Review: “Lies & Deception” by Nic Starr

TITLE: Lies & Deception
AUTHOR: Nic Starr
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Tiferet Design
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 26, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

Detective Mitch O’Neill is the ideal man to infiltrate the Soldiers of Fury Motorcycle Club. His ex-boyfriend, Peter, is pledged with the club, which provides Mitch with the perfect cover. Despite the relationship ending badly, he’s come to terms with Peter’s drug addiction and his inability to help. All Mitch wants now is to bring down the Soldiers and the club president, Rocky Cummings, once and for all.
Finn Cummings hates everything the motorcycle club stands for, but he’s unable to escape his brother’s clutches. When Mitch is assigned as Finn’s driver, they spend countless hours together, and the saying proves true—opposites do attract. Finn agonizes over his feelings for Mitch—the last thing he wants is to involve himself further with criminals, not when he wants to leave that world. Mitch tries to come to terms with falling for a member of the outlaw club he’s determined to destroy.
If they can survive the fallout from Rocky’s violence and the investigation, they might discover it’s not a case of opposites attract after all.


As far as mystery and suspense books go, this one was top-notch. Nic Starr did a great job with character and plot development. As soon as I had a question about how the plot could go in a certain direction while still making sense, it inevitably worked out. The beginning didn’t grab my attention at first, and I found myself getting sidetracked. As I continued, however, the book really had me captivated.

Detective Mitch O’Neill was an intriguing character. He finds himself in a bit of a predicament when his ex is a member of a gang he’s been assigned to bring down. With this new development, he decides to take a chance and go undercover to not only infiltrate the gang but also find out what his ex is doing with such a rough crowd. Infiltrating a gang where a member knows you’re a cop could only spell disaster, but luckily his ex, Peter, is smart enough to follow along. Gaining the club president Rocky Cummings trust proves to be a difficult task and he soon finds himself as the chauffeur/bodyguard of Finn Cummings, Rocky’s younger brother.

Finn Cummings wants absolutely nothing to do with the biker gang his family has been a part of for generations. In fact, he’d love nothing more than to see it all crumble apart and he’s determined to help it along. He left for Uni in order to separate himself from his family’s legacy and find his own path in the world. Unfortunately getting his education in accounting has caused his older brother to pull him back into the life he’s so desperate to leave behind. Finn decides that if he’s ever going to have his own life away from his brother’s control, then he needs to do whatever it takes to help bring it all down and it starts with him sending information to the task force Mitch O’Neill is assigned to. As these two come together, unknowingly for the same reasons, sparks fly. But can they trust each other enough to stoke the flames?

I really enjoyed how the story progressed and the slow burn between the MCs. It may have been an instant attraction but it wasn’t instant love, and that was refreshing. The book keeps a pretty fast pace after about the halfway mark, so you’ll definitely want to do a solid read through. This was my first book by this author and definitely not my last.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Ledgers and Rent Boys” by Meraki P. Lyhne

TITLE: Ledgers and Rent Boys
AUTHOR: Meraki P. Lyhne
SERIES: Ore 5
PUBLISHER: eXtasy books
COVER ARTIST: –
GENRE: Sci-Fi; Space Opera
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 193 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 22, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 –e-book

BLURB:

Overcoming their differences and discovering new sides of each other, Ethan and Ryder are trying their hands at this new thing called a relationship. Ethan’s insecurities and his focus on putting Ryder’s business first are contradicting Ryder’s need to shout his love from the rooftops.
But that’s the personal side of things. The business is in trouble, too, since Ethan’s keen eye caught flaws in Black Ryder’s books and exposed the previous accountant stealing from the storage. The piles of messy ledgers are keeping Ethan busy while Ryder’s business is being invaded by pimps. To top off the new couple’s problems, a rentboy named Hayden dances his way to the front of Black Ryder’s stage with enough trouble in his wake to claim all of Ryder’s attention.


The story continues in Ore 5 for Ryder and Ethan.

This is a sequel for the first book in the series, where we learn about Ethan’s unfortunate luck on his arriving at this mining planet.
We know that Ethan has some serious self-conscious issues thanks to his ex, jerk of a boyfriend and his more tea perfectionist father. Now on Ore 5, Ethan tries to let the bygones be bygones. But it seems it’s not as easy as he thought it would be. He’s a chubby guy, well we don’t know exactly how chubby he is, and I would have liked to read more of Ethan body’s description, me being chubby as well. In some parts, I could relate to Ethan, even more than once. But he’s brave enough to let himself be seen by Ryder. With the ongoing investigation of Ryder’s bar, more incriminating evidence is showing up.

Ryder, the hopeless romantic with a body of a God, finally finds himself with his wings wide open ready to fly. All that is thanks to Ethan. Ethan sees him as no one has before. He let Ethan in with no barriers to his soul and deepest feelings. He fears that with his neediness, he may push away Ethan, Ethan who asked him to keep their relationship as a secret. Ethan doesn’t want to be in the spotlight by being Ryder’s boyfriend. Although he agrees, he can’t help the shining of his eyes or the joy that radiates from his face every time he’s near or just looks at Ethan, letting his closest of friends figure out that something is going on between the two.

We meet a new character, Hayden. Hayden is a prostitute who works the trains and the station. On Ore 5, being a prostitute is legal and all the payment goes through legally. He needs to make a quota every day otherwise his handler will punish him. One night, cruising his turf for johns, he finds himself invited by the sexiest man he’s ever seen. The invitation is for dancing in front of people in one of the most famous gay bars on Ore 5. Little does he know that that performance will bring him more pain and threats than anything before, but also earns him protectors in Ryder and Brutus. He also helps out Ryder’s business when he reveals of what he was listening into when he was told where he can or can’t go after johns.

The story continues with some angsty turnabouts. Have fun reading it!

***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: “Speed Dating the Boss” by Sue Brown

TITLE: Speed Dating the Boss
AUTHOR: Sue Brown
SERIES: Cowboys and Angels
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Kanaxa
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 204 pages
RELEASE DATE: Jun 26, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

Will a mix of privilege and blue collar be a recipe for love… or disaster?
Dan’s pretty satisfied with his job at the working-class bar Cowboys and Angels. He enjoys his simple life, his apartment, and his cat, but he could do without the fights that break out in the bar, his boss’s meddling daughter, Ariel… oh, and a brutal, unrequited crush on his straight alpha boss, Gideon.
When Dan’s friend prepares to tie the knot, everyone insists that Dan needs a date for the wedding. Before he can protest, Ariel arranges a gay speed-dating event at the bar with Gideon as a participant. The unforeseen revelation that Gideon is bisexual raises Dan’s hopes, especially when Gideon announces that he wants to accompany Dan to the wedding. Could Gideon really be interested in Dan?
When Dan needs someone most, Gideon offers his unconditional support, and with genuine commitment, he shows Dan the kind of man he really is. Teaming up to save the wedding from a hungover groom and intolerant parents, can Gideon convince Dan they’re the best match since beer and pizza?


Dan is a barman at Cowboys and Angels. He’s satisfied with his job even with the fights that break out in the bar, mostly because of Ariel, his boss’ daughter. Dan has a huge crush on his very straight boss Gideon, so his life could have been perfect if his feelings were shared, but he’s realistic and deals with it… Most of the time.

When Marty, his best friend, announces his wedding and asks Dan to be his best man. Dan is ready to go alone at the wedding, but Ariel decides otherwise and makes it her mission to find him the perfect date during a speed dating. That would have been a good idea until Gideon stepped in, and he revealed his bisexuality and tells Dan that he wants to accompany him to the wedding.
There’s a difference between fantasizing about his straight boss and having hope that something can happen.
Maybe this time Dan will have all his dreams coming true!

Speed Dating the Boss is book one of Cowboys and Angels series.
I was perplexed about this book. The blurb appealed to me. I found it interesting and was curious.
The book starts a little bit slow, but it didn’t bother me. The author takes her time to explain the background of the story, and I was fine with that.

Dan has been a barman at Cowboys and Angels for five years, he loves his job, and he’s good at it. He also takes classes in business management with the dream of owning his own bar. He’s smart, proud and strong; he knows how to deal with a bar full of drunk men ready to fight. I liked Dan even if he can be clueless about other people; he’s a good guy with a simple dream and aspires to a good life.
Gideon is the owner of Cowboys and Angels among other business. He’s a widow, he lost his wife and younger son in a carjacking, and he’s solely focused and devoted to his daughter. He’s a gentleman and a caring man. Gideon upset me. I expected an alpha man, and he wasn’t like that. His daughter is awful, a pure queen B…and the guy didn’t say a word, and he hides behind Dan to stop her. The only moment when he really did something…it was too late. I was disappointed by his character at first, but at the end, he won my sympathy when he starts to really act and show his intentions toward Dan, then I was team Gideon all the way.

The plot was good, even If I had the feeling that sometimes it was confusing. The chemistry between the characters wasn’t well developed, the angst was a little bit too much, and sometimes there were some little inconsistencies in the story, not too much, but enough to be seen.

But, even with all the little imperfections, it was a good book with a lot of potential. I will read the next book in this series when it comes out.

3 OptimuMMs for the barman and his cowboy

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

“Review: “All that Glitters” by Kate Sherwood

TITLE: All that Glitters
AUTHOR: Kate Sherwood
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Adrian Nicholas
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 206 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 25, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

No matter what he tells himself, wealthy NYC architect Liam has never been able to forget his first love, Ben. But as he approaches midlife and realizes something is missing, can he forgive himself for the worst mistake he ever made—the one that left a hole no amount of career success can fill? Or will fear keep him from the full life he really wants?
Liam and Ben were childhood sweethearts, then college boyfriends. But when Liam cheated on Ben, Ben forced himself to cut ties and move on. He’s still living in the small town where they grew up, teaching, but it’s not the life he imagined for himself as a younger man. Still, when Liam returns, he can’t risk his heart again. He certainly can’t allow himself to love Liam again after fighting so hard to get over him.
Neither man wants to let go of the past and face their apprehension at starting over. They don’t want to fall in love a second time—but sometimes love happens whether it’s wanted or not.


Liam is a brilliant architect living in New York. On paper, he has everything, but deep down, Liam feels empty. Fifteen years ago, he made the worst mistake of his life, he lost the love of his life, his only true love, Ben, and now he realizes something is missing in his life…or someone!

Ben is a teacher in his hometown. Between his job, his best friend Seth, and his uncle Calvin, Ben has a quiet life. But Ben is lonely too. Since Liam broke Ben’s heart fifteen years ago, he refuses to be hurt again and choose to live his life safely…too safely.
All the Glitters is a good contemporary romance full of feelings, angsts and of course love.

This book is about Liam and Ben’s second chance.
Fifteen years after leaving his town, Liam comes back without really knowing why. He’s in an almost mid-life crisis and trying to understand what’s missing. When he sees his ex, Ben, Liam realized that Ben was the missing piece, but he’s scared of being rejected after all these years. I liked Liam, and it’s something very weird coming from me since I hate cheaters and Liam is clearly one. But here, I didn’t see a dumb kid who messed up badly, I saw a man, mature, lonely and unhappy. I saw a man who really wants a second chance, who takes responsibility for his actions. I liked Liam, a lot.

Ben is calm, sweet and mature. Except in the presence of Liam, then he’s alive and full of passion. I liked Ben a lot, and I understood him. I understood his fear and why he wanted to be safe with his heart. But sometimes, I wanted to slap him… Yeah, yeah, I know he’s the one who’d been cheated on, and he had all the rights in the world to be pissed, but sometimes he was too stuck in the past and a little bit unfair with Liam, but I understood him and couldn’t blame him for too long.

I liked this book because the author didn’t write a Manichean story with Liam as the bad guy and Ben as the good guy. It was more than that, nothing was black or white, and there was a lot of other colors just like in real life. I loved it here.

The secondary characters were good, and Uncle Calvin is definitely my favorite, this guy is crazy. The only thing that bothered me is that that sometimes, in my opinion, it was a little bit repetitive, and I had the feeling that I was turning in a circle in my read sometimes.
But all in all, it was a pleasurable book, and I had a good time with Ben and Liam.

3.5 OptimuMM’s because we all need to roar

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Heart Held Hostage” by Jo Tannah

TITLE: Heart Held Hostage
AUTHOR: Jo Tannah
SERIES: Chronicles of the Serai
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Angela Waters
GENRE: Sci-Fi; Mpreg
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 104 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $5.50 – paperback

BLURB:

The Serai have won the galactic war. Tasked to take charge of the human assimilation into their herd, Prince Jytrerd never thought to find a mate among the human slaves. He learns that the human Captain Ian McCaskey is his potential breeder and saves his life. Because they are sterile, the Serai need the genetic materials their captives give to father their younglings. But Ian resists, and it doesn’t take long for Jytrerd to realize that for their relationship to flourish, the two of them must connect on a deeper level. It is now up to Jytrerd to make Ian understand that he is valued above all others.
Warning: this book contains m-preg.


Heart Held Hostage is the first book in the Chronicles of the Serai by Jo Tannah. I liked this book. I loved the cover of the book, and I will admit to wanting to read the book just because of the beautiful cover. What can I say, I like Centaurs, and after reading the blurb I decided to give it a try, and for the most part, I wasn’t disappointed.

There were a couple of things that the author needs to keep in mind when writing future books in the series. The size of the humans relative to the size of the Centaurs especially when the Centaurs are so much larger than the humans. How an equine body would move around a room, going upstairs, getting into and out of a bathtub, sitting down on furniture, stuff like that. A lot of the time, the author has the Centaurs moving around a room and doing basic things like taking a bath or sitting on a chair like a human would and that tended to pull me out of the story since I work with horses daily and know how they move and lie down so I know what situations would be feasible and what just wouldn’t work with their equine bodies.

I also wish that the story was told in a dual point of view. I think if we had Ian McCaskey’s POV that it would have made the book so much better and helped me feel the emotional connection between Prince Jytrerd and Ian.

I did like how Jo Tannah made the Centaurs her own and changed up where the male anatomy would be. Unlike a traditional Centaur where the male anatomy is the same as a male horse, these Centaurs have their male anatomy in a hidden pouch in the chest area of the horse where it ties in with the front legs. At least that’s what I got from the author’s description. I liked the idea that the Serai are sterile and that instead of killing off all of their enemies after a war that they test them to see if they would be useful as potential breeders or sex slaves. I wasn’t so keen on having the human woman with no weapon skills being the ones to dispatch the ones that aren’t chosen as breeders or slaves. I thought it was a little cruel. But it does fit with how the Centaurs are depicted at that point in the book, which is as a superior, arrogant, and cold race.

I did like how the story progresses and the relationship between Prince Jytrerd and his potential breeder Ian. It has its ups and downs, and Jytrerd will have to change the way he treats his mate and his other slaves if he is going to be truly happy.
I also loved Woll and Sebastian and Francis. I hope to see more of them in the next book in the series.

Overall, not a bad start to a new series and I liked it enough that I will read the next book when it comes out.

***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

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