Review: “Train to Somewhere” by Susan Laine

TITLE: Train to Somewhere
AUTHOR: Susan Laine
SERIES: Before… and After
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: AngstyG.
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 75 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2017
PRICE: $4.75 -e-book
  

BLURB:

It was only a game. Wasn’t it?

At a party one night, Charlie Dean’s childhood friend Will Tucker accepts a dare and dresses up as a girl: clothes, hair, makeup. Seeing Will that way incites a riot of confused emotions in Charlie—and he responds by lashing out. He never meant to hurt Will, and now he must do some serious damage control.

During a school trip by train, Charlie and Will share a sleeper cabin. Charlie intends to mend fences, while Will figures it’s as good a time as any to broach the subjects of attraction and sexuality. They want to get their relationship back on track. But after the secrets they both reveal, their friendship can never be the same.


Train to Somewhere is the third book in the Before… and After series but each book is a standalone story.

I loved reading Kissing Lessons, which is the second book in the series and I was hoping that I would love Train to Somewhere just as much. But alas, I had mixed feelings while reading Train to Somewhere and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue to read it after what Charlie did to his best friend Will. What do you ask did Charlie do to Will? Well according to the blurb after seeing Will dressed up as a girl, complete with clothes, stockings, hair, and makeup, Charlie has some confused emotions (i.e., he popped a boner) for his best friend and he responds by lashing out. I’m not sure if I would have described it as lashing out when Charlie rips the clothes from his body including his stockings all while Will is pleading with him to stop and then forces him into the shower in his underwear to scrub the makeup and hair gel off of him. I would have considered it abuse and assault, and I was sickened that Charlie would do that to his best friend. And when Charlie finally realizes what he’s done, he is sickened and terribly confused and ends up on a bridge contemplating suicide for what he did to Will and the loss of his friendship. He’s sure that he has lost his best friend and he knows that he only has himself to blame.

But Will comes looking for him and makes him confess to what had happened and what he had been thinking and feeling before forgiving him. A week after the party, they go on a school trip that has been a year in the planning. Will and Charlie, while trying to get their friendship back to what it was, will explore their new feelings and try to figure out their sexuality and through it all, Will reassures Charlie that they will always be best friends and he will never leave him. They both love each other but just as best friends at that point in their lives. They are only eighteen, and they don’t have romantic feelings toward each other.

I liked the epilogue that was ten years after the train ride and how they had kept in touch through the years and were finally ready to be more and finally secure in who they were. I really liked the ending of the book, but I now want to know how their relationship pans out.

Overall, I thought the second half of the book redeemed the first half, but I can’t help but wonder how Charlie would have turned out if Will hadn’t taken Charlie’s first violent reaction well and helped him redirect and process his feelings to be positive instead of negative. Would he have turned out to be a closeted gay that beat up guys that he desired because he couldn’t process his feelings and was adamant that he was straight?

So I’m glad that Will was such a good friend and gave Charlie the unconditional support that he needed and that his life went down a different path.

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

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Review: “Coasting” By Yvonne Trent

TITLE: Coasting
AUTHOR: Yvonne Trent
SERIES: States of Love
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Brooke Albrecht
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 126 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 23, 2017
PRICE: $5.94 -e-book
  

BLURB:

What happens when you need something but don’t know what it is? Why not look in a place you never heard of?

Out and proud elementary school teacher Cal Hamilton thought he was happy in Philadelphia, but after a breakup, he steps back to reassess his life and discovers something is missing. He gets in his car and drives south with no idea what he hopes to find. The flip of a coin leads him to a small town in Mississippi—practically a different world from the city where he grew up.

Police officer Billy Labarre keeps his sexuality mostly to himself, but he knows just what he needs to fill the hole in his quiet small-town life: the right man. Unfortunately attitudes toward gay men still leave a lot to be desired in the rural South, and it’s hard to meet someone. It’s not likely his perfect match is just going to show up out of the blue….


This author has done a good job at writing the ultimate love story. This story is set in a small town in Mississippi where everyone knows everyone, and I could really feel this in the story. This author really focused on the process of falling in love and letting me really getting to know the characters. There is no angst or drama, just genuine love.

Cal is a teacher in Philadelphia and has recently ended a five-year relationship. He has decided to leave town and start a new life. He doesn’t know where he will end up but the flip of a coin sets his direction, and he ends up in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Of course, when he gets there and there are no hotels available. When he’s ready to move to the next town, he runs into the cop.

Billy is a police officer that loves his small town and loves keeping it safe. Not that there are ever any problems, but he loves it all the same. Then he runs into Cal and instantly feels connected to him. They begin talking, and Billy has this need to offer Cal a room to rent at his place and doesn’t think twice about it.

They start dating and start having butterflies dance in their bellies. They fall in love pretty much instantly. As this story does let you think this could happen, this is where some of my doubts come in. I had a hard time believing someone would have a stranger move right into their house and falling in love, but stranger things have happened. This story is a great ooshy gooshy love story with great family connections, as well as good friends. So, if you are looking for a low angst mushy kind of book, look no further. You have found it.

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

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Review: “The Heir Apparent” by Tere Michaels

TITLE: The Heir Apparent
AUTHOR: Tere Michaels
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Taria Reed
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 9, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

The heir apparent to a vast international company, Henry Walker has focused his entire life on pleasing his cold and distant father, a futile effort that’s left him no time for life, love, or making his own decisions. He has just one friend—one dirty little secret—Archie Banks. Raised on the Walker estate alongside Henry, Archie is now Henry’s driver, bodyguard… and occasional lover. Archie is loyal, but he’s about to graduate from college and has plans for his life that don’t include living every moment at the beck and call of Henry’s father. Not even for Henry.

With no warning, a shocking kidnapping leads to tragedy and chaos, thrusting Henry and Archie into a dramatic struggle that threatens them individually and as a couple. Can they find a way to heal the hurt of the past, save the company that is Henry’s birthright, and find a future together?


Henry and Archie have known each other since they were children. Archie’s mother worked as the cook for Henry’s family, so they lived in the same house and grew up together, and as boys do, got up to all sorts of mischief. But now they are grown men. Henry is the heir to his father’s multi-million dollar company, and Archie is his driver/bodyguard. In public, they act like strangers, employer and employee. But in private, that old friendship and banter is still there, and now, unknown to everyone else around them, they are also occasional sexual partners. Although Henry and Archie care for each other, they both know it can never be anything more than a fling or some fun due to their social standings.

Henry’s life is pretty boring and predictable, at every moment he knows what he needs to do, and what is expected of him by his father. His whole life is consumed by learning the family business for when he eventually takes over. Henry’s social life consists of having dinner at his father’s house, or with one of their business associates.

Archie wants to be more than just a driver/bodyguard for a high maintenance businessman and his family, so for the last six years he’s been taking online classes and studying for his business degree. With only a few weeks of classes left, Archie is looking towards the future and a job where he will be looked at with respect instead of just the hired help. Although he knows it will be hard moving on and not to getting to see Henry every day, Archie is certain that it’s exactly what he needs to start a new life of his own.

The “relationship” between Henry and Archie is convenient because Henry has no time to live a life outside of the business, and Archie is always around anyway because of his job, but they also know each other better than any other person could. Unfortunately, it’s also very unequal. Henry is still the one who calls the shots and decides when they can be together, while Archie is left chasing him hoping to get some attention and affection back without looking like he’s desperate or begging. They also seem to sort any issues they have with sex instead of talking which just isn’t healthy. For example, in one scene Henry and Archie haven’t had any private contact or spoken for about a week because Henry was in a mood, and while driving Henry home that night, Archie is told by Henry to pull in somewhere quiet. The first words out of Henry’s mouth to Archie after all that time of ignoring him are to get in the back seat and strip (Archie obviously does as he’s told), and they then proceed to have sex. Seriously? Who even does that? Why would you be intimate with someone at the drop of a hat when they have basically treated you like crap and like you didn’t exist for days on end? It irritated me, and I just didn’t understand it at all.

I really don’t want to sound harsh or negative here, but as I’m being completely honest, I need to say exactly what I’m thinking and feeling. The Heir Apparent was kind of a frustrating book to read, and I’m finding it hard to decide how to rate it because although I didn’t hate it, it didn’t love it either. I did like the characters individually, but not as a couple. I don’t think that they were a good match at all and would have been better staying as just friends. For the first three chapters of the book, I found it really difficult to keep myself from giving up on the story altogether, because everything was just overly described, from how the characters looked, to what they were doing, and the environment that they were in. It felt like it was just words and no real story. It just wasn’t what I was expecting when I read the blurb. From chapter four the story and plot did get better and more enjoyable, but it wasn’t exciting or intriguing. The parts surrounding the kidnap and the hunt for the person responsible were really quite obvious and played out a bit longer than necessary. And even though I don’t think Henry and Archie belonged together, the ending was quite sweet. In my head, I’m imagining that they went on to live a more evenly-balanced and happy life as a couple in the public eye.

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

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Review: “The Keeper” by Kiernan Kelly

TITLE: The Keeper
AUTHOR: Kiernan Kelly
SERIES:
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
GENRE: Paranormal; Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

After millennia of hiding in the shadows, the creatures of myth known collectively as the “Others” have stepped forward into the light of day and demanded the right to share the planet humans long ago claimed as their exclusive territory. But the humans have no intention of surrendering without a fight—one that will include genocide. The Others are given no choice but to be ready to defend themselves, and they convene a Council of War to plan their strategy.

But first, they must address an ancient and terrifying prophecy: “Heed me well, all of you. Attack the humans without the Keeper and you will fail. Every one of you will become nothing but a memory, a myth, and the humans will truly inherit the earth.”

The Council charges Liam, son of the Sidhe chieftain, with the critical mission to find the elusive Keeper necessary to their survival, but his quest is complicated by the need to find a Keeper determined not to be found.

Marin is an Atlantean who values his privacy, but with the fate of the world at stake, he understands his days of living under the radar are over. Even worse, he must face his past to fight for his future. The last thing he expects is to fall in love along the way.


A war is coming, between humans and the creatures of myth, known as The Others.
The Others came out of the shadow to the human world. At first, they were welcome, but the more they came, the more the human start to fear them and decide to exterminate them. Yes, neutralize and / or exterminate them in camps that they create to park them, torture them and kill them. Totally human.
The council of the others, decide to fight back and free their people but in order to be successful, they need The Keeper with them.
Liam, a Sidhe (kind of fairy) is the one in charge of this mission. Find the Keeper.

Marin is an Atlantean and the keeper. He’s lived in the human world for years, before “the great revelation” of the Others. He wants to stay away from them, and the war. But when he understands what really happened to his people, he doesn’t hesitate and agrees to follow Liam.
Liam is a great warrior, fierce and loyal to his father the Chieftain of the council. When he meets Marin, he doesn’t expect to meet a hot sexy beautiful man and stubborn who doesn’t follow his orders.

I liked this book, but something was missing.

The story and the plot were good, but too much repetitiveness. Sometimes I was turning around with the same thing, and it made the read a little bit boring in those moments.
I love the multi POV, not only Liam and Marin, but also from the secondary characters. It was interesting, but it doesn’t help the reader get attached to the MCs.
Liam and Marin are interesting, but I can’t tell you that I’m in love with them or who’s my favourite because I didn’t spend a lot of time with them. The author stayed on the surface, so I can’t really be attached to them, and when the big revelation (I call it the Stars war’s revelation) happened, I was cold like “yeah ok good”.
Don’t get me wrong, Liam and Marin are interesting and can be funny, I liked them. Just like I liked the story and the plot.
This book, is for me, the book one of a series, and it settles the background and how everything starts. The author had to put the basis of his universe. Now everything is in place, I want to know more and how they’re going to succeed.
So despite the length, the repetition and the characters not really developed, I still want to read more and follow Liam and Marin quest.

It’s 3.5 stars for This Keeper and His Fairy boy.

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

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Review: “Deeds and Confetti” by Brandon Witt

TITLE: Deeds and Confetti
AUTHOR: Brandon Witt
SERIES: Mary’s Boys
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: AngstyG.
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 100 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 27, 2017
PRICE: $ 4.99 –e-book
  

BLURB:

A Mary’s Boys Novella

Steven Conley loves the excitement of owning his own Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Denver, Colorado, and his chosen family of coworkers makes life even better. Steven never regretted leaving the corporate grind behind until his father’s harsh deathbed words leaves him doubting himself.

Ryan Fuller abandoned a lucrative career to start his own party-planning business, but he keeps afloat by coordinating funerals for the local mortuary. When Ryan bumps into Steven—his best friend’s uncle and the man Ryan has secretly crushed on forever—the attraction explodes into a night of passionate abandon for both men.

Steven is blown away by the care and deep connection he feels for the hot young mortician—until Ryan admits who he really is. Reeling from the recent upheaval in his life, Steven must decide whether to give Ryan a chance. To find love, they must risk it all….


Deeds and Confetti is the fourth book in the Mary’s Boys series by Brandon Witt. I really liked the blurb for this book. It checked a lot of my boxes in what I like to read. It has an older/younger best friend’s uncle taboo storyline which I enjoy reading. And they are usually full of forbidden longing and burning chemistry and plenty of internal anguish. And while I got glimpses of some of those things, I think the length of the book kept it from reaching its potential. I read the first sex scene between Steven and Ray, and I thought yes, this is just what I wanted. It was hot and sexy and explosive, and then the rest of the sex scenes were glossed over, and I found that to be disappointing.

I also would have loved some flashbacks about when Ryan was younger and his adolescent attraction to his best friend’s uncle, especially since his best friend’s mom and the rest of his family knew about his crush, except for the uncle of course. I will have to say that I was heartbroken when Ryan confessed to Steven who he was and Steven had no recollection of who he was. It had been a big event in his life, and it didn’t even hit Steven’s radar. Which considering Ryan’s age at the start of his crush is probably a good thing that he was oblivious, but he had to be prompted by his sister to even remember how often Ryan was with his nephew Topher when they would all hang out. I also had a hard time figuring out why Steven had bought Hamburger Mary’s since it didn’t seem to bring him joy. It wasn’t until the latter half of the book that I could see what had drawn him to it in the first place and how happy he was to be a part of it again.

Steven is the proud owner of two Hamburger Mary’s. Unfortunately, they aren’t doing as well as he hoped and he is questioning whether it was smart of him to give up his high finance job and all of the money that he’d made with it. And all of that stress is taking the joy out of why he’d bought them to begin with. Add his father dying is just the icing on the cake. Not that he had any feelings but hate for the bastard, but I did like how he was there for his sister who had a better relationship with him.

Ryan was my favorite out of the two. I thought he was very mature for his age, and I thought it took a lot of guts to confess to who he was when he didn’t have to. He also left behind a lucrative career to open his own event-planning company and supplements his income by coordinating funerals for the local mortuary. When he sees that his best friend’s grandfather died he makes sure to be the attendant at the funeral to be as supportive as possible and with the hope of seeing Steven again. And when he does, the chemistry between them is explosive. But will it be enough to keep them together as they both work through their various issues?

I did like the drag queens and how supportive all of their friends and family were about them being together and having a relationship. This is the first book by Brandon Witt, but I would be willing to give another of his books a try to see if this was just a fluke or if I just don’t mesh with his books.

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

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