Category Archives: Renee

Audiobook Review: 5 Stars for Chase the Stars (Lang Downs #2) by Ariel Tachna #MM #Outback @dreamspinners

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Title: Chase the Stars (Lang Downs #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 10, 2012 – 250 pgs

Synopsis

Twenty-year-old Chris Simms is barely keeping his head above water. After losing his mother and his home, he struggles to provide for himself and his brother. When homophobes attack him, he thinks his life is over, but then he’s rescued by jackaroos from a nearby sheep station. He’s as stunned to be offered a job there as he is to discover both the station owner and foreman are gay.

For Chris, Lang Downs is a dream—one that only gets better when Chris realizes the jackaroo he’s crushing on, Jesse Harris, is gay and amenable to a fling. Everything goes well until Chris realizes he’s falling for Jesse a lot harder than allowed by their deal.

Jesse is a drifter who moves from station to station, never looking for anything permanent. Convinced Chris is too young and fragile for a real relationship, he sets rules to keep things casual. Watching the station owner and his foreman together makes Jesse wonder if there are benefits to settling down, but when he realizes how Chris feels about him, he panics. He and Chris will have to decide if a try for happiness is worth the risk before the end of the season tears them apart.

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Review

FiveStars

**AUDIOBOOK REVIEW**
I loved this story. Ariel Tachna is becoming one of my favorite authors. I love the way her stories slowly unroll and the reader is kept wondering what is going to happen until the very end, yet love every word along the way.
The characters are unique and fun to learn about as they deal with their own struggles as the story progresses. There is even a bit of steam included in the story, but it’s on the back burner for the most part as there is such a good plot line going on.
I love the narrator and his accents and stutters.. he just does an excellent job all around.
Renee

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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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4 Stars for Waking Jamal by Amberly Smith #MM #ScienceFiction @Dreamspinners @Amberly_Smith

CoverTitle: Waking Jamal
Author Name & Publisher: Amberly Smith (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 25, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Their physical and mental survival depends on them bonding.

Jamal Zumati joins the military, determined to repay the country that fed and housed him. But during his Hamask activation, his senses go offline and he enters a berserker rage. The United States Hamrammr Program, or USHP, has only one option: put him into hibernation.

Despite his extraordinary ability to read and manipulate situations, Vargr Lt. Rum Walker has stepped on one too many brass toes, and the USHP demoted him back to teaching new candidates. Rum is one paranoid thought away from self-destruction when he is recruited for a covert mission: pull Jamal from hibernation.

The problem is, no one has ever survived a berserker fury—at least not officially. If Rum is to challenge the military stereotypes, he’ll not only need to wake Jamal—he’ll need to get him to agree to be bond as a Hamra Pair, the ultimate supersoldier team.

When Jamal and Rum team up with an FBI Hamra Pair to stop the terrorist group Dios Provee, Rum thinks he’ll show Jamal their true potential lies in an equal partnership, but Jamal is convinced Rum should take the lead. Will Rum stop Jamal from going berserk again and destroying both of their futures?

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Review

 FourStars

I have to say that this was a nice, unique plot for me. We get a touch of the shifter senses, but no actual shifting occurs.
I loved the idea of trying to change things you don’t like from within. Rum isn’t happy with the way new people are brought ‘Online” so he wants to help change that by actually changing how they do it, which I love instead of just complaining about something but doing nothing to impact it.
I will say that a part of the plot is to show that furied people can be paired and still make a good match, but it is lost within all the other stuff that is going on.
At times I felt like I was losing track of the plot as a whole because we bounce to another couple to learn they are also a fury based pair and somehow made it work when it wasn’t supposed to.
While it was unique, I think the book as a whole would’ve benefited from more explanation as to what/how/why when it comes to the ‘activation’ of each individual.
All in all though I have to say that I enjoyed the story, but there were a few questions left behind that I felt took away along with the different stories making it hard to keep in touch with the characters are times.
Renee

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Audibook Review: 4.5 Star Review for Cut & Run (Cut & Run #1) by Abigail Roux & Madeleine Urban #MM #Mystery @AbigailRoux

CoverTitle: Cut & Run (Cut & Run #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Abigail Roux & Madeleine Urban (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 1, 2008 – 348 pgs

Synopsis

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.

Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He’s cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he’s paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it’s hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliche: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer.

Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer’s knife.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

**Audiobook Review**

This was a fun, twisted story. I loved the way the two agents went from constantly fighting to having to fight to keep their hands off each other. Not to mention to crazy murderer running around.
Both men are imperfect and have their own issues that they are having to deal with, which made them so realistic and wonderful to read about.
The mystery part was fun because I didn’t really guess who it was until toward the end and even then I wasn’t sure until their identity was revealed.
This was the second book from these authors I tried and I have to say I liked this story more than the other, but for a different reason that I thought. The characters were still developed, but the reparte between them was awesome.
However, as much as I enjoyed the story, I have to admit that the narrator made the two main characters sound so much alike that I wasn’t always sure who was who and it sort of made me have to stop and relisten to parts because I’d get confused so that is where the deduction came from.
Renee

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Audiobook Review: 5 Star Review for Desert Heat & Native Tongue (Desert Heat #1-2) by Lucy Felthouse #MM #Romance @cw1985

CoverTitle: Desert Heat & Native Tongue (Desert Heat #1-2)
Author Name: Lucy Felthouse
Publication Date: May 14, 2015

Synopsis

Read the whole story – both books bundled for your reading pleasure, and great value!

Desert Heat:

Their love is forbidden by rules, religion and risk. Yet still they can’t resist.

Captain Hugh Wilkes is on his last tour of duty in Afghanistan. The British Army is withdrawing, and Wilkes expects his posting to be event-free. That is, until he meets his Afghan interpreter, Rustam Balkhi, who awakens desires in Wilkes that he’d almost forgotten about, and that won’t be ignored.

Native Tongue:

They may be back on British soil, but the battle isn’t over.

When Captain Hugh Wilkes fell for his Afghan interpreter, Rustam Balkhi, he always knew things would never be easy. After months of complete secrecy, their return to England should have spelt an end to the sneaking around and the insane risks. But it seems there are many obstacles for them to overcome before they can truly be happy together. Can they get past those obstacles, or is this one battle too many for their fledgling relationship?

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Review

FiveStars

**Audiobook Review**

I have to say I really enjoyed this double feature. The first book (Desert Heat) gave us the story of how the two men meet and get to know each other and the start of their relationship. It could’ve ended there with a Happy For Now ending. But I really liked that we got the continuation of the story (Native Tongue) and got to see the two men further their relationship as it leaves the military and enters normal day to day life.

The story had a lovely plot and a few super sexy parts. I love the way Lucy Felthouse writes her stories. They are so easy to sink into and fall in love with.

The narrator did a great job adding to the story and making it even more interesting than the written story would’ve been.

Renee

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FIVE 5 Star Reviews for Smoke & Mirrors (THIRDS #7) by Charlie Cochet #MM #Paranormal @charliecochet

Cover

Title: Smoke & Mirrors (THIRDS #7)
Author Name & Publisher: Charlie Cochet (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 8, 2016 – 230 pgs

Synopsis

Life for Dexter J. Daley has never been easy, but he’s always found a way to pick himself back up with a smile on his face. Taken from his home, and the arms of his boyfriend and THIRDS partner, Sloane Brodie, Dex finds himself in a situation as mysterious and lethal as the Therian interrogating him. Dex learns what he’s secretly believed all along: his parents’ death wasn’t an accident.

Discovering the whole truth about John and Gina Daley’s homicide sets off a series of events that will change Dex and Sloane’s lives forever. As buried secrets rise to the surface and new truths are revealed, Dex and Sloane’s love for each other is put to the test, with more than their relationship on the line. If traversing the waters of murder and secret government agencies wasn’t enough, something inexplicable has been happening to Dex—and nothing will ever be the same.

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Review

FiveStars

I really enjoyed my first complete story in this series.  I thought that Cochet did an amazing job at creating emotion and mystery throughout the story.

There were really strong primary characters, Dex and Sloane were great together. They had a great chemistry and a great working relationship, which only added to their personal relationship.

The secondary characters were great as well.  Ash and Cael were amazingly funny and sweet – while also keeping the main characters in line.  I also liked how Tony was able to weave in to the story in a great way – it was complex, but not so much that it made things complicated.

The story itself was full of emotion and turmoil, but also with sweetness and a great background.  I cannot say enough good things about this story and all that it encompassed.  I hope that you take the time to read it, as it is a quick read.

I am looking forward to more books by Cochet for sure!

AvidReader

FiveStars

Holy plot twist! I absolutely love this series and I am amazed by the imagination employed to not only keep the story going but to add such an incredible and unexpected new arc after six books. If book six felt a little bit like a wrap-up and goodbye, book seven opens up a whole new set of ideas and introduces some exciting new characters.

Book seven takes readers back to Dex and Sloane. While I am growing tired of the insecurities and commitment issues between these two characters, I really enjoyed the fresh new paths Cochet takes the familiar couple down in this book.

I am still waiting for Seb’s book (okay, I’m greedy – I want all the books!) but after this book, I understand why Cochet brings readers back to Dex and Sloane for a new start. This feels like a redirection for the whole series and I’m not sure it would have worked with any other couple as the focus.

As I am reviewing an ARC I really don’t want to give too much away. Fans of the series will love this and as always, new readers need to start at the beginning – this is not a stand-alone.

Sarah

FiveStars

Charlie Cochet is just such an amazing author and with each book that she writes in this series we as readers are able to see just how amazing she truly is. This series caught me and grabbed my attention and heart from the very first book and with each book I fall a little more in love with the characters in this series.

Each book seems to be more amazing then the last. Charlie never seems to let us down with her books and she always leaves me wanting more and waiting impatiently for the next book to come out.

I have to say that every book in the series has left me thinking that it was my favorite so far but then a new book comes out and I realize that I love that book more then the last. This book is no exception. This book blew me away completely and now I want the next book so I can see if it will be better then this one.

In this book Dex and Sloane are faced with some very troubling times and it seems that no matter what, they find that staying strong with each other is the way to face everything that is happening to them. They face so much uncertainty, pain, fear, heartache, and trust issues that any normal couple would have caved and given up but not these two. Instead of giving up or giving in they band together and face it head on. They work through all of it together even when they aren’t together.

The both face the uncertainty of whether Dec will live or not from being kidnapped and tortured and also from Dec’s mysterious illness that is crippling to Dex when the symptoms occur. But regardless of the uncertainty of all that and the people who seem to be trying to kill them at every turn, both men take the love of the other man and use it to make each of the stronger so that neither of them want to give up. Even Ash is coming around to excepting that Dec and Sloane are destined for another and that is a miracles in itself.

This book will not disappoint those that read it. It is full of mystery, love, heartache, uncertainty of the present and future, hope, friendship, family, and so much more. Until Charlie I had never read a book with shifters in and now I am a huge fan. And “The Thirds” series is definitely one of my favorite. Another amazing book Charlie. Keep up the incredible work and I cannot wait till the next book.

Tosha

FiveStars

I just love this series, I am always on the edge of  my seat and waiting to  see what  happens  next and never want to  put the  books down. I have a  soft spot for  Dex,  he is one of my favorites and  this  book  just  made  my love for him deeper. How no one could know what was happening to him after Sloane marked him is beyond me, you had to know what was going to happen eventually! I can’t wait to see what happens next and I really, really hope that Hudson gets his HEA.

Angie

FiveStars

I have to say this could very well be my favorite book in the series. However? That wouldn’t really be fair as I feel it was quite different than the other books as well. The other ones have been about falling in love and entering a relationship while this one is about a relationship that has already been established, but going through some new things.

While I absolutely loved the Dex and Sloan storyline, I really enjoyed the Seb and Hudson side story. I really hope we get a full story on them because there is so much there.
This continues to be one of my favorite series since we do get to see all the characters from all the books and its really just a big family we watch grow and change.
Charlie Cochet absolutely knows how to write an awesome story with love, action and suspense all weaved together. I can’t wait for more!!
Renee

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TWO 5 Star Reviews for Dark Blood (Dark Blood Saga #1) by Caleb James #Paranormal #MM

CoverTitle: Dark Blood (Dark Blood Saga #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Caleb James (DSP Publications)
Publication Date & Length: June 28, 2016 – 294 pgs

Synopsis

Handsome, brilliant, and surrounded by good friends, twenty-three-year-old medical student Miles Fox has a secret—and it’s not that he’s gay. Though he harbors a crush on his straight best friend, Luke. Miles, like his grandmother, Anna, possesses the healing gift, an ability she’s made him swear never to use or divulge, lest horrible things befall those he loves. It happened to her when Nazis butchered her family.

But it all goes to hell when Miles heals a terminally ill man on a New Orleans cancer ward and wakes locked in the psych unit. Worse, news of the healing miracle spreads. For millennia, its carriers have been hunted by those who would steal it. Dr. Gerald Stangl and his teenage son, Calvin, know what Miles possesses. They, like their predecessors, will stop at nothing to take it, including kidnapping, torture, and murder. As the Stangls’ noose tightens, Miles and Luke are trapped in a death match with stakes higher than they could ever imagine.

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Review

FiveStars

Dark Blood is an exciting, intriguing and magical story.
This book is immediately engaging. The plot is interesting and exciting as it twists and turns. The pacing is perfect, and it’s really hard to put down. This is an urban fantasy story, with elements of romance and suspense-thriller. The genres cross-over really well, making it difficult to guess what will happen next. Miles is a wonderful character – snarky, intelligent, and compassionate. The main characters all have great history and depth.
I really love this book. Even though this is the first part of a series, it also stands alone quite well. I’m looking forward to exploring more of these characters and this world.
Since this book is not sexually explicit, I wouldn’t recommend this to someone looking for an erotic romance. But I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a strong genre story with some romance.
Amanda
FiveStars
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book. It is very interesting and different and.. fun. There were many things I didn’t see coming, but a few I did, however it all described so well by the author, I couldn’t put it down.
While there is a bit of a romance going on, I don’t think I would classify this as a romantic story per se. It is more of a paranormal mystery with a relationship that’s pretty much already formed on the side. I wouldn’t have minded getting a bit more from these two characters before things went south though. I think it would help a bit with connection for some readers, but I personally liked Miles and what he was going through more than the romantic side of things.
I have to admit that I didn’t particularly care for the cover of the book, but the synopsis is what made me pick it up and I’m so glad that I did. I will also note that there was one word that just stood out to me in the whole book and I didn’t care for it…. eyegrounds.. I have no idea if this was a typo or what, but it totally threw me off.. enough so that I remember it even after I’ve finished the book. Also, wouldn’t have minded a little more information about what the heck ipecac is/was and why it was used when it was in the story.
However, all in all, I really did enjoy the story and it’s uniqueness to the characters and the plot.
Renee

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