Review: “The Storm’s Gift” by A.D. Ellis

TITLE: The Storm’s Gift
AUTHOR: A.D. Ellis
SERIES: Advent Calendar “Stocking Stuffer.”
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 34 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2017
PRICE: $1.99 – e-book/ $64.99 – paperback


Snowed in together in their college dorm, two men share a quick connection that creates enough heat to spar with the blizzard outside.
Rory Blackwell plans to rejuvenate his mind and repair his battered heart after his world is shaken by an unexpected breakup. James Austin’s freshman-year plans of improving his social life crashed and burned, leaving him feeling as alone and outcast as he did back home.
One man is hurting while the other is eager to provide comfort. One is a virgin, the other experienced with other men. Both are looking forward to Winter Break, but can they take full advantage of their situation—or will the passion ignited between them fizzle out with the storm?

The Storm’s Gift by A.D. Ellis is a story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advert Calendar “Stocking Stuffer.” This is a cute Christmas short story. It has just enough storyline and background on the two main characters, Rory and James, to make them interesting. There is definitely an instant love feel to the story. I liked the virgin freshman and the experienced senior storyline. I would be interested in reading more about these two and what happens to them after winter break and when Rory graduates and James is still only a sophomore.

Rory Blackwell is the Resident Advisor for the freshman dorm. He’s recovering from an unexpected breakup. He doesn’t have any plans to go anywhere over the winter break. He just has to wait until all of his charges have left before his vacation can begin.

James Austin’s plans for improving his social life crashed and burned so far for his freshman year. He tends to stick to his room, studying, instead of socializing. Hence the reason that he is still a virgin. He wasn’t able to make it home for Thanksgiving due to lack of finances, but he is determined to make it home for winter break. But a huge winter storm has other ideas, and the blizzard has closed all of the major highways home. But James isn’t at all happy about having to stay in the dorms for winter break. Although getting to stay with the RA that he’s been crushing on does have its benefits. And one of them is having to share body heat for warmth.

Rory also isn’t too disappointed that he’s going to have to spend his winter break with James. Truth to be told, he’s also had a crush on the cute freshman, who spends all of his time studying. He can’t believe that James is still single and he’s more than happy to help him get rid of his virginity.

I liked the happy for now ending, but I would love to read more about these two characters and what happens to them next.

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


Review: “Homemade from the Heart” by Bru Baker

TITLE: Homemade from the Heart
AUTHOR: Bru Baker
SERIES: Advert Calendar “Stocking Stuffers”
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Brooke Albrecht
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 52 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book/ $64.99 – paperback


Craft store owner Grant has always been a sucker for a pretty face, and that goes double for a pretty face with an adorable sidekick. When seven-year-old Aubrey has her heart set on taking Grant’s already-full holiday craft series, he caves and gives up his one day off a week so she (and her hot guardian, Josh) can take private lessons. Their flirting ramps up week after week, and even though Josh isn’t with Aubrey’s mother, Grant can’t be sure the man isn’t straight. Maybe he’s just being friendly. And Josh, who most definitely is not straight, is afraid of being the creepy guy hitting on the teacher.
Frustrated by their stubbornness and cluelessness, Aubrey takes matters into her own hands. She decides the best gift to give Josh is something homemade and from the heart—a boyfriend they’ll both love.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar “Stocking Stuffers.”

I adored Homemade from the Heart by Bru Baker. This is a story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advert Calendar “Stocking Stuffers.” The story was well written, and it was full of feel-good holiday cheer.

This story is about a seven-year-old Aubrey that has her heart set on taking Grant’s already full holiday craft series. However, the craft store owner Grant caves and gives up his one day off a week so she and her guardian Josh can take private lessons. As their weekly flirting ramps up, Grant is still trying to decide if Josh is straight or not, and Josh isn’t straight, but he doesn’t want to come across as the creepy guy hitting on the teacher. With the help of a seven-year-old matchmaker, Josh will get the best gift that she can give him; a homemade from the heart one in the form of a boyfriend.

I loved the storyline, and Aubrey was the cutest seven-year-old matchmaker. She had so much energy and love to pass around. Aubrey had me laughing on more than one occasion. I loved that she wanted to make homemade gifts for her family members. I also loved her hot guardian, Josh. I liked how he will do anything to make her happy even if it means having to pay for private lessons on a Sunday. Grant had a heart of gold for being selfless enough to come in on his day off and allow Aubrey and Josh to take private lessons since the holiday craft series is already full. Of course, he isn’t completely selfless since his primary reason for doing it is because he thinks Josh is hot and he wants to get to know him more even if he’s pretty sure that Josh is straight.

But that doesn’t stop Grant from teaching Aubrey how to make the best holiday projects for her family. My favorite holiday project that they did was the cross stitch pillow for her mom and how Grant helped her modify the pattern to match a pillow that her mother had when she was younger. I loved the innuendos that were passed back and forth between Grant and Josh. My only complaint was that the make-out scene was interrupted and then not finished. I really wanted it to be finished. Otherwise, a truly enjoyable Christmas short story.

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


Review: “Undercover Star” By Jackie Keswick

TITLE: Undercover Star
AUTHOR: Jackie Keswick
COVER ARTIST: Emma Griffin
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 130 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 22, 2017
PRICE: $3.93 – e-book


It sounds like the stupidest idea in the history of stupid ideas. Detective Inspector Josh Ingram wants to find a deadly medieval locket and through it, a murderer. So why does his boss decide to team him up with Matisse Vervein, a pop idol many consider just a pretty face… and expect the two of them to hunt down an art thief?
Marissa Godwin, Matisse’s no-nonsense manager, isn’t stupid. Neither is her brother-in-law, Detective Superintendent Tim Montgomery. Each is looking out for a lonely man on the verge of quitting what he does best, and both believe that their charges would make a great team.
The attraction sizzling between Josh and Matisse is hard to miss, but there’s plenty of resentment, too. Focussed on pushing Josh and Matisse towards each other, Marissa and Tim haven’t imagined the kind of trouble a music star and a detective can find when they ditch their prejudices and accept that the attraction between them is mutual. Or how far each is prepared to go to prove it to the other.
A standalone, feel-good, action adventure romance set in England and Scotland, featuring a reluctant pop star who’s not out, a detective trying his hand at being a bodyguard, plenty of adventure, and a happy ending.

There’s not much more that I can say about this book that the blurb hasn’t already covered. Josh and Matisse are forced to work together to try and find an art and jewellery thief who commits his crimes at high profile fundraisers and promotional events, but who also murdered Josh’s detective partner when he stumbled across the sale of one of the items that had been stolen in Rome. Josh’s boss thinks that using Matisse as a way in to these events will help them get closer to the culprit, and give them a bigger opportunity to catch him, something they wouldn’t be able to do just going into the event as police. Josh will act as one of Matisse’s bodyguards and will be able to move in and arrest the suspect if he shows up while they’re there.

Josh is openly gay, but for the past few years, his love life has been put on the back-burner as all of his attention has been on catching the person who murdered his friend, and who keeps slipping through his fingers. Matisse knows he’s gay, but he’s in the closet and afraid to come out because he doesn’t think his fans will accept it, and all he really wants to do is make sure his fans are happy, even when it means putting his own wants and happiness aside. When Josh and Matisse meet, there is an attraction, but both men don’t want to admit to it and keep skirting around each other, even though having to spend a lot of time together makes it difficult to down-play the sneaking glances and flirty comments.

When Josh finally gets a break on the case with the help of Matisse, it leads the two men on an unexpected journey to Scotland, where Josh discovers there is much more to Matisse than his pop star persona, and Josh can’t help but fall for the man in front of him.

This book was enjoyable and entertaining and kept me hooked from start to finish, but at times I felt as if it lost it’s way a little. It almost felt like catching the killer/thief was pushed to the side, and all of the focus was on the developing relationship between Josh and Matisse. It was almost like two separate storylines. But don’t get me wrong, I really did like the story and the characters, and the author actually made my jaw completely drop and gave me goosebumps at one point when she mentioned the name of the town in Scotland they were heading to. Either the author knows the west coast of Scotland pretty well, or she’s done some really decent research, because the town name she used, Greenock, is kind of obscure and relatively unknown unless you know the area. I know this because I live in the very next town to it, and even some people who only live about 20 miles away probably couldn’t really tell you where it is. She also mentioned Josh and Matisse crossing the Erskine Bridge, which is the same bridge I have to cross every day to get to work. It just makes the story feel much more realistic when the places used are places you personally know.

This is the second book I’ve read by this author, and another that I’d happily recommend. A great little book to read on an afternoon while sitting with your feet up and coffee in hand.

***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: “Heart Unheard” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Heart Unheard
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Hearts Entwined
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 17, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback


The attraction between Brent Berkheimer and Scott Spearman peels the wallpaper, but Brent is Scott’s boss, and they’re both too professional to go beyond flirting. Their priorities realign after Scott is badly injured in an accident that costs him his hearing, and Brent realizes what is truly important… he wants Scott.
Scott pushes Brent away at first, fearing a new romance will just add to his problems, but perhaps he will find unexpected strength and solace in Brent’s support as he struggles to communicate with the world in a new way.
Just as they decide the chance of a happy future together is worth the risk, Scott and Brent discover darker challenges in their way—including evidence that the “accident” Scott suffered may not have been so accidental.

Andrew Grey is quite a new author to me, the only other book I’ve read by him was the first book of this series, Heart Unseen, which I really enjoyed. Although Heart Unheard is part of the series and involves some characters that were introduced in the first book, it can definitely be read as a stand-alone without any problems.

The story focuses on the main characters, Brent and Scott. Brent is the manager of one of the garage’s that his friend Trevor owns, and Scott is one of the mechanics that has worked there for a few years. Brent has had a crush on Scott for about two years, but he’s been too scared to act on it. One reason is because there’s around a ten-year age difference between them, and Brent thinks that Scott wouldn’t be interested in an “old” man when he could probably have anyone he wanted. The other reason is that Brent is Scott’s boss, and even though Trevor has already told him it would be okay with him, he’s made up his mind that it wouldn’t be professional to have a relationship with someone he works with and who he’s supposed to manage day-to-day. Scott is also attracted to Brent. He spends his days sneaking glances, flirting with him and trying to get Brent to make a move, but it never happens, no matter how hard he tries.

When Scott is involved in a car accident and loses his hearing as result of it, Brent becomes his strength and support. But Brent also realises just how much Scott means to him, and what he almost lost when the accident happened, which forces him to make a decision. Brent stays by Scott’s side the whole time and tells Scott how he feels, but Scott thinks that Brent is just taking pity on him now that he knows his life will be completely changed because he can’t hear anymore. With a lot of persistence and perseverance, Brent proves to Scott that what he feels now is what he’s felt for a long time. Scott begins to accept that his hearing loss will only hold him back if he lets it, but with the love and support of the people around him, he’ll be just fine.

When an old friend from Scott’s past appears on the scene and starts causing some problems, Scott has to deal with memories and people he’d rather forget. But this time he’s at the disadvantage of having a new disability that he’s trying to learn to cope with. Luckily, Brent has his back and will never let anything or anyone get to Scott again.

This was another really enjoyable story with great characters. I’m so happy that Brent and Scott finally saw sense and got together because they were just so good for each other, and their reasons for not being together were just stupid *sticks out tongue*. The plot kept me really interested the whole way through, and the pace felt just right, nothing seemed too rushed or played out. I would like to have known more about the outcome of the “accident” as that part felt a little unfinished, but it didn’t affect the book too much, plus the ending was adorable, so I was really happy anyway. I’m hoping and kinda begging that we get a book for Dean next, I think he has a story that needs to be told.

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


Review: “Kanan” by Catherine Lievens

TITLE: Kanan
AUTHOR: Catherine Lievens
SERIES: Gillham Pack
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Latrisha Waters
GENRE: Paranormal; Shapeshifter
LENGTH: 119 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 25, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book


Since he was rescued from the lab he’d been locked up in, Kanan hasn’t been living—he’s been surviving. He can’t trust anyone, not completely, and it’s easier to hide away in his room, away from life.

Titus lost everything—his father, his tribe, his best friend. He knows Jarah and Neriah did the right thing, taking the tribe away from him, but it doesn’t make accepting that any easier. Yet when Jarah asks him for help, he decides he’ll do what he has to do to keep his best friend and the pack where some of his old tribe members live safe, even if that includes killing the Los Angeles pack’s alpha.

Kanan never expected to meet his mate, not when he spends so much of his time in his room. But when he meets Titus in the woods, he knows he can’t hide away from their bond—and he doesn’t want to. Will he manage to get through the anger Titus has shrouded himself in? And will Titus find a way to break the thick walls Kanan built around his heart?

Kanan is the twenty-fifth book in the Gillham Pack series by Catherine Lievens, and according to the dedication in the book, it’s the final book in the series. I was kind of sad to read that this was the final book because I have truly enjoyed reading this series. Now I will just have to focus on her other series which I enjoy reading also. Like all of Catherine Lievens’ books that I have read so far, Kanan was well written and nicely edited. The characters were lovable, and I enjoyed getting to see the other members of the Gillham Pack.

Kanan is one of the shifters rescued from the labs. He’s had a hard life so far. He’s had his entire family killed before his eyes. Then he was captured, tortured, caged, and experimented on by human scientists. He has lots of physical and mental scars. He’s now part of the Gillham Pack and has been for a while but he spends most of his time in his room, and he’s only made a couple of friends. Among his friends is Nuallan, a Nix, and he lives with Kameron and his mate Zach at the Alpha’s home. Kanan is a big introvert and antisocial, and so is Nuallan, which is why they get along as friends. Kanan has been with the Gillham Pack long enough to know who Titus is but he’s never met him in person until he comes across him while on a walk in the woods. Then he realizes that Titus is his mate. But he doesn’t know what to make of his mate when he runs away from him.

Titus has lost everything. He’d lost his father, his tribe, and his best friend, Jarah. Titus has lots of issues and is stuck in the mindset that he needs to make his deceased father proud and be the leader that his father wanted him to be. Even if it wasn’t something that Titus himself desired or was good at, which is why his best friend took away his leadership of the tribe and disbanded it. With that goal in mind, he’s prepared to marry a former female tribe member to produce kids and rebuild the tribe. And he believes that he’s willing to forgo his mate when he meets him in the woods. But the pull of the mate bond is strong, and when his mate comes for him, he finds that he can’t deny him. And he will do anything to make him happy and keep him safe, even if it means killing the people that are endangering the Gillham Pack.

I really enjoyed Kanan and Titus’ interactions and how Kanan was determined to get his mate whether his mate wanted a mate or not. I am going to miss the Gillham Pack and its members, but I loved the way the author has finished out the series.

I can’t wait to see what new series she comes up with next.

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