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review 2018-01-13 03:03
ARC Review: Worth His Salt by Ofelia Gränd
Worth His Salt (Tattooed Corpse Stories) - Ofelia Gränd

Quirky is the word I'd use to describe this book. Quirky, with a large dose of paranormal and magic, and such an adorably odd character in Eldred. 

I didn't read the first book in this series, but I had no issues following the plot, so I would definitely classify this as perfectly doable as a standalone.

Eldred Henstare is a not so powerful witch responsible to help the lingering spirits in his city move into the light. His twin brother is his anchor, as we find out. Eldred is also a shameless flirt, something that he does without even really thinking about, and a bit of a smartass, but in a good way. The latest spirit is calling him to the old lighthouse where he meets Mo Vin.

Mo sees the younger man and has no idea what's happening. Befuddled but intrigued by Eldred, he kind of just follows along, pulls the wet and bedraggled man from the shore into his small cottage, and offers him the couch for the night.

Then things get weird for Mo, because he sees stuff that doesn't seem to be real, but maybe is. Or maybe it isn't. Mo still has no idea what's happening, but Eldred says what must be done, so Mo just kind of stumbles along. Eldred's shameless flirting certainly helps. 

As I said, this is a quirky story with magic and salt circles, and I had fun reading this. Not my usual fare, but certainly something I might want more of. It had witty dialogue, fun characters, and a nice paranormal plot. My only complaint is that this wasn't long enough to let me see what happens after Mo becomes Eldred's anchor and how that will play out going forward. 


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

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review 2018-01-09 02:53
Book Review: A Very Wilde Christmas by Sam Burns
A Very Wilde Christmas (Wilde Love) - Sam Burns

This book cannot be read as a standalone. If you haven't read the 4 books in this series, this will spoil things for you, so don't do that.

4 short stories comprise this Christmas book, and we get to visit with all 4 couples. 

 

Possible spoilers below...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-01-05 01:34
ARC Review: Prelude To Love by Anne Barwell
Prelude to Love (Dreamspun Desires Book 49) - Anne Barwell

This was a sweet hurt/comfort romance set in Wellington, New Zealand. Joel is a music teacher at a local school and is still not quite over his ex-boyfriend, and Marcus is a landscaper who is moving to Wellington after a break-up. Marcus' sister is married to Joel's college roommate and best friend. 

Neither is looking for a relationship, but with family/friends in common, they meet early on. There's interest on both sides, and as the book progresses, we see a sweet romance develop. 

The book has little relationship angst, other than both men being concerned about possible consequences with their shared family/friends if things don't work out. Marcus' ex shows up too to wreak havoc but doesn't get very far. Both men had some hang-ups they needed to work on, but once they made the decision to try, it worked out quite nicely.

I liked both characters, though I connected a bit more with Joel, as Marcus felt detached on occasion, and they were both drawn realistically and felt relatable. The supporting cast in Marcus' sister, Joel's best friend, and their daughter was also well done, and they played a huge role in getting Joel and Marcus to push past their fears and give their budding relationship a real shot. The pushy woman who tries to win Joel for herself (lol, he's gay) was a bit annoying on occasion, and I wasn't quite clear on her purpose, to be honest. I don't think she brought anything to the table, and I wouldn't have missed her, had she been removed from the book.

This is a feel-good book, one you'd read on a cold winter's day, curled up with a hot beverage, in your favorite chair. I enjoyed reading it, and I think you will too. Give it a try.


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

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review 2017-12-22 02:32
ARC Review: Sometimes The Best Presents Can't Be Wrapped by B.G. Thomas
Sometimes the Best Presents Can’t Be Wrapped - B.G. Thomas

This story is a rather different take on A Christmas Carol. It's adorable, really, and I had a fabulous time reading it. The author, one of my favorites, also deviated from his usual style in this story - which I also quite enjoyed.

Ned Balding is a bit of a Scrooge. After his father died, he's been running the family's company, which allows no time for anything else. Stressed, overworked, Ned no longer resembles the decent guy he used to be. In fact, he's gone as far as considering firing a long-time employee right before Christmas, because the poor guy took a couple of days off after losing his dog. Listen, Ned - dogs are members of the family, and people naturally grieve, and your piss-poor attitude made me mad. Especially since the man in question, Jake Carrara, is still grieving the death of his mother, and the loss of his boyfriend - all in the same year. So Ned needed to cut Jake some slack. 

Thankfully, Ned is prevented from firing Jake when a friend and co-worker steps in and halts Ned's tirade. 

On the way home, still raging mad, Ned attempts to kick a dog, which is witnessed by a Salvation Army Santa - who issues a stern warning, and tells Ned that enough is enough.

Come morning, Ned wakes up in his apartment, but the world looks very different than it did the night before. For one, Ned seems to be closer to the floor. And covered in fur. Colors aren't the same either. 

I really liked how well the author must have done his research to let us experience life as a dog. Some of it was fascinating, like the colors dogs apparently see, and some of it was hilarious, like lifting a leg to tinkle. I giggled quite a bit, watching Ned figure out how to be a dog.

Long story short, Ned is shocked, howls and barks, and ends up at the pound - well, almost. He's super lucky that the guy from the pound knows HD (he from Hounddog and Bean), so Ned, fortuitously, is put into foster care, being taken care of by none other than the guy he almost fired - Jake.

As Ned spends his days in Jake's apartment, and his nights sleeping on the bed with Jake, he starts to realize what an utter ass he's been, not only to the people he works with, but also to his remaining family. And he realizes that he has to make some drastic changes - if only he was able to figure out how to turn back into a human. On top of that, he sees Jake in a wholly new light, and can't for the life of him figure out why he would have been such a jackass to the man. 

And then Ned has to make a choice, one that could cost him dearly - but he does what he does out of love, and by then he realizes that love is worth anything and everything.

Due to the plot here, we actually don't really see the romance fully developing, as Ned spends most of the book as a dog, and Jake obviously doesn't realize that the dog he's fostering is in reality his boss, but we do get a very happy ending, and a lovely epilogue that takes place a year later and showcases the changes Ned has made. 

I thought it utterly adorable, with a good sprinkle of Christmas magic, humorous moments, and a massive act of selflessness that really shows the reader how much Ned has grown from the start of the book.


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

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review 2017-12-16 00:44
Release Day ARC Review: Getting His Man by B.G. Thomas
Getting His Man (Dreamspun Desires Book 48) - B.G. Thomas

A delightful, fluffy tale of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong friends and being rescued by a knight in shining armor... er, I mean a bail bondsman/bounty hunter. 

Artie, one of our MCs, is 23, but everyone thinks he's much younger due to his small build and baby face. He's not had much luck finding a guy who wants more than a quick trick in a bar, where Artie is regularly carded, because baby face. Artie yearns for someone to call his, but the cards aren't in his favor.

He lives with Willie, a sort of but not really friend, who smokes a lot of pot and dabbles a bit with dealing on the side. Artie isn't happy with the weed that's in the apartment, and he's been saving up his meager earnings to get a place of his own.

Upon his return from a concert he attends with his real friend Ross, he finds Willie and cohort and a large amount of pot and the music blaring. Scared because of the drugs and pissed off with the ungodly noise, Artie does take one of the offered brownies, not realizing that they are baked. And I mean, BAKED. Which Artie is also, shortly after. Falling into bed stoned is one thing, being woken up by the police is quite another, especially when Artie is being charged with possession and dealing of an illegal substance and find himself in need of bail. 

Whoopsie.

Enter August, our knight, who's a bail bondsman and bounty hunter and manages to get Artie out of jail on bond, at the cost of basically every single penny Artie's been saving to get out of the shared apartment. As long as Artie doesn't skip town, August is sure that he can get Artie out of trouble with the Po-Po. And the slim, small man, still half-stoned, just tugs on his heartstrings and appeals to his inner hero.

If you love the old Hollywood movies themes in which a damsel in distress (Artie) is rescued by a super smart and super handsome hero (August), with tons of movie references, this is the book for you. Artie is delightfully clueless and helpless, and August dreams of being the man to be Artie's hero. 

Written in the author's usual emotionally charged and somewhat breathless style, this is a must read for all fans of BG Thomas. It's of course, as most books in this series, somewhat unrealistic, but I loved the tropes utilized here, and the expected happily ever after was definitely satisfying. 

Artie, despite being idealistic and slightly TSTL, does have a good heart, and it is because of his feelings and fear for August that he gets himself into additional trouble from which he then has to be rescued. But fear not, August is the quintessential hero and saves the day. 

Due to the limitations put upon authors in this series, there are limited explicitly intimate scenes, but what there was is well done and really brought their connection across. I was rooting for them both to ride off into the sunset together. 

A delightful tale that's well worth your time. 


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

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