Review: “Slow Summer Heat” by Renae Kaye

TITLE: Slow Summer Heat
AUTHOR: Renae Kaye
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Adrian Nicholas
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 54 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book

BLURB:

A Story from the Warmest Wishes: Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar
Geoffrey Saxon is in his forties, a bit plump, a lot fuzzy, and rather boring in bed—and thanks to a very public breakup, everyone in his street knows it. However, what they don’t know is that Geoffrey sometimes watches his hot young neighbor, Vaughn, in the pool. Vaughn has invited Geoffrey to join his pool parties, but Geoffrey knows it’s only pity.
As if things can’t get worse, Geoffrey’s air conditioner breaks during a heat wave in Western Australia—and just before Christmas. In search of some relief, he camps out in his backyard, where he also has a prime view of Vaughn swimming… naked. When Geoffrey’s injured falling from his spying post, Vaughn comes to his rescue and Geoffrey doesn’t think he can be more horrified.
But he could be in for a sweet holiday surprise. Is he ready to take the dive?


Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye is one of the short stories out of the 2018 Advent Calendar—Warmest Wishes. I liked this short story by Renae Kaye. From the blurb I was expecting just a little bit more explicit content but it turned out to be a slow burn and with all of Geoffrey’s insecurities that he is battling from his ex, it makes sense that it would be a slow burn and ends up having just the right amount of passion to it. I thought this was a cute story and it had me laughing over some of the things that happened in the book. I will be reading more books by Ranae Kaye.

I liked Geoffrey Saxon. He’s in his forties, a bit plump, a lot fuzzy, and rather boring in bed. And thanks to a very public breakup, everyone on his street knows it. However, what they don’t know is that Geoffrey sometimes watches his hot young neighbor, Vaughn, in the pool. He has been invited to join the parties by Vaughn, but Geoffrey knows it’s only out of pity. To make things worse, Geoffrey’s air conditioner breaks during a heat wave in Western Australia, just before Christmas. Searching for some relief, he camps out in his backyard, where he also has a prime view of Vaughn swimming in the buff. When Geoffrey’s injured falling from his spying post, Vaughn comes to his rescue and Geoffrey doesn’t think he can be more horrified. Geoffrey could be in for a sweet holiday surprise. But is Geoffrey ready to take the dive. I loved the personal growth that is shown in this short story by Geoffrey. I also loved how Geoffrey and Vaughn complement each other.

I loved Vaughn. He’s young, carefree, and just what Geoffrey needs to get him out of his rut. I also loved that Geoffrey is just Vaughn’s type and that Vaughn has had a crush on him which is why he was always inviting him to the pool parties.

This was a cute story with a slow burn romance that I’m sure that I will be reading again.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The First Noel” by Joe Cosentino

TITLE: The First Noel
AUTHOR: Joe Cosentino
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Adrian Nicholas
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 72 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 7, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book

BLURB:

Each Christmas has marked a milestone in Bobby and Paolo’s love story. But will this year be their last noel?
It’s no surprise Bobby isn’t feeling much holiday spirit—not when he suspects his husband, Paolo, might be interested in his new business associate, the incredibly handsome Noel. On top of that, Bobby’s father is hanging up his Santa suit at the department store due to health issues; and worst of all, Geoffrey’s birth mother, funded by antigay extremists, is threatening their family. She’s trying to take away Bobby and Paolo’s adopted son, but she’ll have to face their supportive friends, family, and pastor before she can tear Geoffrey from the only real home he’s ever known.
With so many challenges in their path, the December grooms will need an extra helping of holiday magic this year. Rumor has it Santa’s on his way to spread some holiday cheer


The First Noel is the third book in the Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories. I really liked the blurb, and even though I hadn’t read the first two books in the series I figured I would give it a try, and I’m so glad that I did. I loved the story. The writing was wonderful with a great flow to it, and the characters were lovable and relatable and dealt with everyday issues and problems. I can’t wait to read the first two book to see what adventures I missed as their relationship grew. I also loved Noel and David. David is the attorney for the Adam and Eve Forever Organization—antigay extremists. David had been through a conversion camp to cure his gayness, and I loved how every time he had a gay thought he would snap the rubber band on his wrist. He sure did have a dirty mind every time he saw Noel. That rubber band sure did get a workout. I would love for Noel and David to get their own story. I would love to read more about them.

I loved Bobby. He’s feeling down and misses his husband, Paolo, because he is working such long hours and having to take clients to dinner to schmooze them. Because of all of the late nights, Bobby is feeling insecure and thinks that Paolo might be thinking about having an affair. Like I said, real everyday issues and problems and worrying about if your husband is cheating is definitely a real everyday issue between couples. He also has to deal with his father retiring as the department store Santa although I really loved the couple that replaced him as Santa and his elf—naughty Santa and his elf. The department store will never be the same, but everybody at the store just loves them. I loved them too.

I loved Paolo. He’s swamped at work and isn’t getting the credit and recognition that he should be, and so he decides to get his own clothing line with the help of a new celebrity sports client. But it all has to be done in secret since neither his work or his husband know that the work he has been doing isn’t for his job but so that he can go into business with the client he’s stealing away from work.
And if that isn’t enough drama for Bobby and Paolo, a woman shows up that says that she’s Geoffrey’s birth mother and that she wants him back. That she’s gotten her life together with the help of the Adam and Eve Forever Organization and that they’re going to help her get her son back. It sounded like Geoffrey had been through a lot and didn’t want anything to do with his mom. But with the help of some good friends like Noel, who’s supposed to distract the Adam and Eve’s attorney, David, and a little holiday magic their holiday wishes do come true.

This holiday novella is full of twists and turns, and it was a joy to read. I can’t wait to read more book by Joe Cosentino.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Christmas Kitsch” by Amy Lane

TITLE: Christmas Kitsch
AUTHOR: Amy Lane
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: Dec 7, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99-paperback

BLURB:

Sometimes the best Christmas gift is knowing what you really want.
Rusty Baker is a rich, entitled, oblivious jock, and he might have stayed that way if he hadn’t become friends with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. When Oliver kisses him goodbye before Rusty leaves for college, Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.
But nothing can help Rusty survive a semester at Stanford, and he returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. But with Oliver’s love and the help of Oliver’s amazing family, Rusty realizes that failing college doesn’t mean he can’t pass real life with flying rainbow colors.
Second Edition — First Edition published by Riptide Publishing, December 2013. (less)


Rusty Baker is 18 years old, a freshman at Stanford and in love with Oliver Campbell. But Rusty hates Stanford, hates to live with his parents’ expectations and dreams, and wanted just to be himself and love Oliver. When he comes back for Thanksgiving, he didn’t expect to end up homeless, jobless and alone, except he wasn’t alone, and Oliver and his family take Rusty in their life and love.

Christmas Kitsch by Amy lane was a sweet Christmas story about love, family and acceptance but something was off while reading it.
Rusty is the archetype of the white, blond, American boy coming from a good family and money. He’s the archetype of the football player not dumb but not smart either who hangs out with a bunch of bullies even if he disapproved but didn’t really act against them. He’s just an average guy who wants to work with his hands rather than his head. He thinks of himself as dumb or slow, and actually, the author made sure that the reader thinks that Rusty is a dumb, white, rich guy who hangs out with racist, homophobic bullies. Rusty changed his view of his friends and family when he meets Oliver.

Oliver is poor (in comparison to Rusty’s family), he’s American-Venezuelan, he has brown skin, with brown eyes, brown hair. He’s brown. Not my word, the author’s word. Actually, the whole “brown person” is a thing in this book. It’s how Rusty presented Oliver and his family to the reader, how Oliver can sometimes talk about himself, how the author made sure that the reader perfectly understood that Oliver is “brown” and despite it, he’s a good person, better than Rusty and his family.

It doesn’t sit well with me. I won’t talk about racism because I don’t want to throw out the accusation in the air. So I will talk about a poor choice of wording and vocabulary. I will talk about the lack of creativity and vocabulary from the author, the writer. I will talk about the inability of the author to write a book about a mixed-race couple and not being able to do it properly. I will talk about maladroitness of an author who tried to give a message of love and acceptance and failed. It’s not my first book about a mixed-race couple. I’m kind of fond of these books actually because the world is full of diversity and I liked to have it in my books. However, it’s the first time I’ve read a book where the skin color of a MC was so often referred to. For example when Rusty thinks about how lonely he would be if Oliver wasn’t in his life … “…. How alone I would be if it wasn’t for the little brown person sitting in my living room….”

It was a weird read for me because I loved those characters, they are adorable, beautiful inside and outside, I read between the lines and could see how beautiful and smart Rusty was. How this lost kid found his path with Oliver’s love. This book could have been wonderful, but all these weird vibes about skin color ruined it for me.

It could have been a 5 stars, but it’s just a 2.5 stars.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Romancing the Undercover Millionaire” by Clare London

TITLE: Romancing the Undercover Millionaire
AUTHOR: Clare London
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 254 pages
RELEASE DATE: Dec 4, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 e-book / $9.99 paperback

BLURB:

Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?
Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.
Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.
While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?


Alexandre Bonfils is one of the heirs of Bonfils Bibendum, a prestige Wine family business. Alex isn’t as imbedded in the family business as his older brother, Henry, and his father, Charles, and both had decided to fire him (kind of) until Alex finds his own path. When Alex hears there’s some problem in one of the warehouses, he has the crazy idea to go undercover there and investigate the sabotaging.

Tate Somerton is the manager of the warehouse. He struggles between his job and his three little brothers and sisters and his grandma. He doesn’t have time to find love in his crazy life and surely not now with all the problems he has at the warehouse.
Alex expects to come to Bristol to find who is the saboteur and to go back to London like the prodigal son. He doesn’t expect Tate and his family, and he doesn’t expect to completely melt for the sexy manager and his circus family.

Can they have a happy ending despite their differences?
Romancing the Undercover Millionaire by Clare London was a sweet, adorable and fun read.
Alexandre is a diva; he was sheltered all his life. Born in a wealthy family, he never has to think about money or even find a job. He’s an heir of Charles Bonfils after all, but when his father kind of fired him, Alex realized he has to prove himself to his family. That’s why he had the crazy idea to investigate the sabotaging at their warehouse in Bristol and to go there undercover.

Tate Somerton is the manager of Bonfils & Bibendum’s warehouse at Bristol, and he’s the legal guardian of his three brothers and sisters. Even with his Gran and his BFF Louise help, Tate doesn’t have time for himself. Until he meets Alex.

I completely melted for those two guys. Alex is my favorite, a real diva, funny, sassy with a big heart. He’s disconnected from Tate’s reality (some situations are hilarious), but he adapted himself really fast and took the family as his own. Tate is more temperate and quieter, being the parent of 3 kids forced him to grow up and to take on maturity sooner than others. I loved how one is the balance of the other. How together they find the perfect equilibrium in their life and temper, and mostly I loved how, despite the appearances, they are more in tune and similar than what we think at first.

Clare London wrote a sweet and funny love story with a captivating plot. Indeed, between Alex and Tate’s love story, there’s also all the investigation parts about the sabotaging that give a good dynamic to the book.

I gladly recommend this book. It’s a beautiful, sweet and funny read that you can consume near a fire with a hot cocoa.

4 OptimuMM’s for the H’s, Amy and Freddie.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Lover Behind Enemy Lines” by Liv Olteano

TITLE: Lover Behind Enemy Lines
AUTHOR: Liv Olteano
SERIES: Dreamcatchers
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 214 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 4, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

True mates, together at last.
Claw—fearless leader of Seattle’s Team 32—has faced many dangers during more than a century and a half as a dreamcatcher. Yet nothing has ever scared him more than his obsession with Nathan Gallagher. Tormented by visions and dreams about the man ever since he first laid eyes on him, Claw now has to deal with living under the same roof with the object of his most ardent desires. And Nathan is so much more than a simple crush.
Brother of the caster who’s been plaguing Team 32’s area and less-than-willing houseguest of the team after a strange break-in attempt, Nathan may hold the key to finally apprehending his sister and putting a stop to the havoc she’s wreaking on Queen Anne…. Meanwhile, Nathan’s wreaking some havoc of his own on Claw’s heart


Lover Behind Enemy Lines is the third book in the Dreamcatchers series and the thirty-third book in the Dreamspun Beyond series. I was a little disappointed in the second book in the series Star-Crossed Lover but this book definitely made up for it. I didn’t find the plot confusing like I did the second book. And I liked the backstory we got about Nathan and his family.

I liked the internal struggle that Claw goes through trying to figure out to do about Nathan. Whether or not he was his mate and if he was his first love reincarnated and if Nathan was going to side with his sister and Claw was going to follow his mate and betray his fellow dreamcatchers. But luckily Nathan is afraid of the person that his sister has become and breaks into the dreamcatchers’ house after witnessing an altercation between his sister and some of the dreamcatchers. Nathan decides to follow the guys back to their house to see if they can help him, but instead, he finds himself their captive. With the use of a spell that can show whether Claw or Nathan are lying when asked a question, they start to build a relationship based on trust and lots of chemistry.

I liked Nathan. He is the complete opposite of what other witches are like. He isn’t obsessed with gathering power or what his status is in the coven. He misses his sister who disappeared a while ago, and he’s been searching for her ever since. His sister, as a baby, had powerful powers and could siphon the energy from the people around her. Usually, such children are killed or put with a non-magical family to be raised. But his sister ran away from the family she was placed with and has become obsessed with gaining as much power as possible. It has corrupted her. And Nathan is desperate to find somebody to stop her before she can kill somebody. He didn’t expect the powerful attraction that he feels for the leader of the dreamcatchers or how much they would distrust him.

I really liked the ending of the book, and I can’t wait for the next book to come out.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis