Review of: Coming Up For Air by Amanda Meuwissen

TITLE: Coming Up For Air
AUTHOR: Amanda Meuwissen
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: April 30, 2019


It’s not easy being someone’s fairy tale.
Leigh Hurley is making a name for himself among thieves and criminals, even if it isn’t the life he would’ve chosen. He shouldn’t have screwed over the Moretti brothers, though. It landed him in the river with weights on his feet. But somehow he’s escaped certain death. The last thing he remembers before waking on the riverbank is a beautiful face and a soft kiss.
Then, Tolomeo turns up naked at Leigh’s apartment.
Tolly comes from a race of killers—merfolk who drown humans for fun. But Tolly is different, and when he sees a human in trouble, he offers a kiss, granting the man the ability to breathe underwater… and himself the ability to walk on land, at least until the next full moon. The ancient laws state that if he is given a vow of love by the one he kissed, he will be able to keep his legs. If not, he will be put to death when he returns to the water.
But love is not something Leigh offers easily… and Tolly has a secret of his own.

Coming Up For Air by Amanda Meuwissen is the first book that I’ve read by this author, but it won’t be the last book that I read by her. The book had complex characters and an interesting plot. I was entertained from the first page to the last.

The book is based loosely on the “Little Mermaid” fairy tale. I liked that the author changed up the roles of the fairy tale and made the story her own. In this tale, we have two warring mobs fighting for each other’s territory, seedy dock workers, thieves, and many other unsavory characters. Then you have the merfolk. They aren’t like in the Little Mermaid. The merfolk have three possible forms. In their original form, they have razor sharp teeth, long sharp claws, and are deadly fighters who live to drown humans. They also have a form that looks more like a friendly merman with normal human-like features except for their tails, which are still very much a merman’s tail. Then they have their human form complete with human legs which they only get when they share a kiss with a human.

The kiss grants the human special abilities also, like the ability to breathe underwater and achieve the human-like merfolk form, although they only get that form if they bond with the merman. But bestowing a kiss on a human isn’t without its consequences. Ancient laws state that if the merman is given a vow of love by the one he kissed, the merman will be able to keep his legs. If not, he will be put to death when he returns to the water.

Tolomeo, aka Tolly, comes from a race of killers—merfolk who drown humans for fun. But Tolly is different. He was raised to be kind to humans and other creatures of the sea. When he sees a human in trouble, he offers a kiss, granting the man the ability to breathe underwater and himself the ability to walk on land, at least until the next full moon. If he isn’t able to obtain a vow of love by the one he kissed, then he will be put to death upon returning to the water.

Leigh Hurley is best friends with Mob boss Arthur Sweeney’s son, Alvin, and Leigh has been making a name for himself by being a little bit like “Robin Hood.” Trying to make a name for himself and move up in the ranks in Sweeney’s Mob, he steals payments that are supposed to be being paid to the mob run by the Moretti brothers and eventually ends up getting caught and getting weights shackled to his ankles and taking a swim in the river. But somehow he escapes certain death. The last thing he remembers before waking up on the riverbank is a beautiful face and a soft kiss. And then Tolomeo turns up naked at Leigh’s apartment. And he ends up becoming Leigh’s bodyguard/boyfriend. But even though Tolly can see and feel how much Leigh loves him, Leigh doesn’t believe in saying the words. And the ancient laws state that he has to make the vow out loud to count. What will Tolly do?

I loved both Leigh and Tolly. I loved the chemistry between them, and I was completely invested in their feelings and actions. They even made me cry a couple of times, and I love when that happens because it shows just how invested I have become in their story.

I hope that the author will write many more books about the merfolk because I can’t be the only one out there that loves reading about them. I also can’t wait to read more books by this author.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Wisdom’s Allegiance by M.D. Grimm

TITLE: Wisdom’s Allegiance
AUTHOR: M.D. Grimm
SERIES: The Shifter Chronicles
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: MMM, Paranormal
RELEASE DATE: May 28, 2019


The Shifter Chronicles: Book Thirteen
Can a loyal and sensual owl shifter couple woo a human mate who’s convinced he’s an ugly duckling?
When socially awkward Dexter Fortis rescues an elf owl blown off course by a storm, he has no idea the bird is a shifter named Orion. Or that his life is about to change.
Orion falls in love with the kind custodian, but he must convince his long-term partner, Talon, that Dexter is just who they’ve been searching for to establish a permanent ménage. Even if they can gently break down Dexter’s walls, they’ll have to contend with a dangerous cult rising in the shifter community and a hidden enemy determined to keep Dexter from them

Wisdom’s Allegiance is the thirteenth book in the Shifter Chronicles series by M.D. Grimm. The books are mostly standalone. Two of the books are sequels to previous books and so aren’t counted in the series numbers. Those two wouldn’t be standalone, but the others are. I loved the cover of the book and was sucked in by the blurb, and although I saw that it was the thirteenth book in the series, I decided I wanted to review it. I’m so glad that I did. I absolutely loved the book and promptly went out and bought the series bundle so I can go back and read the first nine books. The book was everything I was looking for in a paranormal shifter book. There was fated mates with a human being one of the mates, a great plot with villains from both the shifter community and the human community trying to protect their species, and for once, I found a paranormal book that I loved that didn’t have any male pregnancy in it. Usually, I love m-preg, but with this book and its plot, I found that I didn’t miss it.

I loved how bubbly Orion is. He’s this cute, cuddly elf owl that Dexter rescues from a bad snow storm on his way home from work. Orion falls in love quickly, but he’s sure that Dexter is his true mate. All he has to do is convince his long-term partner, Talon, that Dexter is who they’ve been searching for to establish a permanent ménage.

I loved Talon. He’s a great-horned owl, and he’s fierce and protective of the people he loves. And he’s as opposite as can be from his long-term mate, Orion. Hence them trying to find a third mate to bridge the gap and give them both what they are missing in their relationship.

I also loved Dexter. He’s human, painfully shy, unloved by his family because he can’t live up to their expectations even though he went to Notre Dame just like his perfect younger brother. He has two strikes against him in his family’s eyes. He’s overweight, and he’s gay. He has a couple of friends, has never had a date or a boyfriend, has a little bit of sexual experience but not much, and has enormous self-esteem and self-worth issues. He can’t believe that two handsome men are interested in him being their friend let alone their boyfriend. I love how fierce he is about protecting Orion when he believes he’s being insulted or in danger. I also loved how Orion is able to pull Dexter out of his painfully shy shell and how Talon’s steady presence and approval help also.

I also loved when Dexter spends New Year’s Eve with Talon and Orion’s family, and he was instantly accepted and found a new family to love and be loved by.

Overall, a fabulous book and if this book is any indication of what I can look forward to in the series, then I can’t recommend this book or this series enough.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Azaran by Jacki James

TITLE: Azaran
AUTHOR: Jacki James
SERIES: The Brotherhood of Ormarr
GENRE: Paranormal
RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2019


I was born a dragon rider. A member of the Brotherhood of Ormarr, son of Cadmar, and the eldest of four sons. I was raised to defend the innocent and protect the secret of the dragons, but when I was eighteen, my parents were brutally murdered and the training and care of my brothers fell to me. My entire adult life has been spent helping my brothers grow into the strong, brave dragon riders they were born to be. Now that the youngest of my brothers is close to adulthood, the last thing I need is someone else to worry about—someone else to be responsible for. If only the handsome doctor fate had chosen for my mate wasn’t so perfect for me.
AlI I ever wanted was to help people, that’s why I became a doctor, but I quickly learned that modern medicine was more about the all-mighty dollar and less about saving lives. It wasn’t long before I was doubting my life choices. A vacation to the ocean was supposed to leave me refreshed and ready to get back to work, but instead, I found myself pulled into a world I never knew existed. A world where dragons are real, men fight like medieval warriors, and my soulmate has his very own bat cave. Azaran thinks the last thing he needs is a mate to worry about. Good thing I don’t need anyone to take care of me. My sexy dragon rider, on the other hand, needs someone to take care of him, and I think I’m just the man to do it.
Azaran is the first book in The Brotherhood of Ormarr series. While each book focuses on a different couple, the overall story arc continues in the next installment. For maximum enjoyment, we suggest reading in order. Azaran is a m/m romance, and is recommended for adults 18 years and older.

In the Brotherhood of Ormarr, they are honor bound to protect and serve. They were blessed many many years ago with the ability to ride dragons. Not only do they ride them, but they are bound to them. Fate also has gifted each rider a mate. That one person that’s made just for them. Azaran is the eldest son of the Ormarr clan. He has taken on the responsibility of raising and taking care of his three youngest brothers. He has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, and he just doesn’t think he can possibility shoulder anything else fate might throw his way. Toby became a Doctor because he loves the thought of helping people. He wants to help those who need him, but being a doctor in a hospital isn’t what he signed up for. He wants to help people no matter the cost, but he’s learned that’s not how things work. He’s given a leave of absence and picks a spot on the map. This will be the place he finds that not only does magic exist, but that fate knows exactly what she’s doing. All these two have to do is embrace her gift.

Azaran lives his life for his brothers and the brotherhood. He was thrust into his responsibilities at such a young age and had no choice but to embrace the changes and see them through. This isn’t the life he chose. He wasn’t ready to be a pseudo parent for his younger siblings or be a member of the brotherhood council. Now fate thrusts his mate at him, and he’s not ready, in fact, he may never be ready. It’s too much responsibility, and he has enough of that as it is.

Toby loves this town he’s vacationing in. He loves it so much he’s pondering the idea of never leaving as one does while on vacation. He wasn’t expecting to be thrust into a family of dragon riders, told he couldn’t leave, and on top of all that, he’s the mate to the big, sexy, brooding one? No. Absolutely not. He has a life to get back to. Except when he tries to get back to it, he finds he can’t leave. He physically can not. What will he do now? His “mate” doesn’t want him, and he can’t leave. But fate doesn’t make mistakes.

This book was phenomenal. I love dragons, and love and hot sexy, brooding men. It has everything. The storyline is just getting started while the romance is off the charts. Great read!

***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 of: Kaidyn’s Courage by Diana Waters

TITLE: Kaidyn’s Courage
AUTHOR: Diana Waters
SERIES: Wild Magics
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
GENRE: Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: March 15,2019


Kaidyn is the son of the queen and a trainee officer in the kingdom of Sareen. He is also a Half-Blood—his father is from Iskandir, a neighboring kingdom which has been at war with Sareen for many years. Bitter and angry at the prejudice he faces, Kaidyn meets Sorin, a healer from one of Sareen’s most prominent noble families. As their relationship deepens, the war between Sareen and Iskandir grows worse. Not only will the pair inevitably become involved with the conflict one way or another, but Sorin is also hiding a secret, and time is running out for them both.

Kaidyn is the son of the queen of Soreen and a merchant from Iskandir, a rival kingdom. He’s a half-blood, so he’s disrespected by other nobles or pure Soreen bloods. He’s also a trainee officer for Soreen, preparing himself for a war against his father’s kingdom.

Sorin is a young healer at the academy who won Kaidyn’s heart, but the war is coming, and Sorin and Kaidyn’s aren’t sure about a future together. They would have to have faith in their love.
Kaidyn’s Courage by Diana Waters is book 2 in the Wild Magics series. It can be read as a standalone.

Kaidyn and Sorin are completely different from each other. Kaidyn has a fierce temper; he’s rough, rude, and impatient while Sorin is quiet, shy, and patient. He’s also brave, smart and insecure while Sorin is fierce, strong and kind. They’re also complementary, Sorin helps to ease Kaidyn temper, and Kaidyn supports Sorin in his mission. Their love brings out the best of each other.

The book is written from Kaidyn’s POV in the third person. The universe was well built, the background about Soreen and Iskandir interesting. However, the pacing of the book could have been faster, in my opinion. The main characters need to have more depth to them, and the reader needs to see and feel how they struggle to show personal growth. The author describes their struggles, but I didn’t feel it, I didn’t empathize with them. Otherwise, the plot was interesting and Kaidyn and Sorin loveable. I would have loved to see more about Luke and more about the Kingdom of Soreen and Iskandir at the end of the war.

I will read the next book in the series, who knows maybe it will be about Luke.3 Stars for them.

***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 of: The Nothingness of Ben by Brad Boney

TITLE: The Nothingness of Ben
AUTHOR: Brad Boney
SERIES: The Austin Trilogy
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: Nov 23, 2012


Ben Walsh is well on his way to becoming one of Manhattan’s top litigators, with a gorgeous boyfriend and friends on the A-list. His life is perfect until he gets a phone call that brings it all crashing down: a car accident takes his parents, and now he must return to Austin to raise three teenage brothers he barely knows.
During the funeral, Ben meets Travis Atwood, the redneck neighbor with a huge heart. Their relationship initially runs hot and cold, from contentious to flirtatious, but when the weight of responsibility starts wearing on Ben, he turns to Travis, and the pressure shapes their friendship into something that feels a lot like love. Ben thinks he’s found a way to have his old life, his new life, and Travis too, but love isn’t always easy. Will he learn to recognize that sometimes the worst thing imaginable can lead him to the place he was meant to be?

This was my first read from this author.

When it comes to rating this book, I’m not sure how to rate it. I liked it, and at the same time, there was so many things that I couldn’t agree with.

Ben Walsh comes home after his parents die in a tragic accident. He has a promising carrier in Manhattan, and he’s also an out and proud gay man. This was the reason he was considered a absent member of his family. His late mother didn’t agree to his lifestyle, so he stayed away missing out on his three younger brothers growing up. And this when it’s started to be weird for me. I’m, myself, am the older brother, but my parents’ behavior never let me to stay away from my brother.

Ben Walsh’s behavior is inappropriate when it comes to understanding what his younger brothers are going through. The brothers are angry with him, and honestly, with reason. Ben is not a likable character in my honest opinion, and the feeling remained till the end of the book.

Travis is a sweetheart! It was an insta-like for me. He’s the big brother to the younger Walsh brothers that they need. They seek comfort in him, turning to him instead of their brother, Ben. But then Travis starts to have strange feelings for Ben … Travis is straight, up until now. He never felt attracted to a man before. This confuses him.

There was a scene, actually many, when I wanted to club Ben on his head! Ben is a selfish person. If I were in Travis’s place, I wouldn’t give a minute of my life to Ben.

Rapping it up, it’s not a bad or good book. I let you be the judge of it …

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis