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

Review: “Santori: Reborn” by Maris Black

TITLE: Santori: Reborn
AUTHOR: Maris Black
SERIES: Santori Trilogy
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Maris Black
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Mystery / Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 254 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 31, 2018
PRICE: $5.99 -e-book / $12.99 – paperback

BLURB:

MICHAEL KAGE SANTORI doesn’t think his life can get any more complicated. Juggling a new business, a fledgling UFC career, and the only real relationship he’s ever had is taking a toll on him both mentally and physically. After being attacked for daring to question the inner workings of his own business, he is left broken and confused. The discovery of his uncle’s journals has brought him face-to-face with a past he never understood, and the new perspective has him reeling. Add to that the fact that he hasn’t been totally honest with the love of his life, and you have a recipe for a serious nervous breakdown.
When an old friend resurfaces with new information, Kage discovers things are only going to get worse before they get better. If he ever hopes to free himself from the chains of his uncle’s dark legacy, he’s going to have to become something he never wanted to be.
And risk losing the only person he’s ever truly loved.
JAMIE ATWOOD is in over his head. Instead of the happily ever after he’d envisioned, moving in with Kage has only been one disappointment after another. Kage has come out to the entire world and still managed to keep his reputation and his UFC contract intact, but mysterious forces Jamie has yet to discover are transforming his sexy alpha fighter into someone he doesn’t recognize anymore.
If Kage doesn’t come clean soon, Jamie fears he’s going to have to leave. With his journalism degree and a newly-flourishing MMA blog, he knows he’s got what it takes to make it on his own financially. It’s his heart he’s worried about.
Because without Kage by his side, what is there to live for?


MEANWHILE IN ANOTHER LIFETIME…
PETER SANTORI has found his bliss. Being Gio’s boy is a dream come true for a guy who thought he was doomed to a life of abuse and poverty. His confidence and sense of security are flourishing in the warm glow of Gio’s love, and he has started to believe that maybe he can have the fairytale after all.
Never mind that he’s got to keep the true nature of their relationship a secret. Never mind that one of Gio’s associates seems to have something against him. And never mind that sometimes he gets the feeling that there’s a lot more to Gio than meets the eye. All that matters is that he and Gio are together.
4 EVER & EVER…


Kage is still trying to figure out what’s happening in his uncle’s business that he inherited.
After the beating he’d taken from Theo Brown’s goons and the discovery of his uncle’s journal, Kage has to make a choice between Jamie and their future together or finding out the truth.
Jamie wants to be the man Kage needs, but how can he help him without knowing the truth?
They are in a very difficult situation with lots of secrets and lies, only their love for each other can help them…but is it enough?

Santori: Reborn is book two of the Santori trilogy.  The story starts at the end of book 1, and we keep following Kage and Jamie in their new life together.

Kage tries to understand what really happens with the Alcazar and the inheritance from his uncle, and the only way is to be close to Theo Brown. His uncle’s best friend, his right hand, and the man who seems to control the “under business” of Peter’s, the illegal ones. So Kage, without really wanting it, and forced by Aaron (the bodyguard who helps them) must work with Theo, even if it means losing Jamie and himself in the process.
I wanted to beat Kage more than he already was. He pissed me off to no end, really, the fact he accepts being manipulated by Theo and Aaron (don’t let me start about Aaron) and plays their game, pissed me off. I do believe that Kage is stronger with Jamie by his side. But I also understand why he’s ready to do anything to protect Jamie. So I refused to beat him and try to understand him.

Jamie is lost, at first, but when he understood what Kage was intending to do and that he can’t change his mind, he did the most difficult thing he can…he protects himself first. I admire him for that, and I was proud of him. Jamie starts to be more mature than the young student he was in “Kage: Trilogy”.
Then comes Peter, young Peter. I love this one. I’m still trying to understand how Young-Emo-Peter becomes Old-Coldness-Peter. His story is interesting to read along with his journal with Kage. For now, we’re still with young innocent Peter, in love with the handsome Gio Rivera.

I couldn’t help but make a parallel between Emo-Peter and Jamie, they’re the same, this same innocence and kindness, while Kage is a kind of mini Gio Rivera. It’s completely brilliant from the author to create this parallel between her characters from 2 different timelines.
I really loved this book, how the author put her characters in an area where nothing is black or white, when no one is really good or bad, it’s a universe of grey areas, when bad actions can be explaining by good motivation.

I don’t know how it will end, how Jamie and Kage will still be together, but I’m sure that I’ll read it until the end, because knowing Maris Black, she reserving more surprises.

It’s 5 brilliant OptimuMMs …. I want a fedora!

***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: “Dead Weight” by Pandora Pine

TITLE: Dead Weight
AUTHOR: Pandora Pine
SERIES: Cold Case Psychic
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: The Killion Group
GENRE: Paranormal ; Mystery / Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 228 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 10, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 e-book

BLURB:

Cold Case Detective, Ronan O’Mara, is looking forward to starting a new life in his new home, but when a strange house warming gift appears on his doorstep, he has no idea that it marks the start of a series of events that will put his life, and the lives of everyone close to him in danger. When murders similar to those committed by dead serial killer, Rod Jacobson, start occurring around Boston, Ronan is certain he has a copycat killer on his hands.
Psychic, Tennyson Grimm, is approached by friends for help dealing with issues surrounding their son. He quickly realizes there is more going with the boy than teenaged angst. Though he doesn’t want to believe it, his psychic abilities and a series of strange paranormal occurrences point to a link between the troubled teen and the murder victims that are turning up all over Boston.
When Ronan is attacked during the investigation, it’s up to Tennyson and Captain Fitzgibbon to find the killer without him. Will they be able to stop the murderer before the evil that surrounds him destroys them all?


Dead Weights is the fourth book of the Cold Case Psychic series.
Tennyson and Ronan are newly engaged and start their new life together by moving into their new house.
Everything is going great for them. Tennyson has his powers back, Ronan and he are more in tune and in love more than ever, and they don’t have a traumatic case…for now.
But nothing can stay like that, and Tennyson has gotten new visions of murders, young men murders, like with the Rob Jacobson case, but it can’t be him, since he’s dead.
So who’s impersonating this serial killer?

This book is, in my opinion, the one that gives me the most feelings.
Tennyson and Ronan are my guys, and I loved to see them having their happy life, in their new house next to Carson and Truman. It was good, like being on vacation, after all the ups and downs we read in the 3 previous books. But of course, the author couldn’t let us be happy and in peace, nooooo, she had to make us suffer, a little bit. That’s when everything went to hell at least for me.

The case is very specific, and what we’re used to reading about the crimes and the hunt for the killer is different in this book. It was a risk, and so far, it was a good risk. This book is more cryptic I’ll say, with a little bit of religion, but it was coherent with this particular case and killer. I almost had a heart attack in the middle of the book, there’s a twist that I didn’t see coming, and it put my blood pressure very high. I can say that I was on a rollercoaster of emotions.
I liked it. It was good to be out of my comfort zone with the guys, to have to deal with new situations and not a simple plot. It wasn’t black or white this time, and like I said, I was completely hooked on the story and loving it a lot…

But the end, kind of ruined the book for me.

I don’t want to spoil the book, but I’ll try to explain it. The final scene, just before the epilogue, bothered me. In my opinion, the scene wasn’t well written, and the author missed something in it. It wasn’t that the scene doesn’t make sense, because, in this tricky situation, with this particular character, I understand why the author does that, I’m okay with the motivation, I’m not okay with how it was done. It was like everyone abandoned this character and gave him the green light, like an encouragement. It really bothered me, and kind of ruined the book for me. It pissed me off a little bit because right after this scene, the epilogue comes…and it was a beautiful epilogue (I was totally crushed, crying like a baby with big fat tears), with a lot of answers and explanations. That’s why I think this last scene wasn’t well written because maybe, if I had some of explanations that were in the epilogue in this scene, it would have given me another feeling.

That’s why I put 3 OptimuMMs for this book. But don’t get me wrong, I’ll keep reading this series, I still love it a lot, and it’s not because this book leaves me with a bittersweet aftertaste that I don’t want to follow the series anymore. That’s what happens with a series, we all have a favorite and less favorite. This is one is my less favorite.

3 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: “Redeeming the Stepbrother” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Redeeming the Stepbrother
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Tales from St. Giles
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Adrian Nicholas
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 10, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A Tale from St. Giles
Family can be a blessing and a curse, but for artist Florian, it’s a nightmare he longs to escape.
As chief designer for Bartholomew Artist Porcelain, Florian specializes in painting birds. He also watches them in the wild to distract himself from his short-tempered mother, at least temporarily. Florian’s heart is too soft to leave his stepsister, Ella, to suffer alone. Still, he can’t help dreaming about one day finding happiness and love.
When Count Dieter von Hollenbach arrives in town to visit a friend and present an award, he isn’t looking for romance. Then again, he doesn’t expect someone as perfect as Florian to come into his life. To make sure Florian is all he seems and that their connection is genuine, Dieter keeps his title to himself.
But he isn’t the only one with a secret.
At a masquerade ball to celebrate the award, some of the masks fall away, but those that remain in place could destroy the love beginning to grow between them.


Redeeming the Stepbrother is the second book in the Tales of St. Giles series by Andrew Grey. I loved the first book in the series, Taming the Beast, which was a play on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.
The second book is a play on the Cinderella fairy tale, but Andrew Grey has made it his own because the story isn’t about Cinderella, which would be the stepsister, it’s about one of the stepbrothers, who wants to protect his stepsister. There is still the evil stepmother and the rotten stepbrother, but there is only one rotten stepbrother instead of two. The good stepbrother, Florian, is old enough and makes enough to be on his own instead of still living at home but that would leave his underage stepsister at the mercy of his selfish and self-absorbed mother, who treats his stepsister like her own personal servant. So Florian stays to play mediator. I loved how he stands up to his mom and his brother ‘cause they are both a piece of work.

Florian and his brother both work at the Bartholomew Artist Porcelain, however, Florian is loved by his design team and everybody at the company, and his brother is hated by his co-workers. So when his brother gets passed over for a supervisor’s promotion, it has to be his brother’s fault since he’s been seen talking to the owners and the German representative that is there to present an award that the company has won.

I loved Florian. He’s kind and sweet and doesn’t take shit from his family but there isn’t a lot of gay people in their little town, and he’s kind of lonely. And he may have had a crush on his boss, Dante for the longest time, although he’s had to give that up when his boss got married, and he can see how in love they are and how they complete each other. Florian is a chief designer and specializes in painting birds. He’s won numerous awards, and it’s because of his work that they have won another award. He also loves to watch the birds in the wild to help with design ideas, and it’s in the marshes that he first meets Dieter von Hollenbach. And he falls for him fast and hard. But he knows that a relationship between them is not realistic since Dieter is only going to be in town for two weeks before going back home. Will Florian go with him when he goes and if he does what will happen to his stepsister?

Count Dieter von Hollenbach is in town to visit his friend Dante and award his company with an award. When he gets into town, he goes to the local hotspot for seeing birds and gets stuck in the mud and is lucky that Florian is there to save him. He didn’t come looking for love, but that didn’t stop it from happening. But is Florian really as wonderful as he seems and how will he react when Dieter tells him that he’s a count?

I liked how Dieter and Florian interacted together, and I loved getting to see more of Dante and Beau from the first book. I especially liked how the book ended, and I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “A Dom & His Artist” by Xenia Melzer

TITLE: A Dom & His Artist
AUTHOR: Xenia Melzer
SERIES: Club Whisper
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Erotic; BDSM
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 10,2018
PRICE: $4.89 -e-book

BLURB:

A Club Whisper Novel


Sometimes the perfect man can be found in the most unexpected place….
Martin Carmichael owns a security firm and is part owner of Club Whisper. He’s a Dom in search of the right guy, and when his car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road, he thinks he might have found him.
Artist Collin Malloy is talented, easygoing, but somewhat insecure. Still, he has a big heart and is quick to offer help when he sees Martin in need. To thank him, Martin invites Collin to dinner, where the attraction between them becomes harder to resist.
But what will become of their budding relationship when Martin reveals that he likes his men bound, submissive, and in pain? Is it something Collin can accept… and possibly enjoy exploring? Even if he can, Collin has a secret of his own—a secret he doesn’t even realize he’s keeping.


I have become such a fan of this series. This is the second book and, as it can be read as a stand-alone, I suggest reading A Dom and His Writer. It will give you the background of the characters and the Club Whisper. This author has really captured what it’s like to be a Dom that falls in love. A good Dom in love doesn’t have to be a hardnose but can get all squishy and loving. A Dom in the bedroom is one thing, but a Sub that has captured his heart out of the bedroom is a whole other aspect.

Martin is a successful business owner of a security firm and part owner of the BDSM club known as Club Whisper. Dean, the other owner and best friend, has found his perfect soulmate. Martin wants the same but doesn’t think he will ever find his. His brand-new car breaks down on him, and no one will stop to help him. When he is about to give up, a man in a beat up old pickup truck stops to help him.

Collin sees this mafia looking man broke down on the side of the road and pulled over to help him. He sees right through the mafia persona and tells the man exactly what he sees. Collin has this ability of talking so fast and about so many things in a single breath, it’s hard to grasp everything he’s saying. He gives Martin a ride, and Martin promises to call for dinner to pay Collin back for stopping. When he doesn’t call, Collin gets insecure and knows he won’t. The next morning, Martin calls and sparks fly from their first dinner.

It’s soon learned that Collin is an amazing artist and his best friend from childhood, Jude, helps sell his work. Jude took Collin in when his parents kicked him out, of course for being gay, but Jude has protected Collin from the world and how successful of an artist he really is.

I really enjoyed watching Martin go from Dom that loved inflicting pain to a squishy man that loved cuddling with his Sub. But Martin doesn’t mess around when you mess with the love of his life. This book has a little bit of everything. I fell in love with Collin and his innocence. He’s just so adorable, and the speed of his brain was something to be in awe of. I can’t wait for the next book.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis