Review: “The 17-Year-Old Itch” by MJ O’Shea

TITLE: The 17 Year Old Itch
SERIES: Coconut Cove
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 80 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 17, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book


An old conflict boils up behind the scenes of Coconut Cove.
The popular show is about to start filming its second season, and Tony Adams is happy to return to sunny Key West and his role as innocent Joey… mostly. Being back on set also means facing Casey. They had indulged in a scorching behind-the-scenes tryst during season one, but it ended in heartache for Tony. It still hurts.
When they return to Key West, nothing has changed. Casey takes his role as hot dad a little too far and can’t seem to remember that Tony isn’t the teenager he plays on TV. Tony’s tired of being Casey’s dirty little secret—he’s more than man enough for a real adult romance—and draws a line in the sand. Either Casey acknowledges him and their relationship publicly, or he’s calling it off between them.

Book four in the Coconut Cove series is the story of Tony and Casey. We’ve seen them throughout the series in various parts, and the authors have hinted at some turmoil between the two, but now we finally get their book. The book is once again set in Key West, Florida and is taking place during the filming of the second season of the television show Coconut Cove that both characters star in.

With Tony’s character, I had to go back and try to get a feel for him because this book was a little difficult to grasp in terms of who Tony actually is. I know by now he’s tired of being labeled as adorable and cute. His attitude in the book was of a scorned lover, so there wasn’t much else about his personality that I really saw.

Casey is the older man in this book. He’s told Tony that he can’t be with him but never explained why. Casey wants Tony but doesn’t want Tony. He has reasons, but it takes to the end of the book before we find out and then it was pretty anticlimactic.

The heat was good in the book during the moment. I wish I got more from the characters. I’m not sure why we needed the scenes from the show in this book. They didn’t tie anything together or really add anything to the entirety of the book. As a couple, these weren’t my favorite, but I am looking forward to reading more of the series.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Gentle Dom” by Sean Michael

TITLE: The Gentle Dom
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
SERIES: Iron Eagle Gym
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 14, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback


When one of their own is threatened, the men of the Iron Eagle Gym will stand together and prove they are stronger as a family.
Stuntman Barclay Drambor suspects his fall from a roof was no accident. He believes his abusive ex was responsible, but he can’t prove it. Fortunately, a year has gone by with no word from Duncan, letting Barclay move on with his life—and that means dealing with the aftermath of his injuries. He finds personal trainer Reece “Rec” Gordon through a member of the gym, and it’s not long before their workouts together become much more intimate. Rec is gentle and goes out of his way to make Barclay comfortable, and in no time there’s talk of moving in together….
But just as Barclay is healing and finding a place to belong, Duncan returns to destroy his happiness. Though Duncan will learn he’s messing with the wrong group of men, in the end, Barclay must face him. Will Rec’s love and the friendship of the others at the gym give him the confidence to stand up for himself?

The Gentle Dom is the seventh book in the Iron Eagle Gym series by Sean Michael. I’ve read a couple of the other books in the series and greatly enjoyed them. I can’t wait until I have read them all. This book is a standalone book.

There are cameos from some of the other Iron Eagle members from past books, but you don’t have to have read their stories to enjoy them in this book. This book centers around personal trainer Reece “Rec” Gordon and stuntman Barclay Drambor. The book is well written. There were a few editing mistakes, but they weren’t very distracting. And there was more than enough sex in the book. Lots and lots of sex. So if you don’t like your books with a lot of sex scenes and just enough other interactions outside of the bedroom to satisfy a plot, then this book and series are probably not for you. I happen to really enjoy lots of sex scenes in my books, so for me it is usually a treat, but even this book was riding the line on too much sex. It had started to lose its titillation, and I wanted them to leave the bedroom just a little bit more. Maybe see a little bit more of Barclay’s rehabilitation. But otherwise, I loved the book.

Barclay Drambor is a stuntman that’s recovering from falling from a roof. His only goal is to get his body strong enough to get out of his wheelchair and get back to work. After finally being cleared by his doctor to begin working out again, he meets one of his friends that recommends his friend Reece that works at the Iron Eagle Gym to help him with his recovery. Barclay is also pretty sure that his fall from the roof wasn’t an accident. He believes his abusive ex was responsible, but he can’t prove it and nobody that he’d told believed him.

Luckily for him the last time he saw his ex was when he was in the hospital over a year ago. However, he can’t stop worrying that his ex will show back up and try to hurt him again. And that’s ultimately why they broke up in the first place because Duncan was abusing him both physically and mentally. He even ripped out his nipple piercing. I loved Barclay. He was super sweet and kind of shy. He hadn’t been around the BDSM lifestyle and wasn’t sure that it was for him, but that’s what I like about the BDSM lifestyle—that it doesn’t have to be anything that you don’t want it to be. You don’t like spankings, fine. You don’t like being humiliated, fine. You just want to belong to somebody and be cherished as they cherish you that is perfectly fine also. And that’s what Barclay is looking for as a natural submissive. He wants somebody to cherish him. To be kind and gentle with him and show him that he’s loved.

Reece “Rec” Gordon is a personal trainer for the Iron Eagle Gym and a Dom. I liked Rec. I liked getting to see how Barclay recovered and how Rec introduced him into the BDSM lifestyle. He didn’t push or try to introduce him into things that were a turn off to him. He got to know him and his likes and dislikes. I liked their instant chemistry. You could feel the attraction that they had for each other. And I liked that Reece believed Barclay when he told him his suspicions about his fall from the roof. They were just great together.

Overall, another great addition to the Iron Eagle Gym series. I hope this series continues for a very long time.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Gray’s Shadow” by K.A Merikan

TITLE: Gray’s Shadow
AUTHOR: K.A Merikan
SERIES: Kings of Hell MC
PUBLISHER: Acerbi&Villani ltd.
COVER ARTIST: Natasha Snow
GENRE: Paranormal
LENGTH: 555 pages
RELEASE DATE: Aug 11, 2018
PRICE: $5.99 e-book


— There can be no shadow without the man to cast it. —
Gray. Lost his twin. Will never be complete. Works alone.
Shadow. Monster? Human? Exists to be Gray’s one true companion.
After losing his twin brother, Gray has devoted his life to the Kings of Hell MC. He will do anything to protect his family and that means anything.
Even sell his own shadow to the devil.
Following a fire that left him without one arm, Gray feels pushed to the sidelines. In order to prove to his club that he is still capable of completing dangerous tasks, he will have to team up with the strange creature from the Other Side. Tall, inhumanly strong, and menacing despite the handsome exterior, Shadow is just the tool Gray needs.
The moment Shadow lays his eyes on Gray, he wants to crawl under Gray’s skin and make the human his.
Gray on the other hand isn’t willing to get attached to a monster destined to do the devil’s bidding and disappear once his time is up. Rejected, Shadow has to do everything in his power to convince his human that they belong together.
But as the clock ticks away precious minutes of Shadow’s existence, Gray will have to choose between his loyalty to the Kings of Hell MC and responsibility for the creature he brought into this world.
“Do you feel me running through your veins?”
Gray nodded.
Themes: motorcycle club, alternative lifestyles, demons, monster, tattoos, secrets, crime, gothic, grief, mourning, enemies to lovers, forced proximity, fish out of water, opposites attract, demisexuality, gentle giant
Genre: Dark, paranormal M/M romance
Erotic content: Scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes
Length: ~150,000 words (Book 4 in the series)

WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, offensive language, and morally ambiguous characters.

Gray is a member of the Kings of Hell MC. He devoted his life to the club, after losing his twin brother, and his arm; he agrees to give up his shadow to save Jake (On Your Knees Prospect (king of Hell MC #3))
Shadow wants one thing … Gray. He’s bonded to him, and he wants to belong to him as much as to possess him.
Gray wants nothing to do with Shadow, for him, he’s just a monster, an entity with the purpose to serve Baal and disappear.
3 months, that’s what they have, if Gray wishes never to have met Shadow, Shadow will do everything to convince Gray that they are meant to be.
He can only hope to have enough time for that.

Gray’s Shadow is book four of the King of Hell MC series by K.A Merikan.

No need to tell you how much I love this book and the authors. This series gets better and better with each book, and they always find a way to surprise me.

Gray is a solitary, discreet and reserved. Losing his twin brother broke him (understandable), and Gray is used to staying alone. He loves his brothers and his club, but he doesn’t really fit with them all the time. When Shadow came into his life, Gray only sees a “monster” at first, a “thing” that inhabited a human body. But the more time Gray and Shadow will have to be together, the more Gray will see himself mirrored in Shadow. I loved Gray, he always intrigued me, and this book gives me answers. He’s so lonely, so in pain since his twin’s death, I wanted to cry for him, I understood his tortured soul better, and was happy to read that for once things can turn out beautifully for him. In an unconventional way, but, hey, we’re talking about K.A Merikan, nothing is conventional in this series…even Laurent!

Shadow is FANTASTIC. He’s fabulous, funny (I laughed out loud so many times), kind and pure with some bloody, deadly tendencies. I can’t really describe Shadow, you need to meet him directly, and you’ll understand. He’s beautiful and super funny. He has this duality between a pure, innocent baby and a bloody serial killer. Let’s just say, don’t threaten Gray and you’ll be able to keep your head on your body. I thought no one in this series could beat Laurent in my heart… But here comes Shadow, I completely adored him.

This book was a good addition to the series, while we learn about Shadow and Gray; we also learn a little bit more about Baal and his plan. The authors don’t give us any clue as to how the guys will survive the doom of Baal coming. We only have one book left, and I can’t figure out how our favorite gang will survive, and it starts to get my blood and my anxiety levels a little bit higher.

K.A Merikan gave us another masterpiece, with good writing, a lot of creativity and humor in a complex plot. It was brilliant, and I can only hope to have the last and final episode soon, even if it breaks my heart to say goodbye.

5 OptimuMM’s for Gray and his Shadow!

***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: “Star-Crossed Lover” by Liv Olteano

TITLE: Star-Crossed Lover
AUTHOR: Liv Olteano
SERIES: Dreamcatchers
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Paranormal
LENGTH: 210 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 7, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback


A Dreamcatchers Tale
A love worth crossing the stars for.
Taka has been a dreamcatcher and part of Team 32 for over six decades, but nobody has tempted him like Ginger—a dancer at club Zee. Too bad dreamcatchers aren’t allowed to have meaningful relationships with regular people. His willpower proves a finite resource, though, when a mission at the club means spending much more time around Ginger.
Ginger’s infatuation with Taka is unwavering. When he proves to have some paranormal skills of his own, he earns himself a place on the team—if he wants it. His decision will change his life—not to mention Taka’s—irrevocably.
But living in the now could prove an issue for a man who has as much history as Taka. Can Ginger’s determination help him make his way into Taka’s heart?

Star-Crossed Lover is the second book in the Dreamcatchers series and the twenty-fifth book in the Dreamspun Beyond series by Liv Olteano.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Liv Olteano, and it was okay. I liked the characters, but the plot was a little confusing and messy. And it might have been that I was just missing what had happened in the first book and some of the background details that might have been explained but another of the OptimuMM reviewers reviewed the first book in the series and also had a problem with the plot being confusing and messy. So it just might be the author’s writing style. The plot was good though. I did like the storyline, and I do want to find out what happens next, so I’m going to read the next book when it comes out. My favorite parts of the book were when Taka and Ginger were interacting and when it was explained how they were star-crossed lovers. I kind of wish that they had explained more about their past lives’ struggles and what kept them apart until now. The editing of the book could have been better, but as it was an ARC copy, I’m hoping that they got caught and fixed.

Taka has been part of Team 32 and a dreamcatcher for over six decades, but nobody has tempted him like the dancer at club Zee. It’s too bad that dreamcatchers aren’t allowed to have meaningful relationships with regular people. But that doesn’t stop him from going to the club on his downtime and watching Ginger. His willpower will be put to the test, though, when a mission at the club means spending a lot of time around Ginger. I liked Taka. He was strong, courageous, and protective.

I liked Ginger more than Taka. Taka maybe older than Ginger but it’s Ginger that ends up taking the lead in their relationship, which just confuses Taka because he thinks he should be the more experienced one in the relationship since he’s older. I also liked how unwavering Ginger’s infatuation for Taka is. He’s been flirting with him since he started working for the club about a year ago. When it comes to light that Ginger is from a line of witches and that he would be a good candidate for being a dreamcatcher, I was so excited for Taka since he can now follow his desires and date Ginger.

I also liked how they go on missions and fight the spagas (demons) who suck the lifeforce out of their victims while they are sleeping.
At the end of the book was an exclusive excerpt for the next book in the series Lover Behind Enemy Lines which is going to be about Claw and their captive Nathan Gallagher. I can’t wait to read it.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Don’t let Go” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Don’t let Go
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: Aug 7, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback


Avery Rivers is a country music sensation, selling records by the millions and playing to sold-out crowds. But behind that persona is Robert, a burned-out musician cracking under the pressure. He’s unable to write any new songs, and he wants out of the business—at least for a while. He changes his appearance and finds honest, hard work in Jackson, Wyoming. Maybe getting to be a regular guy for a while will get him past his block.
Hy Whitely was a championship bull rider until he watched his best friend thrown in the arena and decided the rodeo circuit was no longer the place for him. He wants to be plain old Zeke for a while, and when he returns to his family ranch, he bumps right into Robert—a one-night stand from his last rodeo appearance who is now working there as a ranch hand.
The heat between the men could sear the grass off the range, but each one is hiding a secret. Robert and Zeke, the men behind the public images, fall in love, but can they hold on when Avery and Hy are pulled back into the spotlight?

Andy Rivers is one of the most famous and talenedt country’s singers of his generation. After months on the road, Andy Rivers wants to disappear away from the spotlight and just be Robert.

Hy Withly is a bull rider who, after seeing his best friend Carson die in the Arena, wants to take a pause, and just being Zeke a ranch farmer.
When Robert and Zeke meet, everything is simple and natural between them, but what will happen when Zeke meets Andy and Robert meets Hy? Could what they start as Robert and Zeke, two anonymous men survive the spotlight, press, and fans?

Don’t let Go is a beautiful ballad written by Andrew Grey.

Robert is exhausted by his life, being on the road, being constantly pressed for more by his agent, managers, and fans. It burned him out, and he needs a break. He needs to find his creativity—to find himself. When he meets Zeke, Robert finds more than his creativity, but he doesn’t know how to deal with it without losing Zeke.

Zeke had always wanted to be a bull rider champion, it was his dream since he was a kid, but when he loses his best friend in the arena, Zeke re-thinks everything and goes back to his home, hoping to find answers at his questions. Meeting Robert wasn’t in his schedule, but maybe he will help him to find his path.

I loved both men, they’re honest, simple, and don’t play games. Even, if at first, both men don’t reveal their alter-ego, it wasn’t manipulative, they just wanted to be loved for the men they were, not the artist or champion. I really liked this about them, just like I loved how they connect, with simplicity, like it was meant to be. It was well written, and I could feel it in my read.
The plot was good, easy to follow and consistent without too much angst. The secondary characters are lovable and give a good a dynamic to the book.

I gladly recommend this book. It was a beautiful ballad, the kind you hummed with a secret smile on your lips.
4 OptimuMM’s for the rider and his artist.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis