Review: “Brush with Catastrophe” by Tara Lain

TITLE: Brush with Catastrophe
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES: The Aloysius Tales
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2017
PRICE: $ 6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback


An Aloysius Tale

Sammy Raphael is a crappy witch, and on top of that, he can’t seem to get a boyfriend. Where other supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, Sammy can paint. Granted, the “prophetic” paintings he creates at night always come true, but they never predict anything important. Sammy feels like a total loser with a worthless ability.

One night he paints a gorgeous guy who turns out to be his secret crush, the human Ryder, but Ryder’s changed so much he’s almost unrecognizably beautiful. Then Sammy paints an angel who turns out to be a witch. But is that witch also a devil—a devil who can bring down Sammy’s whole community and everyone he loves? And why the hell does Ryder keep changing? Aloysius, the black cat familiar, always backs a winner. So why is he backing Sammy?

Brush with Catastrophe by Tara Lain is part of the Aloysius Tales series and it was absolutely amazing. I have become a huge fan of Tara Lain, and the way she writes has a way of keeping me energized, focused, invested, and guessing on how the storyline is going to go and then being proved completely wrong as she throws in a twist that I didn’t see coming.

Brush with Catastrophe had so much emotion and passion, and I love when the main characters are allowed to cry. So many books are still going with the age old saying that it isn’t manly to cry and I love that Sammy and Ryder are secure enough in their masculinity to show how they are truly feeling at all times.
Sammy is a great character and has some very realistic insecurities. He is a witch, but he feels that the power that he has received is pretty worthless. He would rather be able to call down lightning and manifest wealth. However, he is a prophetic painter, and although what he paints always comes true, he hasn’t painted anything that’s very important. He has also been in love with his straight, human best friend Ryder. And of course, humans aren’t allowed to know about the paranormal world let alone date one.

But Ryder isn’t what he seems. Come to find out, he isn’t straight or human and he is on a quest of his own. He has also been forbidden to have a relationship or interfere with the people around him. He is there only as an observer before having to go home. He has also been in love with his best friend Sammy for a while. However, he hasn’t been able to physically act on his feelings until his body has entered into adulthood. Ryder is there to put Sammy back together after his relationship with Lucien goes bad. And although it was sad that Sammy had to go through what he did with Lucien, I did like that it was the catalyst that was needed to get Ryder to confess his feelings to Sammy.

Brush with Catastrophe has everything that I look for in a book. It had friends that will do anything for you, a lover turned villain (Lucien), a straight best friend (Ryder) that isn’t as straight as you thought and suddenly isn’t as unavailable as you thought when he confesses that he’s wanted you just as much, a glorious battle between good and evil, and some very, very steamy passion-filled scenes.

I recommend Brush with Catastrophe to everybody who likes a little magic with their happily ever after. I can’t wait to read my next Tara Lain book and get swept away on my next adventure.

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


Review: “New Lease” by B.G. Thomas

TITLE: New Lease
AUTHOR: B.G. Thomas
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 46 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2017
PRICE: $1.99 -e-book


2nd Edition

Wade Porter spent his whole life in the shadow of a lover who doled out snippets of love and time as he saw fit—and who insisted that love stay deep in the closet. But now that man is gone, and Wade finds the oceanside cottage where they spent so many weekends together in the Florida Keys cold and empty. He has come one last time, not even sure he wants to keep living.

To his surprise, the house next door is occupied by another bereaved and lonely man. Kent Walker is an artist of romantic gay paintings who is open to the future—and determinedly interested in Wade. Kent wants to show Wade the beauty in being an openly gay man and the possibilities for a real relationship.

Maybe Kent can help Wade let go of the past and discover a better way to live—and love.

First Edition published in Two Tickets to Paradise by Dreamspinner Press, 2012

jologooptimummWade was in mourning. He was feeling the loss of Gene, his lover of 20 plus years, even though it had been a while since he’d died.
Wade has returned to the place where they first met, a cottage on the Florida coast and he’s seriously contemplating the pills and alcohol he has with him when he sees a light on in the cottage next door. He has a flashback to his first meeting with Gene and, believing it might be him, he runs to knock on the patio doors…but it’s not Gene, of course, it isn’t and the realisation knocks him backwards. The stranger, who picked him up off the floor, invites him in, to recover from the fall. The hot, younger, man in ‘Genes cottage’ is Kent and Wade, disconcertedly, finds himself attracted to him. Embarrassed at this, he makes a hasty exit only to find the flirtatious Kent at his door early the next day bearing mugs of coffee.
Despite Wade’s reticence, Kent thrusts his way into his life making him question and re-evaluate his entire relationship with Gene. His eyes are opened, and he finally sees it for what it truly was.

Both Wade and Kent have experienced loss, both are lonely, but can they cross that dark divide enough to be together and bring some light into their lives? This is a really short read, but I loved every page. Wade’s character is so emotionally written despite the fact that this book is less than 50 pages and Kent’s character is perfectly described through his actions and words.

Both men quickly stole my heart. From such dark beginnings, light emerges and the emotion I felt for Wade, as he sees the truth and his beliefs are changed, was palpable. The ending is a happy for now and leaves the reader to decide the future, but that feels right for the story and characters. Everything is new for Wade, and he needs time to decide what happens next.

This is well worth the couple of hours it takes to read, and although it starts off dark there is some humour, and the tone gets lighter as the plot progresses.

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


Review: “Mild to Wild in Massachusetts” by Paul Walkingsky

TITLE: Mild to Wild in Massachusetts
AUTHOR: Paul Walkingsky
SERIES: States of Love
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Maria Fanning
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 74 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 -e-book


Brett has spent twenty-seven years trying to be perfect for the Mormon grandparents who raised him. Unfortunately, doing so has meant missing out on lots of life experiences—and denying a major part of who he is. Now that his grandparents are gone, Brett is ready to make up for lost time, break out of the sedate façade he’s always presented, and do something he would have never considered before: attend a gay men’s spiritual retreat in rural Massachusetts.

While trying to infuse some spice into his life with workshops like Erotic Massage, Body Painting, and Drag 101, Brett meets Boston nurse Karl, and it’s hard to deny the connection between them. But will Brett’s lack of experience and Karl’s insecurities end their romance before it can really begin?

It might be a spiritual retreat, but Brett must learn to embrace his physical reality if he’s going to grab on to his chance at love.

I had the opportunity to read Mild to Wild in Massachusetts by Paul Walkingsky, and I have to say that I think the book had some missed opportunities to it. I do want to state that I loved the blurb for the book it was very catchy and made me want to read it. So kudos for snagging my interest. I was expecting lots of wild oat sowing and some pretty hot scenes which I did eventually get when the book finally got to the retreat part. However, the book is only 74 pages, which isn’t very long. The first five chapters are all about why Benjie (later changed to Brett) doesn’t want to be a screw up like he considers the rest of his family and why he decided to stay a closeted gay. Although the first five chapters are well written, I was bored reading them and kept asking myself when we would get to the good stuff that the blurb promised.

I wasn’t disappointed with the retreat portion of the book. It was hot, and I especially loved the parts about the erotic message and body painting. Another missed opportunity for me was the ending. It’s stated a couple of times that because of all of his vacation time available that Brett has booked a week in Boston to continue to explore himself, but we never get to see it. I would have been so much happier to read five chapters about his week in Boston after the retreat then the first five chapters of the book. He could have continued to explore his new relationship with Kyle or even looked up his seatmate from the plane who gave him his number. So yeah, a missed opportunity in my opinion.

Okay so on to the good part of the book, the retreat. I loved this part of the book. Brett meets so many diverse people at the retreat that help him become more comfortable and confident in his body. Walter, who has an agreement with his wife that he gets to come to these retreats to get his other needs met since he’s a teacher at a Wisconsin school. Jared who’s default setting is a hound dog and shamelessly flirts with everybody. Danny, who is from Connecticut and who’s body is the exact opposite from Brett’s and who has the pleasure of being Brett’s erotic massage partner. Karl, who is filled with lots of great pieces of wisdom and is very supportive of Brett getting out there and sowing some wild oats before settling down. Although Karl does jerk Brett around a little bit and sends some mixed signals, and Brett accidently hurts Karl’s feelings, they do manage to work it out in the end.

The sowing of the wild oats isn’t about sex for Brett because at the end of the book he’s still a virgin. But for Brett, it’s about him being more comfortable and confident with his body after each of his classes. And now you can see why I wanted those extra five chapters at the end of the book. I would have liked to see more of Brett and Kyle.

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


Review: “Runaway” by Nic Starr

TITLE: Runaway
AUTHOR: Nic Starr
SERIES: World of Love
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 86 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 -e-book


Dr Nathan Powell is ready to settle down near his family, and hopefully find the man of his dreams. He returns to the small coastal town where he grew up, but while life is simpler than it was in the city, there are also complications—like patients’ reactions to an openly gay doctor. And like running into Nate’s first love, Damien, an out-and-proud local business owner who is unwilling to be any man’s dirty secret. The reunion reignites old desire even while it stirs up Nate’s guilt over the way things ended with Damien.

When Nate’s nephew runs away, Damien accompanies Nate on his mission to find the young man. The drive to Sydney, and the search of the city, gives Nate time to reconnect with Damien—and to wonder if he made the right decision years ago—when he determined a future for them was impossible. Is a fresh start realistic for two men in their forties? But before he can ponder the second chance they’ve been given, Nate must locate his nephew.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe

How can I even begin to describe the way my heart feels after reading this book? I loved this story so much, and Nate and Damien even more. I need so much more of these two characters because I was in no way near ready for their story to end. I could easily read a whole series of books about these two men and their lives. It was a wonderfully beautiful second chance love story that had my head and heart seduced from the prologue. I fell completely in love more and more with each word I read.

Nate and Damien were friends/boyfriends as teenagers, their relationship was a secret to everyone who knew them, and after being caught kissing Damien in the park by one of the gardener’s, Nate decided that no one in his hometown would ever know about his sexuality. Fast forward to almost twenty years later, and Nate has recently moved back to Forster from Sydney to be closer to his sister, niece and nephew, and to settle down now that he’s in his early forties. When his sister tells him that her 17-year-old son Jackson is having a hard time, Nate offers to spend some time with him. Nate decides to take Jackson fishing, so they head to the local tackle and bait shop, where Nate unexpectedly comes face to face with Damien—who is now the owner of the shop—for the first time in almost 9 years. At first, the meeting is awkward because Nate realises that even after all the time that has passed, he’s still very attracted to Damien, but he also harbours a lot of guilt about how things ended between them. The men decide to give their friendship another go and to see where it leads, but Damien makes it clear that he is an openly gay man and will not hide in the closet for anyone. When Jackson runs away from home, Damien goes along with Nate to Sydney to try and find him. It’s on this journey that they finally get a chance to talk about the past and their regrets, but also rediscover their feelings for each other.

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I cannot compliment the author enough for writing such a fantastic and heartwarming story that gave me all of the feels. It was a brilliantly thought out story of self-acceptance and following your heart. Although it was quite a short read, everything was covered, and nothing felt like it was rushed or glossed over, but as I said at the start, I want/need more. I need to see what happens next between these two amazing men and also with Jackson as he played quite a big part in the story. This book is really more of an emotional rather than physical romance. There is only one sex scene and a couple of kissing scenes, but I felt like that was completely right for the characters and the story. It didn’t need anything else to make you feel that connection to the characters and their emotions.

This book was an absolute pleasure to read, and my heart literally feels like it could burst from happiness. Highly recommended!

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


Review: “Apprentice Saga” by Sadie Sins

TITLE: Apprentice Saga
AUTHOR: Sadie Sins
SERIES: Demon Bonded
PUBLISHER: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
GENRE: Romance; Paranormal; BDSM
LENGTH: 186 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2016
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book


This volume contains episodes 5-9 of Demon Bonded, as well as the bonus episode ‘The Forging Of An Apprentice,’ written by Sadie Sins and previously published 2016. Apprentice Saga is the second saga in the mm erotic world of Demon Bonded. This serial is a fun play on monster collecting and male harems. Expect demon bonding, master/slave relationships of mild and abusive nature, multiple partners, magical powers, learning how to be a sorcerer, and conflict with crueler demon masters.

Ky’s recovery from the overseer Demencious is short lived. His parents have lost all trust in him, and Ky again has to wonder if he’s losing his mind. That is until he starts his first art class at his new college, and meets an actual sorcerer apprentice.

Liem Kane could have been a typical teenager, but there is something terribly wrong beneath his well-groomed exterior. His demon, Fido, is twisted and abused, the wolf Relic tormented daily by his young master.

In his quest to save Fido from certain death, Ky must face Liem’s master. A demon trainer of cruelty that far surpasses his young pupil, Tobias has no qualms in murdering those that disobey. Ky faces off against this monster among men. It’s kill or be killed, and Ky isn’t sure he can live with either option.

18+ This book contains explicit m/m sexual content, shifter demon anatomy that knots and ties, graphic language, violence, and themes of bondage. 68,000+ words

This book follows Demencious Saga with episodes #5-9. This is one of those series that builds quickly. We are back with Ky as he stumbles along trying to protect those who want to either control or destroy the relics. Each episode he learns more.

Episode five picks up right where the previous one ended. Here while the human bonds get colder, the demon bonds get stronger. Ky is beginning to see who he is and what’s important. The responsibility he feels for the demons in his care. He’s also finding out what he gained in the bonding process as well. This has all been new to him and he’s had to learn not only from Lovely and Feral but from each new experience is adding to it too. He’s also teaching the demons about him. How truly caring and concerned he is for them.

Episode six is where most of the groundwork for the rest of the book is laid. This is where the chain of events start to connect Ky’s magical life at home to those that are around him. We meet Lien, who’s instrumental in getting Ky to have a further purpose and concern. Seeing how he’s different from other sorcerers. What he sees as his weaknesses and where he lacks knowledge.

When you get to episode seven, then you see the changes that Ky starts to go through. Because of his trusting nature, just how vulnerable those he cares for are. He’s chosen his true family and fights not only for their physical safety but their mental well-being as well. He sees that he needs to learn more for their protection. He takes the demons’ pain to heart and hurts for them. Never thinking of himself but instead how he can save and protect the relics. While those he holds dearest think of his safety and mental well-being.

Everything comes together in episodes eight and nine. Showdowns not only with outside forces but at home as well. A lot of things are learned, and the stage for the next saga is set. By the time I got to the end, I was eager for more. Sadie Sins has created a world of magic and morals, love and sacrifice. A place where the worst monsters are human and the demons more like knights.

***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***