Review: “Crocus” by Amy Lane

TITLE: Crocus
AUTHOR: Amy Lane
SERIES: Bonfires
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 244 pages
RELEASE DATE: Apr 17, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.
High School Principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sherriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.
But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.
Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?


Larx and Aaron are together, in love, happy and try to make their life, work, and children work.
Between 3 teenagers, 1 pregnant daughter which is not okay, 1 daughter who is a queen B***, 2 teenagers in danger, 2 cats, 1 dog, 1 young adult with PTSD and Aaron’s dangerous job, Larx and Aaron have more in their lives and plates than they can deal with.

When their worst fears come true, Larx and Aaron will have to rethink everything from their love for each other to their kids’ lives.
Is love the only thing that counts? That’s what Larx and Aaron will have to find out.
Crocus is book two of the series Bonfire. The story takes place a few weeks after the end of Bonfire.
Amy lane did a great job with this book, as good as book 1 in my opinion. I was really happy to have Aaron and Larx back with their menagerie.

Larx and Aaron live and raise their children together, they also work together in order to help two teenagers in danger, but when Aaron is hurt, Larx has to deal with all the aftermath alone. And he’s angry and hurt. I loved Larx and Aaron’s relationship; they are so human, so real. How they try to have a “normal” relationship in the chaos of their life. How they have to deal with all the problems that life throws at them and how they try each time to reach each other, to fight for each other but also for others, and to stand united no matter what. They are two grown men with a lot of responsibilities, but at the same time, they are also like two teenagers trying to sneak into each other pants. I soooo love those guys.

In this book, a new POV is added, the one of Olivia, Larx’s daughter who’s pregnant. Having her POV was interesting. It wasn’t all the book, it starts at almost the end, but it was a good thing, at least for me, because until I had her POV, I wanted to slap her, like really slap her very hard until she wakes up.

We also meet two new characters, Jamie and his big brother Roberto. I totally swing for the brothers, they touched me at my first meeting with them, and it was also a good thing to get to know more of Tane, Toshi’s boyfriend. I only wanted to get to know those two brothers more, especially Roberto, this one completely got my heart.

This book is a super addition to the series. Amy lane touches a lot of subjects here, but she was able to make them all so real, not simple, but cruelly real.
It was a super read, I loved each word, and Larx and Aaron are magnificent, I so want to be adopted by them.
I highly recommend this book, you will love it as much as Bonfire (for the ones who had read this one), and if you didn’t read Bonfire, you could read this book easily as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading the series.

And I will just add to the author, thank you for this super book, and please, write a Bonfire #3 OR Roberto’s book.

It’s 5 OptimuMMs for the Principal, The Deputy, and their menagerie.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Southernmost Murder” by C.S. Poe

TITLE: Southernmost Murder
AUTHOR: C.S. Poe
SERIES: Snow and Winter
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 9, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback

BLURB:

Aubrey Grant lives in the tropical paradise of Old Town, Key West, has a cute cottage, a sweet moped, and a great job managing the historical property of a former sea captain. With his soon-to-be-boyfriend, hotshot FBI agent Jun Tanaka, visiting for a little R&R, not even Aubrey’s narcolepsy can put a damper on their vacation plans.
But a skeleton in a closet of the Smith Family Historical Home throws a wrench into the works. Despite Aubrey and Jun’s attempts to enjoy some time together, the skeleton’s identity drags them into a mystery with origins over a century in the past. They uncover a tale of long-lost treasure, the pirate king it belonged to, and a modern-day murderer who will stop at nothing to find the hidden riches. If a killer on the loose isn’t enough to keep Aubrey out of the mess, it seems even the restless spirit of Captain Smith is warning him away.
The unlikely partnership of a special agent and historian may be exactly what it takes to crack this mystery wide-open and finally put an old Key West tragedy to rest. But while Aubrey tracks down the X that marks the spot, one wrong move could be his last.


This is book three of the series. As the first two books were with Sebastian, this can be read as a standalone, but I always suggest reading the first two to keep caught up on the characters. This author did a great job with this historian piece in the present day. I felt like I learned a lot about the Pirates of that century and lost treasures that many have died over. And, how true love can conquer even if it takes over a hundred years.

Aubrey is a historian that moved to The Keys after a bad break up three years ago. He’s the manager at The Smith historian house and is in the process of restoring it to the original form. He has narcolepsy, which added a bit of fun, and falls asleep at some really awkward times. The day he was supposed to go on vacation and pick his boyfriend up at the airport, a skeleton fell out of a closet he was changing the wallpaper in the Smith house. The police officer, Tillman, basically made fun of him and assumed it was that he had fallen asleep and dreamed it because when Tillman got there, Skelly was gone.

Jun, the FBI boyfriend, rented a car and made his way to Aubrey at the Smith house. He knew Aubrey from when he was partners with his ex. Jun had always been in love with Aubrey and has stayed in touch with him the past three years. Three years of flirting and talking and wanting nothing more than to show Aubrey how much he loved him. They were supposed to have a week and a half together until Skelly showed up, murders started happening, and a crash course into history screwed that all up.

I adored this couple, their sexual tension and their adventure they embark on together. I loved how Jun accepts Audrey just the way he is, narcolepsy and all. And the ending was the perfect ending. This has history, drama, suspense, and love in all the right places.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Santori: Reborn” by Maris Black

TITLE: Santori: Reborn
AUTHOR: Maris Black
SERIES: Santori Trilogy
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Maris Black
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Mystery / Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 254 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 31, 2018
PRICE: $5.99 -e-book / $12.99 – paperback

BLURB:

MICHAEL KAGE SANTORI doesn’t think his life can get any more complicated. Juggling a new business, a fledgling UFC career, and the only real relationship he’s ever had is taking a toll on him both mentally and physically. After being attacked for daring to question the inner workings of his own business, he is left broken and confused. The discovery of his uncle’s journals has brought him face-to-face with a past he never understood, and the new perspective has him reeling. Add to that the fact that he hasn’t been totally honest with the love of his life, and you have a recipe for a serious nervous breakdown.
When an old friend resurfaces with new information, Kage discovers things are only going to get worse before they get better. If he ever hopes to free himself from the chains of his uncle’s dark legacy, he’s going to have to become something he never wanted to be.
And risk losing the only person he’s ever truly loved.
JAMIE ATWOOD is in over his head. Instead of the happily ever after he’d envisioned, moving in with Kage has only been one disappointment after another. Kage has come out to the entire world and still managed to keep his reputation and his UFC contract intact, but mysterious forces Jamie has yet to discover are transforming his sexy alpha fighter into someone he doesn’t recognize anymore.
If Kage doesn’t come clean soon, Jamie fears he’s going to have to leave. With his journalism degree and a newly-flourishing MMA blog, he knows he’s got what it takes to make it on his own financially. It’s his heart he’s worried about.
Because without Kage by his side, what is there to live for?


MEANWHILE IN ANOTHER LIFETIME…
PETER SANTORI has found his bliss. Being Gio’s boy is a dream come true for a guy who thought he was doomed to a life of abuse and poverty. His confidence and sense of security are flourishing in the warm glow of Gio’s love, and he has started to believe that maybe he can have the fairytale after all.
Never mind that he’s got to keep the true nature of their relationship a secret. Never mind that one of Gio’s associates seems to have something against him. And never mind that sometimes he gets the feeling that there’s a lot more to Gio than meets the eye. All that matters is that he and Gio are together.
4 EVER & EVER…


Kage is still trying to figure out what’s happening in his uncle’s business that he inherited.
After the beating he’d taken from Theo Brown’s goons and the discovery of his uncle’s journal, Kage has to make a choice between Jamie and their future together or finding out the truth.
Jamie wants to be the man Kage needs, but how can he help him without knowing the truth?
They are in a very difficult situation with lots of secrets and lies, only their love for each other can help them…but is it enough?

Santori: Reborn is book two of the Santori trilogy.  The story starts at the end of book 1, and we keep following Kage and Jamie in their new life together.

Kage tries to understand what really happens with the Alcazar and the inheritance from his uncle, and the only way is to be close to Theo Brown. His uncle’s best friend, his right hand, and the man who seems to control the “under business” of Peter’s, the illegal ones. So Kage, without really wanting it, and forced by Aaron (the bodyguard who helps them) must work with Theo, even if it means losing Jamie and himself in the process.
I wanted to beat Kage more than he already was. He pissed me off to no end, really, the fact he accepts being manipulated by Theo and Aaron (don’t let me start about Aaron) and plays their game, pissed me off. I do believe that Kage is stronger with Jamie by his side. But I also understand why he’s ready to do anything to protect Jamie. So I refused to beat him and try to understand him.

Jamie is lost, at first, but when he understood what Kage was intending to do and that he can’t change his mind, he did the most difficult thing he can…he protects himself first. I admire him for that, and I was proud of him. Jamie starts to be more mature than the young student he was in “Kage: Trilogy”.
Then comes Peter, young Peter. I love this one. I’m still trying to understand how Young-Emo-Peter becomes Old-Coldness-Peter. His story is interesting to read along with his journal with Kage. For now, we’re still with young innocent Peter, in love with the handsome Gio Rivera.

I couldn’t help but make a parallel between Emo-Peter and Jamie, they’re the same, this same innocence and kindness, while Kage is a kind of mini Gio Rivera. It’s completely brilliant from the author to create this parallel between her characters from 2 different timelines.
I really loved this book, how the author put her characters in an area where nothing is black or white, when no one is really good or bad, it’s a universe of grey areas, when bad actions can be explaining by good motivation.

I don’t know how it will end, how Jamie and Kage will still be together, but I’m sure that I’ll read it until the end, because knowing Maris Black, she reserving more surprises.

It’s 5 brilliant OptimuMMs …. I want a fedora!

***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: “A Dom & His Artist” by Xenia Melzer

TITLE: A Dom & His Artist
AUTHOR: Xenia Melzer
SERIES: Club Whisper
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Erotic; BDSM
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 10,2018
PRICE: $4.89 -e-book

BLURB:

A Club Whisper Novel


Sometimes the perfect man can be found in the most unexpected place….
Martin Carmichael owns a security firm and is part owner of Club Whisper. He’s a Dom in search of the right guy, and when his car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road, he thinks he might have found him.
Artist Collin Malloy is talented, easygoing, but somewhat insecure. Still, he has a big heart and is quick to offer help when he sees Martin in need. To thank him, Martin invites Collin to dinner, where the attraction between them becomes harder to resist.
But what will become of their budding relationship when Martin reveals that he likes his men bound, submissive, and in pain? Is it something Collin can accept… and possibly enjoy exploring? Even if he can, Collin has a secret of his own—a secret he doesn’t even realize he’s keeping.


I have become such a fan of this series. This is the second book and, as it can be read as a stand-alone, I suggest reading A Dom and His Writer. It will give you the background of the characters and the Club Whisper. This author has really captured what it’s like to be a Dom that falls in love. A good Dom in love doesn’t have to be a hardnose but can get all squishy and loving. A Dom in the bedroom is one thing, but a Sub that has captured his heart out of the bedroom is a whole other aspect.

Martin is a successful business owner of a security firm and part owner of the BDSM club known as Club Whisper. Dean, the other owner and best friend, has found his perfect soulmate. Martin wants the same but doesn’t think he will ever find his. His brand-new car breaks down on him, and no one will stop to help him. When he is about to give up, a man in a beat up old pickup truck stops to help him.

Collin sees this mafia looking man broke down on the side of the road and pulled over to help him. He sees right through the mafia persona and tells the man exactly what he sees. Collin has this ability of talking so fast and about so many things in a single breath, it’s hard to grasp everything he’s saying. He gives Martin a ride, and Martin promises to call for dinner to pay Collin back for stopping. When he doesn’t call, Collin gets insecure and knows he won’t. The next morning, Martin calls and sparks fly from their first dinner.

It’s soon learned that Collin is an amazing artist and his best friend from childhood, Jude, helps sell his work. Jude took Collin in when his parents kicked him out, of course for being gay, but Jude has protected Collin from the world and how successful of an artist he really is.

I really enjoyed watching Martin go from Dom that loved inflicting pain to a squishy man that loved cuddling with his Sub. But Martin doesn’t mess around when you mess with the love of his life. This book has a little bit of everything. I fell in love with Collin and his innocence. He’s just so adorable, and the speed of his brain was something to be in awe of. I can’t wait for the next book.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Love Me Whole” by Nicky James

TITLE: Love Me Whole
AUTHOR: Nicky James
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Nicky James
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Disability
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 329 pages
RELEASE DATE: Jan 13, 2018
PRICE: $4.12 e-book / $12.99 -paperback

BLURB:

Twenty-eight-year-old Oryn Patterson isn’t like other people. Being an extremely shy, social introvert is only part of the problem. Oryn has dissociative identity disorder. He may look like a normal man on the outside, but spend five minutes with him, and his daily struggles begin to show.
Oryn shares his life and headspace with five distinctively different alters. Reed, a protective, very straight jock. Cohen, a flamboyantly gay nineteen-year-old who is a social butterfly. Cove, a self-destructive terror, whose past haunts him. Theo, an asexual man of little emotion, whose focus is on maintaining order. And Rain, a five-year-old child whose only concern is Batman.
Vaughn Sinclair is stuck in a rut. When his job doesn’t offer the same thrill it once did, he decides it’s time to mix-up his stagnant, boring routine. Little does he know, the man he meets during an impromptu decision to return to college is anything but ordinary.
Vaughn’s heart defies logic, and he finds himself falling in love with this strange new man. But how can you love someone who isn’t always themself? It may not be easy, but Vaughn is determined to try.


Oryn is a 28 year-old young man who suffers from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). He has 5 alters: Reed, a very straight, very protective, weightlifter man, Cohen a young 19 year-old flamboyant hyper social man, Theo, an asexual caretaker, Cove a young man tortured, suicidal and depressive and Rain, a 5 year-old child, fan of Batman and animals. Oryn tries to have a structured life between all the chaos.

Vaughn is a 35 year-old man. He’s an accountant who started to get bored with his life. He decides to take a few classes in Marketing, and that’s how he meets Oryn and his life changes for good.How can you get to know someone when you don’t know who you’re dating?

This book is awesome, beautiful and unique.

Oryn and Vaughn have a strong, emotional and beautiful journey together.I love them, and I ultimately fell for them…. All of them.

Vaughn is amazing, he really wants to get to know Oryn, and tries everything at first to understand what DID is. Then he tries to get to know each alter and to bond with them individually. It was absolutely beautiful and sometimes funny to see how one by one, Vaughn wins their heart. I wanted to comfort him when he was at a lose with Oryn’s condition, and I wanted to kiss him (and more) when he tried to help, understand and love an alter and Oryn.

Oryn is brave, strong, beautiful and tortured. He wants to be normal, he wants to have control in his life and not let his alters mess with him, and he wants to be able to love Vaughn completely. But because of the severe trauma he suffered in his childhood, he can’t. Not like us, so he has a system with his alters and he has to work with them all in order to be functional and in charge most of the time. I love Oryn, he broke my heart many times, he made me cry many times, and he never failed to put a smile on my lips. But not only Oryn, but also his alters, all of them, I completely melted for them.

This book is completely unique by the subject itself, then the plot and the numbers of main characters. Because, we don’t have 2 MCs, nope, we have 7 MCs, 7 unique entities, 7 unique characters, tempers, and issues. I fell in love 7 times for each of them, individually, but also as a whole.

It was my first book by Nicky James, I’ve never read her before, and I don’t know what took me so long to do that. I loved her writing, fluid, dynamic, and the descriptions were good—not too long or too short. I’m also impressed by the amount of research that she must have put into this book. Even if I’m not a psychiatrist, I can see that what she explains with Oryn’s condition isn’t just romanced, how a “system” needs to be created for people with DID or how the co-consciousness helps. It seems entirely true (I was curious after finishing the book) and I can only admire that not only the author choose a difficult subject, but she treats it with respect (and I respect her more for that). I can tell that this book entered my top-3-list 2018.

I highly recommend this beautiful, poetic and incredible love story. You will love every word, the feelings, and the emotion that it will give you.

It’s 5 Amazing OptimuMMs for me… because I love them whole.

***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