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

Review: “The Protector” by Cooper West

TITLE: The Protector
AUTHOR: Cooper West
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Mystery/ Suspense; Shapeshifter
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 250 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2014
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $16.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Guardsmen are always matched in a bonded pair. The Protector can shift into a weredog, and the human partner is his Handler. They are incredibly rare and highly valued, but people also fear them for their mystical abilities. No Protector in living memory has outlived his Handler—until Alex Taylor.
Now a widower, Alex lives a lonely half-life and faces day after day of grief with no hope for happiness in the future. When he unexpectedly bonds with the young and vibrant Handler Marcus Stephanek, Alex is angry and unwilling to leave the memory of his former Handler behind. He pushes Marcus away and tries to distance himself from their bond. But then a mysterious villain who has been secretly shadowing Alex for years sets his plan in motion. Alex and Marcus must learn to trust their bond and love each other, or risk not only their own lives but the lives of those closest to them


In a world where a bonded pair is rare and if the human dies, the weredog shifter soon follows is the norm, until now. The Guardsmen consist of a human known as the Handler and a weredog known as the Protector. A bonded pair is extremely rare, and with the abilities they possess, the pair are also highly feared. When a weredog Protector loses his bonded mate and doesn’t follow suit it, creates a lot of questions and the length some will go through to find the answers leads the characters in a quest to find answers that ultimately leads them in a fight for their lives.

An investigation gone wrong leaves Alex not just alone but without the other half of his soul. Alex is a Protector. He’s always been unique, and the Guradsman scientists have been poking and prodding him since he was a kid. When he found his bonded mate and Handler, Theo, he fell in love, and that love ran soul deep. Every day after Theo died Alex wanted to follow. Being a Protector without a Handler meant that he was treated as a pariah and most disturbingly, useless. Being a guinea pig for the Guardsmen scientists is all he knows now. When he’s scheduled back at the lab something unexpected happens that leads to an entirely new set of problems that Alex isn’t even remotely interested in dealing with.

Marcus has done everything right his entire life. He has more certifications and qualifications than any other Handler. All he’s ever wanted was to soul bond and finally follow his dreams. At Marcus’s age, most Handlers have already found their mate. As Marcus begins to lose hope of ever finding his Protector, the impossible happens. Marcus knows all about what happened to Alex and Theo, everyone knows. So when a certain smell has him following his nose to the widowed Protector, Alex, he’s in for a world of surprise. Marcus wants Alex, but Alex is still grieving and loathes the idea of Marcus being his Handler. The pain of being rejected takes it toll, and Marcus has to find a way to break through the wall Alex has built around his heart.

This book is insane. In the best way. I absolutely loved it. It was fast-paced and emotionally jarring. I don’t have any nail beds left after reading this. I couldn’t even contemplate putting it down. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. Alex had me crying from the beginning. Poor Marcus had me just as emotionally invested. The plot was gripping, and I was actually surprised at the villain and how deep the deception went. I highly recommend this book. I want more. I need more. This author has made a fan out of me.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Heart Untouched” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Heart Untouched
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Hearts Entwined
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 9, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A Hearts Entwined Novel
An accident crushed Duncan’s Olympic dreams and landed him in a chair, but he knows it’s time to get his life back on track—and he has a plan in mind. Working with his friend Todd, an Olympic skeleton racer, on a promotional campaign will not only help Duncan regain some direction, but it’ll give Todd the financial boost he desperately needs. The sport Todd loves is draining his resources—so much so that he’s thinking of giving up racing just to make ends meet.
As the two men work together, their friendship blossoms into much more, and suddenly the future is looking brighter than it has in a long time. But just when love, happiness, and success seem within their grasp, the USOC steps in with plans to stop their campaign. That’ll mean an end not just to Duncan’s business, but to Todd’s dreams… and Duncan isn’t about to let that happen to the man who means everything to him.


Heart Untouched is the third book in the Hearts Entwined series by Andrew Grey. I greatly enjoyed the first two books in the series. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first two. I just couldn’t connect with the main characters as much. The writing was just as good as the first two, and it had a good storyline, but for whatever reason, I just didn’t like the characters as much. But it won’t keep me from reading the next book in the series which I’m hoping will be about Dean and Lee.

I liked Duncan, but he sometimes comes off as whiny, negative, and self-loathing. Not that he didn’t have every right to be when his Olympic dreams were crushed by a bad accident that left him in a wheelchair. He has to relearn how to do everything again, including being independent. He lost most of his friends after his accident. He does still have his friend Todd, who’s also an Olympic skeleton racer, and a couple of people that he made friends with during physical therapy. Since he can’t fulfill his dreams of being on the podium, he’s determined to help his friend Todd achieve his. When Todd mentions that the garage he works at is interested in an advertising/promotional campaign, it’s right up Duncan’s alley since he went to college for marketing and promotion. He has the brilliant idea to use Todd as the spokesperson for the garage chain. Not only will the campaign help Duncan regain some direction in his life, but it’ll hopefully give Todd the financial boost he desperately needs.

I liked Todd more than Duncan. He refused to give up on having a relationship with Duncan even when Duncan refused since he didn’t know if his equipment down south would ever regain its function. I loved when Todd said that loving somebody was more than just the physical side of things. I loved that he loved Duncan unconditionally. He also set up a couple of go-fund-me campaigns to help with expenses. I really enjoyed when the book was in his POV. He was such a patient, sweet, kind, and generous person, which was definitely needed as Duncan needed lots of reassurance.

I also loved how supportive everybody was when they ran into opposition during the campaign. I also like getting to see the other characters from the first two books and how they were doing. I’m hoping to see more of Todd and Duncan in future books as well.

I can’t wait to see if Todd manages to get a medal at the Olympics and I can’t wait to see who Lee ends up with. Overall, Heart Untouched is a great addition to the Hearts Entwined series.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Beautiful Boy” by Grace R Duncan

TITLE: Beautiful Boy
AUTHOR: Grace R Duncan
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: BDSM
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 280 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 20, 2015
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $16.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Malcolm Tate hung up his flogger when his submissive sought out another Dom and landed in the hands of a serial killer. Convinced his lack of dominance sent his sub away, Mal has spent two years blaming himself for what happened. But when his best friend finally convinces him to go back to the local dungeon, Mal’s grateful. Especially when he wins beautiful, submissive, firmly closeted Kyle Bingham in a charity slave auction.
College grad Kyle hasn’t earned enough to move out of the loft his conservative, homophobic parents bought, much less to buy any of the other things still in their name. When he’s won at auction by the hot, amazing Mal, he’s shocked that anyone would want him. No one else seemed to—not his parents, his former Doms, or any of his disastrous dates.
But Mal does want him and Kyle lets his guard down, only to be outed to his parents. With his world crashing down, he must find a way to trust Mal—and their developing relationship—or risk losing everything.


One Dom out of the game, and a Sub in the closet. When a Dom couldn’t give his sub the pain he wanted, he found it in the hands of a serial killer. After two years of blaming himself for not being the Dom his former sub needed, he’s finally ready to hit the scene again if only to get his friends off his back. What he doesn’t expect to find is a beautiful sub that has him wanting to pick up his flogger, and make the beautiful boy his. A sub in the closet to keep his wealthy family from making him homeless can’t help but want the sexy older Dom. No other Dom has made him fly. After being rejected so many times without any explanation, he starts to doubt that he’ll ever find his perfect Dom let alone the perfect man. Until now.

Malcolm Tate has never doubted himself as a Dom until his former sub died at the hands of a sadistic serial killer. Mal has questioned every decision he’s ever made as a Dom and starts to believe he shouldn’t be one. His charismatic best friend who happens to be a sub finally talks some sense into him, so Mal heads to the dungeon to see if he can finally reconnect with his inner Dom. He didn’t expect to find his future posed beautifully in a cage waiting to be auctioned. Gosh, I loved this part. After one scene Mal knows he’ll never be able to let this sub walk away unless he’s wearing his collar and marks.

Kyle lives in a condo paid for by his wealthy parents. He can’t come out to them as gay in fear of becoming homeless and disowned. All Kyle wants is to find a Dom that won’t reject him and give him what he needs. The Dom that trained him was straight and the Doms that he played with after rejected him after one scene. Why would Mal be any different? Except he is. He not only makes Kyle fly as a sub, he also makes falling for the man a temptation he doesn’t think he can refuse, despite the consequences. He wants the Dom’s collar and the man’s heart. He just has to learn to trust that he’s worthy of both.

I loved this book. The characters were fantastic. Mal, the poor guy, is a swoon-worthy man that had me wanting to kneel saying yes, sir. I love when authors of BDSM show that a Dom can be just as vulnerable as a sub. Kyle growing more confident with the help of Mal throughout the book was some of the most emotional moments for me. I was cheering that cutie on. This was my first book by Grace Duncan, but it certainly won’t be my last.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: ” Caged Sanctuary” by Tempeste O’Riley

TITLE: Caged Sanctuary
AUTHOR: Tempeste O’Riley
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: DWS Photography
GENRE: BDSM
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 204 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 29, 2014
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Kaden Thorn, a dental surgeon who lives a quiet life, has no hope of finding the love he craves. A vicious gay bashing cost him the use of his legs and confined him to a wheelchair. He has given up hope of finding a Dom or even a nonkink partner to love him. When his best friend practically forces him to attend a dinner party, the last thing he expects is a strong Dom who can see beyond his wheels.
Deacon James is an architect and a demanding Dom, but he has spent the past couple of years without a sub or partner. When an employee invites him to a dinner party to meet his girlfriend, Deacon smells a setup but agrees anyway. He prides himself on being an excellent judge of character, and when he meets the younger dentist, he sees past the chair and finds a sweet submissive man who more than piques his interest.
Kade’s fears and demons continue to haunt him, challenging Deacon to use everything he’s learned as a Dom to earn Kade’s trust and submission. Deacon’s determined, though, willing to battle all of it to have Kade by his side and at his feet.


Caged Sanctuary is a Contemporary romance and healthy dose of BDSM. One man’s life changed forever when a gay bashing outside a nightclub left him paralyzed. He never imagined he’d find a Dom willing to look past his disability to the submissive within. How can a Dom want him when he can’t even kneel? When his best friend invites him over for dinner, he can’t say no like he wants to and often does. He never expects that the man greeting him at the door will be the one person he’s waited for his entire life.

Kaden Thorn was born to kneel at another man’s feet. Being a submissive is who he is. After his accident, he visits the BDSM club where he once thrived. He never thought the Doms he’d serviced and his fellow submissives would shun him like they did. Losing the most fundamental part of himself, he became a recluse. He was just going through the motions in life never really living. He has adapted his life around his disability. He can even perform surgeries as a dental surgeon in his renovated office. Now all he wants is a Dom who wants the submissive even if he’ll never kneel again.

Deacon James is a Dom and a very successful architect. As soon as he met Kaden, he wanted the other man, regardless of his limitations. He starts slow with Kaden, but the other man’s quiet vulnerability has his Dom nature taking the reigns pretty quick. He knows what he wants, and he’s determined to adjust his life and his home for the man who is everything he’s ever wanted.

I enjoyed some aspects of this book. The storyline was good. I had issues with the way the other Doms and submissives were portrayed. If they were that shallow then why would Kaden have gone there even before the incident? I know Kaden is a submissive, but he’s also a successful surgeon. The book had him portrayed as a meek and timid guy who in real life I would have feared for him because he would have just taken any ole Dom that showed him attention. You can have a disability and still be a strong person. I really liked Deacon’s character and the secondary characters. All in all, it was a good book and I enjoyed the read.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis