Review: “Blindsided” by T.A Chase & Devon Rhodes

TITLE: Blindsided
AUTHOR: T.A Chase & Devon Rhodes
SERIES: Men of Sports
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback


When Liam is transferred to Melbourne, he’s blindsided by his growing feelings for the hottest lifeguard on the beach. Luckily Matty knows mouth-to-mouth… How did alone turn into lonely? Rugby player Liam Holmes is forced to ponder that when he’s transferred from Canberra to Melbourne, away from his cousin and all that’s familiar. It’s part of playing pro, adjusting to a new team and teammates, but Liam finds himself searching for something more than his career. Matty loves the beach and being a lifeguard is all he’s ever wanted to do. He notices the new hottie at the beach right away and wonders what his story is. When he encounters him at the pub, he takes the reserved league player under his wing and into his group of mates, and they soon become fast friends. Friends isn’t all they want to stay, however. And once they give in to their attraction, the two are blindsided by the emotions that come with their deepening relationship. Can two men without any experience at relationships both navigate their way to steady ground?

Rugby player Liam Holmes transfered to Melbourne from Canberra. He leaves all his family and friends behind him to join his new club. Even though he’s happy to play the sport he loves so much, Liam realized that outside of his work, he has nothing, and he’s pretty lonely, more there in this new city than ever. Matty is a lifeguard who was born and grew up in Melbourne. Despite having his dream job and his friends, he’s lonely.

When Matty and Liam meet the attraction is there, but they start by being friends first before becoming lovers. But how do you not mess up the most beautiful thing that happens in your life when you don’t know how to be in a serious relationship?
That’s what Matty and Liam will have to find out!

Blindsided is book 1 of the Men of Sports series.
I liked this book a lot. It was a pleasurable read, and I spent a great time with Matty and Liam.
Liam is a professional rugby player, he loves his job with fierce passion, but he’s lonely. He doesn’t complain about his transfer. When he meets Matty at the pub, recognizing him as the hottie lifeguard, Liam doesn’t hesitate to talk to him, and with this simple conversation, he starts the beginning of their relationship as friends then as lovers. I really like Liam; he’s super-hot, open-minded, a high temper, and confident in his own skin. He’s Bi and doesn’t hide it. He doesn’t scream his preference in bed at the top of the world either, but he doesn’t back down when confronted about it. I really love him.

Matty is a lifeguard, and it’s his dream job. He loves it, but he’s lonely too. He’s gay, out with his family and two of his best friends. He doesn’t hide, doesn’t pretend to be straight, but he doesn’t talk about his private life either. When he meets Liam, he’s completely attracted by him, but he doesn’t know which team Liam swings for at first, so he settles for a friendship at the beginning. Then when he finds an opening, Matty doesn’t back down and completely opens the door to his heart for Liam. I loved Matty too. He’s very strong and confident, he knows what he wants and doesn’t turn around in circles if he wants something. He’s also very protective of Liam and his friends and ready to fight hard for them.

The plot is about Matty and Liam’s story. The book alternates between both of their POVs, and we follow how their relationship starts and while their feelings are born. We also met secondary characters that are really loveable like Leon and Collin. It was well written, simple, and not boring or too sappy (I love sappy, but it would have been weird with these two guys).
I had a great time with these two hot guys, and hope that the authors will write Leon’s story (I had a huge crush on him) and Collin’s story too.

I recommend this book; you’ll have a good time with them.

4 OptimuMMs for these two hotties!

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “In the Desert” by Elliot Joyce

TITLE: In the Desert
AUTHOR: Elliot Joyce
SERIES: States of Love
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Brooke Albrecht
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
LENGTH: 106 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 4, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book


Can a Navajo trans teen and a nerdy Catholic find the place they belong… and maybe themselves? In the desert, anything is possible….
When Wren came out as transgender before his senior year, it cost him most of his friends. His father hopes joining a Boy Scout troop might help Wren meet other young men his age and be accepted for who he is.
Felipe Nieves wants the new guy in the troop to feel comfortable, and he reaches out to Wren. They become fast friends… with something more beneath the surface. Those feelings confuse Felipe, since his religion considers this a sin—and he’s always assumed he was straight—but he can’t help pining for Wren. Asking him out will take courage, and getting together won’t be easy… but through their friendship, both young men might find their identities… and learn to embrace them in a unique coming-of-age story set against the beauty of the American Southwest.

In the Desert by Elliot Joyce is a look into the life of a female-to-male transgender teen called Wren.

Wren used to be Danielle, and he used to be the oldest of three sisters and has a younger brother. Now he’s the oldest brother to two sisters and a younger brother, and it’s been a big adjustment for all of his family members getting used to saying a new name and new pronouns when referring to Wren. Wren is also at a new high school after being bullied and chased after using the guys’ locker room and bathrooms after coming out as trans. He’s lost most of his friends when he came out and so his dad has the idea that Wren should go with his younger brother to his Boy Scout troop to help make new friends that will accept him for being just another guy. It helps that there’s already another trans guy that’s part of the troop and so it shouldn’t be a problem that Wren is trans.

I liked the troop and how they treated Wren. They didn’t treat him any differently than the other guys. I really liked Felipe for reaching out to Wren and trying to get him to interact with the troop. And Wren ends up with three friends from the troop, Felipe and by default his two best friends in the troop also, one of which is the other trans teen. I liked getting to see how Wren gets more comfortable with himself and with how other people treat him. He really comes out of his shell, and it’s beautiful to see.

He has a crush on Felipe, but he thinks that he’s straight, so he’s just happy to be his friend. Felipe thinks that he’s straight until he meets Wren and finds himself developing feelings for Wren, but will he have the courage to tell Wren his feelings and ask him on a date? Felipe doesn’t even know if Wren is gay but with encouragement from his friends, he’s going to find out. The story is a slow burn, hand-holding and light kissing kind of a story that works great for a new-adult themed story. I liked the story for what it was—a look into Wren getting comfortable with who he wants to be and finding friends that will accept him for who he is.

I would have loved to see a prequel to this story about when Wren came out to his family and how he was bullied in school which led to him changing schools. I wanted to see all of the struggles that Wren had to go through to get to where he is now. I know that he still has a long way to go, he still has to convince his parents to allow him to start hormone injections and decided on whether he will have top or bottom surgery. But I just wish that I had gotten to see the struggle from the beginning of his coming out instead of having skipped that part.

I hope that the author will continue Wren and Felipe’s story. I would love to see how their relationship progresses as Wren continues through his transition.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Stand by your Manny” by Amy Lane

TITLE: Stand by your Manny
AUTHOR: Amy Lane
SERIES: The Mannies
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 232 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 1, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 e-book / $9.99 -paperback


The Mannies: Book Three
Learning to trust and falling in love.
Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy!
An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy.
Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life. Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?

Sammy is a young artist who attends musical classes in College, works as a teacher in a middle school and helps with his two siblings. He can’t run around town for his classes, work, and siblings, so he needs help, and besides, he also has a health condition that can be life-threatening if it’s not treated well.

Cooper was a foster kid, he’s on his own since he was seventeen, and he takes care of Felicity, his foster sister. He’s lonely and has to assume all the responsibilities for Felicity.
When Cooper’s injured while working on a construction site with his boss Brandon, Brandon decides to help him and introduces Cooper and Felicity to Sam’s family.

Cooper and Sam are at crossroads in their lives, at 21 years-old, they have to decide for their future, but there’s a difference between what they want and what they can have.

Stand by your Manny is book 3 of The Mannies’ series. I liked this book; it was a very sweet story to read.
Cooper has trust issues, which is understandable after the childhood he had. He’s very shy and careful, but he’s also very smart and strong. He wants to be loved; he wants to belong to a family, and he just wants to be accepted for himself. I really liked him; I found him so adorable and beautiful, I wanted to hug and hold him a lot.

Sammy is a brilliant young man. He’s smart and kind with a big heart. He tries his best to help his uncles who raised him with his younger brother and sister. When he meets Cooper, he wants more than a friendship with him; he wants everything. Sammy has a health condition—something minor but can be really dangerous without being properly treated, and Sammy forgets a lot his treatments because he just wants to be normal, be accepted without being seen as weak. That’s exactly what Cooper gives to him.

I had a sweet moment with them, it was my first book in this series, I didn’t read (yet) the two previous books, but this one can be read as a standalone.

You’ll have a sweet time with Sammy and Cooper.

3.5 OptimuMMs because Sammy & Cooper’s world things!

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Wanderer” by Rowan McAllister

TITLE: The Wanderer
AUTHOR: Rowan McAllister
SERIES: Chronicles of the Riftlands
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Stef Masciandaro
GENRE: High Fantasy
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 1, 2018
PRICE: 6.99 e-book / $14.99-paperback


After centuries of traveling the continent of Kita and fighting the extradimensional monsters known as Riftspawn, mage Lyuc is tired and ready to back away from the concerns of humanity.
But the world isn’t done with him yet.
While traveling with a merchant caravan, Lyuc encounters Yan, an Unnamed, the lowest caste in society. Though Yan has nothing but his determination and spirit, he reminds Lyuc what passion and desire feel like. While wild magic, a snarky, shapeshifting, genderfluid companion, and the plots of men and monsters seem determined to keep Lyuc from laying down his burden, only Yan’s inimitable spirit tempts him to hang on for another lifetime or so.
All Yan wants is to earn the sponsorship of a guild so he can rise above his station, claim a place in society, and build the family he never had.
After hundreds of years of self-imposed penance, all Lyuc wants is Yan.
If they can survive prejudice, bandits, mercenaries, monsters, and nature itself, they might both get their wish… and maybe even their happily ever after.

Lyuc is a mage who travels the continent of Kita and fights the extradimensional monsters named Riftspaw. Lyuc is old, a thousand years-old-ish. He’s tired and only wishes to finish his mission and rest in peace.

During his travels with a merchant caravan, Lyuc meets Yan, a young man, an Unnamed. Despite being an Unnamed, Yan is strong and proud.
Lyuc and Yan will travel together, and the more time they spend together, the more they know each other. Despite the bandits, the mercenaries, the monsters, and the society ready to ban them, they want their own happy ending.

The Wanderer is the first book of Chronicles of the Riftlands series. I really liked this book; it was a beautiful story.
Lyuc is super old, a little bit grumpy, and always argues with his horse, Brin, (who isn’t really a horse by the way). When he meets Yan, at first, his first thought was to help the young man, but the more he interacted with him, the more he feels alive. I love Lyuc. He’s kind, powerful, romantic and protective. He’s also lonely and tired and wants to die finally, but Yan will change this.

Yan might be an unnamed, but he’s strong, proud, with a high temper. He’s also very smart. The only thing he wants is a family, his own family. When he meets Lyuc at first, he’s suspicious, but the more he starts to know him, the more he wants him. Yan reminds Lyuc what life is, how it can be not to be alone forever.

I love how Yan put life back into Lyuc’s old tired body and how Lyuc gives Yan everything he has.
I really liked this book. The characters are lovable, and the story was good. The plot was around Lyuc and Yan but not only focused on them, as we also learn the background of their universe and where and how their world and rules is situated.

I like how the author wrote his story, well described without being to boring, with a little something that I can’t pinpoint, it was like reading a tale, a May-December tale with hot sex scenes, a little bit of angst, and a lot of love. Yes, a beautiful tale!
It’s definitely a series that I’ll follow, and I recommend it to you.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs for The Mage, The Horse and The Unnamed

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Forged in Fire ” by Ari McKay

TITLE: Forged in Fire
SERIES: Asheville Arcana
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Paranormal; Shapeshifters
LENGTH: 220 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 1, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 e-book / $6.99 -paperback


The magic touch.
Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.
Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.
When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan’s pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he’s shifted, Harlan’s wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.
As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan’s curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy’s magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.

Harlan is a lycanthrope, meaning a possessed werewolf bit him and had been turned. He can’t change at will like a born werewolf, but he’s compelled to do it at each full moon in atrocious pain.

Whimsy is a mage specialized in transformation and transmutation, so when he meets Harlan, he knows he can help him for his transformation and not because the man is handsome, just because he can’t stand the pain for him.
Harlan refuses Whimsy help, refuses to put him in danger with his curse. But when the next transformation comes, something that neither Harlan and Whimsy would have predicted happened, and they will have to work on it while trying to figure out who’s trying to hurt their paranormal community…. Again!

Forged in Fire is book 2 of the Asheville Arcana series. I was happy to read this sequel because I really enjoyed book 1 Out of the Ashes .

Whimsy and Harlan are adorable.

Harlan is a Quaker, he was born in 1696 and was bitten by a possessed werewolf. For the next three centuries, Harlan had a lonely life. The werewolves mostly don’t trust him or don’t consider him like one of their own. Besides, he has to fight an excruciating pain at each full moon, and then he has to fight the twenty-eight other days the “beast” inside him in order to stay in control. I was sad for him since he was so lonely, so use to be rejected. When he meets Whimsy and started to hope for a better life, it was adorable. Harlan has old manners. I won’t tell you what I mean by “Old manners” but, let just say that I totally like this idea from the authors. A huge, buff lycanthrope with the manners of the 17th century… I love it.

Whimsy is my favorite. He’s half Cherokee, barely five-foot-ten, and he’s very young in comparison to other sup at just twenty-eight years old, a baby for Harlan. But he’s a total badass, and I totally adored him. The guy doesn’t hold back; he’s straightforward and doesn’t hide behind excuses. He’s honest, open with a big heart. I totally love him, especially when he wiped the floor with his enemies.

The story takes place a year after the events in book 1, and even if life seems to be normal in Asheville, Arden, Eli and Julian as for as Whimsy and now Harlan, they keep going to investigate. They know the danger isn’t far. The investigation’s part of the story is a secondary plan since the plot was mostly concentrated on Whimsy and Harlan’s story.

This book can be read as a standalone; even if there’s a common thread between the books (including the next one), it can be read as a standalone, you will not be lost (but it’s much better to read book 1 first).
Can’t wait to have Julian’s story.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs for the Quaker and his Mage.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

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