Review: “The Gentle Dom” by Sean Michael

TITLE: The Gentle Dom
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
SERIES: Iron Eagle Gym
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 14, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback


When one of their own is threatened, the men of the Iron Eagle Gym will stand together and prove they are stronger as a family.
Stuntman Barclay Drambor suspects his fall from a roof was no accident. He believes his abusive ex was responsible, but he can’t prove it. Fortunately, a year has gone by with no word from Duncan, letting Barclay move on with his life—and that means dealing with the aftermath of his injuries. He finds personal trainer Reece “Rec” Gordon through a member of the gym, and it’s not long before their workouts together become much more intimate. Rec is gentle and goes out of his way to make Barclay comfortable, and in no time there’s talk of moving in together….
But just as Barclay is healing and finding a place to belong, Duncan returns to destroy his happiness. Though Duncan will learn he’s messing with the wrong group of men, in the end, Barclay must face him. Will Rec’s love and the friendship of the others at the gym give him the confidence to stand up for himself?

The Gentle Dom is the seventh book in the Iron Eagle Gym series by Sean Michael. I’ve read a couple of the other books in the series and greatly enjoyed them. I can’t wait until I have read them all. This book is a standalone book.

There are cameos from some of the other Iron Eagle members from past books, but you don’t have to have read their stories to enjoy them in this book. This book centers around personal trainer Reece “Rec” Gordon and stuntman Barclay Drambor. The book is well written. There were a few editing mistakes, but they weren’t very distracting. And there was more than enough sex in the book. Lots and lots of sex. So if you don’t like your books with a lot of sex scenes and just enough other interactions outside of the bedroom to satisfy a plot, then this book and series are probably not for you. I happen to really enjoy lots of sex scenes in my books, so for me it is usually a treat, but even this book was riding the line on too much sex. It had started to lose its titillation, and I wanted them to leave the bedroom just a little bit more. Maybe see a little bit more of Barclay’s rehabilitation. But otherwise, I loved the book.

Barclay Drambor is a stuntman that’s recovering from falling from a roof. His only goal is to get his body strong enough to get out of his wheelchair and get back to work. After finally being cleared by his doctor to begin working out again, he meets one of his friends that recommends his friend Reece that works at the Iron Eagle Gym to help him with his recovery. Barclay is also pretty sure that his fall from the roof wasn’t an accident. He believes his abusive ex was responsible, but he can’t prove it and nobody that he’d told believed him.

Luckily for him the last time he saw his ex was when he was in the hospital over a year ago. However, he can’t stop worrying that his ex will show back up and try to hurt him again. And that’s ultimately why they broke up in the first place because Duncan was abusing him both physically and mentally. He even ripped out his nipple piercing. I loved Barclay. He was super sweet and kind of shy. He hadn’t been around the BDSM lifestyle and wasn’t sure that it was for him, but that’s what I like about the BDSM lifestyle—that it doesn’t have to be anything that you don’t want it to be. You don’t like spankings, fine. You don’t like being humiliated, fine. You just want to belong to somebody and be cherished as they cherish you that is perfectly fine also. And that’s what Barclay is looking for as a natural submissive. He wants somebody to cherish him. To be kind and gentle with him and show him that he’s loved.

Reece “Rec” Gordon is a personal trainer for the Iron Eagle Gym and a Dom. I liked Rec. I liked getting to see how Barclay recovered and how Rec introduced him into the BDSM lifestyle. He didn’t push or try to introduce him into things that were a turn off to him. He got to know him and his likes and dislikes. I liked their instant chemistry. You could feel the attraction that they had for each other. And I liked that Reece believed Barclay when he told him his suspicions about his fall from the roof. They were just great together.

Overall, another great addition to the Iron Eagle Gym series. I hope this series continues for a very long time.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Bloody Love Spats” by Valentina Heart

TITLE: Bloody Love Spats
AUTHOR: Valentina Heart
SERIES: Among Wolves
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Maria Fanning
GENRE: Paranormal; Shapeshifter
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: Oct 21, 2013
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99


Tomislav Vugrin doesn’t think himself much of a vampire—not that others are tripping over themselves to dispute it. Despite descending from one of the most powerful vampire lines and having a coven queen for a sister, he’s far from a stuck-up royal and even farther from a force to be reckoned with.
That’s when fate puts her spiteful fingers to use and places him right in the path of Stone Marik, the new Alpha werewolf of the East Pack. Add a bit of teasing scent of a mate, and the attraction is stronger than any lack of information about bonding that might stand in their way.
But changing allegiance might be more than Tomi can handle, even if he has the best of intentions. Centuries of prejudice divide their two species, secrets and lack of time work against them, and soon even their desperate need for each other might not be enough to keep them alive.

As you know already, with the approval of Dreamspinner Press, we’re reviewing previously published books. We continue with Valentina Heart’s the Among Wolves, paranormal series
Well, I loved this book even more than the first one. This is a sequel of the first book, and you can read as a standalone too. The story is in the same universe as the first one, and we continue with Stone, the new pack Alpha of the Eastern Pack.
What I liked most about this book is the little ”introduction” of every chapter, they let you into some personal thoughts.
One year has passed since Stone took over the Eastern Pack, but the previous alpha’s cruel behavior still has his shadow in the pack. Together with his brother Tait who serves as his beta also, he tries to loosen the tension and fear that rules the pack. Tait is unsubordinated, funny and full of mischief. They are mostly at each other throats than not, but the love between the brothers is unquestionable.
Tim is a vampire prince, only 150 years old, a child in vampiric measures, and he was just cheated on by his ex-boyfriend. You will love him! I definitely did. First, he’s funny and a has a bit of a naive side, loving Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. And second, the actions of his ex makes him withdraw to the forest to have some alone time when fate decides he needs to meet his mate.
That wouldn’t be a problem, but vampires and shifters don’t mix. The old laws prohibits these two species to even socialize. But once Tim was sniffed everything else lost its meaning. For Tim it’s only just sex but after he was bitten, all hell breaks loose.
Danger awaits for them, a danger that’s bringing the whole pack to reunite to save Stone’s bloodsucker mate.
You will love our MC’s, their pack, the need for comfort and closeness. There was a special scene when I would wanted to be one of the pack members. It was when Stone decided the pack needed to trust each other again and for that they need more contact. He orders the pack to get rid of their clothes, as much as they’re comfortable with. There was nothing sexual in it. It was the intimacy of the touch, the comfort of belonging. It was beautifully described, and my heart ached to be a part of the unity.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Sebastian’s Wolves” by Valentina Heart

TITLE: Sebastian’s Wolves
AUTHOR: Valentina Heart
SERIES: Among Wolves
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Justin James
GENRE: Paranormal; Shapeshifter
LENGTH: 168 pages
RELEASE DATE: Feb 23, 2011
PRICE: $5.99 -e-book


Sebastian Vory was quite happy with his decision to leave his shifter pack to build a life with his mate Tim. But when an accident takes Tim from Sebastian, the lone wolf is thrown into aimless wandering that leads him to a new pack—and another shifter, Eshan Low. But Eshan has a troubled past, and despite his hopes and wishes, that past has a steel grip. Embroiled in a fight for justice, Sebastian is willing to do anything not to lose another mate, and just this once, luck might smile his way.

As you know already, with the approval of Dreamspinner Press, we’re reviewing previously published books. We continue with Valentina Heart’s the Among Wolves, paranormal series.

This is a different kind of shifter book.

In this universe, shifters are acting more on the animal instinct than the human one.
Wolf shifters are one of my favorite sub-genre in MM genre. I read a lot of wolf shifter books, but this is a kind of a first read with these special characteristics.

If we think of it, wolves in their natural habitat are living on their instinct. They’re ruled by animalistic needs.
In this book, we witness the rawness of this instinct with shifters in their human form.
When they love, they love with unconditional love, but when they’re angry there is blood and hurt and bruises.
If you have experience with domestic abuse than please don’t read it because it may trigger you. But know this, in these scenarios we don’t talk about domestic abuse, not really because they give as hard as they get.

The power between mates is balanced. There is a dominant and a dominated, but they act upon that just the first time to set dominance. The predator and the prey.

Sebastian loves his mate Tim. But Tim was in an accident, and he can’t stand the pain, so he shifts and remains as a wolf for a long time. After a time, Sebastian finds himself in a new territory forced by the ruling alpha to shift and ask for permission to stay. For the very first time, he feels the Western packhouse as his real home. When one day a striking vision appears in front of the packhouse, he knows he found his new mate.

Eshan came to ask the western pack alpha’s help to end the killing in his pack by his alpha. Finding Sebastian, his mate is a surprise for both. Their mating is pure animalistic dominance. Pain and Pleasure, both welcomed and enjoyed.

I liked this book! It pushed my limits and helped me to go out of well-used terms when we read shifter sub-genre. I highly recommend it. You will be taken by the rawness the pure animalistic behavior and the tenderness that follows.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Lies & Deception” by Nic Starr

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


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: “A King and a Pawn” by Liv Olteano

TITLE: A King and a Pawn
AUTHOR: Liv Olteano
SERIES: Leader Murders
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense; Paranormal; Shapeshifters
LENGTH: 234 pages
RELEASE DATE: Jun 17, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 –paperback


Bert Cooper’s life used to be great, until his sister turned out to be a traitor. Now Bert feels the whole pack looks on him with doubt and suspicion. To prove his loyalty, he volunteers to be the first ambassador at Fey Court, gathering information to finally solve the Leader Murders and punish those plotting against the Council and community. At least, that was the plan….
When Bert meets Sir William Matthew Sims, Court Interrogator, and one hell of a sexy man, life becomes a balancing act. And when the Fey King is assassinated, things become really messy.
Pack politics, fey politics, treason, suspicions of treason…. Bert has to choose between being ruled by his fears or standing up for what—and who—he believes in. And it might just break his heart.

We at OptimuMM, with the approval of Dreamspinner Press, decided that we will review some previously published books. Our first choice was Liv Olteano’s Leader Murders series.

This is the third installment of the series. I come to like this series so much, and I would be thrilled if this series will continue.
My resentment from the first book it’s totally gone by now. I love the characters, the setting, and this universe of Liv’s. The alphas are still assholes, but as we learned from the second book, maybe their behavior comes from their insecurities.

This book is the story of Bert, Weiss’ beta. We learn little about him in the previous books, but I was eager to get to know him.
Well, this book was a wonderful read.

Bert feels guilty for his sister’s behavior. He feels that not knowing Tricia’s plan all along, makes him not suitable for his role as a beta. These feelings push him to accept the role of the first ambassador in the Fey Court.

He knows that arriving there he could be killed on sight. But the need to prove himself to Weiss is even higher. Going into fey territory is his last chance to prove himself. Or is this what he thinks.

Will Sims is the Interrogator of the Fey Court. That means there is no one with stronger magical power than him. Except the combination of magic of the High Council. Will is present as Bert’s driver then later on, he arranges for Bert to be close to him, as close as possible.
Bert is cautious. His life is in danger, but he can’t really ignore the chemistry between him and Will. Will being the most powerful magic user, he can do anything, but Bert fears his heart. And when he learns about Will’s ulterior motives, the doubt takes root in his mind. A mind that is so confused about everything at that moment in his life.

I loved it! All of it! I couldn’t put it down. I loved Bert. His dedication to his emotions and everything about him. Will is a sweetheart, a strong man who knows what he wants. And he wants Bert. But will he be able to pass through Bert’s defense mechanisms and earn his trust and love? Khmm khmmm … of course not *wink-wink.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis