book 40) - K.C. Wells

I adored this so much! What a sweet romance between one hunky gardener/handyman and one damaged, hiding young man who thinks an accident 8 years ago that left him severely scarred turned him into a monster not fit for society. 

Josh is a gardener/handyman for an apartment complex and has been tasked with modernizing some of the apartments by upgrading the kitchens and bathrooms. The first apartment is the home of a mysterious resident, whom nobody has apparently ever seen. Josh is a really nice guy, easy-going and kind, and he has no preconceived notions about the man who lives in the apartment. Josh feels he's there to do a job, and he plans on doing a good one. He also has a nice group of friends, including two (Nate and Dylan) who may be given the "oblivious men of the year" award. I sure hope the author has a book planned for them as well. 

Christian made a horrific mistake 8 years ago while helping a stranded motorist to jump-start his car and hooked up the wrong side first, resulting in severe acid burns to his face, arms and chest. He moved to Boston to start a new life - if you can call it a life - and cut himself off from friends, family, and everyone. He orders what he needs online, groceries are delivered to his front door, and he only rarely goes outside, and when he does, it's at night, cloaked in darkness. He's afraid of people's reactions to his scars and would rather be alone than see them pity him or recoil from him.

Unbeknownst to Josh, Christian has been watching him work in the flower beds and such, admiring and lusting after him. Of course, Christian has no illusions of getting any closer to Josh than through the window, but ogling is enough. Or so he tells himself.

On the first day of the renovation job, Josh believes that Christian isn't home, but the truth comes out, and Christian has a difficult time believing that Josh's reaction to the scars (and the monster he sees in the mirror) is so calm and accepting.

A mutual love for Harry Potter brings them closer, they share lunch every day while Josh is working on the apartment, and even after he's done and has moved on to the next place, and it was so lovely to watch Christian begin to trust Josh, who starts to draw the slightly older man out of his shell. Shared lunches turn into watching a movie at the theater (late at night, of course), and meeting Josh's friends.

Christian blossoms under Josh's unfailing support, and their mutual attraction fairly quickly turns into real emotions and a desire to be together. Josh helps Christian realize that what he sees in the mirror is not a monster after all, and that while some people may react in a way Christian expects them to (recoiling in horror), the majority of folks do not. 

I would have liked Christian to consider therapy to deal with his self-hatred, because Josh is not a therapist, and while he provided steady support, love, and understanding, I wasn't sure that Christian's rather rapid progression to being comfortable in public spaces (after hiding for so long) was completely realistic. However, considering that this is a Dreamspun Desires title, this did not influence my rating or enjoyment of this book.

The author did a great job with the characters, and their romance was believable within the parameters of this series. Their story is, while definitely on the fluffy side, super romantic and hopeful, and their HEA was well deserved. A quiet, low-key romance, very little angst, and so very sweet - I had a fabulous time reading it.

And I'm serious about Nate and Dylan needing their own book. Please get right on that, Ms. Wells.


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

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review 2017-08-11 06:04
Hiding
Out of the Shadows (Dreamspun Desires) - K.C. Wells

Christian lives his life in hiding.  He watches, works, and basically hides from the world.  The same world that dealt him a cruel blow of fate.  He is interested for the first time in someone.  Does not even know his name.

 

Josh usually works in the gardens on the property.  While the renovations are going on he will be working inside the units.  He meets Christian and it is almost game over from the start.  The attraction is immediate.  The voice, the humor, the mystery.... it just all makes for a hot package.

 

This story is a very realistic & sweet account of how it is possible to look past the obvious and find someone attractive.  I think we learn a lot from these characters.  I found myself unable to put the book down.  I hope we get to learn more about the other characters inside this great book.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only. 

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review 2017-08-02 01:20
Release Day ARC Review: The Teddy Bear Club by Sean Michael
The Teddy Bear Club (Dreamspun Desires Book 39) - Sean Michael

The blurb sounded fun, and the general idea of this book was great, but the execution left me wanting. I expected more than talk about diapers, and burping, and bottles, and just kids in general from a book being billed as a romance.

Aiden has adopted his sister's two children, since his sister struggles with mental health issues and cannot take care of them. He works from home, mostly at night, and his adult interactions are pretty much limited to his twice-weekly trip to the local coffee shop where he meets with friends.

Devon is taking care of his much younger sister's newborn baby after she left town. He is completely over his head taking take of a baby, even three months in, and he hasn't started any legal proceedings either. Invited to join Aiden and the others at the coffee place, he's glad for some adult company too.

Most of this book is told in dialogue. Most of this dialogue is trite, bland, and non-engaging, and while a romance develops between Aiden and Devon, amidst taking care of the children, there just didn't seem to be any kind of believable spark. 

For a romance to work for me, there has to be more relationship development, and more to the relationship than just the commonality of taking care of kids. The kids just took over this book, and I was often rather bored while reading about their feeding times, their bedtimes, and their baths. While the romance itself was fine (what there was of one), the constant talking about the children was a major turnoff. 

There's some drama with Devon's mother who wants to take the baby from him, but that's also easily resolved, and her role in this book was slightly OTT, as was Devon's reactions to her threats. 

So yeah... this didn't do it for me. 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 2017-07-16 02:58
Release Day ARC Review: All In (Wild Cards #3) by Ava Drake
All In (Dreamspun Desires Book 38) - Ava Drake

On his way back to NYC to attend the meet-sees hoping for a job or three, Zane Stryker, fashion model, nearly 30, is detained at the airport because his suitcase was flagged for possible contraband. Inside the interrogation room, Zane meets Sebastian Gigoni, formerly British Special Forces, who asks that he opens the suitcase.

Inside are two metal tablets and a suit - none of which belong to Zane. 

From there, the story takes off as Sebastian and Zane try to work together, though their goals may be at odds, in foiling the plan of the international crime syndicate from the previous installment of this loosely connected series, with a little help from one of Zane's friends, Sebastian's brains, Zane's ability to think on his feet, and the super-sekrit British organization for which Sebastian now works. All while falling in love, because this is a romance, after all. 

The reader needs to suspend disbelief for most of the novel - realistic, this is not. However, it's definitely a fun ride, in and out of the bedroom. There's intrigue, mystery, an inside look at a fashion shoot, bad mob-like dudes with guns, good dudes with guns, a couple of major crime bosses, and a super hawt romance as well.

The attraction between Zane and Sebastian burns brightly from the start, and this book is probably one of the raunchier titles in the Dreamspun Desires series. I'm not complaining, hahaha. The sexy times were hawt! 

Seriously, I had a blast reading this, and I think you will too. This can be read as a standalone, no problem, but I think to get the full impact, you'll want to read the first two books as well. The writing is crisp and well-suited to the story, and there wasn't a dull moment to be found within. 

Nicely done! 


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

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review 2017-06-30 05:00
Release Day ARC Review: Manny Get Your Guy by Amy Lane
Manny Get Your Guy (Dreamspun Desires Book 37) - Amy Lane

This book is a sequel of sorts to The Virgin Manny, set about 10 years after the first book. If you've read the first book, you'll remember Nica, Tino's sister, and her now-husband Jacob/baby-daddy, who can't seem to stop procreating, as kid number five is on the way. And Nica needs help.

Thankfully, her best friend Taylor (he who was sort of dating Nica while hitting on Tino in book 1 while Tino was falling for Channing) is back in town, and 10 years is enough time to forgive and forget, right? Nica needs help with the kids, Taylor needs a job - voila, a new manny.

Except Brandon, Jacob's cousin, old enough at the time to remember Taylor being a douche, didn't get the "forgive and forget" memo, so he has some initial doubts about Taylor's good-guy persona and makes his concerns known. In his face. Multiple times

For some reason though, Brandon changes his mind quickly about Taylor and it's on like Donkey Kong. 

I quite liked both Taylor (29 here) and Brandon (22) because they actually really seemed to care about each other. Yeah, the love is pretty insta, but this is a Dreamspun Desires title so I kind of expect that. They did both step up to the plate though, providing each other what they needed, and Brandon, though younger, is certainly all in from the moment he gets his head out of his ass. Taylor is a bit more reluctant to jump in with both feet, and has some doubts that he's right for Brandon. Persistence pays off nonetheless, and eventually Taylor jumps too.

There's some cute banter too, and a lot of family time is woven into the plot as well, so much so that the romance almost took a backseat. The steam is within the limits set for this series, though I'm only mentioning this for those readers that like a lot of sexy times in their books - this isn't one of those. I myself don't care either way, as long as the relationship makes sense, and I don't miss the steam if it's not present. 

I would have liked there to be more interactions with the actual kids, considering Taylor is the manny, but with the exception of a few moments, it was mostly adults on page. 

This is billed as a standalone, but I wouldn't recommend reading this book on its own without having read the first one. Most of the characters in this book were established in the first one, and I think it's important for the reader to know the relationships since they're not explained in this book. 

Manny Get Your Guy is pure sugary-sweet fluff, and as such a perfect addition to this mostly fluffy series. I had a great time reading this.


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

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