Review: “Staggered Cove Station” by Elle Brownlee

TITLE: Staggered Cove Station
AUTHOR: Elle Brownlee
SERIES: Coast Guard Rescue, Dreamspun Desires
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
LENGTH: 216 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 20 , 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback


Rescues are wild in the Alaskan terrain. So is romance.
Sun-kissed California guardsman Dan Farnsworth might be at home in the water, but he’s out of his element at remote, rugged, and freezing Staggered Cove Station. Acclimating proves hard enough, but he’s also digging into how the station’s previous rescue swimmer was lost at sea. Was it an operation gone bad or something more sinister? Add to that the instant tension between him and his partner—no-nonsense Alaska-born Karl Radin—and Dan has his hands full.
As his investigation heats up, so does the attraction between Dan and Karl, even if they don’t completely trust each other. But as suspicious events escalate to sabotage, Dan starts to fear that he and Karl won’t get the chance to become more than reluctant coworkers.

Staggered Cove Station is a story that I was certain I was going to love based on what I had read from the blurb. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Now, I’m not saying I hated or didn’t enjoy it, because there was a lot about the book that I did like. It just wasn’t what I expected.

The story revolves around a Coast Guard station in Alaska and the people who work there. New arrival Dan Farnsworth has come to the station with a secret. He knows all about the rescue swimmer that has gone missing and is presumed dead, and he believes that there’s some sort of cover-up going on within the station. He knows the person who is missing was one of the best and strongest swimmers around, so doesn’t believe he would have gotten into any kind of trouble in the water that would have led to his drowning and disappearance. Dan plan’s to fully investigate what happened without letting anyone know that’s what he’s doing. His main suspect, the person who was in charge of the operation that day and who he believes is responsible, is the locally-born Alaskan native, and now Dan’s new roommate, Karl Radin.

Karl Radin has been a member of the Coast Guard for many years. Karl is meticulous about everything he does, that way there’s less chance for something to go wrong. He loves his job and takes it very seriously. But due to his experience and length of service, he also gets a little bit more leeway with the boss than the rest of the team. When the station’s previous rescue swimmer went missing, it really affected Karl. He can’t stop thinking about what went wrong or if there was something he could have done differently. The fact that they’ve still not recovered the body just leaves a lot of unanswered questions. When Karl discovers that Dan is his new roommate, he’s kind of shocked as he’s almost always had the room to himself. But just to add to the issue, Dan seems to have some sort of chip on his shoulder and doesn’t come across as being the friendliest of people to have to share with. The other problem is that Dan is extremely attractive. So even though Karl knows he’s attracted to men, it’s not something he’s acted on as the job has always come first, but being in such close proximity to Dan, even with his chilly attitude, is going to test all his resolve.

Over the time working together the two men begin to form a good working relationship and friendship. But also discover that the mystery of the missing team member isn’t all what it seems. This brings them even closer, to the point where the attraction to each other is something that can’t be ignored any longer.

As I’ve already said, there was a lot about this book that I did really like. I loved the story concept and plot. It was really well thought out and had a few good twists to add to the excitement. I liked the characters and how their relationship developed across the story. Based on what I got from the story Karl is older than Dan, but as we never find out their ages, I don’t know how much of an age-gap there is. It could be anything from 8-20 years. This is one of the small details I like to know. I also had a couple of issues with how the story was written. Often there was a jump between the characters dialogue and I found myself having to go back a few sentences or paragraph to remind myself what was going on. I also found the pace of the story to be a little slow for my liking.

Overall, it was a nice and easy read with a great little HFN ending. And even though I was expecting more, I can’t say I was left feeling disappointed because I really wasn’t. It was definitely a story worth reading.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Wolf’s Man Friday” by Julia Talbot

TITLE:  The Wolf’s Man Friday
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: Nose to Tail, Inc.
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Christine Griffin
GENRE: Shapeshifter; Paranormal
LENGTH: 220 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 20, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback


The last thing Sebastian Zeller wants is to be pack Alpha. But when the pack leader, his uncle Ron, is attacked, he has no choice but to leave his beloved Colorado mountains and fulfill his duty as Ron’s heir—at least until his uncle recovers. In the meantime, he intends to lure the attacker out… and make them pay.
When Ron gets wind of Sebastian’s plan to catch the attacker, he doesn’t like the idea of risking his heir. That’s where Jaxon Reedis comes in—he’ll balance protecting the dark and sexy werewolf with pretending to be his personal assistant. He’s walking a fine line that requires all his foxy wit and craftiness… and that’s on top of the inescapable feeling that he and Sebastian are meant for each other. When the attacker returns, will they be able to maintain their deepening bond when danger threatens to tear down everything they’re building?

The Wolf’s Man Friday is the second book in the Nose to Tail, Inc. series by Julia Talbot. I was of two minds about this book. I thought the first half of the book was kind of slow and a little bit confusing. I was a little bit confused with why Sebastian’s Uncle Ray was attacked and where they were and why they were only going to be there for a short time before going back to their pack territory in Colorado. I was also confused by the pack dynamic, but it was explained a little bit more in the second half of the book. I was also confused by the dialog between Sebastian and Jaxon. The story was written where it was like they could hear each other’s internal thoughts but only part of the time, but they never addressed it or explained if it was part of them becoming mates or something else. It was kind of confusing. I liked the book a lot better after Jaxon and Sebastian got together. I loved their chemistry and all of their sexy times together, and when they would cuddle up in their animal forms and groom each other.

I liked Sebastian. He was an interesting character although at times a little wishy-washy. He had moments when he was with his friend Alan, and he would act juvenile and reckless, then he wouldn’t want to be the next leader of the pack and only want to be a designer, but he wouldn’t stand up for himself and tell his uncle that. But then there would be times when he would have a very alpha personality. So yeah kind of a wishy-washy personality. Made it a little bit harder to like him in the beginning. He definitely didn’t have next leader potential, which is what the author was going for, so I guess she did a good job conveying that.

I loved Jaxon. He was the perfect portrayal of a fox shifter. He was fun and mischievous but knew when to be serious and protective. He’d gone to butler school to learn how to be a jack of all trades in addition to being a bodyguard. He was hired by Sebastian’s uncle to pose as Sebastian’s personal assistant and protect him after Sebastian’s uncle found out that Sebastian was trying to catch his attacker. I liked how Jaxon’s level-headedness is a perfect foil for Sebastian’s more impulsive nature.

I also enjoyed the end of the story, and I’m intrigued to find out what happens with Cheyenne and his twin Cinturon. I hope they get their own books and Alan also.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Silent Terrorism: Saudi Arabia” by Phetra H. Novak

TITLE: Silent Terrorism: Saudi Arabia
AUTHOR: Phetra H. Novak
SERIES: Silent Terrorism
PUBLISHER: Beaten Track Publishing
COVER ARTIST: Ian Brown & Roe Hovart
GENRE: Political Suspense
LENGTH: 300 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 17, 2018
PRICE: $ 4.99 -e-book / $13.99 -paperback


Early morning, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Swedish correspondent cameraman Ebbe Skoog is out getting shots for an upcoming story and stumbles upon something he isn’t supposed to see. On a building site, on the outskirts of the city, four men looking a lot like the Mabahith—the secret police—are sending a bound man to a certain death by stoning.
With camera still rolling, Ebbe begins to retreat when a second man enters the scene and throws himself on top of the dying man, shielding him with his body, soothing with loving words. Ebbe’s reaction is immediate. Clutching his camera, he drags the screaming lover out of the rain of stones, and in a storm of sand, they flee into the brutal uncertainty of the desert.
Correspondent reporter Mattis Andersson is the wild card, the rebel. He’s also Ebbe’s only hope of getting out alive with his new companion, Aasim El-Batal, and the memory card holding the footage that will make Saudia Arabia burn in the eyes of human rights activists the world over.
With their past as lovers, and their present as colleagues and best friends who would take a bullet for each other, it now falls on Mattis to protect his and Ebbe’s future. But the Swedish government wants to silence them, unwilling to jeopardize years of lucrative weapons deals for “some petty gay love affair.” It’s an impossible mission that will draw on every strength the two men possess

Ebbe Skoog is a Swedish reporter in Saudi Arabia. He’s in Riyadh when he witnesses the murder of a young man. The lover of the victim tries to sacrifice himself for his lover when Ebbe helps him to escape.
This simple act, saving a man’s life, starts the biggest chess game with not checkmate but the lives of two men at the end.
I have to warn you that some scenes are extremely violent and involved torture and can be very hard to read.

Ebbe is a good man, with moral values as simple as every life matters. He jeopardizes his life, his security for a complete stranger, but he believes in freedom, in love, and no one has to die for loving who they love. I loved Ebbe, he’s a better person than me. I’m not sure I’d have been able to do what he did. Ok, he’s a fictional character, I admit, but somewhere in our real world, there’s a few Ebbes who risk their lives for us.

Aasim is completely traumatized by Kadar death, the love of his life. He lived all his life in the fear of being discovered. Being gay in Saudi Arabia is a death sentence, and Aasim is petrified and scared to death. But when Kadar is murdered in front of him, he wants to die with him. I cried with Aasim a lot because the man is completely broken. But he tries to stay alive, and he tries to help Ebbe when he could. All I wanted throughout the book was to hug him, love him, and protect him.

Mattis Anderson is Ebbe’s partner and best friend and sometimes lover. When Ebbe is soft and diplomatic, Mattis is blunt and hotheaded. When Ebbe is on the run, Mattis becomes the worst nightmare of the Swedish government. If I have a problem in my life, I want Mattis in my corner. This guy is a pit bull, and he’s ready to burn the world for his friends.
And then comes the politician, Saudi or Sweden, there’re the same, corrupted, cowards, and didn’t care about human lives, human rights, they only care about their interest, their publicity and their money.

This book as two stories, one with the politician’s game, and the other with the men acting to free two innocent men. It reminded me the movie Spy Game…it was the same atmosphere.
This book isn’t a romance, not the kind we’re use to reading, but there’s a lot of love in this book. The love between Aasim and Kadar, the love between Ebbe and Mattis, and the love between two humans being united to be free and alive.

The author describes the characters in this book like caricature of themselves. Politicians are corrupt, the good Samaritan, the very bad guys, the spy etc. and even if the characters can be grotesque in some situations (I thinking of the prime minister the ass***) it does the job. Because, what really matters is the message behind all of this. No need to have a bomb or massive shooting to have a terrorist attack. Silence and looking away are as deadly as an explosion. That’s what I understood in this book, what the author tries to tell us, I think.
It was a hard read that brought me a lot of strong emotions, but I don’t regret having read it at all.

Besides, 50% of the proceeds of this book goes to Colin Steward and Erasing 76 Crimes, who fight for LGBT rights in the world.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs and for all the Aasims and Kadars in the world. Stay Strong! And all the Ebbes and Mattis, Thank you!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Asher” by Catherine Lievens

TITLE: Asher
AUTHOR: Catherine Lievens
SERIES: Wyoming Shifters
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
GENRE: Paranormal; Erotic
LENGTH: 119 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 10, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book


Asher has known Terry was his mate for years. They grew up together, and he kept his secret for fear of losing both his best friend and the only family he had after his aunt died. Besides, Terry is straight, and he has a girlfriend.
When Terry’s girlfriend dumps him, he goes home to his father—and Asher. He knows they’ll both take care of him, even though he’s not hurting as much as he should be. How can he when he’s been in love with Asher for more than ten years?
Asher is tasked to take a drunken Terry back home, and he makes the mistake of telling him they’re mates, thinking he’s sleeping and won’t even hear it. But Terry does, and he confronts Asher the next morning, angry and hurt.
Will Terry be able to get over those feelings and finally have Asher in his life as his mate?
Wyoming Shifters: 12 years later series is set in the same universe as Whitedell, Gillham , and the Council enforcers and follows the stories of the children of the original characters.

Asher is the first book in a new spin-off series called Wyoming Shifters: Twelve years later by Catherine Lievens. I was bummed when I found out that the Gillham Pack series had ended and so I was so excited by this new series. It’s also set in the Gillham pack but it takes place twelve years later, and we now get to watch the former kids of the Gillham pack find their mates. Fans of the Gillham Pack series will love this new series. I know that I do.

This book is Asher and Terry. Terry’s dad is Shawn, and he’s mated to Jarah who’s a nix. Terry had a hard time getting over his dad marrying Jarah and moving them to the Gillham Pack. He didn’t know that his dad was bisexual and so that came as a big shock for him. His one light in the dark was his friendship with Asher. They were so close that Asher was like another son to Shawn and Jarah. Terry’s feelings for Asher changed as he got older but he was afraid of trying for a relationship because he didn’t want to be hurt when Asher found his mate and dumped him. Trying to protect his heart, he kept his feelings to himself and only dated women. He never told anybody that he was bisexual like his dad.

Asher knew that Terry was his mate from when they first met at the age of twelve but seeing how angry Terry was about his dad and Jarah and the whole fated mate’s thing, Asher decided to keep that fact to himself. He would have told Terry after they turned eighteen, but by then Terry had started to date girls and Asher thought he was straight and he didn’t want to force him into a relationship that would make him unhappy.

When Terry gets dumped by his girlfriend of a year, he flees back home to the comfort of his family and best friend, Asher. He ends up getting drunk, and Asher is tasked with taking him home. After putting Terry to bed and thinking that he’s asleep, Asher makes the mistake of telling him that they’re mates before heading home. But Terry wasn’t asleep and hears what Asher said. Terry’s angry that Asher would keep such a secret from him for so long but as his dad points out to him, Terry isn’t blameless since he never told Asher that he was in love with him either. Both men were only trying to protect their hearts but will they have the courage to be mates now that they know how the other feels? Or will Terry go back to his ex-girlfriend when she comes crawling back? You’ll just have to read the book to see how they fumble through being more than best friends.

I loved the pet a shifter benefit for the animal shelter, and it was one of my favorite parts of the book. I also loved Menace and Doggy. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

***The ARC was provided by eXtasy Books. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Running to You” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Running to You
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 13, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback


Home, love, and possibilities he never imagined are waiting for Billy Joe to claim them. But first he needs to escape the horrors of his past.
A twisted act of cruelty and prejudice drives Billy Joe from his Mississippi home, and he makes it as far as Pennsylvania—where his car breaks down just as the year’s first snowstorm blows in. Fortunately, Carlos is there to lend a hand.
Carlos is no stranger to hardship. His family rejected him for being gay, but with determination, he put himself through school and became a librarian. Carlos sees the same willpower in Billy, and he wants to help Billy and his son succeed in a new life that is very different from the one they left behind. With his support, they start to adjust, and before long, both men want more than encouragement from each other. They want the chance for a future together, but their families have other ideas… and Billy’s will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Billy Joe ran away from his white supremacy family in the middle of the night with his son Tyler.
He drove as far as he could from Mississippi until his car broke in the middle of a snowstorm in Pennsylvania.
Carlos saw Billy Joe and Tyler in the middle of the road and decided to help them. What’s supposed to be help for a night, becomes the beginning of a life of all three together, but their families have other ideas.
Carlos and Billy Joe will have to stand up for what they believe in and who they are, together but also alone.
Waow this book is poetically beautiful.

Billy Joe grew up in a white supremacy family with all that implied (racism, homophobia, hate). One day, after witnesses something awful (I cried, and cried, and cried when I knew what it was) he decided to save his son and run away. Billy Joe had years of conditioning in him, even if he realized that it was wrong. He can’t erase all of it suddenly. He lived in fear all his life, being gay in a family like his, is a death sentence. When he meets Carlos, he’s afraid, lost, and needs to reevaluate his beliefs and fight his fears and prejudice. I really loved Billy Joe, he’s strong and brave, and when he found the courage to fight back, and not hide, he did it beautifully. It wasn’t easy, and Tyler’s safety was at stake. He had a choice, but he decided to fight and have justice. I admired him and wanted to hug him a lot.

Carlos was thrown out by his family when they find out he was gay. Like Billy Joe, he had to leave his family, life, city, and start over on his own. After years of struggling with money while in college, Carlos succeeded to become a librarian and being a proud gay man. He refuses to hide who he is, not after everything he’d been through. That’s why, when he meets Billy Joe, he understood what he’d lived with back home, even if didn’t know everything at first. Carlos is strong and brave, and he had a strength in him that I loved, but deep down, he was still a child who had been rejected by the people who were supposed to love him unconditionally, and it broke me.

Billy Joe is the strength that Carlos needs to stand in front of his family, and Carlos is the balm in Billy Joe’s heart and soul.
The book is beautiful and poetic. I love how the author took me with him into Carlos and Billy Joe’s piece of life. Andrew Grey gives me a wonderful palette of feelings, like a rainbow, I had a lot of emotion throughout the book.

This book delivers two powerful messages, that you’re not a statue, how you’ve been raised doesn’t define who you become, and your family isn’t the one who shares your blood and DNA, but the one who shares your heart.
This book definitely shares my heart…

It’s 5 amazing OptimuMMs…Because…Helliard

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis