Review of: Exploring Limits by Nicki Bennett, Ariel Tachna

TITLE: Exploring Limits
AUTHOR: Nicki Bennett, Ariel Tachna
SERIES: Exploring Limits
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
RELEASE DATE: March 5, 2019


Jonathan Braedon’s successful acting career and consideration for his young son have always kept him from acting on his attraction to men. Newly cast as King Arthur in a BBC miniseries, he manages to conceal his interest in co-stars Devon Aldridge and Kit Webster-but Kit and Devon are just as interested in him. Rather than fighting over Jonathan, the two decide to seduce him together. Jonathan might have been able to hide his attraction to Devon and Kit individually… but together, they’re too much to resist.
The three find themselves deciding what they want out of their lovemaking and their relationship, exploring options they’d never before considered or thought they’d left behind. Add a touch of kink to the mix, and Jonathan, Devon, and Kit discover that the perceived limits of the past are really just the beginning.

This is the first book that I’ve read by these authors, and it probably won’t be the last. I liked the blurb for the book and was excited to start reading it. I like ménage, BDSM, and contemporary books. The book is told in detail, and I liked how the sentences flowed. The characters were interesting and felt real and had real problems, like co-parenting, getting divorced, failed relationships, and abusive relationships.

I started reading and was immediately confused on whose point of view the book was being told in. That is until I realized that the story is told through the three main characters simultaneously and would change without any warning or indication. It took a little while to get used to. And I still tended to reread some of the paragraphs when I got confused on who was thinking what. I did like that I didn’t have to reread a scene from three different points of views. But this is the first book that I’ve read like this.

I also thought that the book could have been about fifty to a hundred pages shorter without losing any of the growth that the relationship went through. It just seemed to drag on.
The book is super heavy on sex scenes with a little bit of storyline in between, and while I do like my books on the heavy side of sex, I did start to get a little bit bored since all of the scenes are between the three guys. There are no sex scenes just between two of the characters, and so I had a hard time seeing the relationship grow. I had a hard time believing that they wouldn’t want to make individual connections with each other in addition to their relationship as a threesome. Maybe there will be more individual connections in the next book in the series.
I did like the twist that the authors put on the movie Camelot that the three actors are working on and how they bring more of a bisexual or gay attraction between Lancelot and King Arthur.
I did like how Jonathan, Devon, and Kit all come from different home situations. Like Devon is in the middle of a divorce from his wife and Jonathan is supposed to be straight and Kit is the youngster of the group but doesn’t lack for a whole lot of experience and loves to wear skin-tight clothing.

I did like that they are constantly testing their limits and that both Jonathan and Kit try to help Devon work through the issues and bad experiences that he had from a previous relationship in relation to his BDSM experience. So I did like how they communicated and tried to help each other with their issues and stuff.

I’m interested to see what happens when the movie wraps up and they are no longer working together, and so I will eagerly await the next book in the series. The book does have a happy for now ending. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Personal Best 3 by Sean Michael

TITLE: Personal Best 3
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
SERIES: Personal Best
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: March 22, 2019


Personal Best: Book Three
Swimmer Mike Gauliet is on his way to an Olympic berth, sitting on the edge of fulfilling his potential and achieving the dreams his coach and lover, Jessy Turner, has for both of them.
All Mike wants to think about is swimming his laps faster than anyone else. Too bad things aren’t going exactly according to plan. Mike’s getting threats, and he’s afraid to tell Jessy and determined to handle things alone.
When the threats escalate to the point where Mike can’t hide them, though, Jessy takes over, moving Mike to a new training location, promising to keep him safe. Mike and Jessy try to go on with business as usual, but someone has such hatred for Mike that it seeps into their everyday life, straining their relationship, making Mike wonder if he even wants to swim anymore. Danger lurks around every corner, in and out of the pool, and while Mike and Jessy work with the police to discover the culprit, one attack leaves their life in shambles. Can Mike and Jessy find their attacker and get Mike back on track to a championship?

Personal Best 3 is the third book in the Personal Best series by Sean Michael. This is my favorite book in the series so far. I loved the plot and all of the explicit sex. The book is best if you read the first two books in the series first since the series is about one couple. This series just keeps getting better and better. I loved all of the tropes in the book. It has May/December, hurt/comfort, Dom/sub dynamic, light BDSM, Breathplay, and attempted murder all with a sports theme. I happen to love all of those so of course, I loved the book. I have read the other two books in the series, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened in this book.

In this book, Mike has recovered from all of his injuries in the previous book and is back to training to win his upcoming swim meets and the National Championship so he can qualify for Worlds and make it onto the Olympic Swim Team. However, since he’s been back to competing, he’s been receiving threatening letters. He tries to take care of it by himself until he isn’t able to hide it anymore from Jessy. He shows Jessy the other letters and Jessy does what Jessy does best. He protects his boy. However even with upgrading the security system on their house and increased police patrols, the attacker is still able to get to them, and so Jessy ends up moving Mike to a new training location, keeping it secret from everybody and it works, until they have to show up for a meet. With the things that happen in the locker room at the meet, Mike and Jessy are pretty sure they know it’s one of the other competitors, but without proof, the police can’t do anything, and so after the meet, they go into hiding again until the next meet. They can’t wait until the police can catch the attacker, and things can go back to normal, but before they can, the attacker escalates to attempted murder. Luckily the attacker’s caught, but the damage’s been done. Will Mike and Jessy be able to recover and continue with their dreams or will the attacker win and keep Mike from competing again?

I love Mike. He’s normally so vibrant and energetic, and Jessy usually has his hands full keeping him in line, but poor Mike’s put through hell in this book. At one point he even retires when his coach and lover, Jessy, is injured saving his life and he ends up taking care of him. With his retirement, he stops his diet and goes back to the unhealthy eating habits that make him ill. This is a dark and traumatic time for Mike and Jessy both. For Jessy it’s hard because he isn’t used to being cared for, he’s used to caring for Mike not having Mike care for him. It’s also very hard for Mike because he doesn’t have the Dominate/sub dynamic in his life while Jessy’s recovering and so he’s feeling adrift without the much-needed structure and rules to his life. Both are feeling stressed and out of sorts, and it puts a strain on their relationship. And the guilt that Mike feels isn’t helping. He’s convinced that what happened to Jessy is all his fault and won’t believe anything different, no matter what Jessy says.

I loved Jessy also. He’s determined to protect Mike and will do anything to make that happen including almost dying to do it. The one thing that he won’t let happen is for Mike to give up his dream of winning Olympic gold. I love how he’s able to fix their relationship after healing from his attack. Mike doesn’t make it easy though, and I love how he slowly works Mike back into training, dieting, and resuming their sexual relationship, giving Mike the structure and rules that he needs to flourish and continue with his dreams.

I can’t wait to see what happens to Mike and Jessy next in their quest to get onto the Olympic Swim Team and win the gold medal.

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

Review edited by : Amber Krogh

Review of: Reunited by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Reunited
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: February 22, 2019


Back in high school, nobody noticed quiet nerd Kevin Howard.
But everybody noticed handsome, athletic, and ultrapopular jock Clay Northrup.
They had nothing in common and lived in different worlds.
But a lot can change in fifteen years, and when they meet again at their high school reunion, Clay is no longer the big man on campus, and Kevin isn’t hiding in a corner anymore.
Can they put aside who they were? Can one night really lead to forever?

I love reading books by Andrew Grey, and while I loved this one, I was also left wanting more. The book is only thirty-two pages long and feels more like an extended teaser for an upcoming novel instead of a finished book. I would be really happy if this book were extended and turned into a longer novel or maybe another book about them. I really enjoyed what I got to know about Kevin Howard and Clay Northrup. There is no sex in this book. There’s one short make-out scene, but no graphic details were given.

Kevin was a quiet nerd back in high school that nobody noticed. He was also on the husky side and had a huge crush on Clay who was in the drama club with him. Not that he thought Clay had ever noticed him. Almost a decade later, he owns four Karate studios and consults on movies. He’d gone to a class with a few of his friends in college and found that he loved it. Through all of his hard work, he’s really slimmed down. When he goes to his high school reunion, he ends up meeting his crush again in the parking lot, and they get to talking about cars and what they’ve been doing since high school. Kevin finds out that he wasn’t as invisible as he had thought to the handsome and ultra-popular jock.

Everybody in high school noticed Clay. Clay had been the guy who had it all. He was a talented actor, had the lead in all the school plays and musicals, and he was on the football team. He was the man everyone wanted to be and the one all the girls had wanted. But in high school, Clay had a secret and he admired Kevin because he was out and seemed so confident in high school. He didn’t hide as Clay did. After marrying his high school sweetheart, Bridget, they moved to New York to pursue Clay’s acting career. When that didn’t pan out, he ended up getting a divorce, and he returned home when his father died to take over his car dealership. His ex-wife was pregnant when she left him, and Clay ended up getting sole custody of his blind son when she was found to be unfit.

I like that Kevin and Clay don’t have anything in common and have lived in different worlds. It would be interesting to see how their relationship would progress. And if their relationship would hold up to all of Kevin’s traveling to his different karate studios and various movie sets to consult when Clay’s son needs a steady environment and routine and especially when all of Kevin’s traveling contributed to his last relationships failure.

I liked this short story, and I really hope that the author will either release another book about Clay and Kevin or that he makes this one longer. I want more of them.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Sei by Catherine Lievens

AUTHOR: Catherine Lievens
SERIES: Gillham Pack, book 20
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
GENRE: Paranormal
RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2017


Rushing into things isn’t always wrong, no matter what everyone says.
Sei has had enough of dodging his mother’s and his aunt’s attempt to arrange a bonding for him since Clea mated with Christian. They don’t see a reason for him not to bond with someone they choose, but he doesn’t care about traditions. He wants the real deal when it comes to mating—love, lust, and a happily ever after.
Donovan is the liaison between the pack and the government. His job isn’t running around Washington rescuing street kids, but he wants to help the pack, and those kids. The last thing he expected from his impromptu mission was to meet his mate.
When Sei is overwhelmed by a crowd of reporters who have come to Gillham to find out more about shifters, he’s rescued by a bear shifter. He recognizes Donovan as his mate only once Donovan shifts, and he doesn’t let the occasion slip away. They mate within hours of their first meeting, but Sei hadn’t considered the complications that would come with it.
The attacks on the pack are escalading, Donovan’s son is vehement about his dislike of Sei, and Donovan doesn’t know what to do. Will he have to choose between his mate and his son? What can he do to keep the pack safe? Will this be the time when everything falls apart?

Sei is the twentieth book in the Gillham Pack series by Catherine Lievens. Each book is about a different couple who find their mates but they do have a storyline and plot that thread them all together so reading them in order isn’t necessary, but I do find it enhances the reading experience when you know who the sub characters are that they are talking to. The book was well written and had all of the elements that I have come to expect from a Catherine Lievens’ book.

Sei is twenty-nine, a nix, and a nurse. He’s been dodging his mother’s and his aunt’s attempts to arrange a bonding for him since his cousin Clea mated with Christian, leaving the female that Clea was supposed to be bonded with available. The only problem is that Sei is gay just like Clea is, and he wants the real deal when it comes to mating—love, lust, and a happily ever after. When he’s overwhelmed by a crowd of reporters who have come to Gillham to find out more about shifters, he’s rescued by a bear shifter. At first, he isn’t aware that Donovan, the bear shifter, is his mate until after Donovan shifts into his human self, and he doesn’t let the occasion slip away. They end up mating within hours of their first meeting.

Donovan is eighty-five, a bear shifter, and the liaison between the pack and the government. His job isn’t supposed to be running around Washington rescuing street kids, but when a call comes in from the hotline, he ends up being the one to go and pick them up. Little did he know that he would end up rescuing his mate also. But now he needs to decide what to do about his job now that he has a mate and how to introduce him to his kids. And he already knows that that’s going to be a lot of fun, not. Since his kids, even though they’re grown, still have hopes that he will get back together with their mom. They also won’t be crazy about the age difference between him and his mate.

With the escalation of the attacks on the pack, Donovan will do all that he can to keep his mate and his new pack safe.
I loved the book. It had just the right combination of heat, angst, action, and drama. And since I actually started reading this series with the next book in the series, I already know what’s going to happen. I wasn’t disappointed, and I’m sure that you won’t be also. Now I just need to read the first twenty books in the series.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: 2018 Advent Calendar Full Set – Warmest Wishes

TITLE: 2018 Advent Calendar Full Set – Warmest Wishes
AUTHOR: Beth Laycock, R. Quincy Cameron, Kim Katil,
Scudder James Jr, Daniel de Lorne, Blue Jones, Mere Rain, Ward Maia, Ren Holly, Anna Kaling, Crystel Greene, Emjay Haze, A.D. Ellis, E.J. Russell, Elliot Joyce, S.A. Stovall, Cy Blanca, Charles Payseur, TJ Nichols, Asta Idonea, Cassie Decker, C.S. Poe, Helena Stone, Renae Kaye, LE Franks, Kim Fielding, Jana Denardo, Elizabeth Noble, Chrissy Munder, Bru Baker, August Li
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Anthology
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2018


Celebrating the end-of-year holidays doesn’t always mean sleighs, snow, and snuggling to ward off the cold. How about making merry when it’s just as warm (or hot) outside as inside romantic hearts? Twinkle lights in palm trees, unity cups on the sideboard, bonfires in the backyard, eggnog by the pool, and no chimneys to be found… just the warmest wishes of the holidays bringing lovers together around the world.
A huge part of the world celebrates end-of-the-year holidays that aren’t anything like Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” In the southern hemisphere, it’s not even winter!
Holiday reading fun! A story delivered automatically to your bookshelf each day in December. More than 400,000 words of romantic fiction in 31 stories.
Stories will be available individually or as a package.
NOTE: Dreamspinner Press regrets to announce that one of the novellas included in the 2018 Advent Calendar package, Warren’s Peace by Emjay Haze, was previously published as a short story. It was thoroughly revised and expanded as part of its inclusion in the Advent Calendar. We acknowledge that our readers expect new content as part of this package, and accordingly we have lowered the full package set price, with the novella still included as a bonus. We apologize for the inconvenience.

I picked three of the short stories to read, and I did pretty well on my picks. I picked one that had no heat to it, the second one had a moderate amount of heat, and the third book was very hot. I always enjoy reading the Christmas short stories from Dreamspinner press. They put me in the holiday cheer and put me in a good mood. I read Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo, Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye, and Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil.

Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo.
Blurb: Tony Gatti had his life planned: get his veterinarian license and go to work with his dad and uncle. Soon after achieving his goals, he learned the shadows and blurriness in his vision went beyond needing glasses. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic mutation with no cure. With his sight almost gone, he moves into his grandmother’s St. Augustine, Florida, home with his guide dog, Raven, to start life over. Nonna Concetta thinks she knows the perfect job for him. Her vet is looking for someone to destress the cats at a local rescue. Javier didn’t plan to hire a cute former veterinarian to fill the role of cat cuddler, but Tony couldn’t be more perfect. Worried his attraction is inappropriate and knowing the holiday season always depresses him, Javier wonders if he should ask Tony out, or if he’d just be spreading the gloom to someone who already has enough of his own. But if he takes the plunge, could it turn out to be the best holiday ever?
This was a cute short story. I’m such an animal lover that I really enjoyed how Tony was able to turn his life in a different direction when he found out that he was losing his sight and got a job as a cat cuddler instead of being a veterinarian. The story doesn’t have any on-page sex, but there is some great chemistry between Tony and Javier. Great holiday cheer.

Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye.
Blurb: Geoffrey Saxon is in his forties, a bit plump, a lot fuzzy, and rather boring in bed—and thanks to a very public breakup, everyone in his street knows it. However, what they don’t know is that Geoffrey sometimes watches his hot young neighbor, Vaughn, in the pool. Vaughn has invited Geoffrey to join his pool parties, but Geoffrey knows it’s only pity. As if things can’t get worse, Geoffrey’s air conditioner breaks during a heat wave in Western Australia—and just before Christmas. In search of some relief, he camps out in his backyard, where he also has a prime view of Vaughn swimming…naked. When Geoffrey’s injured falling from his spying post, Vaughn comes to his rescue and Geoffrey doesn’t think he can be more horrified. But he could be in for a sweet holiday surprise. Is he ready to take the dive?
This was another cute story. It had me laughing over some of the things that happened in the book. Geoffrey and Vaughn had great chemistry, and because of Geoffrey’s insecurities, they are taking things slow sexually in their new relationship. I will definitely be reading more books by Ranae Kaye.

Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil.
Blurb: One morning close to the holidays, Nolan wakes up to two surprises: a distress call from his younger brother and a beautiful man in his bed. Nolan, an art gallery owner, has always been discreet about his sexuality, but when his baby brother plans to come out at the annual family gala, Nolan wants to have his back—and that means showing up with a man of his own on his arm. Nolan knows just the man for the job. Skylar, who owns a karate studio in St. Augustine, can’t get his one-night stand out of his mind. When he runs into Nolan at his gallery, he is more than happy to volunteer his services as arm candy. Out-and-proud himself with his striking blue/ green hair, Skylar is all in. Their adventure means a fancy salon, family drama, lots of sex, a ninja hippo, and palm trees lit up in a very suggestive way. By the end of it, what started as a hookup might become much more.

I loved this short story. It had everything that I was hoping for when I read the blurb. It has a heat level of 5 mixed in with some family drama and Christmas cheer. The story had great flow, and I loved the author’s writing style. The characters had depth and were very lovable. I will definitely be checking out more books by Kim Katil

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis