Review: “A Prayer for the Dead” by Victor J.Banis

TITLE: A Prayer for the Dead
AUTHOR: Victor J.Banis
SERIES: Tom and Stanley
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
COVER ARTIST: Adrian Nicholas
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: Apr 17, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

A Tom and Stanley Mystery
Second Edition
Does murder follow Tom and Stanley around, or do they follow the murders?
After a hospital stay, Stanley is invited by Father Brighton to convalesce at St. Marywood, an isolated monastery on the ocean cliffs of Big Sur. Upon arrival, Stanley finds Father Brighton dead. The order’s doctor writes it up as a death by natural causes, but those seem to be quite prevalent at the monastery. The recent demise of a young brother who fell from the cliffs is described as an accident, but Stanley’s nose is twitching. Plus the order’s finances have taken a sudden, mysterious turn for the better. Is something rotten at St. Marywood?
Stanley and Tom can’t resist digging around, even if it means testing their tumultuous relationship against a gaggle of handsome, young, virginal, and—they are told—gay men.
Continues the Deadly Mysteries Series published with MLR Press.


While Stanley is recovering in his hospital bed, a friar comes to visit him. Father Brighton is an old acquaintance of Chris, Stanley’s best friend, and invites him to convalesce at St Marywood, an old monastery on the ocean cliffs.
Stanley agrees to go with Chris, without Tom but when they arrive, they find Father Brighton dead. Most surprising, it’s not the first death in this monastery, a young man was dead a few weeks ago.
Stanley, the trouble magnet he is, understands that there’s no coincidence in those two deaths and even if he claims disliking it, the detective in him wants to investigate.
A Prayer for the Dead is book 7 in this new edition of Tom and Stanley mysteries.

Stanley starts the investigation alone, without his Tom. He couldn’t help it, he knew something was wrong with those deaths. The first part of the book is all about Stanley and Chris trying to solve this new mystery. The second part, Tom comes because he missed Stanley…ok, he didn’t say this, but I knew, he can’t lure me with false pretenses, and our super duet of detectives succeed in their mission. I was glad when he came because Tom Danzel is soooooooo Tom Danzel, and so hot, like super mega alpha hot. Even if they seem to be opposite (and they are), they’re also are complementary and really good together.

I liked this book and this story. It reminds me of a gay lighter version of the novel The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (I love this book). You know the old suffocating atmosphere in an isolated monastery with mysterious priests or friars here. But like I said, it was a gay version, since all the members of this community are gay.

Even if the atmosphere seems religious and heavy, the book was light, fresh, funny and dynamic. There’s some comical of situations with hilarious moments. Personally, my favorite is the naked man with the jockstrap on a cliff… Yes, it’s sounds like Clue (I loved this game), and I won’t tell you more, you’ll just have to read the book and find this scene.
It was a pleasurable read, funny with a good mystery, and I didn’t see the big explanation coming, not at all.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs for my favorite PI.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Crocus” by Amy Lane

TITLE: Crocus
AUTHOR: Amy Lane
SERIES: Bonfires
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 244 pages
RELEASE DATE: Apr 17, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.
High School Principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sherriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.
But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.
Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?


Larx and Aaron are together, in love, happy and try to make their life, work, and children work.
Between 3 teenagers, 1 pregnant daughter which is not okay, 1 daughter who is a queen B***, 2 teenagers in danger, 2 cats, 1 dog, 1 young adult with PTSD and Aaron’s dangerous job, Larx and Aaron have more in their lives and plates than they can deal with.

When their worst fears come true, Larx and Aaron will have to rethink everything from their love for each other to their kids’ lives.
Is love the only thing that counts? That’s what Larx and Aaron will have to find out.
Crocus is book two of the series Bonfire. The story takes place a few weeks after the end of Bonfire.
Amy lane did a great job with this book, as good as book 1 in my opinion. I was really happy to have Aaron and Larx back with their menagerie.

Larx and Aaron live and raise their children together, they also work together in order to help two teenagers in danger, but when Aaron is hurt, Larx has to deal with all the aftermath alone. And he’s angry and hurt. I loved Larx and Aaron’s relationship; they are so human, so real. How they try to have a “normal” relationship in the chaos of their life. How they have to deal with all the problems that life throws at them and how they try each time to reach each other, to fight for each other but also for others, and to stand united no matter what. They are two grown men with a lot of responsibilities, but at the same time, they are also like two teenagers trying to sneak into each other pants. I soooo love those guys.

In this book, a new POV is added, the one of Olivia, Larx’s daughter who’s pregnant. Having her POV was interesting. It wasn’t all the book, it starts at almost the end, but it was a good thing, at least for me, because until I had her POV, I wanted to slap her, like really slap her very hard until she wakes up.

We also meet two new characters, Jamie and his big brother Roberto. I totally swing for the brothers, they touched me at my first meeting with them, and it was also a good thing to get to know more of Tane, Toshi’s boyfriend. I only wanted to get to know those two brothers more, especially Roberto, this one completely got my heart.

This book is a super addition to the series. Amy lane touches a lot of subjects here, but she was able to make them all so real, not simple, but cruelly real.
It was a super read, I loved each word, and Larx and Aaron are magnificent, I so want to be adopted by them.
I highly recommend this book, you will love it as much as Bonfire (for the ones who had read this one), and if you didn’t read Bonfire, you could read this book easily as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading the series.

And I will just add to the author, thank you for this super book, and please, write a Bonfire #3 OR Roberto’s book.

It’s 5 OptimuMMs for the Principal, The Deputy, and their menagerie.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Lost Soul Found” by Kris T Bethke

TITLE: Lost Soul Found
AUTHOR: Kris T Bethke
SERIES: Requiem Inc
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Ghosts/Spirits
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 212 pages
RELEASE DATE: Apr 17, 2018
PRICE: $ 3.49 e-book / $9.99 paperback

BLURB:

Dying is all in a day’s work. Love is more dangerous.
Ghostwalker Sam Jones has been half in love with Michael King since he started working at Requiem Inc. But Michael is his boss and a Guardian, to boot. Sam thinks they could make it work anyway, but Michael uses his position and his age to keep Sam at arm’s length.
When Sam continues to volunteer for the most dangerous cases, Michael has to intervene. He tells himself he’s just doing his job, but he’s always seen Sam as more than another operative, and he can’t bear the thought of not taking his chance. The connection between them has been strong from the beginning, and Michael’s telepathy adds unexpected depth and an edge to their new romance, but working together while they try to build their relationship might be the hardest part of their job if they don’t make some sacrifices.


Lost Soul found is book 2 of the Requiem inc series.
Sam Jones is a ghostwalker. That means he dies every day, goes to the spirit plane (or afterlife) and helps lost souls to cross into the light, and he comes back to the living plane (us) and needs his anchor to take care of him. It’s his job.

Michael King is an anchor and a guardian. He’s the one in charge of all the operatives (ghostwalkers and anchors), he’s the one who kills and bring back all the operatives.
Sam has been in love with Michael for the last decade, but Michael, as attracted to Sam as he is, refuses to have a relationship with him, he denies his attraction for him, and hides behind their job.

How can they have a relationship while working together with Michael being Sam’s boss? That’s what they’ll have to find out.
After the beautiful Ghost of a Chance  I was more than happy to read this second book.
Sam is funny, smart, stubborn and determined to have Michael. He was patient for ten years, until he couldn’t take any more rejection from Michael. I loved Sam. He’s really sweet, smart and nice. He’s funny and stubborn too. I loved how he keeps pursuing Michael because he knew that they were meant to be together.

Michael is hot, powerful, protective and possessives. He’s wanted Sam from the beginning, but he refuses to abuse his authority by being with him. He hides behind this excuse for years until he almost lost Sam, so he maned-up, and confesses his fears and his attraction. I really love him, he is a super-hot, very Alpha type, but at the same time very caring. He loves taking care of Sam, and it’s killing him to have to let Dom (Sam’s anchor) doing this instead of him. I love that he’s confident enough to admit when he was wrong and doesn’t hesitate to beg for forgiveness. No, really, this man is pure perfection (hello new obsession).

This book was different from book 1 and can be read as a standalone. The author did a good job with this book, Sam and Michael are adorable, the plot is only about them and their relationship, it was good and funny sometimes to read how they built their life together.

It’s confirmed the author’s talent and for me to keep following this series.

4 OptimuMMs for the Guardian and his love.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Ten Mile Bottom” by Teodora Kostova

TITLE: Ten Mile Bottom
AUTHOR: Teodora Kostova
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: self
COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 22, 2018
PRICE: 3.99 -e-book / 10.99 -paperback

BLURB:

Hitting rock bottom is just the beginning…
I’m a son, a brother, a friend.
A writer.
An addict.
Dead.
Cardiac arrest isn’t enough to keep me dead, though. The doctors brought me back, but for what?
At twenty four I’ve already achieved what most people do in a life time. I’m a successful author, own a flat in the heart of London and drive my dream sports car.
Or at least that’s what people see.
Once the spotlight fades, I’m left alone with my overactive mind, alcohol and drugs the only way to quiet down the noise.
Until an overdose nearly kills me and drags everyone I love down with me.
With the help of my best friend, I leave London and its toxic influence behind, moving to a small town in the outskirts of Cambridge to try and put my life back together again.
If only it were that easy.


Finn is 24 years old, a successful writer and a junkie.
When he overdosed in the toilet of a club, Finn, with the help of his sister and his best friend, decides to start over, for good, and for the fourth time.

After his rehab, Finn moves to Ten Mile Bottom, a small town near Cambridge, where he meets Ben, a handsome young mechanic.
This time, Finn wants to succeed at getting his life back, to be in control again, but nothing is easy when his demons still haunt him.
I had a real pleasure with this book.

Finn is maybe 24 years old, but he sounds like an old soul. He’s a self-destructive man, addict of hard drugs and alcohol and it took an OD, the heart attack of his best friend and his sister having a miscarriage because of him for Finn to understand that he needs to change. I loved Finn, not at the beginning of the book, I found him too selfish until I understood that he’s an addict, and because of that, he couldn’t understand the pain he inflicted on others. But when he finally understands that he can’t live like that, risking his life but also his best friend’s life, he makes a real change. Finn doesn’t try to find excuses for himself, and he’s lucid about his condition. I really loved him. I found him touchy and funny sometimes.

Ben is a young, hot mechanic. He’s 21 years old but very mature, calm and kind. He supports Finn in his rehab, he tries to understand him, and his fears, and because of that, Finn succeed in his rehabilitation. I really loved Ben, how calm, confident and kind he is, and hot, really hot.

I really love this book. It was a sweet love story, but not only that, it was also a book about a second chance (or in this case fourth). How sometimes a decision like moving to a small town at the bottom of England can change your life, or how inviting an almost stranger to dinner can be the beginning of the most beautiful story of your life. I liked it, I like this kind of book, when the Mc has to start over from scratch.

It was my first time with Teodora Kostova. I never read her before, and it was a good surprise. I loved her writing, simple, fluid and dynamic. I loved how she built her plot around Finn and the aftermath of his OD. It was an exceptional book that I read easily. I was hooked into the story and was surprised when I finished it. I’ll definitely read more books from her.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs for me.

***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: “Southernmost Murder” by C.S. Poe

TITLE: Southernmost Murder
AUTHOR: C.S. Poe
SERIES: Snow and Winter
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 9, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback

BLURB:

Aubrey Grant lives in the tropical paradise of Old Town, Key West, has a cute cottage, a sweet moped, and a great job managing the historical property of a former sea captain. With his soon-to-be-boyfriend, hotshot FBI agent Jun Tanaka, visiting for a little R&R, not even Aubrey’s narcolepsy can put a damper on their vacation plans.
But a skeleton in a closet of the Smith Family Historical Home throws a wrench into the works. Despite Aubrey and Jun’s attempts to enjoy some time together, the skeleton’s identity drags them into a mystery with origins over a century in the past. They uncover a tale of long-lost treasure, the pirate king it belonged to, and a modern-day murderer who will stop at nothing to find the hidden riches. If a killer on the loose isn’t enough to keep Aubrey out of the mess, it seems even the restless spirit of Captain Smith is warning him away.
The unlikely partnership of a special agent and historian may be exactly what it takes to crack this mystery wide-open and finally put an old Key West tragedy to rest. But while Aubrey tracks down the X that marks the spot, one wrong move could be his last.


This is book three of the series. As the first two books were with Sebastian, this can be read as a standalone, but I always suggest reading the first two to keep caught up on the characters. This author did a great job with this historian piece in the present day. I felt like I learned a lot about the Pirates of that century and lost treasures that many have died over. And, how true love can conquer even if it takes over a hundred years.

Aubrey is a historian that moved to The Keys after a bad break up three years ago. He’s the manager at The Smith historian house and is in the process of restoring it to the original form. He has narcolepsy, which added a bit of fun, and falls asleep at some really awkward times. The day he was supposed to go on vacation and pick his boyfriend up at the airport, a skeleton fell out of a closet he was changing the wallpaper in the Smith house. The police officer, Tillman, basically made fun of him and assumed it was that he had fallen asleep and dreamed it because when Tillman got there, Skelly was gone.

Jun, the FBI boyfriend, rented a car and made his way to Aubrey at the Smith house. He knew Aubrey from when he was partners with his ex. Jun had always been in love with Aubrey and has stayed in touch with him the past three years. Three years of flirting and talking and wanting nothing more than to show Aubrey how much he loved him. They were supposed to have a week and a half together until Skelly showed up, murders started happening, and a crash course into history screwed that all up.

I adored this couple, their sexual tension and their adventure they embark on together. I loved how Jun accepts Audrey just the way he is, narcolepsy and all. And the ending was the perfect ending. This has history, drama, suspense, and love in all the right places.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis