Review of: The Intersection of Purgatory and Paradise by A.J. Thomas

TITLE: The Intersection of Purgatory and Paradise
AUTHOR: A.J. Thomas
SERIES: Least Likely Partnership
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Mystery/ Suspense
RELEASE DATE: March 27, 2015

BLURB:

Life in small-town Montana has become hell for former San Diego homicide detective Christopher Hayes. No one will hire him, he has made the seething racism his lover Doug Heavy Runner faces at work worse by adding homophobia to the mix, and his most recent jog through town ends when two gay-bashing teenagers hit him in the head with a rock. Deputy Sheriff Doug Heavy Runner has never overcome the abusive relationship that traumatized and shattered him as a young adult. The memories, the lingering shame, and the fear he has never acknowledged have left him resigned to endure the discrimination he faces in Elkin. But he can’t stand it when Christopher becomes a target for that same hatred.
When the mutilated body of one of the boys who assaulted Christopher is found in Doug’s garage, Christopher and Doug return from a vacation in San Diego and uncover a tangle of secrets, lies, and tragedy lurking beneath Elkin’s small-town façade. With their relationship at a crossroads, they’ll have to work together to catch the killer and maybe find a paradise of their own.


Christopher Hayes is living in purgatory. He’s in hell. Christopher finds himself living in nowhere Montana, and as if that’s not bad enough, he’s getting the accusatory side-eye from the people of the small nowhere town for the heinous crimes his brother committed. As if for some reason Christopher is just as guilty. He’s absolutely miserable. He shouldn’t have to hide who he is to Doug Heavy Runner in public, and he most certainly shouldn’t have to put up with the town’s bigotry. But he’s in love with Doug, and somewhere along the line, he’s decided that should be enough until it’s not.

Doug Heavy Runner is just trying to live his life albeit it’s now two separate lives as it were. He has his life on the ranch which is his love, and then he has the life as a small-town deputy. He thinks keeping them separate will make everyone happy, but the only people he’s satisfying are the small-minded townsfolk that he has a twisted sense of loyalty to. It’s a big mess. And if Doug doesn’t figure out what matters most, he’s going to lose everything.

Christopher is miserable. He’s lonely, bored and tired. Tired of the accusations no one will blatantly throw at him, but it’s all over the faces of the townspeople and the not-so-subtle way they avoid him. He’s not his brother, and he’s not in the closet, but somehow, he’s been branded as both. He loves Doug, but he’s not sure he can handle his life anymore. He gets the opportunity to go home, and he’s not sure he’ll be able to find it in himself to leave again. He wants his old life back, but he doesn’t want to lose Doug.

Doug Heavy Runner just wants to live in peace. He knows the small town in sucking the life out of Christopher, but he’s not willing to sacrifice anything to make Christopher happy. He’s actually a pretty selfish guy. He won’t sell the family farm because he feels like he’s a failure if he does. Nothing he does is ever right or enough. Yet, Christopher won’t call the ranch home. Doug knows he has Christopher’s heart, but he’s not sure it’s enough anymore.

Oh my gosh, this series! I loved it! Except for this book. Doug is a selfish self-centered twit and Christopher, where are the brass down belows he had in book one? Where did they go, Christopher? Who are you in this book? Doug makes me ragey. I still don’t understand his misguided sense of loyalty to this messed up backwater town. Ugh to both of them. Now the other characters that come back and a few new ones are fantastic. The actual plot was great, and I still loved the series despite these two crazy guys. It’s definitely worth a read.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Diplomatic Relations by J.L. Langley

TITLE: Diplomatic Relations
AUTHOR: J.L. Langley
SERIES: Sci-Regency
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Sci-Fi; Regency
RELEASE DATE: Feb 29, 2019

BLURB:

Opposites don’t just attract… they sizzle.
A lusty special forces soldier who lives by his own set of rules, Dalton Fairfax decided long ago to stop wishing for his father’s love, and he found his calling. Now that he’s back home and between assignments, he finds himself at loose ends. When the opportunity arises to play bodyguard and help out his country, Dalton jumps at the chance. Not only does it keep him busy, but it just so happens that his charge is the man he saw on leave last month and hasn’t been able to get out of his head.
Heir to a dukedom and a conservative politician, Blaise Thompson strives to prove himself worthy of carrying on the family legacy as the next IN Councilman. However, his closest competitor keeps getting in the way and taking credit for Blaise’s ideas. Maintaining his stellar reputation isn’t easy to do while keeping his outrageous younger brother in line and foiling his rival’s personal attacks. He has no time for a guard and even less time for romance.
When a priceless antique goes missing, Blaise and Dalton discover that Regelence has larger problems than just IN plots. Now the only way to stop a scandal that threatens both of them is to compromise, and they are forced to confront the risk of losing everything… even each other.


I remember, a couple of years ago when I discovered this genre, MM, and it was still a forbidden read, I was struggling to accept myself, and this series was one of my firsts. Me being a romantic and sci-fi fan, this series was a dream come true.

We can be part of the Townsend princes HEA, and there we meet Dalton, the prince’s cousin. He’s infamous in the Regency society, his scandalous behavior, and his affairs with married men. This behavior pushes the king-consort, his uncle, to send him into IN.
Now after two years of him serving in the IN, he’s finally home but not for long. Between missions, he volunteers to guard Blaise Thompson, an intern in the House of Lords and next IN Councilman. Dalton has a long-time crush on Blaise, and this will be the perfect opportunity to seduce the young lord.

Blaise has never been attracted to anybody before. When he literally collides with Dalton, his life changes drastically. He’s known for his proper behavior. He strictly protects his reputation, not like his younger brother, Brannon, Prince Aiden’s best friend, who is always in between mischiefs.

Now, with new news revealed by the IN secret plans, the King assigns every lord a guard. Blaise ends up with Dalton. He can’t fight the attraction between the two of them. Stolen kisses, inappropriate touches—this what his life came too.

I very much liked this story, but in the end, I just wanted to punch Blaise right in the nose. The act he pulled really hurt Dalton, who must deal with family drama, and above all, the IN’s secret plan against Relegence.

There a few things that are not clear to me in this society, and one of those is if there are two Lords, how do they decide which young lord can be courted and which one does the courting…

I only gave 4 stars because Blaise doing what he did in the end.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells

TITLE: My Fair Brady
AUTHOR: K.C. Wells
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: Feb 19, 2019

BLURB:

A spur of the moment invitation changes two lives.
Jordan Wolf’s company runs like a well-oiled machine. At least until his PA, Brady Donovan, comes down with the flu and takes sick leave. Then Jordan discovers what a treasure Brady is and who really keeps his business—and Jordan in particular—moving like clockwork. So when Jordan needs a plus-one, Brady seems the obvious choice to accompany him. After a major shopping trip to get Brady looking the part, however…. Wow.
Brady has a whole new wardrobe, and now his boss is whisking him away for a weekend party. Something is going on, something Brady never expected: Jordan is looking at him like he’s never seen him before, electrifying Brady’s long-hidden desires.
But can the romantic magic last when the weekend is over and it’s back to reality?


Jordan Wolf is the CEO of his company. He’s successful, very successful and works hard for that. With the help of his assistant, Brady, Jordan has his weeks running smoothly. Until his PA gets sick and Jordan realizes how important Brady is to his company and his life. Brady didn’t expect that having flu would change his life forever.
My Fair Brady by KC Wells was a sweet and adorable book that I enjoyed a lot.

Jordan is the CEO of his own company. He’s powerful, hard worker and successful, but he never realizes that he can be all of that because Brady takes care of every aspect of his life. Jordan realizes soon that Brady is more than just a simple PA and at first tries to show him how grateful he is of his work until he meets the real Brady, the one in real life that he’s never met before. This Brady catches Jordan’s eyes and heart.

Brady is probably the best PA in the world, the fact he’s in love with his boss since he starts to work for him has nothing to do with his efficiently. Brady didn’t expect to see Jordan on his doorstep when he was sick, taking care of him. He didn’t expect to bond with Jordan more than their work relationship, and most of all, he didn’t expect to fall a little bit more in love with Jordan each time Jordan took care of him.

I adored these two men; they were so adorable, funny, sweet and just natural. Brady is funny and sassy; he doesn’t seem like that at first when he’s in PA mode. I love the fact that the reader meets this other side of Brady with Jordan. I loved Jordan too; he’s smart, kind and a protector. How he reacts to Brady’s absence is funny (the lunch episode made me laugh out loud), he’s completely lost without him, but when he starts to see the other side of Brady, he is hooked, just like the reader.

I loved how the author made the reader fall in love with the MCs at the same time they did. She didn’t just write their feelings; she showed them to us. I laughed and swooned for them all through my reading.

The book is only about Brady and Jordan’s story, no drama, no sub-plot. Just them and a piece of their life written with talent and it was very good.

I gladly recommend this book; it’s the kind of story that I enjoy to read and want to live.

4 OptimuMM for them.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Holding Out for a Fairy Tale by A.J. Thomas

TITLE: Holding Out for a Fairy Tale
AUTHOR:  A.J. Thomas
SERIES: Least Likely Partnership
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Mystery/ Suspense
RELEASE DATE: May 09, 2014

BLURB:

When his vicious cousin Alejandro makes a violent late-night visit, San Diego homicide detective Ray Delgado gets a brutal reminder of why he left his family behind. Alejandro wants Ray to find his sister, Sophia, who disappeared from the UC San Diego campus, before the FBI digs too deep into his business.
Special Agent Elliot Belkamp spent his entire life jumping from one place to another, but his new assignment assisting a FBI task force offers him a chance to settle down. When Elliot catches a missing person’s case as his first assignment, the last person he expects to find poking around the victim’s dorm room is Ray, a one-time hookup he’s more inclined to punch in the face than kiss hello. After discovering Sophia’s disappearance is linked to a massive computer-based theft that has two powerful crime families ready to declare war, Elliot focuses on his investigation and tries to ignore Ray. As the search for Sophia turns dangerous, Elliot and Ray discover that tackling organized crime might be easier than resisting the urge to tackle each other.


After a late-night hook-up, Ray Delgado gets a visit from his cousin, Alejandro. It’s not exactly a friendly one. Ray’s family makes up one of the major crime syndicates in California. His cousin Alejandro is the new boss. Alejandro wants Ray to find his sister before the FBI starts digging too far into the disappearance and the family business. Ray, working alone since his old partner is shacking up with his new boyfriend in Montana, gets more than he’s bargained for when FBI agent Elliot Bellkamp shows up at his cousin’s dorm room. Elliot just wants a place to settle down. He’s moved from place to place most of his life and he’s tired. The FBI is investigating a cyber-crime that involves Ray’s cousin, the exact one Ray is searching for.

Ray Delgado is a hard man to love. Heck even like. He has certain expectations and few have ever met them. Coming from a crime family, at work, he knows he has to do things above reproach. He’s torn between the love he still has for the family he was raised around and the job. Ray doesn’t do long-term. In fact, he’s a one-time off kind of guy and doesn’t make apologies. His playboy ways almost lost him his best friend and former partner, and now he’s risking losing his future.

Elliot Bel camp has never stayed in one place for long and now he’s ready to settle down. While Ray is the main character of the story, Elliot has a lot of his own mystery and intrigue going on. He’s a no-nonsense FBI agent. He knows he has this crazy chemistry with Ray, but they didn’t have a favorable experience. Elliot wants Ray but he’s already been burned by the man once before.

This series is fantastic. I had so much fun reading it. The guys have so much depth and the storyline is unique and fast-paced. Ray is complicated and frustrating at times. Elliot is a powerhouse and beautiful man. These two together have a chemistry that just scorched the pages.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: 2018 Advent Calendar Full Set – Warmest Wishes

TITLE: 2018 Advent Calendar Full Set – Warmest Wishes
AUTHOR: Beth Laycock, R. Quincy Cameron, Kim Katil,
Scudder James Jr, Daniel de Lorne, Blue Jones, Mere Rain, Ward Maia, Ren Holly, Anna Kaling, Crystel Greene, Emjay Haze, A.D. Ellis, E.J. Russell, Elliot Joyce, S.A. Stovall, Cy Blanca, Charles Payseur, TJ Nichols, Asta Idonea, Cassie Decker, C.S. Poe, Helena Stone, Renae Kaye, LE Franks, Kim Fielding, Jana Denardo, Elizabeth Noble, Chrissy Munder, Bru Baker, August Li
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Anthology
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2018

BLURB:

Celebrating the end-of-year holidays doesn’t always mean sleighs, snow, and snuggling to ward off the cold. How about making merry when it’s just as warm (or hot) outside as inside romantic hearts? Twinkle lights in palm trees, unity cups on the sideboard, bonfires in the backyard, eggnog by the pool, and no chimneys to be found… just the warmest wishes of the holidays bringing lovers together around the world.
A huge part of the world celebrates end-of-the-year holidays that aren’t anything like Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” In the southern hemisphere, it’s not even winter!
Holiday reading fun! A story delivered automatically to your bookshelf each day in December. More than 400,000 words of romantic fiction in 31 stories.
Stories will be available individually or as a package.
NOTE: Dreamspinner Press regrets to announce that one of the novellas included in the 2018 Advent Calendar package, Warren’s Peace by Emjay Haze, was previously published as a short story. It was thoroughly revised and expanded as part of its inclusion in the Advent Calendar. We acknowledge that our readers expect new content as part of this package, and accordingly we have lowered the full package set price, with the novella still included as a bonus. We apologize for the inconvenience.


I picked three of the short stories to read, and I did pretty well on my picks. I picked one that had no heat to it, the second one had a moderate amount of heat, and the third book was very hot. I always enjoy reading the Christmas short stories from Dreamspinner press. They put me in the holiday cheer and put me in a good mood. I read Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo, Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye, and Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil.

Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo.
Blurb: Tony Gatti had his life planned: get his veterinarian license and go to work with his dad and uncle. Soon after achieving his goals, he learned the shadows and blurriness in his vision went beyond needing glasses. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic mutation with no cure. With his sight almost gone, he moves into his grandmother’s St. Augustine, Florida, home with his guide dog, Raven, to start life over. Nonna Concetta thinks she knows the perfect job for him. Her vet is looking for someone to destress the cats at a local rescue. Javier didn’t plan to hire a cute former veterinarian to fill the role of cat cuddler, but Tony couldn’t be more perfect. Worried his attraction is inappropriate and knowing the holiday season always depresses him, Javier wonders if he should ask Tony out, or if he’d just be spreading the gloom to someone who already has enough of his own. But if he takes the plunge, could it turn out to be the best holiday ever?
This was a cute short story. I’m such an animal lover that I really enjoyed how Tony was able to turn his life in a different direction when he found out that he was losing his sight and got a job as a cat cuddler instead of being a veterinarian. The story doesn’t have any on-page sex, but there is some great chemistry between Tony and Javier. Great holiday cheer.

Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye.
Blurb: Geoffrey Saxon is in his forties, a bit plump, a lot fuzzy, and rather boring in bed—and thanks to a very public breakup, everyone in his street knows it. However, what they don’t know is that Geoffrey sometimes watches his hot young neighbor, Vaughn, in the pool. Vaughn has invited Geoffrey to join his pool parties, but Geoffrey knows it’s only pity. As if things can’t get worse, Geoffrey’s air conditioner breaks during a heat wave in Western Australia—and just before Christmas. In search of some relief, he camps out in his backyard, where he also has a prime view of Vaughn swimming…naked. When Geoffrey’s injured falling from his spying post, Vaughn comes to his rescue and Geoffrey doesn’t think he can be more horrified. But he could be in for a sweet holiday surprise. Is he ready to take the dive?
This was another cute story. It had me laughing over some of the things that happened in the book. Geoffrey and Vaughn had great chemistry, and because of Geoffrey’s insecurities, they are taking things slow sexually in their new relationship. I will definitely be reading more books by Ranae Kaye.

Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil.
Blurb: One morning close to the holidays, Nolan wakes up to two surprises: a distress call from his younger brother and a beautiful man in his bed. Nolan, an art gallery owner, has always been discreet about his sexuality, but when his baby brother plans to come out at the annual family gala, Nolan wants to have his back—and that means showing up with a man of his own on his arm. Nolan knows just the man for the job. Skylar, who owns a karate studio in St. Augustine, can’t get his one-night stand out of his mind. When he runs into Nolan at his gallery, he is more than happy to volunteer his services as arm candy. Out-and-proud himself with his striking blue/ green hair, Skylar is all in. Their adventure means a fancy salon, family drama, lots of sex, a ninja hippo, and palm trees lit up in a very suggestive way. By the end of it, what started as a hookup might become much more.

I loved this short story. It had everything that I was hoping for when I read the blurb. It has a heat level of 5 mixed in with some family drama and Christmas cheer. The story had great flow, and I loved the author’s writing style. The characters had depth and were very lovable. I will definitely be checking out more books by Kim Katil

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis