Review of: Anhaga  by Lisa Henry

TITLE: Anhaga
AUTHOR: Lisa Henry
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: High Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: July 23 2019

BLURB:

Aramin Decourcey—Min to his few friends—might be the best thief in Amberwich, and he might have a secret that helps him survive the cutthroat world of aristocratic families and their powerful magic users, but he does have one weakness: his affection for his adopted nephew, Harry.
When the formidable Sabadine family curses Harry, Min must accept a suicide mission to save his life: retrieve Kazimir Stone, a low-level Sabadine hedgewitch who refuses to come home after completing his apprenticeship… and who is in Anhaga, a seaside village under the control of the terrifying Hidden Lord of the fae. If that wasn’t enough, Kaz is far from the simple hedgewitch he seems.
With the Sabadines on one side and the fae on the other, Min doesn’t have time to deal with a crisis of conscience—or the growing attraction between him and Kaz. He needs to get Kaz back to Amberwich and get Harry’s curse lifted before it kills him. Saving Harry means handing Kaz over to his ruthless family. Saving Kaz means letting Harry die. Min might pride himself on his cleverness, but he can’t see his way out of this one.
The Hidden Lord might see that he never gets the choice.


Aramin Decourcey – Min for his friends—is a thief…a well know thief who works for the richest families in the kingdom. Everything was fine in his life until his nephew, Harry, is cursed by one of the most powerful families in the Kingdom, the Sabadines. Min has no choice; he has to retrieve their grandson Kazimir, a hedgewitch apprentice who lives in Anhaga and refuses to come home. It’s a suicide mission, since Anhaga is in the Hidden Lord’s territory, and he’s a powerful and cruel fae.
Min won’t have a choice—if he wants to save Harry’s life, he will have to succeed in his mission despite the danger and the growing attraction and feelings he might have for Kazimir…Harry’s life is at stake.
Anhaga by Lisa Henry is a high fantasy MM Romance that I enjoyed a lot.

The story is written from Min’s POV; we follow him on his crazy journey. I wasn’t sure I wanted to like Min at first because I found him rude and heartless. I found him especially harsh with Kaz, and I really wanted to beat him multiple times, but thanks to Harry who didn’t hesitate to call him on his BS. I understood him and his motivations, don’t get me wrong, he had one goal, save Harry’s life, but sometimes I found him unfair with Kaz. That was until he decided to stop lying to himself and admitted the truth. He cares about Kaz, and his situation hurts him more than he wants to admit. Min couldn’t deal with the idea of ruining Kaz’s life, but he couldn’t deal with losing Harry. It was a hard situation for him—a pure torture and I started to love him more for that, for admitting this impossible choice and his fears.

Kaz is a pure sweetheart. He’s gentle with a kind heart. He suffered a lot in his childhood, and he grew up isolated from the outside world. He didn’t want to come back with his family because he didn’t want to be mistreated again by them, but he was ready to sacrifice himself for Harry’s life, a perfect stranger. I adored Kaz. I adored his kindness, his sensitivity but also his strength and power. He was exactly what Min needed in his life and heart.

I loved this book, and the universe that Lisa Henry created that was original and captivating. Min and Kaz are more than what we see at first, and we discover them and their secret throughout the book. Like a striptease, they uncover themselves little by little.

I gladly recommend this book. It’s well written with an interesting and captivating plot.

4 Stars for them

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Home Improvement—A Love Story by Tara Lain

TITLE: Home Improvement—A Love Story
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES:
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: July 9, 2019

BLURB:

Romance on Aisle Sixteen—opposites attract amid the hammers and screws of the home improvement store.
Gabe Mason became a father at seventeen, and his daughter, Ellie, is the most important thing in his life. But being the parent the courts demand means Gabe has given up most of his dreams—education, making furniture, a gay social life—to be a model dad with a steady, reliable job in a home improvement store. Life’s predictable until Jerry, a shy, eccentric guy in a hat and sunglasses, begs Gabe to oversee the renovation of his run-down mansion.
Gabe loves the house and the work, and Jerry’s pretty lovable too, but when Gabe discovers Jerry’s secret identity, he fears their passion could overturn both their lives forever.


I loved Home Improvement—A Love Story by Tara Lain. The plot is interesting, and I loved how the book comes full circle at the end. I also liked the characters and how they were fleshed out. Gabe’s daughter was delightful, and I loved how eccentric Jerry was. It was a delight to read.

For me, the first half of the book was a little slow. It might have been because Jerry is hiding who he is from Gabe, there is the buildup of chemistry, there is the mystery of a guy that has bought a huge house and needs it to be restored but only has a mattress on the floor and a couple of folding beach chairs for furniture. And that leads to Gabe constantly having self-doubts about whether Jerry can afford the repairs that he’s having done. Then he wants to buy Gabe’s expensive handmade furniture, and while Gabe is ecstatic, it also leads to more questions about how Jerry can afford it.

The second half of the book was excellent. Gabe finds out the identity of the guy that he’s falling for, and there are misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Gabe finds out the downfalls of dating a famous person and the problems that come with it like being accosted by the paparazzi and having to deal with pictures taken and published in tabloids with false headlines that leads to his ex-wife and her new highly religious husband threatening to seek full custody of their seventeen-year-old daughter.

Gabe will do anything for his daughter, Ellie. If that means giving up the man in his life to keep her safe from his ex-wife’s homophobia and homophobic husband, then that’s what he will do. But that isn’t what Ellie wants. She wants her dad to be happy also, to have his dreams too.

Gabe became a father at seventeen and to be the parent that the court’s demand means Gabe has given up most of his dreams—having a college education, making furniture full time, and having a gay social life—to be a model dad with a steady, reliable job in a home improvement store. Gabe’s life is predictable until Jerry, a shy, eccentric guy in a hat and sunglasses, begs Gabe to oversee the renovation of his run-down mansion.

Gabe loves the house and the fact that he can do the work after his shifts at the store. He sees it as a great way to add to his daughter’s college fund, and Jerry gives him free rein to renovate the house the way that he would want it if it were his house.

I loved how Gabe and Jerry interact and how Gabe takes care of Jerry. I liked getting to see how different Jerry is from his secret identity and the choices that he makes for love.

For me, it was another great book by Tara Lain, and I recommend it to everybody.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Spark in the Stars by Foster Bridget Cassidy

TITLE: Spark in the Stars
AUTHOR: Foster Bridget Cassidy
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Sci-Fi
RELEASE DATE: Jun 21, 2019

BLURB:

A case of mistaken identity could lead to love for an aloof starship captain and a brilliant if underappreciated mechanic from the sticks—if they can survive the dangerous mission assigned to them.
Ginnovi Oshwald just needs someone to give him a chance. He can keep anything running, despite the “spark” his body produces that sometimes wreaks havoc with electronics. Gin gets his chance when Captain Lian Hartford comes to Tallahassee in search of a mechanic. The trouble is, he’s looking for Gin’s sister. But since he only has a name to go by, Gin tells a little white lie. What could go wrong?
Lian loves his ship and his work as a diplomat but has difficulty connecting with others—only partly because of his mixed human and alien heritage. Something about the eccentric mechanic intrigues him, though, and their easy friendship could become more… if they live long enough to broker peace between humanity and a hostile race while pacifying a crew that thinks Gin belongs in prison.


When Ginnovi deliberately presents himself as his sister, he has one goal in mind. To get away from this place and starting over with more opportunities than he was ever going to get from his sister. But before we judge the sister, we must know that she took over their late father’s garage and raised Ginnovi by herself, that led her to seeing her younger brother as a kid, who has the tendency to blow up electronic devices.

It’s not really his fault. It seems that he’s charged with this static electricity, and in the most inconvenient times, it discharges. He can’t help it, and he can’t control it, no matter what he does.

After their latest fight, sitting in the local pub with the intention of downing his sorrow in alcohol, a chance appears to him in the form of Captain Liam Hartford.

Lian is looking for the very famous mechanic of Tallahassee. Despite the fact that everybody’s telling him that Oshwald is hard to convince, he finds no resistance and whisks the mechanic away in no time. So what if they get the wrong gender in the description. It was probably a bureaucratic mistake.

After their departure, he soon finds out that Gin lied to him, putting their top-secret mission at risk. But there might be a chance that the captain could help Gin with his sparkling problems. Also, it seems to Liam that Gin is more to him than just a brilliant mechanic.
I liked the plot and the romance between our two MCs, but there were minor details that I can’t see happening in real life. And while we know this is sci-fi, things like identification for a top-secret mission shouldn’t be lousy. I can understand some misspelling of the name, but gender? How can you mistake that?

We learn about new species, inter-species relations, and offsprings.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Lone Star in Jersey by Ginna Harris, Anne Key

TITLE: Lone Star in Jersey
AUTHOR: Ginna Harris, Anne Key
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Harmony Ink Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: April 30, 2019

BLURB:

Eli faced the fallout of returning to school after his transition, and now he’s starting over in a new school where no one ever knew him as Elizabeth. The best thing about this new beginning might be the girl in the bedazzled Keds.
Sammy’s world of cheerleading, advanced math, and popularity in her Texas high school crumbles with her mother’s death. She’s shipped off to New Jersey to face a father who feels like a stranger and a world where she doesn’t feel like she belongs. At least there’s Eli, the cute boy who is also new at school.
As their friendship deepens and romance begins to bloom, Eli knows he owes Sammy the truth. He hopes he can trust her, and Sammy hopes she can understand falling in love with a trans boy. It’s a lot to deal with alongside the long-buried family secrets coming to light, and neither of their worlds will ever be the same. But maybe building new lives won’t be so hard if they do it together.


I liked Lone Star in Jersey by Ginna Harris and Anne Key. I would have liked it even more if Eli had fallen for a boy instead of a girl. It had more of MF feel to it than a MM feel. Although I did know that from reading the blurb that the trans boy was going to fall for a girl, I still wanted to read it. I don’t regret reading it. The writing style is easy to read, and the characters are realistic with real issues and fears and hopes and dreams that they deal with. I loved that the story is told from both main characters point of view. I liked getting to see all of the confusion and angst that Sammy goes through as her normal world falls apart and she has to learn to rebuild it.

Eli is a trans boy. Which means that he’s a boy stuck in a girl’s body. In his mind, he’s a boy, but on the outside, he’s a girl, and he’s at that stage in his transition from female to male where he’s dressing and passing as a boy. That means that he wears a binder to keep his breasts flat, a rolled up sock in his underwear to give him a package, a male haircut, uses male mannerisms, and has a male name. And he hopes that soon his parents will allow him to start hormone therapy which will help him even more to become the boy he is. He’s spent the first year of his transition at the same school where everybody knew him as Elizabeth, a girl. And with all of the bullying, his parents decided to move a town over so that he could attend a different high school where nobody would know that he used to be Elizabeth and that he would only be known as Eli. He didn’t expect to become best friends with the new student from Texas. He’s supposed to be focusing on passing as a male. He didn’t anticipate having romantic feelings for Sammy and wanting her to be his girlfriend.

I thought Eli was a very complex character and the authors did a great job with showing us what it means to be transgender and the body dysmorphia that Eli struggles with. I also loved that he had a therapist that he sees regularly. I know that in some states that’s a mandatory step that has to happen for the person to be approved for hormone therapy and later top surgery and bottom surgery. But it’s still nice to know that he has somebody to talk to besides his parents.

With her mother’s death, Sammy’s world of cheerleading, advanced math, and popularity in her Texas high school crumbles. She’s shipped off to New Jersey to live with a father who feels like a stranger and a world where she doesn’t feel like she belongs. She really wishes that she could have stayed in Texas with her best friend and finish school there, but her father was adamant that she came and lived with him. She hasn’t had much contact with her father other than the occasional visit and phone calls. So it comes as quite the shock when he comes out to her as being gay and introduces his boyfriend that lives in New York. She gets blindsided by quite a few family secrets that, as the year progresses, come to light. I like how she struggled through them. Sure she made mistakes and hurt feelings, but she learned from her mistakes, and that’s what matters.

I loved Sammy. She had lots of personal growth in this book, and I loved watching her grow. She was a great character. I liked how she handled herself when Eli told her the truth about being transgender, and I liked how she researched what that meant and then asked Eli questions about it. I also liked that her aunt came out to visit from Texas when Sammy was having a breakdown and helped her through it.

Overall, a great book about a trans boy who falls in love with a straight girl. Even though I would have preferred that Sammy was a boy, it was still a great book that I would recommend reading.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Love Conventions by Morgan James

TITLE: Love Conventions
AUTHOR: Morgan James
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: May 7, 2019

BLURB:

A happy ending worthy of a TV fantasy… in real life?
Ashland Wells is an actor of sci-fi cult fame but with little direction for the future, when handsome grad student Remy Beaumont lands in his lap at a fan convention. Remy is everything Ash ever wanted and wished he could be—including out and proud. For twelve hours they’re the best of friends. But the convention ends, and saying goodbye to Remy might be the biggest mistake Ash has ever made.
A few months later, they’re reunited on a new production—Ash as an actor, Remy a writer—and though Ash doesn’t plan to let him go twice, being with Remy means going public about being gay. He’s not sure that’s a risk he—or his career—can handle, no matter how great the temptation.
If only they could write themselves the romantic happily ever after they both need.


Ashland Wells is a sci-fi actor. He has a strong fan base with his last TV Show and was meeting them in a convention when he meets the cute nerd, Remy Beaumont.
During this convention, Ash and Remy become friends and have the time of their life, until Ash had to go back to Vancouver and Remy to his student life. Months later, Ash is hired for a new TV show, and Remy is hired as one of the writers.
They finally have time to get to know each other, but with Ash being in the closet and Remy out, can they have both the happy ending they want?

Love Conventions by Morgan James is my first book by this author and won’t be the last. I had a great time with them.
Ash is an actor. He’s hot, sexy, strong and talented. He’s also gay and Narnia deep in the closet taking the tea with Aslan. When he meets Remy, he’s off balance because Remy is everything he wants in a partner, but Ash is paralyzed by his fears. When he finds the courage to overcome his fears, he enters a world of love and happiness until reality came crushing his bubble and Ash will have to make a choice. I loved Ash. He’s funny, smart, kind, shy and insecure. He’s hot with his red hair (I have a thing for gingers) and his Scottish accent. He’s also completely paralyzed with Remy. He knows what he wants, but he’s too scared to have it until he doesn’t have another choice. I loved him because he touched me.

Remy is a student in mythological creatures. He’s a complete nerd—fan of sci-fi and all. He’s gay, out and proud, he’s confident in his sexuality, and he won’t hide it. I adored Remy. He’s so funny, kind, smart and sassy. I loved his confidence, and I loved how he helps Ash day by day to come out of his shell little by little. I loved how he refuses to be a victim and chooses himself and his happiness.

The story is told from Ash’s POV only; we follow him in his journey of true happiness. I loved the writing. It was dynamic and fluid with a good sense of humor that I appreciated a lot. The plot was easy to follow, no drama, no big twist, and I liked that a lot. It was a good read, and I had a good time with them.

I happily recommend this book, it’s a sweet candy to read.

4 stars for Dr Who and His Donna.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis