Review: “Block and Strike” by Kelly Jensen

TITLE: Block and Strike
AUTHOR: Kelly Jensen
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreampinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Garrett Leigh
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 266 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 6, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $16.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Jacob Kendricks is three months out of prison, estranged from his daughter, and ready to get his life on track. Taking care of the bum curled up on his doorstep isn’t part of the plan. When he realizes the man has been assaulted, Jake takes him to the hospital, where he learns that Max is his downstairs neighbor… and that he could really use a friend. Keeping Max in the friend-zone would be easier if he wasn’t so damned cute.
Maxwell Wilson has been bullied for years, and the only person who ever cared lives too far away to come to his rescue. Now his upstairs neighbor is offering support. Max remains cautious, suspecting he is little more than a project for the handsome Jake. When he learns Jake has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, Max has to reevaluate his priorities—and muster the courage to take a chance at love.
Just when a happy future is within their grasp, life knocks them back down. A devastating blow leaves Max lower than ever and Jake wrestling with regret. They both have to find the strength to stand on their own before they can stand together.


Fresh out of prison, Jake Kendrick’s find himself in an emotional struggle. Coming home to find a homeless man on his doorstep is not something he wants to deal with, ever. As Jake soon discovers, the man taking space on his stoop isn’t a bum but his neighbor bloody and unconscious. As Jake helps his neighbor heal from his assault, an unlikely friendship evolves into something neither man is willing to lose their friendship over. Jake’s past comes back to haunt him, and he’s in danger of losing not only the man he’s come to love but the most important person in his life.

Jake’s temper has always been an issue for him. He has a hair-trigger temper, and that’s what landed him in prison. Once out he’s determined to turn his life around and do whatever he can to get to spend time with his daughter. The friendship he has with his neighbor, Max, is the best thing that’s happened to him since before his imprisonment. They have this easygoing camaraderie. Jake knows Max is straight. Jake, being bisexual, can’t help that he starts to develop feelings for the other man, but he has a lot of secrets. If Max found out, it would destroy the friendship he cherishes and any chance of anything more.

Max has been bullied most of his life. In school, his dad told him that the beatings would toughen him up. As time went on, he learned that if he just layed there and took it, the beatings wouldn’t be so bad. He has no idea why he was targeted by a group of men in the alley near his little downstairs apartment. His next-door neighbo’rs sister, also Max’s nurse, insists that her brother will help him once he’s released from the hospital and given no choice, he accepts the sexy, mysterious man’s help. He’s undeniably attracted to Jake, but Jake is straight. Max hides that he’s gay in fear of being even more victimized.

These two guys are what I like to call a hot mess. The story was absolutely heartwarming and emotionally exhausting. I loved every page turning moment. The facets of not only the story but the characters made for one excellent read. Jake and Max taking strength from one another was beautiful. The development from a hesitant sort of acquaintances to friends then ultimately lovers was what I loved most about this book. The author didn’t stick with the status quo, they blew it out of the water. One of the best books I’ve read to date.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Handle with Care” by Cari.Z

TITLE: Handle with Care
AUTHOR: Cari.Z
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 194 pages
RELEASE DATE: Oct 16, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 e-book / $9.99 paperback

BLURB:

A fragile heart needs extra care.
Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years–boss’s orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas–and a difficult homecoming.
Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.
Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?


Aaron is a social worker who cares for his children. He was one of those children himself, and he understands better than anyone what they need. But Aaron overworked himself too much, never taking a vacation and working all the time, including on a Sunday night. That’s why his boss decided to take matters in her own hands and sent him on two weeks’ forced vacation.
Without anything to do, Aaron and his best friend, Tyler, decided to go to the wedding of Aaron’s little brother, Zack.
Aaron and Tyler have been best friends since high school. Where Aaron is over-dead-serious all the time, Tyler is a child stuck in an adult body.

Handle with Care by Cari.Z was a sweet romance book that I enjoyed to read.
Aaron has been hurt and traumatized by his childhood. A father in jail and a junkie as his mother had put Aaron and his baby brother Zack on the CPS radar. Then, Zack was adopted when Aaron was sent away. After being moved from one foster family to another, Aaron ended up with Tyler’s family and finally found a home. I liked Aaron; even if he’s too serious, I liked him a lot. He wears the stigmata of his rough childhood on him, but he tries to overcome it. I liked his sensitivity and humanity.

Tyler has taken care of Aaron since they were teenagers. He always puts him first, even if he acts like a child most of the time (if not all the time). But when it comes to Aaron, Tyler is an overprotective warrior ready to fight for him. I adore Tyler, he’s immature and super fun, but he’s also very smart, loyal and perceptive. He knows Aaron better than Aaron knows himself and knows how to talk to him, to take care of him.

The book is a journey in Aaron’s life. While he revisites his past with Tyler by his side, Aaron also realizes that he can have the future he wants, with the person he’s wanted for a long time.
The writing and the plot were good. It was a good read, fluid and dynamic, full of humour and feelings, not too deep, but not too superficial either.

If you want to read a sweet, funny romance, Handle with Care will do the job.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Calculated Magic” by SJD Peterson

TITLE: Calculated Magic
AUTHOR: SJD Peterson
SERIES: Dreamspun Beyond
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 230 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 16, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Never too late for love.
Three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old warlock Tikron must find his true love or forfeit his immortality. But if he hasn’t found his ideal mate in all these centuries, the prospects don’t look too bright.
That is, until he sees mathematician Richard Beaumont. It’s love at first sight and Tikron’s future just go a whole lot brighter.
Except Richard doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He doesn’t believe in love at all. He certainly doesn’t believe in magic. His life is ruled by statistics and logic, and they tell him a relationship with Tikron has only a 10 percent chance of success. That’s unacceptable—even if the attraction between them is off the charts.
With his powers waning and the clock ticking down, Tikron’s last hope is showing Richard the true meaning of magic.


This Dreamspun Beyond novel is a unique tale of romance between two men who are complete opposites. In this tale of sexy warlocks and nerdy mathematicians, time is not a luxury the sexy warlock can afford. Being immortal isn’t what it’s cracked up to be when the coven leader puts a spell on Tikron. He either finds his true love by his three hundred and fiftieth birthday or he dies. It’s either that or his mother has to wed the coven leader. With help from his best friend Ryxium, the two try everything to break the curse but nothing works until Tikron sets his eyes on an introverted math genius at the local coffee shop.

Richard doesn’t believe in anything that he can’t see and touch. Magic is nonsense, and he’s not going to be persuaded even if the one doing the persuading is a sexy Adonis. He has everything he needs or wants, he has his math, and his dog. He doesn’t need or want anything else. So when the perky waitress at the coffee shop he frequents like clockwork sits across from him, he’s instantly annoyed. He doesn’t do people. She’s only conversing with the prickly man because the Adonis at the counter won’t stop looking at Richard like he wants to consume him. That confuses Richard, and now he’s even more determined to not deal with all this crazy nonsense. As he leaves, he runs into his admirer, and I wish I could say sparks fly but nope. Richard has to believe in Tikron, and everything Tikron is before these two can have any chance.

Tikron would rather die than let his mom be miserable for the rest of her life. His mother had one true love in Tikron’s father before he passed away. When the coven leader cursed Tikron, it was for purely selfish reasons. Tikron doesn’t want to die but as him and his best friend Ry discover, only true love can break the curse. Tikron never thought he’d find his soul mate until he spots a ordinary looking man in a coffee shop. He can’t believe he actually found his soul mate, but now he has to convince the grumpy, standoffish man that magic is real and that Tikron is his fated mate. Easy right? Ha. Richard thwarts his advances and isn’t falling for the brute that easily. He and Ry have to get creative if Tikron ever wants the surly man for himself. Shenanigans ensue. A sassy squirrel, a missing dog collar and a best friend uninvitingly popping in while definitely not using Richard’s front door.

I really enjoyed this. The characters were fantastically written, and the plot was interesting. Definitely nothing I’ve read before. I loved Richard’s change throughout the book as he discovers love and magic. Tikron and Ryxium were hilarious when they got going. I’m really hoping for Ry to get his own book. All in all, this was a fantastic paranormal, and I definitely recommend it.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “A Dom and His Warrior” by Xenia Melzer

TITLE: A Dom and His Warrior
AUTHOR: Xenia Melzer
SERIES: Club Whisper
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: BDSM
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 25,2018
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book

BLURB:

Leeland Drake and Jonathan White are a committed BDSM couple and have just moved in together. Leeland has only one year left in college, and everything seems perfect… until Leeland’s uncle asks him to stand in for an injured UFC fighter.
Leeland wants to help his uncle, but he remembers all too well from his years competing in martial arts how strenuous life as an athlete can be. He doesn’t want to risk his relationship with Jonathan. After some discussion, they decide Leeland will go pro for a year.
As if the training and strict diet weren’t bad enough, the pressure skyrockets when Leeland encounters homophobic fighter Noah Adams—especially when they end up facing each other in the championship.
Between the bigoted rants of his opponent, the scrutiny of the media, the pressure from his sponsor, and a fire in his uncle’s gym, Leeland is close to breaking down. Only Jonathan’s support and love keep him focused enough to set foot in the octagon once more—and maybe even walk away a winner.


I absolutely love this series, and the author did not disappoint. This author brings a softer look to BDSM. She brings these Dom’s that like to think they’re rough and tough men but then they fall head over heels with their subs and everything changes. I love how Xenia builds these characters and makes me feel like a part of a family. The relationships are endless in these books. The Dom’s have a strong bond with one another, but the subs have an even stronger bond with each other. I love reading about movie nights they have and all the banter that goes on.

Jonathan is Leeland’s Dom, and he’s just asked him to move in with him. Leeland is so excited and can’t believe the wonderful life he has. He’s moved in with his Dom and is cooking dinner for him when he receives the call from his uncle and life is changed. He’s so nervous to talk to Jonathan because they’ve just established a routine but his uncle needs help and who is Leeland to say no. As soon as Jonathan sees Leeland, he knows his sub is stressed and immediately goes to wrap his arms around him for security.

Jonathan agrees to let Leeland help his uncle and become an UFC fighter. The training is extreme but the diet is worse, but Leeland is used to it from years earlier fighting. All his sub friends are behind him too. Leeland loves the support he gets, and they even all go to his first fight. That first fight was with Carlos, and they become fast friends, but when he has to fight Noah, he can’t believe the hatefulness this man has. Especially against gay people, and Noah hasn’t even learned that Leeland is gay but thinks he’s too pretty to fight.

I loved catching up on previous characters, especially Collin. I just love him and his mind. They even added a new guy to the gang, and when he hosts a movie night, I just laughed. This is a great read, and I hope you all enjoy this as much as I. Happy reading.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Billy’s Bones” by Jamie Fessenden

TITLE: Billy’s Bones
AUTHOR: Jamie Fessenden
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Lou Harper
GENRE: Mystery/ Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 254 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 22, 2013
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $16.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Kevin Derocher was thirty-two when he walked into Tom’s office, newly married, a baby on the way, and the collar of his red flannel shirt pulled up to hide the bruises around his throat from when he hanged himself in his garage. After his initial consult, therapist Tom Langois believes he’ll never see Kevin again—but Kevin turns up three years later to make repairs on Tom’s new house.
Kevin and Tom become fast friends, and Tom begins to suspect Kevin may be interested in more than friendship. However, Kevin remains haunted by something from his childhood—something so terrible he blocked it from his mind. These suppressed memories make it impossible for Kevin to get close to anyone without panicking and lashing out, sometimes violently. But as his past begins to surface, it becomes apparent that Kevin may hold the key to a twenty-five-year-old mystery: what happened to Billy?


A failed suicide attempt is all it takes to change a man’s life. After being hospitalized, upon conditional release he sees a therapist that only wants to help him but knows he’ll never see the man that intrigues him beyond that one visit. When the therapist moves to a small town and buys a house with a hot tub that doesn’t work, he’s advised to call a local handyman that can fix anything. When the handyman shows up, it’s none other than the intriguing man from three years ago who he never thought he’d see again.

Tom wanted a quiet life away from the city. He bought a house that needed some repairs, but because of its charm and the alluring hot tub on the porch, he was sold. Soon after moving in, the hot tub decided it needed some repairs or Tom needed to just buy a new one. A local handyman was referred. When it ends up being the man that he’s thought of often over the past three years, the last thing he thought would happen was a budding friendship. As the two got closer, Tom had to reign in the urge to analyze the other man. He wanted to help him, but he also wanted his friendship. Tom didn’t expect to start having deep feelings for the man, and when he learns the feelings are reciprocated, all he wants to do is help the other man by sending him to his colleague to face his past…but at what cost?

Kevin uses his quick wit and quiet demeanor to keep people at a distance. He has no idea why he attempted suicide. He just did. There’s a lot about his childhood he’s kept hidden so well that even he doesn’t know what happened. He’s open sexually, at least he’ll talk about it, but the act of doing it does nothing for him. His aversion to any kind of intimacy has left him alone after his wife left him. When he becomes friends with Tom, he knows he likes the man, probably more so than anyone else. But he doesn’t know what it means. When Kevin and Tom become more than friends, Kevin wants to do anything that will make Tom happy including seeing his friend and therapist colleague. When a therapy session brings Kevin’s memories to the surface, Kevin has no choice but face the demons that have haunted him for most of his life.

This book killed me. It is not a fairytale and definitely not for the faint of heart. Jamie Fessenden has a unique writing style that was fascinating. He pulled me into this story, and it was days before I could pick up another book. I was emotionally wrecked by the end. Every single thing about this book was so thought out and written so eloquently that I was spellbound. I can’t say enough good things about it.

This book is one I will read again and again for many years to come.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis