Category Archives: 3.5 Stars

TWO 4 Star and ONE 3.5 Star Review for Staying the Distance by Franci McMahon #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: Staying the Distance
Author Name & Publisher: Franci McMahon (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: May 17, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Rachel Duncan, a Montana rancher, has led a self-sufficient life and kept her complications of the heart to a minimum. She is as tough as her horses and believes nothing can stop her from winning the one-hundred-mile in one day horse race, the Tevis Cup. She has a horse who can do the job, the Arabian mare, Kestrel. The element of the team she isn’t so sure of is her new veterinarian, Dr. Margaret Carson. Margaret proves herself to the reluctant Rachel, broadening her vistas to discover a tender side, one capable of loving and being loved.

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Review

FourStars

This was an enjoyable read. The two main characters were both likable. An original setting for a gentle love story.
I liked the way Rachel slowly found herself and who she was through experiencing and learning from those around her and the trials and tribulations she had to face while competing in the long distance race.
I also learned a some interesting facts about horse breeds and some fascinating information on Indian culture.
I did feel that the story line did at times fluctuate between being a love story and at times a history lesson and an equine handbook. On some occasions I also felt there was lack of dialogue between the two women and that some of the lesser characters, like the reporter could have added more to excitement and dynamics to the plot. Personally I would have enjoyed hearing more about the women’s growing relationship what was happening between them.
But it was a good read and Ms McMahon is obviously a proficient writer.
Chris
ThreeandHalfStars
Rachel and Margaret were interesting ladies to get to know. The story pulled me in immediately and I was intrigued by Rachel. I enjoyed watching the budding romance. And I especially like the addition of Kate; she was a great supporting character.

However I lost interest in the larger story in the middle of all of the details. It was great to have the landscape and the locations described in such great detail. I loved that the author was so knowledgeable about horses; as someone that knows a great deal about horses, I hate when an author doesn’t do their homework. McMahon’s descriptions and knowledge of horses is to be commended. My issue was the large and flowery descriptions that weren’t needed in many areas of the book. It caused a lag in the flow of the book and pulled my attention from the overall story because I expected something more from the more flowery parts of the book.

All-in-all I enjoyed the book and loved meeting all the ladies that helped Rachel through the Trevis Cup.

Tori
FourStars

I wasn’t sure I liked this book at first. Things seemed to move fairly easily for the two mains, Rachel and Margaret. They’re drawn to each other from the start, even though Margaret is trying to protect her heart, and Rachel doesn’t even realize she’s gay.  Despite both of these things, the two move inexorably closer to each other. After an initial struggle, Rachel seems to accept her own homosexuality and attraction to Margaret. Margaret doesn’t even struggle; she seems to feel that Rachel is special and any relationship with her would be deep and inevitable. They get together so early in the story that I was left wondering what could possibly happen next. Then the big event, the Tevis Cup, begins. Here is where the story seems to come alive, not just because of the obstacles and dangers in the competition itself, but also because we finally see just what it is that Rachel really has to accept in order to become a partner to Margaret. It has to do with her father and what his words created in Rachel. Margaret sees it before Rachel does, on one of the holds during the race. And Rachel’s struggle to not only see what Margaret does, but also overcome it, is what this story is really about. The physical struggle of the race is a subplot, but it cements everybody’s feelings about each other and what they’re doing, and at the end is a small group of powerful women who have bonded together. I absolutely love the last half of the book. Definitely a good read.

AmyP

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, 4 Star, Amy P, Chris, F/F, New Release, Review, Tori

3.5 Stars for Last Mechanic Standing (Wrench Wars #1) by L. A. Witt #MM #Romance @Dreamspinners

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Title: Last Mechanic Standing (Wrench Wars #1)
Author Name & Publisher: L. A. Witt (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 6, 2016 – 80 Pages

Synopsis

Everyone at Jim Irving’s garage is gung ho about Wrench Wars, a new reality show featuring mechanics. Everyone, that is, except talented mechanic Chandler Scott, the sole employee who has refused to sign the contract. The rest of the mechanics are pressuring him too, because without Chandler—and his volatile interactions with his boss—no one’s getting on the show.

Chandler’s one ally is Jim’s son, Mark, who’s being forced to work for his dad until he pays down his student loans or finds a better job—and who’s been Chandler’s secret lover for a while.

Then a playful tryst in the garage blows up in their faces, giving the network ammo to blackmail Chandler by threatening to out Mark to his father. Now Chandler is backed into a corner, and Mark needs to decide how far he’s willing to go to protect the man who’s been sharing his bed… and may have stolen his heart.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was a very quick read.  I didn’t really enjoy it due to its predictability.  Before you arrived at the conflict, you knew what was coming.

While this story was a good story, it lacked depth and complexity.  You knew right away that the owner of the garage was mean and a bigot, you knew that Chandler and Mark would live together.

I think that this would have been a much stronger story had you begun with the end of this one and continued on in their lives – what happens next?

The characters could develop more in their new lives and you would have seen more of what is happening now.

AvidReader

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TWO 3.5 Stars for I Like It Hard by Francis James Franklin #Bisexual #Aro @LT3Press

CoverTitle: I Like It Hard
Author Name & Publisher: Francis James Franklin (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 8, 2016 – 52 pgs

Synopsis

After her brother Dan loses in the final of the XXX-rated Reality TV show I Like It Hard, Helen Arnold finds new purpose in life: enter the show herself—and win.

But no amount of training, or advice from Dan and his lovers, can fully prepare her for naked interviews, two weeks in a porn-studio villa, and weeks of nerve-wracking live sex show—all while dealing with the capricious nature of the judges, who wield absolute power over the show and its contestants.

Being both bisexual and aromantic, Helen is used to dealing with people who don’t like or approve of her—and she’s never been the type to back down when life gets hard.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was an interesting concept, not only the show format, but the personality of our protagonist, Helen. It’s made very clear how different she is, not only because she’s bisexual, but also because she’s aromantic. Both are things that are very difficult for “normal” people to understand, and because most people don’t, or won’t, even try, Helen becomes very lonely. I think she enters the “I Like It Hard” contest as a way to validate herself. She’s totally focused on winning the contest, not so much on what happens after. I think her speech at the end is what gives her the validation she was looking for. The problem I had was that all the detail about the show and the sex she had to have was in the first part of the story, the part about her two week training period before she even got to the live show portion of the contest. After we move to the show, it seems like everything is rushed, as far as the narration goes. We don’t really get much of an idea about the live shows Helen does, or the training that goes into them. Also the final, where we find out who wins feels almost anti-climactic. I would have liked a more developed ending. Overall, the story was interesting, and I liked Franklin’s style of writing.

Amy P.

ThreeandHalfStars

I have to say that there were some really good parts to this story and some that left me wanting. The fact that the main character is aromatic is fun and different from so many books. However, I felt like the show aspects were rushed and not fully developed.
We get brief glimpses into relationships that are developing with the main character, but never get enough to really connect. The show is rushed and all the different situations that Helen is put into are brief except for one or two of them. I think if we would’ve gotten a more in depth description of the live shows and the voting process it would’ve really made the story feel more complete.
The training Helen does before the show also seemed like an after thought. It was all briefly mentioned except the one scene where she does elaborate on what the training was like when there was two cameras on her while she was doing a scene. I think if the reader had been given more on this it would’ve helped them connect more with just how much she’d done to prepare for her time on the show.
I will say that the idea behind it was interesting and I think it could be developed into a series with different contestants and more development on the judges and the show and all that happens with the winners after the show. At a minimum, it was a interesting, quick little read though.
I enjoyed it but felt like I never fully connected to anyone in the story so that really took away from it in my mind.
Renee

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5 Star and 3.5 Star Reviews for Animal Passions (Lionhearts #6) by Elizabeth Coldwell #MM #Shapeshifter @PridePublishing

CoverTitle: Animal Passions (Lionhearts #6)
Author Name & Publisher: Elizabeth Coldwell (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: July 5, 2016 – 152 pgs

Synopsis

He’s destined to meet his mate on a killer vacation.

Horror author Mason Wells is having a midlife crisis. He’s burned out as a writer and he keeps falling for guys who are way too young for him. So when his agent, Nora, arranges a birthday getaway for him and a few close friends in the Spanish Sierra Nevada, it seems like just the break he needs – until Nora is found drowned in the hotel swimming pool. It seems like someone has a hit list of victims, and Mason’s on it. Can the hotel’s gorgeous owner, Xavi, step in and keep Mason safe?

Lion shifter Xavi Bianco loves the peace and solitude of his boutique hotel in the mountains. It’s a shame the place still holds the memory of his ex, Ramón. When the group of brash Americans arrive for a vacation, he doesn’t expect to find himself falling for one of them. But everything tells him Mason Wells is his destined mate, bizarre as it may be, and when Mason’s friends fall victim to a series of horrific attacks, Xavi knows he must do everything to protect Mason, even if it means risking his own life…

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and peril.

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Review

FiveStars

This was a really good read. It had a shifter, it had murder, and it had passion.

Mason is a shifter mystery writer. So when he comes face to face to a real shifter and finds out that they are mates he is not to thrown for a loop.

What does throw everyone is the mysterious murders and attempted murders that keep happening around them.

The real mystery of this book is who is behind the murders?

I enjoyed reading this book and reading about Mason and Xavi coming together and finding each other. I also enjoyed reading about the murders and waiting impatiently to find out who was behind it and who was next on the list. I also enjoyed the intrigue of not knowing till Elizabeth Coldwell decided to let it be known who was behind everything and the reason behind it.

This was a good story with an amazing love story. Cannot wait till the next book comes out.

Tosha

ThreeandHalfStars

This is the first book of this series that I have had the pleasure of reading.  While I can’t say that I am hooked on the series, this story was complete and I never felt lost as to who characters were or how they were connected.

The mystery aspect of this story was, for me, very predictable. I was able to guess the perpetrator right away, which took some of the luster away from the story for me.

I thought that the secondary characters were less than stellar – the only one that I liked was Nora.  I thought that the other characters were a little flat and did not add anything to the story.

Then you have the main two characters, Xavi and Mason.  While I liked their dialogue, I didn’t really feel a great connection between them.  It was kind of forced and did not have a very smooth flow.

Overall, this was an OK story with an OK mystery attached.  The romance aspect was not fantastic, but more of a YA romance.

AvidReader

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4 Star, 3.5 Star and 3 Star Reviews for The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom by Kate McMurray #MM #Romance @Dreamspinners

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Title: The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom
Author Name & Publisher: Kate McMurray (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 15, 2016 – 218 Pages

Synopsis

Marriage gets less convenient when love is involved.

It started simple: Ondrej Kovac marries Archie Katsaros so Ondrej can stay in the US, away from his judgmental family in eastern Europe. Archie marries Ondrej in exchange for the money to bail out his failing company. It’s a fraud neither man is convinced he can pull off.

But as Archie introduces Ondrej to New York society and Ondrej proves his skill in the office, they start to discover a connection between them. Can they overcome the rocky foundation their relationship was built on, meddling immigration agents, gossip columnists determined to out their deception, and an aggressive executive set on selling Archie’s company out from under him? Only if they can prove to each other their love is worth fighting for.

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Review

ThreeStar

So, I totally love harlequin romances. I may not read as much as used to since venturing off to MMs,but I have fond memories of those books. I was excited when Dreamspinner Press decided to make Dreamspun Desires, basically harlequin romances for MM.
The title for this book is pretty fun and totally harlequin-like. I was excited to read it…but sadly didn’t live up to my imagination. I didn’t feel much connection between the two MCs and i expected to have more Greek stuff mentioned. The ending was good, but somewhere the book had lost my interest. Huh, maybe it’s just me wanting more. I expected too much. Maybe. Well, it had most of the harlequin-like elements in the book so 3 stars.
Cookie
ThreeandHalfStars
So, normally, I really enjoy McMurray books.  This one, however, just didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

While it was a semi-sweet story of convenience that turned in to more, I felt that the character development just wasn’t what McMurray usually gives her readers.

Archie seemed to want to be patient and be a good boss.  He wanted his company to do well, despite having a somewhat uphill battle to do that.  His family dynamic was somewhat overplayed, in my opinion.  He seemed to need someone, Ondrej, to give him a boost of confidence and self-esteem.  And, while Archie does see Ondrej’s skills in the business world, it seemed to me that Archie lacked the real romance part of the story.  There was a quick, maybe, why he was falling, but it was not really the focus.

Then you have Ondrej.  He seemed slightly whiny in the story and even though he is trying to get away from his family, he’s the socially strange, but business savvy worker?  It just didn’t really fit that well.

I did enjoy their friendship blossoming, but there was too much back and forth, mistrust, poor communication and overall lack of cohesiveness for the story to really take shape.  Unfortunately, there was a disconnect between what the book blurb promises and the delivery.  This had so much potential.

AvidReader
FourStars
This was another book from Dreamspinners Dreamspun Desires series and one from a favorite author of mine. This was a really sweet story about Archie and Ondrej and I love Archie but just could not understand or connect Ondrej. There seem to be some contradictions in the plot development and character development. That always makes it hard for me to get into a book when I don’t have those connections to the MC’s. I’d have to say what I enjoyed the most about this book was the friendship that grew between the two men and most of all the ending.  That is one thing that Kate McMurray did not exceptionally well in all her books and this was no different.
Lynn

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5 Star and 3.5 Star Reviews for Salvation (The Protectors #2) by Sloane Kennedy #MM #Romance @sloane_kennedy

Cover
Title
: Salvation (The Protectors #2)
Author Name: Sloane Kennedy
Publication Date & Length: May 11, 2016 –  366 pgs

Synopsis

Trauma surgeon Ronan Grisham lost everything the day the man he loved was stolen from him in a brutal attack. Driven by a thirst for vengeance, he turns his hatred into building an underground group that can do what he couldn’t that fateful day…take the lives of the guilty to save the lives of the innocent. But years later, he’s forced to confront the one link to his past that he can’t sever.

Seven years after the loss of his parents in a violent home invasion that left him permanently scarred both inside and out, 21-year-old Seth Nichols is trying to put his life back together so he can take over the reins of his father’s global shipping empire. But the last person he expects to come back into his life is the man he drove away with one innocent, stolen kiss.

With one brush of his lips, Seth managed to do to Ronan what no other had since the day Ronan watched the light in his fiancé’s eyes go out forever. He made him need again. But Ronan can’t need anyone, least of all his dead fiancé’s younger brother. Because even one touch from Seth could shatter Ronan’s carefully constructed world and Ronan knows there’s no coming back from that a second time.

But when a series of escalating attacks against Seth forces Ronan back into his life, Seth knows it’s his last chance to show Ronan he can be the man the broken surgeon needs. Only the Ronan who returns isn’t the Ronan Seth fell in love with so long ago…

Can Seth be Ronan’s salvation or will he end up destroying them both?

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Review

FiveStars

You could read this book as a standalone but I highly recommend you read it in order, characters overlap and you will get a better understanding of things.  I loved the first book and this one was just as good.  We met Ronan in the first  book  and  after one of  the characters in  the first book  threw out a question at him at the end of  the book  I  was wanting to  know his  answer to  that question as well. We got that answer in this book. There is are so many feelings in this book, I couldn’t put it down. Seeing things from Ronan’s view of the events that happened in the past and then seeing them through Seth’s eyes, your heart breaks for both of them.  This was an amazing story and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

Angie

ThreeandHalfStars

Whenever I see that Sloane Kennedy has a book coming out, I’m there. Sign me, up, I don’t even have to read the description to want to read it. The covers are always gorgeous and the author is an auto-read for me.
So, in the 2nd book in the Protector’s series, we have Ronan, who we met in book 1. He’s the guy who started the whole business of avenging people that the police just couldn’t or wouldn’t avenge. Of course he has his own tragic back story and we meet Seth. He’s the brother of Ronan’s dead lover. As excited as I was for Ronan’s story, I think I built it too high in my head. I really didn’t get what I was looking for…
Action, undying love and romance. We got romance, but Seth was kinda…bland. And Ronan wasn’t the same mysterious Ronan we got a glimpse of in the 1st book. Then again, like I said, I kind of built him up in this mantle with way too many expectations. I think I just wanted more for him. Seth’s back story was really tragic and I felt for him. I just didn’t want him for Ronan.
I’m still looking forward to book 3 though.
Cookie

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4 Stars and 3.5 Stars for Acceptance (Forbes Mates #3) by Grace R. Duncan #MM #Shifter @Dreamspinners

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Title: Acceptance (Forbes Mates #3)
Author Name & Publisher: Grace R. Duncan (Dreamspinner)
Publication Date & Length: July 8, 2016 – 236 Pages

Synopsis

Dr. Miles Grant acknowledges that his destined mate could be either gender even though his bisexuality cost him his family and his pack. Luckily he found the Forbes Pack, who happily accepts him just as he is. What he never counted on was finding his mate in Pittsburgh or for his mate to be another species entirely—a cat!

Quincy Archer isn’t just any jaguar shifter. He is the heir to the leadership of his pride. Destined mates are nothing but legend to the nearly extinct and generally solitary jaguars, and Quincy certainly never expected to find one for himself, much less a male… or a wolf.

However, finding each other and coming to terms with their species is the least of their worries. Quincy is expected to select a proper female mate, father a cub, and take his place as heir to the pride. Except Quincy refuses, having no interest in women or leadership and knowing he isn’t right for it. But his father will stop at nothing—not even attempting to kill Miles—to get his way. Quincy and Miles must overcome many obstacles to stay together as the destined mates they’re meant to be.

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Review

FourStars

I don’t read many shifter books (only from a few select authors) this is one of those authors. Basically because she makes it feel real, that is important to me and because she makes it enjoyable. I adored Quincy and Miles and it was great to read their story. It was also great to revisit the characters from the previous books. This book had a little more mystery in it and to me that was played out very well. This had a wonderfully thought out plot with characters that I adored. There was also humor in this book and the author was able to pick the points to inject that humor that was perfect. You couldn’t help but laugh when the author talked about Dee, Dumb, and Dumber. Overall, this was a very enjoyable story and can’t wait to see what this author brings us next.

Lynn

ThreeandHalfStars

So first of, I don’t recommend reading this book as a stand alone. There are 2 previous books in the Forbes Mates series and the characters from before will be mentioned a lot. Good thing I’ve been keeping up with the series.
Here we have wolf shifter Dr. Miles Grant and his jaguar mate, Quincy Archer. I liked these two together. They were sweet, accepting and they gave each other strength.  I liked the bond they formed with the previous couples of the series. However, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the second book. The romance in this book was there, but it was overpowered by politics and mystery which got annoying. I like mystery and all, but I want more romance. I just walked into this book expecting that. I got it, but not enough. The epilogue was cute, but not needed. Maybe not too far in the future unless this is the end of the series.
All in all, I’d still read a book 4.
Cookie

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Excerpt

Miles pulled the privacy curtain now, pushed the door all the way closed, and prayed no one came in as he approached the side of Quincy’s bed. Deep bruises marred his skin, making Miles’s blood boil. How could someone do this to their own child? He didn’t care who had actually carried it out. The order had been given—and he had no doubt who’d given it—and that was enough to make Miles want to punch something. He simply couldn’t understand it, and it was certainly not endearing him to his mate’s species.

He put a hand gently on Quincy’s shoulder, leaned in, and called to him softly.

After only two tries, Quincy opened his eyes. He blinked up at Miles, looking adorably confused for a moment. “What—? Where am I?” He blinked once more, then said, “Aww shit.” He went to move, but Miles kept a hand on him.

“Listen, we don’t have a lot of time. I’m in here now, so we won’t likely be disturbed for a few minutes, but I don’t know how long that’ll last for sure. Do you think you can shift?”

Quincy looked pensive for a moment, and Miles suspected he was checking with his cat. Quincy nodded. “Yeah, I think so. Why? And… is it safe here?”

Miles nodded. “If you can do it quickly. I think you’ve got some internal bleeding to go with the ribs, the gashes, and the legs. I can take you into surgery, but—”

Quincy made a face. “Yeah, no.” He frowned down at his legs. “What about those?”

Miles nodded. “It’s going to hurt, but I can take them off.”

Quincy considered it, then shook his head. “No, I don’t think my back paws will break them.” He took a breath and reached for the tie at the back of his neck. Miles hurried to help him, untying and peeling the gown down, then stepped back. Quincy looked up at him. “On the bed?”

“Unless you want to put weight on those broken legs.”

With a grimace Quincy nodded. “Right.” He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and in only a few seconds, Miles was looking at a beautiful solid black jaguar.

Miles stepped up and tilted his head. “May I touch you?”

Quincy dipped his head in something of a nod, and Miles gave a few short strokes of the fur at Quincy’s neck. Miles somehow hadn’t expected it to be so soft, but it was. Quincy’s tail twitched, and he blinked a few times, then raised his head. Miles took it as the indication that Quincy wanted to shift, so he stepped back and nodded. A moment later he was looking at the once-more-human- shaped Quincy.

“Welcome back. How do you feel?”

“Aside from exhausted, better. I need food, though.”

Miles nodded. “I don’t doubt it. Listen, are they going to come after you here if I keep you?”

“Keep me?”

Miles didn’t answer, just waited.

Quincy sighed and shook his head. “No. They’ve left their message for now.”

Miles raised an eyebrow. “Message?”

“I’ll tell you later. Suffice it to say, they won’t bother me for a while, at least.”

“Okay. Let me admit you—it’s going to look really weird if I don’t for a couple of days, anyway—and we’ll get you meat and rest.”

Quincy frowned again but nodded. “Yeah. That’s probably best. Gods, I’m exhausted.” He yawned.

“Lie back. Let me resettle the leg braces and see about that room.”

Quincy more flopped than lay back into place, wincing as he did. “Ouch. Note to self: takes more than a couple of shifts to heal broken ribs.”

Miles chuckled. “I’ll remember that.” He helped Quincy get resettled and readjusted the braces over both legs. It looked like the bones were a lot better, but the gashes were still open enough that the stitches didn’t look out of place yet. Miles covered them with the sheet, helped Quincy with the gown, then looked back up at his mate’s face. “I’m really glad to see you.”

Seeing Quincy blush—someone normally so serious and aloof—made Miles grin. Quincy narrowed his eyes, but the effect was wasted by a slight smile. “Yeah, well… so not how I planned to see you again.”

Miles grinned wider. “There are definitely better ways to meet up.” He chuckled when the red on Quincy’s cheeks darkened. “Let me check on your bed. Try to rest.” He leaned in and kissed Quincy’s forehead, smiling to himself at the stunned expression. “Back soon.”

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3.5 Star Review for Dinner for One by Meg Harding #MM #Romance @Cumberstone61

CoverTitle: Dinner for One
Author Name & Publisher: Meg Harding (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 13, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.

James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This is only the second book I’ve read by this author, the first was a short Christmas story, which I really enjoyed. In this book the relationship just felt forced and I had a really hard time getting into the book. I liked James, but for some reason Bastien I just could not connect too. I think this might be due in part to the author’s writing style. It’s written in third person yet it felt cluttered. That makes me really disappointed as I love reading books dealing with Chef’s. I enjoyed the sex scenes they were really HOT!! I also enjoyed reading about the little games James and Bastien played it was great to read a little humor in the story. Overall it was a plot I’ve read before so I think I wait to see if this author comes up with something I’ve not read before.

Lynn

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3.5 Stars for Actual Stop (Agent O’Connor #1) by Kara A. McLeod #FF #Mystery

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Title: Actual Stop (Agent O’Connor #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Kara A. McLeod (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: June 14, 2016 – 312 Pages

Synopsis

Special Agent Ryan O’Connor’s life is exactly on track—she’s with a wonderful woman, and she’s doing something she loves. Sure, her boss can’t stand her, but she figures if that’s her biggest problem, she’s pretty damn lucky. She should have known it was too good to last and that when fate finally slapped her, it would do so hard enough to leave a mark.

When Ryan’s ex-girlfriend, Special Agent Allison Reynolds, suddenly reappears in New York, her carefully constructed world is thrown into chaos. As they’re forced to work together, Ryan is compelled to confront several realities that she wishes she could avoid. One of which is that it’s terrible to mix the past with the present. The other is that it’s not only the past that paints the present with lead.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

There are a lot of things to like in this book, although there are a couple of things that are a bit lacking. I like McLeod’s style of writing, and the flow made it easy to keep turning pages. I found the details of her Secret Service job interesting, and liked hearing about the various different departments that we don’t usually hear about. However, I found Ryan to be a little immature. She’s still hung up on her ex, Allison, a fellow agent who dumped her, but she’s been seeing Lucia for the last six months, and doesn’t consider that a relationship. Obviously, after Allison, feelings aren’t her strong suit, but I find it annoying that anytime anything ‘feelings’ related came up, Ryan shoved it all to the back burner and ignored it. Definitely not a way to not hurt the person you’re involved with. With that type of introspection and lack of self-awareness, I don’t find it surprising at all that Ryan hasn’t moved on at all in the four years since Allison left. Nor that she has no clue what Lucia really feels for her. At the same time, she castigates and self-flagellates enough for her shortcomings that you’d really expect her to try to resolve some things. I will say that there were several unresolved issues at the end of the book that definitely tie into book two. It isn’t quite a cliffhanger, but definitely ways that you can see where the next book will go. I’ll withhold my own suppositions and suspicions, but would gladly pick up the next book in the series. I’d like to see how some of those threads are tied up. Pretty good for a debut, and I can only expect things to get better.

AmyP

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3.5 Star Review for Damaged Goods (Men of London #7) by Susan Mac Nicol #MM #Romance @SusanMacNicol7

CoverTitle: Damaged Goods (Men of London #7)
Author Name & Publisher: Susan Mac Nicol (Boroughs Publishing Group)
Publication Date & Length: April 28, 2016 – 183 pgs

Synopsis

Touched by tragedy, love is an elusive dream never to be realised by eighteen-year-old Jax Grady–until he discovers his secret admirer and receives the sweetest gift he could ever desire.

THE SWEETEST GIFT

Tragedy and horror shaped Jackson Grady’s life, leaving him orphaned and scarred. At eighteen he’s ready to claim his future, but who could love his disfigured face and damaged soul? Definitely not a big, burly, beautiful Irish Traveller who is entirely the stuff of dreams.

Dare Rowan didn’t mean to become obsessed with the blue-eyed man he first saw across a field, but that porcelain skin and innocent air demanded another meeting. Jax has the face of a wounded angel, and the rest of the young man is as heart-breakingly perfect. Jax is beautiful in every way and teaching him about love and life will be something Dare will embrace. Like unwrapping and savouring the candy at the shop where he works, Dare will show this young man everything Jax desired but never thought he’d have, and take Jax to new highs while he holds him through the lows. Between them, they’ll find out just how sweet life can be.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

Jax has had a pretty rough life and he’s only 18. Still, even with scars, he charges on. He’s lonely though and doesn’t think he’ll really have a meaningful relationship to look forward to in the future but in steps a stranger to prove him wrong.
Dare is sweet and attentive. He was the best guy for someone like Jax. They both lift each other up.They’re cute together. Still, in the beginning of the book, I thought that Dare was such a creeper. lol. Like, he was basically stalking Jax. Fine, okay, that’s cute I guess. He meant no harm. But who sneaks into other people’s houses? lol. Yeah, he was returning something, but did he really need to sneak into someone else’s house? That’s a crime, dude. haha.
Still, cute story. Neither of them are “damaged goods
Cookie

Excerpt

He wasn’t stalking his fantasy. He wasn’t.

Dare clamped his lips together mutinously as he hunkered down behind a towering oak. The tree lay on the outskirts, in the garden of a large Georgian house. From a distance, Dare watched as the beautiful blond man he’d been observing, thank you very much, tenderly placed what looked like flower bulbs in the rich soil. The man—whom Dare had first called Angel, though he now knew his name was Jax thanks to the younger kids playing in the garden yelling to him—leaned over. His pert jean-encased backside pushed out into the air and Dare swallowed, mesmerised by the enticing sight. A pang of guilt washed over his skin at the sneaking knowledge that yes, he could actually be deemed a stalker.

“I’ve only watched him a few times,” Dare murmured under his breath. “It’s not like I’m some pervert checking through the windows. I mean, the guy is in plain sight and there’s no boundary fence, so why shouldn’t I look? Anyone would. God, he’s gorgeous. A flawed angel with those blond curls and blue eyes.”

His wistful voice echoed in the quiet of the forest surrounding the large house called Castaways.

It was some sort of place for homeless kids, Dare thought. He’d found this vantage point by accident one day when he’d been out gathering bits of greenery for his boss, Sally, an eccentric seventy-year- old woman who owned the sweet shop he’d managed for the past three years.

Some weeks ago, Sally had decided she wanted to display certain wildflowers in their place of work. She was also heavily into aromatherapy at the moment, so she sent Dare out each week to pick new blossoms and plants to further her ambitions to be a “flower child,” as Dare teasingly called it. He hadn’t minded. It had become a pleasant routine to take the short tube ride to Camden to perform what Sally loftily called his “ecological duties.” This secluded part of the woods around the area was the best place she knew of to find the flowers. Dare had caught sight of the beautiful man in the garden tending to a bunch of what looked like unruly kids, and now, having seen his Angel, Sally could send him out every day and Dare wouldn’t mind.

“But that would make me a stalker,” he said to himself. “So I’m not one now—yet.” He huffed and ducked back behind a bush as Jax turned to stare fixedly in his direction from underneath his wide-brimmed straw hat, an item Dare found rather endearing.

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Cookie, M/M, New Release, Review