Review: “Rocky Mountain Refuge” by Nicky James

TITLE: Rocky Mountain Refuge
AUTHOR: Nicky James
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Nicky James
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 220 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 e-book

BLURB:

Run! Hide! We are watching you, Huxley!
Huxley Dempsy suffers from a paranoid personality disorder. After a horrific tragedy five years ago, Huxley is convinced people are out to get him. Taking refuge in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, he is a prisoner to his own mind. If he can think it up, it must be true, and there is no convincing him otherwise.
Wildlife biologist, Aspen Taylor, is on his way north again to close up the final year of the Grizzly Bear Research Project. Studying wildlife in their natural habitat is what sings to his soul. However, who he finds in the mountains is almost as beastly as the bears he studies.
An underlying sense of familiarity draws Aspen to learn more about this Wildman, and a strong sense of attraction binds them together almost instantly. But can Aspen break through the barriers of Huxley’s mind and convince him to go home?


When it comes to mental illnesses, I can’t say I’m an expert. I like books with main characters who suffer some form of that condition. But there was something in this book that it didn’t convince me, and here is why…

Huxley witnessed the terrible death of his husband, Nathaniel. From a very young age Huxley suffers from a paranoia disorder. His mind works fast, transforming the words as his brain pleases, and that more often than not, finds him in difficult, compromising situations.
He is completely able to care for himself, just the thoughts … After witnessing his husband murder, Huxley disappears. Taking all his money, and no one knows where he could be. He’s considered a missing person.

Aspen is a wildlife biologist. He likes the outdoors more than staying inside of his office. When he’s needed to be a leader of his research project of the Grizzly Bear Research Project, he happily (or not), puts his dissertation on hold, and joins a young team at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.
Little does he know that fate has put Huxley in his way. Aspen knows Huxley, or more like knows of him, and he seems to think he’s seen the tall, handsome man somewhere.

Needless to say, being a romance novel, things heat up pretty quick. Well too quick of my liking. You remember at the beginning of my review what I said? That this book didn’t convinced me …

That’s because Huxley seems to have a sexually dominant side. Well, that would be not a problem if not for his shy, introvert, fearsome behavior. These contradictions didn’t match well in my head. Being a Dom means you have no room for fear. None!

Huxley transforms from a trembling rabbit to a dominating predator in bed just didn’t bode well. But as I told you at the beginning, I’m not an expert on paranoid behavior, so I might be wrong.

Other than that, the book is an easy read. Enjoy!

***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: “Staggered Cove Station” by Elle Brownlee

TITLE: Staggered Cove Station
AUTHOR: Elle Brownlee
SERIES: Coast Guard Rescue, Dreamspun Desires
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 216 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 20 , 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Rescues are wild in the Alaskan terrain. So is romance.
Sun-kissed California guardsman Dan Farnsworth might be at home in the water, but he’s out of his element at remote, rugged, and freezing Staggered Cove Station. Acclimating proves hard enough, but he’s also digging into how the station’s previous rescue swimmer was lost at sea. Was it an operation gone bad or something more sinister? Add to that the instant tension between him and his partner—no-nonsense Alaska-born Karl Radin—and Dan has his hands full.
As his investigation heats up, so does the attraction between Dan and Karl, even if they don’t completely trust each other. But as suspicious events escalate to sabotage, Dan starts to fear that he and Karl won’t get the chance to become more than reluctant coworkers.


Staggered Cove Station is a story that I was certain I was going to love based on what I had read from the blurb. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Now, I’m not saying I hated or didn’t enjoy it, because there was a lot about the book that I did like. It just wasn’t what I expected.

The story revolves around a Coast Guard station in Alaska and the people who work there. New arrival Dan Farnsworth has come to the station with a secret. He knows all about the rescue swimmer that has gone missing and is presumed dead, and he believes that there’s some sort of cover-up going on within the station. He knows the person who is missing was one of the best and strongest swimmers around, so doesn’t believe he would have gotten into any kind of trouble in the water that would have led to his drowning and disappearance. Dan plan’s to fully investigate what happened without letting anyone know that’s what he’s doing. His main suspect, the person who was in charge of the operation that day and who he believes is responsible, is the locally-born Alaskan native, and now Dan’s new roommate, Karl Radin.

Karl Radin has been a member of the Coast Guard for many years. Karl is meticulous about everything he does, that way there’s less chance for something to go wrong. He loves his job and takes it very seriously. But due to his experience and length of service, he also gets a little bit more leeway with the boss than the rest of the team. When the station’s previous rescue swimmer went missing, it really affected Karl. He can’t stop thinking about what went wrong or if there was something he could have done differently. The fact that they’ve still not recovered the body just leaves a lot of unanswered questions. When Karl discovers that Dan is his new roommate, he’s kind of shocked as he’s almost always had the room to himself. But just to add to the issue, Dan seems to have some sort of chip on his shoulder and doesn’t come across as being the friendliest of people to have to share with. The other problem is that Dan is extremely attractive. So even though Karl knows he’s attracted to men, it’s not something he’s acted on as the job has always come first, but being in such close proximity to Dan, even with his chilly attitude, is going to test all his resolve.

Over the time working together the two men begin to form a good working relationship and friendship. But also discover that the mystery of the missing team member isn’t all what it seems. This brings them even closer, to the point where the attraction to each other is something that can’t be ignored any longer.

As I’ve already said, there was a lot about this book that I did really like. I loved the story concept and plot. It was really well thought out and had a few good twists to add to the excitement. I liked the characters and how their relationship developed across the story. Based on what I got from the story Karl is older than Dan, but as we never find out their ages, I don’t know how much of an age-gap there is. It could be anything from 8-20 years. This is one of the small details I like to know. I also had a couple of issues with how the story was written. Often there was a jump between the characters dialogue and I found myself having to go back a few sentences or paragraph to remind myself what was going on. I also found the pace of the story to be a little slow for my liking.

Overall, it was a nice and easy read with a great little HFN ending. And even though I was expecting more, I can’t say I was left feeling disappointed because I really wasn’t. It was definitely a story worth reading.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Wolf’s Man Friday” by Julia Talbot

TITLE:  The Wolf’s Man Friday
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: Nose to Tail, Inc.
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Christine Griffin
GENRE: Shapeshifter; Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 220 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 20, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

The last thing Sebastian Zeller wants is to be pack Alpha. But when the pack leader, his uncle Ron, is attacked, he has no choice but to leave his beloved Colorado mountains and fulfill his duty as Ron’s heir—at least until his uncle recovers. In the meantime, he intends to lure the attacker out… and make them pay.
When Ron gets wind of Sebastian’s plan to catch the attacker, he doesn’t like the idea of risking his heir. That’s where Jaxon Reedis comes in—he’ll balance protecting the dark and sexy werewolf with pretending to be his personal assistant. He’s walking a fine line that requires all his foxy wit and craftiness… and that’s on top of the inescapable feeling that he and Sebastian are meant for each other. When the attacker returns, will they be able to maintain their deepening bond when danger threatens to tear down everything they’re building?


The Wolf’s Man Friday is the second book in the Nose to Tail, Inc. series by Julia Talbot. I was of two minds about this book. I thought the first half of the book was kind of slow and a little bit confusing. I was a little bit confused with why Sebastian’s Uncle Ray was attacked and where they were and why they were only going to be there for a short time before going back to their pack territory in Colorado. I was also confused by the pack dynamic, but it was explained a little bit more in the second half of the book. I was also confused by the dialog between Sebastian and Jaxon. The story was written where it was like they could hear each other’s internal thoughts but only part of the time, but they never addressed it or explained if it was part of them becoming mates or something else. It was kind of confusing. I liked the book a lot better after Jaxon and Sebastian got together. I loved their chemistry and all of their sexy times together, and when they would cuddle up in their animal forms and groom each other.

I liked Sebastian. He was an interesting character although at times a little wishy-washy. He had moments when he was with his friend Alan, and he would act juvenile and reckless, then he wouldn’t want to be the next leader of the pack and only want to be a designer, but he wouldn’t stand up for himself and tell his uncle that. But then there would be times when he would have a very alpha personality. So yeah kind of a wishy-washy personality. Made it a little bit harder to like him in the beginning. He definitely didn’t have next leader potential, which is what the author was going for, so I guess she did a good job conveying that.

I loved Jaxon. He was the perfect portrayal of a fox shifter. He was fun and mischievous but knew when to be serious and protective. He’d gone to butler school to learn how to be a jack of all trades in addition to being a bodyguard. He was hired by Sebastian’s uncle to pose as Sebastian’s personal assistant and protect him after Sebastian’s uncle found out that Sebastian was trying to catch his attacker. I liked how Jaxon’s level-headedness is a perfect foil for Sebastian’s more impulsive nature.

I also enjoyed the end of the story, and I’m intrigued to find out what happens with Cheyenne and his twin Cinturon. I hope they get their own books and Alan also.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Blueprint” by S.E Harmon

TITLE: The Blueprint
AUTHOR: S.E Harmon
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Kanaxa
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 270 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 13, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $16.99 paperback

BLURB:

Kelly Cannon is satisfied with his life. He has friends, a wonderful family, and a great job. But his love life has reached a new level of pitiful. Why? Well, his heart decided to break all the rules. Don’t fall in love with a straight guy. And definitely don’t fall in love with your best friend.
NFL standout Britton “Blue” Montgomery has pressure coming at him from all sides. From his father, who’s only interested in Blue’s football career. From his coaches, who just want him to play without getting injured again. From the fans. From his agent. And from his mother, who has popped up on the radar after leaving his family years before. And now his relationship with Kelly is on shaky ground, and that frightens Blue more than anything.
When Kelly admits he’s in love with Blue, bonds are tested, and Blue has to decide what’s really important. He doesn’t want to lose the number-one person in his life, but the cost to keep Kelly close might be more than he’s willing to pay.
It’s a good thing his nickname is the Blueprint—it’s time to draft a new set of plans.


Kelly is in love with Britton aka Blue, his best friend since 2nd grade. The problem is Blue is straight and a NFL player. When Kelly confesses his love to Blue, everything changes between them, and their long friendship needed to be rethought by both of them.

I need to be clear, I love S.E Harmon, PS I SPOOK YOU is one of my favorite books, but here I developed a Love/I-Want-To-Slap-You-In-The-Face relationship with the characters.

Kelly is gay and out, well not completely, since he didn’t come out to his family. He had separated his life, fearing rejection by his parents. His coming out to his family was funny, and I really liked this moment. When he admitted to Blue that he loved him, Blue was lost, and Kelly didn’t react well. At first, I totally understood. I mean he’d been in love with Blue since he was 12 years-old, and suddenly he the need to bare his heart out in the open completely naked then without any reaction from Blue. So yes, I completely understood that he didn’t react very well. But after, I was kind of lost. Kelly didn’t help Blue to understand what he was feeling, or how to come to terms with his newfound sexuality. Nope, Kelly gave him tantrum, fought, argued, played with his jealousy and finally gave him an ultimatum. Basically, the guy ran away from his so-called love of his life the entire book. But he’s not some lunatic. He acted this way because Blue forced him to act like that.

Blue is lost. He didn’t understand his new feelings for Kelly. He wanted him, but he was scared. I understand, for 30 years the guy thought he was straight, and suddenly realized that he wanted a man, his best friend. But Blue didn’t know what he wanted. And he played with Kelly during the whole book. “I want you” then “No it’s a mistake” then “I need you” then “We need to be just friends” and on and on and on. And they played this game for 90% of the book.

All the book is about Blue and Kelly and their ping/pong games. At some point, I wanted to put them in a room, alone, and force them to get their shit together. But in the meantime, I kind of loved them too. Because when they weren’t acting like two 3 year-old kids, they were kind of cute, and hot, super-hot. Their friendship was beautiful and amazing. The end is beautiful, and I really loved it.

So all the book, I ranted about them, but at the end, I was completely swooning for them

It’s 3.5 OptimuMMs for the Nerd and the Player.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Cowboy in the Crosshairs” by BA Tortuga

TITLE: Cowboy in the Crosshairs
AUTHOR: BA Tortuga
SERIES: Turquoise, New Mexico
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Western; Contemporary Romance; Mystery/Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 232 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

A Turquoise, New Mexico, Story
Once upon a time, a prince lived in a magical kingdom called Turquoise, New Mexico.
Well, really, TJ is a small-town police chief. Every Friday he holds court in the diner with the local holy roller, the art colonists, and the horsey people. But the Benes, who own the rodeo company, keep to themselves. TJ knows, because he was once hot and heavy with the oldest Bene son.
When Wacey Bene gets trampled by a remuda and comes home to heal, he’s none too happy to run into TJ, or his two little boys and their momma. The story might end there—if it wasn’t for some pesky bastard trying to kill Wacey.
The law steps in, and the townsfolk are cross about somebody messing with one of their own.
But once the bad guy is put away, can TJ and Wacey make their place in this wild and eccentric town a permanent one?


Cowboy in the Crosshairs is the first book in the Turquoise, New Mexico series and the fifty-third book in the Dreamspun Desires series.
I liked this story about TJ Cook, a small town police chief and Wacey Bene, rodeo circuit manager. Wacey and TJ were an item when they were in high school, but TJ was determined to be normal and have the whole white picket fence and family that went with it, including a wife and two kids. Wacey knew there was no way he could change his mind and so he left to manage the rodeo company that his family owned and planned never to return to Turquoise, New Mexico. However, those plans are shot to hell when Wacey has a bad horseback riding accident and has to return home until he is well enough to return to the rodeo. This puts him back in the same town as his ex, TJ, and it’s only a matter of time before they run into each other.

After nearly ten years, a lot has changed in Turquoise. TJ is the police chief and now has two kids and an ex-wife. One thing that his failed marriage has taught him is to be okay with his sexuality and be out and proud. He’s also a well-respected member of the community. Wacey and TJ didn’t part on the best of terms, and so their first meeting is very hostile and neither wants anything to do with the other. However, a series of accidents will keep throwing the two together and force them to get to know each other again and how they have grown up and matured while apart. With the accidents escalating will TJ find out who keeps trying to kill Wacey before they succeed? I know who did it, but you’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself.

There were a couple of things that were annoying to me, but they may not be annoying to you. I wasn’t a fan of Wacey’s name and how sometimes Wacey and TJ acted younger than they were supposed to be. I did like the chemistry between them, but I wish that the story had more than just the BJ scene. I would have liked a sex scene also. Overall, not a bad story but for me, I just wanted a little more passion.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis